The Sensei
The Sensei, as he appeared in Justice League of America #94
(November 1971). Art by Neal Adams.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceStrange Adventures #215 (December 1968)
Created byNeal Adams
In-story information
Alter egoUnknown
Team affiliationsLeague of Assassins
AbilitiesMaster martial artist

The Sensei (Japanese: 先生) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The Sensei was created by writer-artist Neal Adams and first appeared in Strange Adventures #215 (December 1968). The character is a martial arts sensei and adversary of the superhero Batman, along with Deadman and several other heroes. Sensei is the father of Ra's al Ghul, the paternal grandfather of Talia al Ghul, and also the maternal great-grandfather of Damian Wayne.

The character appeared on the third season of Gotham, played by Raymond J. Barry.

Publication history

Sensei first appeared in Strange Adventures #215 (December 1968) and was created by Neal Adams.[1]

Fictional character biography

Ra's al Ghul may have founded the League of Assassins, but he would leave much of its affairs in the hands of Professor Ebeneezer Darrk and his second in command: the Sensei, an aged martial arts master from Hong Kong. After earning Ra's enmity (for reasons unknown), Darrk died during a plot to kidnap Talia al Ghul which was foiled by Batman.[2]

The Sensei was put in charge of the League afterwards; however, he would prove just as disloyal as his predecessor, and the Sensei would eventually struggle with Ra's al Ghul for the control of the organization. (DC Comics Detective Comics #485 (September 1979)) For a time, the Sensei was possessed by the spirit called Jonah, who in Sensei's body was responsible for the murder of Boston Brand, who became Deadman after his death. After a struggle with Deadman and Rama Kushna, Jonah was destroyed and the Sensei resumed control of his body. For a brief time, the Sensei assumed leadership of the League of Assassins.

By this stage, the Sensei was clearly insane (if he had not been before) with no goals other than to raise assassination to an art form. Among other crimes he used Bronze Tiger, the brainwashed partner of Richard Dragon, to carry out a number of assassinations. Most notably he used the Bronze Tiger to occupy Batman in battle, while other assassins killed Batman's friend Kathy Kane. (DC Comics Detective Comics #485 (September 1979))

The Sensei. Art by Tony Daniel.

He next attempted to kill a number of dignitaries by having the League plant explosives along a fault line, stating that using a force of nature to carry out an assassination would be his greatest work of art. Although Batman arrived in time to rescue the delegates, he was unable to stop the earthquake. With no time to pursue the Sensei himself, Batman was forced to allow Ra's al Ghul to go after the assassin. Sensei then engaged himself in a fight to the death with Ra's al Ghul, during which both of them were swallowed by the earthquake. Ra's lived thanks to his rejuvenating Lazarus Pit.[volume & issue needed]

The Sensei also somehow survived, to reappear in The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline, wherein he is revealed to be Ra's al Ghul's father, Damian Wayne's maternal great-grandfather, and Talia al Ghul's paternal grandfather.[3] When Ra's and Batman seek the Fountain of Youth in the Valley of Nanda Parbat, Sensei confronts them both, stabbing Ra's' decaying body and then attacking Batman, arrogantly informing the Dark Knight that, while he can only maintain the necessary physical strength to vanquish Batman for two minutes at his age, he only needs one minute to break him. However, Batman is able to take him by surprise, hurling both of them into the Fountain. It destroys Sensei due to his impure spirit, but Batman is not only healed, but apparently slightly rejuvenated by his dip in the waters.

Powers and abilities

The Sensei is an expert martial artist. His longevity allowed him to learn dozens of martial arts over the centuries, able to beat Batman within minutes, although his age meant that he was unable to physically confront the Dark Knight for long enough to do so.

Other versions

Batman: Odyssey

Young Justice tie-in comics

Batman: Gotham Adventures

The Sensei. Art by Rick Burchett.

In other media


Video games


  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 324. ISBN 9780345501066.
  2. ^ Detective Comics #411 (May 1971)
  3. ^ Batman #671 (January 2008)
  4. ^ Batman: Odyssey (September 2010-June 2012)
  5. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight".