Genre Savvy: Comic Books

  • Ambush Bug is not only extremely Genre Savvy, he also loves breaking down the Fourth Wall, and the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Walls, just in case.
  • As a result of his numerous adventures and encountering just about every being in the Marvel universe (and then some), Spider-Man is teeming with Genre Savvy. At times, he sarcastically expresses boredom at how redundant and predictable his life can be.
    Spider-Man: The Savage Land is a land that time forgot under the earth with dinosaurs, mutates and a surprising amount of acceptable nudity.
    Spider-Woman: Really?
    Spider-Man: Yeah, but it won't matter if we die in the crash.
    Spider-Woman: What crash?
    Spider-Man: You don't go to the Savage Land without crashing.
  • In the Marvel Comics 2 universe, Genre Savvy is yet another skill Peter passes on to his daughter May. Much of the witty banter that goes down during her fights consist of describing the comic book tropes they're supposed to be following.
  • Spider-Man routinely teams up with Wolverine. During their section of the latest Marvel Team-Up series, Peter makes a quip about the fact that they start brawling every time they meet. Every time. Even though they have teamed up many times and know each other socially. And they were most likely teammates on The Avengers at the time. This may stem from their rather rocky relationship with one another, made clear in their first encounter, or from Wolverine's habit of hitting on Mary Jane, but still…
  • In Paradise X Saga, Peter Parker (now a cop), demonstrates a ridiculous level of Genre Savviness when he deduces the Guardians of the Galaxy's motivation with a two-word reply:
    Peter Parker: I know you guys are gettin' ready to go back to the 30th century an' all, but I've been wonderin' — Where's Nikki?
    Vance Astro: "Nikki" who?
    Peter Parker: Oh wait, I know this one too. You're the Guardians before Nikki joined the team, right? You haven't even won your war in the future yet, right? Earth's still in danger? So you're looking for a way to... let's see... no, not clone, don't even say the word "clone"... No, you want to mutate and empower the people of Earth so that they can defend themselves against some alien invaders, right? An' that's why you're here.
    (cue Vance and StarHawk's totally shocked faces)
    Peter Parker: (absolutely nonchalantly) Really, it's not that hard... when you're doing this as long as I have, it's kind of difficult to be surprised by a twist like that anymore.
    • He does this again later when he sees his daughter, who is a Venom host, attacked by Spider-Girl and is approached by a bunch of people from alternate dimensions. He figures that this is a typical misunderstanding fight and once the girls realize what's going on they'll start hugging each other, crying and talking how they always wanted to have a sister and he will have to live with both of them from now on.
  • In an issue of Marvel Adventures, at the end of a Let's You and Him Fight Spidey says, "It was a textbook superhero misunderstanding battle. Happens all the time! Luckily, this is the part where we make up for it by working together to stop her."
    • This actually happens a lot. Nocturne in Exiles refers to that as an "unwritten rule of superhero team ups" and Robbie from Nova is disappointed that Darkhawk and his brother didn't do this.
    • Played for Drama when Red Hulk goes up against Ikaris of the Eternals. The prevalence of Let's You and Him Fight is a factor in confirming Ikaris' worst opinions of the Marvel Universe's heroes.
  • Likewise, Deadpool displays a similar amount of Genre Savvy, though for a different reason — because of the inoperable brain tumor that ultimately, through Super Science, led to his healing factor, he also has No Fourth Wall.
    • Actually Deadpool's Genre Savvy is slightly different in that he is actually completely and totally aware of the fact that he is a comic book character. He can see and even respond directly to the the Narrator's and his own Speech/Thought bubbles. Unlike She-Hulk, Wade doesn't particularly hide this ability and as result, most "normal" denizens of the Marvel Universe simply think he's insane.
