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Richard Dragon is one of the world's greatest martial artists. This has allowed him to take many different roles. He has been a thief, a secret agent, a vigilante, and later in life he became a martial arts instructor. In this position he has tutored several prominent superheroes.

Kung Fu Fighter

Richard Dragon grew up poor and neglected in the slums of St. Louis, Missouri.[citation needed] He has mentioned that his father died in a plane crash.[1] Richard was living as a thief in Japan when the O-Sensei caught him trying to steal a Buddha statue. He tried to kill the old man, but O-Sensei easily defeated him. O-Sensei saw goodness in Richard Dragon, and decided to take him in as a student. Richard spent six years studying with the O-Sensei, learning to control his anger. He also developed a close friendship with Ben Turner, the O-Sensei's other student. Their lessons included combat, history, philosophy, and science. When their training was finished, O-Sensei sent them to find their destiny. They were immediately recruited by Barney Ling, an agent of G.O.O.D., who used them to break up a slave ring in Sudan.[2] Dragon and Turner decided to start their new lives in New York City, traveling with the O-Sensei's goddaughter Carolyn Woosan. They are attacked when they get there, and Carolyn is kidnapped by a spy called the Swiss.[1] The Swiss became obsessed with Richard, and set up an ambush with exotic weapons experts. Richard defeated them by channeling his strength with the Dragon's Claw given to him by O-Sensei.[3] He then pursued the Swiss by motorcycle, leading to a car accident where Carolyn is killed. This devastated Richard, and he followed the Swiss to an empty junkyard then beat him to death in a fight.[4]

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Ben and Richard set up a martial arts school in Manhattan. Barney Ling enlisted Richard to take down Guano Cravat, an industrialist who hired the Swiss to kidnap Carolyn. Carolyn's sister is the deadly assassin Lady Shiva, and Cravat trickd Shiva into fighting Richard. Richard convinced Shiva that he did not kill Carolyn, and they teamed up to stop Cravat.[5] Their extraction plane was crashed by a pirate named Slash, who Richard was able to defeat.[6] Cravat returned to take revenge on Dragon and Shiva by hiring Doctor Moon to kill them. Dragon and Shiva defeated Moon's surgically altered brutes, but Cravat and Moon escaped.[7] Slash returned and used a trap to blind Richard, but Richard was able to defeat him even with no eyesight.[8]

Ben Turner was targeted by assassins. Ling promised to give them intel if they will do another mission for him. Richard went to the Caribbean with Shiva and Turner to defeat the mysterious Preying Mantis.[9] Turner learned that his sister was murdered by a corrupt logger named Hatchett. The trio defeat Hatchett to rescue Turner's nephew Benjamin, Jr..[10] Turner was attacked by another strange assassin, the Silent Samurai. Barney Ling sent them on an undercover mission to China, where Dragon killed the Samurai.[11] They are drawn into a conflict between Blodwyn and Madame Sun of the Doomsday Tong, where Richard is forced to defeat a clone of himself.[12] Ben is poisoned in another attack, and Shiva recognized the League of Assassins. Dragon and Shiva pursued the assassin Viper to Mongolia where he died trying to escape.[13]

Roy Harper Cry for Justice
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Later, when he retired as an adventurer, Richard Dragon became a trainer of several costumed vigilantes. This included Barbara Gordon (Oracle), Vic Sage (The Question), and Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) among many others. Unfortunately, Dragon fell under the sway of the notorious Lady Shiva, who drew him into the world of underground fighting competitions. Now Dragon is redeeming his past sins by tracking down the many criminals he encountered while immersed in the deadly world he indulged in.[14]


  • Master Martial Artist: Although Richard Dragon possesses no superhuman abilities, his astounding martial arts feats often make him seem more than human and is hailed as one of top, if not the top, most dangerous martial artist in the world. Dragon is proficient in the use of all martial arts weapons, though he prefers hand-to-hand combat. He possesses a talisman given to him by the O-Sensei, a claw carved from jade called The Dragon's Claw. This totem seems to mystically collect and direct Dragon's energies in times of greatest need, though it is probable that the Claw serves as a focusing point for Dragon's concentration and contains no real powers of its own.[15]
  • Meditation: Richard Dragon is skilled in Chinese meditative techniques which he uses to enhance his concentration and channel his chi.
  • Equestrianism: Richard Dragon is capable of fighting on horseback.[13]


  • Dragon's Claw: A small jade amulet given to him by O-Sensei. The Dragon's Claw is a mystical artifact that collects and channels mystical energy in times of great need. Richard Dragon uses the Dragon's Claw as a focus for meditation and channeling his inner ch'i.

  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • Richard Dragon was created by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry as the protagonist of their 1974 novel Dragon's Fists. O'Neil later adapted him as a DC Universe character in 1975 when he was writing the series Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter.
  • The origin story of Richard Dragon was indirectly altered during Infinite Crisis. In the original story, Richard meets Lady Shiva and becomes part of the espionage community because of his relationship with Carolyn Woosan. Carolyn is now shown to have died at a much younger age, killed by the assassin David Cain. It is unclear how this timeline change affected Richard Dragon.[18]
  • Although he is sometimes seen using a wheelchair, he has never lost the use of his legs and uses the wheelchair as psychological part of his teachings.


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