(Part #1 - the 1970s)
Colleen Wing appeared in 1974 as one of the supporting characters of Iron Fist.
She and her BFF Misty Knight grew from there to become a great duo of action detectives and adventurers.
Both characters are rooted in 1970s blaxploitation and cheap kung fu cinema.
Though she’s not a major character, she’s notable :
- As one of the earliest mixed-ethnicities comics heroines. The earliest one I can think of off the top of my head is Mantis (1973).
(I specify “heroine”, since the earliest bloke I can think of without research is the Ringo Kid (1954).)
- As an early example of Chris Claremont’s approach to writing female characters. He was an important force in dragging super-hero comics forward in that aspect.
This here article is an emergent history profile.
This means that it is strictly about Col as she appeared during the 1970s. Without working in later takes and evolutions on the character.
This profile stops in January, 1979. So yes, what happened in 1979 is considered to be the 1980s for these profiles. Just nod and smile. 😺
- Real Name: Colleen Wing.
- Previous Aliases: “Lady Samurai” (nickname from her grandfather).
- Note: Col’s clan name was originally given as “Osama” rather than Ozawa.
- Known Relatives: Professor Lee Wing (father), Unnamed mother (deceased), Ozawa Kenji (grandfather, deceased), Ozawa Oji (uncle), unnamed sons of Ozama Kenji (deceased during WWII), unnamed sons of Ozawa Oji (deceased during WWII).
- Group Affiliation: Nightwing Restorations.
- Base of Operations: New York City. Nightwing Restorations rents an office at the Anson Hotel, on the corner of Broadway and 72nd. This is likely a reference to the real-world Ansonia Building.
- Height: 5’7” (1.70m). Weight: 125lbs. (56 Kg.).
- Eyes: Greenish brown, arbitrarily. Hair: Dark red.
Powers & Abilities
At first, Colleen seemed to be The Professor’s Pretty Daughter.
This used to be a stock character in genre literature.
Whoah, I know kung fu
However, it soon turned out that she actually was a skilled martial artist.
Ms. Wing uses a mix of mostly Japanese techniques, armed and unarmed. These include :
One suspects that most such techniques are the traditional arts of the Ozawa clan, rather than a well-known school of jujitsu.
However she mentioned holding a sandan rank. So she likely also trained in a widespread style, such as shotokan karate .
And the Okinawan weapon techniques likely are kobudo rather than Ozawa tradition.
Advanced techniques, part 1
After an accidental psychic fusion with Iron Fist, Colleen also gained a knowledge of K’un-Lun martial arts techniques. However, it’s fuzzy and not readily usable.
Yet sometimes, it just shows up in her fighting moves without her consciously using K’un-Lun knowledge.
One exception was using chiA sort of universal life force/energy in Chinese-influenced cultures. to burn an heroin addiction out of her body. She used this K’un-Lun meditation art without understanding how.
She also gained a crude sense of K’un-Lun honour traditions when watching the Iron Fist and the Steel Serpent fight.
Advanced techniques, part 2
Reinforcing her chi also helped with her ability to focus her physical strength, especially if she utters a kiai war cry.
These are the techniques taught by her grandpa, but that K’un-Lun touch makes them even stronger.
With focus, Colleen can therefore strike much harder, or move much larger objects, than her physical size would indicate. She once flipped the 300 lbs. (135 Kg.) Luke Cage without major difficulty. Then with extraordinary effort and focus, she pushed about three metres/yards of floor-to-ceiling filled bookshelves.
There are also scattered examples of Colleen recovering from narcotics quicker than her body mass should allow for. Or healing a seemingly broken arm within a short time. Our game stats therefore assume she can do chi-powered healing trances.
Even in her earliest action scenes, Colleen is capable of taking down multiple goons. Even if they have melee weapons.
However there is a sudden tipping point (cinematicThe level of power and (un)realism found in a spectacular action movie. skill levels, superhumans, opponents with guns…) where she’ll be in over her head. Essentially, she only gets to be formidable when it doesn’t matter.
