Leland "Owl" Owlsley was a ruthless financier, although he had a respectable image. An internal audit by IRS discovered files relating Owlsley with different illegal business enterprises. Owlsley decided to get rid of his previous image, and began scheming to become a crimelord in New York City. He began by hiring thugs for the Owl's Gang and created a small crime empire. Somehow, "the Owl" managed to get a serum he supposedly used to glide and even fly for short distances; he had to use the serum frequently to retain these powers.
The Owl fought Daredevil, who defeated him, although he managed to escape. A subsequent encounter led him to jail, but only for a misdemeanor. The Owl left the jail soon after that, on parole, and immediately kidnaped the judge who had convicted him. Daredevil rescued the judge, but the Owl escaped.
Wanting to avoid Daredevil and the police, the Owl decided to "fly low" to avoid attention and moved to San Francisco. There he met Mr. Kline, another criminal who sent the Owl to capture Daredevil. However, Daredevil was helped by the Black Widow, a former Russian agent and crimefighter. The Owl was again defeated, and again ran away before being jailed.
The Owl returned to San Francisco with the technology. He built the machine again and captured Daredevil, wanting to use the machine on him, and then blackmailed Daredevil's partner Black Widow so she would kidnap an expert veterinarian required in the Owl's schemes. The Owl was unaware that the vet had become superheroine Shanna the She-Devil, who allied with the Widow against the Owl: Shanna pretended to be a helpless victim until the Owl centered his attention in re-capturing the Widow. Then, Shanna rescued Daredevil and the Owl was again defeated.
The Owl then caught a weakening illness that would paralyze his legs, probably as a secondary effect of his serum.
The Owl returned to New York and established a new headquarters, The Aerie, in New Jersey Palisades. There, he freed the Man-Bull from prison, so he could use him as a thug, and ordered him to kidnap eminent neurologist, Professor Brent Kerwin. He hoped Kerwin could heal his neurological problem. However, Daredevil stopped the Man-Bull before he could take Kerwin to The Aerie.
Scared, the Owl looked for another specialist in a different state. Dr. Howard Petrovic built an exoskeleton for his legs and joined a flying device to his spine. Soon after that, the Owl fought Daredevil on air and discovered that Petrovic had sabotaged his device, and the Owl fell into the Hudson to his apparent death.
The Owl's Gang rescued the Owl, and made Kerwin examine him. Kerwin designed a neurological pacemaker so that the Owl could survive. However, Daredevil and Spider-Man went to rescue Kerwin and fought and defeated the Owl. This caused him an anxiety stroke, breaking the pacemaker, and the Owl went into a coma. 
The Owl recovered and made the Tinkerer repair his braces. He also got a flying support module to compensate his legs. He then tried to launch a great crime wave, but Spider-Man and the Black Widow stopped him. 
Failing to Become Kingpin
Then, the Owl decided to launch his most ambitious scheme to the date: He wanted to replace Kingpin as the main gang leader on New York. He met with Doctor Octopus and try to convince him to form an alliance, but Octopus was not interested and they ended up fighting. Spider-Man interrupted the fight, and both of them ran away. 
Soon afterward, Octopus attacked the Owl at the Aerie and defeated him in a personal fight. He broke his claws and braces and threw him to a 20 feet fall.The Owl was sent to a hospital in prison, where he recovered from his injuries, but he left prison shortly thereafter. As a consequence of the experimental drugs he took in prison to cure his spine and improve his gliding, the Owl became less human but more powerful than ever.
When the Kingpin disappeared, the Owl tried to re-establish his presence in the criminal underworld, and enlarge his domains by refining Mutant Growth Hormone from his own genetic material, but Daredevil got him arrested. He managed to manipulate behind the scenes and get the Kingpin arrested for a past murder when it looked like Fisk was going to make a deal with the FBI. As the Kingpin sauntered into his jail cell, the Owl taunted him with "Payback's a bitch."The deal in question involved Matt Murdock being arrested for being Daredevil. When Foggy Nelson, representing Murdock in court, visited him in jail, he was apparently killed by the other prisoners. The Owl later taunted Murdock about this, and Murdock, who had become unhinged due to his friend's death, brutally beat the Owl. (Unbeknownst to the two of them, Foggy was alive at the time and in witness protection.)
Later, the Owl escaped prison and stole Deathlok from S.H.I.E.L.D. in hopes of selling him off to the highest bidder to other supervillains. Unfortunately, he did not ask permission of the newly-established 'kingpin of supervillains', The Hood, and was subsequently shot down by the villain. 
Presumably after his recovery from The Hood, The Owl and his gang appeared in New York City, months after Dr. Octopus had switched bodies with Spider-Man. The Owl battled with the new White Dragon over gang territory, just as Spider-Man showed up. Spider-Man defeated both The Owl and White Dragon while the remainder of their gangs were rounded up by The Goblin King.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
The Sinister Six (consisting of Boomerang, Overdrive, Shocker, Speed Demon, and Beetle) assaulted Owl's base. Overdrive and Speed Demon were captured by Owl and interrogated. Beetle tried to blackmail the Owl into releasing them while covertly dialing for back-up. Unimpressed, the Owl got ready to execute her when reinforcements arrived in the form of Tombstone.
