Sneak thief Richard Dragon gained entry into private grounds outside of the city of , . When he attempted to steal a valuable jade Buddha, he was discovered and stopped by an old man and his companion, a young black martial arts student. Humiliated at being disarmed and rendered helpless, Dragon accepted their offer to stay with them and learn the martial arts. "I sense a possible destiny of greatness" said the old man, who Richard would come to call O-Sensei. Over the next 7 years, Dragon became a master of the martial arts, and grew to become friends with Benjamin Turner, the other student. His spirit flourished and he became a peaceful man, dedicated to using his martial arts skill only when reason failed. Contacted by Barney Ling, chief of an old espionage operation whose title formed the acronym G.O.O.D., Dragon and Ben accomplished their first mission, the downfall of corrupt industrialist Guano Cravat, who desired certain laser frequencies to instigate war. This done, they returned to their martial arts school in lower where they continued to fight crime.
With the popularity of Far Eastern martial arts movies in the 1970s comic book companies looked to benefit from this genre as well by introducing their own characters. Marvel Comics introduced such memorable characters as Iron Fist and Shang Chi, while DC Comics introduced Richard Dragon and Ben Turner. Although the interest in martial arts based stories never proved to be as great as anticipated, these characters became well established secondary characters in their respective universes. He was created by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry.
Richard Dragon’s character has not evolved very much over the course of his publication history. He is often depicted as one of the paragons of the DC martial arts community, pleased by his focus on meditation and serenity when the world’s heroes do not require him. He is also the martial arts mentor of many heroes, including among them Bruce Wayne and Helena Bertinelli.
Major Story Arcs
Although the martial artists desired only peace, such was not their destiny. Adventure sought them out, and they traversed the globe, using their skills at kung fu to aid those causes they deemed just. They made several enemies, including the pirate Slash, the woodsman Hatchett, the bizarre Preying Mantis and the aforementioned industrialist Cravat. They also made at least one ally, a female martial artist named Lady Shiva. Named for the Hindu goddess of destruction, her soul is as violent as Dragon's is tranquil.
One of the most tragic events of Dragon's life occurred when Ben was brainwashed by one of their foes, Professor Ojo, and became a renegade martial artist. Investigating, Dragon discovered that Ben was now in the employ of Barney Ling, who was using Ben's brainwashed powers for his own ends.
After his many adventures he became a traveling martial arts teacher often showing up at just the right moment to help those in need. He has trained Dick Grayson, Huntress, Oracle and Batman among others. They are counted among his best students.
He has also trained others that followed the path of Lady Shiva such as Kitty Kumbata, Wam Wam, Hwa Rang and Tengu .
Richard Dragon helped train Renee Montoya to become the new Question. Richard was a good friend of Vic and had helped teach him martial arts. Though his methods seemed a little extreme to Renee he proved a great help to her in the end, even aiding her in coping with Vic's death.
Powers and Abilities
Although lacking in any superpowers Richard Dragon is considered one of the pre-eminent fighters in the DC universe. He is usually considered as an equal among the elite fighters such as Lady Shiva, Connor Hawke, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne and his partner Ben Turner. He is also a master of philosophy and specifically as it concerns a heroic lifestyle and he has guided those such as the Huntress or Wonder Woman in the past as to the the correct path they need to live.