Loophole Abuse / Comics

  • The Phantom: Whenever the Phantom in disguise as mr Walker with his loyal wolf companion Devil at his side tries to enter an establishment and the person at the door objecting since "No Dogs are Allowed", he will always handwave it with a curt "Devil is no Dog, he is a Wolf" with no further objection from the front-man
  • In one album of De Rode Ridder ("The Red Knight", a Belgian comic), a villain tricks the hero into swearing an oath not to use his sword against him. The Red Knight, being The Fettered, is honor-bound to keep it, even when the villain eventually attacks. He circumvents it by giving his sword to his female sidekick, who is not bound by the oath and still carries a grudge against the villain for a Kick the Dog moment earlier in the album. The results are... messy.
  • Subverted in an issue of Spider-Man; Spidey is riding on top of a car as it drives through New York (with the driver's consent). A cop pulls up next to them.
    Spider-Man: Bet you a buck this isn't covered by traffic regulations.
    (Next panel, Spidey is holding a citation)
    Spider-Man: Huh. It is. Who knew?
  • This is subverted in a The Powerpuff Girls comic. When Mojo Jojo tells Fuzzy Lumpkins that a high-tech weapon that landed on Fuzzy's yard is his, Fuzzy says, "I don't see your name on it!" (The same thing he said to the Girls when they tried to get it.) Mojo responds by turning it around; his name is on it. (Fuzzy decides to stop using loopholes and just threaten him at that point.)
  • A Desperate Dan comic in The Dandy has him deliver a grand piano to a friend, so he oils the castors, gives it a push and "drives" it down a motorway. On passing a police car, one of the policemen comments that there is nothing in the rulebook about a piano needing an M.O.T.
  • In Judge Dredd, the most popular Mayor of Mega City One was Dave the Orangutan — put forward by the Judges in an apparent attempt to discredit democracy since there was no specific rule against it. He was so popular that after he was assassinated the post was abolished for ten years due to the public feeling that no one could replace him.
  • Invoked by Scrooge McDuck in Don Rosa's story "The Guardians Of The Lost Library". Unfortunately for him, it doesn't work.
    Referee: Are you nuts? You can't conduct an archeological excavation in the middle of a soccer championship!
    Scrooge: Oh, so? Show me that rule in the rulebook!
    Assistant: Gosh, he's right! It is allowed by the "King Tut" rule of 1922!
    Referee: No, the rule was voided after it resulted in a curse on whosoever dared enter the locker room!
  • In Green Lantern, this is used by the rulemakers themselves. The Guardians sent a Green Lantern to a particularly nasty planet and he is almost immediately killed, so the Green Lantern sends his ring out to find a worthy successor. Enter Jack T. Chance. After "taking care" of a prominent threat on the planet, he is called back to Oa by the Guardians for discipline, but Jack says that he did what he had to do and would rather quit than be bound by the rules of the Guardians. The Guardians, lacking a suitable replacement for Jack, stated that a Green Lantern was not required to be nice and gave him back the ring with provisions that it could not be used off of the planet Jack was stationed. The reason the Guardians were so annoyed with Chance was because of his own Loophole Abuse. Green Lantern Rings couldn't be used to make lethal attacks, so once Jack discovered this, he would use his ring to battle foes to the point of exhaustion - and then shoot them.
  • Used for laughs in the Young Justice No Man's Land special. Robin is depressed about being banned from helping Batman. Superboy points out that Bats never said anything about YJ steering clear of Gotham. So he and Impulse go on a ROAD TRIP!
  • In Mega Man, the original six Robot Masters want to help Mega Man after his "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, but they are programmed to destroy Mega Man. So they do... by destroying the Copy Robot.
  • Lex Luthor once made a deal with Mxyzptlk where Mxy would provide Luthor with the means to render Superman powerless. Part of the deal was that Luthor must never tell Superman about Mxy's role in this. Not enjoying the idea of being unable to let Superman know how he defeated him, Luthor tried to circumvent that part of the deal by telling someone who would tell Superman about the deal. Luthor then told Clark Kent.
  • In the 1953 story from Superman & Batman: Generations II, Bruce Wayne Jr. was prevented by his mother to act as Dick Grayson's partner in the role of Robin while Dick was Batman. However, that didn't prevent Bruce Jr. as Robin from acting as a partner to Kara Kent as Supergirl.
