Bronze Tiger
Bronze Tiger as depicted on the cover to Checkmate #7. Art by Cliff Richards.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceRichard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (May 1975)
Created byDennis O'Neil (writer)
Jim Berry (artist)
Leopoldo Durañona (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoBenjamin "Ben" Turner
SpeciesHuman
Place of originCentral City
Team affiliationsSuicide Squad
League of Assassins
G.O.O.D.
Justice League Task Force
Justice League
CBI
PartnershipsRichard Dragon
Lady Shiva
Abilities
  • Mastery of martial arts and experise in espionage.
  • Skilled strategist, tactician, and manipulator
  • Chi manipulation enabling sensing and accelerated healing.
  • Mystic talisman allows him to transform into a bi-pedal primal tiger for enhanced physical abilities and traits befitting a tiger

Bronze Tiger is a character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Dennis O'Neil, Leopoldo Durañona, and Jim Berry, he first appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (May 1975) during the Bronze Age of Comics.

The character is often portrayed as an anti-hero or villain and is commonly depicted as an African-American grandmaster martial artist within the DC Universe alongisde related character, Richard Dragon and Lady Shiva. They have gained recognition as one of the premier martial artists, assassins, and spies on Earth. Over time, the character has developed close associations with Batman, the League of Assassins, and various other titles and characters in the DC Universe. Notably, they have been involved with the Suicide Squad and have served as the love interest for the superheroine Vixen.

The character has made appearances in various forms of media, including animated features like Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Notably, Bronze Tiger became a recurring character in the television series Arrow, portrayed by Michael Jai White, who also provided the character's voice in other animated adaptations.

Publication history

Bronze Tiger first appeared in Dragon's Fists, a novel by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry which starred Richard Dragon.

Bronze Tiger's first DC Comics appearance was in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (April/May 1975).[1]

Fictional character biography

Early years

Born as Benjamin Turner, Ben comes from an upper-middle-class black neighborhood in Central City. When he was only 10 years old, he saw a burglar attacking his parents, and he proceeded to kill the man with a kitchen knife.[2] In an effort to control the rage inside him, Turner turns to martial arts (and eventually, crime). After some time, Turner decides to travel to the far East to finally come to terms with his demons.[3] There, he meets the O-Sensei, and studies under him, together with later recruit Richard Dragon. The meeting between Turner and Dragon starts the series Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter. Sometime after, they are approached by Barney Ling, from the organization known as G.O.O.D. (Global Organization of Organized Defense), and their (reluctant) working for Ling served as the basis for the Kung Fu Fighter series.

A flashback in DC Comics Presents #39 (1981) shows Richard Dragon discovering that Turner has been brainwashed into becoming the Bronze Tiger by Professor Ojo, then used by Barney Ling (who turns out to be a traitor). Dragon and Turner prove to be equals in the fight, which only ends when Ling is accidentally knocked out a window.

League of Assassins

Later, in Suicide Squad #38, Turner's further career is shown, wherein he and Dragon are hired by King Faraday to work for the C.B.I. (Central Bureau of Intelligence). Assigned to take down the League of Assassins, Dragon and Turner are discovered by the League, who kill Turner's fiancée, Myoshi, and proceed to brainwash Turner. Turner was rid of his demons by channeling them into the identity of the Bronze Tiger, a masked assassin working for the League.[1][3]

During this time, he also trains the assassin David Cain's daughter, Cassandra, together with other members of the League. As the Bronze Tiger, Turner developed a fearsome reputation in the world, his identity remaining a secret to everyone but the League.

As the Bronze Tiger, Ben was feared worldwide, and the Sensei was smart enough to ensure that Ben hardly ever took off the mask, sending him on a new mission as soon as he finished another. For a time, his identity was secret, and he became one of the most wanted criminals, the Bronze Tiger being a professional assassin, killing on three continents.

Learning of Bronze Tiger's true identity, King Faraday set up a rescue squad of Rick Flag and Nightshade. They retrieved the Tiger, and he was deprogrammed by Amanda Waller, who would later run the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad

Cover to Suicide Squad #65, illustrated by Geof Isherwood, Robert Campanella and Tom McCraw.

Waller recruits Turner for the Suicide Squad, setting him up to become the team's leader. Still, he ends up the team's second-in-command under Rick Flag.[1] On the team's first mission, the Tiger faces Ravan, whom he cripples but refuses to kill. Turner develops a relationship with Vixen while a member of the Squad's support crew, Flo Crawley, nurses a crush on him. Meeting Ravan again later, Turner convinces him to join the Squad, and the two become an effective fighting duo.

