Take 10

Take 10: Martial Artists

It's a look at Marvel's ten greatest masters of the martial arts!

Share:

Comments:

 

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas

Despite begin surrounded by beings that can lift houses or shoot lightning from their fingers, Marvel's martial artists have done pretty well from themselves over the years with just their mastery of the world's greatest fighting techniques. From ninjas to samurais to dudes and ladies who can just flat out throw down, the House of Ideas plays host to some of the toughest folks to ever clench a fist or hold a katana.

This week alone, the Master of Kung Fu meets the Merc With a Mouth in SHANG-CHI: MASTER OF KUNG FU #1 while the Bride of Nine Spiders takes the spotlight in IMMORTAL WEAPONS #2.

Get ready to jump-kick for joy as the Secret Cabal counts down Marvel's ten greatest martial artists!

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 
10. KITTY PRYDE
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #129 (1980)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Just because Kitty Pryde is the Marvel Universe's resident sweetheart doesn't mean the girl isn't deadly-she's a trained ninja with mad skills! Unfortunately for Kitty, she gained said skills when she was possessed by Wolverine's demonic former sensei, Ogun, who psychically imprinted her with a lifetime of martial arts training, but the young Pryde of the X-Men proved able to throw off the evil influence and keep her newfound attributes in the process, re-christening herself Shadowcat.
Spotlight Comic: ASTONISHING X-MEN #5 (2004)-Kitty Pryde tears through Ord's allies!

9. BATROC
First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #75 (1966)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Don't let his much-maligned accent and legendary arrogance fool you-Batroc really is just about as good as he says he is when it comes to laying down the pain. A master of savate, a specialized form of kickboxing perfected by the French, Georges Batroc can hold his own against the likes of Captain America and his comrades, as he aptly demonstrated recently by putting Bucky Barnes in his place. Unfortunately for him-but entertainingly for us-Batroc's ego generally proves to be his undoing.
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA #30 (2004)-Batroc drops in on Captain America!

 
8. STICK
First Appearance: DAREDEVIL #176 (1981)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: If you had to pick a deadly fighter and trainer without peer out of a line-up, chances are you wouldn't settle on the old blind guy with the piece of bamboo-and chances are you'd be feeling that wood upside your head before too long. Born blind, the enigmatic and ever-cranky Stick taught himself techniques so that he could sense the world around him and became the leader of a group of ninjas par excellence known as the Chaste, also serving as sensei to Daredevil and Elektra along the way-not bad for an old dude with some lumber.
Spotlight Comic: DAREDEVIL #176-Stick teaches Daredevil his lessons the hard way!

 
7. WOLVERINE
First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK #180 (1974)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: For most folks, an unbreakable skeleton, nearly unbeatable healing factor and pointy sharp claws that can cut through near anything would be enough if you're looking to pick a fight, but Wolverine ain't most folks. As has been documented on many occasions, Logan has spent quite a decent portion of his extraordinarily long life in the far eastern part of the world, honing his skills in a number of the martial arts, learning how to kill as well as how to heal his own shattered mind. Take away the claws, the metal bones and the healing factor, and it's a safe bet Wolverine can still beat the crap out of most folks in a fair fight.
Spotlight Comic: WOLVERINE: MANIFEST DESTINY #1-Logan returns to San Francisco's Chinatown to settle some old debts!

6. KARNAK
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #45 (965)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Even among Inhumans, Karnak is unique, his parents choosing not to expose him to the Terrigen Mist that gives most of his race their incredible powers and abilities. Rather than the quick fix of Terrigenesis, Karnak spent years in a monastery mastering the martial arts to the degree where he possesses a near-superhuman ability to perceive the weakest point in any object or person, making him among the most effective fighters in the entire universe. Karnak's unique-and undeniably cool-skills as well as his stoic persona make him one of Marvel's neatest under-the-radar badasses.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5 (1967)-Karnak lends both hands and feet against the Psycho Man!

