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Owlman of the Crime Syndicate (DC Comics)

Owlman

(Post-Crisis, pre-52 version)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Owlman is an evil version of Batman, living on another version of Earth. He is part of a motley crew of similar “reversed” super-heroes, the Crime Syndicate.

There have been several takes on this concept. This profile covers the Owlman who was first seen in Grant Morrison’s Earth Two graphic novel.


Background

  • Real Name: Thomas Wayne, Jr..
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: GCPD Commissioner Thomas Wayne, Sr. (Father), Martha Wayne (Mother, Deceased), Bruce Wayne (Brother, Deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Crime Syndicate of Amerika.
  • Base Of Operations: Gotham City.
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

Owlman is well versed in numerous scientific arts. He is particularly skilled in the areas of gadgetry and designer drugs, and has a drug-enhanced super cortex.

He has built himself numerous weapons for his campaign against Commissioner Wayne and the Gotham City Police Department. He also contributed to the refining of the superspeed drug used by Johnny Quick. Owlman also keeps himself in superb physical shape, probably at least in part through use of his own designer drugs.


Another world

The Favor Bank

The people of the anti-matter Earth are generally driven by amoral self-interest and lust for power. This tendency would cause the societies of that Earth to quickly fall apart if it were not for the Favor Bank. This is the one inviolate rule of the cultures of the anti-matter Earth.

As Batman summed it up, “If you ask a favor, you owe the person who supplied it. It’s a debt to be repaid — whenever it’s called in. How ever much it hurts you.” Or as Owlman stated more succinctly, “When you owe, you pay. Even if your grandmother is bleeding out in the gutter. You don’t get to set the terms.”

The effect of this is that, in DC Heroes terms, all people of the anti-matter Earth have the equivalent of a Catastrophic Irrational Attraction to repaying debts when the marker is called. On those few occasions when people violate this rule, whatever passes for the local authorities will quickly bring the offender in for trial.

Such offenders are usually put to death, though it is possible they would be granted a second chance if they can show a good faith effort was made to repay the debt.


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Home Field Advantage

The matter and anti-matter universes have not only physical but moral differences. In the matter universe, good ultimately prevails, while evil is the dominant force of the anti-matter universe. Within each universe, this is represented thus — the prevailing force tends to have better stats and more Hero Points  than their opponents, especially in the aggregate.

When the JLA and CSA first met, this difference was expressed more dramatically. When individuals from one universe crossed over into another, they became less efficient. In DC Heroes terms, their HP expenditures were raised as if they were operating one Genre lower than the usual campaign setting.

For example, if the campaign is set in the Action Genre, those who have crossed over into other universe spend HPs as if they were in the Mock-Real Genre.

This apparently only applies if the individuals crossing over were at odds with that universe’s moral bias. When the heroic Alex Luthor of the anti-matter universe crossed over into the matter universe, he was not affected. However, when the CSA traveled to the matter Earth they did suffer this disability.

This imbalance between the universes was negated as part of the universal restructuring of the DCU when Krona was defeated in the JLA/Avengers crossover series. The essential character of the two universes — that good triumphs over evil in the matter universe and vice versa in the anti-matter realm — remains the same though.


History

The Crime Syndicate of Amerika is the JLA of an Earth in an antimatter-universe where good is evil and evil is good. Benedict Arnold was the first U.S. President, Washington was a traitor, Britain fought for its independence against an Amerikan colonial power, etc.

It is a reversed DCU. By large, things are pretty upbeat in the DCU and people are generally happy, secure and open to the wild and the novel by virtue of living in a world where good always triumphs in the end, thanks to colorful superheroes.

Meanwhile the dreary inhabitants of the antimatter world live on a planet dominated by lies, greed and hypocrisy. And if that world sounds all-too familiar, then you’re just too cynical by half… In their reality vice and corruption are a way of life and the bad guys always win.

Here crime is the founding principal of society. Evil is rewarded, cruelty is lauded. People live everywhere in fear of their masters. This goes all the way through the local mobs and the corrupt police, the bent journalists and up, through City Hall and the governments, to the top of the pyramid – the seedy Crime Syndicate of Amerika and its vicious bullying leader, Ultraman.

