Ages ago, the sorcerer now known as Wotan was a female member of a primitive tribe in a northern western wasteland. After being raped and beaten to the brink of death, the woman was determined to discover the reasons, if any, for human existence and the suffering it entails.
The original Wotan named himself after the Teutinic god of the same name (who is better known as the Norse god Odin), although he has no connection with the gods of Asgard. Moreover he is not a demon, although he allowed people to believe he was.
It is known however, that Wotan had a physical incarnation previous to his current one. In his previous incarnation, Wotan battled his greatest foe, the mystical Lord of order known as Doctor Fate, who was then also in a body incarnation previous to his current one, presumably that of Nabu the wise.
Wotan has long sought to conquer the world. He utilises bith ancient methods of magic and advanced technology in pursuit of his goal. Just after Kent Nelson first donned the helmet of Doctor Fate, he encountered Wotan in Egypt. Wotan had captured Inza Cramer, a young student from Colombia University. Fate defeated Wotan and Cramer and Kent Nelson became lovers.
Wotan was re-introduced in the New 52 series Earth 2 by James Robinson. Jay Garrick, his mom and Khalid Ben-Hassin have been abducted into a mysterious place. Wotan desires the power of Nabu the Wise. He explains that the he was once the greatest mage ever, but he passed on his powers to a helmet, that was previously in Khalid's hands. He, however, gave the helmet up and only Ben-Hassim and Jay can retrieve it. To make sure their task is complete, Wotan took Flash's mom as a hostage.
Wotan's first appearance was in the Golden Age of comics in More Fun Comics #55 created by Howard Sherman and Gardner Fox. His name is derived from the Germanic spelling of the god Woden/Odin from Germanic and Norse mythology.
Wotan generally fills the role of the token villain without much motivation other than an agenda of evil. Little has changed over the years in his character portrayal.
During the New 52 series Earth-2, Wotan is portrayed as an ancient sorcerer who started life as a female viking and later mastered the arts of sorcery having lived several lifetimes with altered genders. An encounter with Nabu the Wise left her skin forever green and unable to enter the tower of Fate which held the helmet he/she desperately sought after.
Major Story Arcs
Later when Nelson and Cramer were in America, Wotan tried to kill them both. Doctor Fate again defeated him, but Wotan escaped and vowed to return and get revenge by blowing up the Earth with his advanced science. Doctor Fate again thwarted him and placed him underground in a mystical trance.
However, Wotan's spirit contacted another of Doctor Fate's foes, the scientist Ian Karkull, who freed Wotan from his trance. Wotan and Karkull constructed advanced weapons with which to attack the nations of the world. But in trying to destroy Doctor Fate, Wotan instead destroyed his own arctic base.
Wotan and Karkull escaped, and Wotan later aided Karkull in his attempt to assassinate numerous future US presidents. Green Lantern (Alan Scott) sent Wotan into another dimension.
Wotan returned to Earth and on behalf of Adolf Hitler, launched a plan to destroy the British will to fight in World War 2. Actually Wotan intended to conquer the British Isles for himself, not for Hitler. This time he was defeated by the Shining Knight.
Powers and Abilities
Wotan is an entity with massive amounts of magical power at his disposal
Batman: Brave and the Bold
He appears in the opening of Batman the Brave and the Bold episode "The Eyes of Despero!" where he attempts to break into Library of Infinity. He foiled by Doctor Fate and Batman.
Wotan first appears in the episode "Revelation" as a member of the Injustice League. He also appears in the episode "Misplaced" along with other villainous magic users in an adaptation of the "World Without Grown Ups" storyline.