Judomaster
Cover of Special War Series #4 (November 1965), art by Frank McLaughlin.
Publication information
PublisherOriginally Charlton Comics, now DC Comics
First appearanceSpecial War Series #4 (November 1965)
Created byJoe Gill (writer)
Frank McLaughlin (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoHadley "Rip" Jagger
Thomas Jagger
Sonia Sato
Team affiliationsUnited States Army
L.A.W.
All-Star Squadron
Birds of Prey
Justice League
Checkmate
AbilitiesMartial artist specializing in judo

Judomaster is the name given to four fictional superheroes published by DC Comics. The first Judomaster debuted in Special War Series #4 (November 1965) published by Charlton Comics, and was created by Joe Gill and Frank McLaughlin.[1]

Nhut Le portrays Judomaster in the DC Extended Universe / HBO Max series Peacemaker.

Fictional character biography

Hadley Jagger

Judomaster's secret identity was Hadley "Rip" Jagger, a sergeant in World War II in the United States Army. He rescued the daughter of a Pacific island chief and in return was taught the martial art of judo.[2] He had a kid sidekick named Tiger. In the Nightshade backup series in Captain Atom, an adult Tiger was Nightshade's martial arts instructor.

Judomaster #98, artist Frank McLaughlin.
Judomaster #98, artist Frank McLaughlin.

Judomaster's title lasted from #89 to #98, from June, 1966 to December 1967. It was a retitling of Gunmaster, which was itself a retitling of Six-Gun Heroes.[3]

Along with most Charlton super hero characters, the rights to Judomaster were sold to DC Comics. In post-Crisis continuity, Judomaster was said to be a member of the All-Star Squadron, DC's team of superheroes during World War II, although he has never appeared in an actual published story as a member of the team.[4] His kid sidekick, Tiger, would later become the villain Avatar in the L.A.W. mini-series published by DC Comics, which re-teamed the Charlton characters that had been acquired by DC. In the same series it is shown Judomaster has lived for some time in the fictional city of Nanda Parbat. As time passes in a different manner there, Judomaster has retained a younger form. Since the mini-series, Judomaster has only appeared a few times.

Sometime in his life, he had a son named Thomas Jagger.

Judomaster was killed when he took part in the giant battle of Metropolis during the "Infinite Crisis" storyline during which the supervillain Bane broke his back.[5]

Thomas Jagger

Thomas "Tommy" Jagger is the son of Hadley Jagger, from whom he inherited the name Judomaster. Jagger is also one of Checkmate's top field agents, within which he is known as the White Knight, and is an openly gay man.

Jagger is conflicted when Checkmate becomes involved in the elections of Santa Prisca at the request of the United Nations. Bane, his father's killer, is suspected of ballot stuffing, intimidation, and falsifying election results. Jagger volunteers for the mission and is turned down by White King/Mr. Terrific. Josephine Tautin, the Black Queen's Knight, is picked, but a medical emergency prevents her from going. Reluctantly, Mr. Terrific agrees to Jagger's deployment, along with Fire. The mission is complicated by Fire when she acts on orders secretly given to her by Amanda Waller that results in Bane's direct intervention with Jagger. He resists the desire to avenge his father for honor, but does manage to beat Bane in a fight. The two agents make it to their exfiltration point and return to Checkmate headquarters where Jagger informs the Royals of Fire's sabotage.[6]

Jagger also spent time as an undercover Kobra devotee.

Justice League Quarterly version

The second Judomaster, art by Michael Collins.
The second Judomaster, art by Michael Collins.

A different Judomaster was created by Paul Kupperberg and artist Michael Collins. In Justice League Quarterly #14 (1994), Andreas Havoc, an enemy of Peter Cannon (Thunderbolt) challenged Cannon to battle, feeling that his rightful position as "Vajra" had been stolen by Cannon. The Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Captain Atom and Nightshade assisted Peter Cannon in battling Havoc in a psychic battle while the new Judomaster helped rescue the heroes in the physical world.

Due to the brief revival of Rip Jagger and Gail Simone's subsequent creation of Sonia Sato, this Judomaster fell into comic book limbo. However, he recently was depicted as attending a memorial service for the citizens of Star City.[7]

Sonia Sato

A female Judomaster, Sonia Sato, appears in Birds of Prey #100 (2007), along with Big Barda and Manhunter who are all recruited by Oracle to break into a Mexican prison. In keeping with the theme of the Birds of Prey group, this Judomaster, unlike the others, is female.

In 2008, Sonia returned in Justice Society of America #11 the issue in which her name, origin and powers were revealed. Sonia's metahuman talent allows her to project an "aversion field" which prevents her from being hit by attacks specifically aimed at her. This does not include attacks that have no aim, such as random projectiles and explosions. With the help of the JSA, she stops Yakuza assassins led by Tiger. In her earlier Birds of Prey appearance, Sonia Sato is shown having an above-average mastery of English, allowing her to communicate effortlessly. During her JSA tenure she's shown as unable to speak English, learning only with great difficulties to master a stilted, somewhat impaired command on the language.[8] She is shown in a relationship with Damage, kissing him even after his temporarily healed face was reverted to his heavily scarred one.[9]

Sonia's romance with Damage is ended when he is killed by the reanimated Jean Loring during Blackest Night. Now part of Magog's All-Star JSA squadron, Sonia assists her teammates in repelling the Black Lantern invasion of Manhattan. Sonia and Atom Smasher search the city for survivors, only to stumble upon Damage, now a member of the Black Lantern Corps, tearing the heart out of a police officer.[10]

After the end of the Blackest Night a greatly distraught and grieving Judomaster plans to revert to her earlier plan of vengeance against Tiger, her father's killer, feeling that without Damage's love she has nothing else to anchor to a happier life. She's stopped by King Chimera, who relays her the missing half of Damage's last message to her, recorded before the Blackest Night, in which Grant shares with Sonia his wish to have corrective surgery on his face and build a simpler, happier life with her, wishing Sonia, in the event of his death, a better life. Thus King Chimera is able to convince Sonia to enact Grant's last wishes by leaving Tiger alive (albeit with a severe beating). Furthermore, Sonia decides to improve her English (reasoning that only Damage was kind enough to bear her stilted, slow grasp of language), and after giving her lover a tearful eulogy, she begins to finance several relief funds for the people Damage has unwillingly hurt in the years, attempting to give him closure, using money she "requisitioned" from Tiger before having him incarcerated.[11]

In the "Watchmen" sequel "Doomsday Clock", Judomaster appears as a member of Japan's superhero team called Big Monster Action.[12]

Other versions

In other media

References

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Markstein, Don. "Judomaster". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ Wells, John (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-1969. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-1605490557.
  4. ^ Thomas, Roy (2006). The All-Star Companion: Vol 2. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-1893905375.
  5. ^ Infinite Crisis #7. DC Comics.
  6. ^ Checkmate #11-#12. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Justice League: The Rise and Fall Special. DC Comics.
  8. ^ JSA All-Stars #7 (August 2010)
  9. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22
  10. ^ Blackest Night: JSA #1 (December 2009)
  11. ^ JSA All-Stars #7 (August 2010)
  12. ^ Doomsday Clock #6 (July 2018). DC Comics.
  13. ^ 52 52: 13/5 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  14. ^ Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "The 52 Exit Interviews: Grant Morrison". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  15. ^ Earth 2 #9. DC Comics.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 4, 2021). "'Peacemaker': James Gunn HBO Max Series Adds Nhut Le As Judomaster". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Syndicated Comics". 11 December 2020.