How can you possibly make an undeniably Badass character even more badass? Easy; make him lose an eye, or have her get paralyzed from the waist down, or give them some disease from which there is no cure. Finally... do NOT use the Reset Button by Throwing Off the Disability. "What?!", you say. "My character must stay injured/handicapped?" Simply, yes.
In Real Life, we know how hard it is to accomplish Badass feats in perfect health and condition, so anybody that does it with a handicap instantly earns our respect. Imagine how much more awesome that shoot-out is going to be when the audience finds out The Hero... is blind. Imagine the buzz your character will get when they win the judo competition with just one good leg. If done right, a handicapped character even doing something mundane can become a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
Handicapped? Perhaps... Disabled? Far from it!
It is important that your character's conquest of their physical challenge make sense; not properly explaining their ability to continue to function, let alone on the badass level, will result in audience confusion, or worse, your character becoming a Sympathetic Sue.
For the sake of story, a restrained dose of Applied Phlebotinum is allowed to explain or aid the character's ability to overcome the handicap. This technological or otherwise un-standard aid cannot completely cure or nullify the effects of the injury, that would kill the point of the character triumphing over the handicap. Thus, The Six Million Dollar Man wouldn't count. On the other hand, if the device that helps the character has drawbacks to using it that constantly reminds the character of their issue, that's cool - e.g. a blind character gets a robotic eye that gives him X-Ray vision, but it won't work in broad daylight...
Some writers will go for extra points by showing how an injury unlocked the character's true potential by causing them to discover some heretofore unrealized skill or ability or learning a new one. A Training Montage might be in order to show how the character learned to overcome the handicap. If a person has powers because they are disabled, then that's Disability Superpower. The Deaf Composer may go through a similar process regarding their chosen craft.
Mental challenges count as well. Old age doesn't as that's already covered by Badass Grandpa, Never Mess with Granny, Old Master, and similar tropes.
Many pirates are portrayed this way, with peg legs, hook hands, and eyepatches of power. These attributes seem to be cases of Follow the Leader; the peg leg originated with Long John Silver of Treasure Islandnote Although in the book he had a crutch, not a peg, the Hook Hand with Captain Hook of Peter Pan, and the eyepatch...well, that might have come from Real Life Arab pirate Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah, but it might also come from something that has nothing to do with disabilities. Some people have speculated that sailors wore eyepatches to keep one eye in the dark, so when they went into the darkness below deck, they'd have one eye accustomed to the darkness, and they'd just switch the patch to the other eye.
This trope may overlap with Evil Cripple in the case of a villainous Handicapped Badass. Specific subtropes include Blind Weaponmaster, Blind Seer, and Deaf Composer. The Blind Black Guy usually fits this Trope (and is usually based at least partially on Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder).
Often introduced for Positive Discrimination, especially when the character is either blind or in a wheelchair.
This trope is Truth in Television because it is what happens when people don't accept Sorry Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs as an answer. However, not everyone in Real Life wants to follow this trope and be "inspirational". Instead they'd rather go about their lives, maybe with(God forbid) a few accommodations. On the bright side, at least it isn't vomit-inducing pity.
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Anime and Manga
Sora Takeuchi of Air Gear can run as well as many other AT users in the series, if not better. In a wheelchair. He's just that awesome.
Subverted, in Break Blade's case. While not necessarily the character itself that was handicapped, Girge defeated an elite troop of five with a golem that has lost its left foot and arm. It still gave other characters an awe, though.
Briareos from Appleseed had such extensive cybernetic surgery that he looks more like a robot than a human. He's often worried about become more machine than human, but so far his wife doesn't seem to care.
It's hard to think of Briareos as being remotely handicapped in his cyborg body. He's at least seven feet tall, and bulging with synthetic muscle everywhere at Mr.Universe proportions.
The body model, Hecatonchire, is named after mythical giants with 100 arms and heads. His significantly advanced hacking capabilities and add-on flight armor with two extra arms make the name fit pretty well.
Played with in Basilisk. Hyouma Muroga from the Kouga Manjidani is a mighty swordsman and mentor as well as a foil to both his leader Danjou and his nephew/adoptive son Gennosuke - but either due to eyesight problems (original novel) or being Blessed with Suck due to Power Incontinence (anime and manga), he can't use his eyes, linked to his special powers. He still remains a really powerful fighter and excellent strategist.
Played straight, though, with Koushirou Chikuma from the Iga Tsubagakure. Ironically, he is the one who defeats and kills Hyouma, since he was already blinded when they fought... and Hyouma's doujutsu powers do NOT work on a blind opponent.
Also, Gennosuke himself spends about half the story as one, thanks to the Seven Days Ointment that forces his eyes sealed
Jubei Jimushi, who has no limbs but can still use his extra-long tongue to either handle his pipe or use a small sword. He's the one who kills Tenzen for the first time, after all. Too bad Tenzen's power is coming back from the dead...
Berserk: Guts cuts his own arm off, in a desperate attempt to save Casca from being raped by Griffith, but it is later replaced by a metal version (that has a built in cannon).
Not long after losing the arm he loses his right eye.
Also, besides the attached/built-in weapons and a magnet in the palm for holding his BFS the thing is just a regular prosthetic (fore)arm.
Killy from Blame! spends a majority of the manga in peak condition, but by the final chapter, had lost a leg and the sight in his right eye. This forces him to replace his leg with a piece of scrap metal, earning him the affectionate nickname "Pirate Killy". This doesn't slow him down in the least.
Ukitake, aka Captain Tuberculosis, was afflicted in early childhood with an incurable lung disease (the fandom speculates it's tuberculosis but the manga never clarifies). It's sometimes used as a plot device to ensure he can't function at certain times when other characters need to shine and he stays confined to a sickbed on a frequent basis, but he still became not only a captain but one of the longest-serving captains of them all.
Yamamoto sacrifices his left arm in an attempt to blow up Aizen. Although it was possible for him to have the missing arm replaced by Orihime's power, he refuses and remains one-armed ever after. His killer notes that for this very reason, Yamamoto lacked the strength to be a true threat to the Vandenreich.
Kukaku Shiba, the one-armed woman (changed to her wearing a prosthetic in the anime) who constantly beats up her little brother, terrifies the entire main cast, and makes a nice Dynamic Entry in the first confrontation with Aizen!
Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade. A generous estimate gives her life expectancy to be no greater than thirty, but god damn if she isn't going to spend those years being as Hot-Blooded as possible.
Chrono also applies to a degree, as his abilities have been severely stunted and he's reliant on Rosette to use them even temporarily.
While his primary role in Corsair is that of an extreme woobie, there is still a certain badassness about Canale, perhaps best exemplified by his effortless victory in a duel with another pirate, despite the fact that he's blind.
Most of Father's Sacrifices, since they all gave up part of their bodies when passing through the Gate. (Hohenheim is the exception, as the transmutation he performed was the creation of a Philosopher's Stone, not an attempt to revive someone from the dead.)
Ed and Al. Ed is missing a leg and arm, and Al is missing his whole body (he can interact with the physical world because his soul is bonded to a suit of armor).
Izumi Curtis. Missing her entire uterus and a portion of her intestine detracts in no way from the sheer aura of asskicking that woman emanates.
Roy is something of a Double Subversion. While he's unquestionably one of the series' premier badasses, his loss of eyesight to Truth comes so suddenly that he hasn't gotten a chance to figure out how to work around it, which is a bad thing when it's the Final Battle and one of the heaviest hitters just became The Load. However, he quickly gets around it by having Hawkeye, who had been almost fatally injured a while ago (via a slit throat and heavy blood loss) and couldn't take direct part in the fight, correct and direct his aim.
Jean Havoc is paralyzed from the waist down after a confrontation with Lust. He's considered a non-entity by the military afterward, which he exploits to provide Mustang's group with backup and weapons during the battle for Central. A picture during the closing montage shows he's learning how to walk again.
King Bradley is blind in his left eye but is still reputed as a very dangerous fighter. Subverted in that he's not really blind but has to hide his eye because it marks him as a Homonculus, one of the series' antagonists. When fighting particularly skilled opponents, who usually try to get to him through the blind spot on his left side, he tends to take the eyepatch off.
That being said, he does lose his Homonculus eye and suffers enough injuries that he's half-dead. Despite this, he's still able to fight evenly with Scar, who's probably the second-best fighter in the whole series.
Lan Fan loses her arm, then comes back six months later to kick ass with an automail arm- the shortest recovery time shown in the series. She's so fresh off her rehabilitation that she nearly wrenches the prosthetic out of her socket fighting, but that doesn't stop her from saving most of the cast.
Paninya has both legs replaced with automail, but is able to outrun and outmaneuver both Ed and Al, to the point where Ed asks if she's an acrobat. She also packs a knife and gun in her prosthetics and she knows how to use them. Plus the mini cannon that's mounted in one of her knees. Yes, an actual cannon that can fire baseball-sized cannonballs.
Buccaneer, what with his crazy-awesome automail arm.
Ga-Rei Zero- Ayame Jinguuji, with an awesome wheelchair and minigun prosthetic leg.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny. Andrew Waldfeld has a prosthetic leg and arm, and is missing an eye, but doesn't stop him from taking down perfectly healthy Coordinator assassins. Kinda helps his prosthetic hand doubles as a shotgun, though.
And then you can look at some of the franchises minor characters for bouts of badassness. Gundam 0083 has Kelly Layzner, a one-armed former Zeon pilot who retooled a Val Varo to accommodate his limitations so that he could possibly fight for Zeon again, but Cima Garahau snubbed him and the mobile armor was to go to one of her subordinates. He takes it to fight Kou in the Full Vernian, and we get a sad fight between friends.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam also has Kyral Mekirel, who was blinded 8 years prior to the series yet is a master swordsman and assassin, and easily in the top 10 of the surviving Gundam Fighters.
Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Ghost has Curtis Rothkonote real name Tobia Arronax, who is a blind Ace Pilot. He is able to do this because #1. he's a Newtype and #2. his cockpit is specially-designed to convert visual data into audio.
Skull Heart and V Gundam Side Story feature a handicapped Humongous Mecha. The "Gump" Gundam is the heavily modded Double Zeta Gundam with a pegleg and broken parts. By U.C. 130s, The Double Zeta is very outdated comparing to other Mook machines, and moreover it is piloted by a 60-year-old man. Doesn't stop it from being badass.
Captain Pip Bernadette of Hellsing may have lost an eye, but he fights like a demon.
Ryuuto Asamiya, a.k.a. Odin from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, is rendered wheelchair-bound after his fight with the titular protagonist, yet is shown to be still capable of an impressive level of combat despite this. Also Takeda Ikki, a boxer whose left arm was unusable in a fight before fighting Kenichi. After the fight, Kenichi's Jujutsu master Akisame is able to repair the damage and give Takeda full use of his arm again. Akisame's "rival" and Takeda's boxing master, James Shiba lost both an eye and the use of his leg fighting Yami, but is still considered one of the more powerful master-class fighters in the series.
Kinnikuman has Terryman, who took a bullet to the leg for the title character and decides to retire to his ranch in depression, before Kinikkuman manages to get him back in the ring. A few chapters later, however, his false leg is revealed- sending him back into depression as his fans disown him; however, we meet another Handicapped Badass- a young kid in a wheelchair, who also uses a false leg and finds inspiration in Terryman. When Terryman's own leg is stolen by Kinkotsuman, the kid grabs onto his hero's leg and holds on, despite being attacked by the evil Choujin. This gives new hope to Terryman, who gets even stronger in future chapters.
Also Warsman, who has a mechanical body that frequently malfunctions, especially if a fight begins to drag out for too long.
Hayate was this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. She sat always on her wheelchair and she could only fly and walk because of her magic powers. She later recovered from her curse and is now able to walk by her own.
Add in the fact that Nanoha herself can technically qualify due to her development being permanently stunted from nearly fatal injuries she suffered when she was twelve, and the only reason she can still walk is simply because of her determinator nature.
Monster: Roberto's right arm and hand are crippled after being shot by Tenma. It's strong enough to choke you so hard that your tongue pokes out, but not strong enough to actually kill you. His left, on the other hand...
Early in the series, Red-Haired Shanks of One Piece loses an arm to a sea monster. He goes on to become one of the four most dangerous pirates in the world. Outside of the other three, nobody screws with him.
It's mentioned that, previous to losing his arm, he'd regularly sparred with the best swordsman in the world, Dracule "Hawkeye" Mihawk, who defeats Zoro without trying and nearly kills him.
