If you’re a big DC nut, you’ve probably heard of a minor DC character known as Judomaster. That’s about as corny as it sounds, doesn’t it? Let’s just take the name of one of the most popular martial arts in the world and attach the word “master” to it. You got yourself a comic book character name. Guess what he does? Oh, nothing too super, just running through everyone with the use of his judo skills. The man is a master at it, as the name implies and his run in DC Comics goes back. The first man to be called Judomaster debuted in the Special War Series#4 in Charlton Comics back in November of 1965. His full name is Hadley “Rip” Jagger, a United States Army sergeant who served in World War II. After rescuing the daughter of a Pacific islander chief, he was taught the martial art judo out of gratitude. His own solo run ran for about a year and soon afterwards, he was sold over to DC Comics. The life of the first Judomaster ended during the 2005-2006 Infinite Crisis storyline. During the battle of Metropolis, the master of the Japanese art of grappling was killed when Bane broke his back. Yes, the man who broke the bat pulled off his infamous finishing move on Judomaster, but unlike Batman, he never recovered. He was broken and never got back up. That seemed like the end of Judomaster, but his legacy lived on through his son, Thomas Jagger.
Tommy Jagger became the second Judomaster and lived to carry on his father’s legacy by working for the covert operations agency Checkmate. During his time working for Checkmate, he took on a mission infiltrating the the country of Santa Prisca. It is here that he was able to confront his father’s killer and defeat him in a fight. So the second Judomaster did what the first one couldn’t and that’s a big deal. Defeating one of Batman’s most threatening villains is something to be noticed for. However, defeating Bane in a fight was Tommy Jagger’s most crowning achievement and his run pretty much ended there. While his run didn’t really kick off beyond that event, the story of Judomaster didn’t end there. A female Judomaster was created for Birds of Prey #100 in 2007. This version of the character fit with the mostly female team of vigilantes and her secret identity was Sonia Sato. This version of the character also had a much longer and far more significant run compared to her two predecessors. During her time as Judomaster, she had a relationship with the hero Damage, fought the Black Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night storyline, avenged her father’s murder, and even appeared in the Doomsday Clock storyline. Although a minor hero, Sonia Sato arguably became the most prominent Judomaster.
That’s cool and all, but let’s be honest here, did we ever expect to see a character like Judomaster in a movie? Needless to say, this is a rather corny character with a corny name and an outfit that totally makes him look like he comes from the ’60s. What kind of director would want to include him in any form of live-action? The answer is the master of bringing the campiest of the cornball camp characters to life, the one and only James Gunn. Just look at what the man has done for the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universe and you’ll quickly understand what I’m talking about. Did you see his last film, The Suicide Squad? Just think about how James Gunn made the character Polka-Dot Man such a compelling character we could get behind. This is supposed to be one of DC’s worst characters ever and James Gunn decided to add him in his movie. This guy literally throws burning polka dots at people and wears one of the brightest and lamest outfits ever. And guess what? James Gunn made him work. And let’s not forget, this is a guy who made us care about a talking tree and a wise-cracking raccoon. Should we doubt him at this point? The reason I bring all of this up is because of the upcoming Peacemaker series coming to HBO Max later this month. This is something James Gunn is confident about, because he’s bringing back John Cena as the violent soldier of “peace” known as Peacemaker. This is another character wearing a corny outfit from the ’60s and does nothing but flexes his muscles and spews out the funny one-liners. Other DC characters included in his upcoming series is Adrian Chase, also known as the Vigilante, and the man himself, Judomaster.
We can see a glimpse of him in a green costume during the trailer and he is being played by Vietnamese actor Nhut Le. This is rather unexpected news, especially since this character has little connection to other DC characters. As of now, it is unclear as to which version of the character we’ll be seeing in the Peacemaker series. It could be Rip Jagger or his son, but that probably won’t matter. Why? Well, because a character like Judomaster is perfect for the mind of James Gunn. This is a character he can work with and make his corny nature seem like something we can see fit for this show. I am very curious to see what James Gunn does with this lesser-known character. Again, this is James Gunn we’re talking about here. Let’s not doubt his ability to make seemingly lame characters cool. His solution is most likely just making him weird. That’s okay, because so was Polka-Dot Man. As a matter of fact, so are the Guardians of the Galaxy. Take that weirdness and turn it into something that would fit in James Gunn’s humor. What would you get? We’ll find that out soon when the Peacemaker series premieres. I’m actually excited to see Judomaster make his live-action DCEU debut, despite his lesser-known status. Above all else, I just want to see what James Gunn does with this character. Could we be looking forward to another weird, but very funny James Gunn character? I think so.
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