The Suicide Squad was mostly populated by villains, but the Tiger is one of the Squad's 'good' members, meant to balance out the cast of characters. He often enforces Waller's rules, such as forcing various Squad members to wear devices designed to force good behavior. A Bronze Tiger solo story appeared as a Bonus Book in Suicide Squad #21 (December 1988).[4]

The nigh-corrupting nature of the Squad eventually leads to Rick Flag's departure and seeming death in a nuclear explosion. Turner becomes the leader of the team, a role in which he excels, often disobeying direct orders to save the lives of his team (even if they were "expendable"). The Squad member Duchess, in reality, the Apokoliptian soldier Lashina, betrays the team and takes many, including Flo, to Apokolips. Flo does not survive the kidnapping.

Turner is eventually confronted by his superiors about his actions, and in the ensuing meeting, Turner's mind snaps.[5] He flees, traveling back to the East (leaving Vixen in the process), where he spends some time as a janissary.

Eventually, Amanda Waller reforms the Squad and again recruits Turner. In the interim, Turner has become a deeply troubled man, one who distances himself from Vixen and was constantly egging on Ravan to confront him. In a mission shortly after the team had reformed, Vixen is hurt, which unlocks Turner's feelings for her once more. He mostly returns to his old state of mind. Vixen later leaves the team, telling Turner she no longer loves him but wishes him well.

In the team's last mission, the Squad struggles to free a small island nation from the tyranny of its seemingly immortal ruler. The team must pass through a forest known for causing hallucinations. While the others experience their own mind trips, Bronze Tiger faces himself. Defeating himself and thereby exorcising his demons, Turner once again becomes a complete person. The tyrant is later defeated by Waller.[6]

Shortly after leaving the Squad, Turner is part of Bruce Wayne's search for Jack Drake (father of Tim Drake) and Shondra Kinsolving, who had been kidnapped.[7] He teams up with Green Arrow and Gypsy, a member of the short-lived Justice League Task Force. Gypsy becomes romantically involved with Tiger. He later becomes her mentor in martial arts.

In a story arc of the Batgirl title in 2005, Cassandra Cain begins a search for her birth mother, who she believes is Lady Shiva. She tracks down Turner in Detroit, where he has opened the "Tiger Dojo". Both are able to come to terms with Turner's involvement in Cassandra's training, and he expresses his pride in her becoming a hero. Bronze Tiger meets with Batman shortly afterward. He has to stop a group of villains and avenge his master.

World War III and beyond

In the World War III event, Bronze Tiger is shown to have retired but is coaxed back into action by Amanda Waller.

In Checkmate (vol. 2) Bronze Tiger rescues Rick Flag from a secret Quraci prison, where Flag had been imprisoned for four years. Notably, he is seen wearing a variant of his costume while with the League of Assassins, complete with a tiger head mask (according to writer Nunzio DeFilippis he wears the mask to prove it no longer has any power over him[8]). Afterward, Amanda Waller appears at the Tiger Dojo, revealing to Ben that she leaked the information about Flag's whereabouts. She then enlists their aid in tracking down a supposedly rogue Suicide Squad team, a team which, in reality, was being run by Flag and Turner at Waller's behest.

In Countdown #39, Bronze Tiger is among the Suicide Squad members trying to bring in Pied Piper and The Trickster.

In a recent appearance in the mini-series Gotham Underground, Bronze Tiger is among the members of the Suicide Squad arresting Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Hugo Strange, and Scarecrow. While frisking Scarecrow, he is gassed by the escaping villain, revealing a previously undiscovered fear of insects.

Bronze Tiger appears in a Blackest Night-related one-shot entitled Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67 (part of a series of one-shots operating as extra issues to long-since canceled ongoing series). He works with fellow Suicide Squad members Count Vertigo and Rick Flag to bring down a Mexican drug lord. When the Secret Six attempt to break into Belle Reve prison, Bronze Tiger squares off with Catman to see who is the superior feline-themed martial artist.

