%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
%% Image replaced per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1484221208027187200
%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:299:[[Franchise/{{Zorro}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zorro_b.png]]]]

->''"A cloud of smoke and he appears;\\
The master of surprise;\\
Who's that cunning mind behind\\
The shadowy disguise?\\
Nobody knows for sure, and bad guys are out of luck."''
--> -- ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=375ENQbru8s Opening Theme]]"

In the dead of night, an innocent's scream pierces through the darkness. The laughter of the wicked echoes through the streets, and with the click of a gun being cocked it seems that evil will take the life of yet another. But, all of a sudden, there is movement in the shadows. The alleys fill with smoke as the silhouette of a mysterious interloper rushes towards the would-be murderer. In a moment, the tides turn, as swift and severe punishment is meted out to the unjust. Suddenly finding their life saved, the grateful citizen looks to find their savior, only to find merely a passing shadow, gone just as quick as it appeared.

Yet another tale of the night, a tale that leaves criminals looking over their shoulder in search of the shadowy phantom whose swift justice is as mysterious as it is indomitable. A hero who is always ahead of his quarry, and who never fails to arrive when help is needed, coming from the shadows, turning the monsters' own fears against them.

The Cowl is TheCape with a dark twist and typically on the cynical side on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism. Instead of adventuring in the daylight and showing themselves for the glory of the protected, they stick to the shadows of the night where evil lurks and prey on the fears of their quarry. The Cowl tends to be a NonPoweredCostumedHero, their greatest assets being wit and psychological tactics, but if they do have powers, they tend to be related to darkness, ghosts, or some kind of sufficiently-creepy animal, such as wolves, bats, RavensAndCrows, snakes, spiders, or others.

See also DarkIsNotEvil and AntiHero. A common motif for the ProtoSuperhero, particularly those originating in Depression-era pulp fiction.

Compare and contrast with TheCape. Sub trope of TerrorHero. Compare BatmanParody, which is a more direct parody of the TropeCodifier, Batman, and thus uses many elements of this trope.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
%% * ''Kaiketsu {{Franchise/Zorro}}''
%% * Franchise/{{Batman}} in ''BatmanGothamKnight''.
* {{Invoked|Trope}} in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', where Lelouch (who is [[MagnificentBastard definitely]] [[TheChessmaster not]] [[SquishyWizard this]]) tries to play himself up as a combination of The Cowl and The Cape in order to gain public support.
%% * ''Anime/{{Karas}}'', which has some resemblance to Batman.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' applies this to {{Magical Girl}}s. This is especially true of Homura, whose mysteriousness and StealthHiBye antics make her Batman-esque even to other magical girls.
** While all the magical girls [[spoiler:with the arguable exception of [[AllLovingHero Madoka]]]] display this to varying extents, the most stark example is [[spoiler:Sayaka, as she is the most clear-cut example of TheCape (with an [[SuperheroesWearCapes actual cape]]) who slides towards this trope as the reality of her idealistic wish bears down on her soul. Then she slides past it into FallenHero when she becomes a Witch. The series spends the most amount of time on her journey.]]
* Shouta Aizawa, the homeroom teacher of Class 1-A from ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'', is also known as "Eraserhead", an underground hero that operates at night and generally avoids the press. Unfortunately, the Cowl method means he ends up not being as well-known as most professional heroes.
** The spinoff ''Manga/VigilanteMyHeroAcademiaIllegals'' has Knuckle Duster, a non-powered vigilante whose outlaw status means that he operates from the shadows.
* Tuxedo Mask in ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' begins as such, often popping out of the shadows to save Sailor Moon from an attack, then disappearing back into the shadows after she defeats the enemy. As his character progresses he stars gaining more aspects of TheCape as well.

