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Comic Book / Richard Dragon

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Now it's barely even news. Guys that fly and guys that run fast and guys with magic rings. I probably trained half of them how to throw a punch.
Richard Dragon

Richard Dragon is the chosen name of Richard Drakunovski, one of the DCU's premier martial artists. He was first created by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry for a pulp Kung-Fu novel titled Dragon's Fists: Kung-Fu Master Richard Dragon that was published in 1974 before the authors adapted Dragon and his tale into the comic series Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter for DC the following year. It is also the title of the twelve issue 2004 re-imagining of the character, who had last carried his own title in 1977.

The 2004 series catches up with Richard when he's in a bad place, with Bronze Tiger reminding him that although he used to be the best but he's slipped and lost his center.

The character called "Richard Dragon" after Flashpoint is an entirely different individual, a Green Arrow villain whose true name is Ricardo Diaz.

Richard Dragon appears in:

Animated FilmsNotable Comic Books Literature
  • Dragon's Fists: Kung-Fu Master Richard Dragon (1974)
Live-Action TVVideo Games

Richard Drakunovski provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: His father was emotionally abusive, and he definitely raised his fist towards his son out of anger on multiple occasions but his mother made sure to get in the way of that.
  • Ambiguously Christian: He was unquestionably raised Catholic, but he brings up things like prayer and church like something he no longer does, while making claims that he needs to start up again, but then makes those claims sound like he's only half-serious.
  • Anti-Hero: Richard may step in to help if someone who needs protection shows up right in front of him, and kick out students who make it clear they're irredeemable but he's killed for money and generally avoids heroics. When he's dragged into heroics he requires someone like Bronze Tiger to hold him back from becoming something closer to an anti-villain. He also doesn't put much stock in rehabilitation which puts him at odds with individuals like Batman whose belief in rehabilitation is core to their character.
  • Arch-Enemy: Lady Shiva, who started out as a friend even if she did try to kill him the first time they met.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He's usually relatively humble, but when he's in a bad place he falls back on a quiet deadly version of this, and given he's one of the top five martial artists on earth he's got a leg to stand on.
  • Badass Normal: He's no metahuman or other super but he can put his hand through your skull, and fight multiple opponents wielding firearms without taking any damage as long as he's paying attention. He's generally considered the only non-meta with a chance against Shiva in a straight fight, but Conner Hawke and Cass Cain start catching up to them as they grow older.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Karate, Kung Fu (Dragon Style, Leopard Style, Five Animals Style...), Escrima, Tai Chi, Ninjitsu. Between the training he received from O-Sensei, what he picked up from the streets, and the knowledge and training he acquired on his own, it would be easier to list the fighting styles he doesn't know.
  • Blasé Boast: He doesn't advertise how good he is. He just gets the job done, and if you're in his way (unless you're Lady Shiva), you're in trouble.
  • Broken Ace: Even if he started out as a petty thief O-Sensei knocked some sense into him along with his martial arts abilities and when he first left the dojo he was much closer to a straight hero. Shiva broke him, and when Ben Turner tracked him down he was fighting people to the death for money each night and getting no enjoyment out of it but not wanting to face what he'd become.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Only Richard and Lady Shiva know how to properly perform the fatal Leopard Blow, depicted as a finger strike straight into the skull.
  • Dating Catwoman: Richard and Shiva were once lovers, but are now commonly depicted as fierce rivals/enemies, usually due to holding opposing views on trivial things like "might makes right," "innocent bystanders," and the actual existence of good and evil.
  • Fight Magnet: He usually likes fights but even he gets annoyed with some of the folks who come out of the woodwork looking to fight him. "Another comer looking to kill the Dragon. I'm starting to think maybe it's me."
  • Fiery Redhead: A quick temper and an orange head of hair.
  • I Know Karate: He does try to warn some people of his skills, but most, especially those who are carrying guns, don't realize just how dangerous his knowledge makes him and ignore his warnings.
  • It's Personal: Shiva killed O-Sensei, her and Richard's master, forever breaking their bond and setting him on the path of vengeance.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Surprisingly averted for a DC character, Richard got his orange hair, greenish eyes and willingness to stand between potential victims and a raised fist from his mother.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: He's part of several due to training Batman who has both trained others in turn and sent quite a few other heroes to train under Richard. Richards other students include Helena Bertenelli, Barbara Gordon (he trained her to fight devastatingly effectively after she was paralyzed from the waist down), Vic Sage, Rene Montoya and Conner Hawke (who he had a hard time finding anything to teach).
  • Mighty Whitey: Despite starting out as just some street-wise punk thief trying to steal from O-Sensei, Richard rises to become one of the greatest martial artists in the world. As mentioned above, while Batman: Soul of the Dragon used the original, they also Race Lifted him to be a Bruce Lee Clone instead.
  • Obfuscating Disability: During his appearances in The Question's first series, he was depicted in a wheelchair, where prior appearances had him without need for one. It turns out, he actually has no need for it, but was limiting himself both for the challenge and the cover it provides. Undoubtedly helped in his later training of Oracle/Barabara Gordon after she had been rendered a paraplegic by the Joker.
  • Old Master: O-Sensei, Richard's most well-known teacher. as his name suggests, he is of Japanese descent, but has studied numerous Chinese disciplines and philosophies (among many others) to atone for actions undertaken by his subordinates during the invasion of China by Japan during WWII.
  • Phrase Catcher: Richard seems to hear "No, Dragon!" about often as just his name from allies. He'd really rather not be dragged off on heroic quests so it's no surprise he generally has different priorities than those that drag him along.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Post Crisis Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon have a thing for each other and dated in the past while in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter neither of them showed the least inclination of romantic interest in the other, they just liked fighting together and valued each other's skills.
  • Reformed Criminal: Dragon was a thief wandering Japan before he tried to steal from the man who would become his sensei. After being stopped from taking a historic statue from a Kyoto garden by the Old Master Richard was brought to the dojo and reformed into a straight up, if not terribly active, hero during his years under his sensei's tutelage.
  • Speech Impediment: Not seen as an adult but as a kid it contributed to the high level of bullying he was victim to. It didn't help that his last name was Drakunovski which he had a very difficult time saying, which was part of the reason he started using Dragon instead.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: He can use martial arts to dodge bullets and chi control for things like healing.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: He does occasionally put on a shirt, usually a tank top and usually only in winter, underneath his jacket but more often he just loses the jacket instead.
  • World's Best Warrior: Richard is in the running for best (non-powered) martial artist in the DCU, up against Lady Shiva, Cassandra Cain, and sometimes Conner Hawke or Black Canary. Other martial arts masters are typically considered a peg below and it takes luck and/or careful planning for any of them to beat someone in the aforementioned group.

