Real Name: Duc No Tranh

Identity/Class: Human weapon user, (former?) citizen of Vietnam.

Occupation: Recruit for the Initiative;

formerly enforcer/mercenary for Tombstone;
formerly murderous seeker of vengeance

Group Membership: Shadow Initiative (Badd Axe, Barracuda, Batwing, Blackwing, Butterball, Firearms, Johnny Guitar, Komodo, Ringer (Keith Kraft), Riot, Slaughter Boy, Stronghold, Warbow)

Affiliations: Initiative (Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Armory, Cloud 9, Constrictor, Gauntlet, Henry Peter Gyrich, HAMMER, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Komodo, Mutant Zero, MVP, Nighthawk, Norman Osborn, Rage, Scarlet Spiders, She-Hulk, Slapstick, Stingray, Taskmaster (loose), the Thing, Thor Girl, Trauma, Triathlon, Ultragirl, Punisher (Frank Castle)(loose);

formerly "Big Ben" Donovan, Bullet (Buck Cashman), Hardball (Roger Brokeridge), Scorpion (Carmilla Black), Shades, SHIELD, Viktor Smerdilovisc, Tombstone

EnemiesSamuel Birulin, Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Bloodscream, Carl Brasel, Luke Cage (Power Man), Cloak, Joshua Cooper, Dagger, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Gai No Don (Li Pan), Chin Fong, Hulk (Banner), Hydra (including Hardball & Scorpion), KIA, Father Michael Janes, William Lincoln, Moon Knight, Night Thrasher, Poison Memories gang, Red Wolf (William Talltrees), James Rhodes, Roughouse, Shang Chi, Silhouette, Spider-Woman (Skrull, Veranke), Skrulls, Yellowjacket (Skrull imposter, Criti Noll);

formerly Night Thrasher

Known Relatives: Unnamed family members (all deceased), unnamed American wife, Minh Tranh (son)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in the USA, especially Camp Hammond, Initiative HQ, Stamford, and New York City;

formerly unnamed village in South Vietnam

First Appearance: Daredevil I#258 (September, 1988)

Powers/Abilities: Bengal is a normal human who is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, notably trained in various martial arts and is highly proficient in using the sai, initially wielding specially designed ones that had the outer blades spring loaded. He has also used throwing stars (shuriken) and is a skilled archer, using arrows to fire ropes so that he could slide down them. He has excellent stealth and acrobatic skills, and seemed to have the unusual ability to smell blood spilled by vengeance on a person. His intelligence is ranked normal although he is a resourceful gatherer of information and highly observant. His strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility (although this seems more peak human) and reflexes were all listed as athlete level. His costume is listed as being made from stretch fabric and tiger hide. 

Bengal used the expression "did the jungle breathe?", which referred to death from the Viet Cong waited in the jungle for the foreign soldiers: is there movement in the jungle; is it breathing? He was initially obsessed with killing those US soldiers responsible for killing his village in South Vietnam, but this expanded to killers of civilians during the Vietnam War. It seems that he later made peace with this. He is cited as being wanted in the US for murder, but this may have been pardoned or suspended following his involvement with the Initiative.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 175 lbs
Eyes: brown
Hair: black, head now shaved

Bengal plots revenge


Daredevil I#258 (fb) /Marvel Comics Presents I#15/4 / New Warriors I#8 (fb)) - Duc No Tranh lived in a village that was being destroyed by at least seven US soldiers led by Corporal Janes during the Vietnam War. The soldiers, in a panicked state when they were apparently under attack by the Viet Cong, fired guns indiscriminantly at civilians and burned the villagers and their huts. These soldiers included Michael Janes, Willie Lincoln, Jim Rhodes and William Talltrees. These atrocities were witnessed by Tranh. As the troops left in a helicopter, the gunshot-wounded boy jumped onto one of the landing struts but was pushed off by Janes and fell far down to the ground. He survived and trained himself so that he could hunt down the aggressors who killed his family, friends and fellow villagers, and almost himself.

The boy clings to the US helicopter

(Marvel Comics Presents I#15/4) - In his quest for vengeance, Bengal attacked William Talltrees, now the hero known as Red Wolf, and killed Lobo. Bengal slashed at him with his sai and causing him to fall off a cliff, almost killing Red Wolf. As Talltrees later recovered in hospital, he communed with his Wolf God and recalled the massacre in Vietnam.

