- Happens very frequently to mutants in X-Men comics. X-Men was supposed to be about how racism is wrong. It always seems to come across as bullying a dragon since most of them can easily kill you. Yeah, there are some that don't have good powers, and picking on them is kinda like racism. Picking on the guy that can shoot lasers from his eyes? Not so much. It's like the difference between someone picking a fight with a Jew, and picking a fight with a Jew while he's holding a loaded shotgun. In fact, this happens to the Friends of Humanity so often, you start to wonder just why joining them seems so appealing.
- Almost all evil mutants only became evil because of how they were treated because of their mutations. Apocalypse, probably the biggest Mutant threat to the Marvel Universe, only wants Mutants to shine because in his youth he was rejected by many people because of his grey skin, and forgot about his incredible strength and power.
- Though it's worth considering how much of that bullying was done by actual stupid people, and how much was deliberate provoking of a counterattack to further raise anti-mutant sentiments. The logic here being "if they're so much more powerful than us, then better to provoke the fight now, while we have superior numbers and theoretically a chance of killing them all before they exterminate us, then wait for them to have the numbers that we can't sustain the kill ratio". Still, when some de-powering event isn't in play, the mutants have enough numbers and power between them to make human casualty levels catastrophically high, and possibly even win. A reasonable person might conclude it's better to keep your head down and hope the dire predictions of mutants exterminating humans "just because" are wildly overblown.
- Ironically, it even happens within the mutant community. X-23 gets a bit of harassment from some of the other younger mutants in Utopia at the beginning of her solo series, even though her tormenters know damn well she could tear them to shreds if she wanted to. And they're doing it because she just finished a stint on X-Force, Cyclops's licensed to kill black ops attack team.
And then there's what she did to Zander Rice in Innocence Lost when she was actually pushed too far. Rice tormented her for thirteen years at the Facility, including cases of physical abuse that went way off the deep end and into outright Cold-Blooded Torture. When Laura's mother finally had enough and orchestrated her escape, Laura went looking for Rice. She could have easily killed him in less than a second, but oh no, that was too good for him. When she cornered him, Laura put away her claws and went to work on him bare-handed for ten fucking minutesnote . Keep in mind Rice's project bred her specifically to be a living weapon and the perfect assassin, so he was entirely aware of Laura's capabilities. Somehow he still decided subjecting her to constant abuse and letting her know he was taking his hatred of Wolverine out on her was a good idea.
- Happens to the Hulk all the time. Most of his rampages could have been avoided had they just backed off a bit. Considering his Catch-Phrase (apart from "Hulk Smash!", of course) is usually a variation of him bellowing "LEAVE HULK ALONE!" you'd think the denizens of the Marvel Universe would have cottoned on, but then you remember this is the Marvel Universe, where Dragon-bullying (and bitching about the results afterwards) is a widely accepted pastime.
- This was once lampshaded by Doc Samson, in discussion with General Ross:
Samson: The Hulk keeps yelling at you to leave him alone. So my advice is to leave Hulk alone. Watch him by satellite. If he gets near a populated area, send out Hulk alerts the way we send out weather alerts.
Ross: And if America's enemies get hold of him?
Samson: Send condolence cards to America's enemies.
- This was deliberately done by Deadpool when he wanted to die: as his Regenerative Factor allowed him to survive or even to resuscitate from things that would have killed Wolverine, he decided that being reduced to subatomic particles was his best bet, and pissing off Hulk by nuking him twice was the chosen method. Sadly, by the time he managed to get punched Hulk had calmed down enough that Deadpool was merely liquified, and was back in one piece in five days...
- Happens in this◊ variant cover which is actually about bullying. The jocks can clearly see that Hulk is glaring at them with murderous intentions and yet continue to laugh and bully the kid.