  • In "Marriage Vows" in The Haunt of Fear #15 the heroine wants to marry one Prince Dashing but is hampered by the fact that her father promised her hand in marriage to the ruler of a neighboring kingdom in exchange for a big fat loan. Let's just say that she finds a way to take that promise very literally...
  • In Sgt. Rock: A Peace on Earth, Sgt. Rock and a German soldier drink, smoke, and chat casually on Christmas Eve, 1944. Then the German warns him that he was ordered to shoot on sight, "...and I always follow orders." "Same here," says Rock, and they both shoot... into the air.
  • In New Mutants, Magik, being who she is, is told by her teammates not to kill someone... She proceeds to send said person to Hell.
  • Contrary to his usual portrayal, the Devil in Castle Waiting is explicitly stated to hate this trope, and the evil witch from the comic's version of Sleeping Beauty making use of this (by technically cursing the princess as a young woman rather than as the baby she is at the time the curse is made) is one of several reasons she ends up on the wrong side of Even Evil Has Standards.
  • In "Vampirella and the Sultana's Revenge" the eponymous Sultana had the Sultan promise to never harm her. So when he catches her being unfaithful, he instead has her force-fed, ruining the slimness and beauty she took pride in.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: After being hacked by A.D.A.M. and forced to help him in his plans, Jules is subsequently ordered to self-destruct after doing so. Jules instead exploits the fact that A.D.A.M. didn't actually specify when to self-destruct to hold it off until Sonic takes A.D.A.M. down.
  • Sonic the Comic: When Robotnik hijacks the Omni-Viewer and forces him to send Sonic and his friends into the future to enable him to Take Over the World without interference, Omni only sends them six months into the future, thus obeying Robotnik's orders while putting Sonic in a position to form La Résistance and set things right.
  • In Batman Eternal, the acting Commissioner specifically tells the GCPD to not arrest criminals tied up by Batman and to focus more on arresting him. Harvey Bullock decides that the nutcases can just go rot until they can free themselves.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: a time-travelling Loki approaches Andvari, hoping to take his hoard for their own reasons, but Andvari will not give it up, and Andvari cannot be caught by hook or net, and no spell can hold him. So what does the trickster god do?
    Narration: "And Loki reached into his carrying bag... and brought forth an M20 recoilless rocket launcher. For Andvari could only guard against what he could think of. And while wily he was in the ways of magic... he was somewhat unimaginative."
    • Later Loki's confronted with the fact that they'll always be the God of Lies and so (according to the one telling) destined to be evil. What do they do? They decide Lies are just Stories and rebrand accordingly. It works.
  • In the What If? story "I'll Be Your Best Friend!", Josh Guthrie, younger brother of Cannonball and Husk, befriends a damaged Sentinel. However, when the Sentinel repairs itself enough that its mutant detection systems come back online, Josh throws himself between the robot and his family. Josh's able to use his command to protect him at all cost to get the Sentinel to realize he is a threat and kill himself.
  • In an issue of Scooby-Doo! Team-Up,
    • The Gang ends up going to Paradise Island, with Daphne and Velma getting Amazon training by Wonder Woman. However, Shaggy and Fred are stuck hanging around the Invisible Plane because no man can set foot on Paradise Island or they'd cause the Amazons there to lose their immortality. However, a loophole means Scooby can walk around normally - Scooby may be a male, but the rules said no man, nothing about a dog.
    • Later, this trope is revealed as being the reason the day is able to be saved — the manifestations of mythological creatures are revealed to be the work of the Duke of Deception, a minion of Ares. He had hoped the Amazons would call in outside help from a male, who he could knock off his steed, thereby causing his feet to touch the ground and stripping the Amazons of their power. However, even when Shaggy falls off his steed, Wonder Woman is still able to whip the Duke. Daphne suggests this is because Shaggy landed on his hind end; his feet never touched the ground. Shaggy says it could also be because he's "not much of a man."
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Elias Acorn is preparing to confront Amadeus Prower after he learns Tails and Rosemary had freed him, knowing that he's attempting to replace the monarchy with a democracy. He tells NICOLE not to wake his parents and alert them of the situation. As the two men fight, a third party steps in to stop the fight - Elias' sister, Sally, whom NICOLE points out he never said anything about.
