Philo Zeiss possesses surgically-enhanced speed, reflexes, vision-enhancing goggles, and extensive martial arts training. Brought up by the Sicilan mafia, Zeiss eventually becomes a contract killer and bodyguard. He fights Batman to standstill and nearly kills Catwoman.
After the death of his parents, Philo Zeiss was taken in by his uncle Victor, the gardener of a Sicilian mafia lord. When his Uncle died soon after, the Sicilian took the young Zeiss in and, seeing something in the youth, prepared him for life as a killer for the mob. At first the young Philo was brought to watch mob enforcers work, then later was trained him as a mob enforcer himself. Feeling a debt to the Sicilian, Zeiss agreed to have surgery performed on his spinal column and optic nerves to enhance his perception and reflexes to superhuman levels. As an adult, Zeiss relocated to Gotham City and became the bodyguard of Gotham mob boss Lew Moxon. After a falling out with Moxon, he took up an offer to work for "Junior" Galante. He fought against Catwoman when she impeded Junior's efforts to expand into Gotham's East Side, nearly killing her in single combat and threatening those around her. Zeiss proceeded to exact his revenge on Moxon, who was attending a gathering of Gotham's gang bosses to be united under Matches Malone. Easily killing the villain Hellhound, who attempted to stop him, Zeiss succeeded in murdering his old boss. Catwoman also fought him a second time, during the War Games incident, and she finally defeated him.
Powers and Abilities
Zeiss has cybernetically accelerated reflexes and his eyes and optic nerves have been altered to maximize his abilities. To this end, he wears a pair of high-tech goggles, which are wired directly to his frontal lobe. The goggles allow him to record and analyze with great detail the movements and tactics of the enemies he faces and to anticipate or emulate those tactics to a degree. This system, combined with his extensive martial-arts training, makes him a formidable hand-to-hand combatant.
Zeiss harbors a personal vendetta against the Batman, and considers himself a superior combatant and strategist in comparison to the Dark Knight. His single-mindedness for defeating Batman in single combat has interfered with Zeiss' success on at least two occasions:
- Zeiss allowed his employer, Lew Moxon, to be critically injured by the assassin Deadshot when, instead of focusing on protection, Zeiss was trying to kill Batman hand-to-hand. Zeiss was subsequently relieved of his protection duties and thrown out of Moxon's mob.
- After repairing his goggles (which were damaged by a batarang) and reviewing the information he had gathered with them about Batman's combat style, Zeiss fought Batman to a standstill, boasting that he knew every move Batman would make before he made it. Batman sought help to defeat Zeiss, and was aided by Batgirl. Batgirl had never been "recorded" by Zeiss, and was a hand-to-hand fighter comparable to Batman himself. Thus, Zeiss was quickly defeated and imprisoned.