- Y'know, this must be how ordinary people feel. This must be how ordinary people feel around us.
- — Nite Owl src
Daniel "Dan" Dreiberg was the second Nite Owl, a vigilante who came out of retirement after the death of fellow crimefighter the Comedian. More than the other heroes, he relied on his technological genius and gadgets to bust crime. After failing to stop Ozymandias' plot to save mankind by killing millions, Dan returned to retirement with his sweetheart Laurie and tried living a normal life under the name Sam Hollis, even having a child and adopting another.
Born on September 18, 1940, Daniel Dreiberg was an admire of birds, gadgets, and of superheroes. Dreiberg's father was a banker who left him a large inheritance, which he used to design and build his crime-fighting gear. Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, was his hero and when he retired, Dan wrote to Mason, asking if he could carry on his name. Upon looking at his gear, Mason was too impressed to refuse, and gave Dan the green light to start fighting crime in the 1960s. From then, the two men became friends, and met every Saturday at Hollis' house.
In 1965, Dreiberg (as Nite Owl) successfully debuted and teamed up with fellow costumed adventurer Rorschach to take on organized crime. He supported the idea of costumed vigilantes forming a group to fight crime strategically, but Rorschach and the Comedian rejected the idea. Having already come to understand that his expensive activities were too limited in scope to make any real difference, Dreiberg retired after the passing of the Keene Act on August 3, 1977, although in 1985 he seems to regret his decision to give up crime fighting. Rorschach would later say regarding his retirement, "No staying power." When not fighting crime, Dreiberg mastered in aeronautics and zoology at Harvard University, contributing scholarly articles to ornithological journals after his retirement in 1977.
Dreiberg becomes romantically entangled with the second Silk Spectre, Laurie Juspeczyk, after she leaves Doctor Manhattan. He returns to vigilantism along with her, beginning with a heartening night out in costume in which they successfully save the occupants of a burning building. The excitement of aiding the residents awakens Dreiberg's sexual feelings for Laurie and the two make passionate love following the rescue. Dan later came to realize of Rorschach's conspiracy after Doctor Manhattan's self-exile, Adrian Veidt's attempted assassination, and Rorschach's arrest. He later convinces Laurie into helping break Rorschach out of prison in an attempt to stop Ozymandias' scheme to "save the world from itself." Unfortunately, the freeing of Rorschach indirectly results in the brutal murder of Hollis Mason, which Dan learns of only when he and Rorschach go to interrogate suspects. Upon learning of Mason's death, Dreiberg becomes violent, attacking the informer and loudly swearing vengeance against Mason's killers with such ferocity that Rorschach has to restrain him.
Dan and Rorschach travel to Ozymandias' Antarctic fortress. They battle with and are swiftly defeated by Ozymandias, who reveals his plan to unleash a telepathic monstrosity on New York City that will release massive psychic waves that will kill half the city. Nite Owl expresses the desire to stop him and is told that the events have already occurred. Millions are dead, and the world's nations agree to work together to combat this new "extraterrestrial threat". Reluctantly, Dan and the recently arrived Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk agree to keep this secret for the sake of world peace.
The morally absolute Rorschach leaves, attempting to take Dan's vehicle back to civilization to tell the world. Unseen by the others, Doctor Manhattan kills Rorschach to stop him. Dan and Laurie are offered hospitality by Ozymandias, which they accept. Before leaving for another galaxy, Manhattan seems satisfied and happy at the sight of Laurie now in a relationship with Dan.
Almost to the end of the 80's, Dan and Laurie took their new identities of Sam and Sandra Hollis (in homage to the late Mason). They travel to California and make a brief visit to the former Silk Spectre; in which Laurie reconciles with her mother over the discovery that the Comedian was her father. Promising to visit again soon, they leave with the intent of continuing their adventures in crime-fighting.
By 1992, Laurie and Dan had given up adventuring entirely, settling down in a quiet house and neighborhood, still under the Hollis names. They even had a daughter they named after Laurie's mother, who died sometime prior to that year. After Doctor Manhattan destroyed all nuclear devices and reset the Doomsday Clock, he sent the Hollis family something special: a boy named Clark, for them to adopt as their own.
Powers and Abilities
- Genius Level Intellect
- Acrobatics: Dan was an accomplished acrobat, who more often than not, used this greatly into his hand-to-hand fighting style.
- Martial Arts: Had studied with several martial arts masters, and can out-fight just about any group of thugs or criminals with his fighting skills alone.
- "Archie" (Archimedes): a vaguely ovoid craft capable of both aerial and underwater operation. (Dan stated to Laurie Juspeczyk that the Owlship's name was named after Merlin's pet owl in the Walt Disney animated film The Sword in the Stone.)
- 27 Appearances of Daniel Dreiberg (Watchmen)
- 17 Images featuring Daniel Dreiberg (Watchmen)
- 3 Quotations by or about Daniel Dreiberg (Watchmen)
- Character Gallery: Daniel Dreiberg (Watchmen)
- Nite Owl II (Dan Dreiberg) at the Watchmen Wiki