The Owl

Real Name: Leland Owlsley
First Appearance: Daredevil 3
What's His Problem? A ruthless crime lord who successfully hid his activities by masquerading as a businessman and philanthropist, Owlsley was forced to defend himself in court when one of his accountants met a suspicious death. He was fortunate enough to randomly pick Matt Murdock, a lawyer who, despite believing his client to be a criminal, was determined to provide a defense--"Every man is entitled to a lawyer! If we attorneys refuse to help accused people because we think they're guilty, then we're judging them without trial!" When Owlsley jumped bail, however, he found one scarlet-clad super-hero (well, at the time DD was a yellow, black and scarlet-clad super-hero) refused to let him get away. The Owl has faced numerous physical handicaps since his first confrontation with the Scarlet Swashbuckler, including paralysis, a coma or two, and various mental breakdowns that even an implanted neural pacemaker couldn't prevent. His confidence has been undermined by his fragile health, causing him every so often to re-evaluate his career options.
Powers: The portly Owl astonished his underlings with his gliding ability; years later it was revealed that he had been taking a serum to achieve this super-human feat. As tends to happen, the serum had unexpected and grim side-effects; Owlsley's bones became hollow and refused to support him, his eyes became independently rotating, and extra vertebrae in his neck allowed him to rotate his neck a near 180 degrees. An exoskeleton permitted him mobility and special goggles controlled his eyes, but his physical deterioration led to a mental breakdown and a re-evaluation of his goals. Eventually he continued in his criminal ways, but not before his old foe DareDevil tried to rehabilitate him. In addition to his physical peculiarities, the Owl is a mechanical genius who enjoys building really, really big flying machines in the shape of owls. He also has a knack for finding out-of-the-way dwellings in New York City that he can refer to as his "Aerie."
Favorite Quote: "It's not fair ... everywhere I turn I meet some new blasted super-hero!" (DareDevil 117, after veterinarian and animal expert Dr. Shanna O'Hara unexpectedly decks several of his operatives).
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Matt Murdock's hyper sense of responsibility means that the Owl can't shake DareDevil no matter what he tries; it was during one confrontation between the two arch-foes that DareDevil first met the Black Widow. The Owl has had especially bad luck with women; he was the first major baddie Tigra took on (back during her Cat days), and has been clobbered by the likes of the Black Widow, Shanna the She-Devil, and the Black Cat. He's also had several run-ins with DareDevil's pal Spider-Man, and even took time to hassle Alpha Flight. A major foe is Doctor Octopus, who after refusing a partnership with the avian crime boss tried to do him in.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: The Owl is inclined to work in partnership with others, although he always chaffed when he wasn't top bird. He was an enforcer for Mr. Kline, hired the Man-Bull as a body-guard, and usually surrounded himself with a flock of henchman wearing owl-themed long-johns. When he was paralyzed, the Maggia designed a floating wheelchair for him; in return, he directed some of their criminal activities. The Vulture tried to entice him into a bird-of-prey-based partnership, but after spending a couple of issues havering back and forth, Owlsley decided to forgo crime and companionship and flew off on his own.
Most Despicable Act: Probably his most famous D.A. occurred during the Owl's power struggle with the Kingpin and Doc Ock, a battle that eventually led to a lengthy hospital stay for the Black Cat when she couldn't keep herself from meddling. During the height of his mental and physical breakdown, the Owl saw himself as chief predator in New York City, with common street hoods (and the occasional hapless pigeon) as his prey. After a series of gruesome murders, DareDevil tracked him down and insisted he get professional help. Someone should have thought of that earlier...


Owl Mug Shots


DareDevil 3
1964

DareDevil 145
1977

Spec. Spider-Man 73
1982


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