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* In the [[AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho Big Finish]] audioplay ''Night of the Whisper'', the titular vigilante prowls the streets of 23rd century New Vegas, meting out deadly justice, while whispering "Justice will be served!" He also wasn't particular about making sure no innocents get hurt and kills anyone in his way. The Whisper's main target is Cyrus Wolfsbane, the mafioso running most of New Vegas (who also happens to be a wolfman), who is untouched by the law due to deep-set corruption in the New Vegas government and police. The Whisper is covered in a cloak head to toe, and his hands pulse with a powerful energy that he uses to kill. He also uses a grappling hook to get around the city. The Whisper then starts [[AllCrimesAreEqual attacking people for minor offenses]], such as spray painting a wall. The Doctor eventually discovers the true identity of the Whisper: [[spoiler:the combined corpses of the daughter of a cop named James [=McNeil=] (killed when she confronted Wolfsbane about her boyfriend's death) and a cybernetic Star Marshal, whose ship crashed near the city. The combined zombie-cyborg person became a justice-obsessed vigilante]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}} has [[TropeCodifier practically built this trope, or at least the way it is seen now.]] All of his "Bat-Family" are typically portrayed as examples, too. In fact, the only family member who is ''not'' a classic Cowl is the original {{Robin}}, Dick Grayson, who would become ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} after emerging from the shadow of the Bat and setting up shop in Bludhaven.
%% ''Comicbook/{{Batgirl}}'' Barbara Gordon was inspired by Batman and takes after him: she wears dark clothes and a cowl, she has no powers, and she patrols Gotham at the night, hunting criminals.
%% In ''Comicbook/{{Batgirl 2011}}'' she reclaims her title and costume after recovering from her paralysis.
%% In ''ComicBook/ElseworldsFinestSupergirlAndBatgirl'', Batgirl serves as The Cowl to ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'''s The Cape: she is rude, cynical and bossy; but she wants to protect and help people. Luthor even accuses her from "[skulking] around in the dark alleys and back rooms".
%% Cassandra Cain -''[[Comicbook/{{Batgirl 2000}} the second Batgirl]]''- and Stephanie Brown -''[[Comicbook/{{Batgirl 2009}} Batgirl III]]''- are also this.
%% Helena Wayne, a. k. a. ''ComicBook/{{Huntress}}'' takes after her parents -Batman and ''ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}''-: she wears dark clothes and a pointed domino mask, operates in rough neighborhoods hunting human traffickers and abusers, uses crossbows, and is a bit more aggressive than other members of the Bat-family.
%% ComicBook/TheSpirit
* Comicbook/MoonKnight, a rare version that wears all white, because, unlike most cowled heroes, he ''wants'' to be seen coming by his enemies.
* When ComicStrip/ThePhantom (the name is telling) is after a group of bad guys, there will typically be someone around to tell them about the legend of the Ghost Who Walks, the Man Who Cannot Die. Just when they dismiss it as nonsense, they start noticing members of their group turn up knocked out or having been attacked and questioned by a mysterious masked figure, with an ominous skull symbol (of the Ghost Who Walks!) where they were punched. He always disappears when they go after him, but if they try to victimise an innocent, he will be sure to show up to whisk them away unseen or reveal himself and kick arse. By the time he reveals himself to the last or leading villains, they're liable to be a bunch of nerves. Most good guys he saves will be left wondering who the heck that was (but agreeing that he was awesome).
* Ironically, ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'' -who is one of the classic examples of The Cape and cousin of THE Cape- used to be like this back in the Silver Age. Before Superman revealed her existence to the world she secretly patrolled the small town of Midvale at night, trying not to get caught while she stopped crimes and saved people. Midvale locals rumored that they were [[MysteriousProtector protected by a "guardian angel"]].
* Even more surprisingly, Franchise/{{Superman}} himself started out like this back in the Golden Age before his later evolution into the definitive Cape: he was a feared urban legend and a vigilante who mercilessly beat thugs, crooks and wife abusers and cowed corrupt politicians and businessmen. He was pragmatic and harsh, he caught criminals by surprise and left as soon as he solved the situation.
* ComicBook/{{V|ForVendetta}} is an especially antiheroic version of one of these, fighting a fascist government that has taken over Britain and using quite terroristic means of fighting his adversaries, such as bombs. He rocks the fedora and Guy Fawkes mask, and does the swishy black cape thing quite well.
* ''Comicbook/{{Spawn}}'' is one of the ultimate examples of the Cowl aside from Batman himself, a commando and assassin who is brought back to serve TheLegionsOfHell, but pulls a FaustianRebellion to save the people he loves. You better believe his "necroflesh" body suit is intimidating as hell to any bad guys he faces.
* Franchise/{{Zorro}}, the masked swashbuckler who fought for the indigenous peoples of his land against tyrannical officials and other villains. Not only was he too cunning for the authorities to catch, but he also delighted in publicly humiliating them.
* Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}, who is in many ways the closest Marvel analogue to Batman. Matt Murdock even FightsLikeANormal because his main superpower is basically a compensation for the sight that he lost.
%% * ComicBook/BlackPanther.
* In [[http://johnnysaturn.com/2006/01/18/book-one-page-01/ "Johnny Saturn"]], Johnny Saturn I is clearly a cowl, a street-level avenger who fights organized crime.
%% * The Revenant in ''ComicBook/PS238''.
%% * The Confessor from ''ComicBook/AstroCity''.
%% * ComicBook/{{Cloak|AndDagger}}. Which is to be expected from someone whose name is almost a synonym for this trope.
* In ''ComicBook/XMen'', {{Wolverine}} sort of serves as this to Cyclops' TheCape.
%% * The Terror from Alan Moore's ''ComicBook/TomStrong''.
* Rorschach in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' is a particularly brutal take on this, given the comic's DeconstructorFleet nature. While he used to be part of a fairly stable team with Nite Owl, by the series' present he has no life outside crime-fighting, considers his mask to be his real face, and is known to have thrown a masochistic "supervillain" down an elevator shaft.
* From ''ComicBook/{{Stormwatch}}'' and ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'', Midnighter, who is so rarely seen out of his cowl that no two artists have ever been able to agree on what colour his hair is (explained away by admitting that he likes to dye his hair). His husband and crime-fighting partner Apollo is very much TheCape.
* Comicbook/{{X 23}} takes after her [[Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} daddy]], and was mostly this when she was first introduced into the main X-books. For an unknown amount of time she was quietly operating in rough neighborhoods killing thugs and pimps terrorizing the locals, which brought her to Wolverine's attention (maybe. The timeline is [[ContinuitySnarl screwy]]) when the reports of "parallel knife wounds" implicated him in the killings. By the time she joined the New X-Men she even scared her own teammates. However CharacterDevelopment has changed her methods significantly, and by the time of ''All-New Wolverine'' she's bordering on becoming TheCape, if she hasn't done so already.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity's'' most famous example is unarguably The Confessor, an {{Expy}} for Batman who easily surpasses him in all major skills -- he fights off crowds of thugs without effort, avoids gunfire at point-blank range, intimidates everyone with his piercing gaze, is never seen in daylight hours, and has such mastery of the StealthHiBye that he's never been caught on film or camera. [[spoiler:That's because he's a vampire.]]
* In ''Night's Dominion'', a fantasy/superhero mashup, the Furie is the shadowy grim avenger of the city of Umber, and the character who is most obviously a superhero character in a fantasy setting.
* Maidman from ''ComicBook/{{Empowered}}'' , an expy/ loving parody of Batman, epitomises this trope perfectly except for one thing: he [[WholesomeCrossdresser fights crime while wearing a skimpy French maid's outfit, complete with frilly panties]]. As a consequence, he is [[TheDreaded particularly feared by bad guys, both for his sheer badassery and because he is often believed to be a sexual deviant]]. He comments that dressing in frilly women's clothes is a lot less perverse than going around dressed as a giant bat.
* ''ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse'': Donald Duck in his super-hero alter-ego, Paperinik. Sometimes played straight (especially in ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures''), sometimes as an AffectionateParody, sometimes PlayedForLaughs, and sometimes ''all of the above''-such as the time he visited a criminal from another town who planned to come to Duckburg and [[MookHorrorShow showed him a film with what he had done to some of his friends that had moved to Duckburg]].

%% * [[Film/TheMaskOfZorro Zorro]]
* Of course, Franchise/{{Batman}}, in all of the movies (to greater or lesser success) ''except'' the one based on the 1960's TV show - and even that one shows that Batman (sometimes) has that effect on his enemies, at least when he wants to.