(Daredevil I#258) - Continuing his murderous revenge, Bengal murdered Chin Fong in San Antonio, then Samuel Birulin in his home in Seattle at night. However, Sam was on the phone to fellow Viet War vet, Willie Lincoln in New York, a blind friend of Murdock's, who heard the killing before Bengal asked him in Vietnamese, "did the jungle breathe?" Lincoln quickly contacted Matt Murdock to get in touch with Daredevil to protect him from Bengal. Elsewhere, Bengal meditated naked and ruminated on the slaughter from his childhood, which steeled his resolve for revenge against those ex-soldiers on his murder list. For three nights, Daredevil monitored Lincoln's house until Bengal appeared. Daredevil was momentarily distracted by Bengal's sai as it reminded him of Elektra. Relatively evenly matched in the ensuing fight, Daredevil was able to draw Bengal away until the killer retired into the shadows after showing the face under his mask. Lincoln later told Daredevil of their history while elsewhere Tranh relived the horror in his mind. Three more days later, Bengal fired an arrow next to DD's head with a map showing where they should meet. The two fought again but very viciously with Bengal continuing the assault even after DD broke his wrist until he fell before DD's blows. Daredevil then carried Bengal to Lincoln's apartment and had Tranh look upon Lincoln's face when he recovered. Seeing that Lincoln was blind and not guilty of the slaughter, Bengal smashed through the window, which was six storeys up. The two Americans then assumed he had died.

Bengal slides down to attack Daredevil

(New Warriors I#7) - Bengal stalked Michael Janes, now a priest, at the church where he was based. Silhouette was there as well to light candles for her brother and was joined by Janes. However, Bengal attacked at that point, leaping down, asking "Did de jungle breat?". Silhouette thought that the assassin was after her and struck at Bengal with one of her crutches and he turned to face her. Janes ran scared out the front with Silhouette soon following along with Bengal who pursued her. However, she teleported through the shadows and escaped. Meanwhile, the Punisher observed the incident from inside his black battle van.

  Later, Bengal attacked Janes once more as he exited the church, sliding down a rope attached to an arrow aimed next to the priest's head. However, Night Thrasher had staked out the location and swung in and knocked Bengal away. Night Thrasher, believing the assassin to be after Silhouette, battered Bengal furiously but was stopped from cutting Bengal by the sudden appearance of the Punisher, who informed them that Bengal was after the priest, not the girl.

(New Warriors I#8) - Bengal managed to escape as Night Thrasher was distracted by the Punisher. Later, Father Janes explained the origin of Bengal to Night Thrasher and Silhouette.

(New Warriors I#9) - Janes retreated to his apartment with Thrasher's plan being to flush out the assassin. Bengal watched from a nearby rooftop and fired an arrow through the window. The New Warrior swung up to Bengal's position and the two fought viciously. Bengal's sai broke Night Thrasher's visor, briefly blinded him, and he responded with his cayenne pepper spray to hold off Bengal's attack. The Punisher then appeared, leveling a gun at Night Thrasher and Bengal, telling that they both had to negotiate peacefully, and that they both reminded him of himself regarding his quest for bloody justice. Bengal was silent and removed his mask. Janes also arrived via a stairwell and asked Bengal for forgiveness. Bengal apologized and the two held each other in solace.

(Night Thrasher: Four Control#1) - A few months later, unable to get Bengal to put aside his bloody hunt of vengeance, Father Michael Janes turned to Night Thrasher to stop Bengal from killing Gai No Don who Bengal believed was Li Pan, a North Vietnamese general responsible for the butchering of thousands during the Vietnam War. Later, Bengal violently overpowered security to reach Gai No Don, but he had hired Night Thrasher and Silhouette as bodyguards. Thrasher told Bengal he was mistaken but Bengal jumped out the window to escape a confrontation. Much later, Bengal attacked the Poison Memories gang in Chinatown hunting for information on Li Pan, but was stopped by Night Thrasher. The two fought briefly, Night Thrasher parrying Bengal's throwing stars and sais before binding the seeker of vengeance in cable. Thrasher told Bengal to try to rise above the painful past. Bengal relaxed and left making a comment that he knew of the New Warrior's own battle with vengeance.