The CSA rules their Earth with an iron fist from their lunar headquarters, the Panopticon  (“The place of wide vision” or “watchtower”). Their motto is “Cui Bono”: Who Benefits. (Interview with Grant Morrison)

I shall become… an owl

Owlman is Thomas Wayne, older brother of Bruce Wayne. Thomas witnessed his brother and mother being shot dead. He and his father survived and blamed the elder Wayne for their deaths. Thomas Wayne Jr. became the super-criminal Owlman, siding with the nasty Boss Gordon and dedicating his life to revenge against Commissioner Wayne of the Gotham City Police Department.

Though Owlman eventually joined the world-dominating Crime Syndicate of Amerika, he always focused his empire-building efforts on Gotham City, becoming its dominant crimelord.

The CSA’s dominion was temporarily disrupted by the Justice League’s intervention on the anti-matter Earth. The JLA’s help had been requested by Alex Luthor, the only remaining free hero of the anti-matter world.

Thanks to Batman’s efforts in Gotham City, Boss Gordon was arrested and Commissioner Wayne secured the city against the Crime Syndicate’s representatives.

Strike back!

The CSA launched a retaliatory strike on the matter Earth as a prelude to conquest. But both teams came to realize that they could not prevail in the universes opposite their own.

The two groups then discovered that the universal crossover was part of a plot by Ultraman’s servant Brainiac. Brainiac had secretly engineered the confrontation to regain his freedom and expand the power of his consciousness.

The latter goal required Brainiac to take actions that would have destroyed both Earths. Working with the JLA, the CSA was able to return to their Earth, after which they took their revenge against their rebellious servant by lobotomizing him.

Owlman was actually delighted by the turn of events in Gotham, as it restored the thrill of the “old days” when he was the underdog in his battles against the GCPD.

Babykillers

Owlman, Ultraman, and Superwoman later showed up in Metropolis chasing a Superbaby. The “baby” actually was the Brainiac from the anti-matter universe. Brainiac had created the fetus from Ultraman’s cells and projected his mind into it.

The trio managed to kill the Brainiac baby despite Superman’s efforts to stop them and then returned to their home universe. (Adventures of Superman #603-5)

Having established a strong dominion over the entire planet with the fall of the rebel nation of Modora, the CSA continued to seek out new places to conquer in their own universe. They eventually discovered the planet Qward. They were in the midst of ravaging Qward when their universe and the matter universe were both destroyed and restructured as a result of Krona’s experiments (JLA/Avengers).

Seeking to discover what had happened and to prevent it from occurring again, the CSA returned to the matter Earth. Their initial mission was satisfied when they found out that Krona was responsible but had been neutralized by the JLA.

Change in the rules

However, the CSA had also discovered that the imbalance between the universes had been eliminated by the restructuring and they began a reign of terror on the matter Earth.

The Qwardians also came to the matter Earth following the CSA’s trail. They sought revenge for their attack on Qward as well as wanting to find Krona themselves. The JLA redirected the Qwardians to the anti-matter Earth. They then made the CSA ask them for help in repelling the Qwardians, gaining a favor in the favor bank from the anti-matter villains.

The Qwardians eventually quit the field of battle against the two supergroups and the CSA sent the JLA back to the matter Earth, bitterly aware that they owed the heroes a favor.

With that resolved, the CSA began the arduous work of restoring order on the anti-matter Earth. Their public humiliations during their battles with the JLA and the Qwardians had caused:

  • 17 countries to riot against the Syndicate.
  • Two other superteams to break allegiance with them.
  • 20 insurgencies led by superbeings to begin around the world.
  • A break-out of the entire Justice Underground from Ultraman’s Flying Fortress.

Furthermore, another Qwardian fleet was headed toward their planet (JLA: Syndicate Rules).


Description

Thomas Wayne, Jr. is tall, muscular Caucasian male. His features are difficult to discern under the mask, but he most likely has the square-jawed handsome look typical to the men of the Wayne family.

Owlman’s costume is a bluish-gray body suit-with-cowl with metallic-gray equipment bandoliers on his wrists, ankles, and waist. He wears a cape made of strips of a thick light-gray fabric, which overlap to give the cape a feathery texture.

Both his cape and his equipment belt are clasped in the front with silvery oval buckles. The buckles are embossed with a simple owl design, an oblique v for the beak with circles at the tips of the v for eyes (o-v-o).

Owlman wears a metallic-gray helmet with a reinforced chinstrap. The helmet has upswept side panels giving the helm the silhouette of an owl and chrome-mirrored fish-eye lenses cover the eyes.