- Happened to his cousin once too, and Played for Laughs. After the Stamford disaster, an angry mob of anti-superhero protestors had formed outside of the courthouse where she — as Jennifer — was defending two surviving members of the New Warriors. One guy recognized her and grabbed her, shouting "I've got She-Hulk!" Then she turned into her large, hulked-out size, and said, "Okay, you've got She-Hulk. Now what?"
- This was once lampshaded by Doc Samson, in discussion with General Ross:
- Marvel Comics also has Super Hero hate groups. SUPER HERO HATE GROUPS. These people should just form a "Drink-A-Gallon-of-Bleach Club"; it'd be safer.
- One of the long running gags in the Spider-Man mythos was that Flash Thompson was both a totally fanboy of Spider-Man and the daily-tormentor of Peter Parker. During the One More Day storyline in Marvel in 2006, where Peter had revealed his identity to the world, Flash decided to challenge Peter to a dodgeball match in front of the children at the school they taught at because he refused to believe that Peter could possibly be Spider-Man. It ended with Peter kicking the dodgeball full force into Flash's face, giving a shiner on each eye. Of course, for this to happen, decades worth of Character Development had to be stripped away from Flash, who previously had matured from his high school days and become a close friend of Peter's.
- J. Jonah Jameson devotes all of his resources to labeling Spidey as a menace to New York that needs to be put down. Nevermind that if Spidey really was the monster Jameson claims, Spidey could have easily killed him years ago.
- The Kingpin makes a habit of challenging Spider-Man in hand-to-hand combat and generally provoking him. Justified because the first time they fought Kingpin won... But then again, Kingpin has merely Charles Atlas Superpower and Spider-Man can lift ten tonnes, move freakishly fast, and has his Spider-Sense. He doesn't learn until "Back in Black", when one of Kingpin's hitmen mortally wounds Aunt May and Spidey for once doesn't hold back, effortlessly beating him within an inch of his life (or, in the What If? version where the bullet killed Mary Jane, punched him through his chest). More humorously, he once thought he could defeat Spider-Man in a poker game (turns out, the Spider-Sense can tell if he's being bluffed, and the other superheroes only invite him to their charity games).
- Linked to Spidey is Shocker, as demonstrated in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. He's viewed as a joke and a coward by the rest of his team, especially Boomerang who constantly insults and bullies him. This wouldn't be so bad if Shocker wasn't a veteran supervillain wielding a pair of powerful sonic gauntlets that can kill people if they're cranked up enough. Even worse, it soon becomes clear that Shocker is the only one of them who actually knows how to fight. Sure enough this backfires horribly against the gang when Boomerang's jabs go a step too far, causing Shocker to snap and effortlessly beat the shit out of them.
- Another Spidey Foe example is from the "Gauntlet" arc, where the original Rhino had given up his criminal ways for love (with encouragement from Spidey). Along the way, he passed up a challenge from a new Rhino (sporting what was essentially the Rhino armor from The Amazing Spider-Man 2), who wanted to solidify his reputation and status by defeating the original in combat. Rhino told him he could have the mantle. Armored Rhino ended up killing the original's girlfriend in order to goad him into his desired fight. Rhino destroyed the pretender before he could get his armor fully in gear. And then he told Spidey he'd never forgive him for talking him out of handling the other Rhino while his lover was still alive.
- Maybe not as extreme as the other examples (since he has no actual super-powers), but there have been a few times where Frank Castle (AKA The Punisher) ends up in jail. Since Frank is a known badass with a body count nearly as high as The Joker, criminals waste no time in throwing their lives away by trying to attack him. Frank, who is inevitably heavily restrained, adds a few more bodies to the count before the guards show up.
- Nicky Cavellla from The Punisher MAX. He wanted to eliminate the Punisher, and thought he could do it by making him clumsy. To do that, Nick dug up the Punisher's family's remains, pissed on them while recording himself doing so, and sent the video to the local news. His plan worked, and Frank stopped being as methodical as he normally is, but with the trade-off that Frank went into such an Unstoppable Rage that he killed several important figures in Cavella's criminal family in one day. The remaining family ditched Cavella and Frank shot him in the stomach.
