Watchmen’s Version of Catwoman Made Nite-Owl A Better Hero
It turns out that the Watchmen world has its own Catwoman-like antihero, and she helped turn the nebbish Nite Owl into the hero he is today.
While Nite Owl may be one of the most heroic adventurers in Watchmen, he never would have gotten that far without his ‘Catwoman‘-like ally. Before Watchmen: Nite Owl examines Dan Dreiberg’s history with the Twilight Lady and how she made him a better superhero.
The world of Watchmen is one very much like the real world, with the added exception that superheroes came into existence in the late 1930s and had a profound impact on society. Years after the arrival of the Golden Age heroes, the Minutemen, they were replaced by a younger team, the Crimebusters. The heroes of Watchmen might not be the most conventional, but for the most part, they all set out to do some real good in the world. Dan in particular was inspired in his youth by the adventures of the original Nite Owl and based his superhero persona on his role model.
However, Dreiberg never would have grown as a superhero if he didn’t have the fortune of meeting one morally ambiguous figure in the New York kink scene. In Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #3 by Len Wein and Andy Kubert, the titular hero has struck up a relationship with the Twilight Lady, a local vice queen and dominatrix. Though she unintentionally drives a wedge between Nite Owl and his partner, Rorschach, Twilight Lady works with Dan to look into a case involving missing sex workers. Rorschach, as well as the first Nite Owl, Hollis Mason, advise Dan against working with Twilight Lady to protect his reputation. But he ignores them and continues in his mission. The two manage to track down a man helping facilitate the trafficking of immigrant women and wind up putting a stop to his operation.
Nite Owl’s Catwoman Was Necessary To His Growth
It’s not that Dan wasn’t a good hero. In fact, in Watchmen, Nite Owl and Rorschach made for one of the greatest and most effective superhero teams in their universe. However, in his earliest days, Dan was guided by Hollis Mason and Rorschach, both of whom tried to keep Dan on a more conservative path. But thanks to Twilight Lady, Dan’s eyes began to open up to the crimes that were not getting the attention that they deserved.
Twilight Lady doesn’t deny that she dabbles in sex work, nor is she shown to be ashamed of it. But she hated what was happening to the sex workers of New York and implored Dan to open his eyes. Nite Owl is definitely a hero, but he had to learn to put his own biases behind and realize that he couldn’t be selective about the crimes he wanted to solve. Dan grew as a person thanks to his relationship with Twilight Lady and thanks to her, he became a better hero, one that cared about all victims and not just some. The ‘Catwoman’ of Watchmen doesn’t get much credit, but who knows if Nite Owl would have been an effective hero without her.
Next: Watchmen: Rorschach’s Dark Opposite is His Ultimate Nemesis