* David Dunn from ''Film/{{Unbreakable}}'' is an example of this trope applied to a somewhat realistic setting - he wears a cowl-like poncho as part of his [[CivvieSpandex "costume"]], uses violence to save innocents, and has difficult family issues to boot.
%% * Big Daddy from ''Film/KickAss''.
* One of the best non-Batman film examples ever is ''Film/{{Blade}}''. The rave sequence in the nightclub, merely ominous at the beginning, becomes absolutely terrifying when blood rains down from the ceiling and it's revealed that ''everyone'' except the poor innocent human lured to the dance is a bestial vampire. The lone human flees in panic - and runs smack into the film's titular silent, stoic, hate-filled, murderous vigilante. [[GladHesOnOurSide You never were so relieved to see a]] ''[[GoodIsNotNice good]]'' [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]].

* Once again, Franchise/{{Batman}}, in many prose books and movie novelizations.
* Radio/TheShadow is the other candidate for TropeCodifier of the modern version of this trope. Man of mystery? Check. Creature of the night? Check. TheDreaded to criminals? Double check. (While he debuted on radio as a narrator of an anthology series, his career as a protagonist actually began in PulpMagazine literature of the day.)
* Literature/TheSpider was [[FollowTheLeader directly and almost immediately]] inspired by the Shadow. His usual disguise, a weird amalgam of the Shadow's nose, Dracula's fangs and Igor's hunchback, was enough to unnerve most criminals on its own. The fact that he was more bloodthirsty than the Shadow or possibly even [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Rorschach]] made him even more TheDreaded.
%% ** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Detective The Phantom Detective]]
** ''Literature/TheAvenger'': Richard Benson, the 30's and 40's pulp hero brought to you by the same folks who published ''Radio/TheShadow'' and ''Franchise/DocSavage''. The latter were, respectively, TheCowl and TheCape of their label. Mr. Benson was somewhere between the two; in terms of cynicism and aversion to killing, much closer to Doc, but in terms of method very much closer to the Shadow.
%% ** Dr. Coffin
* Franchise/{{Zorro}}'s [[OlderThanTheyThink first appearance in 1919]] makes him [[ProtoSuperhero one of the longest-running examples of this trope]]. He is thought of as much more of a swashbuckler, especially in the Disney series, but in the original novels he was much more TheCowl, especially to his opponents. A black-clad night-prowling outlaw with the boldness (and skill) to carve his initial into the property and, occasionally, persons of his opponents tended to inspire a certain amount of uneasiness.
** The influence which ''Zorro'' had on the Batman franchise is often [[ShoutOut homaged]]: in most versions of Batman's SuperheroOrigin, (''especially'' in the ''ComicBook/TheDarkKnightReturns'' and later), the movie which the Waynes had taken young Bruce to see the night they were murdered was one of the many film versions of ''Zorro''.
* in ''Literature/TalesOfAnMazingGirl'' NightHawk, The flame and Knife Girl are all this-and all seem to be very diffrent examples of this from A street Level Bruiser, to a Masked Avenger to a Demonic Presence.
* Creator/PhilipPullman's ''Spring-Heeled Jack'' is described as "Batman in UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain", and it suits.
* The Opera Ghost in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}'', while mostly a parody of, well, [[ThePhantomOfTheOpera exactly who you'd expect]], has a brief scene where he takes down a gang of muggers in a very Cowl-esque way.
* Blackwolf in ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'' is a combination of Wolverine and Batman. Boasts that he can beat pretty much any super-powered hero or villain, and many agree that he can. The novel claims that he's on the autism spectrum, which is why he's so meticulous, but he seems to be far too socially adjusted for that.
* Though a villainous example, the appropriately-named Cowl in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' believes he is one of these.
