"Less talking, more hitting!"
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
, The Big Guy is a One-Man Army
: 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:
- Class 1: The gruff, mean, scarred and withdrawn warrior. Could go so far as to be a Berserker, particularly of the Death Seeker variety. In an entire Five-Man Band of ass-kickers, their big guy is most likely be a class 1, ready to punch you in the face for smiling at him.
- Class 2: The Gentle Giant who you don't want to push too far. Often when the other members are younger, he will be older and outside of battle is the calming element in the group, offering both experience and wisdom, or just able to pull two others apart easily.
- Class 3: The kind that looks like the first but is secretly the second.
- Class 4: The Boisterous Bruiser, whose presence is larger than his physical size. Often a Berserker of the Blood Knight variety, or an Emotional Bruiser.
- Class 5: A Genius Bruiser who can also fill the role of The Smart Guy. This character is rare, (presumably also for balance reasons) as The Smart Guy is traditionally unimposing and the Non-Action Guy. This version uses their muscle intelligently, the polar opposite of the Dumb Muscle. Occasionally overlaps with Robot Buddy.
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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- 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.
- Mortality Watson is the Cute Bruiser type, as well as the Gentle Giant (that shouldn't be pushed too far) type. Go ahead. Mess with his friend. He will cause you a life of SERIOUS pain and agony and not show an ounce of mercy while doing it. Uh-oh. Basically, you're dealing with someone who's ruthless if you mess with his friend.
- Mycroft is taller, but doesn't do the things Watson does, though he is loyal.
- Grimlock is a Class 1 this in Transformers Meta.
- Evac could also be considered this to a lesser extent, though he mostly only qualifies for his size (he's even bigger than Grimlock). He could be considered a Mighty Glacier.
- Socrates of Calvin and Hobbes: The Series is easily Class 4.
- Rika, Ryo, Beelzemon, Kazu and, surprisingly enough Jeri all fit this role in the Tamers Forever Series, being the best straight up fighters on the team.
- Achmed from The Secret Life Of The Backyard Kids. He's not "big" or "strong" but he's definitely a Boisterous Bruiser Rock Star, putting him squarely in Class 4.
- Erin Suda, Shun Daimonji, Ban Chosuke and Kamen Rider Amazon for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, In its sidestory Month of Sundays, this role is filled by Rumi Egawa and Taira Katagiri.
- Hefty and Duncan McSmurf (the Captain Ersatz of Gutsy from The Smurfs film series) in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf.
- Pokémon's Send Your O Cs fanfic, Pokémon: Take Two, gives us Raion, the protagonist. She may not be anything special when it comes to Pokémon training, but has more physical strength than a ten-year-old child should.
- Chewbacca in Star Wars. Class 2 or 3, depending on how you look at Wookiees. True to form, Chewbacca was portrayed by the 7'2" Peter Mayhew.
- One in The City of Lost Children. Definitely class 2. Unusual in that he's the main character.
- Pumbaa from The Lion King is Class 2.
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Brent becomes this after his rebirth as Chicken Brent. He single-handedly holds off a squadron of sentient roast chickens so Flint can go stop the FLDSMDFR.
- Raven in Cecil B. Demented, being the Boisterous Bruiser/Perky Goth/Cloudcuckoolander that she is.
- Wang Fu-Ming in Bodyguards and Assassins.
- Fezzik the Giant in The Princess Bride.
- Vasquez from Aliens, unusual for being the only female member on a mostly-male team aside from Ripley, and for being shorter than everyone else.
- Boromir and Gimli from The Lord of the Rings. There are also Dwalin, Dori and Beorn from the 2012 film adaption of The Hobbit.
- Heavy Duty and Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- Roadblock and Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
- Andy Knightley from The World's End.
- The Hulk in The Avengers.
- The titular Wreck-It Ralph is a 9 feet tall and 643 pound Hot-Blooded Destructive Saviour, something that he himself lampshaded in the opening of the film.
- Colossus is the strongest member of the X-Men and his power revolves around hitting hard and shrugging off blows that could take out most other mutants.
- Arclight in X-Men: The Last Stand.
- Fred Dukes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In many ways.
- In X-Men: First Class, despite not being the largest or physically strongest, Alex's powers are much more destructive than the other young mutants and he's far more likely to pick a fight than the more docile Hank.
- Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. He's even called this trope by CIA.
- Kai from Robot Holocaust is this with a bit of Barbarian Hero & The Speechless.
- The Russian machinegunner in Predators
- Guardians of the Galaxy has two, Class 1 Drax and Class 2 Groot.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), all of the Turtles are much larger compared to their traditional appearances, but Raphael is noticeably the bulkiest of the four.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Order of the Stick- In most of the agreed Five-Man Band allocations, the role of The Big Guy goes to either Durkon, a hammer-wielding dwarf cleric whose signature spell involves growing to great size, or Belkar, the halfling Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Both fit the 'small guy, big influence' variant as well.
