Judomaster III

Judomaster I + Tiger + Sonia Sato (Earth 2)

Created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

NAME + ALIASES:
Sgt. Hadley "Rip" Jagger

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Thomas Jagger (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron, the L.A.W.

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Special War Series v.4 #4 (Nov. 1965, Charlton)
First DC appearance: Crisis on Infinite Earths #6

Tiger

NAME + ALIASES:
Tiger Tanaka, alias Avatar

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Special War Series v.4 #4 (Nov. 1965, Charlton)
First DC appearance, pre-Crisis: Crisis on Infinite Earths #6. Post-Crisis: The L.A.W. #1

JUDOMASTER III

NAME + ALIASES:
Sonia Sato

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Yoshio Sato (father, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Elseworlds: Kingdom Come #1 (1996)
In continuity: Birds of Prey #100 (Jan. 2007)

Major Sonia Sato (New 52)

NAME + ALIASES:
None

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
World Army

FIRST APPEARANCE:
New 52, as Sonia Sato: Earth 2 #9 (Apr. 2003)

History

The original Judomaster was Hadley "Rip" Jagger. He first appeared in Special War Series #4 (Nov. 1965), which was published by Charlton Comics. His adventures were set in World War II. This character and others from Charlton were purchased by DC Comics in 1983 and Judomaster's first DC appearance was Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (1985). In post-Crisis DC continuity, Rip Jagger appeared only sporadically.

    
Judomaster II • Tiger (evil) • Thomas Jagger

Since the original character's adventures were set in World War II, Judomaster was considered to have been active during World War II in the DC Universe. In Who's Who Update '87 #1 (1987), the entry for the All-Star Squadron (a wartime group) listed him as a member but he never appeared in a Squadron story. The L.A.W. #4 contained flashbacks to the WWII era, DCU Heroes Secret Files placed Judomaster's debut in 1941. He and his sidekick, Tiger, served in WWII and remained youthful beyond their years owing to decades spent the mystical Nanda Parbat.

In one tale, the former Charlton heroes were teamed together in a Justice League Task Force by Sarge Steel. This tale featured a mysterious Judomaster II, who appeared only once. (Justice League Quarterly #14)

Jagger returned as a member of a group called At this time it was hinted that he was long-lived.

At some point after the war, Tiger split from Judomaster and became bitter towards his old mentor. (The L.A.W. #4) Avatar kidnapped the Justice League and a group called the L.A.W. was formed to bring him down. At the resolution of the case, the members intended to continue on as a team, but they were never seen grouped again.

The original Judomaster died while fighting in a metahuman war during the second Crisis, when his back was broken by Bane. (Infinite Crisis #7)

Rip Jagger had a son, Thomas Jagger, who became the White King's Knight in Checkmate, an international espionage operation. (Checkmate v.2 #1)

Judomaster III

Appearing in the Elseworlds Kingdom Come #1 (1996); art by Alex Ross.

The female Judomaster originally appeared in Kingdom Come #1 (1996), the creation of Mark Waid and Alex Ross. The story was published under the "Elseworlds" banner, which later came to mean that it was in an alternate universe (Earth-22). This character's role amounted to a brief appearance before her death in the first issue.

Details about Sonia Sato's youth are few, and she has no direct connection to the original Judomaster himself. Her father was a legendary Japanese assassin named Yoshio Sato. When Yoshio learned of her birth, he tried to leave the Yakuza crime syndicate and was killed by his brothers in the Ketsueki Senshi (the Blood Soldiers). This band of assassins worked for Tiger, the original Judomaster's partner, who'd gone to the dark side. To repent for her father's betrayal, Sonia agreed to become one of their number. But Sonia had a natural advantage: she was also a metahuman who generated an aura to confuse her opponent's aim. (Justice Society of America v.3 #11)

Her first appearance in the mainstream DC Universe was as a recruit to the Birds of Prey. By then Sonia was also trying to leave Tiger's band, and she fled to the United States seeking the help of Oracle. As it happened, in Black Canary's absence Oracle was recruiting an army of associates. Judomaster participated in one mission, teaming up with Huntress and Barda to protect a mobster's daughter. (Birds of Prey #100) After this, she became a reservist to the Birds, but never worked with them again. (#119)

Judomaster versus Kamikaze. From Justice Society of America v.3 #11 (2008); art by Dale Eaglesham.
 
