Warning: This article contains spoilers for Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #1, by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Inaki Miranda, Hi-Fi, and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
In DC’s digital-first comic Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #1, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn join forces to confront a real estate developer who moonlights as a crime syndicate leader. While this villain might sound somewhat dull on the surface, Simon Wickett is a murderous man who is blowing up buildings and buying up the cheap property. This puts him on Diana of Themyiscira, but things get more complicated when it turns out Wickett is after Harley Quinn’s Coney Island property.
Wickett sends a series of assassins after Harley to take her out of the picture. The second of these assassins is a strange character named Red Ball, who bears a striking resemblance to your standard Pokémon Trainer.
Red Ball is hired to kill Harley Quinn for Wickett, and he enters by tossing two red balls into the same room as Harley and Diana. The balls soon expand, with monsters developing before their eyes. The two are informed the monsters are “different every time,” indicating that Red Ball either creates these monsters in pseudo-eggs or contains captured monsters in those balls of his.
Either way, two colossal monsters spring out of the balls, charging at the two heroes. While most of their attacks don’t seem very effective, Harley lands a critical hit on the monsters by luring them with doughnuts out into the street. The donuts clearly lower their evasion skills, and an incoming car subsequently proves to be super effective against both creatures.
After his monsters are seemingly slaughtered, Red Ball himself shows up and surrenders, admitting that he isn’t being paid enough to take down Wonder Woman. He surrenders, given the condition that Wonder Woman signs an autograph for him.
To fans of the Pokémon franchise, the similarities between Red Ball and any given Pokémon trainer is immediately obvious. First off, neither trainers nor Red Ball fight with their bodies, and instead they send monsters out to fight their battles. Both contain monsters inside red spheres, and the monsters tend to be animals –not openly malignant creatures — who merely enact the will of their trainers.
Much like Pokémon, these monsters are large and powerful creatures. They try to claw and bite both women, much like how Pokémon can use moves like Bite or Slash on an opponent. On top of that, Red Ball’s name sounds remarkably similar to the Pokémon trainer Red’s name. Of course, Red Ball’s monsters bare little specific resemblance to Red’s Pokémon, nor does Red Ball’s pragmatic perspective on life match Red’s introverted silence.
When the Pokémon are beaten, the trainer chooses to surrender. Making this even more explicit, the trainer doesn’t seem to have particularly hard feelings over the matter, but rather gives up graciously with a simple little remark. Whenever a standard Pokémon battle concludes in any of the games, the opposing trainer immediately makes a remark relating to the circumstances of the battle before moving on.
In a more subtle manner, however, Red Ball has a few more similarities to enemy Pokémon trainers in-game. When an opposing trainer sees the main character passing by, whether the player is ready or not, the battle will commence. In much the same way, in this comic, Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman just pass by Red Ball, who initiates a battle with them immediately. When all of this is taken into consideration, it just comes across as if Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn slipped into the realm of Kanto for a few pages before moving on with their story.
Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman just encountered an assassin who could be the DC Universe's version of a Pokémon Trainer.