Colleen also soon proved that she had an exceptional level of fitness and mental resilience. For instance, that gave her an excellent resistance against brainwashing.
Wing-san occasionally wields her ancestral Ozawa clan katana. Sometimes, this sword allows her to focus her energy and fight with greater speed and precision than usual. Colleen considers this blade a part of her soul.
Ms. Wing is a good martial arts instructor. She’s the one who taught Misty Knight her basic and mid-level moves.
Soundtrack for this profile
From an obvious idea association, that was on infinite repeat while I worked on this profile. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s the soundtrack.
As usual on writeups.org, the History section assumes that events occur at publication date.
This means that Colleen was born in the early-to-mid 1950s, so she can be in her early 20s when she debuts in a 1974 story, and ages in slow-motion.
See the Leòn Genetic Sequence article that explains why we have to do that, how it is handled, what it means, etc..
Colleen’s dad is Professor Lee Wing. He’s a respected if unpleasant professor of Oriental studies at New York’s Columbia University .
Her mum was a scion of the reputed Ozawa samurai clan. But she died when Colleen was but a toddler.
Ms. Wing grew up in the mountains of northern Honshu .
She was mostly raised by her grandfather, Ozawa Kenji. Mr. Ozawa was the former head of Japan’s intelligence services . He was succeeded in this position by his brother – Colleen’s uncle Oji.
Half-breed, she’s no good they warned
Colleen’s mum was the only child of the Ozawa brothers who survived World War Two. And she had but one kid.
Thus, this branch of the Ozawa clan had but a half-foreign girl to continue its lineage. This wasn’t ideal for a traditional, Japanese noble family of the mid-1950s.
But the pragmatic Ozawa-san took a stance that his grand-daughter was a true Ozawa. Thus, Colleen received intensive training in her clan’s samurai traditions, starting from an early age. She was taught just as a solely Japanese boy would have been, was allowed to wield the family’s ancestral swords, etc..
This seems to have been less than popular. Colleen thus had little contact with her clan other than Kenji-san. Even Oji-san seemed to have doubts about his niece, though he leaned toward acceptance.
(Since some of Colleen’s adventure were obviously… inspired by James Bond movies, one suspects that the figure of Ozawa Kenji is a reference to Tiger Tanaka ).
These vagabond geta are longing to stray
Circa 1973, Colleen moved to her father’s place in New York City. She worked as a private investigator, which her distant-yet-overprotective father disapproved of.
Apparently she wanted to work as her own boss. Being a P.I. was her way to sell her action skills for a living. One suspects she also read too many Modesty Blaise stories.
While in Manhattan, Wing was caught flatfooted in a gunfight between the NYPD and mobsters. Patrol officer Mercedes “Misty” Knight narrowly saved her life.
The two quickly became close friends. After Knight lost her arm in an explosion, Wing was instrumental in having her hold together.
Col and Misty then associated as the Nightwing Restorations, Ltd. investigation firm.
The pair was also called “the Daughters of the Dragon”, though they didn’t like it much. This was presumably as a reference to Bruce Lee, who back then was the #1 symbol of the martial arts.
In 1974, Professor Wing told his daughter to go outside the Meachum building at night, wait for a man to come out, and bring that man to him. Colleen grumpily complied despite the lack of information.
This is how she met Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K’ai).
Like unto a thing of iron
Ms. Wing tried to help. But she was infuriated by her father not telling her anything (such as having been marked for death by a Kâli cult for years), and by Iron Fist’s naïveté.
Eventually, cultists led by the Living Goddesses (Shaya and Ushas) stormed Professor Wing’s place. The Wings killed seven of them, but were then overwhelmed.
With the help of Iron Fist and then of the NYPD, the Wings broke free. During the subsequent battles, Colleen discovered how her father had been partially possessed by the Ninja for years, then saw this possession broken.
Colleen spent time with Daniel to help him adjust to life in New York City. This could get frustrating due to cultural differences and his so-so people skills.
