5 min read


Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter was a 1975/77 DC Comics series. It was written by a young Dennis O’Neil  .

It died not long before the DC Implosion  , but felt like an Implosion book.

The Preying Mantis was a minor villain, seen for but a few pages. But it might be interesting to bring him back. After all, he did fight two of the greatest martial artists of his generation.



  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: San Lorenzo island, Caribbean.
  • Height: 5’11” (1.80m). Weight: 168 lbs. (76 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Red. Hair: None.

Powers and Abilities

The insectile Preying Mantis might possess powers such as leaping abilities or night vision. But this isn’t clearly demonstrated.

The Mantis is fascinated by insects, and learned to fight by watching them. His style is remarkable close to insect-themed kung fu styles such as, of course, the Mantis Kung Fu school.

While he’s clearly no match for Richard Dragon, he can easily beat up most people. Even well-trained ones.

Preying Mantis - DC Comics - Richard Dragon - ruined fort forest

Is this, in a super-hero comic, an enhanced leap ? Hard to say.


The Preying Mantis seems to have originally been an American. He was born a freak of nature – with green, slightly chitinous skin and an insect-like head.

Since no doctor could improve on his fearsome visage, he went to live in exile as a monster. He settled in the wilderness of the Caribbean island of San Lorenzo. There, he started assaulting American travellers to steal their belongings.

The San Lorenzo tourism board, who sought to develop US tourism, put a contract on the head of the mysterious bandit.

The enigmatic G.O.O.D. organization sent in Richard Dragon and Ben Turner. G.O.O.D. would get the reward, and pay the two kung-fu fighters in intelligence.

From there Dragon contacted Lady Shiva. She eagerly joined, spoiling for a fight.

We be the crew

Dragon et al interviewed tourists. One drew the monster, whom the party named the “preying mantis”.

Rival bounty hunters then attempted to interfere, and were beaten up.

Once they located the Mantis, Dragon tried to convince him to return to civilisation with them. As the freak refused, the bounty hunters came back, this time with weapons. While Dragon subdued the aggressive Mantis, Turner and Shiva took care of the bounty hunters.

Presumably, the Mantis was handed over to either the San Lorenzo authorities or G.O.O.D.. He was never seen again.

Preying Mantis - DC Comics - Richard Dragon


The Mantis is a boundlessly bitter bucolic bandit. He lives alone in the wilderness.

He’s so obsessed about his face that is basically his master weapon. He wears a monk-like hooded robe, and always make a big show of unhooding to show his face, usually to the shock of onlookers. In fact he seems to revel in it.

The Mantis is particularly articulate, even melodramatic. But despite the elaborate speeches, he wants to behave like a monster, as people expect of him.

His bitterness is such that he rejects any humane behaviour. When Dragon prevented him from accidentally falling to his death, the Mantis fiercely attacked as soon as Dragon had pulled him to safety, loudly claiming that he knew no gratitude.


Mantis : “The ‘something else’, as you say, is myself — and I’ll trouble you for your valuables !”
Turner : “Sorry, brother — you don’t look like a united fund representative to me !”
Mantis : “You are stubborn ! The sight of my face will change your mind ! Am I not a loathsome sight ?”

“Gratitude is foreign to me !”

DC Heroes RPG

Preying Mantis

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05
Int: 05 Wil: 03 Min: 04
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03
Init: 018 HP: 010


Charisma (Intimidation): 03, Martial artist: 07, Thief (Stealth): 05


Expertise (Entomology).




Strange Appearance, Exile (voluntary).







Preying Mantis - DC Comics - Richard Dragon - combat

DC Adventures RPG

Preying Mantis — Averaged PL 7

03 03 02 01
07 01 00 01


Mantis legs ● 1 point ● Descriptor: Abnormal physiology
Feature – +4 innate Bonus to rolls involving leaping.

Combat Advantages:

All-Out Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Improved Trip, Instant Up, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Startle.

Other Advantages:

None demonstrated.


Athletics 4 (+7), Close combat (Unarmed) 4 (+11), Expertise (DIY entomology) 5 (+6), Intimidation 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+4), Stealth 5 (+7).


Initiative +2
Unarmed +11, Close, Damage 3.


Dodge 11
Fortitude 08
Parry 11
Toughness 03*/05
Will 03

* Without Defensive Roll.


  • Appearance PM looks more like an insect than a man.
  • Heremitic PM lives on his own in the wilderness.
  • Embittered bandit PM considers that his duty is to act as a sort of bridge troll, robbing normal people.

Powers Levels:

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 07, Dodge/Toughness PL 08, Parry/Toughness PL 08, Fort/Will PL 06.
  • Points total 79. Abilities 36, Defences 21, Skills 12, Powers 01, Devices 00, Advantages 9. Equiv. PL 6.

Design Notes:

Combat Advantages are mostly arbitrary. He clearly should have those, but there just isn’t enough material.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter.