DC comics is home to some of the strongest characters in comics history. From the New Gods and Superman to Lucifer and God himself, #DC is a powerhouse when it comes to superpowers. However, we readers usually identify with the more grounded, more human characters in comics, which is probably the reason why characters like Batman are favored compared to other supes.
Most of the times these grounded characters have to fight crime the only way that humans can — by mastering martial arts. In contrast to some superheroes, these characters have to practice for years to perfect their abilities to become heroes. So, let's find out seven of the greatest of these martial arts masters.
7. The Black Canary
Starting off our list is Dinah Laurel Lance, also known as the Black Canary. Dinah proved from an early age to have an affinity for fighting. A talented martial artist, she has studied different styles from great fighters like Ted Grant, Richard Dragon and even Wonder Woman. She has mastered the styles of Aikido, Capoeira, Dragon-Style Kung Fu, Hapkido, Judo, Jujutsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Savate, Taekwondo, Wing Chun and even some Amazonian styles.
She also trained alongside Lady Shiva, a character so deadly we have to mention her down the list.
6. Bronze Tiger
The sixth spot is taken by no other than Ben Turner, the Bronze Tiger. Regarded as one of the greatest martial artist in the world, Ben, has seen many things in his life. A student of the Legendary O-Sensei, Ben was trained to martial perfection. He masted many martial arts including, Aikido, Karate, Dragon Style Kung Fu, Hapkido, Jeet Kun Do, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Savate. Having fought and defeated many of the Batfamily, including Batman (who he fought to a stalemate), it can't be denied that Ben is one of the elite when it comes to martial arts.
Aided by his appearance (granted to him by a magical talisman), Ben is respected by characters like Batman, Lady Shiva, Richard Dragon and Deathstroke, with the latter almost intimidated by Turner's Tiger's form.
5. The Batman
This might surprise you, but there are many martial artists in the DC Universe who are far better than Batman. More on that later.
Bruce Wayne is one of the most talented and dedicated fighters on the planet. Having been trained by Richard Dragon, Ted Grand and Lady Shiva, Bruce is the defining martial arts superhero. Having mastered a number of martial arts so vast we can't list them all on this article, he uses an amalgam of eight martial arts (Taekwondo, Judo, Muai Thai, Dragon Style Kung Fu, Boxing, Jujitsu, Ninjutsu and Capoeira) for his primary form alone. He was also a teacher to many great DC martial artists, proving that he can both learn and teach.
Note: Bruce was never trained by Ra's al-Ghul or the League of Assassins in mainstream comics continuity.
4. Cassandra Cain
Next up is Cassandra Cain, now known as Orphan. Cassandra Cain had many aliases over the years (Black Bat, Batgirl and Orphan), with one thing staying always consistent: She is an incredible martial artist. Cassandra is probably the most talented martial artist in the DC Universe, and the one with the most potential. She is known to master any martial art she encounters with incredible speed.
The daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, two incredibly powerful martial artists in their own right, she was further trained by the League of Assassins, Bronze Tiger, Merlyn, Alpha, Batman, Oracle, the Black Canary and Onyx. Bred as the ultimate fighter, she first learned fighting and only after that learned to speak.
3. Richard Dragon
Reaching the top three, we now have the few greatest fighters in DC comics. Richard Dragon is a martial artist so refined, his fighting showcases physical perfection. While rumored to know many martial arts, his true strength lies in his mastery of meditation and concentration. He's a teacher to many of the best DC fighters including the Black Canary, the Batman, Nightwing, both Questions and many more. A close friend of Lady Shiva and Bronze Tiger, he is the embodiment of martial arts philosophy.
2. Lady Shiva
The penultimate fighter in the DC universe is Sandra Wu-San, Lady Shiva. Considered by many to be THE best fighter in the DC Universe she is, if nothing else, one of the most versatile. While she practiced a great number of different martial arts (Leopard and Dragon Style Kung Fu, Judo, Capoeira, Kokusho, etc.), her true deadliness comes from her fighting philosophy.
When fighting, Lady Shiva will try to learn the most efficient skill until she finds a better one. When she comes into contact with a better move than hers, she discards her own to copy the new one. This way, Lady Shiva perfects her fighting style and stays step ahead of everyone else. Thanks to her fighting philosophy, Lady Shiva has become the world's deadliest assassin.
1. Karate Kid
I know, the name, the costume, everything about this character screams cringe, but he is by far the greatest martial artist in the DC Universe.
Val Armorr, also known as the Karate Kid, is a superhero in the 31st century and a member of the Legion of Superheroes. He has mastered, all existing (Earth) martial arts and all types of weapon combat. He has defeated a meteor, and even held his own against Superboy, a kryptonian, while using his own special fighting style. He was literally created to be an overpowered character.
Watch some other DC characters hold their own in Fight Club:
This are my seven greatest DC martial artists. Did I miss any? Comment below on who you think I should have included. If you want to know more about the Black Canary click here.