Who Is Polka-Dot Man? A Look At The Suicide Squad Characters
Earlier this month, The Suicide Squad trailer dropped much to the excitement of comic enthusiasts everywhere. There were explosions, quippy one-liners, and…questions. Who is this shark-man ripping people apart? Is that girl attracting all the rats? For hardcore DCEU fans, these characters might already be familiar (the correct answers to the previous questions are King Shark and yes, she’s Ratcatcher 2), but for others, it’ll be the first time hearing about these supervillains. Fear not though! I’m going to be writing a series of posts looking at each of the new characters, including today’s post: who is Polka-Dot Man?
So Who Is Polka-Dot Man And What Are His Powers?
Polka-Dot Man aka Mister Polka-Dot (alias: Abner Krill) was first introduced in the 1960s as a minor villain in the Batman franchise. His powers come from the advanced technology in his suit’s polka dots, which can be removed and transformed into items to aid him in his villainous acts. He controls the polka dots via his belt and each polka dot color does something different, most notably:
- The red polka dot turns into the Flying Buzzsaw Dot, which has a rotating circular saw blade attached to it and can be thrown like a ninja star.
- The yellow polka dot also known as the Flying Saucer Dot, which is a flat, man-sized glider that Polka-Dot Man could escape on. It was controlled by a series of buttons and switches on Polka-Dot Man’s belt.
- The gold polka dot otherwise known as the Sun Dot. It acts as a projectile and emits a blinding light similar to a flare.
- The white polka dot, also called the Bubble Dot. This dot could expand into a translucent flying capsule which could also be used as a getaway vehicle.
- The black polka dot or the “hole.” It opens up into a teleportation transport system.
- The red, yellow, and orange polka-dots could also be used as flying “fists.” When they were thrown at close range, they bounced off and created a concussive effect
The Beginnings Of Polka-Dot Man
Image via DC Comics
When Batman was first introduced by DC Comics, it led to a whole host of villains who used Gotham City as their playground, including the formerly named Mister Polka-Dot, who was the brainchild of artist Sheldon Moldoff and writer and Batman-co-creator Bill Finger. For reasons unknown, Abner Krill decided to launch a crime wave against Batman and Robin as Mister Polka Dot. In Detective Comics #300 (February, 1962), he successfully kidnapped Robin, but Batman was able to rescue him. The fabulous Dot Man also made a cameo in more DC Comics material, appearing in the final issue of Batman ’66, which was a comic series set in the universe of the 1966 Batman TV series.
In the late 20th century (1996 to be exact), readers were once again introduced to Abner Krill in the first issue of Batman: GCPD. Finding himself unemployed and penniless, Krill decides to once again turn to crime, this time as the moniker he’s currently known as. In later years, he would work with a new group of villains under the powerful General Immortus. They would later be undone when they were betrayed by the Human Flame. Most were killed in the resulting battle, including poor dot man Abner Krill, whose head was crushed after a manhole cover landed on it.
In the film, this supervillain will be played by recognizable actor (and comic book creator and enthusiast) David Dastmalchian. He’s previously appeared in the Ant-Man films, 12 Monkeys, Gotham, The Flash and countless other shows and films. Interestingly, according to IMDB, his first film role was as one of the Joker’s thugs in The Dark Knight. In an interview with Screen Rant, Dastmalchian said of his character:
“The abilities that my character has could be looked at in two ways, either as an ability or as a disability, as something that can cause excruciating amounts of pain and embarrassment. So, building out and fleshing out a character who… I immediately found like a kindred connection with Abner, was this sense of how that would weigh me down. How pain can cause a person’s body to kind of come inwards, and how shame can cause a person’s body to come downward. So it was inward and downward was kind of like finding all my physicality for Abner. And the voice grows out of that. So when I start thinking about how to build the character, to think about how his voice would work, and think about how all those mechanisms happened.”
“And then as you saw with the dots, and the way that when they can get out of hand, they can be literally like, almost look like sores on my body. It’s really intensely painful. So that absolutely helped shape how I was going to move and fight and sit, and do all the things that I’ll do in the film. And then again, how a disability or something that is considered that you’re embarrassed of, or that hurts you, finding a way that you can then suddenly do something with it that’s more than just suffer. Maybe it even could have a purpose. Then that changes the way you move, the way that you sit, the way you talk.”
Polka-Dot Man Appears In Other DC-Related Media
Polka-Dot Man in LEGO Batman 3 Beyond Gotham/Image via Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Besides James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Polka-Dot Man has made several other appearances through DC Comic’s history. While not all of them have him associated with Task Force X, one thing is always consistent: killer polka-dots.
The dotted supervillain made minor appearances in an animated series called Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which is based off DC Comic’s series The Brave and the Bold. The comic series itself sounds really interesting: the basic premise is that two superheroes from the DC Universe team up to take down a bad guy. For the animated series, Batman was the one that was teaming up with another DC superhero, and he came across Polka-Dot man in the episode “Legends of the Dark Mite!” and another episode titled “Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!”.
We saw more of Abner Krill in The LEGO Batman Movie, where he had a non-speaking cameo appearance. Unfortunately, the sequel to the movie isn’t likely to happen, so our hopes of seeing LEGO polka dots is now a pipe dream. And obviously we’re going to be seeing him in Gunn’s movie, which is set to premiere next month. While Gunn had called Polka-Dot Man “the dumbest DC character of all time,” he also used that as a reason to include him in The Suicide Squad. During an interview with Games Radar, Gunn said:
“Polka-Dot Man is great, but I did think I needed a character who’s thought of as one of the dumbest ever. So I went and looked online, ‘Who’s the dumbest DC character of all time?’ and it was Polka-Dot Man. We’ve turned that character who’s a sad, pathetic character into a character who’s depressed because people think he’s stupid. He has a very tragic story that you learn about throughout the film – to be able to add depth to characters who are thought of as the silliest is a fun thing for me to do.”
Video Game Appearances
For those that have played any DC-related video games, you may have already spotted the Task Force X member. Polka-Dot Man appeared in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham as an unlockable character. In the game, Brainiac attacks Earth with the intent to shrink it down and add it to his collection, which forces the Justice League and the Legion of Doom (the supervillain version of the Justice League) to join forces and save Earth. Abner Krill’s alter-ego is voiced by American voice actor Dee Bradley Baker.
The dot man has also appeared in the video game LEGO DC Super-Villains, another action-adventure game that’s actually part of the LEGO Batman video games series (it’s the fourth installment). As the title states, this game focuses exclusively on the DC supervillains. After the Justice League disappears, the bad guys reluctantly take on the role of superheroes to defeat a rival group of supervillains from another universe. This version of Polka-Dot Man is voiced by Gregory James Miller, an Internet personality and former editor of the entertainment website IGN.
The supervillain has also appeared in The All-New Batman: Brave & the Bold tie-in comic. The Batman version of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite, summons dotty Abner Krill and another DC supervillain, Eraser, to team up and fight Batman and Batgirl.
The Suicide Squad debuts in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.
Are you excited to see Polka-Dot Man in action? Also, check out our post about the history of Harley Quinn for more Suicide Squad content! Let us know what you’re looking forward to and excited about in the comments below.
Featured image via Warner Bros.
Keilin Huang is a freelance writer that likes the Oxford comma, reading from her neverending pile of books from the library, and Reeses peanut butter cups. She thanks her Dad for introducing her to his Superman comics and probably majored in Journalism because of Lois Lane.