- In The Sins, The original Envy was The Big Guy of the Gentle Giant kind. Since his departure this role has been filled by Anger, the new Envy filling a very different trope.
- Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance is one of these, despite being the smallest (and arguably cutest) member of the cast. He's the Killer Rabbit trope cranked up to eleven and given a Hammerspace switchblade and glock.
- Krunch Bloodrage of Looking for Group is a Genius Bruiser example.
- Yeager from Nodwick. Class 4.
- Mr. Mighty from Everyday Heroes, at least in his current team. He could be either Class 2 or Class 5; in practice bouts with his teammates, he wins by strategy rather than pure strength. Has often fought solo in the past, and has learned to outsmart opponents.
- Reginald from Parallel Dementia. Class 2: Gentle Giant and Class 5: Genius Bruiser
- Eddie from Emergency Exit. Definitely Class 4: The Boisterous Bruiser
- Alternatively, Bob while in Nefarious form. Not sure which class he'd be though...
- Pauline from Our Little Adventure is a female Class 4, and Lenny is a male Class 2.
- Marlene of Jet Dream is a Class 5 Big Girl, both a genius scientist and T-Girl strongwoman after her sex change.
- Rumors of War has Illyra, a Class 5, who uses her feminine wiles to manipulate and her destructive magic to dominate.
- Iratu in Slightly Damned is the biggest demon so far in the comic.
- Homestuck's Equius Zahhak is somewhere between a Type 3 and Type 5.
- The Water Phoenix King doesn't have a standard Five-Man Band, more an Ensemble Cast with shifting/shared roles, but Commander Corva has proven to be this this, having the size, the strength, the Axe To Grind, the hick accent, but at once the Gentle Giant — usually quiet, almost unprovokable outside of battle with a MAJOR loyalty-to-friends loophole — a Lightning Bruiser in combat, and a Genius Bruiser — Deadpan Snarker and the leader of her own group, in her own right, with limited but real Theurgy powers as a priestess of the storm god making her practically a Paladin on top of it all. Definitely someone you want on your side and not the other! If it were a Five-Man Band setup she'd take turns with Anthem being The Lancer to Gilgam (except when he's being The Lancer to Anthem) but since it isn't and she's also a Amazonian Beauty without this being at all controversial it's unsurprising that they've ended up the Battle Couple now. More Meet Cutes should involve KillerRobots.
Corva: Who yelled? What's the trouble? Who needs a hatchet in 'em?
- Big Ears the paladin in Goblins is stockier and more visibly muscular (if not particularly taller) than the rest of the goblins. He's a type 2.
- In Consequences of Choice Merror is a class 2 Big Guy. He's a gentle giant and a pacifist.
- Derk in The Fourth is Class 2, and actually doesn't like violence.
- Grace and Nanase of El Goonish Shive are both female type 3. Grace because she's a powerful shapeshifter and Nanase because she is a skilled Supernatural Martial Artist.
- Justin, while not yet physically adept as Grace or Nanase, shows signs of becoming a Class 2 as of New and Old Flames giving him non-illusory magical powers, seemingly related to punching, when he is not acting as a back-up The Smart Guy or The Chick instead.
- Rocko Sasquatch from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is the Gentle Giant type. And hey, he punched out a giant robot! (Well, he punched it right in the off-button without realizing it).
- Adrestia in morphE is a female type 2. She was a gang member before being kidnapped and brought to the mansion and is the only member of the Five-Man Band who is physically strong outside of magic use.
- Muneca Powell from Pacificators is an interesting mixture of Class 2 and Class 5. She's not quite a Gentle Giant towards people she dislikes, but she's great with children. She's also smart (she knows the rules inside and out - and she can actually tolerate and understand all that legalese)... and dresses like a Proper Lady, complete in Victorian era style. But piss her off, and she'll curb-stomp you with her gravity powers. Oh, and did I mention that she's over six feet tall, fights with a Sword Cane (it's hidden in her Parasol of Prettiness), and actually is pretty strong to boot?
- About 90% of the cast in Schlock Mercenary. It is a story about mercenaries, after all.
Kevyn: I've also prepared for nearly every contingency by selecting the grunts with the widest possible range of potentially useful engagement skill sets.
Tagon: I didn't realize we had that much range among the grunts.
Kevyn: Mostly it boils down to 'hurting people' and 'breaking things,' but there are a lot of variations on those two themes.
- Several characters in Tower of God fulfil this role. Giant alligator Rak Wraithraiser is the Big Guy (and also astonishingly keen and intuitive), Kurudan is a really big Big Guy for Yuri's team and Kang Horyang is the Big Guy for the season two team.
- 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.
- 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.