The first chapter shows Shanks doing a couple of things of things primarily with his left hand (holding booze, eating.) He also wears his sword on the right hip, which would imply that he was left-handed. Word of God states that losing his left arm hasn't diminished his fighting ability at all. That makes no sense at all, but it's still freaking awesome.
According to the Other Wiki, left handed people can develop ambidexterity much more easily then right handed people. When you think about it, it isn't all that unbelievable.
While he may not be missing an arm or a leg, or even his eyesight, Whitebeard definitely qualifies, as he manages to wipe the floor with several high-ranking Marines at once, shrugging off any wound on his person, after having been hooked on life support equipment for at least a few years.
He single-handedly defeated Blackbeard in one-on-one combat. With half his face. And slowly dying. Blackbeard had to bring his crew to gang up and shoot and stab him until they ran out of bullets to finally kill him. It wasn't even an immediate death. And to top all that, he Died Standing Up.
Gold Roger. The Pirate King himself suffered from a painful and terminal illness for four years prior to his death. These were the years in which he made his final journey, conquered the grand-line and become the Pirate King
Post Time Skip, we also have Zoro, who has lost an eye.
There's also Crocodile, who's missing a hand. His hook more than makes up for it.
Sanji's mentor and father-figure, "Red-Leg" Zeff. He lost his leg, his main means of fighting, in an effort to save young Sanji, and though he retired from piracy to start a restaurant, and based on what we see in the Baratie arc, while he's slowed down a little, he's still capable of doing massive damage with his feet, peg leg and all.
There's also Admiral Fujitora. He may be blind, but because of his gravity-based powers, you don't want to fuck with him.
That's not even getting into the movie characters, like Shiki, who has swords for legs, and Z, who lost an arm (Which he later replaced by a huge, powerful mechanical arm) and is heavily weakened by old age, but more than capable of ripping his enemies a new one.
Sara from Samurai Champloo, who despite (or possibly because of) being blind, is easily one of the most powerful warriors in the series, easily capable of defeating the already insanely skilled and Badass protagonists in a one on one duel.
Dragon Shiryu, later Cygnus Hyoga and Kraken Isaac in Saint Seiya. Subverted with Virgo Shaka, who like Kenpachi purposely handicaps himself (in his case, by closing his eyes despite not being blind)
Kurogane of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is missing his left arm. He cut it off himself to save Fai's life because he's just that much of a badass. He does get a cybernetic replacement, but it's an imperfect fit that causes him pain and falls apart during the final battle.
Tsubasa also has Clone Syaoran, who's missing a right eye and still manages to fell demons, misbehaving aristocrats and Mooks by the dozen almost every time he comes up against them. He just kicks them harder to make up for having a blind side, and for the lack of depth perception from his missing eye. It's also mentioned that he took up his fighting style, which involves quite a bit of spinning, to compensate for his blind side.
Fai loses his left eye because C!Syaoran eats it, Kurogane turns him into a vampire and then, after the aforementioned "Arm-Hacking" incident he sacrifices the last of his magic for Kurogane's artificial arm. This makes him into a one-eyed vampire who hacks and slices his way through henchmen as if they were butter.
YuYu Hakusho has King Yomi, who was blinded by an assassin hundreds of years ago sent by his former partner, Yoko Kurama, as punishment for being a Leeroy Jenkins. To counteract this, he grew four extra ears to allow him to "hear" his surroundings. Despite his blindness, he manages to grow in power from A to S Class, take over a third of the Makai, curbstomp his cloned son Shura in a fight, and defeat Yusuke during the hero's final fight in the series—credit to Yusuke, though, his fight drained Yomi's Badass tank, causing him to lose in the next round.
The most impressive of all his feats? He manages to force Kurama into an alliance with him, by having one demon threaten to sabotage his parents' honeymoon flight, and having another demon keep track of his beloved stepbrother, all the while flaunting his superior firepower to make sure Kurama doesn't simply try to kill either demon threatening his family or Yomi himself.Magnificent Bastard, indeed.
Like his game counterpart, Wally of Pokémon Special probably suffers from a severe case of asthma. That doesn't stop him from riding a bike all the way to the top of Sky Pillar (with its collapsing floors) while fending off the powerful wild Pokémon that keep jumping him so that he can battle with Norman at the top and finally wake up Rayquaza. Him having a respirator suit certainly helped, and actually allows him to safely breathe in Rayquaza's ozone-filled room.
Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond has a few of these. Ito who lost three fingers from his right hand leaving only his ring finger and pinky and still manages to floor Musashi with a palm strike (without even drawing his sword!). Kojiro Sasaki who was born deaf and main rival of Musashi. Sasaki's first teacher Kanemaki Jisai lost the ability to use his right arm after getting it injured in a fight and still keeps going. Master Fudo a guy who fought Kojiro was covered in scars and in his fight with Kojiro he lost his right arm and he thought it was "less distracting". Musashi himself qualifies as he fought at one point with only one eye and in another, on one leg.
In addition, Inoue's Real is also full of these, being a manga about wheelchair basketball.
In Blade of the Immortal, Blood Knight/Determinator Shira lost his right hand. What does he do? Scrapes the flesh from his bones, then sharpens the bones in order to use them as weapons. Later, he loses his other hand and his left eye and still wants more.
In the Golden Wind arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Polnareff uses a wheelchair. This doesn't actually make him any weaker, in large part because his Stand doesn't need legs. (And if someone knocks the chair over, his Stand helps him right it.)
Later on, Johnny, the JoJo of Part 7, has the same problem, even moreso given the time period it takes place in. This doesn't stop him from kicking ass, as well as participating in a country spanning horse race.
Joseph Joestar to a somewhat lesser extent in Part 3, as one of his hands is mechanical.
Shuh from Fist of the North Star is the second deadliest master of the Nanto Seiken style next to Souther himself, despite having clawed out his own eyes.
Falco, the successor of the Gento Kōken style, amputated one of his legs in order to spare his village Raoh's wrath. Ever since then, Falco has fought using a prosthetic leg and he still gives Kenshiro a good fight.
Sesshoumaru from InuYasha is missing one arm for most of the story. This does not make him any less of a Badass. In his case, he was just so powerful to begin with that having one arm less simply isn't enough to bring him down to the level of almost anyone else. He actually ends up admitting that losing his arm helped make him even stronger than before.
Hyakkimaru from Dororo is notable in that his eyes, nose, ears and all of his limbs are prosthetics, and yet he still manages to be a Badass. It helps that he has Psychic Powers which he uses to compensate for his missing parts, and that his prosthetic arms are where he keeps his swords.
In the Queen's Blade Rebellion battle-books and the 6th OVA, Tomoe qualifies, being blinded by a curse. In her case she was handicapped in a deliberate attempt to curtail her badassery, though it didn't work that well.
The martial artist and leader of the Kyosen Ryuu Sakon Daimaru from Gamaran. He's an insanely powerful warrior, capable of killing a man with nothing but his fingers and incredibly fast. Sadly, the horrible Training from Hell planned by his ambitious Jerk Ass brother destroyed his rationality and made him a sort of mentally retarded kid.
Gildarts from Fairy Tail. The man lost an arm, a leg, and a few internal organsto a Black Dragon and he's still one of Fairy Tail's strongest members.
Erza at first lost her eye and led a rebellion in order to rescue her friend but she gets a replacement later.
In Tsukigasa, Kuroe has no trouble killing a pair of robbers even though he only has one arm.
Edelhi Bootsvorz from Future GPX Cyber Formula. Losing his left arm and eye in a crash during a test drive, he gained a mechanical arm and eye in order to continue his racing career and eventually became a seasoned racer. Later in the series, he gains another replacement arm and eye, which are more advanced and natural-looking.
Nagato nuked a village and he was in a wheelchair. Kimmimaro took Gaara and Rock Lee to the limit despite suffering from Incurable Cough of Death.
Subverted with Kakashi, who wears his headband over his left eye, creating a blind spot. Unfortunately for anyone who ever thought it was a handicap, said headband was actually hiding one of his strongest weapons. Twelve year-old him might count though, as his ruined left eye had yet to be replaced when he and Obito actually managed to temporarily incapacitate the Iwa Jounin who was attacking them.
A, the current Raikage, lost his left (and dominant) arm after attacking an-Amaterasu-shrouded Sasuke, yet hasn't been slightly slowed down by the loss.
Itachi, by the time of his battle with Sasuke, was suffering from Incurable Cough of Death that would've killed him long ago if he didn't take drugs to stay alive longer, and had gone near blind from overusing his Mangekyo Sharingan; and he still bested Sasuke (despite that he was deliberately trying to lose in addition to all these above).
Her introduction sums it up rather nicely: the protagonist is told that Ayase would be his combat trainer before he sees her, and is somewhat confused to see a girl in a wheelchair, being a bit lost as for how to act around her. When she drops something, he awkwardly offers to help the poor cripple pick it up, and she smiles shyly and agrees... then when he comes near her she flips around like a ragdoll using only her arms for what is a wheelchair bound judo throw. "Don't underestimate me", indeed.
We don't know for certain whether it's a permanent disability yet, but going by the trailer for the third part of Rebuild of Evangelion, being unable to see out of one eye doesn't appear to have seriously inconvenienced Asuka.
Rurouni Kenshin: After surviving an assassination attempt that rendered him unable to produce sweat, Shishio must avoid being in any fight for more than fifteen minutes in a row. That he never needed to go beyond these limits against anyone other than Kenshin and that Kenshin needed help to make the fight last this long cements the Badass part.
Code Geass has Li Xingke, who, in a world filled with Memetic Badass, still manages to stand out. His intellect matches Lelouch/Zero's, his military skill and speed match Suzaku's and his diplomatic skill is that of an emperor. He just has one problem, an Incurable Cough of Death. His final fate is unknown he is seen coughing and struggling during the final battle and is not in the Team Shot, but his Knightmare is seen in one of closing shots.
Black Joke has the Ax-Crazy paraplegic Italian mafioso Runover, who pursues people with a wheelchair doubling as an armed supercar. Don't think he's helpless without it either...
Attack on Titan sees several characters perform feats of badassery even when suffering what turn out to be Game-Breaking Injuries, but one character truly embodies this trope. Erwin Smith is bitten by a Titan, and loses their arm just below the shoulder. Even so, they still manage to effectively use their 3D Maneuver Gear and pull off a truly epic Big Damn Heroes moment, wounding the enemy and rescuing Eren in the process. Though bedridden for over a week to recover, they continue to be a serious player off the battlefield by setting in motion and leading a plan to overthrow the government.
An anime-only example: Fan-Favorite Levi shows up in the finale to rescue Eren in a Big Damn Heroes moment, after breaking his ankle in the previous battle. It's considered a poorly-written case of Fanservice, as he had explicitly stated his injury prohibited him from participating in the battle and during his heroics, his injury is ignored.
Jun Misugi of Captain Tsubasa has a heart problem and is forbid to play soccer. He insists to play, and despite his health, he is one of the best players of Japan, at least until his illness catches up to him and forces him to bail out.
Hotaru Tomoe is a small, sickly little girl who can't so much as play too long outside without having seizures, but once awakened as Sailor Saturn she becomes the most powerful of the Sailor Soldiers with the ability to basically turn herself into a bomb and destroy an entire planet even though doing so costs her her life.
In the Manga, Hotaru's even more severely handicapped most of her body has been replaced with machines when her father turned her into a cyborg to save her life. Haruka Tenoh (Sailor Uranus) even states that even if the outer Senshi don't kill her she will probably die soon regardless.
In the proposed Toon Makers Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury was shown to be in a wheelchair in her civilian form and flying super chair in her Sailor form. Luckily, however the show was never greenlit and the idea was scrapped.
Sanageyama, who blinds himself after losing a match by relying on his eyes too much, which gives his other senses a massive boost when coupled with his Blade Regalia mkII, to the point where he unleashes a Curb-Stomp Battle on Ryuko. When he dons the final form of his Blade Regalia in episode 23, he reveals that he's no longer blind and proceeds to kick more ass.
Nui the French faux-affable cutie, who lost an eye to a giant pair of scissors. And then loses her arms. She gets pissed off because she can't regenerate sewing skills, and proceeds to open a can of whoop-ass with her augmented replacement arms.