- Ironically, Frank Castle ends up on the wrong side of this himself when he tries to assassinate Norman Osborn... who is, at the time, not only still his Green Goblin self, but also the head of an evil version of SHIELD AND the leader of the Dark Avengers. The result is that Osborn sends Daken (Wolverine's Ax-Crazy son with the exact same power set) after the Punisher, and he ends up unceremoniously cut into pieces and dumped down a sewer.note
- In fact, Frank Castle has also made an enemy out of Wolverine himself by shooting him in the face and genitals with a shotgun, then parking a steamroller on top of him, and once shot Anti-Venom in the face and was then going to kill his Morality Chain, Jenna Cole. He was lucky to get off with only being punched through a wall in the latter case, given Anti-Venom's notorious tendency to kill and/or eat his enemies.
- Downplayed with the Yancy Street Gang, who constantly prank and heckle Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four. Ben tolerates this because he knows it's all in good fun, and the Gang are good at heart, often assisting the Fantastic Four against villains.
- In the early days of Marvel, people kept trying to attack the Silver Surfer, accusing him of being responsible for anything bad that occurred and generally insulting him. The Surfer may be a borderline Purity Sue, but he's also a borderline Reality Warper who used to help his boss eat planets, and EXTREMELY dangerous when angered. For some reason, this never occurred to them.
- In a superpower VS superpower version, The Children's Crusade gives us The Avengers and the X-Men, who spend a lot of their time antagonizing Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and her son Billy (Wiccan). Both teams (although especially the X-Men) are incredibly lucky that Wanda and Billy are, in fact, good people, because it is absolutely staggering how willing both teams are to risk seriously pissing off one mutant who has the power to reshape the world with a sentence and another mutant who they suspect could do the same thing. Emma Frost even goes so far as to attack Wanda's children, because that worked out really well the last time around.
- In Batman: Devil's Advocate The Joker is sent to a regular prison, for a crime he was framed for. Another prisoner is displeased with some of the Joker's actions. He starts threatening him, boasting that he has killed over thirty people. This is an extremely unimpressive number to someone like The Joker and it predictably ends badly for him. In his defense though, he may have thought that while Joker was an Ax-Crazy mass-murderer he was an unskilled fighter. The Joker's level of combat skill largely depends on the writer. That being said, pissing off a psychotic mass-murderer is still a dumb move.
- In one part of Batman: No Man's Land Bane arrives in Gotham and picks up a female sidekick, and is quickly accosted by a gang who demand he turn over everything he has. That's right, these guys actually try to mug a huge, masked muscleman. (And he's carrying a chain gun now.) Suffice to say, they quickly regretted it.
- Happened in an issue of Jack Kirby's Etrigan the Demon series, where a creature like Frankenstein's monster created by a mad scientist was subject to a street gang throwing bricks at him and taunting him. When they captured a girl who had been in psychic communication with him (don't ask), all he had to do was stand up and the gang quickly retreated.
- Two lesser supervillains (the Warlock of Ys and Kudlak the Sorcerer) have the brilliant idea of attacking the Justice Society of America building. This would already be a monumentally stupid idea. To make it worse, it was a mixer with the Justice League. And to add the cherry to their sundae of idiocy, their entrance ruined the teams' Thanksgiving dinner.
- One could argue that this is the case for a lot of Superman's less powerful enemies, but special mention has to go to the Prankster. Here's a guy with no superpowers whose only real goal is to pull the biggest practical jokes on the largest number of people possible... and his favorite target is the most powerful being on Earth. And he never stops trying!
- Lex Luthor's favorite sport. Granted, Superman would probably never actually do anything - but that doesn't change the fact that Luthor is harassing a guy who could kill him in any number of ways before he could even blink, let alone do anything. At least Lex is wise enough to pack kryptonite but he bets a lot on Superman not vaporizing him from a distance no matter what he does.