 
5. DAREDEVIL
First Appearance: DAREDEVIL #1 (1964)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Daredevil has long been one of the pillars of the Marvel Universe, but whereas once upon a time he could be mistaken for a wisecracking Spider-Man in a yellow suit, Matt Murdock has long since established his own more serious and intense persona, with his apprenticeship in the martial arts under Stick's tutelage playing a major role. Given DD's unique standing as a blind man able to "see" using a type of radar, the idea of incorporating ninja training to enhance his focus and fighting style has been a tremendous boon and led to some epic sagas, including his current emerging leadership of the Hand.
Spotlight Comic: DAREDEVIL #189-DD battles ninjas galore for the soul of Elektra!

 
4. IRON FIST (Orson Randall)
First Appearance: IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1 (2006)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Each era gets its own Iron Fist, and none could have been better-suited for the alternating dark twists and bizarre turns of the Golden Age like Orson Randall. Known to mix thrust blows with handguns and trade in his meditation time for opium, Randall was one of a kind and brought a unique and exciting edge to the Iron Fist legacy. As Orson's adventures have been slowly recounted over the past several years, we've been privy to some fun and exciting stories mixing straight noir with mysticism and the martial arts, anchored by a character who's just a blast to watch.
Spotlight Comic: IMMORTAL IRON FIST: ORSON RANDALL AND THE GREEN MIST OF DEATH #1-Orson Randall squares off with the Prince of Orphans!

 
3. ELEKTRA
First Appearance: DAREDEVIL #168 (1981)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Ask most denizens of the Marvel Universe who the deadliest woman on Earth is and the answer you're likely to get-with good reason-is Elektra. It's a reputation she has earned through years of training and discipline as well as more than her share of tragedy. It was the death of her father that first drove Elektra to throw herself into the martial arts and an all-consuming need to fill a heart emptied by want for vengeance that fueled her quest to be the best. Though she is not without honor, Elektra is often without remorse, using her outer beauty to mask the ruthless efficiency she holds within.
Spotlight Comic: ELEKTRA #6 (2002)-It's time for Elektra to go stealth in this "'Nuff Said" silent issue!

2. SHANG-CHI
First Appearance: SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15 (1973)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: You don't earn the title "Master of Kung Fu" just by being pretty good at it. When it comes to pure martial arts skills, Shang-Chi may well be unparalleled in the Marvel Universe as the best pound-for-pound fighter around. Shang also possesses impressive cool under pressure and an appreciation for life's softer pleasures that belies his harsh upbringing and sinister parentage. Beware though; while it may be tough to rattle Shang-Chi from his state of Zen calm, once he does get good and pissed, there are few with hands more deadly.
Spotlight Comic: HEROES FOR HIRE #9 (2007)-Shang-Chi goes wild in the Savage Land!

 
1. IRON FIST (Danny Rand)
First Appearance: MARVEL PREMIERE #15 (1974)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: He pulls out the still-beating hearts of giant dragons, he battles other immortal living weapons in epic tournaments, he channels his inner spirit into a thing as unto iron and he's still got time to be a hero for hire and teach karate to inner city kids-he's Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, and he's the Secret Cabal's favorite Marvel martial artist. Though he was created in part to cash in on the kung fu craze of the 70's, Danny has proven to be an enduring character thanks to his affable personality, the ever-growing legend surrounding his mantle, and the bevy of talented creators who have contributed to his adventures. Iron Fist is a mythic warrior who also happens to be pretty down-to-earth-a guy we can all relate to.
Spotlight Comic: IMMORTAL IRON FIST #8-Danny Rand prepares for war as the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven hold their annual tournament!

 

Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!

 

 

Download SPIDER-WOMAN Motion Comics now on iTunes!

Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men" and"Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" now on iTunes!

Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite
Marvel Heroes!

 

MORE IN Take 10 See All

MORE IN Comics See All

Comments

34 comments
JasonK75
JasonK75

[quote@Winter_So1dier this list is just about right IMO. the martial artists on the list specialize in martial arts that have been practised and perfected for generations. so having guys like cap and black panther not on the list makes sense, since they each have unique mixed fighting styles (wrestling, boxing, kickboxing...). taskmasters not on the list since he doesnt exactly learn martial arts, he just copies it.[/quote] My thoughts exactly Winter_So1dier. Now I am thinking that perhaps someone should have been bumped off the list to make room for Master Izo. I'm thinking that he might even deserve to be at the #1 spot instead of Iron Fist. I mean, he taught Stick, and has been around for hundreds of years. He has gotta be a tuff fighter!

