Signalman has no special powers, but relies mainly on gimmicks. These have taken many forms, but have commonly included the following:
REMOTE CONTROL DEVICE:
Communications * Electronics
The Secret Society of Super-Villains
Phil Cobb was a small-time crook with big ideas. He went to Gotham City expecting to join one of the top gangs but was told he needed to get to get a rep first.
As he walked the streets that first night, he spotted the Bat-Signal flashing in the sky to summon the Batman. This inspired him to adopt the identity of The Signalman, using signals to give the Masked Manhunter clues to his crimes, then using other signals in the commission of those crimes.
Although the Batman foiled the Signalman's first two crimes, he escaped and got headlines. He was making a reputation, all right. But the third time, though he managed to steal the Batboat, he ignored a signal -- the bell buoy -- and steered onto a shoal, where he was captured.
Cobb managed to break out of prison and tried to recruit a gang in Gotham, only to find the rep he had now was as "the guy Batman put in jail." He returned to his former Signalman m.o., but was again caught by the Batman.
This time he shared a cell with Bull's-Eye, an old foe of Green Arrow. This crook boasted of his knowledge of the Emerald Archer: "I know how he makes those tricky arrows. Once, I even tried to use his own weapons against him -- but he knew how to counter every arrow."
However, Cobb thought, Batman wouldn't. At that time, he and Green Arrow had not yet met. Since he had failed as the Signalman, Cobb got Bull's-Eye to explain all about GA's trick arrows and, escaping prison again, took on the identity of the Blue Bowman.
At first, his arrows seemed to stop Batman and Robin, but the Caped Crimefighter finally countered with a store of trick Batarangs, which countered every arrow. This time, Cobb went to prison for several years.
Eventually he got out and went back into business as the Signalman. This time, he realized sending clues to the Batman was stupid, but he still used signs and signals in his crimes. He even captured Batman and tried to kill him by imprisoning him in the Bat-Signal so that, when the police tried to call him, they would burn him to death. The Darknight Detective, however, once again demonstrated how good an escape artist he is, and managed to deduce the criminal's next target, having figured out that he was basing his jobs on the suits of a deck of cards.
A few months later, when word spread that Batman was dead, many criminals claimed credit. So a jury of villains was formed to determine who should have the credit -- and the Signalman was one of the six jurors. As Batman was present, in disguise, he foiled the jury, capturing a number of super-criminals. Cobb then returned to prison, from which he was recently freed in a mass break.