Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Karate Kid

Go To
Post-Zero Hour Val

Some of us enjoy getting our hands dirty.
—Val Armorr, Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 5 #2

Val Armorr is "Karate Kid", the only Legion of Super-Heroes member without a true superpower. He is a DC Comics character created by Jim Shooter who made his first appearance in the pages of Adventure Comics in 1966.

The best martial artist in the DCU hands down, Val Armorr has become so skilled at martial arts that it's a Charles Atlas Superpower. He was given a spot on the Legion despite his seeming lack of powers when he proved capable of defeating foes with super-strength and durability with martial arts alone. His temperament has varied across reboots, but he was originally headstrong and abrasive, making it difficult for many of his teammates to get along with him, and he is always incredibly strong willed and confident with good reason.

In 1976 Karate Kid got his own series which lasted for fifteen issues.


For his entry on the Legion of Super-Heroes character sheet, which more thoroughly compares and describes his various versions, see Legion Of Super Heroes Silver Age.

For the unrelated film franchise that began in 1984 see The Karate Kid.

Val Armorr appears in:

Notable Comic BooksWestern Animation

Myg appears in:

Val Armorr:

  • Archenemy: Nemesis Kid, who tried to frame Karate Kid for Nemesis's own actions infiltrating the Legion when they were both recruits and later killed him.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: (Preboot) He can come off as arrogant, heck his introduction included him being incredibly argumentative and challenging Superboy to a fight to earn his spot in the Legion and he regularly rubs teammates the wrong way.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: His method to approaching life. If faced with a transport full of escaped super-powered criminals, and given the opportunity to stand down, he doesn't even hesitate to violently put down the revolt. He's also pulled such stunts as kicking Darkseid in the face.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He can perceive weak points in his opponents and objects, which allows him to take down individuals with superpowers and escape from death traps with ease.
  • Battle Couple: (Preboot) Val and his teammate and eventual wife Princess Projectra.
  • Clear My Name: His Legion career almost ended ignominiously when fellow recruit Nemesis Kid framed him for betraying Earth to the Khunds, but Nemesis Kid's own treachery was discovered in time and Val went on to become one of the greatest Legionnaires ever.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In Countdown to Final Crisis he and Triplicate Girl end up stranded in the past because Karate Kid's infected with a strange virus; they try to find a cure... unsuccessfully. Both of them die. He only came back at the very end of the New 52 series.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: An unusual example. Karate Kid doesn't actually have any innate superpowers, yet his development of his martial arts skills has reached the point where he is classified as having them anyway. Past holders of the DCU's World's Best Warrior position have exhibited innate chi manipulation and extreme longevity without gaining "actual" superpowers so he's not the first, he's just the most powerful by far of a very small and exclusive group.
  • Escape Artist: A decidedly more destructive example than most but even boxes made of diamond and willpower sapping restraints that immobilize his super-powered friends can't hold him.
  • Fad Super: An unusual case because he is a preexisting character who became one for a while long after he was introduced. In the 1970's, he was suddenly modeled after Bruce Lee (and drawn Asian), given a robe instead of a superhero costume, and spun off into his own series which was sold as a martial arts series until the martial arts fad died out. Also, note that The Karate Kid came out decades after his premiere - the credits actually mention that DC Comics owns the rights to the name. (In-universe he debuted a thousand years later, which leads to silly jokes being made every time he meets someone from the 21st century.)
  • Feudal Future: (Preboot) He married a ruling princess, who had to jump through some hoops with her cabinet in order to be allowed to marry a commoner.
  • The Greatest Style: He uses a future style of Karate that has been further refined through a thousand years of progress in a universe of superhumans. Val is completely human, but his style is not. It enables him to smash through extremely tough constructs, and damage or restrain superhuman opponents as if he had power equal to theirs.
  • Happily Married: (Preboot) He and Princess Projectra are very happy in their marriage.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices himself to save his wife's home planet.
  • Hot-Blooded: (Preboot) He was portrayed as brash, hot-headed, and only too glad to charge into situations. Later versions have portrayed him as more of a stoic.
  • Martial Arts Uniform: He usually wears a modified gi.
  • Race Lift: Started out Caucasian and has been Race Lifted back and forth to and from Asian a couple times.
  • [Verb] This!: While kicking Darkseid in the face:
    "Yeah? Astound this, Stone Face!"
  • World's Best Warrior: He is such a good fighter it has essentially given him superpowers, and none can match his skill.
  • Writer on Board: Keith Giffen does not like Karate Kid, and had said up-front that if he ended up writing the Legion he would kill off the character, as he did in 1984.

Karate Kid

Karate Kid from the Legion of Super-Heroes comes smashing into our time!

  • All Part of the Show: Val's fight with Nemesis Kid at the beginning is mistaken for guerrilla filming by the local police who approach him to ask the whereabouts of the director who they want to give a citation for filming without a permit. Val has no clue what they're talking about.
  • Casual Time Travel: The Legion maintains their usual near ridiculous blasé attitude about time travel, showing up for the first issue to help with a fight and then taking off back to the future in a huff after telling K.K. he'll com them to ask for help sooner or later and they'll see him then.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: He does not really understand the social and technological differences between his own time and the 1970's, but he really likes it there since less stuff is synthetic and there are things like actual human teachers.
  • Pun: The cover of issue 14 proclaims Diamondeth is Forever!
  • Mistaken Nationality: While the police officers in the first issue quickly figure out Val isn't a local they assume he's a Kung Fu star brought over from Asia to star in some movie and ask him to point them to the director since they're "filming" without a permit. They realize they've made some mistaken assumptions once Val flies away upon hearing he's not in any trouble.
  • Nice Guy: Cosmic Boy is kind, compliments KK's actions and tries to get him to still feel like an integral part of the team when Val says he feels unneeded and out of place in the Legion. Val doesn't really care, and his feeling of being out of place is cemented when Brainiac 5 opens his mouth with a sarcastic comment. When Val throws Cos's humility back in his face and asks to be returned to the '70's Cos just asks him if he's sure that's what he wants before sending him back. However when Val gets brainwashed into taking lethal action Cos attacks him violently enough to give the team pause, partly because if he tried to take it easy Val would murder him.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: