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Badass Normal / Comic Books

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     DC Comics 
  • The Batman mythos tends to collect these. Most notably, of course, being Batman himself. He fills this role when he's required to be in an ensemble. Despite having no inherent superpowers, he's earned a spot in the inner circle of the Justice League of America, fighting alongside the likes of Superman courtesy of a steel-trap intellect combined with a bit of a mean streak that means he can consider plans other members can't, and consider them well.
    • Honestly, Batman's Badass Normal status is cemented by the fact that several high-profile beings (including the above mentioned Superman and The Spectre) have such high regard for a "mere mortal". Harbinger once referred to him as "the Scourge of all Evil."
    • Batman One Million (a future superhero from the 853rd century) is a played with example. He is a Badass Normal... but by the standards of his time. After so many centuries, human evolution has taken some impressive leaps and thus what a normal human can achieve in the 853rd century is far beyond what a normal human can achieve in the 21st century. He has physical abilities somewhere between Captain America and the Golden Age Superman, low-level psychic powers and an IQ in excess of 200. Plus he has nanotechnology Powered Armor.
  • Nightwing (the original Robin's adult superhero identity) is likewise unpowered and is on par with Batman in most of Batman's skills. He surpasses him in leadership ability: he's about the only person in the world that every superhero would listen to without question. Nightwing actually became Batman for a time, so it comes full circle.
  • Batgirl I/Oracle: Barbara Gordon is a baseline human. However she is a skilled fighter with an eidetic memory who fought for, and earned, her right to fight alongside the boys despite Batman's disapproval. After retiring from the role and then becoming paralyzed from the waist down she trained under Richard Dragon and became an even better martial artist than she'd been while she still had use of her legs.
  • Red Hood (Robin II) is what happens when someone with Batman's training drops the no-guns/no-killing policy. He's both ruthless and effective when he's not distracted by his vendetta against Bruce, as anger and jealously makes him his own worst enemy.
  • Tim Drake, Robin III, while being the most relatable of the Robins before Stephanie's brief tenure, was a Hyper-Competent Sidekick to begin with as was needed to explain why Batman would take on another Robin after Jason Todd's death. When Dick took the mantle of Robin from him Tim Took a Level in Badass as Red Robin becoming a coolly efficient detective and one of the most skilled staff fighters in the DCU.
  • Cassandra Cain, Batgirl II. Through physical conditioning alone, she can perfectly read body language and anticipate her opponent's next move. She's been trained by Batman, and is in fact a superior fighter, having beaten the best martial artist in the DC Universe, Lady Shiva.
  • Stephanie Brown originally put the 'normal' in Badass Normal, as her tenure as the Spoiler and then Robin were not overwhelming successes and she never quite earned the acceptance of Batman and the rest of the hero community. Then, when she assumed the mantle of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain she improved her combat and detective skills until she earned the respect of original Batgirl Barbara Gordon and eventually Batman himself.
  • Catwoman is DC's best known female Badass Normal. What she lacks in Batman's wealth and Nightwing's charisma, she compensates in resourcefulness and knowing which side to be on at the right time.
  • Batwoman is essentially what happens when a former Army cadet goes through Batman-type training by way of special operations forces personnel.
  • Many of Batman's allies from the GCPD are examples:
    • Commissioner James Gordon is one. Although his age has hampered his fighting skills, he is a trained Spec Ops veteran and police officer who's able to defeat superpowered crooks on multiple occasions. During the Blackest Night storyline, he even managed to hold his own against Black Lanterns with only a shotgun. In later incarnations he's become younger and better, and once even donned the cape and cowl after Bruce Wayne's apparent demise. He did such an excellent job as Batman that the Justice League even recruited him once to help them.
    • Other GCPD officers like Harvey Bullock and Rene Montoya can also be considered since they've taken down some of the worst of Batman's rogue galleries by themselves.
  • Batman's enemies are not exempt from this either.
    • Lady Shiva and the whole League of Assassins. Some are Empowered Badass Normal, but most stick with this.
    • Bane is considered an Empowered Badass Normal in most of the media he appears in due to the use of his Venom super-steroid, but is still this trope whenever he's not due to being a Determinator. Aside from being smart enough to get Batman in the position to break his back, the man weaned himself off his Venom addiction on his own, and shows that he's as much (if not more) of a badass off of it as he is when he's on it. To put it into perspective how much of a Badass Normal he is, he was able to take multiple bricks to the face while still holding a conversation with his captor. Without his Venom!
    • Two-Face, a man with his face (and mind) split in half, armed only with guns and a coin that often spells trouble for those that happen to end up on its bad side, Batman especially.
    • The Penguin, a short stub of a man and one of the most dangerous mob bosses in Gotham City's underworld. He's often triumphed over Batman with just a trick umbrella.
    • The Riddler, who usually doesn't even meet the Dark Knight face-to-face before defeating him with his incredibly high intelligence and perchance for traps and brain-twisters.
    • Harley Quinn is a capable fighter despite having no superpowers. She is simply very good at aerobics and using a mallet.
    • Minor Batman villain Catman used to be a walking joke, but now he's an incredibly dangerous mercenary for hire who lived with a pride of lions.
