The Big Guy

Shown with The Lancer for scale.

"Less talking, more hitting!"
Hawkgirl, Justice League

The powerhouse of the Five-Man Band. They are usually incredibly and unflinchingly loyal, and often they are the largest member and even more effective in combat than anyone else. (Sometimes combined.) They will often be the point man, they cause a disturbance and hold off the mooks while the others challenge the Big Bad. Of course, against stronger enemies they might end up suffering The Worf Effect; getting trounced to set up the villain as a credible threat.

Usually what holds them back from leadership is being Dumb Muscle, they know how to knock heads together but don't do much in the way of strategy. While The Leader and The Lancer fight side-by-side, The Big Guy is a One-Man Army.

Note: The Big Guy may not necessarily be the strongest in the team. They just have to be the one who, out of most duties, specializes in physical fighting.

The Big Guy on the Five-Man Band can be subdivided into five classes:

Powers and skills common to the big guy are:

More and more women are filling this role, which used to be a rarity unless the whole team was women. The Big Girl can be classified into three subspecies:
  • The Cute Bruiser: she who packs a surprising amount of punch. Traditionally a little girl, but can be stretched to any woman who is not obviously of amazonian stature. May be a martial artist or some other form of athlete. In cases of truly great strength, she may be a cyborg, Robot Girl, mutant, alien, possess Charles Atlas Superpower, or have some other justification for unusual power. Usually just as cute and/or pretty as more typical female characters. Male versions of the cute bruiser exist too.
  • Alternatively and more unusually, she's a Giantess, and thus plainly strong. She's rarely masculine but rarely conventionally attractive. (There's also nothing stopping her from being a robot, mutant, alien, etc. It's just that the surprise is gone.)
  • Somewhat more rare is the Amazon: She's big, she's strong, she's muscular, and drooled over by men. (Sometimes Even the Girls Want Her). On the romance level, she often either is admired AND feared because of her strength or only be willing to yield to a really powerful male who is able to beat her in battle.

When there are Two Girls to a Team, the Big Girl and The Chick commonly form a Tomboy and Girly Girl pair. Most of the time, the Big Girl is the tomboy and the Chick is the girly girl. However, there is nothing preventing the Big Girl from being more of a Girly Bruiser or Lady of War, or a tomboy from being The Heart of the team.

An exuberant Big Girl is either a Boisterous Bruiser or Genki Girl. If she's instead a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, her softer side is often a secret cache of feminine traits or one particularly girlish habit, which may make her embarrassed when found out. On rare occasions, she may be revealed to be a Butch Lesbian, a Tsundere, or even a Violently Protective Girlfriend.

Besides gender, the most common way to subvert the trope is when the Big Guy is actually physically short, slim, or unimposing - and yet his strength comes with raw determination or intensity. (Or possibly supernatural means). The Big Guy doesn't need to be physically large — if there's a Dwarf on the team, he'll usually take the role of the Big Guy.

The Five-Bad Band's Evil Counterpart is The Brute. Not to be confused with that other Big Guy.

Can have some overlap with Scary Black Man and the Proud Warrior Race Guy. Often a victim of Big Guy Fatality Syndrome. If it's a two-person duo, they could double as The Lancer.


