Who Is Polka-Dot Man? The Suicide Squad's Batman Villain Explained

A photo-shopped image of the Polka-Dot Man from the comics on the left and David Dastmalchian, who will play the Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad (2021), on the right

Originally written by Matt Morrison for Screen Rant

The Polka-Dot Man will be one of the many villains making up the team in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. Details on the sequel to 2016's Suicide Squad are few and far between, beyond some of the actors who have joined the cast and the fact that James Gunn is building a wholly original team made up C-list supervillains like the Polka-Dot Man.

Given his oeuvre, it is not surprising that Gunn chose to dive into the depths of DC Comics in developing The Suicide Squad. One of Gunn's earliest projects as a screenwriter was The Specials - an independent superhero comedy about a second-rate superhero team, in which Gunn also played the role of the team's Ant-Man surrogate, the shrinking Minute Man. Gunn wrote and directed several other comedic superhero movies, but it was Guardians of the Galaxy which brought Gunn mainstream recognition, as Gunn took several unknown Marvel Comics characters like Groot and Rocket Raccoon and turned them into household names.

Gunn seems poised to do the same for the Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad, who is one of the most obscure members of Batman's rogues gallery. Despite possessing an armory of wonderful toys to rival that of the Dark Knight himself, the Polka-Dot Man has never risen through the ranks of the Gotham City underworld to attain a position of respect, perhaps due to his ridiculous name and costume. Here is everything you need to know about the Polka-Dot Man, including his background and his powers.

POLKA-DOT MAN'S COMIC HISTORY EXPLAINED

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The Polka-Dot Man first appeared in Detective Comics #300 in February 1962. Born with the unlikely name of Abner Krill, the Polka-Dot Man was originally known by the even more ludicrous moniker of Mister Polka-Dot. Whatever the name, Krill was one of the many gimmick-driven costumed criminals in the Silver Age of Comics who sought to make a name for himself in Gotham City by pitting himself against the Batman and proving himself superior to the Dark Knight.

Krill first made a name for himself with a daring series of robberies, targeting businesses connected to dots and spots, like a night club called The Ink Spot and the Domino Gaming Company. In the end, he was brought to justice by Robin, who sniffed out his lair using a prize hunting leopard and ironically warned Batman of a trap that Mister Polka-Dot had set for him using a message coded in the dot-based language of Braille. Krill's first outing as a costumed criminal proved to be his most successful and, unable to afford to rebuild the technology that empowered his first costume, he was reduced to robbing grocery stores armed with only a baseball bat.

Krill's death was as ultimately as sad as his life. He ended up in the service of long-time Doom Patrol nemesis General Immortus, along with other low-level losers such as the Condiment King and Sportsmaster. Krill died while in pursuit of the Human Flame; an equally obscure Martian Manhunter villain, who had betrayed Immortus' new team during the events of the Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! mini-series. Polka-Dot Man's head was accidentally smashed in by a manhole cover, as it returned to Earth after being sent skyward by an explosion in the sewers triggered by the Human Flame's powers.

POLKA-DOT MAN'S POWERS EXPLAINED

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Just like Batman has no superpowers, the Polka-Dot Man has no superhuman abilities, but instead arms himself with a variety of useful gadgets that help him in the course of committing his crimes. However, rather than storing these gizmos in a common utility belt, the Polka-Dot Man stores them upon his costume as a series of adhesive dots. Whenever he needs a tool, all he has to do is simply peel the appropriate dot off of his super-suit and it will automatically expand to full size. These devices are further manipulated through the controls contained within the belt of the Polka-Dot Man's costume.

The dots include a number of offensive and defensive devices, such as spinning circular saw-blades, gas-dispensing discuses, teleportation pads and miniature fists that can pummel a target into submission. Several of the dots even contain fully automated vehicles, such as floating bubbles and flying saucers. However, the most amazing aspect of the dots is that the Polka-Dot Man can make them dissolve after a set amount of time, eliminating any evidence of his passing after he's fled the scene of the crime. It speaks to the insanity of the Polka-Dot Man that he developed such amazing technology and chose to use it for acts of petty theft, rather than try and profit from the miniaturized marvels contained within his super-suit, but these should nonetheless be fun to see on-screen in The Suicide Squad.

DAVID DASTMALCHIAN IS PLAYING POLKA-DOT MAN

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Actor David Dastmalchian is playing the Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad. A member of the Shattered Globe Theatre Company in Chicago, Dastmalchian has built up quite an impressive resume over the past decade since he made his first movie, appearing as one of the Joker's henchmen in The Dark Knight. An avid fan of comic books and self-described fanboy, Dastmalchian has appeared in a number of other comic-book themed projects, including Ant-Man, Gotham and The Flash, where he played the villain Abra Kadabra.

Dastmalchian has teased his comic book research for The Suicide Squad, but his accomplishments are equally impressive outside the realm of comic book adaptations. He most recently wrote and starred alongside Karen Gillan in the dramatic thriller All Creatures Here Below. He played the role of Murdoc in the 2016 reboot of MacGyver and he will be playing the role of Piter De Vries in the upcoming remake of Dune.

WHAT IS POLKA-DOT MAN' ROLE IN THE SUICIDE SQUAD?

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It is unclear just what role James Gunn may have in mind for the Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad. Gunn has a long history of writing dark comedy and arranging for comedic deaths for minor characters in his films and the classic Suicide Squad comics are just as famous for arranging anti-climactic ends for various villains forced to serve on the team. It is entirely possible that the Polka-Dot Man could suffer a similar fate to his death in the comics, filling the same niche filled by Slipknot in the first Suicide Squad film.

It seems more likely, given the casting of a hot up-and-comer like David Dastmalchian in the role, that James Gunn intends to use The Suicide Squad to give the Polka-Dot Man the fair-shake that he never got after his first appearance. Ignoring his silly name and gimmick, Abner Krill was a brilliant engineer whose compacted criminal gear made him a serious threat to Batman up until the Dark Knight Detective figured out the pattern to the businesses the Polka-Dot Man was targeting. While he may have peaked too early in his criminal career, the Polka-Dot Man still managed to face Batman and Robin and escape on multiple occasions. That marks him as a rare sort of criminal and one who might serve the Suicide Squad well as a strategist and gadgeteer.