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Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Portrait splash (header version)

Owl

(Leland Owlsley) (Profile #2 - 1976-1981)


Sequence

This profile is part of a chronological series, which should be read in order. The series goes :

  1. . Start there.
  2. The Owl (Leland Owlsley) part #2 – 1976-1981. This here profile.
  3. .
  4. The Owl (Leland Owlsley) part #4 – 1992-2003.

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Background

  • Real Name: Leland Owlsley.
  • Known Relatives: Jubula Pride (daughter), apparently two ex-wives (names unrevealed).
  • Group Affiliation: Leads his own criminal crew.
  • Base of Operations: New York City.
  • Height: 5’11” (1.80m). Weight: 215 lbs. (97 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Blue. Hair: Reddish brown.

Powers & Abilities

During this era, the Owl encounters severe medical complications. They are caused by his gliding serum use.

See the History and Game Stats sections for details.

Owl (Marvel Comics) - 1970s secret headquarters decoration

As the owl nests (part 2)

The Owl’s bases usually had an imposing throne with owl motifs.

13 Wall Street

The Owl once operated from the top floors of this high-rise, with a view over the Stock Exchange. Amenities included :

  • A concealed elevator capable of moving a medium-sized helicopter to its hangar.
  • The good ol’ concealed transparent bulletproof panel. Sliding down from the ceiling to shield him while he’s on this throne.
  • A small getaway plane, presumably with a catapult launcher.

Aerie II (or perhaps III)

In 1977, the Owl had a base hidden within cliffs, not far from the original Aerie. It may have been the same place as the backup Aerie glimpsed in 1966.

Features included :

  • Being wheelchair-friendly.
  • A cliff face hangar from which the Owl could launch a one-person rocketship. It seemed intended as a getaway vehicle.
  • A hidden helipad. Its secret doors could be electrified with enough juice to electrocute even Spider-Man (Peter Parker).
  • Glowing holograms of attacking owls. These couldn’t physically hurt people, but were great for harassment.
  • Some rooms had many hiding places in the ceiling, floor and walls for the Owl’s men to ambush attackers.

Soundtrack

Some signature 1976 music for that chronologically correct atmosphere…

Yeah, Thin Lizzie fits nicely. Especially that one.

History

(This section starts right where the previous entry ended.)

Procol serum

By 1977, the serum the Owl had used for years caught up with him.

Accrued nerves damage paralysed his legs. The Owl had to wear braces, and used crutches to painfully move around.

He had a new Owl Gang operating from a Wall Street base. However, his manpower was limited – and the Maggia was fighting him toe to toe.

This, and feeling vulnerable due to his crippled legs, led to recruiting the Man-Bull (William Taurens) as his bodyguard. The Owl’s men broke Taurens out of Ryker’s so he could take the job.

The Owl then kidnapped one Professor Kerwin. This expert could analyse the effects of the gliding serum, and develop a cure.

However, the selfish Owl didn’t realise that the Man-Bull considered his taurine form a curse. Taurens betrayed the Owl to keep Kerwin’s medical services for himself. But he was taken down by Daredevil (Matt Murdock).

The Owl was forced to flee.

Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy

This illustration depicts the Owl one year *after* this span (hence the claws), since there wasn’t a good non-anachronistic alternative.

The Vassar on the roof

The Owl soon switched to his backup plan. He attacked a Poughkeepsie research hospital.

There, he forced one Dr. Petrovic to equip him with an experimental exoskeleton, plus a flight implant along his spine. Some of the tech was from the hospital, some had been brought by the Owl.

The Owl bluffed that there was a bomb rigged to go off if he ever lost consciousness. This also meant that the surgery had to take place without anaesthesia.

Rise and fall

The operation was a success, and the Owl flew away after beating Daredevil back.

However, the flight device had been sabotaged by the surgeon. The physician warned Daredevil, who tried to stop the Owl in time.

Meanwhile, flush with regained confidence, the criminal had greatly stepped up his attacks against other mobs.

Howbeit, when the flight device failed he crashed into the frozen Hudson river.

Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Leg braces

Same player shoot again

The Owl’s personal rescue/medical unit was nearby. They intervened in time to save him.

Then once Professor Kerwin was no longer under police protection, the Owl returned to kidnap him.

Kerwin’s treatment and the following surgeries were a success. The Owl almost entirely regained the use of his legs. He also recovered from the damage wrought by nearly dying in freezing water.

In and hoot

By 1978, the Owl had rebuilt a sizeable Owl Gang in his Aerie.

Though he still needed a few days to recover from receiving a pacemaker, he decided to have his revenge on Daredevil right away.

However, the jewelry robbery he used to reel Daredevil in also brought Spider-Man (Peter Parker). The two heroes overcame the Owl’s defenses.

The villain put a gun to Kerwin’s head to force their surrender. However, Daredevil and Kerwin played mind games with him. Within the agitated Owl, the too-recently installed pacemaker was overloaded. The villain collapsed.

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Itsy bitsy little spiders

The Owl was expected to remain comatose. Yet he recovered his full mental faculties.

However, his body was mostly crippled. He only could operate his arms and head. His somehow still loyal henchmen bought a high-tech hovering chair/life support system from the Maggia.

(One could imagine that this chair had been used by Don Silvio “Silvermane” Manfredi after a stroke or something.)