The Chief in Doom Patrol - specifically Grant Morrison-period - becomes perhaps the ultimate example of this. Whether blasting his way into bad guys' homes with his chair-mounted rocket-launchers, calmly knee-capping opponents to put them on equal terms with himself, or using his knowledge and sheer grit to - even blown out of his chair - take on and kill the Beard Hunter (a Punisher parody), AND deliver a Bond One-Liner afterwards...and, on top of all of that, proving ultimately to have fully recovered from his paralysis some time ago, to have deliberately engineered accidents and disasters that created/destroyed other team members, and ready to re-shape the world using a combination of Chaos Theory and nanotechnology, thus becoming the Morrison run's ultimate Big Bad. What a guy!
X-Men Professor X's wheelchair doesn't lessen his badassness.
Barbara Gordon - the first Batgirl - gets shot through the spine and paralyzed. Instead of retiring, she becomes an information broker under the name Oracle, pictured above, and becomes the greatest source of info in The DCU, leader of the Birds of Prey, member of the JLA, the hero who can pick up hundreds of millions from a supervillain's secret account and employ them somewhere else, the one who can break the Internet should she so wish. When a number of the Titans were once discussing who actually ran the JLA, and are suggesting a variety of names from Superman to Batman, Arsenal's four year old daughter immediately responded "Owacle." While she mostly does non-action work as befitting of her position, she has proved to be a capable fighter even in a wheelchair. She also beat the shit out of Spy Smasher when the latter threatens to take over her operation from her wheelchair. The fact that after Flashpointshe regained her ability to walk (though was still paralyzed for three years) has caused a Broken Base within the fandom.
Tony Stark. The chest injury he suffers leads to the creation of the arc reactor. Also, in the comics, Stark becomes paralyzed and has to rely on an armor suit powered by his thoughts alone.
Hawkeye of The Avengers handicapped himself by putting a sonic arrow in his mouth to counter an attack. He used hearing aids after that. Eventually another writer cured him of his deafness altogether, but it deserves the mention for the time he was deaf.
Plus, there's one or another alternate universe where Clint is blind, but hasn't lost an inch of his edge; mainly, MC2 and Old Man Logan.
There's also Rose and Thorn, whose handicap is that she has a split personality. Rose is mild-mannered and sweet. Thorn is a bit of a vamp and very much a Badass.
The Condor Knight, from The 7 Lives Of The Sparrowhawk ("Les 7 Vies de L'épervier" in French). Despite losing an arm, an eye and being like, fifty years old, he is certainly the most dangerous swordsman of the entire world. With his handicaps, he has defeated more than 125 people in single combat and be said to have wiped out entire Indian tribes and we don't even talk about before his accidents.
In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Green Arrow turns up missing an arm. He says it hurts when the weather turns cold. Later in the story he hangs upside down from a fire escape to shoot Superman with a kryptonite arrow, pulling the string with his teeth.
Every Cobra Warrior of Peng Lai in Immortal Iron Fist is handicapped in one way or another, and freaking insanely hardcore. While the only one we've ever directly seen is the gargantuanly obese and unerringly awesome Fat Cobra, we hear of such luminaries as the ancient Old Cobra, One-Armed Cobra, and Blind Cobra.
Master Wolf from Star Wars: Legacy. Wolf lost his right arm in a fight with Darth Nihil and didn't replace it with a prosthetic, instead just training his left arm to use a lightsaber.
He later accepted a prosthetic, though not because of any lack of skill or badassery - just that a one armed Zabrak stands out in the crowd, and when you're a Jedi going places where there are going to be plenty of Sith, better not to stand out.
Despite its horrific imagery, Marvel Zombies has its interpretation of Black Panther: after being held captive and drugged by Zombie Giant Man as a food source, when Zombie Wasp finds out she and her husband argue, while Black Panther, without half of his right arm and left leg, takes advantage of this and escapes. Then, while confronted by some of Magneto's comrades, he SINGLEHANDEDLY kicks their asses.FUCK YEAH.
Captain Storm in The DCU. One eye, a wooden leg and the toughest naval officer in World War II. He had 18 issues of his own title and then served as commander of The Losers.
Dagger - half the team of ''Cloak & Dagger - was rendered blind for a while; she adapted quickly, and it didn't hurt her career as a heroine much,
Batman featured — briefly — the Armless Master, a master martial artist with no arms. His seven able-bodied students were each capable of giving Batman himself a serious fight. It was later retconned that he also trained Catwoman. Tim Drake/Robin at one point trains with his counterpart, the Legless Master. He manages to give Lady Shiva, acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best martial artist in the DCU, a decent fight before she kills him.
John F. Walker aka US Agent after the villain Nuke severed his left limbs. The lack of advanced prostheses (he does not want to end up as a cyborg like Nuke) does not stop him from beating some escaped prisoners back into their cells.
In the Wolverine arc Old Man Logan, aged Avenger Hawkeye is blind. However, his archery skills aren't diminished in the least, such as when his captive daughter merely gives angles for him to hit the right target dead on.
New Warriors member Silhouette's legs are crippled, but that's never prevented her from beating ass. She even had her boyfriend Night Thrasher build a bunch of weapons into her braces.
Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead gets his dominant hand chopped off about midway through the series. The other survivors force him to admit that he's much more vulnerable with the handicap, but necessity forces him to get out of a number of scrapes using his off-hand, and his tenacity makes him pretty badass.
Zato-Ino the "blind swordspig" in Usagi Yojimbo is an obvious Shout-Out to Zatoichi, the famous blind swordsman. He uses his acute sense of smell, rather than hearing to tell his surroundings.
Josie Beller, a.k.a. Circuit-Breaker, from the Generation One The Transformers comic published by Marvel, is a partial example. Partial because after she was almost completely paralyzed by an attack by Decepticon Shockwave, she built herself a suit of Stripperiffic cybernetic armor that enabled her to move and fight against the Transformers. She was still almost completely paralyzed without the suit, however, and it seems unlikely that the suit could have restored her sense of touch. How badass was she, by the way? She fought and, for all intents and purposes, defeated Unicron. Sadly, the price of this victory was what remained of her sanity.
The Horsewoman of Demon Knights is a paraplegic woman who is a deadly horse archer.
The Finnish humor and comic magazine Pahkasika featured a one-off character Teräsinva (Supercripple) as a parody of Superman. His civilian job is a reporter for a Braille newspaper, his heroic deeds revolve around helping the handicapped and his Kryptonite Factor is polio vaccine.
The Marvel hero The Shroud lost his eyesight in a religious ritual that granted him superhuman perception. But even without the powers, he's still a formidable martial artist.
In Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Mothman is a brilliant inventor and a brave hero despite being in constant, unbearable pain from a few too many bad landings. Sadly, his worsening alcoholism and mental illness ended his career when he was still in his prime.
Hollis Mason: The common story is that Byron was the weak one. The one who cracked up. I see it differently. Byron Lewis was brave like ten men. And then he cracked up.
X-23usually wouldn't be expected to qualify, since her Healing Factor allows her to fully recover from the exact sorts of injuries that would cause permanent disability in other people. If her neck or back are broken she only needs a few minutes to heal and she's back on her feet. The exception occurs in X-Force, when she carries out a positively epicMook Horror Show on the Facility goons who recapture her with one arm after Kimura had gone to work on her with a chainsaw for "being a bad girl." Adam Harkins is practically pissing himself as Laura tears apart the base, and even Kimura (who is invulnerable to Laura's claws) has an Oh Crap moment when she realizes that the fire suppression system had been loaded with trigger scent...
Another X-Men example with Hellion, who got his hands blow'ed up by Bastion. His telekinesis powers only got stronger when he had to switch from using his hands to control it, to his mind instead. He also got a shiny pair of metal prosthetic hands to he can control with his power. He also Took a Level in Jerkass, which is really impressive considering he was a tremendous ass to begin with...
Reading all the INCREDIBLE exploits of Rukth 'Kilkar, it's almost easy to forget that he's effortlessly slaughtering hundreds of Brutes with only one eye. Later, his compatriot Zerat 'Omdolo loses his left eye as well, though as Zerat is a sniper instead of a close-combat specialist like Rukth, this is a bigger deal.
Cassandra Cain in "Settling Accounts". Despite a spinal cord injury that leaves her paralyzed from the neck down, she manages to face down her psychotic father alone and defeat him thanks to a spring-loaded, poison-tipped dagger she had someone tape to her paralyzed arm. A subversion of Disabled Means Helpless. Her injury leaves her unable to even feed herself, but she remains anything but helpless.
In The Lord of the Rings AU The Captain and the King, Boromir is blinded within the first chapter. This fic and its sequel have him riding into battle, blowing up an army of Orcs, wounding and killing his various assassins...and so on.
In Child Of The Storm, The Winter Soldier lost his left arm a long time ago. He's still quite possibly the scariest man in the universe.
Lucius Malfoy walks with a stick thanks to Nick Fury, a few bullets and a lot of napalm. He's an A-Grade Magnificent Bastard, however.
Nick Fury lost his eye to Lucius Malfoy - while giving him his own handicap. This does not stop him being incredibly badass and a competent Magnificent Bastard in his own right.
Tony Stark. His arc reactor does not slow him down. At all.
In a once-popular and now-dead Sailor Moon epic, Sailor Orion was blind in her civilian life but was still pretty awesome. In fact, "handicapped" otaku senshi were all the rage in the early OOs.
DC Nation has Oracle as a major player. But the Original Character Green Shield was terminally ill when she played Professor Guinea Pig on herself. While it arrested her illness and gave her enhanced durability, she's in constant pain as a result of the damage the disease already did. There's also Green Lantern Travis Grey, who is not only blind but has a specific kind of brain damage that short-circuited his fear response. He relies on his ring for a form of radar, and his inability to process fear normally makes him immune to some of the usual tricks used against Green Lanterns. On the down side, that inability also makes it hard to relate to his teammates.
Zuko in the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic Scarlet and Black. The idea is that he was blinded in the Agni Kai against his father, and now gets around using firebender-style Toph-O-Vision to the extent that no one on his ship besides Iroh even knows that he's blind.
Nick in Two Step was blinded in his left eye before the start of the fic, when he saved Coach from a Witch while they were fleeing across the bridge. Though this handicap is handled quite realistically, it does nothing to impair his ability to kick ass and take names.
In Winter War, Lt. Iba has a bad knee and needs to use a cane, but he's still capable in battle and manages to kill Rubadon, although he does need to use Functional Magic to make up for decreased mobility. There's also Kensei, who helps defend Karakura from Mayuri and Szayel's invasion despite having lost his leg from the knee down; Soi Fong, who lost her right arm as in canon but then spent months learning to fight with her left; and the canonical examples of Ukitake and Kuukaku.
In Transformers fanfic Are You There Primus? It's Me, Starscream, despite her blindness the OC Hotwire is still perfectly capable of inventing devastating weapons. The writer explicitly mentions wanting to steer away from the 'Daredevil' version of badass blindness, and Hotwire is not more proficient in weapons than she would have been otherwise - but she can still land a solid hit.
In Friendship Is Showtime, Nito lost his wing at some point in the past. This does not stop him from kicking flank as Kamen Rider Beast.
In Search Of F, Shou was born with weak wings and even a short flight leaves him winded, thus explaining why he primarily gets around with Machine HardBoilder instead of his wings. This does not stop him from kicking flank, both on his own or as half of Double.
Babs was removed from active duty in the Royal Guard after a permanent lung injury. She doesn't let it slow her down.
In the Harmony's Warriors series, a side story reveals that Pinkie Pie (a spy in this universe) was left permanently deaf during a mission in Istanbull. Fortunately for her, Twilight was able to create a set of advanced hearing aids to synthesize hearing for her. And she doesn't let this disability slow her down at all.
Film - Animated
Gobber from How to Train Your Dragon only has one leg and one arm. As a Viking, he is very badass. Toothless only has half a tail but is still badass and at the end, Hiccup becomes one.
Viper in the Kung Fu Panda franchise was, according to Secrets of the Furious Five, born without fangs and learned kung fu to make up for it. She also lacks limbs, but this doesn't really count as a handicap, what with her being a snake.
Finding Nemo had a few of these, including the title character with his underdeveloped fin. There's also Dory who suffers short-term memory loss and Gill, the leader of the tank gang who, like Nemo, has a permanently injured fin. If you count Marlin's crippling fear of the ocean (not undeserved), then he counts as well.
Charlie from Land of the Dead. Half his face is burned off, he has only one eye, and he essentially has the mind of a very young child (He calls fireworks 'sky flowers', for example). He also has insane Improbable Aiming Skills and scores a direct hit with every single shot he ever takes in the film... with a peep-sight rifle.
Blind Fury is an American remake of film 17 of the Zatoichi series. It stars Rutger Hauer as an American soldier who gets blinded by an explosion during The Vietnam War. With the help of some friendly locals (shown via Training Montage) he learns to kick all kinds of ass while blind, then returns to America as a traveling swordsman.
Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump remains a rough and tumble guy even after getting his legs blown off.
Men of Honor, in which the real life Carl Brashear, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., not only becomes the Navy's first Black Master Diver; he does it after he loses his leg in an accident at sea. In that climactic scene he has to walk 12 steps in Standard Diving Dress. The badassness takes on new levels when you realize that the suit weighed 200lbs on land.
Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman can drive, tango, and choke people who piss him off... blind.
Darth Vader, who manages to be an almost invincibleBig Bad despite missing both hands, one entire arm, and both legs, the entire remainder of his body covered in horrible burns, and having to wear a life support suit at all times. Episode III implies that, had he not been so injured, his Force abilities would have surpassed even the Emperor's; as it is, he's still strong enough to defeat him after getting his ass kicked by his own son.
Han Solo gets his moment at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Shooting a tentacle? Big deal. Shooting a tentacle while blind? Awesome.
The character in the Chop Socky movie who undertakes the titular Iron Fist Treatment kicks ass using Kung Fu with only one arm.
Lord Blakeney from Master and Commander. One-armed and commanding a ship during an epic sea-battle... and his voice hasn't even broken.
Chinese films seem to have a thing for martial arts masters with disabilities.
The eponymous heroes from the kung fu movies One-Armed Swordsman and One-Armed Boxer are all about this trope. In One-Armed Boxer vs. Flying Guillotine, the Master of the Flying Guillotine is a blind man who uses his exceptional hearing. He goes on a killing spree hunting down one-armed men, several of whom are martial artists.
Crippled Avengers features a blind man with super-hearing, a deaf-mute with incredible eyesight, an armless man with deadly steel prosthetic arms, a legless man with iron legs and a severely mentally handicapped fighter who is nearly invincible.
Not really a handicap, though Your Mileage May Vary: Chinese folklore and literature and film feature many eunuchs who achieve nearly-superhuman powers. Most notable is Pai Mei from Executioners from Shaolin, Clan of the White Lotus, and Kill Bill Volume 2.
In Kill Bill, Elle Driver is an excellent swordswoman despite having only one eye.
Ash from the Evil Dead movies becomes a Badass when he cut off his own demon-possessed hand with a chainsaw, then mounts the chainsaw to the stump and uses it to saw off a shotgun for his other hand.
Used in the 70's Kung Fu flick The Crippled Masters. Lee Ho has no arms, Tang has no legs, together They Fight Crime.
John Creasy, played by Denzel Washington in Man on Fire will simply not let a few bullet holes and massive internal bleeding stop him from opening a holy can of whoop-ass on a slew of corrupt Mexican officials who have killed a little girl he was guarding.
The grandfather in the Spy Kids trilogy. He was played by Ricardo Montalbán, who really was a wheelchair user in his latter years.
In Darkman, the eponymous character is also a burn victim, who's lost his sense of touch as a result of the operation that keeps him from living in agony. His nemesis, Durant, has henchman with a wooden leg that hides a machinegun.
In The Book of Eli it is revealed at the end of the movie that the title character was blind.
Snake Plissken may have but one eye, but in no way does that impair his status as a legendary Badass. Also, in both movies, he winds up limping due to an injured leg, but not even that slows him down.
It's better than that. The fighting Black cripple is Henry Smalls. He isn't crippled, he has NO legs. He is a kendo master, fourth-degree black belt, and a skilled practitioner of over 20 martial arts. I'd love to see somebody try to rob him in real life, the ass-kicking would be EPIC.
Jake Sully in Avatar still manages to be his own subtle kind of badass even though he is paraplegic and thus needs a wheelchair. Sure, he has a fully mobile Na'vi body and he changes to this body permanently at the end of the film, killing his old one, but his human body is never cured of its condition.
Bumblebee from the Transformers film series is The Speechless, due to Megatron ripping out his vocal processors prior to the film. But that doesn't stop him from protecting and coming to Sam and Mikaela's rescue on many instances, killing Ravage and Rampage in the second movie and probably having the most fighting scenes next to Optimus Prime.
Vriess in Alien: Resurrection: Strapped into his wheelchair, gets caught alone with his weapon not ready by a Xenomorph directly above him (and notices it only because it drips corrosive saliva on his leg) and STILL manages to kill it and get away with only a few minor chemical burns.
Bane has been reimagined as this for The Dark Knight Rises, wearing a mask which constantly provides him anesthetic gas to overcome the pain from a bad injury obtained during his backstory. The gas itself also qualifies as a major handicap, as it is knockout gas.
Mad Max: the title character has his leg crippled at the end of the first film, and he wears a medical brace in The Road Warrior. It doesn't stop him from being the most badass survivor of the post-apocalypse.
Murderball: most of the main characters, since it's about quadriplegic rugby players.
Blind Justice is a western where Armand Assante plays a blind gunslinger. He is a Civil War veteran, who was blinded when he was thought dead and tossed into a mass grave. Quicklime was spread over the corpses, which damaged his eyes.
In When Worlds Collide, one of the financiers who supplied the money to build the escape ship, stops an attempted mutiny by shooting the mutineer with a handgun concealed in his manual wheelchair.
Cherry from Grindhouse becomes a Badass when several zombies tear off her leg, then mounts a modified M4 Carbine with a M203 grenade launcher attachment to the stump and uses it to kill zombies.
The Tales from the Crypt movie Demon Knight has one character lose her arm early in the film. She continues on shooting demons and blowing stuff up, regardless.
Azog in The Hobbit had his arm cut off by Thorin in the Battle of Azanulbizar. He would later be seen with a metallic hook directly shoved into his stump with a spike and is utterly terrifying as he hunts down Thorin and Company. His and Thorin's rematch ended with Azog easily thrashing Thorin.
Subverted in House of Flying Daggers: Mei is extremely skilled in fighting and martial arts, but she was only pretending to be blind.
Luz from Machete. She gets one eye shot out midway through the film and spends the rest of it sporting an Eyepatch of Power. In Machete Kills, Luz gets her other eye shot out, making her completely blind.
Epic novel Aztec included an Aztec warrior who kills four other men in gladiatorial combat, despite the fact that his feet were cut off. Mixtli is also handicapped, but he always wins through cunning rather than awesomeness.
Sniper Nessa Borough of Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series is one of the best snipers in the Tanith regiment, despite being completely deaf. A couple of other characters also retain their badassery after being handicapped, such as "Shoggy" Domor, who is blinded, and Sergeant Varl, who lost an arm - through it got replaced with a bionic augmetic limb that can punch people's heads off.
Another Warhammer40k book, Redemption Corps, seems to love this trope: Major Zane Mortensen suffered burns to every part of his body crippling his nervous system so he can't feel anything who leads a squad of implied sues. Inquisitor Herrenvolk is a weak old man who has to be carried everywhere... and can impose psychic control on anyone within the star system. The Lord Commissar is so crippled that he has to live in an oxygen tent... and shouts down a captain on his own starship to hold them in a deadly, guided meteor shower. Cadet-Commissar Krieg has his most badass moments shortly after having his right arm surgically re-attached, making it useless.
Miles Vorkosigan, whose brittle bones and stunted growth enhance his badassitude.
His mother implies that if he had grown up normally and been treated like anyone else, he would have been an intelligent and valued military officer. Due to his disabilities and his society's extreme phobia of mutations, he has to work harder to overcome their expectations and ends up overshooting them by miles.
Like all Barrayaran military officers, Miles trained extensively in hand-to-hand. He notes once that three-quarters of the moves are barred to him in a real fight due to his brittle bones, but the one-quarter remaining are still more than sufficient for him to grab a large and healthy man by the throat and toss him around a bit during A Civil Campaign.
Dag from The Sharing Knife was a competent monster-hunter. Then he lost his left hand (among other things), got a prosthesis, went back to monster-hunting while not caring much if he survived, with successes leading to a close-to-legendary reputation, at least among monster-hunters. (Then he breaks his right arm, which leads to a spurt of his magic abilities that's unheard of for someone his age.)
In Doris Egan's Gate of Ivory, Eln Cormallon, who was born without sorcerous abilities in a family whose business is sorcery, then was left unable to walk as a youngster. He compensated by studying sorcery more deeply and learning more about the theory of it than any of its practitioners have done, to the point of being supremely dangerous when involved in a sorcerer's duel.
In Mary Gentle's The Golden Witchbreed, Ruric amari is a one-armed warrior in a society where warriors fight with two swords, one in either hand. She is the T'An Commander of the army of the Southland.
Roland is a lesser example, remaining a badass gunslinger after getting three fingers on his dominant hand chewed off, and later on having to deal with arthritis.
In Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series, Mildmay the Fox has near crippling self-esteem issues and one of his legs is crippled at the end of the first book, leaving him in near constant pain when he walks and unable to get around without a cane. He still manages to be the biggest Badass in the book and accomplishes a few feats that most able-bodied people would probably have died attempting.
Bobby Clark in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series of detective novels. Epitomises this trope by having no legs yet still being a veryScary Black Man when occasionally necessary.
In the final showdown of Matthew Stover's Heroes Die, Caine/Hari Michaelson suffers injuries that render him semi-crippled for the rest of his life. This only serves to increase his awesomeness in the sequels, as he now has to pull off all his impossible stunts and insane schemes without the use of his legs. And he does.
It seems that Captain/Admiral Honor Harrington only gets badder with every major injury and amputation she suffers.
In the Animorphs book "The Ultimate", Jake (The Leader, who's been toughening up the last 2-3 years to fight Yeerks) gets flipped by James (a paralyzed kid in a wheelchair). A Crowning Moment Of Awesome for a relatively minor character. Even better is the line James follows up with: "You don't want to know what Kelly (another kid in a wheelchair) can do to you if she gets mad enough."
Tobias became a nothlit red-tailed hawk and was unable to morph for a large majority of the series. This did not stop him from being a one-man Air Force and master of Recon. He was also the main one to attack Visser Three in the majority of their battles.
In The Belgariad, King Cho-Hag of Algaria can barely walk, due to a childhood illness. That doesn't stop him from being able to outride, outfight and outthink anyone or anything that threatens him or his people. As one character notes, when your society is based around horses, not being able to walk stops being such a problem.
Maedhros from The Silmarillion was a strong elf warrior who was captured by Morgoth and hung by his right hand halfway up a cliff. He was only rescued by having his right hand cut off—and when he'd recovered from his imprisonment, he went on to be a more badass warrior with his left hand than he was with his right, despite being right-handed.
Beren Erchamion's right hand was bitten off by a giant wolf...after he'd accomplished most, but not all, of the deeds for which he became famous. ("Erchamion" means "one-handed.")
The Nazgűl in The Lord of the Rings have so poor vision during daylight they are nearly blind (under the noon sun they are truly blind) and have to rely on their horses for guidance and have a magic-induced fear of naturally running water. This doesn't stop them from being the most feared warriors in Middle-Earth and having far better nightvision than mortals.
In Sword of Truth there is a blind sorceress named Adie. When twenty soldiers came to arrest her, they never had time to flinch. Somewhat subverted, though, when she runs into the Pristinely Ungifted; since she uses her magic to make up for her lack of sight, she can't even detect them unless they make some noise.
In Charles Bukowski's Ham on Rye, little Henry Chinaski meets a kid called Red, who has a prosthetic arm. When some bullies come and start hitting them, Red beats them senseless with his fake arm.
Harry Potter's Mad-Eye Moody. Over the course of his career as an Auror, he loses an eye and a leg (and a chunk of his nose) but gains a reputation as the most fearsome member of the agency. He uses a wooden leg and a magically-enhanced prosthetic eye that can see in all directions and through solid objects. You'd think that magical technology capable of coming out with something like that eye could do better than a peg leg.
BIONICLE's Vezon, although never actually fighting, manages to remain a main character, not dead, unbelievably unscathed after being captured by the worst torture master in the MU (with the building collapsing), and unmutated by Pit Mutagen. So what makes him better than Badass Normal? He doesn't have powers, and considering how almost every breathing thing in the MU has some power or other, that's pretty crippling. He also doesn't have much of a mind, so the mental handicap comes into play. This powerless nature doesn't apply to him anymore, since ever since he got fused to the Mask of Dimensional Gates, he became a living portal into other worlds, and was reduced to a mere, yet very powerful and handy plot device.
