Watchmen Profile: Nite Owl II

03.02.09 8 years ago

Warner Bros.

With Zack Snyder’s big screen adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic graphic novel “Watchmen” finally hitting theaters, HitFix is taking a look at the major characters of the beloved opus.  And with a nod to another comic publication that debuted in the same era, “The Official Handbook” of that other comic book company, we continue with the everyday technological wizard, Nite Owl.


Real Name: Daniel Dreiberg

Born: 1945

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Inventor, former crime fighter

Group Membership: Crimbebusters, aka Watchmen (disbanded)

Enemies: Big Figure, The Underboss, Twilight Lady

Known Relatives: Deceased father (unknown)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Manhattan townhouse including hidden underground liar (a converted abandoned subway station)

Powers/Abilities/Weapons: Nite Owl has no superhuman abilities, but has used his technological wizardry to build a suit that gives him the upper hand against most every day criminals.  Owl also built himself airborne transportation, the Owlship, nicknamed “Archie” after Archimedes, Merlin’s pet owl. 

History: The original Nite Owl was Hollis Mason, one of the founding members of the Minutemen, a league of early 1940’s costumed adventurers.  Retiring in 1962, Mason wrote “Under the Hood” detailing his heroic exploits and revealing many secrets of his fellow Minutemen. 

Inspired by his childhood hero, Drieberg contacted Mason and asked if he could carry on the Nite Owl mantle. An inventor whose father left him a sizable inheritance, he’d designed and built his own sophisticated crime fighting gear.  Mason was impressed with the young man, gave his blessing and the two became lifelong friends.  In 1965, Nite Owl and his partner Rorschach appeared at the ill-fated inaugural meeting of the Crimebusters, a superhero group based on the Minutemen.  It’s unclear how long Nite Owl and Rorschach were partners, but they had success against the New York City underworld and took down criminals Big Figure and The Underboss.  During the police strike riots of the 1970s, Nite Owl teamed up with The Comedian to handle out of control crowds, but not much else is known about their partnership.

In 1977, the Keene Act was passed and Drieberg retired the Nite Owl but unlike Adrien Viedt, he didn’t reveal his identity to the public.  In the intervening years before the events in “Watchmen,” Drieberg wrote a number of articles for ornithological journals. However, after stepping out of the spotlight, he conveniently never destroyed his Nite Owl costumes, Owlship or armored costumes.

Attention Citizens
Nite Owl and The Comedian tackle rioters during the police strike of 1977.

Days are Numbered
The Comedian informs Nite Owl of the upcoming Keene Act banning superheroes.

Everywhere at Once
Drieberg tries to warn Adrien Veidt about someone killing costumed heroes.

Remain Calm
Nite Owl uses Archie to put out an apartment building fire and Silk Spectre heads into the building to help rescue the tenants.

Good Friend
Nite Owl looses his patience with Rorschach.

[Nite Owl II is portrayed in the big screen adaptation of “Watchmen” by Patrick Wilson.  The 35-year-old actor began his career on Broadway and received two Tony Award nods for his work in “The Full Monty” and a revival of “Oklahoma!,” but is best known for his performance in Todd Field’s “Little Children.”  However, Wilson’s career took after his Emmy and Golden Globe nominated performance in the acclaimed HBO mini-series “Angels in America.”  On the big screen, Wilson recently starred in the hit thriller “Lakeview Terrace” and has appeared in “Evening,” “Hard Candy,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Running With Scissors.”  He recently finished production on the indie comedy “Barry Munday.”]

Look for more “Watchmen” profiles all this week on HitFix:

Saturday: Silk Spectre II
Sunday: Ozymandias
Tuesday: The Comedian
Wednesday: Rorschach
Thursday: Dr. Manhattan

Read Drew McWeeny’s Motion/Captured review of “Watchmen” here.

Find out more about the DVD “Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter.”
Find out more about the DVD “Watchmen: Motion Comics.”
Find out more about the “Watchmen” Movie Soundtrack.

Enter for a chance to win 3 Exclusive “Watchmen” Books here.

“Watchmen” opens nationwide and on IMAX on March 6.

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