Bengal attacks the Poison Memories gang

(Night Thrasher I#1/2) - Night Thrasher recalled his battle with Bengal and how it helped him come to terms with the loss of his own parents and quell his rage.

(Marvel Knights#11 - BTS) - Tombstone hired Bengal as one of his lackey enforcers.

(Marvel Knights#11) - The Marvel Knights sought to counter Viktor Smerdilovisc's criminal activities with his fellow Serbian gangsters. Luke Cage engaged the criminals while the other heroes followed. Smashing through the nightclub front, Cage encountered Shades and other armed men, but the Hero for Hire was joined by the Black Widow, Dagger, Daredevil, Moon Knight and Shang Chi only to be confronted by Tombstone, who had made an alliance with Smerdilovisc and arrived with his enforcers, Big Ben, Bullet and Bengal.

(Marvel Knights#12) - In the ensuing fray, Bengal was set to engage Shang-Chi in combat, both acknowledging that they had heard of each other. Bengal took on the Sublime Crane Discipline; Shang-Chi was about to counter the move but Bengal was instead shot from behind by the Black Widow with an electric bolt. It is likely that Bengal was swallowed up by Cloak along with Tombstone’s other allies, but this is unconfirmed.

(Avengers: The Initiative#5 (fb) - BTS) - Tranh married an American wife and they had a child together. His English language proficiency also markedly improved.

Bengal arrives by bus at Camp Hammond

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark (Iron Man), Acting Chairman of the Presidential Super Hero Task Force, identified Bengal as a new recruit of the Fifty State Initiative as he had complied with the Superhuman Registration Act.

(Avengers: The Initiative#1) - Bengal arrived by bus at Camp Hammond, Initiative HQ, in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, along with other new recruits, including Armory, Cloud 9, Hardball, Komodo, Rage, Slapstick, Thor Girl (Skrull imposter) and Trauma. They were met by Yellowjacket, Gauntlet and She-Hulk.

(Avengers: The Initiative#3) - Bengal participated in an Initiative excercise to combat "class 100" threats by sparring against the Thing.

(Avengers: The Initiative#5 (fb)) - Gyrich recruited Bengal as part of a covert operations group, the Shadow Initiative,  that he was piecing together. Tranh, sitting with his wife and child, stated that he did not like answering to Jim Rhodes (War Machine).

(Avengers: The Initiative#4) - Now assigned to the Initiative's Black Ops team, Bengal was ordered by Henry Peter Gyrich to enter into the conflict between Earth's heroes and the Hulk.

(Avengers: The Initiative#5) - Alongside the Constrictor, Trauma, Mutant Zero and the Scarlet Spiders, Bengal was sent to rescue several Initiative recruits who had been captured by the Hulk's Warbound allies. Bengal's team arrived at Madison Square Gardens and attacked several Death's Head units with Constrictor. Bengal and his Shadow Initiative teammates successfully freed the prisoners and escaped aboard an Initiative stealth ship while Trauma stayed back to fight the Hulk. Bengal later appeared with his teammates at the bedside of the recuperating Trauma.

(Avengers: The Initiative#8 (fb)) - Bengal was present as Dragon Man was brought to Camp Hammond to be transferred to the Negative Zone prison, just before Taskmaster was assigned as the drill instructor for the new Initiative recruits.

(Avengers: The Initiative#10) - When the rogue clone KIA included Gyrich among his targets, Bengal joined the Shadow Initiative in rushing to Gyrich's aid. However, when the Constrictor tried to ensnare KIA with his coils, he had his arms blown off for his efforts. Bengal carried his armless comrade to safety while the rest of their team pressed their attack.

(Avengers: The Initiative#14) - Bengal ate in the mess hall. Later, 3-D Man showed up at the Initiative base, claiming there was an invasion of shape-shifters.

(Avengers: The Initiative#17) - When Skrulls attacked the base, Bengal assured his wife and child, as well as the other women (including Mrs. Green) and the children on the base were safe. Bengal kissed his wife, then pulled on his mask and met up with the Shadow Initiative (Constrictor, Mutant Zero, and Trauma). They soon found Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady) sneaking around and they made a plan to assassinate the Skrull queen, Veranke, who was posing as Spider-Woman. They snuck through the sewers discussed the invasion, wondering if any of them were Skrulls. Trauma used his powers to show their worst fears to prove their true identities, and Bengal saw his family murdered, a vision that horrified him. After Ant-Man set off an explosion, the Shadow Initiative attacked the Skrulls, including Veranke and Criti Noll, posing as Yellowjacket. Bengal tossed shruikens while Mutant Zero killed Veranke, only to find out the queen had been posing as another Skrull. The Shadow Initiative got confused when their own fears caused Trauma to appear as a Skrull to them. While they fought among themselves, they were easily defeated by a Skrull posing as Dum-Dum Dugan.

(Avengers: The Initiative#20 (fb) - BTS) - The Shadow Initiative was briefly interrogated by the Skrulls, but was released after the Skrulls were defeated.

(Avengers: The Initiative#20) - Gauntlet, the now leader of the base, commended Ant-Man for his services and dismissed him to the Thunderbolts. He then appointed Taskmaster leader of the Shadow Initiative, ordered Mutant Zero to take a more active role on the team, and joined them up with Komodo to go to Madripoor after Hardball, who'd defected to Hydra.

(Avengers: The Initiative#21) - After learning Mutant Zero was really Typhoid Mary, the Shadow Initiative parachuted out into Madripoor.

(Avengers: The Initiative#22) - The Shadow Initiative moved through Madripoor's Lowtown area until a group of Hydra agents, led by Hardball and Scorpion (Carmilla Black) attacked).

(Avengers: The Initiative#23) - The Shadow Initiative fled from Hydra agents. Bengal carried the depowered Komodo until he accidentally dropped her. Constrictor pulled him down into Madripoor's sewer system despite Bengal's wish to not leave Komodo behind. The team later learned that SHIELD had been shut down and that nobody would pick them up in Madripoor. New opponents in the form of Bloodscream and Roughouse were already behind them.

(Avengers: The Initiative#24) - The Shadow Initiative were attacked by Bloodscream and Roughouse. They fought until Taskmaster declared that the Shadow Initiative wanted to join Hydra after SHIELD was gone. They were brought to Hydra's local leader Hardball and Bengal asked him what he had done to Komodo. Eventually the Shadow Initiative turned on Hydra again in their armory and took apart the whole Hydra section. Eventually HAMMER arrived to bring Bengal and the rest of the Shadow Initiative back home with Hardball, who had surrendered. Bengal was happy to see his wife again. Osborn arranged a few nights at the Plaza for all Shadow Initiative members.

(Avengers: The Initiative#26) - With a large influx of Initiative recruits under Norman Osborn's regime, the ranks of the Shadow Initiative were bolstered by members of Heavy Mettle (Barracuda, Blackwing, Riot, Stronghold, Warbow), the Larcenous Three (Badd Axe, Firearms), Butterball, Ringer, and Slaughter Boy, who joined Batwing, Bengal, and Komodo.

(Avengers: The Initiative#27) - The Shadow Initiative, after a brief period of training, stormed the Negative Zone gates and started fighting for 42. Among their enemies were Blastaar's alien hordes and inmates, such as Hardball, Arthur Nagan, Condor, and Dragon Man. Slaughter Boy, Blackwing, and Johnny Guitar were the first killed. Firearms soon panicked and was killed at the gate trying to escape. Bengal and Komodo used Butterball to get them in close. The Shadow Initiative moved in until Dragon Man attacked, but that turned to their favor when he began defending the injured Komodo. The tables turned when Hardball began aiding the Initiative, then Taskmaster, Constrictor, Penance, Living Laser, and Scorcher came in to take care of the rest. The survivors of the Initiative began understanding their true place in the Initiative now.

(Avengers: The Initiative#34) - During the battle for Camp: HAMMER, the Shadow Initiative (Batwing, Bengal, Butterball) were determining whether they should aid in the battle against the attacking heroes when Penance blasted through the wall, inspiring them to join the fight.

(Avengers: The Initiative#35) - Bengal defeated alongside the Avengers Resistance the villains and HAMMER agents in control at Camp HAMMER.

   After the Superhuman Registration Act was repealed by Steve Rogers when he was put in charge of superhumans by the US President, Bengal moved with his family to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, NYC and opened a martial arts school. He refused all requests for interviews.

Comments: Created by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Ron Lim (pencils) & Jim Sanders III (inks).

Bengal has en entry in the Official handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition#27 (1993). This cites Night Thrasher as a "former" enemy (as well as Daredevil, but the two later clashed in Marvel Knights.)

Two different flashback sequences show his build and age to be different; DD I#258 shows him as a young child but NW I#8 shows him to be about 11.

Bengal is shown as a young boy of no more than 5 years old - as far as I can tell - when he sees his village decimated. In the present portion of the story, this boy has grown up to look about 20 years old. That would take out about 15 years of the modern era! It would be nice if we could slide the Bengal's origin a bit backwards to the pre-modern era, but the Daredevil I#258 flashback takes place immediately before the events of Daredevil I#47. The only solution seems to be that the Bengal must been have much older in the DD#258 flashback than he was visually depicted.--docsavage80

Maybe he seemed undergrown due to malnourishment or something--Snood

Bengal has certainly developed along an unusual path; first a seeker of vengeance, then a mercenary enforcer for Tombstone and later a potential Avenger. It may be that the Bengal in Tombstone's employ was an impostor/replacement.

Reported war crimes and atrocities committed by US armed forces during the Vietnam War include the My Lai massacre plus other testimonies. Given the scale of families killed, at least within the context of this profile, it would not be surprising if there were more Bengals out there (perhaps even an order), especially given that the killing of one's family is a motivating force for action (e.g. Punisher, Night Thrasher, Doombringer, Spider-Man, etc.)

Bengal's real name was revealed in the Marvel Knights Encylopedia.

Thanks to John McDonagh for pointing out the timeline of the initial kills.

His son's name was revealed in Bengal's profile in the Avengers Assemble Handbook.

Profile by Grendel Prime.

Bengal has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe III#27 (main)
Daredevil I#258, p7, panel 3 (head)
Daredevil I#258, p13, panel 3 (child on helicopter)
New Warriors I#7, p20, panel 3 (sliding down rope)
Night Thrasher: Four Control#1, p17, panel 4 (leaping horizontally)
Avengers: The Initiative#1, p10, panel 2 (on bus)

Daredevil I#258 (September, 1988) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Jim Sanders III (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#15/4 (late March, 1989) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark McKenna (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
New Warriors I#7-9 (January-March, 1991) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Larry Mahlstedt (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Night Thrasher: Four Control#1 (October, 1992) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils & inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe III#27 (1993) - Glenn Herdling, Peter Sanderson & Murray Ward (research/text), Keith Pollard (pencils), Josef Rubinstein (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Knights#11-12 (May-June, 2001) – Chuck Dixon (writer), Ed Barreto (pencils), Nelson (inks), Stuart Moore & Nanci Dakesian (editors)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report (2007) – Anthony Flamini (head writer), Ronald Byrd (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#1 (June, 2007) – Dan Slott (writer), Stefano Caselli (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#3-5 (August-October, 2007) - Dan Slott (writer), Stefano Caselli (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#8 (February, 2008) - Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (writers), Stefano Caselli (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#10 (May, 2008) - Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage (writers), Stefano Caselli (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#13 (July, 2008) - Christos Gage (writer), Steve Uy (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort  Dan Slott, Christos Gage (writers), Harvey Talibao (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#14 (August, 2008) - Dan Slott, Christos Gage (writers), Stefano Caselli (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#17 (November, 2008) - Dan Slott, Christos Gage (writers), Harvey Talibao (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#20 (February, 2009) - Dan Slott (writer), Steve Kurth (penciler), Drew Hennessy (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#21-22 (March-April, 2009) - Christos N. Gage (writer), Humberto Ramos (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#23-24 (June-July, 2009) - Christos N. Gage (writer), Humberto Ramos (penciler/inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#26-27 (September-October 2009) - Christos Gage (writer), Rafa Sandoval (penciler), Roger Bonet (inker), Jeannine Schaefer (editor)
Avengers: The Initiative#34-35 (May-June, 2010) - Christos Gage (writer), Jorge Molina (penciler), Andrew Hennessy (inker), Bill Rosemann (editor)

First Posted: 06/04/2007
Last updated: 06/01/2016

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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