|Aliases|| Knight Owl |
Gaston Guillaume Wolmar Diderot
|Nicknames|| Ajay (अजय)|
The Apex Predator
|Affiliation|| Doom Patrol |
|Base of Operations|
|Identity Status||Mostly Secret|
|Occupation|| Benevolent Despot |
Formerly Minority shareholder
Experimental weapons tester
Bodyguard to Michael Holt
|Education|| B.A. double major in History and Philosophy|
private tutoring in Criminology, Biology, explosives, and other fields
|Eye Color||Greyish Blue|
|Hair Color|| Black
|Unusual Features||Multiple cut, bullet, and burn scars|
|Place of Birth||Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America|
|Date of Birth||December 15, 1994|
"Everything for the people, nothing by the people" - Emperor Joseph II of Austria
"Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement." - John Stuart Mill
The Enlightened Absolutist/Noblesse oblige
Powers and Abilities
"You don't need superpowers to save the world"
Artificially Enhanced Biology
Also like his ME-1 counterpart, Will's biology was transformed by using the serum Miraclo and Holt's healing pod: Chrysalis, into a superhuman. However, this incarnation undertook the transformation entirely on his own volition and not due to his natural body failling him. He specifically remarked to his visiting ME-1 counterpart that he elected to take it after he defeated al-Mualim, because he realized after his hard earned victory that he needed to be more than just a man if he wished to take on threats greater than al-Mualim.
A side-effect of the injection, Will is in peak physical condition as his body's unique chemistry keeps him in top physical shape seemingly regardless of what of what he ingests. He has an increased endurance and can exert herself far longer than most because his body absorbs and converts lactic acid build ups into nutrients that he can use, making fatigue a rare thing for him to encounter. He als requires less sleep than the average person.
Will's musculature was modified into being almost perfectly efficient, similar to the greater efficiency of other primates. Despite only gaining six pounds (all from the weight of the serum itself), He was capable of lifting a ton with ease, and it was calculated he could possibly lift five tons under pressure. He can punch through concrete walls, and engage Demigods with ease. Holt later experimented on him years after the initial injection, years into his semi-retirement, and he observed that Will's metabolism was in a constant state of flux, and that his body was constantly getting stronger. By the time of the second Apokoliptian Invasion, Will was officially classified as superhuman, with the ability to lift several tons, run in excess of eighty miles per hour, and even possessed the ability to heal from serious stabbings and gun shots within minutes.
Super Senses ("Vastly Expanded Situational Awareness")
In addition to his enhanced musculature, Will's body was sensually enhanced as well. While it was initially assumed that he had "Near-Perfect situational awareness," he corrected to say "Vastly Expanded Situational Awareness," as there are way too many variables in any given natural situation for even perfectly functioning human senses to detect them all and process them correctly in the mind. He did go on to claim no human would likely take him by surprise, but nature would always have the upper hand on him. He sees in the visible light spectrum with virtual perfection, etc.
Peerless Close-Quarter Combatant
Will is a master close-quarter fighter. He is a black belt in Taekwondo, self taught in Boxing, and scored the highest marks among Checkmate recruits in their combat system. In addition to Checkmate combatives (Checkmate combatives utilizes a Systema base, with Taekwondo, Sambo, and Wing Chun Kung Fu), Will learned combat systems from Donnie Kang, Thaddeus Tucker, Henri Ducard, and Shiva; he learned acrobatic tactics and unorthodox environment use from Donnie Kang; He learned Bartitsu from Thaddeus Tucker; he learned a idiosyncratic admixture of Systema, Sambo, and Savate from Ducard; as well as Shiva's admixture (Shotokan Karate, Hapkido, Pencak Silat, Krabi Krabong, and Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu). He was even personally tutored by al-Mualim himself. After learning from all these masters of combat, Will turned to Bruce Lee, who taught one not to be locked into systems and styles, however Will felt that there was a usefullness in a system crafted by himself with his own goals in mind. Will's sheer skill has enable him to best experienced Checkmate agents and super soldiers. He has a gift for utilizing his cunning intellect, talent for improvising unlikely weapons, and his gift of analyzing his opponents on the fly. Will crafted distinct styles he used as Knight Owl, and another when unmasked:
In order to avoid the possibility of someone recognizing Will was Knight Owl due to the identical fighting style, Will formed a barebones style of fighting meant to look foriegn from Knight Owl. He mostly just used his rudimentary understanding of Taekwondo, but also used some Penkak Silat and Hapkido. He actively avoided using Checkmate combatives, Systema, Savate, etc. He also tried to incorporate some clumsiness to make himself appear inexperienced, but often discarded that in favor of success. The primary goal of this form, as the name suggests, is to obscure that Will could be Knight Owl by displaying "at best intermediate" skill.
Will's "standard," most used, and favored style. It's one of the least showy of the three options, and most efficient by his own admission. It incorporates Checkmate Combatives, Systema, Hapkido, Pencak Silat, Wing Chun Kung Fu, and Taekwondo). The primary goal of this style is to incapacitate the opponent(s) without causing serious harm. al-Mualim and Shiva, and Will himself defined primary defined the style as "moderate" and "tempered."