  • In one Deadpool issue set during the time of the legendary Iron Man storyline "Demon In A Bottle", Deadpool makes a Deal with the Devil to get Iron Man vastly inebriated. However, Deadpool has a change of heart when he attempts to do so and Tony ends up getting sobered up when a nuclear plant is starting to go critical. Deadpool, not wanting Tony to get killed, knocks him out, steals his armor, paints it with the black markings to make it look like himself, gets himself plastered, and goes off to save the day. When the demon comes to rant at Deadpool for failing, Deadpool points out in the fine print of the contract that it specifically stated Iron Man, not Tony Stark.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Pink #1, this sort of thing is used to get Kimberly back as a Power Ranger after she gave up her powers to Kat in Season 3 - turns out just passing off your powers doesn't mean you're completely free of them and the more natural way was to have used the Sword of Light (remember that?). Thus, Zordon and Alpha give Kim the Sword so she can become the Pink Ranger once more by using it to draw out its power.
  • Kenton of White Sand likes to exploit those:
    • The creators of Mastrell's Path were apparently too disdainful of "vulgar" weapons like swords to forbid them from the Path, letting Kenton - who's using the blade as a sort of magical "crutch" for his powers - to take his sword to the exam.
    • When Sand Masters are slaughtered, the Taishin - heads of guilds - decide during a session to dismantle the whole profession before Kenton points out that technically, the Masters aren't dismantled yet and so their leader - one of the guild heads, after all - must be informed in advance of the Taishin session, or else all the proceedings are void. That there was no Mastrell for the last few weeks is no excuse.
  • In Runaways (and later A-Force), Nico Minoru's Staff of One can only cast each spell once. However, she's been able to get around this rule by casting spells in other languages, or by very specifically altering a spell's effect (for instance, instead of freezing someone solid, she freezes them to the exact temperature of a popsicle.)
  • One famous story arc in Sturmtruppen had a soldier get around stark naked as a form of protest without retaliation because there was no rule they had to wear the uniform. After day spent researching the rules the captain discovered that there was a rule about the uniform being in perfect order, so he went for that... Except the uniform was in perfect order, the soldier just wasn't wearing it. The rest of the platoon promptly starts go around naked.
    • This story arc was adapted in The Movie. As in the comic, the officers couldn't find a rule, so the soldiers started going around naked... Until the officers threatened to name them aides of a Depraved Homosexual general if they didn't wear the uniform in ten seconds.
  • G.I. Joe: Special Missions had an issue where Cobra stole the computers from the Skystriker and Conquest while at an airshow. They make their getaway by stealing the Vector and Maverick pursues them with the help of a crop duster pilot. The Vector and computers are recovered, but the crop duster is impounded. The pilot says he'd ask Maverick for a ride back to the airshow in the Vector, but acknowledges there's probably regulations against that. Maverick confirms that military regulations do not allow civilians to ride in military aircraft, but nothing says they can't fly the plane themselves.
  • The Comics Code Authority died specifically because of this. As an industry mechanism for content control, Stan Lee found he couldn't get their approval on a Spider-Man story that involved the dangers of drug use (requested by the government, no less). While the CCA had a list of content restrictions that violated approval, Stan realized it forbade publishing with an approval seal, but not publishing the story without the approval seal. So for the two issues of Spider-Man featuring the story, it was unapproved when it hit the stands and then the approval seal was replaced when the arc was done. The praise for the story's handling of the subject matter and the fuss over getting it to publish revealed just how little bite the CCA had and they became an artifact soon there after.
  • Brave Chef Brianna: The rules set by Brianna's father for her and her brothers to compete for the right to inherit his cooking empire say none of them may open a restaurant in a town where one of the other siblings already has one. Hans takes a food truck to Monster City and points out it's not a restaurant.
  • Batman Beyond: Kai-Ro isn't allowed to use his green lantern ring (or any other unnatural power inside the temple walls). Once he steps outside...
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn: Phoebe tries to ride Marigold through a drive-thru, arguing that they have no rule against unicorns.
  • Played for drama in Copperhead: the Natives massacre some civilians, but because they lived outside the city limit there was technically no violation of the peace treaty. Law enforcement has no avenues to enforce justice.
  • In the Comic-Book Adaptation of Pinky and the Brain, Brain's version of Faust makes a Deal with the Devil to obtain the ultimate knowledge and isn't worried because there's no contract without a loophole out of it. When Mephistopheles shows up to collect, Faust couldn't find a loophole and says that means Mephistepheles failed to give him the ultimate knowledge the deal requires him to. Mephistopheles lets Faust keep his soul but rewinds time back to when the deal was made so the accomplishments made with help from the deal never happened and erases everything about the deal from Faust's memory.