Ricardo Diaz provides examples of:

Richard Dragon provides examples of:

  • Adventure Duo: After Tiger tracks down a broken Dragon and gets him to join him in taking down a group of psychotic killers, about half of whom Dragon trained, Tiger plays the straight man to Dragon's hot-headed impulsiveness and new nihilistic traits.
  • Animal Motifs: Ben Turner is the Bronze Tiger, Lady Shiva is as ever associated with a Leopard. Nightwing is accompanied by bats in the background when he's eavesdropping on cops and when he joins a fight Dragon and Tiger are having in Bludhaven. The White Lionesses and the Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist show up too.
  • Badass Israeli: "Iron" Aron Abromowitz of the circle, is a former MOSSAD agent and one of the deadliest martial artists in the world.
  • Blindfolded Vision: In the fighting ring Ben finds him in Dragon has to wear a blindfold and fight two at a time in order to try and keep the fights interesting and keep people betting. His opponents are still out of luck, especially since he's in a bad place mentally at the time and is killing half of them.
  • The Cameo: Issue 7 has a page with shots of a bunch of members of the masked community Richard taught, most of them in civilian wear and none named, including Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, Conner Hawke, Dick Grayson, Dinah Lance, and Vic Sage
  • Christianity is Catholic: Richards parents are revealed to be Christan, and later confirmed to be Catholic.
  • Color Character: "Bronze Tiger", "Silver Monkey" and "White Lioness" are all code or nicknames of extremely competent martial artists appearing in this series.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Dragon is being cuffed with a bit of unnecessary roughness and being told he's being charged with two murders Shiva committed in Detroit his response is an amused "Tengu's name was Sidney?" upon learning one of the victim's given names, instead of responding to the charges being leveled against him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Just about everyone, besides Ben, Connor and Shiva, who picks a fight with Richard gets taken down effortlessly.
  • Deal with the Devil: Neron makes a deal with Richard to save Teddy's life. It ends up backfiring on Neron when Richard doesn't try to back out like he anticipated and finds a way to knock Connor out of the tournament without killing him or breaking their deal and an irritated Neron has to resurrect Richard when Shiva kills him.
  • Domestic Abuse: Richard's father beat his mother.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Not only do dragon motifs show up all over, the jacket Richard wears most often has a large taijitu with a dragon on the back.
  • Exact Words: Soldado takes offense to being accused of lying; "I did not lie Bernando. I promised that if he reached that door I would not kill him. I said nothing of Benita."
  • False Reassurance: Soldado made a former associate believe he could get away with trying to steal from him by assuring him that he wouldn't kill the man if he got out a door by the count of ten and never saw him again, while he knew going through said door would lead the man to a grisly death.
  • Fight Clubbing: When Ben tracks down Richard at the start of the series he's fighting people to the death for money and to distract himself from what he's become.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Shiva and Richard are a lovely example of why this is not romantic at all. They're both somewhat obsessed with each other, though Richard gets over that, but Shiva just wants to fight Richard to the death and Richard's not actually interested in being romantically attached to a serial killer.
  • A Good Way to Die: Dragon's (apparent) deathnote  during his duel with Lady Shiva is heavily implied to be this. He dies having A) sacrificed himself to save the life of a young boy in a hospital, B)Finally proven, at least to himself, that he could beat Shiva, and C) spent his last moments on Earth with the woman he loved most in the world. It comes with an absolutely beautiful internal monologue and a fantastic splash page as Shiva finishes him off with her trademark Leopard Blow, which only she and Dragon know how to use, Shiva having taught the technique to him when they were lovers years ago.
