The 6 Toughest Tiger Superheroes
Once upon a time, when I was a young boy, I picked the Cincinnati Bengals as my favorite football team. I chose them because they have the coolest helmets in the NFL, and that is a hill I will die on to this day. Of course, I have zero interest in American football and don’t actually follow the game. But now the Bengals are in the Super Bowl for the first time in more than 30 years! All my decades of general indifference have come to fruition and I can embrace my love of these tiger-striped linebackers.
And the best way to celebrate the Bengals being in the Super Bowl is a comic book List of Six! I’ve done plenty of lists about animal superheroes in the past, from lions to frogs to pigs to dogs to more. It’s a fun little game. And now I get to play it with a purpose! The Cincinnati Bengals are just plain cool. Orange with black tiger stripes? Get outta town! That’s a great design no matter how you swing it. And Some pretty great superheroes and villains have adopted the guise of the tiger over the years.
Join me after the jump for the coolest tiger-themed comic book characters!
6. Tiger Shark
Is classic Marvel villain Tiger Shark more shark than tiger? Yeah, probably, but I still think this counts because ‘tiger’ is in the name and that’s good enough for me! Tiger Shark is a staple of Marvel super-villainy. He’s an old-school Prince Namor villain who has become a go-to bad guy whenever Marvel needs some jobber for their heroes to punch. He’s big, her’s scary looking and he can take a punch. Todd Arliss was an Olympic swimmer who hurt his back in a publicity stunt, so he got a “cure” from a mad scientist who spliced his DNA with that of a tiger shark and some Namor DNA. Now he’s a beast of a man who can always be counted on to get punched.
5. Flying Tiger
Flying Tiger might just be the best-looking character on this list. He’s got the most tiger in his costume, at least. Flying Tiger is what happens when a random person turns to a life as a professional assassin. Flying Tiger was a pro football player (how relevant!) who simply decided to go into costumed villainy and assassinations when his career came to an end. He designed this costume all by himself, along with some gear to make him fly. The dude straight up designed this outfit from scratch and built himself a glider jetpack. Dude knew exactly what he wanted and made it happen. He started out as a Spider-Woman villain, but nowadays shows up wherever he’s needed.
4. White Tiger(s)
The White Tiger has a long history at Marvel Comics, being an identity carried by several different characters. The first White Tiger was Hector Ayala, who used the Jade Tiger amulets to gain super-powers and become a street-level hero, mixing it up in a bunch of kung-fu comics in the 1970s. He was replaced in the 1990s by a female White Tiger who was a literal white tiger turned into a humanoid by the High Evolutionary, and she joined the Heroes for Hire for some reason. Then there was Kasper Cole, who was a supporting character in Black Panther comics for a bit, before the original White Tiger was revived in some grounded Daredevil comics in the early 2000s. Hector Ayala was framed for murder and his niece, Angela del Toro, inherited the Jade Tiger amulets. But Angela was taken over by the bad guys and so it fell to Hector’s younger sister to take up the mantle of White Tiger and save Angela. It was a whole thing.
3. Bronze Tiger
Switching to DC Comics, Bronze Tiger is a longtime martial arts character who is often a staple of the Suicide Squad, but has not yet had a chance to show up in any movies. He did have a somewhat reoccurring role in the Arrow TV show, so at least that’s something. Anyway, Bronze Tiger is Ben Turner, a guy with some rage issues who turned to martial arts and eventually traveled to the mystical corners of the Far East to learn from the best. He was a supporting character in Richard Dragon’s early comics, before eventually being added to the League of Assassins and the Suicide Squad over the years. And sometimes he does wear a tiger head mask, like Flying Tiger, so he’s not a total loss.
2. Best Tiger
We switch now to Image Comics and the Invincible Universe for one of the coolest characters in the larger Invincible world, so hopefully he’ll show up in the cartoon series at some point. Best Tiger is a martial arts master of the highest caliber, proficient in pretty much all forms of hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. He joined the Guardians of the Globe and is pretty much unbeatable, while staying pretty cool about the whole thing. Best Tiger is one of those characters who is just the best, always able to pull out a win based on pure skill. His most notable trait is that he wears a blindfold…not because he’s blind, but because he wants the added challenge.
Speaking of tiger characters who have yet to get a movie appearance, here comes Tigra, a longtime Avenger who doesn’t even warrant a TV show on Disney+. Greer Nelson started out as The Cat, with basic human enhancements and crime-fighting prowess. But apparently that wasn’t enough. It was later decided to turn The Cat into Tigra with a really weird, roller coaster of an origin story. It turned out the mad scientist who gave Greer her powers was actually a member of the Cat People, an ancient race of feline humanoids who practiced some dark magic. When Greer was mortally wounded as The Cat, the scientist and the Cat People gave her the option to transform into a tiger/human hybrid based on their legendary defender. It’s pretty wild. And Tigra has been one of the neatest-looking Avengers ever since!