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  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Balder wasn't much of a fighter in Norse Mythology, but here he's one of Asgard's greatest warriors (not as great as Thor, but close) called Balder the Brave. He also survived Loki's attempt on his life in this reality and many others due to Odin's personal intervention, because much like his mythological counterpart, his death is the catalyst that would trigger Ragnarok, and Odin is taking far greater precautions to prevent it.
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    • Sif, Thor's wife and goddess of plenty in Norse Mythology, is a genuine Action Girl in the comics.
    • Hela was, at most, a Non-Action Big Bad in mythology; in the comics she's an Evil Sorceress who can even hold her own against Thor.
    • Hades was, if anything, a Retired Badass in mythology, and it was the same in Marvel's history (where he's called Pluto). However, he was hit with this and Adaptational Villainy for a while, coming out of retirement and trying to defy Zeus' non-interference edict. He's been an occasional enemy of Thor and Hercules, but seems to have called a truce with both for now.
  • Fables:
    • The talking wolf of Red Riding Hood becomes a reformed half-god terror, Snow White is a master strategist and diplomat, The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a psychotic ally to an Eldritch Abomination, and a kindly woodworker is the puppeteer of a multi-planetary empire. In their case they got hit with the good side of Clap Your Hands If You Believe; because many humans remember and tell their story they get more powerful.
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    • Mowgli is an international spy who can fight wolves with his bare hands and win. In this case, though, his awesomeness compared to the original may be mostly due to the fact that we're seeing a grown-up version.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Antoine D'Coolette of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series. In the Sonic Sat AM series, he was a Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey who tend to let out a Girly Scream now and then and was pretty much The Load. This changed when issue 46 came out and he ended up dating Cyborg Bunnie Rabbot. By this point, he started growing braver and braver, becoming a competent swordsman, being tough enough to survive over a year in an Alternate Universe, slugging Evil Sonic unknowingly at one point and impressing his dying father enough that he gave his blessings for him and Bunnie to be married. Then he goes and nearly gets killed saving Prince Elias and his family.
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    • In the games, Amy has always been a fairly realistic character for her age. You don't expect her to be badass or whatnot, she's just a girl who's in love with Sonic. In Sonic the Comic however she's quite The Lancer to Sonic. She's far more lethal than any other version of her to date, and sports some Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    • The short In the Interim... from Issue #4 features Epic battle-damaged, trident-wielding Spike riding Celestia in the middle of the fight against the giant Cockatrice attack. And he ends up saving everyone! A far cry from the Butt-Monkey who usually sits out on most of the mane six's adventures. Issue 7 in the main story has this to Spike as well.
    • Issue 8 does this to the citizens of Ponyville. Usually in the show, the best they can do is panic while the mane six deal with whatever problem falls upon Ponyville. With the mane six gone and the Princesses rallying them, however, they're able to keep the Nightmare Forces at bay.
  • While H. P. Lovecraft's original Deep Ones were described as "degenerate fish-frogs" who have trouble moving around on land and are only a threat due to sheer numbers and relationship with bigger eldritch critters, Alan Moore's Neonomicon treats us to a seven-foot armored-skinned man-coelacanth with the physique of a bodybuilder who can pull down wrought iron gates and fight an entire SWAT team to a standstill single-handed.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (IDW):
      • The original Sweeps were just mooks and often ended up as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains; here, they are still Mooks who go down en masse, but they're a lot more deadly, storming Kimia and killing most of the crew, even tearing one bot apart with their teeth.
      • Wheelie goes from the the robot equivalent of a ten-year-old with a slingshot to a skilled tracker, marksman, and survivalist. (Though this is closer to what his Tech Specs suggested he should have been in the first place, "a barbaric little savage who managed to stay alive by cunning, stealth, and fearlessness")
      • Arcee goes from being The Chick to being a berserk One-Woman Army even her allies are afraid of.
    • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers:
      • While Overlord was always powerful, even back in Masterforce, here he's established as one of the most powerful cons period, having brought destruction to countless worlds.
      • Black Shadow, also on the Phase-Sixer list, went from a one-off merc with a silly gimmick in Transformers Victory to a guy with a deathcount rated in the low billions.
    • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise has this with Devastator, who was the biggest con to fall victim to The Worf Effect, even in his debut episode. In this series, he Took a Level in Badass, rampages through the city unopposed, and easily tears Superion in half. In the Dreamwave continuity he couldn't even land a hit on Superion, and only won because of the seekers. In IDW continuity, it's the other way around, with Devastator only getting taken down during Combiner Wars by the combined (pun unintended) efforts of Superion and Defensor.
      • For most of IDW continuity, Devastator was the only functional combiner either side had, and as such tended to be a dominating force on the battlefield.
    • Hellbat debuts as one in Drift: Empire of Stone. Originally Hellbat toed the line between Dirty Coward and Butt-Monkey, one of his most notable acts being that he engaged in a gunfight, and hid behind a rock begging for his life and shooting randomly until he killed the guy. Now Hellbat's more serious and threatening. Tired of the war, he's been killing Autobots and Decepticons all to power a stone army which he intends to use to kill as many things as he can.
    • Superion gets a dose of this in The Transformers: Combiner Wars along with taking a level in badass. After Devastator tore him apart, he's rebuilt and upgraded by Wheeljack and the Enigma of Combination. He fights Menasor similar to how he did in the cartoon, but there it was one of the few times a Decepticon triumphed over their Autobot counterpart, and Superion needed Omega Supreme to win. Here, Superion demonstrates a number of new tricks and beats Menasor easily.
    • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye has done this with a few members of the Lost Light crew. Rewind, while still tiny, is a walking database with vast knowledge, Chromedome is a gifted "mnemosurgeon" capable of mind-reading and even mind-control, Skids is a "super learner" who can pick up new skills almost immediately, Brainstorm is so brilliant he can create paradox-proof time travel, and Tailgate has become a mutant "outlier" with super strength. None of them had these abilities in previous depictions.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): The original cartoon has Bebop and Rocksteady be completely idiotic, ineffective and useless. In this comic they are still a pair of morons, who also happen to be violent murderers (even before they are mutated), strong, and bulletproof. One issue showcases how it took a total of ten fighters with varied skills and weaponry to fight them, and they still couldn't actually defeat the duo, opting instead for slowing them down long enough to make a clean getaway.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four:
      • Willie Lumpkin went from a senior citizen mailman in the main Marvel Universe to a Colonel Badass.
      • Doctor Doom is shown gaining superpowers in the the same accident that created the Four rather than using Powered Armor against them.
      • The Ultimate version of Reed Richards' powers of elasticity are much more versatile compared to his original counterpart. Examples include stretching his eye lenses temporarily so he doesn't need glasses, stretching his brain so make problem solving easier, being able to breathe in the N-Zone where the air was acid because he had no lungs, no longer requires food, drink or even sleep and can split himself into separate beings. These abilities make him very dangerous when he becomes the villain known as the Maker. He's been shown durable enough to survive a nova blast from Johnny and having his brain blown up by Sue.
      • Unlike his comic counterpart who is often portrayed as weaker than the Hulk, Ultimate Ben Grimm is stronger than his universe's Hulknote . It is stated that the only ones in the Ultimate Universe physically stronger than Ben are Ultimate Thor and Ultimate Namor. This isn't even getting into how not only is eventually able to change back to human form but also become a being of purple energy than can walk through Sue's force fields.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man:
      • The Green Goblin is shown to be much stronger than his 616 counterpart, being a hulking monster as well as pyrokinetic instead of using pumpkin bombs. The same goes for the Hobgoblin.
      • Dr. Octopus is shown having similar powers to Magneto, being able to control any metal.
      • Subverted with Mysterio as Spider-Men revealed "Ultimate!Mysterio" was only a series of robotic avatars 616!Mysterio used to operate in the Ultimate Universe, with the combination of dealing with less-experienced heroes and no one knowing who he is enabling him to take bigger chances than he would on Earth-616.
    • Ultimate X-Men:
    • The Ultimates
      • Captain America. While his mainstream counterpart always skirts the line between Peak Human and then some, Ultimate Cap is an outright superhuman, strong enough to stalemate Spider-Man and give the Hulk a good fight.
      • The original Hawkeye has absolutely no powers, and his Improbable Aiming Skills are the result of training. Ultimate Hawkeye has enhanced vision.
  • As if Pope Francis isn't considered badass enough, in the The Wizard of Id comic strip seen here, he takes his reputation up a notch.
