So, here we go! Keep in mind that I’m doing my best to gauge each characters’ skill level BESIDES powers. This is why characters like Spider-Man, Daredevil and Captain America didn’t really make it (although the latter two almost did), because without their powers they aren’t as great at kicking ass as these 10!
So, let’s begin, shall we? Round 1...FIGHT!
10. Black Panther
T’Challa barely made the list, and actually gets the nod over Captain America!! Sure, Panther does get some help from “magical” Wakandan herbs and such, but even without those, he is trained in so many martial arts from all over the world, that he is a force to be reckoned with no matter what.
Chadwick Boseman’s debut as Black Panther in the MCU is May 6th, 2016 in Captain America: Civil War and I really hope that when we do see him fight, it’s as impressive as it should be! I'm really looking forward to it!
Oh yeah...and it wasn’t the current Panther, T’Challa, but his ancestor actually was able to kick Cap’s ass in WWII. True story! And T'Challa himself once took all of the Fantastic Four members to their limit!
Now, I know I will take heat for putting her over DD, but like I said, this isn’t about how superpowers make you a better fighter. And let’s be honest, Elektra can go toe-to-toe with many low-level super-powered heroes and villains without any enhanced help.
This makes Ms. Natchios extremely remarkable in terms of fighting skill.
And she’s without a doubt the most dangerous ninja assassin that The Hand has ever produced. Elektra may be gorgeous, but once you see her flowing red garb and the glimmer of her sai, you’re already pretty much a goner.
8. Dick Grayson/Nightwing/Robin
Of all the Robins, none of them can match Dick Grayson in fighting skill. With his extensive training from Batman with his added acrobatic prowess that is sewn into his very DNA (It’s possible Dick may be able outmaneuver anyone on the list, even BATMAN), Grayson, Nightwing, Robin...whatever you wish to call him...he can definitely hang with the best.
And let’s face it, once he’s been training since he was younger than Bruce, so when Dick gets to Bruce’s age...well...he could become the greatest martial artist in the DCU. That is, if the character ages past his mid-20’s, which he’s been for the past 15 years or so. Comics are weird like that.
The rest of the Bat Family sadly won’t make the list (even though Cassandra Cain was considered)...well, besides you-know-who. He HAS to show up, right?
Well, yeah. Obviously. He IS the best there is at what he does, right? And what he does is kick ass. Wolverine has the help of those wonderful adamantium bones and claws, hypersenses and healing factor. But even without those he is one of the most skilled martial artists in the funny books.
He’s a ninja, samurai and the most dangerous of all...he’s a beer-swilling Canadian barroom brawler...with that combination...who needs claws?!
Without his powers, he can be beaten (as we’ve seen before his recent “death”), but with all of the perks...Wolverine is damn near unstoppable in combat, and can likely take down ANYONE on this list!
6. Lady Shiva
A surprising entry, I know. Many may not know who Shiva is, but she is one of the most dangerous characters in the DCU.
Shiva was created by Dennis O’Neil and Ric Estrada in 1975 in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #5 (I actually own the issue), but later became more associated with Batman’s mythos and the League of Assassins. She has trained many characters like Black Canary, Cassandra Cain, Tim Drake and yes, even Batman. In fact, her ninja training was a key element in Bruce Wayne’s recovery after Bane broke his back during Knightfall.
But don’t confuse this with Lady Shiva being any kid of “hero”. She definitely is a character that sits on the fence of being a hero and villain. She’s best described as being “on her own side”, and is 100% an assassin that almost finds an inherent joy from killing people.
Shiva’s methods are extreme and homicidal (which always eventually drives a wedge with her more heroic students), but there’s no question that she’s as skilled in ninjitsu and hardly teaches her students EVERYTHING she knows.
The placing of Slade Wilson on the list is a tough one. There’s no doubt that he’s ridiculously skilled and can match anyone in combat (some would even say he’s on the level of Batman), but there’s a sliver of ego that always seems to do him in...and in turn knocks him down a few notches. And he STILL made the Top 5!
Whether you see Slade as a villain or an anti-hero, it doesn’t matter...he can kick almost anyone’s keister with ease, even though he is aided by enhanced strength, speed, endurance and healing factor, like Wolverine, he’d be just as deadly without all of that stuff.
Who knows? If he had both eyes, he maybe would be an even better fighter! How scary is THAT?
So you’re saying “how can he be only #4 when he can mimic anyone”?! Well, sometimes imitation just isn’t good enough.
Taskmaster is one of my favorite underrated Marvel villains, and has the ability to literally see someone fight...and mimic what he saw exactly, which isn’t exactly a “power”, but a very realistic skill to have.
So he could fight you like Daredevil, but throw in a bit of Wolverine in there, with a dash of Hawkeye. I can actually imagine someone being able to do that in real life, and I personally really dig characters like that. Taskmaster uses this ability to sometimes help out the good guys, but usually to do criminal deeds.
Yeah, he’s a badass...but even with his photographic muscle memory...there’s some things even he can’t do. So yes, he gets a (some would say) generous spot on my list, but not the top one.
3. Iron Fist
Iron Fist is another character that is a damn good martial artist despite powers. Sure he can focus his chi and make his fist “like a thing of iron” and and all that jazz, but above all of that, he has trained since a little boy to be an unstoppable fighting machine.
What also give’s Danny Rand his edge is that he was trained in an alternate dimension called K’un-L’un, which gives him certain fighting techniques that almost nobody on Earth has.
I have no idea who will get the nod to play Iron Fist in the eventual Netflix MCU tied series, but it has to be a very exceptional actor that can show that he’s basically an “immortal weapon”, with a wicked sense of humour too.
Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin in 1973 and is Marvel’s very own Bruce Lee!
Shang is SO good, he got an Avengers membership soley based on his martial arts skill. Tony Stark did give him a super jumpsuit to help him recently, but he could literally beat up anyone shirtless and in slippers. He’s beaten numerous superhuman opponents and without any sort of powers or abilities, has been known to even dodge bullets!
I would actually go as far as to say that Shang-Chi is Marvel’s most formidable non-powered hero in terms of hand-to-hand combat! Of course, Punisher comes to mind, but take his guns away and he doesn’t stand a chance in a one-on-one fight with Shang-Chi!
I would say the greatest crossover martial arts fight ever in comics would be Shang-Chi against this guy...
Why? Because he’s the Goddamn BATMAN, that’s why!!
Sorry if I have an extreme case of “I am Batman” syndrome, but well...he always wins. Even in an empty handed one on one kung fu fight...Batman would find a way to win. Yes, even without his “wonderful toys”, Batman always wins. Always. It’s just how it is, deal with it.
But also the naysayers must keep in mind...Bruce Wayne travelled all over the planet, trained with the best fighters in the world and honed his fighting skills to perfection. And he never stops training, every day, to be the best fighter on the planet.
When it comes to martial arts...or ANYTHING...nobody EVER beats BATMAN!
That’s it for this time, Bleeder Budz...stay good, stay safe and BLEED OUT!