Sir Apropos of Nothing has been lame of leg since he was born and requires a staff to hobble about. And this has not at all stopped him from kicking a great deal of ass. Especially impressive considering that he doesn't want to kick ass.
The First Law: Captain Sand dan Glokta was badass once. He was a handsome, dashing war hero, a decorated warrior who distinguished himself in battle...And was captured by the Gurkish, and spent the next two years somewhat less pleasantly than he was accustomed to. This left him crippled, disfigured, incontinent, and in constant pain. At this point, most people would have been happy to live out their days in comfort, resting and being brought meals in bed. Glokta decided to screw that, promptly became an Inquisitor, and spends the series making readers cheer as he unwinds conspiracies, conquers stairs, and reveals that he hasn't entirely lost the ability to fence.
Qhorin Half-Hand, a ranger of the Night's Watch, lost a large chunk of his right hand fighting wildlings and is still one of the best fighters in the Night's Watch, said to be even better fighting left-handed than he was before.
Bran Stark gets pushed out of a tower window, shattering his legs and spine; while he will never walk again, his long convalescence gave him a lot of time to hone his ability to mind jack animals while dreaming.
Averted painfully with Jaime Lannister: he loses his sword hand, which more or less breaks him. He's suicidal for some time afterward, though he does pick up a bundle of Guile Hero tendencies later on. He becomes obsessed with recovering his skill - apparently not realising that fighting left-handed is a new skill he needs to learn from scratch - and terrified of someone finding out that he can't fight any more.
Tyrion Lannister, who doesn't let being born a dwarf stop him from personally leading charges in ill fitting armor and chopping down men twice his size. In one case he forces his reluctant men to attack because they would look like total wimps if they were out manned by someone they usually mock.
Also from the Night's Watch is the blacksmith, Donal Noye, who only has one arm. This doesn't stop him from putting up a Last Stand against the king of the giants, and takes the giant with him.
Gateman from Andrew Vachss's Burke books uses a wheelchair, but enough of a crack shot that other cons respect him.
Genfrom Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief fits this after he loses his right hand. Even with that severe handicap, he's still more than a match for the Attolian Guard in one-on-one sparring matchesHe complains about it all the time, but given this is Gen we're talking about, it's anyone's guess how much is genuine Wangst.
Lord Vetinari suffered a crippling injury in Men at Arms. A gun was invented, and the person who stole it shot Vetinari. They were aiming for his chest, but he stood up just in time that his thigh was hit instead. His reaction was to let Vimes carry him, not back to the palace but to Vimes's wedding, say things like "It's Only a Flesh Wound" and "I seem to be losing a lot of blood" while wizards look at him, and make sure everyone in Ankh-Morpork knows damn well he's still alive. He now walks with a cane and is well known for being easily winded and lacking physical strength. You still wouldn't want to try anything on him because he isn't just absolute ruler of Ankh-Morpork. He's also a master assassin who killed own predecessor as Patrician by walking up to him and talking to him. (On the other hand, in Jingo he's described as "skipping" when in disguise and the cane is not mentioned, leading to speculation among readers that he isn't as frail as he appears.)
James Patterson's Maximum Ride has Iggy, a guy who's completely lost his sight. Does he let it slow him down? Nope! In fact, despite not being able to see, his hobby is building bombs. Which he then hides on his person and throws at people he doesn't like. That's what he does for fun. The flock is constantly being attacked by various robots and mutants designed to kill them. Iggy has no trouble holding his own in the many battles and does just as well as the rest of the flock. He is not amused when Max won't let him go on a mission because he's blind. He proceeds to build an intricate system of traps and bombs to defend the house and blows the entire area up when it's attacked. Then goes and joins the mission. Handicapped Badass indeed.
Two examples in The Heritage of Shannara. Wren's Mentor is a Rover named Garth. He's a BadassMighty Glacier who taught Wren everything she needs to know about how to survive in an incredibly hostile world. He's one of the few humans in series capable of fighting The Shadowen without the use of magic. He's also deaf. Then there's Walker Boh, who's probably the poster boy for this trope: a Determinator of a Druid who overpowers Shadowen and monsters alike, takes on the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and finally kills the series' Big Bad, all while having only one arm.
The main character Tavi of Codex Alera straddles this trope and Badass Normal ( for the first few books). He is Badass Normal in terms of what he can do, but because he is an Un-Sorcerer (the only Aleran not to have any furycrafting), his interactions with his world is that of a Handicapped Badass.
In Spellbent, Jessie Shimmer loses an arm and an eye in the first chapters. She kicks a great deal of ass over the rest of the novel.
The Protagonist of The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is Robin, the son of a knight who longs to become a great warrior like his father. The story taking place in the Middle Ages, the black plague is running rampant. Robin survives his bout with it, thanks to the care of a monk, but is left a lifelong cripple with misshapen legs. This does not in the least stop him from helping to save his people from invaders; in fact, it aids him, because he's able to slip past enemy lines without arousing suspicion thanks to his crutches, and then he's able to get reinforcements and defeat the invasion, being knighted for his noble spirit.
Colonel Lomax in the Matthew Hawkwood novels. Pinned under a dead horse and caught in a grass fire, the left side of Lomax's was badly burned; crippling his left arm and destroying his left eye. Still badass enough that he is the first person Hawkwood approaches when he needs allies to storm a Bad-Guy Bar.
Long John Silver from Treasure Island may have lost one of his legs, but that does not stop him from being leader of the pirates and killing people standing in his way.
It seems likely Mat Cauthon from The Wheel of Time books will become this now he's lost an eye.
And before him, Rand al'Thor lost a hand.
Cap'n Bill, best known from the Oz books is an old sailor who had to retire from the sea after he lost his leg. Neither his advanced age nor his wooden leg stops him from going along on all sorts of magical adventures — even though the books, particularly the non-Oz book Sky Island, do show that the wooden leg gives him trouble from time to time (he can't run very fast and is liable to lose his balance if he tries), they also show that he's still got it when it counts and is someone you're glad to have on your side in a crisis.
Also, Michael after a confrontation with Nicodemus goes south. He ends up having to give up his post as a Knight of the Cross because of it. Even after this, when he can barely walk unaided and it causes him great pain to try, he beats up a physically fit man ten or fifteen years his junior for hurting his daughter.
Jayfeather from Warrior Cats, despite being completely blind, has his ass-kicking moments, despite being a medicine cat (Eclipse, anyone?).
Benedict from The Chronicles of Amber. He lacks one arm, and he is still the strongest and most feared of all the Amberites. Corwin, a badass in his own right, says that he fears him, and would not even dare try to confront him.
Darling from Black Company is deaf and mute, and for this reason nobody believes she could be The Chosen One. They are hideously wrong, since she grows up to be a natural leader and military genius, even without her Anti-Magic powers.
From the same series, The Limper takes this trope Up to Eleven. While initially handicapped as his name suggests, he just gets more and more damaged as the series continues, without ever really slowing down. At his first appearance, he walks with a pronounced limp and his face is described as "ruined." In the second book, Croaker injures him to the point that would have killed a normal man, including severing his right arm and planting a seed of evil on his body. The third book reveals that the Lady had to hurt him even more to pry said seed out of him; his injuries aren't detailed, but he is described as a "wreck of humanity" and is bolted to a magical construct that allows him to float a few feet off the ground as he would otherwise be immobile. At the end of this book, he is beheaded and his remaining body parts burned—only for his severed head to return in The Silver Spike and go on a campaign of terror the likes of which haven't before been seen in the series. At the climax of The Silver Spike, he is referred to as the most powerful single being still in the North and regarded as a threat to the entire city of Orr—despite having lost his army and approaching the city with nothing but his prosthetic body. Even so, he is a match for the no less than five other wizards and is only narrowly defeated.
From Snow Crash, Ng, a quadruple amputee who, instead of settling for a wheelchair, builds a gigantic van that can shoot missiles and deploy robots that can break the speed of sound. He also builds a BFG.
Waxahachie Smith, hero of a series of novels from J.T. Edson, is a gunslinger who had his trigger fingers amputated by vengeful foes. He had to work out to wield guns without being able to physically pull a trigger.
In Redwall, one of the longest lasting characters was Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. She was a Badger Lord who became blind during a battle and was sidelined to being the babysitter of the Dibbuns. However, threaten the Dibbuns or her Abbey, and she'll still beat some ass. With the help of a young otter, she even fired a longbow from one of the top levels of the abbey and nailed a vermin who was dressed in the leader's armor who was extremely far away.
Viking warlord Ivar the Boneless of Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons has no bones in his legs and is thus unable to walk, but nevertheless is carried onto the battlefield on a shield, commands the army and fights with bow and arrow.
Inspired by the real Ivar the Boneless, though there is debate about what his nickname meant.
The eponymous character of Edgar Allan Poe's "Hop-Frog", as well as his female ally Trippetta. Both are dwarfs, and Hop-Frog's legs are deformed so he can't walk normally (which led to his nickname). They were taken from their homelands and are forced to "serve" (read: be constantly mocked and humiliated) in a royal court. Eventually, Hop-Frog and Trippetta decide they've had enough.
They organize a royal masquerade in which the king and his ministers frighten the guests while disguised as chained orangutans, wearing costumes made of tar and flax. Hop-Frog catches the "orangutans" by hooking their chains to another chain dangling from the ceiling. Then he holds a torch to their face to "examine" them and sets their costumes on fire, burning them to death in front of the guests. After killing the king, Hop-Frog and Trippetta disappear and presumably escape to their homelands.
And again in Poe's "The Man Who Was Used Up", a lighter story than most of his about Captain A. B. C. Smith. The narrator knows Smith was wounded in several different battles, but he's not sure how; at the end he discovers that all that's left of the Captain is parts of his head, and the rest is prosthesis. Some consider this story the first depiction of a cyborg.
Burrich in the Tawny Man Trilogy and the Farseer Trilogy before that was always a badass. He just happens to be losing his sight and by his Crowning Moment Of Awesome he is almost completely blind. And that's on top of the time he got tusked in the knee by a boar (before killing it) before the first book, then taking an arrow wound on top of the scar later.
Then there's Kinnit, a blood-thirsty pirate who took down half a dozen assassin's by himself. He later lost a leg and stopped carrying a sword, but still managed to make a leap on one leg that many men couldn't make with two. Oh, and he became king.
The Saga of Grettir the Strong has Grettir's great-grandfather Onund Treefoot, a Norwegian viking who lost one of his leg in a battle with King Harald Finehair. He replaced it with a peg leg and continued a successful career as a warrior and seafarer.
The Hunger Games has Peeta Mellark who spends two thirds of the trilogy with a prosthetic left leg. He's notably less badass in the second book but still he manages to fight pretty good in the arena and kills Brutus in an Off Screen Moment Of Awesome. In the third book he's somewhere in-between his badass levels of the first and second book.
Pedro Tercero Garcia from Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, who loses three of his fingers to an IRATE Esteban Trueba who has just found out that he impregnated his daughter Blanca, but after a very understandable Heroic BSOD manages to re-learn how to play the guitar. He's so successful that he becomes a famous guitar player and composer... after the loss of his fingers!
Mary in Take a Good Look by Jacqueline Wilson, a partially sighted child who ends up outwitting armed robbers when she is caught in a hold-up while out shopping.
The Inheritance Cycle has Glaedr the dragon, who keeps on kicking ass after losing a leg. There's also the High Priest(ess?) of Helgrind, though he or she isn't so much badass as creepy and powerful.
Deconstructed in Legacy of the Dragokin. Rufus is a big, strong and brave man but with a bum leg there's little he can do to stop Mordak and Zarracka from destroying Final Shield. Then again, the legs of his Mini-Mecha work fine and he later joins the climatic fight.
Suspicion by Friedrich Dürrenmatt: The Dwarf is not quite 80 centimeter (31.496 inches) tall and seems to suffer from some sort of mental retardation. He is also a strong and deadly assassin. Inspector Bärlach who is dying from terminal cancer also has traces of it.
Alex Treyton of The Treyton Injections is paralyzed from the waist down. He still manages to punch his much larger, much stronger captor in the chest, hard. Several times.
Captain Picard. It is revealed in "Tapestry" that a hot-headed Picard got into a bar fight and got stabbed in the chest, requiring an artificial heart to be put in. It worked reasonably well until he was shot during a riot. It takes on greater significance because the audience learns the fight, as well as Picard losing his original heart, is what ultimately led to him becoming a galaxy-class Badass.
Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge, "a man with unique vision".
General Martok is the classic example of a Handicapped Badass. He loses an eye from several successive no-holds-barred fights with Jem'Haddar, then carries on the war and eventually heads the Klingon Empire with only ONE EYE because "I DO NOT WANT AN OCULAR IMPLANT!"
Melora Pazlar is a Starfleet officer who, although not disabled as such, was from a low-gravity world and used a wheelchair and braces because the gravity on the station was too high for her. The treatment that Dr. Bashir developed for her didn't solve the problem, but they did make her partially phaser-proof, and she went on to turn down the gravity at a crucial moment and whip the bad guy's ass.
Dr. Gregory House has 1.5 legs because he lost the muscle from one due to sickness. It didn't dilute his MO of 'break into patient's houses' at all.
Wesley Windham-Price in Angel used a wheelchair temporarily at one point. It's a good thing he was handy with a shotgun. In a vision of an alternate reality, Wesley was badass despite the loss of an arm.
Inverted and played with on LOST. The Bald of Awesome is revealed to have been paralyzed in the past, then revealed that his paralyzed self was weak and sad, then revealed that he was a sad little creature even before he was paralyzed. Then reveled that he was using the Idiot Ball all through the seasons even after he was healed.
In Breaking Bad, the protagonist's Reign of Badass began with his diagnosis of terminal cancer.
In the Stargate SG-1 movie Continuum Daniel Jackson loses his leg. Still doesn't stop him from busting caps in the Go'auld.
Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell shattered his leg in the battle against Anubis. He still has pins holding his leg together. He is also a Colonel Badass.
Little known fact about Michael Knight. In the pilot, Detective Michael Long is shot in the face by a traitorous bitch. The only thing that saves him is a metal plate in his cranium from a war injury suffered ostensibly in Vietnam. The reconstructive surgery results in him becoming the Knight Rider.
During the intro to the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron suffers damage to her leg that limits her to a slow, unsteady limp. Naturally, while she is limping, Cameron becomes an order of magnitude more terrifying as she hunts the Connors.
Col. Tigh in the 2000s Battlestar Galactica has his eye plucked out between the second and third seasons, and if anything becomes more badass as a result.
There's also Samuel Anders, who takes a bullet to the brain and survives and is then hooked up directly to the Galactica's central computer, essentially becoming Galactica itself for the final few episodes of the show.
Lt. Felix Gaeta, who loses a leg and shortly thereafter starts a full-scale, devastating mutiny against his CO.
Doctor Who has Davros, an Omnicidal Maniac who only has one eye and the use of one hand. Despite this, he and his Daleks are two of the most feared monsters in the show. Think Stephen Hawking aged several hundred years.
Davros only has a working eye because it's prosthetic. Later on, he gets the one working hand shot off...and replaces it with a prosthetic that SHOOTS FRICKIN' LIGHTNING BOLTS.
The First Doctor had to walk with a cane, and was just as badass as any of his future regenerations.
In Firefly, the Alliance's brutal and unethical mental enhancement and training exercises leave River Tam with a case of borderline psychosis. It's unclear if she's a stone cold badass because of this or in spite of it.
Jack Bauer has chronic (often torture-induced) heart problems throughout 24, and continues to kick ass in spite of having been clinically dead twice as a result.
After Omar breaks his leg jumping from a window in The Wire, he proceeds to kick five kinds of ass all over Baltimore. On one leg.
In a Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle becomes a true avatar of this trope in the episode wherein Reese deliberately picks a fight with him as an easy opponent, only for Stevie to show up for the brawl in a FREAKIN' HOMEMADE EXOSKELETON and pound the tar out of him...
An episode of Hawaii Five-O called "Hookman" featured a deadly sniper with hooks for hands. The guy who played the sniper is a Real Life Handicapped Badass, private investigator J.J. Armes.
Highlander's Joe Dawson has no legs and can kick your ass all day long. His cane is made to stand up to swordstrokes.
Llud the Silver-Handed from Arthur of the Britons. A one-handed warlord and Arthur's adoptive father, the 'Silver-Handed' epithet comes from his (non-functional) silver prosthesis.
Richard Harrow from Boardwalk Empire, who suffered a horrific facial injury in World War I that cost him an eye and damaged his nerves so that eating and drinking is very difficult. But he's still a very skilled sniper.
Lex Luthor in Season 8 of Smallville. Left crippled after the previous season's finale, he is quadriplegic, and forced to breathe via a respirator. He still has Clark, Oliver, and all their friends quaking in their boots at the mention of his name, even though he's the one on life support. Appearing for only one episode, he uses his Chessmaster abilities to do more damage in that one than most villains do in a season. In addition to that one episode, Lex spent most of the season as The Man Behind the Man to Tess, further reinforcing his Chessmaster status.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has Doc Robbins. He has two prosthetic legs and walks with the aid of a crutch, but if he catches you in his morgue and you don't have a right to be there, he will attack you, usually with his crutch and anything else that comes to hand. And if the odds are fair, he'll probably win.
In an episode of Dark Angel, Logan struggles with an assailant and hauls them both to the ground. Logan then declares, "The thing about wheelchairs: they build upper-body strength" before beating the guy.
Alex Krycek from The X-Files. Gets his arm sawed off after escaping a Russian gulag, but it doesn't slow him down much. It does eventually get him killed, though, as he can't hold a gun with his prosthesis.
Norton Drake is in a wheelchair, and can STILL beat your ass down with a big stick. And he'll cheat to make sure of it.
The mercenary Ham Tyler (played by Michael Ironside) in V: The Final Battle was originally written as wheelchair-bound. In his introduction scene, he was to knock Mike Donovan flat on his back.
Person of Interest: Reese uses a wheelchair or crutches for one episode after being shot by the CIA. It doesn't stop him from taking down the villain-of-the-week.
Game of Thrones: Tyrion's stature certainly counts as a handicap in a world were it's mandatory for men to be big, strong and dangerous fighters. If his ability to talk, bargain or weasel himself out of dangerous situations doesn't make him badass enough, his final discovery of a useful fighting style for anyone under five feet certainly makes him so. That and talking a bunch of disheartened city guards into making a foray out of a city under siege.
Anthony Ryan Auld from Project Runway's 9th season qualifies in that despite being color blind he managed to become a fan favorite for his season and eventually win the second All Stars season. Especially since he's a fashion designer and color blindness would usually be thought of as a huge disadvantage.
In his second appearance in Jonathan Creek, Gideon Pryke is in a wheelchair and can only move one finger, due to being hit by a sniper. With a voice-activated computer and a few other tricks built into the chair, he continues to be a brilliant and badass no-nonsense detective.
Dr. Kerry Weaver in E.R. She walks with the aid of a crutch for the majority of the series, but is in no way impeded in helping her fellow Doctors in emergency situations. In one episode, she assists in the arrest of a schizophrenic patient who had killed Med student Lucy Knight and seriously injured Dr. John Carter, by tripping him with her crutch. A few episodes after this, she uses the crutch to beat her way through a crowd of brawling High School footballers to help Malucci, who had been knocked unconscious in the chaos. Later, in season 8, she leaps into a crashed ambulance, surrounded by fallen by powerlines, in a storm, to deliver an injured pregnant woman's baby.
Also, she's every body's boss for a significant chunk of the series.
Robert Morehouse of Copper lost his leg after a battle in the Civil War. Aside from being a Guile Hero who can play Tammany Hall like a fiddle, at the end of the series he leads a manhunt to find John Wilkes Booth, and despite his missing leg and 1860's prosthetic he manages to be quite good at it. However, it takes its toll on him, and the chafing from the prosthetic causes him immense and crippling pain.
Odin has one eye — and sees everything. He traded away the other one, and the recipient can now see everything too.
Tyr sacrificed his dominant right hand and remained the deadliest swordsman in Norse mythology.
In some versions Heimdall is this as well. He made the same trade as Odin, except he gave up an ear. He's the sole watchman of Asgard, with sight second only to Odin, and unmatched hearing in his remaining ear. And at Ragnarok he fights Loki to the death.
Osiris from Egyptian Mythology is dead and his penis has been eaten by a crocodile. This doesn't stop him from being one of the strongest gods, or from siring a son.
Samson, blinded and shaven of his magic hair, brings down a temple on the heads of his enemies.
In Welsh legends about King Arthur (possibly the oldest stratum of the Arthurian legend) Bedwyr, better known as Sir Bedivere, is one-handed, but wields a spear to great effect.
Nuada, king of the tuatha de daanan in Celtic Mythology was a major badass before and after losing his arm (which also meant losing his right as king, since no handicapped man may rule the tuatha). He later got it replaced by an arm of lifelike silver by Dian Cecht.
The Fomorians, some of which only had one arm, one leg, and one eye.
The Aztec deity Tezcatlipoca got his left foot bitten off by an Eldritch Abomination of a crocodile while he and Quetzalcoatl were creating the world. It didn't slow him down in the slightest.
Dr. Plain from Dick Tracy was one of the most ruthless (and frighteningly sane) murderers Tracy ever fought, despite missing an arm.
Parodied in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Scientists have discovered cures for everything and doctors are out of a job - but everyone finds this universal perfect health rather boring. Then they realise that "nothing turned, say, a slightly talented composer into a towering genius faster than the problem of approaching deafness". So the medical profession is resurrected to provide artificial injuries, diseases and disabilities to boost people's performance - "you always overcompensate for your disabilities."
From Dino Attack RPG, a number of characters continue to fight on the front lines despite their handicaps.
Greybeard has a Hook Hand in place of his left hand, and became half-blind after his right eye was horribly scarred. Taken a step further in the alternate endingDecember 21, 2010, in which he was also missing his right leg.
After becoming paralyzed from the waist down, Rex was forced to remain in a wheelchair for the remainder of the war.
While Shannon Grimton might not be on the battlefield like Rex or Hotwire, her Super Wheelchair comes with lasers, rocket launchers, and More Dakka so she could easily defend herself against Mutant Dinos.
The Werewolf: The Forsaken splatbook "Tribes of the Moon" talks about the legend of a Blood Talon called Boneless Harald, who was born with deformed legs. After his first change, he bulked up his arms, got a huge sword, and rode into battle on a litter. Whenever the guys carrying it got killed, he wolfed out and dragged himself around by his arms, ripping chunks out with his teeth.
Richard (the one who would become Richard III), in Henry VI part 3. He's got a humpback, a weak arm, and one leg's shorter than the other, but he is frankly amazing in battle, and he matches Young Clifford blow for blow when they duel.
The eponymous hero from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen was a German knight who had lost his right hand, and had it replaced by an iron prosthetic which allowed him to fight with a sword. The play also features Franz von Sickingen, another knight and an ally of Götz (in the play, his brother-in-law) who had only one leg.
Baiken from Guilty Gear is a Badass one-armed, one-eyed swordswoman. Zato-1 is an obvious reference to Zatoichi. "One" in Japanese is "ichi."
Kat in Halo: Reach has lost her left arm, but her robotic replacement arm works so well that she's still in active service in an elite unit and the teams expert on fixing broken electronic equipment, even though she's right handed. It does look pretty ghastly though, but nobody ever comments on it. Maybe they are too scared to risk it.
Big Boss lost an eye, but never lost a trace of his badassness. He becomes even cooler as an old man.
Old Snake. The power suit doesn't really make him super human, so much as gives him just enough of a muscle assist to stay in the game. Physically Snake's in his 70's despite being 42, and after the first act he starts having seizures due to his older generation nano machines. And in the third act, half his face is burnt off. And he still keeps fighting, no matter how many obstacles he must face, or how many friends try to talk him out of it.
Wheelchair-bound Acro. Badass enough to nearly get away with murder.
Godot, who, despite having to spend, it seems, half his life getting medical checks and being blind without his visor (even with it, he can't see the color red on a white background) still manages to retrain as a prosecutor mere weeks after getting out of a nearly-lethal coma, then form an elaborate plan to defeat a murder attempt partially carried out by the dead. Then, despite the fact that he should be too much of an emotional wreck to do so after taking a sword-slash to the face before killing his dead lover's mother and spending a night on a snowy mountain top, manages to comfort his victim's terrified young niece, then prosecute the subsequent murder case and, well... generally be Godot.
One case has Phoenix serve as defendant on a trial while suffering from amnesia from a blow to the head and having no idea what's even going on.