1980

In 1980, the Owl and his gang prepared strikes against the Maggia, so he wouldn’t owe them for the chair.

But the amount of weapons and supplies they were procuring drew the attention of both the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova) and Spider-Man (Peter Parker). At that point, Romanova was assisted by Simon Stroud, a former CIA man.

Though the Owl was backed by a small army with advanced weapons, he was defeated.

Personality

During this era the Owl is highly driven to cure his disability. His self-image as a dominant, alpha male of power is so strong that he cannot accept his condition.

The rest of his behaviour is unchanged.

Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Special chair

The Maggia-procured chair.

DC Heroes RPG

The Owl (Classic)

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 04
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 05
Init: 016 HP: 045

Powers:

Gliding: 03, Jumping: 02, Regeneration: 01, Ultra-vision: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Regeneration is Form Function, but cannot regrow tissues beyond what’s humanly feasible.
  • Ultra-vision is limited to making the Owl’s low-light vision twice as good as the human average.

Skills:

Evasion (Aerial only): 06, Martial artist: 05, Vehicles (SEAL): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

Evasion only when he can maneuver, which normally requires his CAPE.

Advantages:

Familiarity (High-tech devices operation), Headquarters (Specifics by story), Scholar (Finance), Stroke of Genius (Knowledge drain machine).

Connections:

Underworld (Low), Odd technology providers (Low).

Drawbacks:

Serious Physical Restriction (crippled legs — see below for more).

Motivation:

Power Lust.

Occupation:

Professional criminal.

Wealth:

009

Equipment:

CAPE [BODY 02, Flight: 05, Limitation: Flight can only be performed along suitable air currents].

Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Spider-Man enemy - Holographic owl

Holographic owls defences, wot we’ll soon discuss.


The serum and the damage done (late 1970s)

The Owl’s SPR effectively reduces his DEX and STR to 00 when it active. That’s a score of null APs, not an absence of APs.

The SPR was lifted during the brief period when the Kerwin treatment was almost ended. The Owl can also restore one AP of DEX (and land speed) using crutches.

In his Aerie, he instead used a motorised wheelchair.


Design notes

Does he still has the Stroke of Genius ? After all, he’s been through enough brain damage to lose this knowledge.

I’m keeping it out of general cautiousness, if it ever pops back in a later story.

Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Helicopter and henchmen

1977 helicopter and uniforms.


1977 assets

  • Another owl-customised helo. This one looked kinda like a Sikorsky S-58  , with a light machinegun at the door. I suspect that the Owl holds Sikorsky shares.
  • The gang had new costumes, but there was a half-dozen of them at most and they had basic handguns. Another squad with jetpacks was mentioned but never seen. There were also plain clothes informers.
  • These uniforms could also be equipped with video cameras for the Owl to monitor his troops. But these were *far* smaller than the 1971 one.
  • A three-man unit was his personal rescue unit. It could be summoned by activating a small tracker the Owl kept at all times. They had a well-equipped ambulance helicopter, cold weather diving suits, and presumably plenty of other rescue equipment.
  • There also was a small, monoprop getaway plane. It also was owl-customised, and presumably was launched by a carrier-style catapult.
  • The electrified hangar doors may have had an EV of 12. However, I suspect that it was lower (08 ?) and they rolled a double.
  • The point of the holographic owls was to harass and demoralise. In a RPG, this might be handled by telling players that their attacks miss, to goad them into wasting HPs on AV. And OV against nonexistent attacks. The effect is otherwise covered by Illusion: 10, not Mystically-Linked, limited to images of attacking barn owls.
Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Rocketship

1977 owl rocketship.


Later 1977 assets

  • Under the Aerie was hidden an owl-themed rocketship [STR 06 BODY 10, Energy blast: 08, Flight: 08, Radar sense: 15, R#03] which seemed VTOL-capable. It may have been single-use.
  • The pilot’s position could eject as a sled-like one-person flying launch [STR 03 BODY 05, Air walking: 02, Running: 06, R#03].
  • In the rockeship’s hangar there also was a robot arm that could pick the Owl from his wheelchair and deposit him into the cockpit.
  • The exoskeleton and spinal flight implant seemingly amounted to [/DEX/ 07 /STR/ 05, Flight: 06] and nullified his SPR. It’s hard to assess – the Owl was burning the Hero Points he had earned during his Power Complication Subplot. And he only kept the exo and implants for a day or two.
Owl - Marvel Comics - 1970s - Daredevil enemy - Ejecting sled from rocket

The launch/sled thing ejected from the 1977 owl rocketship.


1980 assets

  • The hover chair was fast, and had eight laser rifles with good target-tracking abilities [BODY 05, Air-walking: 00, Energy blast: 08, Running: 06, Weaponry (Self): 06, Ammo (Energy blast): 08, R#2]. It also had life-support systems to keep the Owl alive. Notably, it seemed to assist his lungs.
  • The Owl had 15 to 20 men equipped with high-powered firearms. One reportedly fired “a hundred rounds per second”. Massed fire could take down a steel door. So I guess EV 07, but they didn’t hit any of their high-OV opponents.
    Many of these weapons had small bonuses such as Autofire, Ultra vision, Telescopic vision, etc..

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel comics.

Helper(s): Sean MacDonald, Darci, Dr. Piispanen.

Writeup completed on the 7th of October, 2019.