The New 52

In the New 52 reboot, Bronze Tiger is a high-ranking grandmaster within the League of Assassins. Alongside other assassins like Lady Shiva, Cheshire, Rictus, and December Graystone, he kidnaps Jason from the Outlaws. on account Talia al Ghul revealed to him years ago that Jason is the only one capable of stopping the Untitled, who seek the powerful Well of Sins in the League's sacred city. Bronze Tiger and the assassins battle Arsenal, who has been deceived by the Untitled, granting them entry. Although they are initially defeated, Ra's al Ghul absorbs their powers through the Well of Sins, becoming a powerful entity. Bronze Tiger allows Cheshire to aid the Outlaws due to her feelings for Arsenal, and when Ra's is depowered by Red Hood, he advises him to retreat.[9]

Bronze Tiger also features prominently as a major antagonist in the 2014 Deathstroke comic book series. In the "Gods of War" storyline, it is revealed that Bronze Tiger shares a close friendship with the revised version of Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke. He is a ally of the covert team known as the Dead Bastards, composed of intelligence operatives believed to be deceased. The team carries out black ops missions for Interpol and the CIA, particularly those deemed ethically challenging. Within the storyline, Bronze Tiger assumes the role of a deep-cover sleeper agent, pledging his loyalty to a man who identifies himself as Odysseus. This individual is revealed to be Slade Wilson's metahuman father, who employs his powers to seize control of the League of Assassins. Alongside Shiva, Bronze Tiger serves as one of Odysseus' trusted lieutenants. Their objective is to locate Jericho and merge his powers with Odysseus', thereby granting him the ability to manipulate entire populations to his will. Ultimately, Odysseus is killed by his own son, Slade Wilson, and Bronze Tiger is freed from the mind control and sleeper agent programming that had influenced his actions.[10]

Bronze Tiger also appears in the Grayson comic book series, where the character is a member of the Syndicate. The Syndicate is a clandestine group composed of the world's most skilled spies, dedicated to maintaining order among various intelligence agencies. In the series, Dick Grayson, known as Agent 37, is framed for the murder of Nemesis, and suspicions arise regarding Spyral's activities under the leadership of Helena Bertinelli, also known as Matron. The Syndicate intervenes to prevent a conflict between intelligence agencies. However, when Helena is left with no other choice when she believes that Grayson and Tiger (Agent 1 of Spyral and their top spy) have betrayed her, she forcibly enlists their aid. Consequently, the Syndicate hunts them down while working to prevent the resurrection of Otto Netz, the dangerous spymaster known as the original Agent Zero. As the Syndicate clashes with Grayson and Tiger at Spyral's headquarters, the true culprit behind Nemesis' murder is revealed to be Maxwell Lord and Checkmate. Lord had utilized double agents Alia (Agent Seven of Spyral) and Tiger to eliminate Nemesis, inciting a conflict that would eliminate Spyral. Lord also sought to obtain Spyral's Minos file, which contained the secret identities of Justice League members. Ultimately, the Syndicate is defeated by Midnighter.[11]

Characterization

The character is widely regarded as one of the most highly skilled martial artists in the DC Universe. Within this fictional universe, Bronze Tiger's combat abilities are stated to be on par with esteemed martial artists such as Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon.[12][13] Additionally, the character has been depicted[14] and acknowledged to surpass Batman in the realm of hand-to-hand combat.[13] Within various storylines throughout his pulication history, the character has prevailed and/or contended against various other adversaries of renown martial prowess, including Deathstroke, Black Canary, and Rick Flag Jr.

Allies and friends

Having collaborated with heroes and villains alike, Bronze Tiger has cultivated a network of allies spanning both sides of the alignment spectrum:

Bronze Tiger's students

As a premier martial artist, Bronze Tiger has trained several other fighters in the DC Universe:

Powers and abilities

Bronze Tiger does not possess any inherent superhuman abilities but is highly proficient in various martial arts styles, renowned for his lightning-fast reflexes.[19] Throughout his training, he has studied under esteemed martial arts masters such as Kirigi, O-Sensei, and Sensei. While specializing in Taekwondo, he has attained expertise in a diverse range of disciplines, including Boxing, Hapkido, Jeet Kune Do, Silat, Jujutsu, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, and Vale Tudo.[5][19] It is also worth noting that he has developed defensive techniques for each style, showcasing his comprehensive understanding of martial arts principles.[20] Bronze Tiger also possesses knowledge in harnessing his own qi energy, which allows him to accelerate his healing process.[21]

In addition to his combat skills, Bronze Tiger is recognized as an effective field leader within the Suicide Squad. He has the ability to gather and utilize available resources to his advantage, displaying his leadership prowess.[12] Moreover, Bronze Tiger is regarded as an expert spy, having been a member of the Syndicate, a council composed of renowned spies. He serves as a valuable informant in the mercenary community, leveraging his extensive knowledge and experience in espionage.[22][23]

