Dragon's Fists (1974)
Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (April–May 1975).
|Created by||Dennis O'Neil (writer)
Jim Berry (writer)
Leo Duranona (artist)
|Alter ego||Ben Turner|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad
League of Assassins
|Abilities||Master martial artist|
Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner) is a fictional comic book character, an antihero, in the DC Universe. He is a martial artist who first appeared in Dragon's Fists, a novel by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry, starring Richard Dragon. His first DC Comics appearance was in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter.
Fictional character biography
Ben Turner 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. 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 in order to finally come to terms with his demons. There, he meets the O-Sensei, and studies under him, together with later recruit Richard Dragon. The meeting between Turner and Dragon serves as the start of the series Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter. Some time 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). Whether this was meant as a retcon or an addition to their history is not made clear. Assigned to take down the League of Assassins, Dragon and Turner are discovered by the League, who kill Turner's fianceé, Myoshi, and proceeded 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.
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 around the world, 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.
The Bronze Tiger is eventually sent to murder Kathy Kane (the superheroine Batwoman), a friend of Batman. While fighting Batman (and defeating him), another assassin kills Kane. After Crisis on Infinite Earths (known as post-Crisis) it was initially determined that Kathy Kane had never become Batwoman, and had merely been a friend of Batman's. Another character named Kate Kane became Batwoman in 2006, and seems to be a completely different character. Subsequently, it was retconned that Kathy Kane was originally recruited to infiltrate Batman's inner circle, but instead fell in love with Batman. It has been hinted that she did not die after the Bronze Tiger kidnapped her.
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.
Waller later recruits Turner for the Suicide Squad, setting him up to become the team's leader, but he ends up the team's second-in-command under Rick Flag. On the team's first mission the Tiger faces Ravan, who he brutally 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).
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. 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 laters leaves the team, and she and Turner part on good terms.
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.
Shortly after leaving the Squad, Turner is part of Bruce Wayne's search for Jack Drake (father of Tim Drake, the most recent Robin) and Shondra Kinsolving, who had been kidnapped. 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 the 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 at her becoming a hero. Bronze Tiger meets with Batman shortly afterwards. He has to stop a group of villans 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 on the costume he wore 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). Afterwards, 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 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 an intense 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
Powers and abilities
In other media
- Bronze Tiger appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Return of the Fearsome Fangs!" voiced by Gary Anthony Sturgis. Formerly Master Wong Fei's best student and protector of a small village, he holds much pride as a Martial Artist. He helps Batman battle the Terrible Trio in a reluctant partnership after they killed their sensei of whom both he, the Caped Crusader, and the trio trained under. He takes in the power of the Wudang Totem (taking it with what Batman called Wong Fei's most important lesson: "When outmatched, cheat.") during a fight with the empowered threesome, turning into a tiger. He is reverted to normal after the fight, deciding to reopen Wong Fei's school, and having a rematch with Batman. Additionally, Bronze Tiger appears in a non-speaking cameo in part two of the two part episode "The Siege of Starro!", as one of the heroes possessed by Starro, and later, Bronze Tiger reappears once he has broken free of Starro's mind control. Finally, he appears briefly in the opening sequence of the series, among several other well-known heroes.
- Michael Jai White portrays Bronze Tiger in the Arrow episode Identity. In the episode, Bronze Tiger is contacted by China White to combat Arrow. In addition to his martial artist abilities, he has duel-wielding gauntlets with three claws that makes him very formidable. He is later defeated by an electrified-trick arrow.
- Bronze Tiger appears in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion follow-up to Batman: Arkham Origins, with Gary Anthony Sturgis reprising his role from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. This version is the champion of the prison fights. Batman ends up fighting Bronze Tiger in Penguin's "arena." After Batman defeats Bronze Tiger, Penguin's men attack in retaliation for Batman not finishing off Bronze Tiger. Bronze Tiger regains consciousness and helps Batman defeat Penguin's men. In the post-credits, Amanda Waller and Rick Flag have Bronze Tiger and Deadshot in their helicopter planning to have them in the Suicide Squad.
- Bronze Tiger is part of wave 18 of DC Universe Classics in 2011, including both his human and tiger mask heads.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Bronze Tiger", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 60, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- As all revealed in Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #38 (1990), written by John Ostrander (plot) and Robert Greenberger (script).
- In Detective Comics #485 (1979), written by Denny O'Neil
- Suicide Squad #21 at the Grand Comics Database
- Suicide Squad #38
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #65 (1992), written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale
- Knightquest: The Search story arc in the Batman books
- "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
- Detective Comics #485 (1979)
- OAFE - DC Universe Classics 18: Bronze Tiger review