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Bushido

Alias: Ryuko Orsono

Titans Member
Joined: 
Titans Secret Files #2 [2000]

Bushido Quick Bio: Japanese teenager Ryuko Orsono became the proud
Bushido warrior upon his mother’s death – fulfilling a long family line of honorable heroes. Bushido briefly joined the short-lived Titans L.A. Branch before his death during the Infinite Crisis.

Teen Titans File Photo:

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History


A Heroic Legacy

By the 12th century, local armed forces had developed into a distinct warrior class (bushi, or samurai), completely overshadowing the military strength of the imperial government. After the 16th century, a customary ethical code called bushido was developed. It is this code by which the samurai was bound to accept death in battle rather than flee or surrender. The code emphasized personal honesty, reverence and respect for parents, willingness to sacrifice oneself for family honor, consideration for the feelings of others, indifference to pain, loyalty to one’s superiors, and unquestioning obedience to duty in the face of any hardship or danger.

According to Japanese authorities, the Bushido have protected The Land of the Rising Sun for generations; recorded history only dates to WW II when that generation’s Bushido allegedly died in the Hiroshima blast, although oral history dates back hundreds of years.

Bushido’s origin is revealed in TITANS ANNUAL #1 [2000].

Rising Son

Ryuko Orsono was the youngest Bushido in recorded history. Unlike his predecessors, Ryuko was forced to assume the hero’s mantle prematurely.  His father died while he was a young boy, leaving his mother to continue the Bushido clan legacy. But her life was cut tragically short when she was slain by the demon-goblin known as the Tengu.

As a child, Ryuko didn’t pay much attention to his mother’s teachings. So it was upon her death that his real education began. Like his ancestors before him, Ryuko devoted himself to the preservation of peace and the execution of justice, whatever the cost. As Japan’s hero, Bushido battled everything from local gangsters to evil supernatural forces. In particular, he sought revenge on the Tengu for murdering his mother.

While Beast Boy visited Japan, his body was possessed by the spirit of the Tengu. This prompted Flamebird and the Titans to rush to his aid, as Bushido joined the fray. Bushido saw this as an opportunity to avenge his mother’s death as he discerned that decapitation would end the threat of the Tengu. Bushido used his mystically imbued sword to slice through Beast Boy’s neck, expunging the demon once and for all. It is unknown whether or not Bushido was aware Beast Boy would even survive the cut of his blade.

Bushido joins Titans L.A. in TITANS SECRET FILES #2 [2000]

Titans Together

Ryuko was always a reluctant killer, and this incident with the Titans gave his mission pause. Bushido then decided to leave his native Japan and came to America in order to learn from the Titans how to promote peace without bloodshed. He coincidentally arrived at Beast Boy’s doorstep during an impromptu membership drive for an all-new Titans West. Joining the newly-dubbed Titans L.A., Bushido hoped to learn compassion from his newfound friends.

But alas, Titans L.A. was short-lived, as no one dedicated any real devotion to the team. Eventually, this new West Coast group of Titans dissolved before it ever truly began.

When Superboy from Earth Prime ran amok during the Infinite Crisis, Superboy called on his Titans allies to subdue his Kryptonian doppelganger. The misguided Superboy-Prime inadvertently slaughtered Bushido, Pantha and Baby Wildebeest before being pulled into the Speed Force by the combined might of the super-speedsters.

Bushido is killed by Superboy-Prime in INFINITE CRISIS #4 [2005].

Powers & Abilities


The weapons wielded by Bushido tend to be of an older variety, including a nagin ata and jittei, the main weapons used by the last two Bushido (one of whom is the only female Bushido on record).

Ryuko is a reluctant killer, but a killer nonetheless. The sanctity of life is paramount in his philosophy, a paradox that challenges him every time he dons his ancient arsenal. The weapons he carries trace back several generations, from his mother’s nagin ata to the very first Bushido’s 1Oth -century kama yari. Other weapons in his arsenal include the hachiwara, the flintlock pistol, and the shuriken. Each weapon is imbued with the soul of the warrior who wielded it – and these spirits guide Ryuko in battle. How their souls were bound to these weapons is a mystery lost centuries ago.