* [=NightHaunt=], in ''Literature/InHeroYearsImDead''. [[spoiler:Too bad, he's also the big bad]]
* Dr Shade in Creator/KimNewman's fiction. A British CaptainErsatz of Radio/TheShadow, he's so mysterious that the closest he's come to appearing in a story is as a spirit based on a fictional character in "The Original Doctor Shade". In settings where he's real (such as the ''Literature/DiogenesClub'' series... [[BroadStrokes usually]]), he is [[TheGhost only referenced]], often as someone the Diogenes heroes really don't want involved, because it'll lead to a lot of dead people and no real answers.
* Stealth from ''Literature/ExHeroes'' is am {{Expy}} of Batman.
* Barry Reese's new pulp hero The Rook is one of these. Unsurprising, as he's a deliberate homage to characters like The Shadow, The Spider and The Phantom Detective discussed above.
** Indeed, many pulp-throwback novels will feature variants of The Cowl as the protagonist, such as Chuck Miller's Black Centipede or PJ Lozito's Silver Manticore.
* Anita and Edward from ''Literature/AnitaBlake'' can make all minor and most moderate supernaturals shit bricks by simple introduction. Well, they have probably the highest body count of all kill..., ergh, executioners of preternatural criminals.
* Gary Karkofsky in ''Literature/TheRulesOfSupervillainy'' is a BunnyEarsLawyer version of this, being a Ringwraith-looking sorcerer with a quirky sense of humor. He inherited his magical cloak from a more traditional one called the Nightwalker.
* Hood o'the Marsh is a {{Steampunk}} Cowl-persona from the ''Literature/JackelianSeries'', [[LegacyCharacter passed on]] over the generations with a brace of magical pistols.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/{{Buffyverse}}'':
** Angel in early episodes of ''Buffy'' and his own series. At least in spirit since his wardrobe is more of a BadassLongcoat
** Subverted in the final season, when [[spoiler:he becomes CEO of Wolfram and Hart, and they tried to turn this sort of heroism into photo opportunities. He didn't try again.]]
** Subverted on other occasions as well. At one point, he leapt heroically into the wrong car. ("City Of...")
* An in-universe comic book cast the mysterious mass-murderer Series/{{Dexter}} as one of these: The "Dark Defender".
%% * {{Franchise/Zorro}}
%% * Series/{{Batman}}
%% * [[Series/JackOfAllTrades The Daring Dragoon]], being pretty heavily based on Zorro after all.
* [[TheCape Ironically]], Series/TheCape. He used to be a ByTheBookCop until the BigBad framed him, forcing the cop to fake his death. After being trained by carnies to use the titular cape and other magician tricks, he is forced to stay in the shadows and mostly comes out at night. He even has a VoiceWithAnInternetConnection ([[spoiler:the BigBad's daughter with daddy issues]]). Meanwhile, the BigBad is one of the most respected and powerful men in the city. In fact, when another villain tried to out him in the middle of a high society event, they just [[CassandraTruth laughed at him]] (it didn't help that said villain looked and sounded like Vinnie Jones).
* Spanish TV show ''Series/AguilaRoja'' (Red Eagle) set in 17th century Spain.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', ComicBook/GreenArrow is the Cowl to Clark's [[TheCape Cape]].
** In the episode "Vengeance", Andrea Rojas aka "the Angel of Vengeance". Unlike Green Arrow, who was a recurring character before becoming a main character, she only appeared in one episode.
* Green Arrow in ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', to a much greater extent than his portrayal in ''Smallville''; this is more notable during crossovers with [[Series/TheFlash2014 The Flash]]. However, this appears to be changing with Arrow changing his costume slightly and adding "Green" to his name, after rejecting [[spoiler:League of Assassins membership]].
* John Reese of PersonOfInterest fulfills this role, at least from the perspective of those he rescues. In actuality, he receives the social security number of a person about to be involved in a violent crime, and so it is a bit more premeditated than it appears.
* Even more than in the comics, ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}'' embodies this trope in the Netflix series. His first media tag, "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen," is inspired by the mystery, violence, and outright fear surrounding his exploits.
