There have been many variations of Batman that go against his usual values. For example, there is the Flashpoint Batman, where Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne is Batman and uses guns. There is also The Batman Who Laughs, who is a variation that had been exposed to The Joker’s toxin, which drove him into becoming an insane killer. These characters don’t counter Batman as accurately as Owlman, who came from “the far side of the mirror”. It is an antimatter reflection of the usual universe, where good is evil and vice versa. Let’s delve deeper into Owlman, Batman’s evil counterpart.
Owlman’s story is told in JLA Earth 2 from 2000. Alexander Luthor (Lex Luthor’s counterpart) had just escaped from this antimatter universe and encounters the Justice League of America in the matter universe, or as he calls it, Earth 2. They ask the JLA to come back to his universe and end evil, since he is the only good one there. They agree, while Martian Manhunter and Aquaman stay behind.
The bad guys of the antimatter universe are Superwoman, who is Wonder Woman’s counterpart, Ultraman instead of Superman, and of course Owlman. His name in this universe is Thomas Wayne, Jr. As I mentioned in a previous article, he is the brother of Bruce Wayne. This group of super villains call themselves The Crime Syndicate, as apposed to The Justice League. There are counterparts of Green Lantern and Flash as well. When the group discovers that Luthor escaped to another universe, they all decide that it is another world they could conquer, and decide to go there.
As the story in JLA Earth 2 continues, we see some interesting character development within The Crime Syndicate, which is frankly more than I expected. Owlman is fooling around with Superwoman, and apparently this is happening behind Ultraman’s back. Flash’s counterpart, named Johnny is a junkie, and needs to shoot up to make himself powerful. Ultraman needs something called Anti-Kryptonite to keep him strong.
Meanwhile, The Justice League is undercover, walking the streets. Luthor says that they need to secure the Panopticon, which is the syndicate’s Watchtower. Batman goes to visit the Police Commissioner, who happens to be his father, Thomas Wayne. Batman lets him know that The Crime Syndicate’s global operations will cease in less than twelve hours, and tells him to be ready.
The JLA trap The Crime Syndicate on the moon. Along the way, we find out that Superwoman is Lois Lane and Owlman has a drug-enhanced super-cortex. The plan is to hold them there for 48 hours while the world is rebuilt. Food is distributed in Britain, and nuclear missile silos are destroyed. Commissioner Wayne and Batman clean up Gotham and arrest the crime boss Gordon. Batman tells Wayne that his mission was to set an example, and he will be leaving soon. The commissioner says that he is going to build a new Gotham, and bring Owlman back for trial and execution. While still trapped, Owlman tells his colleagues that Luthor has a flaw in his plan, and that is he brought do-gooders to a world where evil always triumphs. Since cosmic scales have to be balanced, and their alter-selves arrived 24 hours ago, all they have to do is wait, and they will be transported to Earth 2, the universe where the JLA came from.
The Capital Building in Washington DC is on fire, and the streets are destroyed. Martian Manhunter flies at Mach 11 speed and hits Ultraman while he is desecrating a Lady Justice statue. Superwoman has her magic lasso around the president while in the Oval Office. He is on his knees and we see the back of his head. He has gray hair, and in the year 2000 when this story was published, the implication is that it is President Clinton. (This is not the only time Clinton was in comics.) Hearing the commotion, Superwoman flies out the top of The White House and knocks over The Washington Monument while in route to find Ultraman. Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter is destroying The Supreme Court Building while attacking Ultraman. Superwoman tries to reason with him, but he’s not buying it.
While this is going on, Owlman is looking at his parent’s tombstone. He realizes that they had been sent to the one place where they can’t succeed neither. He tells Johnny, standing behind him, to go tell the others that nothing means anything, and to go run and tell the others. In the antimatter universe, it turns out that Brainiac, who was Ultraman’s slave, planned everything out so that he could escape his slavery. Everything that had happened was because of him. The energy released by the cyclotron was sufficient to collide the orbits of the matter and anti-matter Earths together. The worlds are about to collide, and Brainiac is about to win. The Justice League figures out that the only way to win, is to fail. They switch places and return to their original Earths, and Ultraman takes control of Brainiac.
So there you have it, Owlman in JLA Earth 2. It’s quite a good story, and an interesting set of villains. It just goes to show that there always has to be a balance to everything. Nothing can be all good, or all bad. You have to take the good with the bad. Do yourself a favor. Get this story (Affiliate Link) right now, read it cover to cover, and marvel at Batman’s evil counterpart. You won’t regret it.