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Drake (Elektra's sensei) (Marvel Comics)  staring

Drake


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Drake is a Marvel Comics character. She played an important role in the 2001 run of Elektra, written by Greg Rucka. These were good stories. Perhaps it is because Mr. Rucka wasn’t as famous back then, but my vague impression is that these books may have been overlooked when published.

As a result, one of the top martial artists in the Marvel Universe (Drake is clearly superior to Elektra, and that’s well-supported in-universe) is curiously obscure.


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Other Aliases: The Betrayer
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed father (deceased), James (brother, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: South Central Los Angeles
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 110 lbs Age: 60s
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black, dyed blonde


Powers and Abilities

Drake is one of the most proficient martial artists in the world.


History

Drake’s father served with the US military during World War II. He was part of the forces occupying Japan. Being African-American left him stuck with menial tasks. Nevertheless, he discovered certain aspect of Japanese culture and, in particular, the martial arts.

Coming back home in California in 1947, he taught his son James. The boy demonstrated a phenomenal talent for the fighting arts. James, in turn, started teaching his kid sister. As it turned out, the little girl was way better than even her brother.

In 1953, Drake’s dad moved back to Japan with the family to be closer to teachers. Some of the sensei he had met in Japan were members of a mystical organisation of secret martial arts masters, the Chaste. The Chaste recruited James and his father. They also agreed to also take the girl in since she could be useful as a servant.

Most assumed that the Chaste would never consider a Black, foreign female for membership. Yet James continued to secretly train his kid sister every night. He taught her what he had been practising during the day.

Stick

As it turned out, one blind man among the Chaste considered was more interested in martial potential than in gender, race or culture. His name was Stick.

Drake blocks Elektra's sai with her hands

Valuing efficiency over decency, Stick made his move. He told the American siblings that they had broken the rules – but he would give one of them a second chance. He had a pack of Chaste monks attack them. Stick told the kids that the first sibling to be taken down would leave, and the other would be given a second chance. James fell first.

James left and his little sister stayed to learn the arts of the Chaste. But it was too late – she was already too full of anger over having been treated as a third-class human being during her whole life. As a result, she ended up accidentally killing a man while training. She was also expelled.

This is the Hand, the Hand that takes

A familiar scenario then took place. The Hand approached the girl (who was now calling herself Drake) to recruit her. She agreed to join them to destroy them from within and show her worth to Stick.

The Hand had her fight and kill a man in pitch darkness as an initiation ritual. They then revealed that she had killed her brother James. Shattered, the girl became an obedient Hand assassin – essentially her generation’s Elektra.

Drake dodges Elektra's staff

In 1972, in Luxembourg, Drake and other elite Hand assassins fought the Chaste. Drake killed four Chaste warriors, including her father.

But somehow, Drake broke the Hand conditioning and escaped. She returned to California. Though there was no realistic way to atone for everything she had done, she concentrated on becoming a good person and a decent human being.

Drake became a teacher and community helper. Her dojo and her Spartan bedroom were established in an abandoned auto repair shop. She was no longer an assassin, a warrior or a fighter, but a martial artist.

Caught in amber

During the early 2000s one of Drake’s friends, a bodyguard named Philip Carson, requested her help. Allies of his had captured the dreaded international assassin Elektra. The Greek killer was experiencing a spiritual breakdown and wanted to become a better person.

Drake and Elektra sparring

Drake was sceptical about Elektra’s worth. She tested her fighting ability to get a sense of her. But while the fight lasted for six hours Drake’s victory was seldom in doubt. Drake claimed that Elektra was but a heartless murderer and rejected her. However, Elektra remained meditating and fasting in front of Drake’s dojo.

Drake kept rejecting her. That lasted until she saw that Elektra, who had been through a quiet miniature satori, was playing soccer with some local kids.

The Hand returns

Drake worked for several weeks with Elektra. She helped her break her Chaste training and her Hand conditioning. Though she didn’t provide her with a ready-made direction, she had her reestablish a connection with normal persons and act like a human being.