"Have you ever seen a gorilla throw a temper tanrum? Picture that level of unmitigated rage and power, but from a human a fraction of the size. All that repressed rage you think you see and then some come to the forefront, and in that moment: you'll think he hates everything."
The less efficient "but sometimes more effective, and almost always more gratifying" method, it incorporates Checkmate Combatives, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Donnie Kang's acrobatics, and even some professional wrestling style body slams and suplexes). Despite actually incorporating techniques, and the fact that Will does not literally enter a berserk rage devoid of reason or tact, he has admitted he doesn't imploy the same level of care and consideration into his movement, rather utilizing increasingly fast and powerful strikes and throws.
"I beat you before I saw you."
"Strategy lies in knowing your opponent or opponents better they know themselves: know their weaknesses, their strengths, but most importantly know your own. For me it often boils down to hitting first, and hitting hard."
Will is a trained tactician and strategist; first trained by the Checkmate, and later Henri Ducard, and later still by Shiva; Will is trained to take on multiple enemies, even a small army with incredible precision, efficiency, and is noted to do so with "remarkable showmanship." He is trained to utilized unorthodox positions to take down enemies lethally or non-lethally; as a martial artist, Will is a very intimate and effective close-quarters strategist as well, to the point of preferring it. This sets him apart from other dubbed "Super Soldiers," and peak humans, as his sheer skill and intellect afford him advantages in fights.
"I'd rather always fail, than never try, because no matter how bad things get: where there's a Will there's a way. Yeah I said it, and it's true."
The closest he gets to a "power" to speak of. Lawton is a very strong-willed person. No matter what he must overcome, he finds a way. He has struggled to balance his life as an ordinary member of society, and as a vigilante in a world of super powered beings. He is documented with overcoming great physical pain, damaged limbs, and even mental trauma. His superiors at Checkmate noted of him, that he never gives up, he would have been killed if he became a liability. His unstoppable determination has allowed him to resist all forms of temptation, telepathy, push past his body's physical limits, and defeat adversaries far above him in virtually every other capacity.
Will demonstrated the ability to repel telepaths; not only did he repel them, but he did with ease simply stating the words "get out of my head."
Despite the seemingly ludicrous idea of dress like an owl and beating thugs up, Will is highly adept at the art of intimidation; Will prefers to intimidate the same way he leads: by example; Will uses his training and natural instincts as a predator in tandem with his unstoppable determination to create an environment of psychological warfare that few can overcome. He also uses reputation as an unbeatable combatant to weed out the weakest minded. By the time he retired and returned to the cowl at the age of thirty-six, despite having been absent for several years, he easily rendered trained Checkmate operatives incapacitated with fear.
Paradoxically, Knight Owl is both, a symbol to be feared as well as one used to rally others and give courage to those who lacked it. His willpower is contagious. Over the years, as he defeated villain after villain, multiple citizens took up masks in his name, and the average citizen felt more safe generally. By the time he reached his apex, he was able to emolden victims of Scarecrow's fear toxin with his mere reassuring presence. When the New Gods Uxas and his children threatened Earth, Knight Owl almost single-handedly inspired his Doom Patrol compatriots and the rest of Earth's heroes to unite under the Doom Patrol banner to repel the invaders.
“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” - Aristotle
"Wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others." - Kongzi
Unlike the traditional charisma of a charming orator, salesman, politician, etc, Will possess a kind of "charisma" like the Phronēsis of Aristotelian ethics and Rén of Confucianism/Ruism. When he dones the cape and cowl of Knight Owl, Will truly becomes himself. While his intentions are often obscure (sometimes deliberately due to his own deception), there is rarely any miscommunication of what Knight Owl is. Even his detractors feel a subtle influence due to his character. He recieved access to the resources to Holt Industries and aide of Michael Holt in part because he saved his father, and the fact that Lucius and Michael were convinced Will was truly a hero in the very vein of comic books. He was able to talk people out of suicide based on his genuine care for their wellbeing. It is this very quality that garners him
Will can fluently speak and write French, in addition to his native English; He uses in-cowl technology to translate languages as he hears them, which over time has made him conversationally adept at many langauges. He is known to attempt to speak the native language of a place he is at as a sign of respect.
Acting & Disguise
Years into Holt's research into Will's new biology yielded data that strongly suggested Will's total strength was influenced by his chemical states of his brain. Meaning, that Will could be slightly stronger/weaker depending on the state of his emotions. This can serve as an advantage; if he were in a state of mental conviction he would think, feel, and act in harmony with his enhanced body, taking in excess stimuli with ease and enjoying a slight boost in strength and stamina. Intense rage vastly increases his strength, durability, and stamina, but with some costs of its own.
"Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution." This is Will's greatest weakness, both as Knight Owl and as a person in general. Adeline Waller noted that, of the four, Will's tendency to over-analyze is his only weakness that affects his ability to work optimally in a way she could reliably exploit in theory.