- In Krypton No More, common sense should advice super-villain Protector against antagonizing and pissing off Superman. Still he defies him openly, constantly attacks him and even breaks into his home. And he manages to get Supergirl pissed off, too!
- In an issue of Kryptonite Nevermore a corrupt bussinessman threatens Superman and even orders his men to shoot at the Man of Steel. He has no powers, abilities or anti-metahuman technology whatsoever and menaces someone who can vaporize him at a glance.
- Supergirl: Since her creation, Supergirl has run into many idiots who thought picking a fight with the cousin of Superman was a good idea:
- Back in the Silver Age, 'Nasty' Luthor tried to bully Linda when both girls attended classes in Stanhope College, and was constantly putting her down and trying to humilate her when both worked as junior photographers for San Francisco station K-SFTV. And she knows that Linda is Supergirl... and short-tempered. In Demon Spawn Linda is so fed up with Nasty that she punches a wall.
- In Supergirl (Volume 5) issue #0, Batman's villain Clayface challenged and taunted Supergirl. Someone who is essentially a shape-shifting mud-man taunted a girl who can punch moons. Great idea. In issue #33 he did it again. Out of patience, Kara froze him solid, took him up, up, UP and dropped him.
- Catherine Grant insults, mocks and taunts Supergirl the whole time. In "Day of the Dollmaker" she does do it to her face. She doesn't seem bothered by the fact that she's goading someone who can rip her in half and hurl her remains out of the planet in less than a second.
- In the beginning of Red Daughter of Krypton, Lobo picks a fight with Supergirl. Knowing he can't go toe-to-toe with her, he mocks her, taunts her, presses her Berserk Buttons... so she gets angry and fights more sloppily. She certainly got angry. And then she proceeded to pummel him savagely.
- In Many Happy Returns super-villain Rebel ambushes and taunts Kara. Kara warns him she can kill him as soon as she looks at him. He wisely runs away.
Rebel: So whattaya say we just finish this off with one final dance?
Supergirl: Don't you get it, Rebel? You're not important! You never were! You were just — something to do! Something for Supergirl and me to bounce off of for a while until people and events of real consequence came along! Look — Here's the problem. You've done some bad things, but I'm really, really upset right now. So much so that, honestly, I don't trust myself. And if you attack me or I attack you... I will hurt you. I'll hurt you worse than you've ever been hurt in your whole life. I can carve you up as soon as look at you. I can break you, boil you, freeze you. I can do things you can't imagine. Things I can't imagine, until I have to. And then I'll improvise. Part of me is hoping you will attack. And part of me is praying — for your sake, and my own peace of mind — that you don't. It's up to you.
- In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Lex Luthor spent a good while insulting, mocking and taunting Kara after she found out about his Dark Secret. Yup, he taunted an enraged Kryptonian who wanted him dead.
- In Secret Six, a handful of carnies attack Bane during his date, which goes as well you'd expect. But instead of retreating when the 7-foot giant takes out half their number casually, they try to kill his girlfriend.
- Likewise, the Nazi idiots who keep trying to fight Deadshot, who found them intensely irritating but Not Worth Killing... which means he merely went for Eye Scream. When they attacked him and his girlfriend, Deadshot only refrained from killing them because he had promised not to kill anyone that night. His girlfriend happily stepped in, and that was the end of the mess.
- Beast Boy of the Teen Titans spent most of his life enduring this kind of bullying, which has had a profoundly negative effect on his self esteem; so much so that he's afraid to let anyone know that he can make multiples of himself.
- A prisoner threatens to kill Rorschach in Watchmen in the lunch line (and is building up to shank him), confident that in prison, he won't be as tough. Rorschach, being Homicidal, Ax-Crazy, and a Combat Pragmatist, throws hot grease in his face before he can even lift a finger, burning him horribly. Right after this, he deliberately invokes the trope.
