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Underrated Villain Twists A Trope From the 60s

The 1960s Batman television show may recall the program’s tendency to utilize words like “BLAM” or “POW” to give the show a distinct comic book feel, but one villain appropriated those effects in his own twisted way. The 1966 Batman show was a beloved program that starred Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin, the Boy Wonder. Known for camp performances mixed with zany plots, the show found a permanent place in pop culture as one of the most notable depictions of Batman. Aside from its large rotating cast of villains portrayed by lauded actors such as Burgess Meredith and Vincent Price, the show was known for it’s over the top action sequences. As Batman and Robin delivered punches to their weekly antagonists, they were accompanied by onomatopoeia such as “SOCK” and “THUNK” to give viewers the same experience they would get reading a Batman comic. While more modern depictions of the Dark Knight may pass on the gimmick, onomatopoeias are alive and well in comics. In fact, filmmaker Kevin Smith and artist Phil Hester created a villain whose entire gimmick was repeating these sound effects in an unsettling way. In Green Arrow #12, a villain named Onomatopoeia makes his murderous debut, presenting himself as a hunter of non-powered vigilantes. Aside from his lethal tactics, the character becomes well known for his tendencies to repeat sounds he hears around him. While Green Arrow has the first altercation with him, he also appears in Batman: Cacophony by Smith and Walt Flanagan, freeing the Joker in a bid to kill Batman. The Dark Knight comes face to face with the killer who shoots him and coldly repeats the word “BLAM.”

Green Arrow villain, Onomatopoeia doesn’t see himself as either hero’s rogue. He simply wants to kill as many vigilantes as possible so he can add their masks to his trophy room. Batman, on the other hand, takes an instant dislike to the killer, referring to him as an idiot with one of the worst gimmicks he’s ever seen. The Dark Knight’s distaste for the villain’s vocal tics show that Onomatopoeia may have the thematic flair needed to be a permanent member of Batman’s rogues gallery.

The 1960s Batman show was a much more innocent story fit for the Silver Age of comics, which is why silly things like superimposed sound effects fit so well. Onomatopoeia is very much a Modern Age villain: little talk, all action and ready to kill. Taking beloved comic tropes like illustrated action words and perverting it in the way he does is a grim reminder for how much comic books have changed in the last several decades. A psycho like Onomatopoeia who symbolizes the corruption of a more innocent time strongly associated with Batman makes him the perfect villain for the Dark Knight.