Losing his parents at a young age to a unit of United States troops propels him into life as the violent vigilante Bengal, killing all those responsible. When he sees that some of them reformed, he offers forgiveness and eventually joins the Avengers Resistance.
A War-Torn Beginning
Born in a village near Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam, Duc No Tranh loses his parents when U.S. troops raid his home during the Vietnam War.
Duc No Tranh’s peaceful childhood ends when a squadron of U.S. soldiers, led by Corporal Michael Janes, raid his South Vietnam village. After a grenade explodes and blinds Lincoln Janes calls in helicopter pilot James Rhodes, AKA War Machine to lift them out. The squad, including Willie Lincoln, Josh Cooper, Chin Fong, Samuel Birulin, and William Talltrees, kills most of the villagers, including Tranh’s parents. As the helicopter lifts off, Tranh grabs the vehicle’s landing strut. Even when a wild shot from the jungle hits Tranh in the leg, he clings to the helicopter, but Janes kicks Tranh in the face until he falls to the Earth. From then on, Tranh plots vengeance against his family’s killers. He grows to become an accomplished martial artist, donning a full-body Bengal tiger costume and wields twin sai.
Now called the Bengal, Tranh journeys to San Antonio, Texas, where he murders Chin Fong. Next, he kills Samuel Birulin in Seattle, Washington, while Birulin was on the telephone with Lincoln. The Bengal later stalks Lincoln in Manhattan, but Lincoln’s friend Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, protects him. When the Bengal learns about Lincoln’s blindness before the massacre occurred, he swears off vengeance against him. Continuing his mission, the Bengal goes after Will Talltrees, who was now the heroic Red Wolf. Bengal murders Red Wolf’s pet wolf Lobo and delivers a near-fatal wound to Red Wolf, but Talltrees survives.
Martial Arts Master
The Bengal is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant trained in various martial arts and a terrific acrobat, skilled archer, and tracker. He usually wields two sai but also uses a bow and arrows as well as shuriken (throwing stars).
When U.S. troops in Vietnam slaughter his village and kills his parents, Duc No Tranh vows vengeance upon all those responsible. He kills most of the troops, except two of the soldiers who he came to forgive. Those two soldiers had heroes defending them, resulting in Bengal going toe-to-toe with Daredevil, Dwayne Taylor, AKA Night Thrasher, Silhouette Chord, AKA Silhouette, and Frank Castle, AKA Punisher.
After working under Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin’s Shadow Initiative alternative, and being treated like cannon fodder, he joins the Avengers Resistance against Osborn.
Close Ties and Super-Powered Allies
After losing his parents as a child, Tranh becomes a vigilante and eventually leaves a life of violence. He becomes an enforcer for Lonnie Lincoln, AKA Tombstone. Still, after being defeated by known heroes and in a desire to leave violence behind, he marries an American woman, and they have a son together, Minh Tranh.
When the Superhuman Registration Act passes, Henry Peter Gyrich recruits him into the Fifty State Initiative task force, specifically the black-ops arm Shadow Initiative. The team also includes the assassin Frank Payne, AKA Constrictor, the mercenary Mary Walker, AKA Mutant Zero (now Typhoid Mary), the clones known as the Scarlet Spiders, and the shape-shifting Terrance Ward, AKA Trauma.
Vigilante Turned Hero
The Bengal finally went after Michael Janes in Manhattan, only to find Janes was now a Catholic priest haunted by his time as a soldier. Night Thrasher, Silhouette, and the Punisher came to Janes’ defense, and when Bengal saw how tortured Janes was by his actions in Vietnam, he forgave him. Janes and the Bengal formed an uneasy friendship as Janes tried to steer him away from vengeance. However, Bengal became convinced that corrupt businessman Gai No Don was actually General Li Pan, a war criminal who sent thousands to their deaths and may have ordered the attack on Bengal’s village. Night Thrasher confronted the Bengal before he could kill Gai No Don and finally convinced him he was not Li Pan.
Without a mission of vengeance to sustain him, the Bengal entered the employ of Tombstone, who provided enforcers for Serbian mobster Viktor Smerdilovisc. When the so-called “Marvel Knights” vigilantes targeted Smerdilovisc’s criminal empire, the Bengal fought fellow martial artist Shang-Chi, but their skirmish ended when Black Widow stunned Bengal from behind.
Trying to dissociate himself from violence, Bengal married an American woman who bore him a son. He also learned proper English, a skill he had lacked despite being in the USA for years. When the U.S. government enforced its Superhuman Registration Act, marshaling all powered and costumed individuals into its Fifty State Initiative task force, Bengal was forced to join because of his marriage. Initiative overseer Henry Peter Gyrich recruited Bengal into the Shadow Initiative, the Initiative’s black-ops arm. As part of the Shadow team, he helped rescue captured Initiative cadets when the Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk, and his Warbound invaded Manhattan. During Queen Veranke’s Skrull invasion, the Shadow Initiative fought Skrull forces in Camp Hammond but could not prevent their capture.
After Norman Osborn took charge of the Initiative, he had no use for the Shadow Initiative as a black-ops squad since his Thunderbolts served that purpose. Using the Shadow Initiative’s reputation as an elite squad to trick recruits, Osborn repurposed the Shadow Initiative as cannon fodder for high-risk missions, such as reclaiming Prison 42, the Initiative’s chief internment facility in the Negative Zone. Bengal survived the Negative Zone mission and later aided the Avengers Resistance in rebelling against Osborn’s forces. When Osborn’s Initiative shut down, Bengal opened a martial arts school in Brooklyn.