  • And then there's Rick Jones, whose genre-savviness is given a name: "Comics Awareness" (as opposed to buddy Captain Marvel's "cosmic awareness".) Take, for example, the time he was trapped alongside Bruce and Betty Banner in a Skrull warship. The ship starts to crash, and Rick gives Bruce and Betty the only parachute they can find... because Rick always carries an emergency chute around with him just in case he needs to leap to safety from a crashing Skrull warship. NO, REALLY! THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!
  • Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks is built around the main character being savvy to the "rules" of zombie movies.
  • The new Star Trek comic book series, which picks up the adventures of the crew right after the last episode of the original series, has the characters showing they've gained some Genre Savvy.
    • After being stunned and thrown in a cell, McCoy is surprised to see Kirk pull a small phaser out of his boot and blast the door. McCoy asks when he started carrying a hidden weapon. "You get knocked out and thrown into a cell enough, you start to take precautions."
    • After returning to the ship at the end of another issue, Kirk asks Spock how he knew to adjust the shields in anticipation of an attack. Spock replies by giving the percentage of times the ship has been attacked after losing communications with Kirk.
  • The DCU's Infectious Lass in "Architecture & Mortality". For example: "That's what we learned in the future about team-ups. First you fight..."
  • In Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, declares that he is not a villain from a Republic Films serial and therefore had already completed his plan 35 minutes before beginning his Breaking Speech.
    • Also, referring to his first meeting with the Comedian (where they fought before realizing they were on the same team), Adrian comments on how common a misunderstanding this is in their chosen profession. This is a reference particularly to Marvel heroes, who will ALWAYS battle EACH OTHER upon first meeting.
  • In The Sandman, Morpheus is possibly one of the most genre savvy entities in the whole universe. As the Prince of Stories, he knows that life literally imitates art (and vice versa) and is more than capable of controlling it. While teaming up with John Constantine to enter a house haunted by renegade dreams, Constantine shows some genre savviness himself, recalling what happens to people in horror movies when they split up. He asks Morpheus for reassurance that they'll stick together.
  • In Marvel's The Incredible Hercules series, Hercules is aware that as a figure of myth, he is trapped in endlessly repeating patterns that he cannot escape from, as they are a part of his essential being. Of course, he also routinely has flashbacks to assorted contradictory incidents, which he accepts with equanimity, as these are also part and parcel of being 'mythic'. This would mildly backfire at one point, when Hercules was presented with a situation of comparing his recent partners to companions in the past, such as individual Argonauts. When he comes to who Amadeus Cho is like... "No idea."
    • This is partially because Cho is Athena's attempt to replace Hercules and thus naturally doesn't fit into the patterns he's used to.
    • This later came up when he gave a thumbs up to Amadeus for "scoring" with the Amazonian princess, unaware that Amadeus had found out that the (main) reason for her interest was due to her believing him to be being Hercules' eromenos... and Amadeus was all too aware of what that term meant.
    • Cho himself has gained some Genre Savviness, after reading a book by Athena called The Hero's Journey.
    • Guardian from the Alpha Flight run by The Incredible Hercules writing duo shows similar traits. Upon being attacked by his wife and teammate, Vindicator, the first explanations that come to his mind are brainwashing, alien impostor and robot duplicate.
  • There was a Justice League storyline where they were investigating a series of unlikely events, and as usual the JLA were scattered across the world dealing with different problems. This exchange happens:
    Big Barda: Where's Batman? Who was with him last?
    Superman: Oh, right, you're new. You really expected him to work together with someone.
    Plastic Man: Batman? Isn't this fight kind of beyond his means? Wouldn't he just slow us down?
    Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner): Heh, listen to the other new guy. We need Batman to explain what the hell's going on!
  • In Avengers: The Initiative issue 21, Gorilla Girl and Batwing have the following conversation:
    Batwing: Where are you headed, Gorilla Girl?
    Gorilla Girl: Home. I asked them to put me in the reserves, and they did.
    Batwing: But you did such a good job against the Skrulls!
