Owlman is a crime lord mastermind and founding member of the Crime Syndicate of America of Earth-3. Although human, Owlman's intellect and tactical brilliance has earned him the right to stand alongside the other super powered members of the Syndicate.
Imbued with a compulsive desire to tyrannically control the world around him, Owlman is the Earth-3 version and moral opposite of New Earth's Batman.
Thomas Wayne, Jr. was the eldest son of irresponsibly rich billionaires Thomas Wayne, Sr. and Martha Wayne. Thomas always regarded his parents with disdain and contempt for his mother was abusive in nature and his cowardly father killed his patients as a surgical fetish.
Due to his belief that his parents were managing their wealth (and his inheritance) poorly, Thomas decided to murder them and attempted to convince his younger brother, Bruce, to help him but Bruce, who loved his parents, was hesitant and attempted to dissuade Thomas.
One night, when the Wayne family was leaving the Monarch Theatre, Thomas pulled a gun on his parents and Bruce tackled his brother to prevent him from murdering them. As the two boys wrestled on the ground, their fighting was stopped as two shots rang out from someone else's gun, dropping the Wayne parents in an instant. A third, final shot dropped Bruce and Thomas turned to find his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, standing over him with a smoking gun.
That night, Thomas heard the call of an owl, and to him, it seemed that it was asking him who are you? In answer, Thomas took up his dropped gun and aimed it at his dying brother, and announced that he was Thomas Wayne, Jr.; the richest boy in Gotham City.
Though he did not care about his parents, Bruce's death deeply saddened Thomas; Bruce was the person whom he loved the most.
Over the years, Thomas began to assert his power and dominance over Gotham by adopting the persona of the Owlman. He used this costumed identity to strike fear in his foes; blackmailing, threatening, and paying off everyone important in Gotham, until the city was essentially his. He recognized that for normal humans to have power, they must gain it through systems of order, and he worked to establish and maintain those systems through fear; gaining control over the Gotham Police, Arkham Manor, Thompkins' Brothels, and Haley's Circus. However, despite his immense power, a void in his heart remained where his brother's love once lay and so Owlman attempted to fill.
Though he quickly took control of Gotham, the one element of the world that Owlman could not control was a man who called himself "The Joker". An unlucky failed-comedian/chemist who crossed paths with the Owlman, the comedian/chemist was forcefully dropped into a vat of chemicals by Owlman. Representing anarchy against Owlman's tyranny, the Joker decided to challenge Owlman's authority through criminal acts against him and the corrupt city police. The man pretended to be crazy to justify his acts and although he seemed unconcerned about the consequences this could bring, he was emotionally hurt by all innocent deaths that he caused.
While at a circus, Thomas met Richard Grayson, a boy with proficient acrobatic skills whom Thomas deemed worthy to fill the space left by Bruce as a new younger brother. With his mother, father and sister laundering money for the corrupt mayor of Gotham City, James Gordon, Thomas had Richard's family killed during an acrobatic "accident" and used the boy's trauma to make him susceptible to his influence. Thomas convinces Richard to become "Talon"; Owlman's sidekick and companion in crime.
Years later, after many allies come and go, Thomas decided it was better to tell Richard the truth about the death of his family rather then let him find out on his own. This news makes Talon distance himself from his mentor. Eventually, full of anger, Talon decided to find and kill the Joker, Owlman's greatest enemy, in order to demonstrate his superiority over his mentor. However, Richard is killed in the ensuing fight and the Joker presented his corpse in multiple gift boxes to Owlman as a mocking gift shortly before going on the offensive and personally trying to kill Owlman himself.
However, the Joker is stopped by Alfred Pennyworth, who shoots the clown in the right hand, shattering it. The Joker poisons Pennyworth as revenge, but fails to kill him. Owlman, furious at what the Joker has done to his two biggest allies, throws him to the propellers of a moving helicopter, killing him instantly.
- Owlman first appeared in Justice League of America #29 (1964).
- DC Universe Online's rendition of the Crime Syndicate of America and related materials is a mixture of their depictions in the JLA: Earth 2 and Forever Evil comic book storylines, as well as their appearance in the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) animated movie.
- Owlman and Superwoman continue to engage in a longtime sexual affair despite Superwoman being married to Ultraman. For her the tryst is a way to prove her hold and power over Ultraman; as he continues to want her despite the number of times she has voluntarily made herself debased, corrupt, and unclean. For Owlman the tryst is the result of him wanting to prove that his brains is superior over Ultraman's brawns by taking what is his; namely his wife and lover, and making it his own. Despite the pair performing their trysts in secret, Ultraman has become aware of the affair, but due to Owlman having undisclosed blackmail material against him, he is unable to seek retribution for the betrayal. That being said, he doesn't hesitate to fire warning bursts of heat vision towards the pair whenever he catches them together.
- Owlman enhances his cerebral cortex and mental capacity with an unspecified drug. In addition, his suit is enhanced with an exoskeleton that bolsters his strength and durability.