Personality

Owlman is dedicated to the continual humiliation of his father, GCPD Commissioner Thomas Wayne, Sr. for “allowing” Martha and Bruce Wayne to be killed. It’s likely that the only reason Commissioner Wayne is still alive is that Owlman doesn’t want the humiliation to end.

As far as can be discerned, Owlman’s sole reason for joining the CSA was to maintain the power and influence necessary to maintain Gotham City as his domain alone.

Owlman’s hatred of his father is so complete that when he discovered that Thomas Wayne Sr. was dead on the matter-universe Earth he lost all interest in remaining there: “…(N)othing means anything. He’s DEAD. There’s no one left to hurt.”

Risk junkie

Owlman is also characterized by his compulsion to take risks. This is not surprising, given that most people with survivor’s guilt suffer this trait. It is also common in people seeking revenge on their families — by risking themselves, they distress their loved ones. The compulsion is not an overpowering one, though, being limited mostly to taunting his enemies.

Common examples include casually asking policemen how they wish to die as they hold him at gunpoint and goading Ultraman, most notably by making out with Superwoman. Once the CSA had taken over the entire world, Owlman began fostering rebellion in limited places. He worked carefully to create insurrectionist groups that would make an entertaining battle without truly endangering the CSA’s power.


Quotes

To Johnny Quick: “Call me ’smartass’ again, I’ll cut your speed powder with horse laxative. You’ll be the fastest skid mark alive.”

“Ultraman got one of you Martians once. I knew it couldn’t be that hard.”

“We’ll conquer this planet, raze its cities, and reduce it to ash. For a start.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Owlman

Dex: 09 Str: 05 Bod: 06 Motivation: Nihilist
Int: 12 Wil: 11 Min: 09 Occupation: Supervillain
Inf: 10 Aur: 08 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 18
Init: 033 HP: 150

Powers:
Recall: 12, Superspeed: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Superspeed can only be used to reduce the time of mental tasks (designing gadgets, etc.).

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Charisma (Intimidation)*: 10, Gadgetry*: 12, Martial Artist: 09, Medicine*: 12, Scientist*: 12, Thief*: 09, Vehicles*: 09, Weaponry*: 09

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Gotham City), Expansive Headquarters (The Aerie, the Panopticon), Intensive Training, Iron Nerves, Scholar (Designer Drugs).

Connections:
Boss Gordon (High), Crime Syndicate of Amerika (High).

Drawbacks:
Catastrophic Irrational Dislike (Thomas Wayne, Sr.), SIA (Thrill-seeking).

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [/BODY/ 07, Accuracy (Projectile Weapons): 10, Projectile Weapons: 07, Limitations: Accuracy only works against human targets — the “bloodseekers” home in on the iron in red blood cells].
  • COWL [BODY 07, Radio Communication: 11, Shade (visual, aural): 08, Ultra Vision: 06, Note: RC is mostly used to control Owlmobile and other Gadgets].
  • CSA SIGNAL DEVICE (built into cape clasp) [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 25, Limitation: Radio Communication only allows user to send/receive the signal for a CSA meeting at the Panopticon].
  • Razorangs (x2) [BODY 06, Claws: 06, Gliding: 02, Limitation: Gliding only adds to throwing distance] with optional Swingline [BODY 03 STR 07, Length: 3 APs]. In addition to using Razorangs as missile weapons, Owlman often uses them in close combat with a fighting style similar to using a kukri (a large knife with an angled blade, making it look like a boomerang).
  • 8 AP ABCD Omni-Gadgets (x4). These Omni-Gadgets are not always carried on Owlman’s person. He will sometimes set items up ahead of time for his escapades with the Gotham City PD, such as the airbag he landed on during his fight in “Earth 2”.
  • Owlglider [BODY: 06, STR: 04, Flight: 07, 10 AP C Omni-Gadgets (x2), Hardened Defenses, Note: The Owlglider can be controlled by remote using radio].
  • When traveling long distance, Owlman often uses CSA teleport tubes (BODY: 12, Energy Blast: 12, Teleportation: 24, Limitations: Energy Blast only has a Range of 03 APs and attacks anyone without a CSA signal device within that area, Teleportation can only teleport objects from one tube to another), which are located in the Panopticon, Ultraman’s Flying Fortress, and in hidden locations in most major cities.

By Jeff Baker and Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: DC Comics.

Helper(s): Grant Morrison (interview) JD, John Colagioia, Jackson, Michael W. Mattei, M. Andre, Gareth Lewis. One illustration detoured at rapsheet.co.uk .

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