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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Character Spotlight: Prince Daka

(Before we get to the post proper, I'd like to thank user Shadzane for suggesting this character in a comment on the Batman Not-So-Super Post over a year ago. I don't know if I had seen it before, but I saw it last week and was able to corroborate the information he provided, so here it is!)

Prince Daka has the distinction of being the very first villain Batman fought on screen, all the way back in the 1943 serial, Batman. As such, there's not much to him beyond being a racist caricature.

Prince Daka, known in America as Dr. Tito Daka, is part of a Japanese nationalist cult called the Rising Sun that plans to orchestrate a Japanese occupation of the United States from within. In addition to his secret base (called the Cave of Horrors), located in LA's Little Tokyo, and his elite gang called the League of the New Order, he also has a machine called the Electrical Brain that turns people into zombies - real, brainwashed-slave zombies, not flesh-eating, undead "zombies". He was, of course, defeated by Batman.

You'd think that a character like that, especially being so prominently featured, would be gobbled up quickly by the comics. But actually, he didn't appear until All-Star Squadron #42 (1985), and even then, his last appearance was the next issue.

And although I haven't read the issue, it seems like there's even less to him than in the serial. I'm going to assume that much of his backstory is the same, but in the issue proper, his goal is to attack America with a squadron of invisible jets and a team of Japanese nationalists known as Tsunami, Kung, and Sumo the Samurai. The two issues were published in the 80s, but they take place during World War II, making him a period-appropriate villains.

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