After a series of failures Boomerang teams up with the Owl and forms the Sinister Sixteen in order to retrieve the picture of Doctor Doom that the former had stolen a few days before, and that was now in the hands of the Chameleon. The line-up consisted of the dregs of the underworld and mostly served as canon fodder in order for Boomerang to retrieve the painting.
|Power Grid |
Flight: The Owl's main power is his capacity for limited flight. The source of this ability is a special serum that originally enabled him to naturally glide for short distances (roughly 100 feet /30.5m); ultimately, his physical makeup has changed to a degree which allowed him to expand on these initial facilities. Typically, he must leap from a height of at least 20 feet (6.1m) off of the ground to allow for enough lift, but he has occasionally started from a standing position - although he has not been seen to travel higher than 15 feet (4.6m) in this way. His distance and speed are variable depending on ambient air currents and the height of his original lifting leap. With a strong tailwind he can travel distances of several hundred yards/meters and reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (48.3 km/h). Diving from a helicopter or skyscraper could increase his rate of flight even further, while jumping from a parked city bus or freeway overpass would result in a slower and shorter glide. The Owl might also intensify his flight efficiency through other methods, such as leaping from a moving vehicle. To aid in landing, his rate and speed will decrease as he loses altitude. Although the Owl's powers are most effectively used in conjunction with the surrounding airflow, there is very little to suggest that he cannot use them without one. The Owl has managed to achieve better control of his flying abilities through use over time. While airborne, he uses his arms and legs for balance and steering but is still able to perform complex midair maneuvers and engage in combat with little variation in his flight pattern (such as a free-fall followed by a quick ascension, allowing for a "swoop" attack).
The limits of his flying powers are inconclusive, he typically uses these abilities in short bursts, depending on the situation. While there may be an as yet unknown physical source aiding the Owl's abilities, his glide/flight ratio -the rate of drop compared to the distance traveled- coupled with other variances he has displayed suggests the presence of some type of psionic assistance. While some data has been presented concerning the Owl's anatomy, specific details concerning how his respiratory system has adjusted itself to the stresses of flight, how long the he can remain aloft before becoming fatigued, or how his body regulates the energy to do so are still vague. Information concerning the maximum altitude the Owl can reach is also unavailable. The Owl's powers are affected by his physical condition at the time, and any illness or injury would impede his ability to use them.
Aside from the flight serum, the Owl has used other experimental drugs and unique surgical procedures to enhance his flying ability over the years. The specifics of these methods and their relative effectiveness have yet to be shown.
The Owl acquired most of his powers through the regular use of a "flight serum", the source and nature of which remain largely unrevealed. What is known is that, after prolonged use, the serum drastically altered the Owl's physical make-up; aside from flight, other abilities slowly began to manifest themselves, a majority of which were bird-like in quality. Because of the serum's mysterious characteristics, many of these abilities only began to be known after the Owl started exhibiting them. The Owl does not seem to rely on these secondary attributes as often as his power for flight, and their sporadic use and unusual origins do result in speculation as to their full extent and usefulness. (It's also unclear if some of these changes were caused by the serum or were attained in other ways.) Although it has been indicated that chronic use of the serum exacerbates at least some of these traits, exactly how it does so is not understood. Besides its unclear effects on his abilities, there are other factors that remain undefined. Little data exists as to how the serum is ingested, how dosages are regulated, if it exists in one form or multiple versions, or even if the Owl continues to administer it considering the damage it has done to his body. It is clear, however, that it has altered his biology to the degree that his DNA can be used in the production of M.G.H. It should be stated that while the Owl may rely on chemical agents for his powers, he has never displayed any symptoms of chemical addiction.
- Adaption to Flight: The Owl's body has undergone a series of complex changes over time that assists his ability to fly.
- Skeletal Structure: His bones are hollow, allowing for a lighter frame and greater midair agility. Although lightweight, they are strong enough to handle the stresses of taking off, flying, and landing. Considering the avian effects of the Owl's flight serum, in can be inferred -though not confirmed- that he has developed a pneumatized skeletal structure (or something comparable). This would mean that his bones contain hollow chambers accessible to air. These air pockets are honeycombed with crisscrossing struts or trusses, which increase structural strength while also reducing mass. His bones may also possess a greater degree of rigidity compared to that of an average human-being, which could prevent fragmentation or splintering in the event of a fracture and so allow the bone to mend in a shorter amount of time. Though most of these traits are associated with bird anatomy, the Owl's unique situation coupled with his relative size would suggest a skeleton many times more durable than that of a normal person. This does not mean that his bones are unbreakable, only that they can withstand a greater amount of trauma before being damaged. He has developed a special vertebrae in his neck that permits him to rotate his head nearly 270 degrees. The musculature and vessels around the neck have altered to allow for this action without restricting the flow of blood to his brain. However, the Owl has only been seen doing this twice. It is unclear if he no longer retains this ability or only uses it in rare circumstances.