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    Comic Books 
  • Teamed with the Justice League or otherwise, Superman is usually considered the big guy or the big gun for the team.
  • The Avengers had too many varied line-ups in their history, but their "classic" big guy is Thor.
  • In the Dynamo 5, this role is shared by Scrap and Scatterbrain. Scrap is a Cute Bruiser, while Scatterbrain has sheer size on his side (he's a star football player.)
  • "Gothic Lolita" from Adam Warren's Livewires miniseries is a textbook Cute Bruiser.
  • Jerom, from Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy), would be a typical example of a Class 2 character, save for the fact that he's a bit stocky.
  • Ben aka The Thing of the Fantastic Four.
    • She-Hulk when she was with the team as well
  • Piotr aka Colossus of the X-Men is the poster child for Class 2, who replaced Class 5 Genius Bruiser Hank McCoy / The Beast when he first appeared. Sometimes they're both on the team together...at which point the bad guys should generally start running.
  • "Strong Guy" of X-Factor, whose name came from him explicitly Lampshade Hanging this trope during a press conference.
  • Atom Smasher (formerly Nuklon) was the Big Guy and Gentle Giant for the original Infinity, Inc., an incarnation of the Justice League of America and much of the Justice Society of America, until he did a Face-Heel Turn (he later turned back). His godbrother Damage has more or less taken up this role in the current JSA, who until Gog repaired his face was definitely a Class 1. Atom Smasher is presumably a reserve member and still drops in on occasion, usually when the team takes on Black Adam.
  • Vlad in Hack Slash is a classic Class 3.
  • Whenever the Hulk teams up with other heroes, he generally fulfils this role.
    • The exception being the Warbound, where Hulk is the Leader and Korg is the Big Guy.
  • Molly from Runaways is a very typical Cute Bruiser.
  • Channon Yarrow of Transmetropolitan is a relatively subtle Big Girl— to be fair, being physically imposing by comparison with Spider Jerusalem isn't that hard. Still, she doesn't easily fit into any of the subtropes.
  • Apollo of The Authority, the team's calm, cheerful Flying Brick.
  • Hulkling in Young Avengers is a Class 2.
  • Marv from Sin City was designed to be one of these. In Frank Miller's words: "Conan in a trenchcoat". He's seven feet tall, he's at least four feet wide, he's big and boisterous and strong. When he teams up with Dwight in "A Dame To Kill For" it's especially apparent.
  • Bully, a non-Nazi skinhead from German comic Rudi.
  • Kilowog is this among the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Though only three-apples tall, The Smurfs have Hefty in the comics and the cartoon show and Gutsy in the live-action movie.
  • Tintin: Captain Haddock is a big man, and though he isn't especially skilled in a fight, those he does hit stay hit. He once ripped a wooden chair in half with his bare hands when angered. While the director of the space center was still sitting on it.
  • Cassandra Cain of Batgirl is the Class 5 for the Bat-family.
  • The Four Daves in Rat Queens. Braga of the Peaches is a female version. So is Violet, though she's more a combination of Cute Bruiser and Lightning Bruiser.

    Fan Fic 


  • Heracles takes on this role when part of an ensemble.
  • Ajax, being described as a giant of a man towering "head and shoulders" above the rest and incredibly powerful. He is called the "bulwark of the Achaeans" as their strongest warrior and second-best fighter after Achilles himself. He is never described as receiving in injury in The Iliad.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The special character Nork Deddog in Imperial Guard Codex of Warhammer 40,000 is definitely a Class 2. While he is proud of his many shiny buttons and is a genius in Ogryn terms (N is for Nork), he remains in the Guard because of the content feeling fighting alongside his fellow troopers gives him.
    • While all Astartes are a minimum of seven feet tall with Power Armor and huge weapons to match, personality-wise the Space Wolves (Space Vikings) best fit the bill, followed by the White Scars (Space Mongols), being loud, proud, and in the Wolves' case, protective of those weaker than them, an attitude which has not gotten them many friends in the Inquisition.
      • The Salamanders and Ultramarines chapters arguably come in before Space Wolves as Class 2 or 3. The former chapter has a doctrine of compassion, duty and self-sacrifice; lives among the people of their homeworld when off-duty (rather than holed up in a mountain fortress); and are the only chapter said to have fought for the people during the 2nd and 3rd wars for Armageddon, defending hive cities, supply lines, and evacuees. Chapter master Tu'Shan even reportedly came to blows with the Marines Malevolent for shelling an invaded refugee encampment. They can also count as Genius Bruisers, even among most other Space Marine chapters, due to their ties and training with the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Ultramarines control a small 'sub-empire' surrounding their homeworld; governed according to the egalatarian ideals of meritocracy and common good instilled in them by their founding Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, and which the Ultramarines despair to find lacking in their brother chapters and other imperial star systems.
  • Giants in Warhammer have a spotty history as allies and mercenaries, usable by most if not all armies. (most notably in the form of the brothers Bologs and Cachtorr from the mist-shrouded isle of Albion) They tend to be more solidly and permanently associated with destructive factions, such as the various forces of Chaos, greenskins, and Ogre Kingdoms. (The latter as the biggest guy in a whole army of big guys.) However, the human Imperial city of Middenheim had it's own resident giant in the background: Thunderball, employed as the loader for Middenheim's giant cannon Ulric's Thunder. He was eventually mutated with warpstone by Skaven infiltrators.



