Cover of Special War Series #4 (Nov, 1965). Art by Frank McLaughlin.
|Publisher||Originally Charlton Comics, now DC Comics|
|First appearance||Special War Series #4 (November 1965)|
|Created by||Joe Gill (writer)
Frank McLaughlin (artist)
|Alter ego||Hadley "Rip" Jagger|
|Team affiliations||United States Army
Birds of Prey
|Abilities||Martial artist specializing in Judo.|
Judomaster is the name given to three 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.
Fictional character biography
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. 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'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).
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 said team. 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.
Justice League Quarterly
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.
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 effortlessy. 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. She is shown in a relationship with Damage, kissing him even after his temporarily healed face was reverted to his heavily scarred one.
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 Damage's older brother 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.
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. However, 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 
The New 52
The most recent version of Sonia Sato appears in Earth 2 #9. Alongside other parallel versions of former JSA members (namely Wesley Dodds a.k.a. Sandman), a Major Sonia Sato of the World Army appears at the home of Jay Garrick's mother in an attempt to apprehend Jay. She is seen wearing a sigil designating her as a representative of the nation of Japan.
- A female version was seen in Alex Ross and Mark Waid's comic Kingdom Come, as a member of Magog's Justice Battalion, along with the rest of the Charlton 'Action Heroes'. She was apparently killed with the other members when Captain Atom was killed.
- In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-4". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-4, including Judomaster and the other Charlton characters. The names of the characters are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, the Judomaster is visually similar to the Rip Jagger Judomaster. Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-4.
- Justice League: The Rise and Fall Special
- JSA All-Stars #7 (August 2010)
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22
- Blackest Night: JSA #1 (December 2009)
- JSA All-Stars #7 (August 2010)
- Earth 2 #9
- 52 52: 13/5 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
- Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "The 52 Exit Interviews: Grant Morrison". Newsarama. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- Judomaster (Rip Jagger) at the Comic Book DB
- Judomaster (1994) at the Comic Book DB
- Judomaster (Sonia Sato) at the Comic Book DB
- Judomaster & Tiger at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Judomaster at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011.
- Entry on Judomaster & Tiger
- Index to the Earth-4 adventures of the Charlton Action Heroes