Xiahou Dun from Dynasty Warriors would also count: after being shot in the eye with an arrow, he plucked it out (arrow and eye) and proceeded to eat his own eyeball in plain view of enemy soldiers.Badass. Dun, minus one eye, tracked down the poor sod who had fired the arrow and killed him.
Kenshi from Mortal Kombat is a swordsman who was blinded, thanks to an evil trick by the sorcerer Shang Tsung. However, this hasn't stopped him unleashing many fatalities on his opponents.
Oro, the one-armed Badass Grandpa from Street Fighter III. The one-armed thing is deliberate - his other arm is hidden behind the knot in his shirt. He's never met anyone who deserves both arms. Equally, Cody fights handcuffed and therefore with a handicap. But that doesn't mean he can't take them off if he wanted to.
Alexander Cayne in Hitman Blood Money. Despite needing a wheelchair, having severe burns in his face and possibly being partially paralyzed, he is tough, heads an assassin agency and is surprisingly hard to fight and kill in the final mission.
Bentley in the Sly Cooper series mixes this with Genius Cripple, becoming a better fighter than before after he became wheelchair-bound by building a bunch of stuff onto his wheelchair.
Duster of Mother 3, who combines this with Badass Normal. He has a leg injury that gives him a serious limp, but not only can he keep up with the others, he's actually the fastest character in the game who can counter enemy ambushes and attacks by kicking.
Kenny Kawaguchi can, in a wheelchair, kick a football farther than most NFL players.
Both Date Masamune and Chosokabe Motochika from Sengoku Basara are missing an eye, but it doesn't stop them kicking copious amounts of ass, and while Masamune is acknowledged as having a blind spot, Motochika doesn't seem to care.
The Demoman from Team Fortress 2. He's a one-eyed black Scotsman and despite his lack of a functioning liver and depth perception, he still rocks.
The Demoman comes from a Badass Family of mercenary explosives experts. All of his ancestors with his job, according to his mother, have been entirely blind by age 30. His missing eye is Fridge Brilliance as well, since one of the Demoman's assets is his ability to attack outside his field of vision.
Birdie, the leader of the Turnbull AC's skinhead gang in the video-game adaptation of The Warriors. He uses a wheelchair and can only defend himself by using a gun - and his followers are STILL intimidated by him. ("Why don't you use your goddamn good legs of yours and FETCH ME A FUCKING SIX-PACK!")
Malik from Assassin's Creed I. He loses an arm early on and yet later leads only four fellow assassins against a small army. Successfully. With him fighting in the front.
The small army was composed of fellow assassins who were Brainwashed and Crazy at the time. So, Malik takes on a small army of men who have received the exact same training that he has, and he still kicks their asses. And considering that he preceded the asskicking of said army with a Big Damn Heroes moment by saving Altaďr, that entire part of the game serves as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Malik.
Jeff "Joker" Moreau, the pilot of Mass Effect's Cool StarshipNormandy, makes a point of how all his flight awards and commendations were not charity for his suffering from Vrolik's Syndrome, which makes his bones so brittle that he cannot walk without assistance. Good thing he doesn't need to walk for his job, then, and he lives up to his boast that he is "the best damn helmsman in the Alliance fleet", piloting the Normandy as swiftly and easily as if she were an X-Wing fighter. He ends up firing the shot that takes out Eldritch Abomination Sovereign in the first game's finale.
As if his badass-ness wasn't already established in the first game despite his brittle bones: When Shepard and the Squad are evacuating from the final mission back to the Normandy, who should we see at the ship's door unloading a machine gun on the enemies following them?
Louis in The Passing for Left 4 Dead 2. His legs are injured, so he can't run and gun to give cover like Zoey and Francis can. So what does he do? He mans the Heavy Machine Gun.
Star Ocean: Crutch character he may be; Ashley is 50-60 years old and has only one good arm (crippled in the original, but in the remake it was outright "forcibly amputated") yet he can still keep up with the rest of the party and go head to head with some of the nastiest monsters Planet Roak has to offer.
After accidentally killing his wife in a magically induced rage, Greil of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance cut the tendons in his dominant hand to ensure he'd never wield a sword again. Well even with his skills hampered, he's still a total badass with his humongous axe, with one villain even stating that "he fights like a demon!"
Like Greil, Regal Bryant of Tales of Symphonia, formerly a martial artist of tremendous strength and skill, was forced to kill his girlfriend and swore he would never take another life with his own hands. Later, someone else convinced him to treat the oath more literally and fight with his feet instead. Naturally, he's still one of the most powerful combatants in the game, and on top of that he happens to be a culinary genius, a philanthropist, and the President of one of the most powerful corporations in the world.
In Dwarf Fortress, thanks to the combat system, anyone can become this including yourself in Adventure Mode and your dwarves in Fortress Mode. All you need is a crutch and enough time to grind crutch walking and you are back up fighting against the best of them, or you can just crawl around and slay megabeasts, although it will be difficult because of your reduced speed.
Harman Smith of Killer7. A wheelchair bound old man who can still hold his own in a fight with a huge sniper rifle. Con Smith as well, he's a skilled gunfighter despite being completely blind.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has Snake. Although blind, his other senses are so good that you wouldn't even notice this unless he told you. He even mentions that if you tried to attack him, it would be unlikely that you would win. He manages to hold back Ace after being shot 6 times in the "Safe" ending.
Wu Zi Mu (aka "Woozie") from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a Triad boss who doesn't hesitate to go in guns blazing against gangs that try to muscle in on his turf and also loves to race cars. He's also blind.
Revealed to be a subversion: his Triad subordinates like to rig the casino games he plays with them, and he thinks CJ must be very lucky to be able to beat him at things like blackjack. But he does have instances where his "incredible luck", as the Triads call it, allows him to beat CJ at video games and drive a sports car in an illegal rural-road street race without wrecking. He's also the best shot in the game, next to CJ himself.
Grand Theft Auto V has Lester Crest, who suffers from an unidentified wasting disease that makes it painful for him to walk, and he uses a cane (or when at home, a wheelchair) to get around. He's also a criminal mastermind whose bad side is a dangerous place to be, as LifeInvader CEO Jay Norris found out when Lester blew his head to bits on live TV via a rigged prototype smartphone. And during the "Obvious" version of the final heist, he even leans out of a helicopter with a rocket launcher and blows up other attacking helis.
Voldo from the Soul Series. After spending years taking care of his dead master Vercci's treasures in a cave, his eyesight is irreparably damaged, but he's still one of the most infamous characters in the game.
Zaird from Gungnir is paraplegic. He is also the final boss, and deserves the status.
GSD from Dungeon Fighter Online is a blind, retired swordsman, but an insanely capable one. You get one Escort Mission with him, but his level is so far above all of the enemies in the tower you have to travel through that you'll feel like the one who's being escorted.
Shinobu in the No More Heroes series, after losing her hand to Travis post-ranking fight.
Morrighan in the MMORPG Mabinogi is in fact, blind... This does not stop her from fulfilling her job as the Goddess of War and Vengeance at all.
T.K. in Borderlands. He's blind and missing a leg, yet he's able to sit around outside his house and enjoy the fresh air despite the Skags, Raks and Bandits around him. Unfortunately, he's not very good against Psychos, which is where the poor bastard meets his end.
Dunban in Xenoblade Chronicles injured his right arm in a battle that took place a year before the game's story began. Regardless, he springs right back into action for the purpose of protecting his hometown and friends when the need arises, and does a really good job at it. He manages to completely cripple that arm in doing so, but he just comes right back using his left arm for sword-work. He also doesn't have any issues climbing up cliffs with only his left arm.
The Blind Ones race in Turok 2 includes deadly-accurate crossbow snipers.
Swain's backstory in League of Legends had him hobble into a clinic with his leg broken to the point of exposed bone. He didn't flinch or even wince as the bone was pulled back into place, he refused magical treatment for it when there was nothing they could do otherwise, and requested a spare crutch before hobbling out of the clinic. He joined the military despite a limp that requires him to use a cane to this day, rose through the ranks, and is presently High General which ultimately makes him the leader of Noxus. And if that wasn't enough the man transforms into a giant raven monster in combat.
Lee Sin burned himself in an act of protest against occupation of his homeland, Ionia. Afterwards, he was left blind. So, he re-trained himself as a martial artist. He aims his jumping kicks by the reverberations of the sonic booms he produces when he punches.
Ragna from BlazBlue is a handicapped badass whose arm is an Eldritch Abomination because he lost his real one when Terumi, while possessing his brother Jin, cut it off. In Continuum Shifthe loses his other arm while freeing Noel from mind control and gets it replaced with an arm made of Lambda-11's components.
The same thing can be said for Zorne Sepperin of RosenkreuzStilette. A major difference is that what happened that caused her to gain her metal gauntlet in place of her arm seems to be a mystery (though Fanon suggests that she lost it in an accident, and one source even states that her arm got caught in a belt). While it was somewhat subverted in the first game due to her being a Butt Monkey there, she got her own badass part when she took her own level in badass in Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel.
Asura from Asura's Wrath occasionally loses his arms after getting beat down enough or fights with such anger his arms will physically break off. Despite weakening greatly as far as offensive power is concerned, he doesn't slow down at all.
The final boss in Final Fight is an old man... who races around in a wheelchair shooting the twin rocket launchers he strapped to it!
Lucky from Whacked! is a rabbit that has no feet, but he is a very intimidating character in the game. This includes Van Tastic, who is actually the devil.
Calvina Coulange from Super Robot Wars Judgment suffered severe nerve damage to her arms when the Abusive Precursors known as the Furies attacked the Moon base she was stationed at, but she's just as capable a pilot as she ever was once she gets her hands on an alien mech with a brainwave interface. Uh, figuratively speaking.
In the manga G by Ryo Takamisaki, Kyo Kusanagi almost has his eyes ripped out by Benimaru, who was under More Than Mind Control by Goenitz and after that incident, Kyo has to keep his eyes shut at all times, but it doesn't diminish his badassness at all.
Knight Artorias of Dark Souls severely broke his arm before the events that lead to your meeting. This simply means that he could not use his great shield and has to wield his greatsword one-handed. Does this stop him from somersaulting halfway across the arena to slam that sword into your head over and over again? Nope.
The Abramovici Twins from Batman: Arkham City. Despite both of them lacking an arm, they are the toughest enemies in the game, except for TITAN Henchmen (Titan is a special drug that turns the user into a massive, hulking beast) and bosses.
Kingdom of Loathing's Armory and Leggery is run by a man with no arms or legs, but during Zombie Slayer runs, he manages to impregnably fortify his shop against the Zombie Apocalypse.
A similar example to Ed is Mosa Zuberi from 2Masters. Mosa is missing both arms, and almost lost his two legs. He can also take it off at will.
Victor Vasko in Lackadaisy lost an eye in a labor dispute and was kneecapped by his ex-partner, leaving him with one knee that bends a little bit. Victor is still about 250 pounds of Slavic badass, and took out a squad of well-armed gunmen before taking a load of Double-Ought buckshot in the side. He survived.
Last Res0rt has Daisy Archanis with a robotic leg. There's plenty of nifty stuff to do with it... assuming she can keep her balance.
As in the original mythology, mentioned above, the Arthur, King of Time and Space incarnation(s) of Sir Bedevere lost a hand during the Roman War. In the Space Arc his prosthetic enables him to jack directly into the Excalibur communications console. Largely for the sake of a pun about hand signals.
Vriska Serket is half blind and has a robotic replacement arm for a good part of the story. She was the one responsible for blinding the aforementioned Terezi, and she did so with her psychic powers in the immediate aftermath of the explosion that handicapped her, while she was still bleeding from her eye and stump.
Similarly, Vriska's ancestor lost an eye and an arm when she was captured by Terezi's ancestor, but she still escaped from her trial and killed the monstrous judge, even snarking that it was good that Redglare took her arm because it prevented her fight with the judge from being a boring curb-stomp.
Tavros, who is wheelchair-ridden, not only gets a rocket chair but can also commune with animals and underlings.
Lord English has a peg leg.
Parodied with Terezi's alternate history counterpart, Totally RadicalLarge Ham Latula, who has no sense of smell. Characters alternate between being impressed by her courage in living life to the full even when it can't be smelled, and loudly proclaiming that having no sense of smell isn't anywhere near as disabling enough to qualify one for this trope.
Because of the kernelsprite prototyping, Jack loses his left arm when he takes the Black Queen's ring. It doesn't stop him from being a scarily effective Omnicidal Maniac. Also applies to PM, after she takes the White Queen's ring.
