Karate Kid (Origin) – Comic Basics

Karate Kid
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Origin of Karate Kid

Real Name: Val Armorr

First Appearance: Adventure Comics #346 (July, 1966)

Powers: Is a master of every form of martial arts up to the 31st Century. He can sense the weak spot on any object and is able to resist mind control. Karate Kid also keeps himself at the peak of human conditioning.

Affiliation: Legion of Superheroes

Did You Know? Karate Kid is so proficient in martial arts that when he challenged Superboy and used his own Super Karate, he was able to hold his own. 

A Little History

Created by Jim Shooter, Karate Kid first made his appearance inside the pages of Adventure Comics #346 back in July of 1966.

The origin of Karate Kid is relatively straight forward. 

Karate Kid (Val Armorr) is the son to both Japan’s greatest crime lord, Kirau Nezumi (the Black Dragon) and the American secret agent, Valentina Armorr. Fearing the worst for her son, shortly after his birth, his mother made an attempt to hide him from his father. This proved to be her undoing as she was found out and killed for her efforts. 

All wasn’t lost for Val Armorr as Japan’s greatest hero, Sensei Toshiaki (the White Dragon) killed Kirau Nezumi for his crimes. Noticing that Kirau had a son, Sensei took the orphaned youth in and raised him as his own. Under his guidance, Val was taught all forms of martial arts. Karate Kid proved to be exceptional in his studies even becoming the youngest warrior to earn the title of Samurai. 

Having been given the title of Samurai, Val began working for his local shogun. Unfortunately, try as he may, he wasn’t able to impress his supervisor. This led Val to leave the shogun and wander the galaxies for new forms of martial arts to master.

After traveling for awhile, his quest ultimately led him back to Earth. Upon landing on Earth, he learned that the Legion of Superheroes was looking for new recruits. Although he had no inherent superpowers, he applied for the position. He was ultimately accepted as a member after he challenged and held his own in a battle against Superboy. As much as it may seem so, it wasn’t, however, a quick acceptance. Due to being unpowered, the Legion deliberated his acceptance and were swayed only after Superboy vouched for his incredible skill. After his acceptance, Val would go on to become one of the greatest members that the Legion of Superheroes would ever know. 

Now a member of the Legion, Val fell in love with fellow new recruit, Princess Projectra. In an effort to prove his worth to the Princess, Val took a leave of absence from his team. The leave took him back t the primitive 20th Century. During his visit, he met and befriended many heroes from that time period. Most notably of them included Robin and Superboy. After returning to his time, he is now considered worthy and he and the Princess become married. 

Bliss did not last, however. Shortly after their wedding, the two learned that her home planet, Orando, had been taken control of by the Legion of Super-Villains. While attempting the free the planet, Princess, now Queen Projectra, Val and a few other Legionnaires are taken captive. After the heroes escaped capture, Val confronted their leader, Nemesis Kid. Although the battle was long and well-fought, it was Nemesis Kid who came out on top. Ashamed by his defeat, Val urged that the battle continue so that he may die with honor. 

This, however, wasn’t meant to be. 

Unwilling to let her husband sacrifice himself in a manner such as this, Projectra pleaded that instead of sacrificing himself for his own reasons, he should use all of his power to save her planet. Val did just that and sacrificed himself thereby saving the planet.

Of course, nobody ever stays dead in comics…

And that’s it. The origin of Karate Kid.

Title Image © DC

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