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Peacemaker: Who Is Judomaster In The DC Comics?

James Gunn's The Suicide Squad may not be out yet, but it looks as though Warner Bros. and DC Films already feel they have a winner on their hands. Prior to the ensemble anti-hero reboot's scheduled arrival in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, they announced a spin-off series starring John Cena's Peacemaker that will air on the streaming platform at some point in the near future. It's unclear what precisely the show will be about, or if any exciting DC cameos are waiting in the wings, but we do know some of the actors who will go toe-to-toe with Cena. 

Back in November of 2020, HBO announced that Jennifer Holland (Brightburn), Steve Agee (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and Chris Conrad (Perpetual Grace, LTD) would also appear in the Peacemaker series. More recently, Deadline announced that Upright Citizens Brigade alum Nhut Le would also be coming by as the DC character Judomaster. This will be the first live-action appearance for the character since debuting in the comics back in the 1960s, although he did have a small role in the animated film, Batman: Soul of the Dragon. Judomaster's gone through various iterations over the years, so while we may not know which kind we're getting in the Peacemaker series, here's a bit of background for what we may be in for. 

Judomaster made the leap from Charlton Comics to DC

Judomaster didn't actually get his start in DC Comics alongside the likes of Batman and Superman. Instead, his first appearance came in a 1965 comic book titled Special Wars Series #4,  published by Charlton Comics (via Toonopedia). Judomaster, whose real name at the time was Hadley "Rip" Jagger, was created by writer Joe Gill — who also co-created Peacemaker and Captain Atom — and artist Frank McLaughlin. Early Judomaster stories were set in World War II, with Rip Jagger working as a sergeant in the United States Army. However, it wasn't long until Judomaster and the rest of the Charlton catalog faced their biggest threat to date — waning consumer interest. 

The company shut down for good in 1985, according to The Power of Comics. DC Comics ended up buying characters who would go on to be incorporated into future DC stories, like Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and the Question. In fact, those three would go on to serve as the blueprint for Alan Moore's magnum opus — Watchmen — serving as the templates for Nite Owl, Doctor Manhattan, and Rorschach, respectively. But it wouldn't be the last time Judomaster graced the pages of a comic book. 

There have been several different Judomasters over the years

Judomaster was never the most popular character in the DC repertoire. His powers, by the way, are pretty self-explanatory: he's a master of judo, the martial art from which he takes his name — in case that was somehow unclear. Judomaster would pop in every now and then to show off some moves and then wouldn't really be seen again. Perhaps it's for this reason the Rip Jagger version of the character was brutally killed by Bane in Infinite Crisis #7 (via What Culture). Rip's son, Thomas, took on the Judomaster mantle, eventually getting into another showdown with Bane, beating him this time.

The most recent iteration of the character, and arguably the best-known, is Sonia Sato. She made her first appearance back in 2007 in Birds of Prey #100 as part of the titular group. Created by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott, this Judomaster has some significant advantages over her predecessors. In addition to being a master of judo, she can also summon an aversion field to prevent any attacks directed right at her.

What can we expect out of Peacemaker's Judomaster?

Judomaster's inclusion in the upcoming Peacemaker series makes sense. After all, both characters got their start over at Charlton Comics, so there's plenty of history between the two. But, by all accounts, it appears as though viewers are in for a very different version of the superhero than what we've seen in the past. It seems unlikely that the Peacemaker series will be set during WWII, so it's unlikely we'll get any kind of true Rip Jagger iteration of the character. Given actor Nhut Le's background in series like Kroll Show and Raven's Home, it would make the most amount of sense for the character to have a more comedic bent in the series. His name is "Judomaster" after all, and since he'll be gallivanting around with a "douchey Captain America," there should be plenty of good times to be had.