Above: On the hunt for Tiger. Below: A holographic reminder of Sonia's first kiss with Damage. From JSA All-Stars #7 (2010); art by Freddie Williams II.

When the Blood Brothers caught up with her, the skirmish drew the attention of the Justice Society. After the assassins were rounded up, the authorities were set to take Judomaster into custody. But the JSA's Damage intervened on her behalf, reminding them how they'd given him a second chance. (Justice Society of America v.3 #11) Judomaster joined the JSA alongside a new wave of recruits—Lightning, Amazing Man III, Mr. America III, and Lance Corporal David Reid—all of whom were working within the legacy of older heroes. Wildcat put her powers to the test and found that indeed, he could not connect a single punch. (Note: all these JSA recruits were inspired by Kingdom Come.) (#12)

Because she spoke no English, her teammates were slow to engage with her, save for Damage, who soon asked Sonia out on a date. (#18) During the course of their battle with Gog, Damage was disfigured; she kissed him despite this. (#22) Before their romance could grow, Damage was killed during the Blackest Night. (Blackest Night #4) Sonia overcame both her grief and the language barrier to deliver his eulogy. Her teammate Sand then played a holographic message for her, recorded by Damage before his death. His words brought her back to life and she channeled her sorrow into a renewed hunt for Tiger and his band of assassins, and with the help of King Chimera, Tiger was captured. To honor Damage one final time, she used Tiger's money to pay for his victims' medial bills in Atlanta (where Damage had caused mass destruction). (JSA All-Stars #7)

Her love life took a bizarre twist when a powerful schizophrenic called the Prince showed up claiming that he and Sonia were married. (#17)

Judomaster returned to Japan another time to aid a young boy, the son of a Yakuza who was killed. (JSA 80-Page Giant 2011 #1)

This timeline may have ceased to exist after the events of Flashpoint (2011).

Sonia Sato: New 52

Sato with the Atom. From Earth 2 Annual #1 (2013); art by Cafu.

In the DC universe called the "New 52," Major Sonia Sato is a resident of Earth 2. On this world, nations are relatively more united and they contribute to a military force called the World Army. Major Sato is the commanding officer of Capt. Al Pratt, the Atom. She works closely with their agents in the "Heroes Initiative," which includes Pratt, Captain Steel, Red Arrow, and other new recruits.

She led the field mission to apprehend Jay Garrick, the Flash, in Lansing, Michigan. (Earth 2 #9)

When the Atom went into Vietnam, Sato called him up for his next mission against Steppenwolf. (Earth 2 Annual #1) During this bloody battle, Sato remained at the World Army's Arkham base, where she encountered the new Batman. He was intent on releasing the Army's super-powered prisoners from their stasis chambers. (#17)

+ Powers

In addition to being trained to the highest level of martial arts, Judomaster III had a metahuman ability that made her impossible to hit. The powers worked by generating an "aversion field" which confused her opponent's aim.

Thus far, Major Sonia Sato has not shown any inclinations towards costumed adventuring, or any super-human powers.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

Original:

  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #6, 7, 10, 12
  • Detective Comics #723
  • Infinite Crisis #7
  • Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1

Judomaster III:

  • Birds of Prey #100, 119
  • Kingdom Come #1
  • Justice Society of America v.3 #11–33,
  • Justice Society 80-Page Giant 2011 #1

» SERIES:

  • Judomaster, 10 issues (1966-67, Charlton)
  • Judomaster v.2, 4 issues (reprints of the original series)
  • The L.A.W., 6 issues (1999)
  • JSA All-Stars, 18 issues (2010–11)

» SEE ALSO: