Nite Owl II, or Daniel Dreiberg, is a costumed vigilante that made his first appearance in the graphic novel Watchmen.
Taking up the mantle of Nite Owl from Hollis Mason, Nite Owl II's brand of justice was marked by a heavy use of gadgetry, most notably the airship Archimedes and what would later become the Iron Owl Armor. He was partners with Rorschach, although they went their seperate ways following the Keene Act's introduction.
In 1985, Nite Owl II came out of retirement and joined Rorschach and Silk Spectre II as they attempted to put a stop to the Ozymandias. During this storyline he began a relationship with the Silk Spectre, and the couple were shown assuming new secret identities as a joint crime-fighting team.
During his retirement, Nite Owl II gained many of the traits that would come to define the character, such as obesity and impotence.
Following the events of Watchmen, Nite Owl II traveled to the Temple of Nite to inform the masters who trained Hollis Mason of their pupil's death. While visiting the temple, Dan Dreiberg had trained under the secret art of the Eclipsed Owl. He even took up the name Eclipse Owl during Volume 3 to reflect his new skills. It was also during this time that he began training his own pupil, Twilight Wing.
He later went back to calling himself Nite Owl when Hollis Mason's evil twin Blick Mason sought to discredit the Nite Owl name. The decision was also influenced by the murder of Twilight Wing at the hands of The Comedian.Volume 3 also dealt with Dan's sexuality, as he began to confront his impotence and try for a more stable relationship with Laurie. Laurie's unknown pregnancy interfered with this.
Upon learning of Twilight Wing's Death and the final death of his good friend Rorschach, Daniel lost all confidence in himself. In the story arc "So Long NiteOwl" by guest writer Neil Gaiman, Daniel took his leave and abandoned crime fighting temporarily. He left into the wilderness as a hermit and befriends a wild dog whom he names Walter. After weeks in the wilderness he eventually finds himself through hallucination and the struggle to survive and returns to civilization reborn as the NiteOwl once again.
Some months after returning to crime fighting, Dan was confronted while on patrol by a stranger dressed as the original Nite-Owl, when Dan confronted the character, a fight ensued, leaving Dan severely injured and close to death. While Dan was recuperating, the person posing as NiteOwl fought and defeated several major characters, mortally wounding several but could not, however, defeat Rorschach, even coming close to being killed but him.
Meanwhile, Dan's comatose body had been taken from the hospital by the followers of the Temple of Nite. Under their care Dan underwent various mystic treatments for his condition. Towards the end, Dan was once again faced with various hallucinations, this time, the Great Owl Spirit appeared before Dan, and asked him why he chose the owl as his guise. Readers were never told how Dan answered, as the evil NiteOwl broke into the Temple of Nite, determined to kill Dan.
Eventually finding him, the evil NiteOwl was surprised to find Dan awake and ready to fight. Dan revealed that he had been granted powers by the Great Owl Spirit, displaying the ability to fly, enhanced vision and hearing and retractable claws on his finger tips which acted like talons. Dan easily defeated the evil NiteOwl, who was revealed to be a resurrected and rejuvinated Hollis Mason. Hollis revealed that he had been brought back to life by the Great Owl Spirit to test Dan, a test which he had passed admirably.
Hollis offered a hand of friendship to Dan, but was refused. Dan explained that there had been no need for Hollis to attack his friends so visciously and that some so violent could never be his ally. Dan returned to crime-fighting shortly afterwards, retunring to the name NiteOwl, in an attempt to redeem the name, using his new powers to defeating many of his arch-rivals easily.