Bronze Tiger
BronzeTigerCM7.jpg
Bronze Tiger, from 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 Duranona (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoBenjamin "Ben" Turner
Team affiliationsSuicide Squad
League of Assassins
G.O.O.D.
Justice League Task Force
Justice League
CBI
PartnershipsRichard Dragon
Lady Shiva
Abilities
  • Master martial artist, capable leader, and expert in espionage.
  • Chi manipulation and sensing.
  • 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 fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Dennis O'Neil, Leopoldo Dirampma, and Jim Berry, he first appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (May 1975). The character's real name is Benjamin "Ben" Turner and is depicted as a African-American who is considered among the most premiere martial artists, assassins, and spies in the DC Universe. He is most notably depicted as a freelance vigilante, a member of the League of Assassins, and an operative of the Suicide Squad, characterized either a villain or antihero due to brainwashing and manipulation from the League of Assasins.

Bronze Tiger has been adapted several times, notably appearing as a recurring The CW Arrowverse show Arrow, portrayed by actor Michael Jai White. In the series, he eventually becomes an ally to Oliver Queen and is the father of the show's version of Connor Hawke.

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 fianceé, 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.
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

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In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Bronze Tiger appears as a member of the League of Assassins.[9]

Characterization

The character is often depicted as a master martial artist whose reputation makes him among the best fighters on Earth in the DC Universe; his skills are often comparable to both Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon, both characters who he is stated to be on par with.[10] In more recent continuities, the character is also hailed as being among the best spies in the world.[11]

Skills and abilities

Bronze Tiger is a master martial artist with lightning-fast reflexes,[12] having studied and trained with numerous martial arts masters in the DC Universe including Kirigi, O-Sensei, and Sensei. While specializing in Taekwondo,[13] the character is said to have mastery in several other forms of martial arts: Boxing, Hapkido, Jeet Kune Do, Silat, Jujutsu, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Savate, Vale Tudo.[5][12][13] In addition to his mastery, he is stated to also have a defense for every style of martial arts.[14] In addition to his skills as a martial artist, Bronze Tiger is also knowledgeable in manipulating his own chi, his usage enabling him to speed up his healing time.[15] He is also considered an effective field leader on the Suicide Squad who draws resources around him and uses them to his best advantage.[13]

From the New 52 onward, the character can shift between his human form and a humanoid, Tiger-like form through a magical talisman supposedly able to grant him enhanced physical prowess at the cost of burning some part of his own soul. In his animal form, he is also seemingly immune to pressure point strikes.[16] Bronze Tiger is also considered to be an expert spy, once being a member of the Syndicate (a council composed of renowned spies like him) and serves as a capable informant in the mercenary community.[11][17]

Other versions

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Amalgam Comics

Main article: List of Amalgam Comics characters

Bronze Panther is the ruler of Wakanda and is named B'Nchalla; an amalgamation of the Bronze Tiger (DC) and the Black Panther (Marvel).[18]

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Bronze Tiger appeared in Year Five of the comic based on the video game of the same name. He is seen with Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Black Mask, Scarecrow, Man-Bat, and Mad Hatter who gang up on Damian Wayne and uses his skills to knock him out. Deadman then possesses Bronze Tiger to knock out the rest of the criminals and himself.

In other media

Television

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

Films

Web series

Bronze Tiger appears in Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, voiced by Delbert Hunt.[23] This version is an amoral mercenary who is far more villainous than his comics counterpart and works for H.I.V.E. under the command of fellow mercenary, Jackal. Together, they ambush Deathstroke as he is searching for his kidnapped son, Joseph. During the fight, Deathstroke severs Bronze Tiger's arm before setting the warehouse ablaze and leaving him and Jackal for dead, though Bronze Tiger manages to drag the latter to safety. Over the course of the following decade, Bronze Tiger receives a robotic, prosthetic arm and participates in the Kasnian civil war for five years, assisting both sides. He encounters Deathstroke again when the latter comes to him for information on H.I.V.E. The two fight once more until Deathstroke severs Bronze Tiger's prosthetic arm and forces him to give up the location of H.I.V.E.'s base. Once he gets the information, Deathstroke leaves aboard an advanced fighter jet and fires a missile at Bronze Tiger's base, destroying it and seemingly killing him and his men.

Video games

Toys

Bronze Tiger received a figure in wave 18 of DC Universe Classics line in 2011.[24]

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 9780345501066.
  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. ^ Red Hood and the Outlaws #21
  10. ^ Scott, Melanie (2019). DC ultimate character guide (New ed.). New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-4654-7975-4. OCLC 1089398386.
  11. ^ a b 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b c Who's Who in the DC Universe #9. DC Comics. 1991.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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: others (link)
  18. ^ Bronze Tiger at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  19. ^ "Newsarama | GamesRadar+".
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Gelman, Vlada (June 4, 2019). "Arrow Promotes Joseph David-Jones to Series Regular for Final Season". TVLine. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "1970s-Set 'Batman' Animated Movie Reveals Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 12 August 2020.
  23. ^ ""Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons" - Double-Cross Slade Wilson? [Trailer]". 6 October 2019.
  24. ^ OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Bronze Tiger review