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Authority Equals Asskicking / Comic Books

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  • In superhero comic books, a surprising number of superheroes and supervillains are also heads of state. Doctor Doom, the Black Panther, Black Bolt, Namor, Lilandra, Aquaman...
  • Zig-zagged in The Punisher MAX.
    • Played straight with Frank Castle and Wilson Fisk; the former was a Captain in the USMC during his final tour of duty in 'Nam, the latter is a Mafia Don, and both are definitely among the more lethal characters in the series.
    • Subverted with the eight Generals. Despite their ranks, not a single one of them has ever seen any real combat before. And they all immediately cower in the presence of someone like Nick Fury.
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    • Ditto for Barracuda. The man was a Sergeant Major in the US Army, and is every bit as hardcore as Frank Castle.
  • Marvel's The Kingpin is, on the surface, a tremendously fat man with a head for crime and a mean streak wider than he is. But he's also the Leader of The Syndicate, and a Diabolical Mastermind besides, so he's got heavy-duty Charles Atlas Superpowers - enough to take out low-level heroes (and a room full of ninjas) in hand-to-hand combat; he could crush his nemesis Daredevil with his bare hands. Note that he does, in fact, work out, and some incarnations interpret his portly frame as being solid muscle.
  • In a similar vein, Lex Luthor always keeps himself in excellent physical condition, and can at least competently spar with heroes without super-strength. These days, anyway. When first introduced, and right through the Golden and Silver Ages up until he came up with his first purple-and-green combat outfit, Luthor was overweight. Similarly, in his initial post-Crisis appearances, Lex was suffering the ravages of an over-lavish lifestyle. In both cases, after having his backside repeatedly kicked (literally and figuratively) by Superman, he wised up and shaped up. It helped that he got a young, cloned body after his first one got cancer from Kryptonite exposure, which he saw as a second chance to stay in shape.
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  • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl Wonder Woman leads the Justice Society. Before the arrival of Supergirl, she was the world's most powerful hero.
  • Captain America:
    • In one issue, Cap is sent to a German concentration camp run by an SS Colonel nicknamed "The Butcher", a man missing half his face due to an encounter with a bear when he was thirteen - an encounter which ended with him breaking the bear's neck. He even gives ol' Cap a good run for his money.
    • Interestingly, Cap himself inverts this. While he has a special ranking in the US military and is probably the strongest and most experienced soldier (to say nothing of the most skilled) in the military, he is still outranked by many military leaders. Conversely, he often takes a leadership role when teaming up with other superheroes due to his military experience and charisma, despite being at "merely" peak-human physical condition, a lightweight compared to the likes of Thor or Iron Man.
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    • Played straight during the Ultimate Marvel storyline "Divided We Fall, United We Stand", in which Ultimate Captain America is made President of the United States and his first duty after being sworn is to kick everyone's asses and get the US restored, starting with Wyoming.
  • Tsar Alexander III in Assassin's Creed: The Fall manages to utterly annihilate Nikolai Orelov with very little trouble. By the way, Nikolai is a master assassin. See Real Life down below.
  • Funnily enough, inverted with The Authority. Kicking as much ass as they do (and from an inter-dimensional spaceship, no less) puts them in a position of great power, and makes the actual authorities very twitchy. Given that the team will not hesitate to snuff corrupt officials if it makes the world a better place, you can't blame them.
  • Nick Fury could kick serious ass back when he led the Howling Commandos, and he hasn't lost his touch at all now that he leads S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • Played up to an absurd degree in the backstories of the GI Joe comic book cast, which favorably compares each of the heroic fictional officers who'd go charging first into battle and prove their authority with asskicking to the pansy sort of military officers who'd just sit back and draw up battle plans (even if that's a far more realistic and sensible use of their skills).
  • Darkseid doesn't rule over Apokolips because of charisma, he rules because he's the strongest and most evil god on a planet brimming with powerful, evil gods. Even disregarding his Omega Beams, he has the physical strength to put down pretty much anyone who may dare rise against him. And when Darkseid's father Yuga Khan briefly returned from his imprisonment in the Source Wall, the latter quickly overthrew his son, thus upholding the trope. This is shown perfectly in the penultimate episode of Justice League Unlimited. Darkseid was killed three seasons before and Apokolips is in the middle of a Civil War for who will take his place. After getting resurrected, he returns to Apokolips in the middle of a battlefield, halting the war completely. Usually, on a planet full of starscreams and after being dead for a few years, you would think that someone would try to rebel. In this case however, Darkseid doesn't even have to say anything. He just stands there and everyone immediately bows down to him. Darkseid Is indeed.
  • Also true for Odin, father of Thor and ruler of Asgard who up until his death was always ready to show exactly why he held that position whenever a challenge arose that his son could not defeat.
  • In the generally disappointing, plot hole-ridden Nightcat, heiress/drug lord/real estate tycoon Amanda Gideon turns out to be a better fighter than four ninjas (whom the heroine beats without breaking a sweat) or her bodyguard, Mr. Krak. Also, she fights in what appears to be her underwear for some reason.
  • In Iron Man, Tony Stark runs a multi-billion dollar company, and personally snuffs out bad guys with his suit. Oh, and don't underestimate him without his suit, either.
  • In the Planet Hulk story arc, the planet Sakaar is ruled by The Red King, considered the strongest being on the planet due to his use of Power Armor. He's eventually deposed and replaced by the Hulk.
  • In Throne of Atlantis, Ocean Master is the king of Atlantis and is a force to be reckoned with. Having equipment that allows him to control the seas and the storms also helps. Aquaman becomes king when he fights his brother until he yields.
  • Justified in Nova, where being higher-ranked in the Nova Corps means one has access to more of the Nova Force's power.
  • Black Moon Chronicles:
    • Emperor Haghendorf has maintained his position as supreme monarch of the Empire of Lynn by nearly constant warfare. He also rides the biggest dragon in the empire into battle.
    • Haazheel Thorn, the leader of the Black Moon and the forces of evil, is easily one of the most powerful mages in the world.
  • Judge Dredd: The Chief Judge is primarily a bureaucratic role since (s)he's supposed to both manage the Justice Department as a whole and lead the discussions of the Council of Five, so it depends on the person. When the situation calls for it, like a major crisis that threatens the survival of the city itself, Chief Judges will usually be out in the fray along with the rank and file Judges. Of course, they all tend to be veterans with decades of service.
  • Through most her appearance in Revival General Louise Cale is a menacing military administrator. For the finale she goes toe-to-toe against a ninja using her assault rifle as a melee weapon.
  • In Hunter's Hellcats, Lt. Hunter maintains his authority by being able to outfight all of the Boxed Crooks under his command, and breaking heads when he has to. This includes Brute, The Big Guy of The Squad.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): The Sangtee Emperor is strongly implied to have gotten the throne due to their impressive military history and fighting abilities in comparison with their "cousin" who is a preferable Emperor to some of the kreel nobles due to actually being male but does not have the same military background.

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