Last week, Marvel Studios premiered “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” to much acclaim and box office success. Shang Chi has been one of Marvel’s biggest and most prominent brawlers, a man who has mastered martial arts and proven to be a living weapon time and time again. In honor of Marvel veteran’s debut, I listed my five favorite Comic Book Brawlers, a group of hand to hand fighters that have been some of my all time favorites since I was a kid.
I’m not the biggest fan of Wolverine, but as far as brawlers go, he’s about as good as you get. Wolverine’s been around for a very long time, and he’s proven to his own against pretty much everyone from The Hulk, and Deadpool, to Apocalypse. He’s a skilled fighter, martial artist, and tactician and he’s almost always come back to prove he’s more than just a berserker with adamantium claws.
I didn’t follow Nightwing much during his tenure as the leader of the Teen Titans in the eighties. But I did follow his solo series from the nineties that followed his reign in Bludhaven, his evolution in to a complex fighter and vigilante, and his colorful array of villains and opponents that would test his meddle. I’ve been a big Nightwing fan and I’m glad he’s getting his recognition.
I’ll admit most of my knowledge of WildCat comes from his appearances in “Justice League Unlimited.” But his character was one of my absolute favorite superheroes, one of the bigger street fighters like Green Arrow who sought out to simply take down evil. As Ted Grant, he’s a retired prizefighter who donned the costume to beat the crap out of criminals. He’s also the trainer for other vigilantes like Black Canary.
I used to have a big cache of old Power Man and Iron Fist back issues when I was younger, and I used to tear through them like there was no tomorrow. Iron Fist is a response to the massive popularity of kung fu films in the seventies, and has proven to be one of the more fascinating, dynamic, if misunderstood superheroes of the Marvel Universe. I hope we get another shot a live action series for him, soon.
Daredevil has been my absolute favorite Marvel Comics vigilante for years and years. I loved Frank Miller’s run on his series, and I’ve kept up with his presence in the Marvel Universe for over twenty years. I was there for his big movie (don’t judge me), and even adored his Netflix series. There was still so much more ground to cover as Daredevil is a multi layered, complex, and vicious superhero constantly at war with his morality. He’s a powerhouse fighter with immense skill.