"None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"
- Afterwards, three other guys try to kill him. Admittedly, they thought they had the advantage over him...but once again, underestimated him. They also die bloodily.
- This trope was invoked by Captain Carnage, a masochist that dressed up as a supervillian so he would get beaten up by superheroes. Until he tried it on Rorschach and Rorschach threw him down an elevator shaft.
- In Alpha Gods, people often attack Extra Humans, knowing perfectly well that they're super powered beings who could easily tear them apart.
- People spend rather a lot more time insulting, belittling, and reprimanding the Great Red Dragon in Bone than is probably wise.
- Done deliberately in a few of the comics in The Book of Bunny Suicides. The cute little bunnies antagonize large dogs or Those Wacky Nazis because, well, remember the title.
- It was established in Damage's own series that his "parents" were actually employees set to watch him until the superpowers he'd been genetically engineered for showed up. Given that, later retcons that his foster-father physically and sexually abused him—according to one comic, badly beating him directly after he'd accidentally blown a friend's hand off—make the guy look extremely stupid.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Everyone in Duckburg who picks a fight with Paperinik (Donald Duck superhero alter-ego). Remember, before becoming a superhero Paperinik started as an avenger of himself skilled enough to steal Scrooge's money-filled mattress while he was sleeping on it, has humiliated the strongest opponents, and never lost a sadistic streak... And some go and pick a fight with him.
- Interestingly enough, Subverted by the petty criminals who get caught in the act: knowing what happens if they resist, they say hello, have a nice chat, and either let themselves be tied up or march to the closest precinct to turn themselves in depending on Paperinik's preference. At least they dodge the beating...
- Zigzagged in Empowered, with the existence of a significant population of people who hold anti-Cape sentiments. For one thing, this attitude is so common because a lot of Capes, heroes and villains alike, a monumental Jerk Asses, and if things get violent, it's quite possible for a normal to take down a superhuman. On the other hand, a normal beating a Cape requires a lot in the normal's favor, including the proper equipment and training, and if the slightest thing goes wrong, the normal will not live to regret it. While the precise details remain sketchy, anti-Cape sentiment reached a boiling point in recent years with something known as the San Antonio incident, where a group of normals banded together and went on a Cape-killing spree. They got several Capes, at least... and then the Capes rallied and slaughtered every anti-Cape protester they could catch in return, getting so carried away they destroyed the entire city with a volcanic eruption, implicitly killing every normal in it. So far, Thugboy is the only anti-Cape activist known to have survived the incident.
- Harvey Comics: Little Lotta was frequently teased over her weight, even by kids who knew about her super strength.
- King Mob lampshades this in The Invisibles. Luckily for his sake, the red-neck backs down:
KING MOB: I'm telling you that you're in the wrong film, fatboy. You're not in the cowboy film you thought you were in. This is a different kind of movie. And you're in the scene where the redneck shitkicker picks on the stranger in town, only it turns out to be big Arnie or a gang of vampires. I'll bet you've seen that a million times, cowboy.BILLY-BOB: Sure.KING MOB: So here's the deal: you've just made the mistake of your life but you can wash away your sins by apologizing to the lady. Otherwise I squeeze, you pop and guess who's singing castrato in church on Sunday?BILLY-BOB: I... ah... I called you a faggot and... ah... well, I'm sorry. Fuck.LORD FANNY: That's all right, darling. I am a faggot. And you do have a lovely dick.
- Monica from Brazilian comic Monica's Gang is frequently taunted by her male friends for being overweight, bucktoothed, and short (among other things). Too bad she is A) easily irritable B) superstrong, and C) armed with a plush bunny. Not to mention single-minded.
- In Peanuts, Snoopy constantly teases and insults World War III the cat next door, even though the end result is usually having his doghouse torn to pieces by the angry cat, and any physical confrontation between them results in Snoopy (and anyone else caught in the middle) almost killed.