It also meant getting caught in an ambush set by Warhawk (Mitchell Tanner), or in an attack by the Hunters of Hell (Ma-Mien the White Ox, and Niu-T’ou the Black).
The sorcerer Master Khan then struck at Iron Fist. First, he disposed of the Wings by sending Angar the Screamer. Mr. Wing was rendered insane, and his dazed daughter was kidnapped by fake cops.
Colleen managed to escape. But in an astonishing feat of bad luck she was recaptured by the Steel Serpent (Davos).
Angar the Screamer worked for months on brainwashing Ms. Wing, as conventional techniques had failed. Meanwhile Iron Fist, Misty Knight and Jeryn Hogarth located her and launched a rescue attempt.
But when Danny reached Colleen, she had become an agent of Khan.
Iron Fist used his chi for a clumsy psychic fusion with Colleen. This did break her conditioning, and she ordered him to go after Khan whilst she handled his men. Wing thrashed all the guards, then gutted Angar the Screamer with a iaijutsu strike.
Col was furious that Danny’s haphazard mind meld had violated both their minds. This left them with inappropriate knowledge of each other’s mindscape.
However, she also understood that it had been a desperate attempt to free her without killing her, and they remained friends.
(Yes, it’s a Chris Claremont story. You get no points for guessing, and may the Goddess have mercy on your soul.)
Private eyes, they’re watching you
Wing-san and Ms. Knight continued to work as P.I.s, and to occasionally be involved in Iron Fist’s adventures.
Defending Rand-K’ai once resulted in being taken down by Chaka (Robert Hao), who was using an electrified three-piece-rod.
In 1977, an old vendetta between Hong Kong crime lord Emil Vachon and Ozawa Kenji came to an end. Vachon’s assassins slew Ozawa-san in his home. The aged and handicapped Ozawa Oji couldn’t strike back, as he refused to commit public resources to a family feud.
Mission of vengeance
This left Colleen-san. She left for Hong Kong with Misty in tow once she had paid her last respects to her grand-dad.
Since they had no contacts in HK, the pair resorted to being loud to lure Vachon’s men in. They thus worked their way up the chain of command. Despite *thoroughly inexplicable* circumstances repeatedly leaving them fighting in their underwear.
They were eventually captured and brought to Vachon. The lustful Vachon decided to turn them into sex slaves, after addicting them to heroin. However, Misty injected the smack into her undetected bionic arm, until she seized an opportunity to kill their captors.
Colleen then used K’un-Lun meditation techniques to burn the bulk of the addiction out of her body.
Wing-san then slew Mr. Vachon in a duel, avenging her grandfather.
(This story was heavily based on 1970s schlock, exploitation cinema.)
Nightwing, but not that one
Howbeit, Colleen was also losing her father. Professor Wing’s mental state wasn’t improving. Though they had never been close, seeing him trapped in a permanent delirium stressed and hurt Colleen.
Colleen took a job bodyguarding lawyer Jeryn Hogarth in Canada. But Misty wasn’t available, having taken a solo job to move away from Iron Fist – who had hurt her feelings.
Instead, Wing paired up with Rand-K’ai, both for backup and to chew him up for having hurt her BFF.
When they reached Hogarth, the site was occupied by armed mercenaries led by Sabretooth. But Colleen freed and armed Hogarth’s staff to take down the mercs. Meanwhile, Danny narrowly defeated Sabretooth.
After Misty and Danny reconciled, the Daughters of the Dragon helped Iron Fist recover from a deadly attack by the Steel Serpent. With Spider-Man (Peter Parker)’s help, they then engaged the Steel Serpent in a fight, creating the conditions for Iron Fist to defeat him.
Heroes for Hire
In 1978, Luke Cage was blackmailed into kidnapping Misty Knight.
However, when he barged in, it was Colleen whom he found. Despite his power, she managed to stall him for a while and phone for help.
However, she was accidentally caught under a falling bookshelf. Out of guilt, Cage applied first aid and affixed splints on her broken arm.
