Owlman AKA Thomas Wayne, Jr. is the Earth-3 counterpart of Batman. He is an evil man who uses a vast intelligence, incredible skills and an array of owl-themed gadgets to enforce a reign of terror on Gotham City.
He is also a member of the Crime Syndicate of America and fights alongside a sidekick named Talon.
The Thomas Wayne, Jr. version of Owlman first appeared in the late 1990s in JLA: Earth 2. This Owlman was developed to be reflective of the modern readers with a darker attitude and background than either of the two previous teams. On Earth 3, Owlman was now Thomas Wayne Jr., the older brother of that reality's Bruce Wayne. In most mainstream DC universes, Batman's genesis occurred when young Bruce Wayne was witness to the murder of his parents, Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne, and was inspired to devote his life batman rouges to fighting crime.
In the antimatter universe however, young Bruce was killed along with his mother by a policeman when Thomas Sr. refused to accompany him for questioning. Thomas Jr. escaped the crime scene with the hoodlum Joe Chill, whom he considered his hero and grew up to become Owlman. Equipping himself with a utility belt containing technology and weapons similar to those used by Batman along with a drug-enhanced high intellect (devoted to crime rather than serving the law), Owlman became a master criminal and an ally to local crime lord "Boss" Gordon (the antimatter Earth's version of James Gordon).
Later he learned that his father Thomas Wayne Sr. was still alive and had become the commissioner of police in their world's version of Gotham City, gathering a cadre of police officers who did not give into the rampant corruption which infested their version of Earth. Thomas Jr. blames his father for the deaths of his mother and brother and it is strongly hinted that the main purpose to his criminal career is to punish his father, who is well aware of who he is and is equally determined to destroy his own son; during his visit to the 'main' DC Universe, upon discovering the Waynes' grave he states that nothing matters because "He's dead", presumably referring to Thomas Wayne Sr., and actually shows a rare moment of humanity as he kneels in front of the grave, in a display of genuine mourning.
While Clark Kent as Ultraman is the leader of the Syndicate, Thomas Jr. as Owlman is the real brains behind the group. The working relationship between the two is extremely tense, due to Ultraman's desire to rule the planet through fear and violence clashing with Owlman's more pragmatic desire to allow dissent and rebellion to run rampant (going so far as to funding opposition towards the Syndicate) in order to provide himself and his allies in the Syndicates enemies to fight.
Further complicating things is the fact that Thomas Jr. has carried on a longtime affair with Superwoman (who is the only woman who can have a sexual relationship with Ultraman). Ultraman has become aware of the affair, but due to Thomas Jr. having undisclosed photographic blackmail material against the villain, he is unable to seek retribution against Owlman for the betrayal.
In JLA: Earth 2, the antimatter Alexander Luthor, a heroic version of Lex Luthor, makes a reference to Owlman's "drug-enhanced" cerebral cortex, although this version of Owlman does not demonstrate any superhuman powers. Presumably, Thomas Jr. merely uses some sort of drug to enhance his mental capacity though it is not specifically stated how powerful his mental powers are or how they are enhanced through such artificial means.
Recently, Thomas Jr. and his Earth 3 Crime Syndicate allies have appeared in the weekly "Trinity " series, starting with issue #9. The 'Weaponers of Qward' had attacked their Earth, killing millions and tearing apart the landscaped. The Syndicate had kidnapped hundreds of innocent people from all 52 realities, including what appeared to be Jimmy Olsen, but was later revealed to be his anti-mater duplicate. It is unclear if Thomas Jr. allows the JLA to win in order to get the heroes off his source Earth and counterattack after they depart or if he was actually defeated.
In 52 Week 52, an alternate version of Pre-Crisis Earth-Three was shown as a part of the new Multiverse. In the depiction were characters that are evil versions of the original Justice Society of America, including Batman. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the two panels in which they appear, but the altered Batman is visually similar to Owlman.
Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-Three, making this a new character unrelated to previous versions.
In The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society this reality is stated to be Earth-3, separate from the Pre-Crisis Earth-Three reality and an older Owlman is shown with a young sidekick called Talon, who is dressed parallel to Grayson's Robin. The current young Talon had a relationship with Duela Dent, the daughter of his greatest foe, the Jokester as shown in the Teen Titans series. The Teen Titan Talon wears a costume that is a direct alternation of Tim Drake's Robin costume, suggesting the current Talon to be the Earth-3 Drake and not the same Grayson-parallel Talon shown in "Search". Based on statements and illustrations in this same book, it is stated one of the earlier Talons succeeded the old Owlman in a manner parallel to the way that Wayne as Batman was succeeded by Dick Grayson in the role of Batman for a period of time. As he was shown killed by the Jokester on page 22 of this book with the Jokester's boot on his throat. A young Owlman with a different costume and helmet later appears in the same book battling the Jokester.
It is not specified who the old Owlman is though his face is clearly shown in a panel. Some suggest the old Owlman was the Post Crisis Earth-3 Bruce Wayne based on the fact that Todd of Post Crisis Earth-3 is stated to be the current Owlman, though others state the old Owlman was someone else. The old Owlman's exact birth identity has yet to be specified in panel.
This young Owlman with the different costume and helmet appears again in issue 31 of Countdown - assisted by a team referred to as the Crime Society. This young Owlman is specifically stated to be Owlman and the Jason Todd of Earth-3 by Bob the Monitor who fights the Jason Todd of New Earth. New Earth Todd is aided by his own traveling companions, Kyle Rayner and Donna Troy against the other members of the Post Crisis Earth-3 Crime Society including a young Ultraman and Spectre counterpart in panel.
Powers and Abilities
Wayne, Jr. possesses the power of super-intelligence and other extra-sensory abilities. Owlman has enhanced his natural abilities with various devices that increases his natural power to far greater levels than attainable by his own power level.
Flying and Night Vision
He uses various equipment and devices that enhances his natural mental powers to far greater levels that are beyond the limits of most. Various weapons including a plasma gun he carries at all times.
In Other Media
- Owlman appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episodes "Deep Cover for Batman" and "Game Over for Owlman" voiced by Diedrich Bader.
- Owlman appeared in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths voiced by Academy Award-nominee James Woods.
- Owlman also appears in LEGO DC Super-Villains, voiced by Jason Marsden.