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Bronze Tiger

DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

You ever wonder what it would be like if Power Man and Iron Fist had a baby?

Ben Turner sought to tame the wildness within himself by mastering martial arts. Brainwashed by the evil League of Assassins, he donned a tiger mask and became the infamous Bronze tiger. Turner was eventually deprogrammed by Amanda Waller and joined the Suicide Squad, often defying orders and rescuing teammates deemed "expendable" by Waller. He is a noble man working alongside murderers, forever haunted by his past misdeeds.

Yes, that's the same Suicide Squad that was home for so long to the likes of Deadshot and Captain Boomerang and whatever D-List villains the writers felt like bumping off. In fact, it was those three characters who formed the core of the team: Deadshot wanted to die, Captain Boomerang was an Eric Cartman-caliber jackass, and Bronze Tiger was the token good guy, only sticking with the team because he knew it would be worse for the others if he didn't.

While he was under the control of the League of Assassins, Bronze Tiger wore a realistic tiger mask, but after he broke free, he left his face exposed. The Four Horsemen sculpted both versions, but in a rare moment of non-dickishness, Mattel didn't sell them as variants - you buy one figure, you get both the black guy with warpaint on his cheeks and Mr. Talky Tawny. Thank you, Mattel! And thanks to the Four Horsemen for doing such a kickass job on the tiger mask (not that that actually comes as a surprise).

The figure uses the slender DCU Classics body, which suits him - he's been drawn as a huge, muscular guy, but that was in the '90s, when everyone was drawn like that. This is more like a martial artist should look. He does get a new bit of sculpt, the lower "skirt" edge of his shirt is a new PVC piece, complete with the black belt knotted in the front. His paint apps are very good, which is nice to see since they're so intricate. Okay, maybe not the bright yellow boots and gloves, or the orange pants and shirt, but the tigerstripe patterns scattered about needed to be crisp.

In addition to the mask (which, when he first appeared, was more stylized, like Batman's Tengu mask, rather than looking like a decaptitated tiger), Bronze Tiger has a nice selection of accessories. He's holding a pair of escrima sticks in the packaging, but he also includes a sword and a staff. Cool!

Bronze Tiger includes the right leg of the Series 18 BAF, Apache Chief. It's just a plain leg, with nothing really to talk about, but the boot does have sculpted stitches down the front and back for that authentic "native" look.

Bronze Tiger is the sort of character you really have to know DC Comics to be excited about. He's a perennial guest in other people's comics - not even a guest star, just a guest. Still, how many people can say they beat Batman in a fair fight? Not an injured Batman, not a drugged-up Batman, a perfectly healthy, top-of-his-game Batman. Bronze Tiger laid him out with two hits. They had a rematch later in the same issue, and Bronze Tiger won again. He's certifiably bad-ass, and now he has a nice action figure from Mattel.

-- 10/20/11

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