The Hand found Elektra again and attacked, destroying Drake’s dojo. The goal of the attack was to undo Drake’s work and have Elektra resume treading on the path of the assassin.

Though it cost the Hand several of its masters, the operation was successful. Elektra became a savage killer again. And Drake was seemingly killed by a poisoned spike while defending Elektra.

The circumstances of Drake’s apparent death are suspect, though. In particular, they resemble previous deceptions by Stick.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Drake is an old sensei – direct, gruff, hard-nosed and with a no-bullshit manner. Her values of spiritual development and harmonious life are simple and rock-solid.

She lives a spartan life with very few material possessions. On the other hand she is an active member of the community – rehabilitating children’s playgrounds, teaching martial arts classes for kids, mediating disputes, serving meals at the mercy house, etc.

Compassion and honesty are at the core of her teaching. She trains martial artists, not fighters or warriors.

Drake follows certain martial arts traditions, such as allowing rejected students to meditate in front of her dojo until they are let in. But she openly considers that this stuff is largely bullshit.

She respects it as a custom and sees some pedagogical value in it. But Drake is as likely to use an ancient cryptic parable (because it does have some value even if it’s mostly bullshit) as she is to make a mocking reference to well-known, cliché sensei such as Yoda or mister Miyagi.

Though she seems hard-assed, Drake is a kind soul. She will almost always end up helping people in need even if it’s a pain in the neck. Even as she was harshly rejecting Elektra for being too deeply corrupt, she was rooting for her to persevere and cleanse herself enough for Drake to accept her as a student.


Quotes

“I’ve been ready to die for a while, Phillip. Today’s good a day as any. Bring her in.”

(Provoking Elektra) “Carson was telling me all about you, how you’re this ninja and this samurai, and when I was done laughing I told him… ‘you’re describing a girl who doesn’t even know what day it is’.”

(Fighting Elektra) “Much as I hate to say it, you’re gonna lose, honey. And I’m gonna tell you why. You’ve got great moves, buckets of know how… but you’ve got no heart.”

“You’re truly one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I know what I’m talking about. But as the short green man  said… you still have much to learn.”

“They’re calling you tainted, or filthy or dirty. Make you sound like a whore, not a ninja.”

“There ain’t no way to make that kind of crime right, Elektra. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. You’re never going to atone. You can’t. It’s not possible. All you can do is live with it. All you can do is change.”

“I’m not saying Stick didn’t have reasons for kicking you out, girl. But he was always a sexist bastard.”

(After she and Elektra worked hard to repair a playground for small children) “You put those toddlers in that sandbox in the front of your head, girl. Think of them. Who they can be. Think of their parents. The people who love them. Give that simple honour to everyone. Then you tell me how you could kill them without pause.”


DC Universe History

In the DCU, Drake would be a renegade member of the League of Assassins. She would have stepped in during the very poorly-regarded story arc when Cassandra Cain became corrupted and headed the League, and help her put an end to that.

In this scenario, Drake would have become involved after Barbara Gordon tracked down Richard Dragon to ask him if he would help Cassandra Cain, and Dragon directed her toward Drake instead.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Drake

Dex: 10 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the good
Int: 09 Wil: 08 Min: 08 Occupation: Sensei
Inf: 09 Aur: 07 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 030 HP: 025

Powers:
EV 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
EV only to bend/crush small items in her hands or between her fingers

Skills:
Acrobatics: 07, Martial artist*: 10, Thief (Stealth, escape artist, security systems): 09, Weaponry (Melee, missile)*: 10

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (South Central LA), Expertise (Chaste lore, Hand lore), Iron Nerves

Connections:
Street (Low)

Drawbacks:
Dependents (her neighborhood)

Equipment:
Drake has an impressive weapons rack at her dojo, including many invaluable, very high quality weapons – but doesn’t usually carry weapons herself. She will, however, arm herself with a vast arsenal of ancient weapons from her rack if she expects armed conflict.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Elektra v2 by Greg Rucka (Marvel Universe)

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Darci

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