    Gorilla Girl: Yeah, Batwing... and I came out alive, which is practically a miracle. I turn into a gorilla, I'm black, I'm female, and nobody's ever heard of me. I might as well have "Cannon Fodder" stamped on my forehead. You can keep pushing your luck if you want, but I'm getting out while I'm still in one piece. Vaya con dios, kids.
    • Later in the issue, she completely ignores her own advice, not due to any Idiot Ball interaction, but because it's the right thing to do, earning her a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • The Amory Wars/Coheed and Cambria storyline's villain, the Trimage Wilhelm Ryan, sort of does this when addressing his robotic general, Mayo Deftinwulf:
    "There is no room for mistakes, Mayo — nor young ones' vendettas!"
  • Used in Uncanny X-Men # 254 when an alien fleet is about to attack Earth in a parody of DC Comics' Invasion. Then a nameless researcher turns up the fact that Earth has fought off Skrulls and Badoon, repelled attacks from Galactus multiple times, is the home to Galactus's herald and the Phoenix, etc. His conclusion: "We're doomed!" They are.
    • Happened again in S.W.O.R.D. - Abigail Brand avoids alien invasion by pointing out to aliens how many powerful individuals live on Earth, starting with Beta Ray Bill, who recently had beaten Galactus, and how many alien invasions they repelled. Aliens do the right thing and go back home.
    • Happened as a Funny Background Event in another comic when the invading force heads to Earth, someone realizes where they're headed, the fleet immediately decides to go anywhere else.
  • Similarly, in one Blue Beetle story, a group of would-be invaders are talking to each other about the beings on Earth. When one reports that the Earth houses not only two Kryptonians, but also multiple Green Lanterns, one turns to the other and goes, "Maybe we should rethink this invasion thing."
  • In JLA: Year One this was actually the main cause of the alien invasion; when an alien warlord sent his greatest warriors to a 'distant mudball' for a battle to decide the new ruler, they were defeated by local superheroes before the fighting even began. He decided that Earthlings were too great a potential threat to remain alive.
  • In Uncanny X-Men # 143, Kitty Pryde declares: "If this was a movie, the monster would be waiting right outside the door, ready to bite my head off the moment I show myself."
  • Kitty further demonstrated Genre Savvy during an issue of New X-Men:
    Kitty (sitting at the computers): And then nothing. Look, the whole board rolled over and died.
    Colossus: It could be nothing, Katya.
    Kitty: It doesn't feel like nothing, Petey. I can't raise Scott's team either. I even pinged Cable in Providence, and guess what? More deafening silence.
    Colossus: Do you want me to take Blackbird Two and rendezvous with Scott and the others?
  • In the final two issues of Alias, the Purple Man actually scripts the comic as he speaks and makes references to main character Jessica Jones having to please her fanbase.
  • An Incredible Hulk example: Bruce Banner, having been permanently stopped from turning into the Hulk — and having had his condition confirmed by several of the finest scientific minds in the Marvel Universe — starts planning for the Hulk's return. As Banner himself says, "the Hulk always returns".
    • Hulk himself demonstrates a decent amount of savvy in the Planet Hulk storyline, first when the rebels try to recruit him;
    Hulk: You don't get it, do you? Puny pinkies, just like puny humans. First they call you a monster. Then they want you to save them. Then they call you a monster again.
    • And then later when Caiera is trying to convince him to surrender to the Red King;
    Caiera: He'd kill millions to get to you.
    Hulk: He'd kill 'em anyway.
  • In Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, Kitty Pryde confronts Colossus;
    Shadowcat: You have to know that if you're a clone or robot or, yeah, a ghost or an alternate universe thingie, I can deal, ...but if you are some shapeshifter or illusionist who's just watching me twist I will kill you and I will kill you with an axe so right away just prove it, say something, show me something, I can't ...
    Colossus: Katya ...
    Shadowcat: You died! Piotr Rasputin died and I know this because I carried his ashes to Russia and scattered them myself!
