Innocent Bystander Series

In a world filled with superpowered heroes and villains constantly battling overhead, a world where property damage is common and evil minions run rampant every now and then, have you ever wondered how the normal citizens cope with all that crazyness? In this trope, the story focuses solely on those citizens. Often centres on a police force trying to stop normal crimes and having to put up with death rays, or the feeling of inadequacy when the heroes catch perps before they do. Fantastic Racism is also a prevalent theme.

Can be seen as a subtrope of Perspective Flip. When it's just one episode of a larger series, it's a Lower Deck Episode.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rolling Girls is about four average teenagers in a world where cities are defended by superheroes.

    Comic Books 
  • Many of the arcs of Astro City.
  • Damage Control is a Marvel series following the construction company of the same name, that specialises in clean-up and general rebuilding after large cataclysmic superhero fights. A slight subversion of the trope, as the company has several superpowered employees to help with heavy lifting etc.
  • Since the Civil War event, Marvel have been using "Front Line" style tie-ins for all their recent crossover events, to show how those events are affecting the Innocent Bystanders of the Marvel Universe (or at least New York...)
  • Gotham Central was a series following the Major Crimes Unit of Gotham City, and all the difficulties of corruption and supervillains in their way.
  • Marvels is the early days of the Marvel Universe from the POV of a muggle newspaper reporter.
    • Its sequel, Eye of the Camera, is much the same way.
    • The four-issue mini-series Code of Honor also provides us with the New York City Police Department's perspective, showing us how all the wild anomalous events of Marvel's universe affect its everyday citizens and their institutions through the eyes of the lowly police officer Jeffrey Piper.
  • Before Gotham Central, there was Metropolis SCU, a DC Comics miniseries about the special police squad trained to deal with supervillains in Superman.
  • Powers by Brian Michael Bendis is an ongoing series focusing on regular police officers trying to solve crimes when their world is literally stuffed with crazy superpowers and mad science. Investigations often revolve around the murder of a superhero.
  • Science Police, the Space Police organisation from Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Watchmen is told partly from the perspective of the normal police officers investigating the deeds of so-called superheroes and an actual superhero (Dr. Manhattan).
  • In PS238, written by the same author of Nodwick, focuses on superhero children, but the closest thing to a protagonist is a non-empowered kid thrown into the middle of the rest and just trying to survive. This is a lesser extent because the comic still focuses predominately on superheroics, and even the protagonist starts to develop into more of a Badass Normal than a bystander.

    Literature 

    Live Action Television 
  • The protagonists of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have access to technology quite a bit beyond what ordinary organizations have access to, and a lot of the stuff they deal with are people getting or having access to technology beyond what they should have, but there are still no superpowers in the team. Well, unless you believe some of the fan-theories...

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE's Mata Nui On-Line Game and the following web episodes, as well as MNOG II followed the adventures of the normal islanders while the comics kept tabs on the heroes. Occasionally, the two story threads still crossed paths, like when the 2001 movie and video game got canceled, and MNOG had to tie up the main plot along with its own.

    Web Comics 
  • ''Nodwick' is a quasi-example of this. While the webcomic has a fully empowered team of main characters, the protagonist of the series is their lackey. Part of the fun of the comic is showing how he deals with being the Mook in a team of heroes.

    Web Original 
  • The Whateley Universe story "Crime and Chaos" is a 'Law & Order' pastiche where New York cops investigate the murder of a retired (and less than loved) superhero.