Winter_So1dier
Winter_So1dier

this list is just about right IMO. the martial artists on the list specialize in martial arts that have been practised and perfected for generations. so having guys like cap and black panther not on the list makes sense, since they each have unique mixed fighting styles (wrestling, boxing, kickboxing...). taskmasters not on the list since he doesnt exactly learn martial arts, he just copies it.

italianfan.93
italianfan.93

Not cool at all.A proper list would have been:1Iron Fist2Karnak3Steve Rogers4Wolverine5Shang Chi6Daredevil7Black Panther8Bullseye9Elektra10Psylocknot sure of who's first between Dardevil and BP so I went with Devil firdt since he was said to b Marvel's third h2h fghter after cap and logan. So while I respectfully disagree about those two being the top two, I used this statement as reference for who comes first between him and BP

JasonK75
JasonK75

I guess you have a point with Kitty. I guess it is the fact that I see Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, and Daredevil practicing their martial arts, and keeping up on their training too.

cannonpg
cannonpg

It was kinda explained rather well, and their seemed to be a theme.MARTIAL ARTISTS...like from earth. Hence no mantis, cause...shes an alien.It'd didnt point to best fighter, nor best warrior, but of the ones that exsist on earth, which are the best at the fighting styles born in the far east.Kitty had it implanted in her head. Wolvie learned it the hard way, as did the others.Seems a good list to me.

JasonK75
JasonK75

The end of the list I agree with, but I'm still having problems with the beginning of the list. Just can't believe Kitty Pryde made it.

thehulkster94
thehulkster94

no cosmic martial artists? gammora is definitely better than most if not all of those, i'd be willing to say mantis is as well. and then there is the fact that cap is missing, don't know what they were thinking. and all the immortal weapons should be in the running for the list

Thoulk
Thoulk member

I think that the list is mainly regarding oriental martial arts and though cap (steve rogers) has mastered many he mixes it up with eastern style fighting (kickboxing, boxing, wrestling) to make him probebly the best fighter on earth (open to opinion). However on that argument wolverine shouldnt be on the list because though again he has mastered many oriental martial arts he mixes that up again with many fighting styles and is a brawler due to his healing factor and adamantium skeleton he doesnt need to evade he can charge right in.If you are talking pure martial arts (martial generally meaning fighting and art meaning skill/style) then there are many missed off and you could argue the black knight and swordsman due to their skill in swordsmanship generally regarded as medievil martial art.The argument for taskmaster is a good one as he can achieve all these guys can by watching them so by rights is the best. His power being he can link the synaptic relays in the brain regarding skills by observation rather than practice and repetition still means he has the skills. However if you only include people who have trained and have no powers helping them then he shouldnt be on the list.this list is more "marvels best oriental style martial artists who have no powers and abilities that can aid them in their fighting and are of terestial origin" :cool:

tylontrix
tylontrix

More ladies of the X...Beside Tessa a.k.a. Sage, Psylocke was left off the list....Psylocke being a ninja....SHOULD HAVE MADE THE LIST!!! WHO THE H#LL DROP THE BALL ON THIS ONE!!~Am I Still Not Awake Yet!!!~

acalvo01
acalvo01

Did someone forget Betsy Braddock, a.k.a. Psylocke!?!?! She'd whip Kitty all day........and on Sundays! :psylocke: Also who can forget Wolverine's brother from Wolverine:The End? He moved faster than the wind!

tylontrix
tylontrix

[quote@phil56201 Sage wouldn't and shouldn't be on the list. Until another writer than Claremont takes her on, I just can't take any of her post '00 feats seriously.[/quote] Why wouldn't she make the list. She is a trained spy, formidable hand-to-hand combat specialist, weapon specialist (guns and knives), expert strategist, and not to mention aside from being a cyberpath with the sickest mutant ability (She could have single handly fixed that "no more mutants" problem that Scarlet Witch cause), she was trained by Charles Xavier to have the most indominatble will, which means her mental acuity is near perfect in just about any situation.And she missed this list because?