Equipment

Other versions

Amalgam Comics

Main article: List of Amalgam Comics characters

In Amalgam Comics, the Bronze Panther is the ruler of Wakanda and is named B'Nchalla; an amalgamation of the Bronze Tiger (DC) and the Black Panther (Marvel).[24]

In other media

Television

Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger in the CW's Arrow

Films

Video games

Merchandise

Miscellaneous

References

  1. ^ a b c Beatty, Scott (2008), "Bronze Tiger", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 60, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-0-345-50106-6.
  3. ^ a b As all revealed in Suicide Squad #38 (1990), written by John Ostrander (plot) and RGreenberger (script).
  4. ^ Suicide Squad #21 at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ a b Suicide Squad #38 (February 1990)
  6. ^ Suicide Squad #65 (1992), written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale
  7. ^ Knightquest: The Search story arc in the Batman books
  8. ^ "Not a mistake. We decided he'd be in the mask for a reason. Ben wears it to show that, to paraphrase from The Man In The Iron Mask, he wears the mask - it doesn't wear him (at least, not anymore)." - Nunzio DeFilippis Comic Book Resources Forums, October 24 2006
  9. ^ a b c d Tynion, James IV (2014). Red Hood and the Outlaws. Vol. 4, League of Assassins. Julius M. Gopez. New York. ISBN 978-1-4012-4636-5. OCLC 881386360.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ a b c Daniel, Tony (2015-06-23). Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars (The New 52). National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-1-4012-5471-1.
  11. ^ a b King, Tom; Seeley, Tim (2016-10-06). Grayson Vol. 4: A Ghost in the Tomb. DC Comics. ISBN 978-1-4012-7270-8.
  12. ^ a b Who's Who in the DC Universe #9. DC Comics. 1991.
  13. ^ a b Scott, Melanie (2019-03-04). DC Comics Ultimate Character Guide. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-241-36137-5.
  14. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (2020-03-17). Batman: Tales of the Demon. DC Comics. ISBN 978-1-4012-9944-6.
  15. ^ King, Tom (2017-04-18). Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide. DC Comics. ISBN 978-1-4012-7705-5.
  16. ^ a b Dixon, Chuck (2005). Richard Dragon #1-12. DC Comics.
  17. ^ Waid, Mark (2012-04-11). Justice League Task Force (1993-) #0. DC Comics.
  18. ^ Gabrych, Andersen; Garza, Alé; Kuhn, Andy; Mhan, Pop (September 2006). Destruction's Daughter. Titan Books Limited. ISBN 978-1-84576-327-5.
  19. ^ a b Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  20. ^ Simone, Gail (2015). Secret Six. Volume 3, Cat's cradle. John Ostrander, Jim Calafiore, Peter Nguyen, R. B. Silva, Doug Hazlewood, Mark McKenna. Burbank, CA. ISBN 978-1-4012-5861-0. OCLC 907494970.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  21. ^ Ostrander, John (2016). Suicide Squad. [Volume 2], The nightshade odyssey. Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Paul Kupperberg, Robert Greenberger, Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis. Burbank, CA. ISBN 978-1-4012-5833-7. OCLC 930364180.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  22. ^ Seeley, Tim (2016). Grayson. Volume 4, A ghost in the tomb. Tom King, Mikel Janín, Hugo Petrus, Stephen Mooney, Jeromy Cox, Emilio Lopez. Burbank, CA. ISBN 978-1-4012-6762-9. OCLC 955275046.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  23. ^ The DC comics encyclopedia: the definitive guide to the characters of the DC universe. Matthew K. Manning, Stephen Wiacek, Melanie Scott, Nick Jones, Landry Q. Walker, Alan Cowsill (New ed.). New York, New York. 2021. ISBN 978-0-7440-2056-4. OCLC 1253363543.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^ Bronze Tiger at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  25. ^ "Newsarama | GamesRadar+". August 2023.
  26. ^ Narcisse, Evan (February 21, 2014). "Exclusive: Amanda Waller Unleashes The Suicide Squad on "Arrow"". Comic Book Resource. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28.
  27. ^ Gelman, Vlada (June 4, 2019). "Arrow Promotes Joseph David-Jones to Series Regular for Final Season". TVLine. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  28. ^ "1970s-Set 'Batman' Animated Movie Reveals Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 12 August 2020.
  29. ^ OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Bronze Tiger review
  30. ^ ""Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons" - Double-Cross Slade Wilson? [Trailer]". 6 October 2019.