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CSBG Archive

The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – B

We continue our tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z!

Today we look at one of the cooler supporting characters in the DC Universe.

Ben Turner, the Bronze Tiger, first showed up in Dennis O’Neil and Jim Berry’s novel, Dragon’s Fists, starring Richard Dragon. Along with Dragon, Ben made the transition from novel to comic in the late 1970s with Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter.

Ben and Richard were friends and two of the best martial artists in the world.

When Richard became an international agent for a global peacekeeping group, Ben joined him.

Sadly, at the end of the series, Ben was brainwashed by the bad guys into becoming the Bronze Tiger.

As the Bronze Tiger, Ben was one of the most feared members of the League of Assassins.

Eventually, he was rescued and his brainwashing was broken.

He then became second-in-command of the Suicide Squad, a team made up of mostly super-villains working for early release by the United State Government.

While with the Squad, Ben was able to use his skills often, especially against Ravan, who was a bit of as nemesis to Ben.

Ben eventually became the sole leader of the Suicide Squad, and began a relationship with his teammate, Vixen.

However, he still had a lot of mental issues to work through…

He basically has conquered his inner demons, but he’s still with the Suicide Squad.

He also recently co-starred in an episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold as a former fellow martial art student with Batman. The two have to try to save their old teacher.

What I like best about Ben is the conflicts in his personality. When he was a child, his family was being robbed – the young Ben killed the burglar with a kitchen knife. The idea of being filled with so much rage scared him and his family, so he turned to martial arts as a way of controlling himself. That anger was later used by the League of Assassins.

So that’s an interesting facet of the man – he’s a really good guy, but he has a lot of inner demons, and he insists on working for the Suicide Squad as the only (or at least only one or two) GOOD member of the team, so a man who has problems with inner demons constantly surrounds himself with some of the worst scum out there, hoping that he can continue to find his inner peace amongst it all.

That’s a pretty darn cool idea for a character.

And hey, it’s also pretty cool that he can fight Batman to a stand-still.

7 Comments

I’m glad someone hasn’t retconned his origin to say that he’s actually the THIRD-GREATEST martial arts tiger guy, forcing him to go up against Silver Tiger and then Gold Tiger.

Or, y’know, have him say that things are grrrrrrrrrrreat!

Amanda Waller, BTW, demands that Q is for Quasar. You don’t want to know what she’s told Deadshot to do to your pets.

IIRC, he and Batman had a battle somewhere around Detective 485? Death of Batwoman arc, I think.

Cheers,

B

David Hackett

May 8, 2009 at 6:09 am

Nice recap, but I think Ben’s killing Batwoman while under the League’s influence is too central a part of his back story to not get a mention.

i am glad that bronze tiger is getting some over due loving espically given that he is one of the reasons that suicide squad is so loved. by fans though you left out where he got framed for the murder of the first batwoman

Brian Cronin

May 8, 2009 at 6:41 am

Nice recap, but I think Ben’s killing Batwoman while under the League’s influence is too central a part of his back story to not get a mention.

Had he killer her, I’d put it in there. But he didn’t.

So “while with the League of Assassins, he was sent to kill the former Batwoman but didn’t, but someone else did – but now Kathy Kane was no longer the former Batwoman, she was just some lady Batman knew” seemed to be more confusing than interesting.

Ben was one of the best fleshed out characters in SS, and I enjoyed him before.
I remember the old “Whatever happened to…” stories in the back of “DC Comics Presents” The Richard Dragon story introduced me to both Richard Dragon (I like what was done with him in the original DC “Question” run.) & Bronze Tiger.

DC even published a letter I asked about that issue post crisis, relegating the Whatever Happened to story to pre Crisis days, not post.

Didn’t Grant Morrison draw all the original Batwoman stuff back in to continuity recently?

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