    Richard Dragon: The Leopard Blow. Her signature. Taken from the deadliest land animal on Earth. Used by the deadliest woman on Earth. No one sees it and lives. Not even Richard Dragon.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Shiva's romantic interest in Richard is based on his brutal and effective way of fighting.
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: The flashback in the first few pages shows Richard getting shoved backwards over a kneeling bully back when he was a kid.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Richard got to where he was at the start of the series by believing (or at least wanting to believe) the opposite, as he himself says: "Being feared is better than being loved, I learned that early from dad. Be the man the others are afraid of. The guy they whisper about. The guy they step aside for. The guy whose eyes they can't meet."
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Bronze Tiger (Benjamin Turner) > Richard Dragon (Richard Drakunovski) > Batman (Bruce Wayne) > Nightwing (Dick Grayson) > Robin (Tim Drake). Dick cheated the chain a bit by getting some training straight from Richard with his escrima sticks, and outside of this series Tiger and Dragon are usually considered to have trained side by side under "O-Sensei".
  • Mattress-Tag Gag: Richard's response to Ling saying Soldado is involved in more than just the international drug trade is a sarcastic; "He tore the tags off his mattress?"
  • One-Hit Kill: The Leopard Blow
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: The Circle of Six, two of whom Dragon himself trained, are a group of eccentric martial artists who are quite good, though none of them could give Richard or Ben a proper fight on their lonesome which is why they work together instead. They were gathered by Lady Shiva to try and capture Richard for her so she could "invite" him to her planned fight to the death with him.
  • The Shadow Knows: As with many of Bruce Wayne's appearances outside the cowl his cowl is visible in his shadow, which works to tell the audiece who he is since Bruce insitsted on remaining nameless while he was training to become Batman.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Soldado's unnamed female bodyguard who proves far more competent than the two men that are given names looks like a combination of the two Jaguars, Ralph Hardy of the universe in which she lives and Maria DeGuzman from the Impact universe, which in combination with her employer's love for jaguars makes an odd refrence to the obscure hero.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Richard himself is a green eyed redhead.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Richard's former relationship with Shiva.
  • Survival Through Self-Sacrifice: When Richard dies at Lady Shiva's hands, Neron finds that he has to prevent the death from sticking. This is because Richard was only there due to a deal he made with Neron, and not only did he not attempt to find any loopholes, subvert or alter the deal. The initial deal was entirely selfless and gave Richard no benefits (as a demon defines them), as it was for the life of a child Richard barely knew. This really annoyed Neron, as he thought he'd come up with a way to nab the souls of both Richard and Shiva.
  • Solitaire: Agent Ling has solitaitre set up to play while on a stakeout with his partner.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The imagery and behavior is switched, with the tiger being the calm rational one and the dragon being the fiery impulsive one, but Dragon and Bronze Tiger fight on occasion and argue regularly even if they are best friends. In their fight that kicks off the series Dragon claimed to be willing to kill Tiger.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Richard and Theresa, the neighbor in Detroit. They don't, even though they both show signs of being romanitcally interested in each other. It doesn't help that Richard was kidnapped by Shiva before anything could happen.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Richard calls Shiva "that witch" when talking to Conner after she's kidnapped the pair of them.
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You:
  • You Have Failed Me: Shiva kills Hwa Rang and Tengu when they try to leave rather than continue to work for her after the rest of the circle is arrested.


Video Example(s):


So, No Blades

A snake monster is able to regenerate and multiplicate himself when his limbs are cut off.

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