"Not a lot people know what if feels like to, be angry... in your bones... that rage. How it colors the way you look at the world. Rarely do people give a fuck enough to try and understand what can make a person that furious: the things I've seen, heard, even done. Every. Single. Time. They tell me to do the one thing they know I can’t do: Move on; be happy. After awhile, they stop trying, and they forget that I have every god damn right to be angry!"
Partially due to his youth, and partially due to his passion, Will is sometimes prone to feeling intense rage. While it is relatively rare, sometimes Will's rage prevents him from using his skills properly, opens himself up to mistakes, and leads to violent outbursts. In addition to possible mistakes, Will's rage has also been demonstrated to lead Will to seriously harming an adversary, even possibly killing them; he stated that he hung up his cape and cowl because he realized his rage was growing, and he might seriously hurt or kill someone who didn't deserve it.
While Will is a polymath in many subjects such as history, philosophy, political science, and strategy; he is notably weak in the comprehension of Mathematics. He comprehends basic algebra and geometry, and he is particularly gifted in logic, but cannot go much further than that.
Perhaps on par with Analysis Paralysis, Females rank as a tremendous chink in Knight Owl's pseudo-feather armor. Covered best on the Romantic Life sub-section of the Personality section, females almost effortlessly cause Will great mental anguish. He finds the social stereotypes of males as perpetuated by females is offensive, and he finds it unfair that they can be as cruel as they like without a single repercussion. Years of being rejected by females also made it extremely difficult for Will to adequately open up to the women he eventually fell in love with who reciprocated his affection, often to the point that he found it impossible to return affection.
Years into Holt's research into Will's new biology yielded data that strongly suggested Will's total strength was influenced by his chemical states of his brain. Meaning, that Will could be slightly stronger/weaker depending on the state of his emotions. While this can be a advantage in many ways, some emotions obscure some of his other abilities; now if he were to feel intense rage he would be much stronger and durable, but less information makes its way into his mind and he can be made oblivious to even the most obvious of visual/audible/tactile stimuli.
Normal Human Conditioning (Formerly)
- Based on the Justice League Animated series creation: The Justice Lords, and the Enlightenment concept of the Enlightened Absolutist/Benevolent Despot.
- Civillian design created by Phil Cho, see more of his amazing work here.
- William is the anglicized form of the Saxon name Wilhelm; "Wil" meaning "of the will or desire" and "helm" meaning protection, typically understood as "Vehement Protector"
- He actively suppresses any attempt to call him "Bill" or "Billy."
- He has a habit of adopting the foreign language form of his name whenever he is in another country (e.g. Guillaume, Guillermo, etc).
- Sandra's nickname for him, Ajay, also transliterated as Ajai (अजय), originates in Sanskrit ajaya "undefeatable," "unconquerable", "unsurpassable", "invincible."
- Milton Kahn is the combination of the first and last names of the creators of Batman: Milton "Bill" Finger, and Robert Kahn aka Bob Kane.
- Gaston Guillaume Wolmar Diderot is a quadruple reference:
- Gaston is French name meaning "stranger," 'guest," "host."
- Guillaume is the French form of William.
- Wolmar is the name of a character in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's novel Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse, the character is thought to be a reference to fellow philosophe Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach, an Enlightenment philosophe who wrote on atheism and materialism.
- Diderot is the surname of Denis Diderot, who, like Baron d'Holbach, wrote on atheism and materialism.
- His first presdential vote went to Bernie Sanders.
- He hates the word "Caucasian," and refuses to refer to himself as one.
- His voice is often described as "mechanical," "blunt," "smug," "harsh," "eerily calculative / level-headed," and "above all laconic" both as Knight Owl and in his natural tone of voice, though it has also been described "imposing," "authoritative," and even "charismatic" by people he intends to lead. As he got older it would be describe as "tired."
- He earned his nom de gurre in two different ways:
- The first was the nickname "Night Owl", which he gained throughout his life for rarely sleeping, and doing so mostly during the day.
- He also was called "The Owl" due to his excellent peripheral vision.
- Richard Blood/al-Mualim also said that the Owl was the best totem for him due to their historical use as symbols of wisdom and death.
- When asked who he'd like to play him in a biopic of his life, Will claimed he wanted Tom Hardy or Charlie Cox to play him, although he thinks Tom Hardy and Charlie Cox look far better.
- After saying that, he was immediately told that he looked more like Edward Norton, particularly as he looked in American History X; he doesn't see it.
- He has also been told he looked like Tom Cruise with Down Syndrome once while wearing sunglasses.
- He was known in his personal life for monologuing.
- This quirk is inspired by Peter Capaldi's Doctor, and my own possession of said quirk.
- He also has one personality trait which is common with many Japanese action heroes. Once Will's mind is focused in any particular direction, it is immensely difficult to get him to change or even notice the events and people around him.
- this personality trait is mostly evident when he utilizes Rapace Furieux, but is known to generally tune people out when he focuses on things.
- He has a well know talent for differentiating the many types of "Asian."
- Most say it's because of his "Asian fetish."
- He denies that he possess said fetish.
- Most say it's because of his "Asian fetish."