Essential Reading


Titans Annual #1 [2000]: Beast Boy and Flamebird encounter ancient evil in the Land of the Rising Sun, and meet Japan’s new defender, the warrior called Bushido. Nightwing, Arsenal, Troia, Flash, and Tempest soon race off to help their former comrades against a supernatural foe, but will Bushido pose an even bigger threat? In a backup story (written by Johns and Raab with art by Rick Mays), readers discover Bushido’s origin and learn the warrior’s code that he will struggle to obey…or die trying. First appearance and origin of Bushido.
The Titans Secret Files #2 [2000]: It’s the debut of Titans LA in an astonishing all-new Special. Whether he wants it or not, Beast Boy finds himself saddled with a new West Coast branch of the Titans. But it may be the new team’s final appearance as well if Fear and Loathing and the madcap Harlequin have their say. First Titans L.A. Titans LA members include Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Terra, Hero Cruz, and Captain Marvel Jr.
Infinite Crisis #4 [2005] & Teen Titans #32 [2005]: Superboy-Prime attacks Superboy. Superboy calls on his Titans allies to subdue his Kryptonian doppelganger. The misguided Superboy-Prime inadvertently decapitates Pantha and slaughters Baby Wildebeest and Bushido; He then freezes Red Star into crystal ice and rips off Risk’s right arm before being pulled into the Speed Force by the combined might of the super-speedsters. Death of Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido.

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Bushido, from TITANS ANNUAL #1 [2000].

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 The Rise and Fall of Titans L.A.


Titans Times Two
information courtesy of Comic Buyers Guide

DC Comics’ Titans will be getting their second Secret Files treatment this coming August, but the special’s lead story won’t feature the characters who currently reside in the super-team’s headquarters, Titans Tower. In fact, the heroes featured are another team of Titans, based in another locale.

Illustrated by Drew Johnson and co-written by Ben Raab and Geoff Johns, the story is a continuation of a sort of loosely connected storyline that started in Raab and Johns’ Beast Boy limited series, continues in this summer’s Titans’ “Planet DC” annual (also by Raab and Johns) that finds Beast Boy and the revamped Flamebird encountering a new Japanese super-hero, Bushido, then heads into the August Secret Files.

In the story, Beast Boy and Flamebird return to Japan to a huge, already-in-progress Titans membership drive and super-hero party thrown by Gar’s slacker cousin Matt Logan, with the goal of creating a new “Titans West” team. Raab and Johns explained, “There will be lots of guest stars from the Titans’ bicoastal past, and we get to use a dozen characters that haven’t been seen in a while, specifically Duela Dent, the Joker’s daughter!

All sorts of chaos ensues, and, in the end, several lucky fourth-string super-heroes will be stepping up to the plate and Los Angeles finds itself with a most unlikely team of heroes – Titans L.A.!”

Asked why the DC universe needs another new super-hero team – and another Titans team, at that – Raab responded, “Just because there are some super-heroes who just don’t have quite what it takes to be in the big leagues just yet doesn’t mean they can’t pitch in and do their part. Titans L.A. is, for lack of a better word, a ‘super-hero support group.’ They exist to help those heroes living on the West Coast that are a little less sure on their feet to stand up tall and proud so that they, too, can make a difference in the world – and in their own lives.” Will the new left coast Titans team have a future? That remains to be seen, but both writers say there are plans that are being discussed.

Titans L.A. Together! [from left to right]; Matt Logan, Bumblebee, Flamebird,
Captain Marvel Jr., Beast Boy, Hero Cruz, Terra and Herald [Bushido not pictured].
From TITANS SECRET FILES #2 [2000]

Ben Raab Sequential Tart Interview: Beast Boy, Bushido… and possible Titans West?
info courtesy of http://www.sequentialtart.com [July 1, 2000]

ST: I keep hearing rumblings of a Titans West. IF that becomes a reality, who would your dream team be composed of?

BR: Well, that would be giving it all away, now wouldn’t it? I will say this, though…Beast Boy and Flamebird would form the nucleus of that team as co-leaders. As for the other members…? Check out this summer’s Titans Secret Files, due in stores August, for the answer.

ST : Speaking of Titans, I hear you are writing the Titans annual this summer. With the international flavor sweeping the DCU annuals, what can we expect from your Titans?

BR: 40 pages of non-stop ACTION, guest starring Beast Boy and Flamebird…and introducing Bushido! In this story, the Titans journey to Tokyo to help stop a malevolent spirit from Japanese folklore – known as the Tengu – from unleashing his demon hordes upon the Earth. But to do so, must one of their own die by Bushido’s hand?! Dun Dun Duuuuun!!!

The lead story is drawn by fellow Beast Boy conspirator Josuae Justiniano, whose artwork keeps getting more and more exciting with every project. He’s really outdone himself this time. There’s also a 12 page back-up story that details the origin of our new hero, Bushido, drawn by the immensely talented Rick Mays. All in all, a kick-ass looking book!

ST: Who is Bushido?

BR: Bushido is the character Geoff and I will be introducing in this summer’s Titans Annual. Like the Phantom, Bushido has inherited a family legacy of service and protection. Yet, this Japanese hero – the embodiment of the “way of the warrior” – is a reluctant savior, torn between a filial duty that requires him to be a killer in the name of honor and justice and a conscience that tells him such behavior is wrong no matter whom it serves and protects.