Saqism
Saqism

Deadpool beat kitty with his BARE HANDS!

johnnysword
johnnysword

[quote:89ff700be9="alvan flowers"]The list is cool & all, but how did DD make it above Wolverine any1 else remeber Enemy of The State?& Where"s Cap Who has kicked Wolverines teeth in on several occasions or Black Panther who has kicked Caps tail.[/quote] I remember Enemy of the State. Wolverine got his butt kicked by Daredevil even though Wolverine took him by surprise and also had some Hand ninjas backing him up. This was a very poor choice to "prove" Wolverine is better than Daredevil.Also, I don't think T'Challa has ever beaten Steve Rogers, only T'Chaka, T'Challa's father.

johnnysword
johnnysword

Batroc is on the list but not Steve Rogers!!! What is this?!! The following people deserve to be on there more than Kitty or Batroc:• Mr. X• Steve Rogers• Black Widow• Echo• Taskmaster• Deadpool• X-23 (better than Wolverine)• Daken (also better than Wolverine)• Lee-Kung the Thunderer (Iron Fist's teacher - better pick than Orson)• Master Izo (Stick's teacher - who unlike Stick is still alive)• Black Panther• PsylockeI'm glad to see Daredevil on there but there's no way he's lower than Elektra. Elektra can barely pull together a win against Bullseye, where as DD mops the floor with him everytime.There are some good picks on the list. Unfortunately, there are too many good martial artists in the Marvel U for them all to be mentioned.

Corps
Corps

Not a bad list. they are missing a lot of good martial artists though like psylocke and echo.

harlequin7
harlequin7

I think this list is about unarmed combat so Deadpool cant be in via his use of swords. I think this list is pretty good. Obviously there are some unpopular choiceses here (omg captain america mega fanboy alert) but if you consider this list first and foremost subjective opinion and and not fact, and also that this list is about martial artists in the Eastern Tradition only then its pretty good. There are obviously lots of other martial artists who could go on this list. For me the first 7 would be the immortal weapons from Iron Fist. Then Elektra, shang chi and DD. Also I dont think you can consider Taskmaster a master of any martial art. He is just able to do whatever he has observed others doing and dedicated time and energy to learning martial arts himself . Not a proper martial artist in my eyes. I would like to include Gamora as well but I think this is clearly only terrestrial picks.

cyw1988
cyw1988

Agree with the Martial artist and fighters argument posted by slightconfuse there. I think the list is just about right... Not sure about the rankings but definitely the right people are there. Some are left out but this isn't such a big deal. Nice to see Kitty there... Not sure if Deadpool should meet the list but I reckon his proficiency in wielding those Katanas should qualify him. Elektra and DD are there which is cool and so is Iron Fist and Shang Chi.

kellymf57
kellymf57

[quote@mendez1 :cap: Wow, this list is really just garbage! I mean who ever posted this top 10 list I would assume works for marvel comics and that they actually would know more about their job and the characters. I mean the fact that you do not even have Captain America in the number 1. slot or even on the list is just insulting to any true marvel loyalist. I mean it has been listed on several sources and comics that Captain America has mastered EVERY known unarmed hand to hand matial art in the world and for some reason he is not on the list?!?! I mean, where is Taskmaster, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Black Widow, U.S. Agent and so many other better martial Artist?!?! I mean Kitty Pryde made the list over these guys?!?! You guys have just really insulted me and to think I have been loyal to you guys since I was a little kid till now. Get your act together Marvel and RE DUE this list!!![/quote] fanboy much ? geeeesh LOL this was a top ten of martial artists

kellymf57
kellymf57

im not happy with elektra being number 3 on the list NOR what they wrote about her. it was revealed that while elektra is a bit ruthless, she still has a strong sense of justice, thats why she has to use the ninja mind tricks to forget. some things she has done HAD to be done.ahh well i guess #3 aint bad but still she should be like number one. for the most part, a lot of the people on the list were gifted with powers but elektras trained her whole life to be where she is. and that says a lot, because elektra is one the top h2h in the marvel u

slightconfuse
slightconfuse

Martial artist and fighters are two different things. Wheres Howard though, Quack Fu is most difficult fighting form known to MU, HTD is grand master of that art.:???:

thehammer2805
thehammer2805

[quote@mendez1 :cap: Wow, this list is really just garbage! I mean who ever posted this top 10 list I would assume works for marvel comics and that they actually would know more about their job and the characters. I mean the fact that you do not even have Captain America in the number 1. slot or even on the list is just insulting to any true marvel loyalist. I mean it has been listed on several sources and comics that Captain America has mastered EVERY known unarmed hand to hand matial art in the world and for some reason he is not on the list?!?! I mean, where is Taskmaster, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Black Widow, U.S. Agent and so many other better martial Artist?!?! I mean Kitty Pryde made the list over these guys?!?! You guys have just really insulted me and to think I have been loyal to you guys since I was a little kid till now. Get your act together Marvel and RE DUE this list!!![/quote] Oooooooook monster man.

mendez1
mendez1

:cap: Wow, this list is really just garbage! I mean who ever posted this top 10 list I would assume works for marvel comics and that they actually would know more about their job and the characters. I mean the fact that you do not even have Captain America in the number 1. slot or even on the list is just insulting to any true marvel loyalist. I mean it has been listed on several sources and comics that Captain America has mastered EVERY known unarmed hand to hand matial art in the world and for some reason he is not on the list?!?! I mean, where is Taskmaster, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Black Widow, U.S. Agent and so many other better martial Artist?!?! I mean Kitty Pryde made the list over these guys?!?! You guys have just really insulted me and to think I have been loyal to you guys since I was a little kid till now. Get your act together Marvel and RE DUE this list!!!

JasonK75
JasonK75

I guess they are going by those who have studied true forms of martial arts with Masters? Daredevil and Stick, Iron Fist and the Thunderer, and etc. Cap and Deadpool are not martial artist by the true sense. They might have learned a thing or two (Deadpool), but that is just my thoughts on this.

alvan_flowers
alvan_flowers

The list is cool & all, but how did DD make it above Wolverine any1 else remeber Enemy of The State?& Where"s Cap Who has kicked Wolverines teeth in on several occasions or Black Panther who has kicked Caps tail.

JasonK75
JasonK75

[quote@mantajake *cough cough* Taskmaster rulez *cough cough*[/quote] Man, I forgot about Taskmaster! He should have made the list too.

JasonK75
JasonK75

I agree with Shang Chi as number two and Iron Fist as number one. I am surprised they had Logan below Daredevil. Glad to see Stick made the list, but I wonder why they don't have Master Izo on there instead. I mean, the man taught Stick and has been fighting for 500 + years! Talk about unstoppable!Agree with Deadpool not making the list, especially with his popularity!

mantajake
mantajake

*cough cough* Taskmaster rulez *cough cough*

phil56201
phil56201

Sage wouldn't and shouldn't be on the list. Until another writer than Claremont takes her on, I just can't take any of her post '00 feats seriously.

tylontrix
tylontrix

And Tessa a.k.a. Sage did not make the list because...? She is one of the most formidable X-men in all of history, because she is the only X-Man trainined secretly to be able to take on and take out the X-Men by Charles Xavier himself. So why didn't she make the list, because her run in X-treme X-Men qualified her this list!!!! ~Am I The Only One Awake In This NightMare!!!~

Personamanx
Personamanx

When I first saw Iron-Fist as #4 I was pissed. Then I realized it was Orson, and that Danny was rightfully at the top.One Question though..... Why are no other Immortal Weapons on the list?

phil56201
phil56201

That list is full of fail. Where's Cap, Gamorra, Psylocke, Silver Samurai, Gambit, Deadpool, X-23, and many more I can't think of ATM?Any of the above mentioned deserve to be on that list before Kitty or Batroc.

GundamAce
GundamAce

why is captain america not on this list!

The_Greatest_Username
The_Greatest_Username

Iron Fist is where he belongs :-)I'm also glad to see Kitty's inclusion too :kitty: very nice list :grin: