Ninja Superheroes: We Rank the Top 5

When All Else Fails, Send in the Ninja Superhero

Itachi:A nameless shinobi does not set out to seek glory. They protect from the shadows. That is the mark of a true ninja.

Naruto

Who doesn’t like ninjas? Japan’s famous shadow warriors are one of the go-to images for an assassin or warrior. From their flashy, exotic weaponry to purported magical powers, ninjas have carved out a niche as a character archetype.

Real ninjas are nothing like fictional ninjas. Real ninjas often disguised themselves as peasants, monks, or farmers to get close to their targets. The stereotypical ninja costume is a relic of Bunraku theater, a sign that you weren’t supposed to pay attention to the person on stage.

Every superhero fights ninjas eventually, but there are also many ninja superheroes. So who are the top 5 ninja superheroes? Let’s find out.

#5 Deathstroke

Debut: The New Teen Titans #2
Played by: Maku Bennet and Ron Perlman

Deathstroke: [countering a sneak attack] “Robin. That was vicious, dishonorable, and ruthless. Excellent work. You’re becoming more like me every second.” –

Teen Titans “Apprentice” (Season 1, Episode 13)

Most Superhero Ninjas are reluctant to kill their enemies. While they can do so, they know life has value. Deathstroke has no compunctions about killing for money.

Slade Wilson was a soldier who underwent a procedure to resist truth serums. In actuality, the procedure was an attempt by the U.S. Army to create super soldiers. The procedure was a resounding success, giving Slade superhuman strength, speed, agility, and a healing factor. He went AWOL during a mission to start a family and became a mercenary called Deathstroke to support them.

Between missions, Deathstroke supplemented his army training by joining the League of Assassins. They taught him martial arts, infiltration skills, and assassination techniques. Deathstroke mastered classic ninja weapons, including shuriken, bo staves, and swords. He also uses a variety of guns, because nothing screams “ninja” like pulling out an Uzi or a rocket launcher.

While primarily a villain, Deathstroke has often acted as an anti-hero. Our Deathstroke Backstory has the details.

#4 Daredevil

Debut: Daredevil #1
Played by: Charlie Cox and Ben Affleck

Elektra: “We live on the front lines. Like it or not.
Matt: “It doesn’t mean we have to fight Stick’s way. He kills his enemies, and we don’t have to.
Elektra: “You make that choice sound so easy.”
Matt: “No, it’s not easy. It’s impossible. But it’s a choice and it’s a choice that I remake every single day. Every second, sometimes.

Daredevil “Guilty as Sin” (Season 2, Episode 8)

Ninjas dwell in darkness. Their targets never see them until a knife is already in their back. For our number four Ninja Superhero, the deepest shadow is as visible as a sunlit meadow.

Matt Murdock was a young man who saw a blind man about to be hit by a truck. He knocked the man out of the way, but was blinded by radioactive ooze that fell from the truck. Matt struggled with his disability until he met a blind ninja called Stick. As one does on New York streets.

Stick learned that the radiation had given Matt a “radar sense”, which he also had through mystical means. He trained Matt to master his enhanced senses and taught him martial arts among other skills. Matt eventually left Stick when he realized he was being groomed as a killer.

Matt used his ninja training to become Daredevil. His assassin training often comes into conflict with Matt’s morals and Catholic faith, leading him to agonize over whether he should kill his villains. Daredevil frequently fights other ninjas, including Elektra, Ikari, and a ninja cult called The Hand. During one of the darker points of Daredevil’s life, he became The Hand’s leader.

If you want to know more about Daredevil, check out his backstory.

#3 Elektra

Debut: Daredevil #168
Played by: Elodie Young and Jennifer Garner

Elektra:I am Elektra Natchios. Not even the stars are safe in the sky.

Dark Reign: Elektra #5

Superhero Ninjas are overwhelmingly Japanese or American, but there are occasional outliers. Psylocke is a psychic British ninja. G Gundam featured German ninja Schwarz Bruder, complete with a ninja costume patterned on the German flag. And then there’s our number three Superhero Ninja: Elektra.

Elektra Natchios was the daughter of a Greek diplomat who was a college classmate of Matt Murdock. Her father was assassinated, causing Elektra to travel to China to learn martial arts and avenge him. She was found by Stick, who could sense darkness in her soul. He trained her in an attempt to suppress her dark side, but she eventually rebelled and joined The Hand.

Elektra returned to the U.S. as an assassin, eventually working for The Kingpin. She fought Daredevil, but backed off after realizing he was Matt. Elektra acted as both a hero and a villain until she was murdered by Bullseye for usurping his role as Kingpin’s favored assassin. Elektra was eventually resurrected by The Hand.

Elektra uses all of the classic ninja weapons, but her signature weapons are a pair of Okinawan Sai. These three-pronged daggers are used as farm equipment, but are also great for stabbing foes and snapping swords. Elektra can use chi for several magical tricks, including telepathy, hypnosis, possession, and a psionic blast called the Silent Scream.

#2 Batman

Debut: Detective Comics #27
Played by: Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, others

[Batman has been impaled and thrown from a castle]
The Joker:So it’s finally over, Batman.”
Batman: [disperses into a cloud of bats and appears behind Joker] “You can’t trust everything you see, Joker.” –

Batman: Ninja

You knew Batman would be one of the Top 5 Superhero Ninjas. He dresses all in black, his Batarangs are bat-shaped shuriken, and he is constantly pulling disappearing acts on his allies. 

I’ll assume you all know Batman’s backstory. He spent his teenage years traveling the world to learn skills for his war on crime. He studied under the League of Shadows, martial arts master Richard Dragon, O-Sensei, and many others to develop a ninja’s repertoire.

Batman might be one of fiction’s most successful ninjas. He can outfight superpowered opponents, hide from Superman, and has made plans to incapacitate virtually everyone in the DC universe. Even if he is defeated, he’ll return with a plan to defeat his opponent.

Batman’s ninja skills were recently explored in an animated movie called Batman: Ninja. Trapped in the Warring States era of Japan’s history and stripped of their gadgets, Batman and his allies studied with a ninja clan to defeat The Joker and return home. Batman even gained mystical abilities such as teleportation, flight, and the ability to summon an enormous swarm of bats to fight Joker’s steampunk Megazord. It’s a very weird movie.

#1 Master Splinter

Debut: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
Played by: Kevin Clash and Tony Shaloub

Batman:A rat…
Splinter:What is truly stranger: an animal who acts like a man or a man who acts like an animal? [they fight] I admire your dedication to the martial arts. It is rare to see one as well-trained as you. [drops a smoke bomb] Perhaps we’ll be seeing more of you.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are four of the most famous superhero ninjas, but we only have room for one winner. Who deserves more credit: the student or the teacher? Master Splinter is the greatest superhero ninja.

Splinter was an ordinary, albeit intelligent, rat owned by a ninja named Hamato Yoshi. He mimicked Yoshi’s katas and movements, slowly teaching himself ninjutsu. Yoshi found his lover, Teng Seng, being beaten by another ninja called Oroku Nagi and killed him. He, Tang Shen, and Splinter fled to America to escape from Nagi’s clan, The Foot.

Yoshi and Tang Shen were murdered by Nagi’s younger brother, Oroku Saki, leaving Splinter homeless. He survived in a sewer until the day he watched a young Matt Murdock be blinded by a canister of radioactive ooze. The canister also smashed a bowl containing four turtles, spilling the ooze and the turtles into the sewer.

Splinter and the turtles were mutated by the ooze, gaining human intelligence, the ability to walk on their hind legs, and the ability to talk. Splinter named the turtles after Renaissance artists and trained them in ninjutsu to assassinate Saki, who now called himself The Shredder.

Master Splinter taught the Turtles everything that they know. He is skilled with katanas, sai, nunchaku, bo staves, shuriken, and many more. He usually fights with his cane, which could be considered a short staff due to his height. When all that isn’t enough, he has a few mystical abilities to fall back on, such as healing, slowing his body processes, or entering the spirit world. He may be old, but don’t underestimate this radical rat.

Who is your favorite superhero ninja? Let us know in the comments.

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