Colleen recovered amazingly quickly. She also decided not to hold a grudge against Cage after seeing how he had been framed and blackmailed. In fact, with the Daughters and Iron Fist’s help, Cage soon secured proof that he had been wrongfully imprisoned years before.
With this enormous weight off his enormous shoulders, Luke became a friend of Danny, Colleen and Misty. He and Danny soon formed a partnership as the Heroes for Hire, much like Misty and Col had done as Nightwing Restorations.
Colleen is an Eurasian lass in her early 20s, with red hair. Apparently she’s ½ Japanese, ¼ Irish and ¼ various European and Asian ancestries.
(In practice, in the vintage material, she’s written as a White person with a special access to Japanese culture – or at least the 1980s Marvel Comics version of it. It’s a complicated discussion and we’re already 3,000+ words in, but there are papers on the subject. Say, Chris Maverick ’s).
Officially she’s 5’9″ (1.75m), but she’s drawn shorter during the 1970s. 5’9″ would have been unusually tall for a woman in the US back then, especially a half-Japanese one.
This pretty colleen’s eye colour is… variable. Green, blue, brown, purple… she’s been through it all.
In the field she dresses in a practical manner. When not working, her wardrobe will often have then-contemporary Japanese accents.
Near the end of this era she goes for a very, very 1970s-style long, large, sleek pageboy cut. Holy capillary flashback, Batman !
Before that she had long straight hair.
Colleen is a friendly and altruistic person, but… this isn’t readily apparent.
Her usual demeanour is serious, demanding and focused. She can easily convey an impression of dour hostility. It’s a “yeah, you have to know her” thing.
She normally fights non-lethally. But if pushed, or faced with a matter of honour, she might very well slay — or gravely wound — her opponents.
Wing-san follows the bushido, as it was understood by US writers back then. Think 1980s Wolverine (James Howlett). She *is* a samurai by blood and training, though she clearly could do without people being dubious about it due to her gender.
Colleen is a disciplined, professional troubleshooter and security expert. She also has a good head for tactics, and little patience for amateurs.
Aside from a handful of relationships, Colleen is all warrior, all the time. She’s unrelenting and doesn’t let herself become emotionally vulnerable, or dependent.
Col and Misty are exceptionally close friends. They would literally go to Hell and back to support each other.
They deeply love each other – this intensity could sometimes be misinterpreted as romantic. If somebody seriously hurts one of the Daughters, there’s a good chance the other will retaliate with lethal strikes.
Colleen considers Danny a friend. But since he can be clueless, she often comes across as more of a stern big sister.
She also still resents him to a degree for having accidentally exposed their mindscapes to each other. However, she does understand that he was trying his best to help her and didn’t mean it. And it gives her a unique insight into his cultural background and values, as well as new directions for growing her strength.
Though she’s a hardarse, the death of her grandfather and the mental damage inflicted to her father hurt Colleen.
She also seemed hurt by her Japanese relatives keeping her at arm’s length. Especially given all the efforts she had made to keep up with her grandfather’s training program (which involved 10-mile daily runs, barefooted, on mountain trails, during much of her adolescence) to prove herself a true Ozawa warrior.
Knight: “Damn you, Colleen – I’ve just lost my right arm ! I’m a half-a-woman now, a freak !”
Wing: “Bull ! Half of you is still better than any five other people I know, love. You’re only a freak, pal, if you throw away the life that’s left you.”
“I can pass for Chinese, Misty. You can’t.”
“And for the record, kid — when this fight is over — consider yourself lucky to still be alive !”
“My debt is paid, grandfather– honour is satisfied. Now both of us are free.”
“You see, Angar, part of me is samurai… and that part kills.“
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
An intriguing possibility would be for Col and Misty to have been partners of Vixen (Mari McCabe).
Mari was supposed to get her own comic during the late 1970s, but Things Happened .
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Colleen Wing (1970s)
|Dex: 05||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 05|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 03||Spi: 04|
|Init: 015||HP: 015|
Iron Will: 01, Regeneration: 03
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Iron Will is a Skilled Power.