Sollux gets blinded partway into the story. He doesn't mind so much though, since that injury also left him unable to hear the voices of the soon-to-be-dead, which he finds to be a huge relief. Besides which, he knows Terezi gets by just fine with her blindness, and hopes to learn from her how to sense the world the way she does.
Marilyn from Spinnerette, who can barely even speak, much less move, without her Mecha-Maid power armor.
Daisy from Absent Minded Theater has one arm, no legs, and is one of the most badass characters in the comic. Her mute cousin Ted is pretty cool, too.
Then there's Redcloak, who only became more dangerous and focused after the paladin O-Chul gouged out his eye. In the goblin's own words: "what I have lost in depth perception, I have gained in perspective."
Muh Phoenix: Subverted with Daredevil. During most fights he just hits thin air.
Venom, member of the rival guild Axis of Anarchy in The Guild. Total badass.
Cortez from The Leet World is the best shooter in the house, despite being near-blind. Instead, he uses his acute hearing to track targets, and was the only housemate able to land a hit when a HAXed-up Ahmad went into Flash Step mode.
Blind inventor Jericho of the Whateley Universe. He once stopped two power armor-clad mercenary assassins. When he was without his armor.
Kludge is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. It hasn't stopped her from being on a super-team at Whateley Academy. And she's a front-liner.
Stephen Hawking and, in a way, Darth Vader, in Epic Rap Battles of History. Which makes it rather fitting that they wind up working together.
Subverted with the Invalid Commandos in Ball Grill Police. Like The Cavalry, they arrive from the woods to aid the policemen against Uncle Sam, but are unable to do anything, as they are, well, invalids.
Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond is about 80 years old, needs meds for his ailing heart, and has to walk with a cane. Which doesn't stop him from beating information out of one of the Jokerz with said cane. Plus his incredible mind and intellect are still as sharp as ever.
From earlier down the DCAU timeline, Aquamancuts off his own hand to save his son. He then has a hook welded to his wrist. That's right, Aquaman is moreBadass with a hand cut off in the Diniverse. That was based on the comic book Aquaman, who lost his hand in a different way, but also had a hook (that could change into various other tools) to replace it. He was really presented as more of a cyborg than "handicapped" though. (And later he had the metal hand replaced with a "living water" one that could create shapes out of solid water (and no, not ice - water that was hard as metal at above freezing temperature).
Toph Bei Fong is small, blind, and innocent-looking. She is also perhaps the best Earthbender the world has ever known and one of the most badass characters in the whole series, rivaled only by Iroh and Azula. Born blind, she learned to sense her surrounding with echolocation using earthbending at a very young age. Other earthbenders may train their bending several hours per day for many years, but Toph is constantly using her abilities all the time, pushing her skill completely outside the commonly believed limits.
Wanna add even more to it? It was thanks to this disability that she invented Metalbending!
Nowhere near as badass as Toph, but still awesome: Minor character Teo has a flying wheelchair. His Gadgeteer Genius father may have built the thing, but only his own kickassery could have allowed him to rival Aang in stunt flying.
Inverted in The Boondocks, when Granddad gets tripped by a mean old blind and black man. Huey seems convinced that the man must be one of those Samurai, so sensitive to movement around them that they are somehow superior fighters in battle compared to those with sight. Granddad spends a lot of time getting in shape preparing to get him back; but it turns out he was just a blind man who had gotten lucky, and ends up getting killed by Granddad. Oops.
Cotton Hill from King of the Hill. Dude has no shins but is still able to take on a group of able-bodied orderlies. A feat made even more badass by the fact that he was pushing 80. Course he's a WWII vet, so there's that too.
Armond from Mummies Alive! has only one arm but you'd never notice the way he pulls off that Egypt-su. The awesome is slightly diminished when he gets a mechanical arm to replace the missing limb when he gets his power-up armor.
Garrett Miller from Extreme Ghostbusters. He was born a paraplegic but still manages to be the 'jock' of the group. The only times his disability really impairs him is when there's steps involved. A ramp was built into the Ecto-1.
Apart from steps, Garrett's only notable instance of being impaired was in the early episode "The True Face of a Monster", where he is tipped out of his wheelchair and mocked by some racist jerks he had thought were his friends. There isn't much he can do (though he clearly tries) until he can get back in. Most times when knocked out of his wheelchair, it is near enough for him to climb back into.
In fact in the episode "Grease", when handcuffed by the CIA, he uses his disability as leverage to get them to take the handcuffs off so he will sign a full confession, snivelling, "What am I going to do; run away?" Then he kicks their butts (metaphorically speaking). While he's snivelling, his teammates actually look at each other, as if they know what he's going to pull.
Felix Renton from Kim Possible is The Ace in a wheelchair. His supergenius mother built it for him; it can hover and has extendable arms. He's a reoccurring ally on Team Possible and beats Ron in basketball. Both Garrett and Felix are voiced by Jason Marsden. He's not handicapped but he is awesome.
Timmy, who is astonishingly capable for being a retarded kid in a motorized wheelchair. He can accompany the main four cast on almost any escapade, including recreations of famous fight scenes. He can even usePhotoshop, of all crazy things.
Ascended Extra Jimmy Valmer takes this even further, doing all kinds of crazy stunts on crutches, from fighting in car chases to being an Olympic athlete (with a little help).
Ned Gerblansky, Uncle Jimbo's old war buddy, is this in the earlier seasons (before fading out of the limelight). He's a manly hunter who often ends up helping to lead the town and save the day...even though he's a one-armed Vietnam vet with an electronic voice box.
Leela from Futurama counts, as she flies an intergalactic spaceship and kicks much ass despite no depth perception.
Transformers Prime Bumblebee lost his voicebox after being captured by the Decepticons and refusing to divulge information to Megatron. He is still able to communicate with the other Autobots, but cannot speak clearly to humans other than Raf.
Breakdown loses his eye after being captured and dissected by MECH, this does not visibly affect his performance on the battlefield.
Ultra Magnus loses his right hand while battling Predaking. It is replaced with a claw-like appendage due to lack of appropriate materials. He's back on active duty a short time later.
The Venture Bros.: Billy Quizboy and Phantom Limb are subversions. Billy Quizboy loses a hand and an eye, then get dragged into badassness unwillingly. Phantom Limb, villainous example, was born with misformed limbs, but doesn't get seriously badass until he loses them completely/gets perfectly normal limbs.
In Young Justice,the original Roy Harper has his arm amputated by the Light. Guess how many arms you need to operate a bazooka?
"Gotta love modern weapons tech. Easier for a one-armed man to fire a missile launcher than pull on his pants."
The 2012 version of Shredder is the first incarnation to have a physical handicap—he is covered in burn scars and is blind in his right eye. Despite this, he has impressive and potentially lethal ninjitsu moves. He handily defeats the green teens at their first meeting.
In Samurai Jack, the Scotsman has only one leg, having lost the other sometime in the past. It's hardly a problem for him; he simply replaced it with a peg-leg that's also a machine-gun, making him even more of a badass.
Some historians claim that Aesop suffered from two birth defects, and was a dwarf and a hunchback. Still, his name is pretty much synonymous with "fables", and despite his disabilities, he was never known to have complained.
Captain Okita Souji of The Shinsengumi was the most fearsome Master Swordsman serving under the Tokugawa Shogunate, even as he was coughing bloody chunks of his lungs out and dying from turbuculosis.
Anthony Robles, the college wrestling champ born with one leg. Get this, he was so good that some fans claimed his disability is an ADVANTAGE against his able-bodied opponents, which may make his story an example of Disability Superpower.
Garrett Holeve, aspiring mixed martial-arts fighter with Down's Syndrome. He wants beat the crap out of Chris Brown "because he beats women." It's not clear due to his disability that he'll ever get a UFC contract like he wants, but he's badass either way.
Michelle Akers was one of the centerpieces of the US women's national soccer team in the 1990s, with perhaps her greatest accolade coming when Pelé named her as one of only two womennote the other being her longtime teammate Mia Hamm on his list of the top 125 living players. She did this despite numerous concussions, more than a dozen knee surgeries, a broken cheekbone... and, to top it all off, chronic fatigue syndrome.
High schooler Nico Calabria loves playing soccer and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro when he was 13, not letting minor details like being born with one leg stop him.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is considered one of the greatest American Presidents, and an incredible leader who was able maneuver the country and keep up their morale during the dark years of World War II. He also had polio, which crippled the use of his legs. Did that stop him? Of course not! To reassure the nation, he kept appearances that he was either not sick or constantly recovering. He refused to use his wheelchair in public (enough that only two photos of him in it exist), gave all his speeches standing, used leg braces and his sons to lean on when he needed to walk, and had the first car modified with hand controls before automatic transmissions existed. FDR must have inherited a ton of his cousin's badassery.
Theodore Roosevelt himself was essentially an Ill Boy for his entire life, not to mention becoming blind in one eye (through a boxing match) and getting shot in the chest. Those didn't stop him...at all.
One of his sons, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt III, landed with the troops at Normandy, on Utah Beach. While in his 50's and suffering from arthritis. He used his cane as a baton to direct his troops during the fighting. It may have ultimately been too much for him, as he died of a heart attack a month later.
Douglas Bader. A World War II airman who lost both his legs and went back into service as soon as he was physically capable. He was captured in 1941, and the Nazis had to take his prosthetics away to stop him from repeatedly trying to escape. Even that didn't stop him trying.
Alexey Maresyev, another WW2 fighter pilot. Shot down beyond enemy lines in 1942, got both feet injured, spent 18 days walking and crawling through winter forest with hardly any food.note He found several tins and crusts in a massacred and looted Soviet hospital, he picked some nuts, berries and a hedgehog on his way, but he nearly starved to death. Partisans found him and called a rescue airplane. His legs were amputated below knees because of gangrene, but he learned to use prosthetics and came back to service in summer 1943, just in time for a major air battle at Kursk. Retired in 1946. The story was the basis of a novel, a film and an opera.
At least according to legend, there's Genseric, fifth-century king of the Vandals. Apparently, a fall he took in his youth left him lame in one leg, leaving him unable to ride a horse. Undeterred, he simply focused the Vandals' military conquests on maritime affairs. End result: The Vandal Kingdom ruling Carthage.
Captain Carlos Dardano of TACA Flight 110 who landed his crippled 737 on a levee in New Orleans despite missing an eye after a combat injury.
Stephen Hawking suffers from a severe, horribly progressed case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He is almost completely paralyzed, and can only use his cheek muscles to control the movements of his wheelchair and voice synthesizer. Despite this, he is as upbeat and optimistic as it gets. He's also one of the brightest and most intelligent scientists on the planet.
Missouri resident and USAToday sportswriter Eddie Timanus is a handicapped smartass. He made history on Jeopardy! not only as the first blind contestant on the show, but the first blind contestant to become a five-time undefeated champion. (At the time, five times was the limit.) There were a few changes made to accommodate Timanus: the first was that he received a card with the category names printed in Braille before each round, and a Braille keyboard to type out his name on the podium's computer and his response and wager for Final Jeopardy. There were also no video-based clues during his appearances. Later, he appeared in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions and then the Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades tournament, and was also a lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. In one appearance on Jeopardy, host Alex Trebek asked him about how he was mentioned in Trivial Pursuit, and he half-jokingly replied, "Well, the problem is, nobody wants to play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore."
Harriet Tubman, the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, suffered from narcolepsy as the result of a severe head injury sustained when she was young. She would have fits, or just fall asleep and be unable to be woken up. The narcoleptic fits would sometimes strike in the middle of an escape. And there was nothing that the rest of the party could do except move to a presumably-safe location and hope that Tubman would wake up soon. Clearly, she never let this stop her.
Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his Eighth Symphony when his hearing ability was greatly reduced, and the Ninth Symphony after becoming completely deaf.
Pope John Paul II had horrible health late in life; he suffered from Parkinson's disease, terrible osteoarthrosis (that led to a broken femur and dislocated shoulder, requiring him to walk with a cane), poor hearing, and on top of it, survived the attack of a would-be assassin in 1981 that required a colostomy (which he insisted they reverse with a second surgery, as he didn't want to "live more dead than alive". Despite it all, he was more active than most other popes in history. He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, beatified more people and canonized more saints than all popes in the past five centuries combined, and at the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's bishops, and ordained many priests. He is also credited by many by being instrumental to the fall of Communism.