    Colossus: You did? ... Thank you.
  • Scrooge McDuck has outwitted several plots against him because Paper Thin Disguises don't fool him, he knows something's wrong when everything goes too smoothly, and he remembers when Donald Duck tried similar schemes before.
  • While Brazilian comic Monica's Gang is rife with No Fourth Wall, Cascao/Smudge deserves mention: he knows Cebolinha/Jimmy Five's "infallible plans" against Monica won't work. Yet he's always convinced to help him. And the plans usually run well until Smudge ruins them.
  • Volt, from Mark Waid's Irredeemable, is well aware that as an electric black superhero he is basically cannon fodder. He turns out to be right.
    • Being Genre Savvy is the main motivation behind Max Damage's Heel-Face Turn - he is well aware that with Plutonian, the Earth's strongest champion, turning into a mass murderer, and the average threats a typical superhero universe has to face every week, without a new protector humanity is doomed. He is also aware he has no idea how to be a superhero so he gathers several people to serve him as moral guides.
    • Plutonian himself proves to be Genre Savvy when his former enemies want to join him. He gives each one of them a button and says that pressing it will render him completely powerless and vulnerable to any attack. They all press it before he even can finish the sentence. He then informs them that they just triggered the auto-destruction mechanism of the facility they're in.
  • The US Government seems to have acquired some Genre Savvy in the Superman books of the last few years, establishing a high-tech military unit specifically trained and equipped to take down Superman. Out of paranoia, or fear that he'll try to conquer the world? Nope. Out of recognition that he gets mind-controlled by villains about twice a month. Superman, being Superman, agrees that this unit is a good idea.
    • Same reason he gave Batman a kryptonite ring (not that Batman needed it, he just added it to his secret stockpile)
  • In an early Post-Crisis comic, Mr. Mxyzptlk traps Superman in a Saturday Morning Cartoon world. Superman has little trouble with most of his tormentors — after "Frankie Fieldstone" hits him with a club, Superman just picks him up and drops him into a tar pit. But Supes meets his match when attacked by the flying, caped "Marvy Mouse", who's faster and stronger than he is. In a sudden attack of Genre Savvy, Superman reaches into his cape pouch and, to Marvy Mouse's horror, pulls out Streaky the Super-Cat!
  • In Omaha the Cat Dancer everything is ready for the big party, but the guests don't start arriving until Omaha and Shelley realize they have forgotten to do "the secret chant". It goes "It's going to be a disaster. Nobody's going to come." As soon as they finish, the doorbell rings.
  • In Return To Wonderland, Calie is nearly raped by The Mad Hatter, but she gets the upper hand and knocks him out. She declares that she will not repeat the mistake that girls usually make in horror movies (knocking out the bad guy, then leaving the room), and continues the beatdown on Hatter until pretty much all of his bones are broken. It doesn't stop him from coming back. The inhabitants of Wonderland are eternal and eventually reappear every time they die, but Calie didn't know that.
  • In the Batman comic A Death in the Family, after Batman chases the Joker onto a helicopter, shoots up said helicopter in the ensuing fight, then jumps out into the Gotham river, the helicopter crashes and explodes magnificently with the Joker still in it. However, when Superman swoops down to rescue Batman, Batman just frantically yells at Superman to find the Joker's body, knowing that such a death means that the Joker is probably still alive. Obviously, he's right.
  • Superman lays a hilarious smackdown on the Ultramarines for engaging in a fight using deadly, efficient, well-planned, logical tactics; because they get their asses almost killed due their lack of savviness about how the DCU's earth works and forces the Justice League to bail them out with standard ridiculous Crazy Awesome comic book heroics.
    Superman: "Your so-called 'no-nonsense solutions' just don't hold water in a world of jet-powered apes and Time Travel."
