Caged Crusader YKTTW Discussion

Caged Crusader
A Superhero (or hero/cop/etc) is thrown into prison with many people they are responsible for catching
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(permanent link) added: 2012-05-19 22:30:14 sponsor: nman (last reply: 2013-01-18 10:53:30)

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"Oh I get it, I put some... well, most of you guys in here. I can understand you feeling some way about that."

Superheroes, cops, vigilantes, FBI agents - regardless of their methods, they have one thing in common - They Fight Crime. They might have even personally captured enough criminals to fill up half of the cells in the slammer. So if they somehow wind up incarcerated, their fellow inmates will make killing them a priority. In action-oriented works, this is usually used as an Excuse Plot to have the hero fight multiple enemies and prove how badass they are. In other works, this can be used as a bargaining chip against a Dirty Cop - if they do not give up the information they are holding on to, they will be thrown into general population with the worst of the worst.

See also Joker Jury.


  • On more than one occasion, Batman has been briefly incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, where virtually all of his major villains are in residence.
  • The changeover from Brian Michael Bendis's Daredevil to Ed Brubaker's run had the hero sent to the same prison as his enemies the Kingpin, Bullseye, Gladiator, the Owl, and other Marvel baddies.
  • A 1970s Green Lantern story had the hero jailed in the same cell block as his old enemy Black Hand and a horde of gangsters as part of an assassination scheme.
  • Happens multiple times in The Punisher comics; if there's a villain behind bars whom Frank wants to kill or question, he'll turn himself into the authorities so that he can gain access to his target. After he completes his mission he'll usually escape from prison and go back to being a vigilante.
  • Referenced in a Top 10 comic. A prominent superhero had been exposed as the head of a child prostitution ring, and has holed up in his Home Base made of Nigh Invulnerable Unobtanium where the police can't reach him. Joe Pi tells him that he'll have to come out eventually, and will be thrown in jail, not only with all the criminals he caught, but as a child molester, and tricks him into killing himself.
  • Watchmen (and the film as well): Rorschach gets thrown into prison where many of the inmates were either put in there by him, or simply want to kill him for being a hero. One of the inmates, Big Figure, leads a large gang and has an ax to grind with Rorschach for capturing him.
    "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

  • Constantine. The title character knows that as an attempted suicide, he will be going to Hell when he dies. He spends his time until then sending half-breed demons back to Hell when they violate the Balance.
Angela Dodson: You're trying to buy your way into heaven.
Constantine: What would you do if you were sentenced to a prison where half the inmates were put there by you?
  • Hancock has the same-named antihero voluntarily submit to imprisonment as part of his turnaround. As he is still fully-powered at this point in the film, the criminals he'd previously captured were only an annoyance.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Dredd was convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to the Aspen Penal Colony, which housed all of Mega City One's criminals. However, while on the transport to the prison another prisoner recognized him and tried to murder him, and the transport ended up crashing.
  • The plot of the proposed Green Arrow film Supermax would apparently have revolved around the Emerald Archer going to a prison for supervillains, but it seems to be stuck in Development Hell at the moment.
Live-Action Television
  • In the Backstory of Life, Charlie Crews was imprisoned for 12 years for a crime he did not commit. As he was a detective, he had to be kept in solitary confinement to protect his life. It drove him a little nuts.

Video Games
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker tricks Batman into entering Arkham Asylum, and then takes control of its security, trapping Batman fighting his way out of a prison filled to to brim with the psychotic supervillains and thugs he put away.
    • This is the entire premise its sequel, Batman: Arkham City, as well. Bruce Wayne is sent to the city by Dr. Stange with him knowing Wayne is in fact Batman.

Western Animation
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Peter, Cleveland, Quagmire and Joe get put in prison, and a convict recognizes Joe as the one that put him behind bars and vows to kill all of them.
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