This article is about the second person to use the name Nite Owl, Daniel Dreiberg. For the first Nite Owl, see Hollis Mason.
Raised in a wealthy family by an abusive father and a protective mother, Daniel Dreiberg was fascinated by the legend of the masked hero, Nite Owl. He was able to uncover Nite Owl's identity by tracking him to his headquarters, and offered to be his partner, but the hero turned him down. When his father suffered a heart attack, the young Dreiberg waited before calling for assistance, causing him to die. At the funeral he was approached by Nite Owl, who took him on as an apprentice. Soon afterwards Nite Owl retired from crime-fighting, and three years later Dreiberg took up the mantle. While a costumed crime-fighter, he met and worked with Rorschach for a time, and was supportive of the formation of the Crimebusters, an abortive effort to unify the masked community. He retired in 1977 following the passage of the Keene Act, and became an ornithological scholar.
Dan Dreiberg was created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. He made his first appearance in Watchmen #1. The character is based on Ted Kord, and also shares some similarities with Batman.
In the original Watchmen continuity, Dreiberg was described as having written a letter to the original Nite Owl asking to be allowed to carry on the name after the former had already retired. This was retconned in the Before Watchmen series, which depicted a young Dreiberg tracking down Mason prior to his retirement and seeking to work as his partner. This new version also introduced several details of Dreiberg's history.
Major Story Arcs
Dreiberg is approached by his former partner Rorschach, who has grown increasingly violent and erratic in the years since their partnership dissolved. Rorschach, who is investigating the murder of the Comedian, warns him that there may be a mask killer operating in the area who may target Dreiberg. Dreiberg brushes him off, but is nonetheless troubled. He is contacted by Laurie Juspeczyk, and the pair meet and reminisce about superheroics, later getting involved in a fight with a street gang together. Following Dr Manhattan's self-exile, he invites Juspeczyk to live with him, and the pair soon put on their costumes to save people from a burning building. Exhilarated in the aftermath, they begin a physical relationship. He proposes breaking the recently arrested Rorschach out of prison, to which Juspecyzk reluctantly agrees. The succeed, but in so doing anger a street gang, who attack and kill Mason in his home, believing him to be the Nite Owl who freed Rorschach. While investigating the mask killer theory, Dreiberg learns of Mason's death from a gang member, and has to be physically restrained by Rorschach. The pair visit several sources of information, along the way unravelling the nature and scope of the conspiracy that surrounds them, including that Adrian Veidt has been orchestrating events all along. He flies himself and Rorschach to Veidt's Antarctic headquarters, where they confront the man, who easily bests them both in combat. Veidt is able to convince Dreiberg and all other assembled heroes, save Rorschach, to allow him to carry out his plan to fake an alien attack to save the world from itself. In the aftermath, Dreiberg and Juspecyzk, presumed dead in the explosion, take on new identities as a married couple and plan to continue their masked adventures.
Nite Owl joins forces with Rorschach to investigate several missing and murdered prostitutes. He becomes tangled up in the world of the Twilight Lady, a high-end madame with whom he develops an intimate relationship. Together, he and the Twilight Lady are able to track the crimes to a reverend at a church, and he arrives there just as the reverend sets a pile of corpses in the basement on fire. He rescues Rorschach, who was trapped in the basement by the reverend. He is unable to stop Rorschach from killing the reverend, and soon after puts their partnership on hiatus.
Nite Owl, referred to as Nite Nurse, appears as a main character in this parody comic.
Powers and Abilities
Dreiberg has no known superhuman powers or abilities. He possesses a genius-level intellect, and is particularly skilled in mechanical engineering and the development of gadgets and weaponry. He has advanced degrees in aeronautics and ornithology. He is a skilled unarmed combatant.
Weapons and Equipment
Dreiberg possess innumerable owl-themed gadgets and weapons, including smoke bombs, grappling hooks, and night-vision goggles, among others. He also possesses a small craft, referred to as Archimedes, Archie, or the Owl-ship, which is a submersible and aircraft that possesses dozens of weapons, as well as containing various other gadgets and suits.
Watchmen: The Motion Comic
Dreiberg appears as a main character in this motion comic adaptation of the series. He is voiced by Tom Stechschulte.
Dreiberg appears as a main character in this feature film adaptation, which substantially changed his costume but otherwise remained true to his comic book depiction. He is played by Patrick Wilson.
Teen Titans Go!
Nite Owl makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Real Boy Adventures." He does not speak in his appearance.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh
Nite Owl appears alongside Rorschach as a playable character in this video game, which chronicles part of their early partnership. Patrick Wilson reprises the role.
Saturday Morning Watchmen
Nite Owl appears as one of the main characters in this animated parody of Watchmen. He is voiced by Harry Partridge.