* On ''Series/TheFlash1990'', Nightshade is a retired ex-Cowl from the 1950s. He helps the Flash confront a villain from his era who'd [[HumanPopsicle cryogenically frozen]] himself for forty years.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{Sting}} has shades of this following his change from [[Wrestling/NationalWrestlingAlliance Malibu]] Sting to [[Wrestling/{{WCW}} Crow]] Sting- the black clothing, billowing trenchcoat, sudden dramatic appearances (either suddenly after the arena lights go out, or descending from the rafters in Batman-like fashion) and general DarkIsNotEvil aesthetic definitely evoke this trope.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker can have shades of this, as a {{face}} at least. Normally when he does save someone it's because he's feuding with the other wrestler. He can appear suddenly after the lights in the arena go black for a few seconds and come back on again to the sound of his gong.
* [[Wrestling/{{TNA}} Suicide]] dresses in full-body spandex, appears out of nowhere to save people with violence, goes on and on about his dark and mysterious past... despite not being billed as a SuperHero, he's([[LegacyCharacter they're]]) probably the purest example of The Cowl in wrestling history.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Zorro_(wrestler) El Zorro]], who worked the masked wrestler gimmick for a number of years.

* Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Radio/TheShadow knows!
* Franchise/TheGreenHornet, prowling the night of his home city, was even believed by all but a trusted few to be a member of the underworld himself.
%% * {{Franchise/Zorro}}
%% * Franchise/{{Batman}}

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** Primarchs Corvus Corax ended up leading the the slave miners of his homeworld in an insurgency against their overlords, and passed on those skills of stealth and asymmetrical warfare when he was given command of the Raven Guard legion, resulting in an army of uncannily sneaky hulking [[PowerArmor armored]] {{Super Soldier}}s.
** Konrad Kurze, aka the Night Haunter, is a darker take on Batman - he turned his WretchedHive home planet into a law-abiding community by personally hunting down and butchering every criminal on it, uniting the populace in mortal terror. ''His'' legion went renegade, and today the Literature/NightLords are among the most [[TheDreaded dreaded]] foes the Imperium faces. Unfortunately, when he left the planet went right back to its old ways, and realizing this is part of why he fell in the first place.
* Both DC and Marvel have released role playing and table top games based off their comics, so yes, it is possible to play as Franchise/{{Batman}}.
* Further, there was a Zorro RPG released by Gold Rush Games.
* The ''TabletopGame/FreedomCity'' setting for ''TabletopGame/MutantsAndMasterminds'' has The Raven, and his daughter, Raven II, homages to Batman and The Huntress, respectively.
** And Graywing ([[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Batman), Black Wing I ([[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] Batman) and Black Wing II ([[UsefulNotes/TheModernAgeOfComicBooks Modern Age]] Batman/Nightwing) in the ''TabletopGame/HaltEvilDoer!'' setting for same.
* TabletopGame/{{Champions}} has the [[DarkerAndEdgier Dark Champions]] setting with extensive rules and suggestions for building street-level super heroes.
* TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} has an entire class, called the Vigilante, that's designed to emulate this trope, along with a handful of archetypes for other types of superheros. The iconic Vigilante, the Red Raven, seems to be a cross between Batman and Zorro.
* Multiple editions of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' have offered TheCowl-flavored character kits, prestige classes, and other PC-builds, most often for the thief/rogue or ranger classes.

[[folder:Video Games]]
%% * Garrett from the ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series.
%% * ''[[VideoGame/LegoAdaptationGame Lego Batman]]''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum''
** Taken further in the sequel ''[[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity Arkham City]]'', particularly in the side mission which essentially allows you to do a variation of the trope description by swooping in to save innocent people being threatened by thugs and then swooping away again once the bad guy's been taken down.
%% * Tombstone in ''VideoGame/FreedomForce''.
* You can play this character archetype in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes''.
** Through playing as a [[AntiHero Vigilante]], especially one of the [[TheSneakyGuy Stalker Archetype]]. One of these beating a basic mob in the progress of robbing a civilian is practically a re-hash of the Cold Open above.
%% * There was a {{Franchise/Zorro}} game as well.
