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Onomatopoeia, from the cover to Green Arrow #13. Art by Matt Wagner.
|First appearance||Green Arrow #12 (March 2002)|
|Created by||Kevin Smith
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super-Villains|
Onomatopoeia is a DC Comics supervillain and enemy of Green Arrow and Batman. He first appeared in Green Arrow #12 (March 2002). He was created by writer Kevin Smith and artist Phil Hester. IGN's Daniel Crown called him "one of the coolest new villains of the decade".
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Kevin Smith discussed the character in a 2007 interview:
|“||When I did Green Arrow, I went with Onomatopoeia for a villain, just because I loved that word, and it kind of formed the character inasmuch as he would say sounds out loud. It only kind of works – I think – on a comic book page because if you have a gun going off, they usually write BLAM! and then you can have, you know, the character saying "BLAM!" in a word balloon, but like if you tried to do that cinematically you can't really rock it. A gun in a film sounds completely different. It doesn't read as BLAM! and so to have a dude say BLAM! after a true gunshot, all these people would be like "he's just retarded". I think it works great in print and on a comic book page. I don't think that character would translate very well outside of that.||”|
Onomatopoeia first appears in Green Arrow #12 (March 2002), in which he murders a female crimefighter named Virago, after telling her his name. The interlude in which this occurs serves as a lead-in to "The Sounds of Violence", a three-issue storyline that runs through issues #13-15 of the title, in which he is the main antagonist. No personal characteristics are revealed about Onomatopoeia aside from the fact that he is a caucasian male, which is seen when portions of his face obscured by shadow are seen in Green Arrow #14, and when the lower half of his face is seen again in issue #15. Onomatopoeia is a serial killer who targets non-superpowered superheroes. His name is derived from the fact that he imitates noises around him, such as dripping taps, gunshots etc. During the course of this storyline, he shoots Connor Hawke, the second Green Arrow, who is saved by his mentor Oliver Queen (the first and original Green Arrow). While Connor is being operated on in the hospital, Onomatopoeia returns to finish the job. He kills several doctors in the operating room, and after his attempt to kill Connor is foiled by Queen and Black Canary, he manages to escape.
He is later recruited by Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains as part of an army that is sent to conquer the city of Metropolis in issue #7 of the Infinite Crisis limited series (June 2006). A superhero army, backed up by the National Guard, successfully opposes the Society. Onomatopoeia is seen in a brawl with the Odd Man, a costumed, un-powered vigilante, exactly the type the villain has slain before.
The character returned in the November 2008 three-issue miniseries Batman: Cacophony which was written by Smith and pencilled by friend Walt Flanagan. Onomatopoeia frees the Joker from Arkham Asylum and gives him money to finance a gang war against Maxie Zeus. Eventually he confronts Batman, who defeats him. He escapes capture, however, by mortally wounding the Joker, forcing Batman to choose between saving the Joker's life and capturing his new opponent. The end of the third issue reveals that Onomatopoeia has a secret, seemingly normal life as a loving husband and the father of two children, who are unaware of his murderous activities. He explains his occasional injuries as the result of sporting activities such as tennis, polo, and hunting. He keeps mementos of his victories in a hidden shrine behind a bookcase, saving a case each for Batman and Green Arrow.
In Batman: The Widening Gyre, it is revealed that he has been in disguise as Baphomet, a new vigilante who had been teaming up with Batman. He appears as Baphomet early on, helping the Dark Knight defeat Etrigan the Demon and Poison Ivy. He later assists Batman in defeating villains such as Deadshot, Crazy Quilt, and Calendar Man, even unmasking himself in front of Batman to gain his trust (as Batman had no idea what Onomatopoeia actually looked like this did not reveal the ruse). At the storyline's end Batman takes Baphomet into the Batcave and introduces him to a disguised Silver St. Cloud before Batman reveals he is Bruce Wayne and Silver unmasks herself. Bruce invites Baphomet to stay for breakfast as he turns away and puts his utility belt on the table with a "KA-KLAK". He hears Baphomet repeating the sound before turning in horror to see Onomatopoeia midway through slicing Silver's throat and mimicking the noise of the blade.
Powers and abilities
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Onomatopoeia is a athlete, martial artist and weapons expert. He invariably carries two semiautomatic handguns, a sniper rifle, and an army knife. He appears to be quite intelligent, having orchestrated the Joker's escape to draw out Batman, as well as avoiding capture by giving the Joker a near-fatal wound, causing Batman to be distracted. His usual outfit consists of black gloves, pants, and shirt, with a long black trench coat and a full, black hood decorated by concentric white circles. In Batman: Cacophony, it is revealed that he collects the masks of heroes he kills, keeping them in a trophy case in his secret identity's house. His marksmanship has been shown to even rival those of Deadshot.
It remains unrevealed whether or not Onomatopoeia is a metahuman, however, it has been noted by Green Arrow that he is enhanced in some way. In Green Arrow #15, he was shot with six arrows; two to one shoulder with one fatally pierced through his left side of his chest, one arrow in between the first and middle knuckles of his right hand, one through his right foot, one through the palm of his right hand–none of which slowed him or even impaired his manual dexterity. In the same issue he even caught one of Green Arrow's arrow midair using only his teeth. After being shot, he jumps off the roof of the Star City hospital, falling seven stories, and runs away before Green Arrow can find him. He's also durable enough to survive direct explosions and fires that would have killed unarmored human beings.
In other media
- The producers of the television series Arrow originally intended to adapt Onomatopoeia for a 2013 episode. However, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg states his team changed their minds after reading Kevin Smith's statement that the character could not be adapted for screen. Instead, they created the character of Mr Blank, a mysterious and highly-effective contract assassin, and cast J. August Richards in the role. He appeared in the episode "Home Invasion" where he played an assassin on the hunt for attorney Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) at a time when vigilante Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is on the hunt for Deadshot (Michael Rowe). Like Onomatopoeia, Mr. Blank used semi-automatic pistols but not a knife or sniper rifle.
- Onomatopoeia appears in the Green Arrow short from DC Nation Shorts. He sends his Ono-Bots (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) to take down Green Arrow and Black Canary. They are defeated, but Onomatopoeia sneaks away with the heroes in pursuit.
- Schedeen, Jesse. "Batman: Cacophony #1 Review", IGN, November 12, 2008
- Lisa S (1 November 2007). "Interview with Kevin Smith aka Silent Bob". Azhrialilu. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "DC Comics' FULL November 2008 Solicitations", Newsarama, August 16, 2008
- "Smith, Flanagan To Create New “Batman” Comic Series…", News Askiew, accessed March 13, 2011. Archived July 31, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Batman: Cacophony #3
- Batman: Cacophony #1
- Green Arrow (Volume 3) #15
- Batman: Cacophony
- "‘Arrow’ spoilers: Meet a new villain very soon". Cartermatt.com. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.