  • In War Machine's series, called Iron Man 2.0, James Rhodes is hired to find out how a scientist was able to smuggle his invention out of a secure facility and supply them to terrorists after he committed suicide, especially when he was kept in isolation without any outside phone or internet access during his contract. Both Rhodes and the security team he's working with display a frightening amount of genre savvy, almost to the point of Lampshade Hanging the Fantasy Kitchen Sink aspect of the Marvel Universe. Observe the following (paraphrased) conversation:
    James Rhodes: "Maybe this guy was getting his mind read or sending out telepathic transmissions somehow."
    Security Consultant: "We have Reed Richards and Tony Stark sweep for telepathic transmissions."
    Rhodes: "Maybe he's a mutant."
    Consultant: "Four times a year, the feds take over Cerebro and sweep to make sure people in sensitive positions aren't concealing mutant powers."
    Rhodes: "I feel stupid for saying this, but could he be a ghost?"
    Consultant: "We consulted with Doctor Strange and he didn't detect any spirits or astral forms."
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Bolivar Trask demonstrates this when he asks if the stasis field in the lab he's in can contain Venom. When he's told that it can, he says that he's seen King Kong, and so will be leaving.
  • In the Night Raven series, the police led by Detective Nolan set about trying to determine Night Raven's identity, and went through various files trying to find suspects based on people who had reason to have a grudge against criminals. note 
  • Thorgal at one point becomes quite genre savvy - one problem after another keeps threatening his family and he decides that his Weirdness Magnet status is too dangerous for his family, so he leaves them until he'll find a way to undo it. It backfires horribly. Later he tries to find new, safe place for his family to live on the south, but after three adventures he realizes that all kinds of mystical crazyness, remants of advanced cultures and plain old cruelty are everywhere, so they can as well just return to their home village. There is also his initial dislike of greedy and power craving people - he had seen too many of them become tyrants and dying horribly to not know how this will end.
  • In Death Of The Family,
    • Damian is smart enough to realize that Joker is very good at turning people's words into weapons to use against them. So he declares, "I have nothing to say that would help you manipulate me, clown." Unfortunately, it caused Joker to go into a rant about the term "clown", but at least Damian tried to be careful.
    • Joker himself in this story is genre savvy enough to know most common reasons given by both Batman and his fans as an explanation to why Bruce refuses to kill him, and then tear them apart. He also gets a neat little speech debunking Two-Face's "the coin landed right-side up, so he lets them live" trope, and he's ultimately Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to manipulate everyone to the point that he's able to break the Bat-Family apart at the end of the story, thus accomplishing his goal.
    • It's worth mentioning Batman's new reason for not killing the Joker: he honestly believes that Gotham would just bring the Joker back again, or someone worse'd show up.
  • Iznogoud: Wa'at Alaaf, Iznogoud's henchman, has long since realised that Iznogoud will be Hoist by His Own Petard. One story has him going on a quest for an unknown item as soon as Iznogoud devises a plan for turning the Caliph into a statue; the item is revealed at the end to be a commemorative plaque in Iznogoud's memory, that Wa'at applies under the statue his master has become.
  • In Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men, Maria Hill would really like the X-Men to stop messing with time by going back and forward, by coming back and forward, and bringing others back and forward, because she knows that it keeps causing even more problems.
  • In GREEN ARROW #129, the Russian mob boss kills his own subordinate Sharaf just as he's about to shoot Connor Hawke, because he knows that an ordinary mob boss like him would not be allowed to enjoy such a 'victory' for long:
    Sharaf: Don't you know that heroes are for children's stories? In the real world you live or you die. The only victory is survival!
    Boss: Then you lose, Sharaf. You bring worse than the law to my door. You lead an American superhero to me, with questions about you and threats to me.
    Sharaf: But I have him here, pakhan!note  He will trouble us no more!
    Boss: These masked men have friends. Friends that move planets, and fly like gods. Kill him and I next will have Superman pulling me from my car. As the Americans say, "Adios, mi amigo".

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