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The Good Captain
"Captain Cold... Captain Boomerang... they probably would have gone for it if I was a captain."

There is a definite prejudice in Superhero comics towards using force rather than reason to sort things out. As a result, a fighting man with a military-sounding background gets more respect than a thinking man with a doctorate or a medical qualification. This is probably an inheritance from the early days of comics, where the patriotic World War II setting made military good guys obvious. The rank of "Captain" probably became common as, in the Army, it is low-ranking enough to be approachable and avoid the inevitable moral ambiguity of the most senior ranks, but high enough to deserve some respect.

The upshot of this is that characters whose names begin with "Captain" are almost always good, unless explicitly subverting this or a Nazi. (In the case of a Nazi, or in the case of German officers from other periods, the correct title Hauptmann could occur. If the Nazi Captain is referred to as Kapitän we might have a research mistake, since Kapitän exclusively refers to the marine. Another trap for the unwary is referring to an SS officer of this rank as Hauptmann when he would in fact be a Hauptsturmführer.)

"Commander" carries similar connotations to "Captain." As a naval rank, it's a likely designation for commanding officers in Space Navies.

Not necessarily The Captain; in fact, The Good Captain is rarely seen leading anyone, despite his rank.

Examples

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Captain America: Good. Was briefly "Nomad" and later "The Captain" before Nextwave's version, but went back to America. Still good. Was actually a Captain in the US Army before getting frozen and being listed as MIA.
  • Captain Atom: Good, but occasionally falls into Knight Templar; led to the accidental destruction of Kansas in Kingdom Come. Note that he originally actually had the rank of Captain in the Air Force, but was later promoted to Major.
  • Captain Britain: Good.
  • Captain Canuck: Satirical but good.
  • Captain Cold: Enemy of The Flash, Evil.
    • Captain Boomerang: Enemy of The Flash, Evil.
    • The above two led to a Lampshade Hanging in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance," where they teamed up, and the Trickster laments that they never bought into his ideas, saying, "Maybe if I were a captain they'd listen to me."
  • Captain Comet: Good.
  • Captain Dynamo: Good.
  • Kapitan Krieg (Jack Staff): A Third Reich Super Soldier, but more of a German patriot than a Nazi and hence a Noble Demon / Worthy Opponent.
  • Captain Liberty (New England Comics): Employed as a hero by the US government. Purposely given a name that would make people assume she's a man.
  • Captain Marvel (The DCU. Currently known as Shazam): Good.
  • Captain Marvel (Marvel Universe. Multiple Incarnations): Good, although the Genis-Vell incarnation was a Knight Templar and completely off his rocker.
    • Currently Carol Danvers: Good. Was actually a Major in the US Air Force, meaning she outranks Captain America.
  • Captain Metropolis (Watchmen): Good... but bigoted.
  • Captain Nazi: A hero of his nation, but as his nation was Nazi Germany, evil.
  • The Captain of Nextwave: Grand mockery of this trope.
    • HIS NAME IS THE CAPTAIN!!!
  • Captain Rectitude was not actually a made-up example. Bad. Also badly dressed.
  • Capitan Rivet: Good, and one of the few Superhomies who at least tries to avoid openly laughing at Empowered.
  • Hauptmann Deutschland, Marvel Comics' German equivalent to Captain America. Good. Despite this name directly translating to "Captain Germany," when issues featuring him were licensed and translated in Germany, they changed his name to Freiheitskämpfer ("freedom fighter") to avoid any implications of Naziism. Later on he was renamed Vormund ("legal guardian") in America.

Fanfiction

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV Meta

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog's Captain Hammer: Subverts and Lampshades this trope. Despite being a superhero and beloved by the whole city, he's also a tremendous jerk and far less sympathetic than villainous Dr. Horrible.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Capitao Batalha ("Captain Battle") is the premiere hero of Brazil. There's also Captain Australia, Captain Speedy, Captain California, and Captain Hammer. In the 50s and 60s, there was Captain Amazing, but he's dead now.

  • Red vs. Blue's Captain Butch Flowers: Good, and disturbingly nice towards his men.
  • Whateley Universe's The other Captain Bravo: good. Well, he thinks he's good, but he's a pinhead. And he's not allowed to use the 'captain' part of his codename until he graduates from Whateley Academy and earns the title in the military. Titles from the military, nobility are academic titles must be earned the hard way before they can be used in a codename.

Western Animation
God Save Us From The QueenMeaningful TitlesThe Good Chancellor
Good Cannot Comprehend EvilGoodness TropesGood Costume Switch
Going for the Big ScoopSuperhero TropesGood Thing You Can Heal
Evil ChancellorNaming ConventionsMorally Ambiguous Doctorate

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