- In The Sandman, the angel Remiel — who along with Duma has been given the unpleasant task of watching over Hell since Lucifer quit — visits Lucifer's bar and asks him to take back Hell. Lucifer laughs in his face and proceeds to mock Remiel for his cowardice. Remiel then spits on Lucifer's face in a fit of pique. Lucifer calmly wipes off the spittle, then just as calmly reminds Remiel that Lucifer was once the leader of Heaven's army and that he gave up none of his power when he gave up Hell and his wings. If Lucifer wished it, Remiel would cease to exist right on the spot. Taking the warning to heart, Remiel beats a hasty retreat.
- Also in the same series, in the Season of Mists arc, the demon Azazel is in Dream's realm as part of a conference on the disposal of the recently-vacated Hell and attempts to blackmail Dream by taking Nada, his beloved, inside himself and threatening to consume her, complete with various insults directed towards the master of the realm he's currently in. Since Dream considers himself bound by Sacred Hospitality, he gets away with that for a time, although Dream points out that the same rules make Nada's safety his responsibility as well and agrees to a contest to win her freedom (by finding her inside Azazel's body). He succeeds, whereupon Azazel reneges on the agreement, gloats about now having both of them captive, and rejects Dream's hospitality. Which of course gets rid of the only reason the latter was even playing along and results in the demon finding himself instantly trapped in a glass jar, getting put into a chest to think about his actions, and not being seen again in that arc at least. (Dream idly muses about maybe letting him out again "eventually"...)
- In Supercrooks, after being assembled to pull off a top heist in Spain (which has no super-heroes), a pack of low-level bad guys are horrified to realize their target is the Bastard, the most ruthless super-villain to ever live. They all tell their leader it's crazy as the last guy to try and screw over the Bastard wasn't just murdered but watched just about everyone in his life (down to second grade classmates) killed before he was taken out.
- The Transformers: Robots in Disguise the NAILs blame everything on the Autobots and Decepticons and on the war the nearly destroyed Cybertron. The Autobots aren't going to try anything aggressive against them, but the Decepticons are more than willing to blast them when they get the chance, and most of either non-NAIL side have way more combat experience than the NAIL civilians. As in, there are individual soldiers on each side who have been fighting for millions of years.
- Megatron in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is finally at peace. He understands the universe and sees how his way was wrong. When the DJD and Tarn come for him for betraying the Decepticon ways Megatron offers to turn himself over to be killed but ONLY if the spare the crew. Tarn refuses and beats him... but still Megatron refuses to fight back. And then Tarn kills Ravage. Megatron goes full Roaring Rampage of Revenge. And still the DJD push him and mock him when they think they have him on the ropes, only for Megatron to reveal they never stood a chance. And he makes it clear just why this is happening
Megatron: I WAS HAPPY! AND YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!
- Über. Hitler berates, mocks, and belittles Battleship-class uber Siegmund after the latter lost a battle against an entire battleforce of ubers. Scratch one Hitler. It also takes two failed tries for the Russians to realize the best tactic to deal with their rogue uber "Katyusha" Maria is to send one old guy to ask her nicely to come back onside. The two attempts to strongarm the woman with the most powerful Eye Beams on the planet did not go so well.
- One of the stories in Volume 2 of Witch Girl's Tales features the team of Witch Girls falling victim to what starts off as Mugging the Monster... but it turns into this when one of two remaining thugs decides to charge one of the witch girls after they've already dispatched most of the group with their magic. He also didn't read the atmosphere and chose to charge Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Token Evil Teammate Princess Lucinda, rather than one of the ones who had previously been seen using non-lethal methods. He's turned into a bug for his troubles... but he still doesn't stop doing this, as when the final gang member is turned into a frog, he taunts said person who is now roughly ten times his size and his natural predator. Predictably, he gets eaten.