* Both Altaïr and Ezio from the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' games have elements of this, albeit in a period setting. While primarily assassins (albeit, ones with heroic motivations and objectives), both are also acute sufferers of ChronicHeroSyndrome, and have no problem dealing with city guards assaulting young women/psycho's threatening to slice up the local prostitutes, etc. Both even wear cowls as part of their costumes.
** Later protagonists Connor and Edward Kenway have some of the same elements (both are cowl-clad heroes who use stealthy tactics), but don't really match the trope completely due to their adventures generally not taking place in the sort of shadowy urban setting typical of TheCowl.
* In ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations'' the newspaper artist's depiction of the Yatagarasu is a shadowy cowled figure. The real Yatagarasu looks nothing like this. [[spoiler: For one, there's [[CollectiveIdentity three of them.]]]]
%% * Yuri Lowell in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'.
* Garrus Vakarian in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', who in the two years between the games have become their universe's equivalent of ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'', as a vigilante on [[WretchedHive Omega]] known as "Archangel". [[TheCape Paragon Shepard]] can curb the more extreme tendencies he's picked up, during his loyalty mission, pointing out that Garrus is very close to [[HeWhoFightsMonsters becoming one the monsters he's fighting.]]
* A [[AntiHero "good"]] player character in ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' can assume this role (which is probably a good idea if that [[HorrifyingHero character]] also happens to belong to [[LooksLikeOrlok Clan Nosferatu]]).
* The Silver Shroud from the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' universe. In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', the Sole Survivor can take on the role of the Shroud and mete out deadly justice to several of Goodneighbor's scumbags, ultimately culminating in taking down a vicious raider leader in an abandoned hospital.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The lodgers housing at the Society see the mysterious Mr. Hyde as this in ''Webcomic/TheGlassScientists''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* From the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'': Achilles, leader of the Global Guardians. Battlecat and his daughter, Lynx, in New Orleans. The Nightwatchman in Boston. El Buho in Mexico City.
%% * [[spoiler:[[RunningGag Batman]]]] in WebVideo/TheJokerBlogs.
%% * Warden from the [[WebOriginal/AcademyOfSuperheroes ASH Universe]].
* In ''Webcomic/TheGlassScientists'', this is what fellow Society members believe Hyde to be.
-->'''Miss Lavender''': He's the ''phantom of the Society''. Our very own ''caped vigilante''!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}} [[RunningGag again]], in virtually all of the animated series from ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' on.
** Going meta, ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' had the tv show character "The Gray Ghost", voiced by {{Adam West|ing}}. Since he was a major inspiration for Batman himself, he probably counts.
* {{Franchise/Zorro}}. He's had at least four {{animated adaptation}}s, five if you count the RecycledInSpace version.
* WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck, as the page quote shows, though, unlike most examples of this trope, despite being shadowy and mysterious he is also a teensy bit of a glory hound. Though he's a AffectionateParody of this concept anyway.
** When he says LetsGetDangerous, the trope becomes ''very'' real for the bad guys.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' spoofed this in an episode where Cartman becomes a vigilante called The Coon but no one pays attention to anything he does and in later episodes he straight-up becomes a VillainProtagonist. Played semi-straight with The Coon's rival, Mysterion (AKA [[spoiler:Kenny]]).
* Monkey Man in ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' is a comedic example of this.
* An episode of ''The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh'' centered on Tigger calling himself the "Masked Offender", a ScrewySquirrel parody (though he initially fails to recognize it) of an adventure novel featuring a straight example called the "Masked Avenger". When he's outed as the "Masked Offender" thanks to a BatmanGambit concocted by Rabbit, he retires out of shame, but when real danger looms over the others, he comes back into action and genuinely saves the day.
* "Catman" in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' is another obvious parody. They even hired Adam West to do the voice.
* One episode of Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' featured Theseus as The Cowl, in contrast with Herc being TheCape.
* After having to retire from the ''[[WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor Kids Next Door]]'' due to a technicality, Tommy begins to dress like Radio/TheShadow and attempts to reinvent himself as one of these.
* Subverted with the Blue Spirit [[spoiler:(Zuko)]] from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', who frees Aang from Zhao's clutches, but [[spoiler:only to capture Aang and get the glory for himself.]]