- Avian Cardiac-Pulmonary System: The Owl's heart rate is considerably faster than the standard 72bpm. Although exact figures are not available, reliable sources have estimated as many as several hundred pulses in a single minute. His average core temperature has risen to 113 degrees (45 degrees Celsius), and his body no longer produces perspiration. To compensate for some of these changes, the Owl's lungs have expanded to contain air sacs that serve to cool his body and keep him afloat after takeoff.
Superhuman Strength: Despite occasional changes in body shape, The Owl has a low fat-to-muscle ratio and possesses a greater proportionate muscle mass than a typical person. While he only engages in moderate exercise, he can still lift/press around 600 lbs. (272 kg.) with great effort.
Superhuman Agility, Reflexes and Stamina
Enhanced Senses: The Owl's senses of hearing and vision, while nowhere near as acute as those of an individual like Wolverine, still operate at a range considerably higher than that of a normal human-being. His eyesight is particularly strong in low-light conditions. He may have developed something akin to the tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer of tissue behind the retnia which reflects visible light, allowing for better nocturnal vision and creating the appearance of eyeshine. He is apparently also able to move his eyes independently of each other. The Owl's eyes have adjusted to the rigors of flight and both possess a transparent nictitating membrane (an extra lid located on the side of the eye, allowing for additional protection, moisture retention and the removal of minute particles) with its own blink reflex.
Trichokinesis: The Owl can grow sharp, talon-like nails on the tips of fingers. While still breakable, the keratin in the nail plates is thicker, and the tissue surrounding it is more durable, enabling them to tear through flesh and muscle easily without harming the digits. (The keratin thickness extends to his hair follicles as well, granting each strand more tensile strength and greater resistance to damage.)
Enhanced Metabolism: The Owl has taken to consuming live rodents and small fowl. His digestive system not only processes these items, but neutralizes any parasites or bacteria they might contain.
Healing Factor: It has not been confirmed that the Owl possesses a true healing ability, nevertheless he has consistently displayed a resilience which suggests a greater than human muscle efficiency and metabolic control allowing for unusual endurance and extraordinarily rapid recovery from injury and fatigue. Although more severe injuries do require a longer convalescence period, he has managed to recover from trauma severe enough to kill or permanently incapacitate an ordinary human-being -including serious injury to his brain, spine and nervous system as well as gunshot wounds to major organs. It is probable that, due to the heavy damage done to his nervous system, he could have a greater-than-average threshold for pain which he may use to his advantage in certain situations.
Photokinetic Data Acquisition: The Owl recently obtained the ability to assimilate data channelled through unrestrained photons directly into his brain, granting him "utter and total omniscience." The full extent of and ramifications from his acquisition of these powers has yet to be seen.
Leg Support: Using specially electric-powered braces, the Owl could overcome his previously-injured legs.
Sliding Coat: His specially-designed coat increases his agility.
Owl's Flyer: A distinctive flying vehicle that can carry up to 4535 pounds; Owl uses it to transport himself and his gang.
Claws: Artificial metal claws he uses in personal fight.
- The Owl has appeared in one episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, second season premiere of the series ("The Insidious Six"). He is portrayed as one of the crimelords supporting Silvermane and against the Kingpin. He was voiced by Michael Bell.
- For a time, the Owl's legs were injured and he could not work without his special braces (see Equipment). Currently the Owl has overcome this injury.
- Experimental drugs he has consumed trying to improve his natural gliding powers have decreased his sanity and made him much more animal-like. Notably, he enjoys eating live mice with his vintage six hundred dollar wine.
- It is a common misconception that Owl is a mutant, but he is a mutate who obtained his powers through outside agents.
- The Owl's appearance, including claws and hairstyle, resembles that of Wolverine, but the Owl predated Wolverine by at least one decade.
- Originally intended by initial X-Factor creators Bob Layton and Jackson Guice to be the mysterious guiding force behind the Alliance of Evil, a role Louise Simonson and Walter Simonson (who replaced the team) filled with then-new villain Apocalypse.
- 125 Appearances of Leland Owlsley (Earth-616)
- 10 Minor Appearances of Leland Owlsley (Earth-616)
- Media Leland Owlsley (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 14 Images featuring Leland Owlsley (Earth-616)
- 8 Quotations by or about Leland Owlsley (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Leland Owlsley (Earth-616)
- Leland Owlsley (Earth-616) at Wikipedia.org
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- ↑ Not a mutant: Stuart Vandal's statement
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Daredevil #3
- ↑ Daredevil #80
- ↑ Daredevil #81
- ↑ The Cat #2
- ↑ Daredevil #116
- ↑ Daredevil #117
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Daredevil #144
- ↑ Daredevil #145
- ↑ Superior Spider-Man #10
- ↑ The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6
- ↑ The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12
- ↑ Not a mutant: Stuart Vandal's statement
- ↑ http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=23092
- ↑ OHOTMU Daredevil 2004
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