- Iron Will only to resist effects that would make her betray Misty.
- Regeneration is a healing trance. It requires all of her Actions to be maintained.
- Regeneration cannot repair destroyed tissues.
- Regeneration is Minor Marginal, and a Skilled Power.
- Regeneration receives a +3 Special Bonus when it comes to recovering from toxins and drugs.
- Colleen can use Regeneration without consuming Actions or Hero Points, but with 5 fewer APs. If she does a trance but doesn’t pay a Marginal fee, she has 2 APs of Regeneration but loses the Special Bonus.
Martial artist: 06, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry (Melee): 05
Familiarity (Samurai lore, K’un-Lun martial traditions, Security), Language (Japanese), Leadership (w/Misty Knight only), Schtick (Burst of Strength, Quick draw, Anti-mooks Schtick).
Iron Fist (High).
Eclipsed (Iron Fist — this is lifted as long as she’s wielding her ancestral katana), SIA toward the bushido, MIA toward supporting Misty, Minor Rage.
Ozawa honour sword [BODY 08, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 09), Sharpness (EV): 01, Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing]. Col can do Bashing Combat (with a Bludgeoning Descriptor) if she keeps her sword sheathed, though the Sharpness doesn’t apply then.
Daughters in arms
When they operate as a duo, far away from their boyfriends, the Daughters of the Dragon suddenly become more competent. They’re well in the action movie/martial arts movie hero range.
Their Eclipsed drawback does the heavy lifting here. But one point is worth a reminder – they tend not to spend their Hero Points when under Eclipsed penalties.
This means that as a duo, they have a bunch of accumulated Hero Points to spend. Even if it’s just what they received as Subplot rewards while they were acting as supporting cast to their boyfriends.
DC Adventures RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Colleen Wing(1970s) — Averaged PL 6
Closer than sisters ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Friendship is magic
– Enhanced Advantage – Inspire, Leadership (both Limited 1 (only w/Misty Knight)).
– Enhanced Advantages – Second chance (Anything that’d make her betray Misty).
Soul of a true samurai ● 7 points ● Descriptor: Chi, martial arts
- Impervious Will 2.
- Regeneration 1 (Limited 1 to non-destroyed tissues).
- Healing 12 (Restorative, Limited 2 to chemicals, Activation 2, Limited 2 (each roll takes 15mn of meditation).
- Enhanced Advantage (Ultimate Effort (STR)).
Close attack 1, Defensive Roll 1, Improved critical 1 (Japanese swords), Improved Trip, Move-by Action, Quick Draw, Ranged attack 2, Takedown.
Equipment 1, Instant Up, Language (Japanese).
Athletics 4 (+5), Close combat (Unarmed) 1 (+8), Expertise (Private dick/bodyguard) 4 (+6), Expertise (Samurai lore) 5 (+7), Expertise (K’un-Lun lore) 1 (+3), Insight 1 (+2), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Ancient Japanese weapons) 3 (+6), Stealth 5 (+2)
|Unarmed +8, Close, Damage 1.|
|Katana +7, Close, Damage 4, Crit 18-20.|
* Without Defensive Roll.
- White hat Colleen fights for the common good and for justice.
- Daughters of the dragon Ms. Wing will go to any length to support Ms. Knight.
- Eclipsed When the story feature Luke Cage and/or Iron Fist, Misty and Colleen do not normally spend any Hero Points. Wielding her ancestral katana sometimes prevents this Complication from occurring.
- Samurai Colleen closely follows the bushido, as understood in 1970s American comic books.
- Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 6, Dodge/Toughness PL 6, Parry/Toughness PL 6, Fort/Will PL 6.
- Points total 83. Abilities 32, Defences 16, Skills 14, Powers 9, Devices 0, Advantages 12. Equiv. PL 6.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics (primarily Iron Fist material).
Helper(s): Darci, @ClaremontRun .
Writeup completed on the 11th of June, 2018.