  • Donald Duck took a level in badass back in the 60's in the Italian Disney comics, when he stumbled upon the suit and equipment of an old-time gentleman thief/vigilante, and used it to create his own secret identity of Paperinik. At first he just used it to get even with Uncle Scrooge and other people who crossed him, but pretty soon he started working as a superhero, keeping the streets of Duckburg safe at night. Then he took another level when he got his own series and was suddenly fighting alien invasions, mad scientists, and major disasters on a regular basis in Paperinik New Adventures.
  • While Mercy Graves in Superman: The Animated Series was already a Dark Action Girl, she was also a normal, street-smart woman that Luthor picked up off the streets to make his bodyguard. When she immigrated from the DC Animated Universe to the comics, she was imagined as an Amazon.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Despite being an god, Ares in Greek Mythology had a tendency of getting jobbed and defeated by mortals on regular basis, was something of a spoiled crybaby manchild and regarded as a Dumb Muscle. This was because he was the embodiment of bloodthirsty and violent war, and the Ancient Greeks generally preferred Athena who represented strategic aspect of war. Here he is not only smarter and more dangerous, but also a figure analoguous with the Devil who derived his power from human conflict and nearly killed off the entire human race in his introductory arc when he almost triggered World War III, but he stepped back when he realized that if mankind was destroyed, nobody would be left to fight wars and he'd cause his own undoing. He instead focused on plotting minor conflicts to keep his power sustained and would later go on and overthrow Hades and become God of the Underworld too. It probably helps that pre-Crisis he was referred to as Mars, his better liked and more effective Roman counterpart,
    • Byrna "Blue Snowman" Brilyant has never posed a huge physical threat as she's a mad scientist fighting the Amazon champion, and originally used her artificial snow to hold a farming community's fields for ransom. As of DC Rebirth she is far more dangerous and given a mecha to pilot rather than a small powered suit, though Wondy still doesn't have too hard a time taking her down Byrna is a much more deadly threat to civilians and non-powered opponents.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): The Duke of Deception was always incredibly outclassed by Wonder Woman and generally seemed pathetic and weak in comparison to her and his boss Ares. Here he nearly kills Wonder Woman in their first real fight, and is a much darker more menacing character overall even with his new tragic backstory.
  • EVERYONE in Scooby Apocalypse. Even Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy Doo gain many levels as they try to survive this apocalypse.
  • The Conan the Barbarian comics by different publishers gave this treatment to different characters:
    • Zenobia in The Hour of the Dragon was just a concubine that was unable to fight, but made up for it with being smart, capable and resourceful. In the Marvel-branded Conan the King comics, she is revealed to have been trained in martial arts by her father, who was a soldier that expected a boy, and displayed her skills to convince her husband to let her accompany him in his adventures when he told her to stay back.
    • Natala from Xuthal of the Dusk downplays this trope; she was originally a one-dimensional, easily frightened Damsel in Distress that had to be saved from the jealous love rival Thalis and the Monster of the Week respectively. The Dark Horse comics give her a head-strong personality and barbed tongue, on top of making her more fearless. Unlike Zenobia, she lacks any fighting skills whatsoever though.
    • Thoth-Amon, surprisingly enough. He spends most of the novel he appears in a vulnerable state and isn't quite an enemy to Conan, more like a Villain of Another Story. The comics on the other hand make him far more dangerous, give him a more ruthless personality and definitely portray him as an Arch-Enemy towards Conan.
  • Princess Toadstool/Peach of all characters got this in Super Mario Adventures. The normally prim-and-proper Damsel in Distress has been transformed here into a full-on heroic asskicker on par with Mario himself. There is even a section where Mario gets kidnapped, and Toadstool has to rescue him.
  • Whilst Claire, Steve and Chris were already zombie-killing badasses in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, they upgrade into full-blown Shonen anime protagonist territory in the comic adaptation. Full-fledged Gun Fu antics and crazy stunts become the norm, with Chris in particular killing a Hunter with one punch, beating a Bandersnatch to death with his bare hands, killing the Gulp Worm by letting himself be swallowed by it before blasting a way out with his shotgun and then tossing a grenade into the hole after himself, and riding a giant spider whilst stabbing it to death with his knife.
  • Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: The Looter! The character is genuinely seen as one of the biggest losers in the supervillain community in the normal Marvelverse, rivaled only by Stilt-Man and Leap-Frog. Here, he's far more adept, and actually gets away from Spiderman for their first five battles.
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