    Web Original 
  • Torq, the Half-Orc fighter from the Critical Hit Podcast, is a bit of #4, though he's not always Boisterous. He is almost a Cloudcuckoolander normally, but becomes a whirling, athletic menace in combat. His player, Matthew, specifically statted him this way.
  • Ultra-Man, a stalwart member of the Global Guardians is a bit of a mix between the Gentle Giant and the Genius Bruiser. Regardlesss, he is the moral compass of the team.
  • Evan of Everyman HYBRID, who is actually smaller than Jeff and Vince but knows martial arts, is always carrying a weapon, and is by far the most intimidating. Subverted, however, in that the only time the group has been antagonized by a human instead of an Eldritch Abomination, he got stuck holding the camera while Jeff tackled the security guard.
  • Sura Verandis of Ilivais X. Even his Avespia is heavier and more melee-oriented than the others.
  • Lancer of Team Kimba in the Whateley Universe. He's the Flying Brick with no magical or psychic powers. He's the strongest and toughest team member and the one most likely to step in front of an attack to protect someone else.
  • Maine of Red vs. Blue is a classic Class 1. He's huge, terrifying in combat, and can take unbelievable amounts of punishment. And he doesn't much care if you have a nice day or not.
    • Tex and Sheila/FILSS also apply. Both pretty well fit in the Giantess category; one is only ever seen in full body armor and is an AI in a robot body anyway while the other is literally a tank (and a Cool Ship). Sheila is undeniably the toughest and best fighter in the series (she's a tank and a spaceship with an enormous gun), but Tex is one of the best as well.
  • Mister Brave from Dusk's Dawn. He can ram though tornadoes.
  • Matt Santoro's clone, Big Shine. He's tough, and beats up anyone who leaves a troll comment on one of Matt's videos.

    Real Life 
  • In historical armies, grenadiers were selected among the strongest and largest soldiers. Early grenades were softball-sized iron balls filled with explosives, and were thus very heavy; the grenadiers, who were responsible for throwing them, needed to be tall and strong enough to hurl them at the enemy without risking the lives of their comrades.
  • Charles Barkley was known, among other things, as the Round Mound of Rebound. Despite being listed at 6'6" (1.98 m) and actually standing a little less than 6'5" (1.95 m),, which was short for an NBA power forward, he was very thick, heavy, and strong, and would win rebounds and score putbacks by physically clearing the taller, scrawnier players out of the way with brute force.
  • Zdeno "Z Train" Chára of the Boston Bruins is very tall for a hockey player, standing 6'9'' (in fact, he's the tallest player in NHL history). He's also quite strong, even by hockey standards, and is no stranger to fighting when someone starts with him or teammates.
    • The late Derek "Boogeyman" Boogaard was 6'7'', arguably stronger than Chára, and was pretty much a designated fighter.
    • Inverted in hockey player Martin "Mighty Mite" St. Louis. He's 5'8'' and a full 80 pounds lighter than Chára. However, he's earned his nickname by showing he's not afraid to throw his body around and stand his ground against much larger players when warranted.
    • In general, one of the unofficial "roles" in a hockey team is the Enforcer, who basically acts as the Hero Secret Service, both proactively and reactively punishing attempts to injure other members of the team, especially the star player, by both checking, and simply pounding the crap out of them.
  • Most (male) soccer players in general are not shorter than 5'9' (Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona notable exceptions at 5'6' and 5'5' respectively), and yet still The Beautiful Game has a few notable examples; such as goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois (6'6'), Petr Cech (6'4') and Costel Pantilimon (6'8'), defender Brede Hangeland (6'6') and strikers Zlatan Ibrahimović (6'5"), Peter Crouch and Nikola Zigic (both 6'7'), Jan Koller (slightly over 6'7") and Lacina Traore (6'8').
    • Pantilimon is on this list of the tallest soccer players in the world (playing at the time the list was written). One of the tallest players mentioned (a 6'10' striker playing for a third division team in Scotland) directly caused the club he was playing for to heighten the door so he didn't injure his head.

Alternative Title(s):

Big Guy, Big Girl, The Big Girl, The Big Gal, Big Gal