Titans L.A. Scrapped

Titans writer Jay Faerber talks Titans L.A., in response to a DC Message Board post: “The reason there was so much set up for Titans L.A. in the pages of Titans Secret Files & Origins #2 is because, at that time, Titans editor Eddie Berganza and his associate, Maureen McTigue, really thought the Titans L.A. concept was going to get approved, and this was their way of putting out a little preview, to serve as a lead-in. ”

Geoff Johns on Titans L.A., in an exclusive interview with titanstower.com: Ben and I had pitch in for a Titans L.A. maxi-series that never got off the ground. It would’ve been fun, but it’s dead. dead. dead. I don’t really want to get into specifics since it is a dead issue.

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Bushido, as depicted by Alex Garcia.

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 Infinite Crisis #4: Death and Titans


Geoff Johns: Writer’s Workshop
Infinite Crisis #4: Death and Titans

The first draft of this scene […] went through many debates and changes. It originally included Superboy-Prime showing up and, as he does, tearing through the heroes. But in the first version, not only did he kill a different character (and there were many on the list which I’ll get to in a second – because I know that’s what people want to know) but he didn’t react the right way when he murdered someone.

It was so incredibly wrong to me.

But I didn’t have it figured out yet. So, I told Eddie [Berganza, editor on Infinite Crisis] there was something wrong with these two pages. And I told Phil [Jimenez, artist for the series]. And I thought about it.

Was it a matter of who died? That was a huge question. In the first draft, the Teen Titans’ Argent was the one that faced Prime’s outburst. But it was his heat vision that did it. Eddie loved Argent and had plans for her, so she was taken off of the table. There was discussion, and a draft, where Terra was the one who was killed. But I felt like her story hadn’t been yet told – it would leave too many unanswered questions. Red Star was also proposed, due to power levels but we had plans for him. And then I realized, as strange as it sounds, we needed to use someone obscure. I hated to say it, but this moment was not about who died, but about Superboy-Prime killing.

Superboy-Prime had to be horrified at what he had done, just like the reader. It needed to be an action much more shocking than heat vision. He had to be swinging in a fury, unaware of his power.

And that’s when it finally clicked for me. Superboy-Prime had to cry. He had to be scared. And his fear would fuel him. He would continue to lash out, blaming the others for his actions. Yesterday’s hero blaming the heroes of today for his corruption.

Going through the characters further, Pantha was chosen because she hadn’t been active in a long time and she would affect Red Star, who was very close with her, when we told his story. And it worked, for the most part. People said, “Did you see what Superboy-Prime did?” instead of “Pantha died!”

The rest of Superboy-Prime’s rampage justified the Flashes racing in to dispose of this super-powered “maniac.” You can see the fear and pain and guilt on Superboy-Prime’s face as he’s pulled away, yelling that one day he would be Superman. […] Risk was going to die but, again, I wanted someone to survive this battle, however maimed, and live to tell about it – so he lost an arm instead of his life.

Scene from A Rampage, from INFINITE CRISIS #4 [2005].

Geoff Johns on Infinite Crisis #4
[from The Titans Companion 2, 2008]

GJ: The only [death] that was hard was [Superboy]. Pantha and Wildebeest, and Bushido, who I co-created, so that wasn’t as hard… You had three Titans die, and then Superboy, and the hardest one was Superboy. Pantha and Wildebeest hadn’t been used in so long, and even though the characters were cool, it had to be somebody.

I looked at, “What could I get a story out of so someone just doesn’t die?” ‘Cause at one point, we thought the current Terra [would die], and then it was like, “Well, who is she? What happens with her? No, let’s not do that – there’s still questions surrounding where she’s from,”and then I thought, “Well, I love Red Star,”like I said before, “and what if Red Star has to deal with losing his family?” and that would be Wildebeest and Pantha, so boom, those two were chosen as unfortunate victims of Superboy-Prime. Then Bushido was in there because I felt that if I was killing any more minor Titans, I should probably kill my own.

TTC: That was the same rationale for why Kole died in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

GJ: Yeah, I think so. I remember reading that story, so that was kind of the same thing. It’s like, “Guys, I’m sorry… here’s my sacrifical lamb, as well.” And then, the whole Superboy thing, that one’s a lot more difficult.

They wanted a big death in Infinite Crisis, and with Superboy-Prime really becoming the main villain, and being the through line, it’s just, Superboy ended up becoming the catalyst for everything. [He was] the perfect object of a hero who had given up, who had been corrupted, as Superboy-Prime had said, on Earth, and who rises above that corruption and challenges him, and defies what he says about him, and becomes a true hero, and dies saving the universe doing it.


Sources for this entry: Titans Annual #1 [1999], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author