    • Depending on the Writer, The Joker qualifies as either this or a slightly Empowered Badass Normal. Some forms of media portray him as completely insane after falling into a toxic vat in Ace Chemicals, though that and a deal of Facial Horror is about the only 'power' he has. Other media omit this, making him out to be just an extremely cunning psychopath. Regardless, Joker always stands out as the single greatest enemy Batman has ever fought. He earns this reputation simply by having a wickedly magnificent intellect, a monstrously sadistic personality, and a penchant for lethal party-gag themed weapons and other trinkets.
  • The top guard in Arkham Asylum, Aaron Cash, is a tough-as-nails and brutal man, often using extreme force to keep the inmates in line. Don't get the wrong idea, though: he's also a noble man with a good heart and moral compass. He's ruthless because he's outnumbered by the most sadistic, evil, and insane people in Gotham, and he and the other guards are the only thing keeping them from terrorizing the city. So what makes him a Badass is that he does manage to keep control of them. He's a man who will go toe-to-toe with the Joker, Two-Face, Zsasz, and Killer Croc (until the accident...) without a moment's hesitation. Shame they essentially made him a tough talking damsel in distress in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City...
  • Superman:
    • Kryptonite Nevermore: Weakened, injured and underpowered, Superman defeats three armed thugs. He really likes the feeling of winning without resorting to super-powers.
      Superman: I've had the taste of the glory of being normal! To win through determination... courage... to be no more than myself — and no less!
    • The original Nightwing, who was Superman Brought Down to Normal. In fact, in every instance Supes has no powers (often from being under a red sun), he shows off his own badassery without needing his powers - one only needs to see the Justice League episode "Hereafter", in which a depowered Superman single-handedly takes over a dire wolf pack, with just a sword, then wears the wolfpack's leader's hide as a cloak.
    • Played with in the case of Clark Kent. Yeah, sure, he's actually Superman, but to the world at large Clark Kent is just a mild mannered reporter who dares to muckrake around Lexcorp and Intergang. In the One Year Later arc, Clark actually loses his powers for a period of time and still manages to infiltrate Lex's operations, Intergang, and anywhere else you'd expect an intrepid investigative reporter to go. And, according to Perry White, is a BETTER reporter that year than he's ever been. Apparently Clark Kent is just plain badass.
    • One issue of Superman, pastiching the Silver Age, had a story where practically everyone in Metropolis gained superpowers identical to Superman's, going so far as to don capes and costumes (and Superman himself having to don a rather tacky costume while still masquerading as Clark Kent) and the mayor proposing the city name be changed to Superpolis. Then Metallo shows up and exposes everyone to his kryptonite, and they start dying from it like Superman would... until Detective Dan Turpin (who appeared earlier and disparaged Superman over how real crime fighters don't need superpowers), dressed in normal clothes, walks out of the crowd, unaffected, and arrests Metallo and saves everyone. It turns out the whole situation was set up by Mr. Mxyzptlk to give everyone superpowers - along with a kryptonite weakness - but since the detective wholeheartedly didn't want to get powers, he didn't get kryptonite vulnerability either. Then he gives Mxyzptlk a note to read, tricking him into banishing himself to the fifth dimension again. In other words, several dozen superpowered people lay around gasping for breath while a portly detective in a bowler hat outwitted two major villains.
    • Dan "Terrible" Turpin is that badass in every adaptation, especially Superman: The Animated Series where he stood toe-to-toe with Darkseid and didn't blink. It cost him his life, but he knew that going into it and still stood up to the Man. How badass is he? He's so badass Darkseid used him for his new body. His original awesome moment, back in the original New Gods, was attacking Kalibak with nothing but a tommy gun and getting mauled within an inch of his life—all to keep Kalibak distracted until he could be fried with all the electrical power in Metropolis, knocking him out— so the son of Darkseid, god of evil, could be arrested.
  • There's also Jimmy Olsen, who was Flamebird to Superman's Nightwing. Plus, being a Weirdness Magnet and having to deal with the New Gods, he's more than just Superman's pal.
  • Supergirl is usually a virtual Physical God. However, when she is depowered, her enemies find out two facts about her: she practices some style of Kryptonian martial arts (Torquasm Rao and Torquasm Vo in the pre-Crisis universe; Klurkor in the post-Crisis continuity); and post-Crisis Kara was trained by both Batman and Wonder Woman.
  • Superman's Arch-Enemy Lex Luthor glides under the radar on this one, but gets his due from time to time. Superman: Red Son outlines his whole get-up rather neatly: "What was the point of Lex Luthor? A human who dared challenge a god, surely he was the greatest of his kind."
  • Post-Crisis Lois Lane as well. A few abilities are due to her exposure to a lot of weapons and physical skills while growing up on military bases and all, but for the most part it's just that she apparently has cojones the size of Metropolis. Who has the luxury of being incinerated by that alien overlord or getting gunned down by a gang of mob members when you promised Perry White you'd get back to the Daily Planet with a front-page story before 8:00?
  • Though she's often derided as fanservice, all versions of Phantom Lady are pretty good in a fight.
  • The Green Arrow family (Green Arrow, Green Arrow II, Red Arrow, and Speedy) are all unpowered. Improbable Aiming Skills and Trick Arrows aside, Green Arrow II is one of the best martial artists in the world, Speedy is an HIV-positive superheroine, Red Arrow/Arsenal is the fastest archer in the world, and GA himself is mostly a being of pure, unbridled moxie. He's one of the few people that are completely unafraid of Batman. Considering that Green Arrow was originally conceived as a Captain Ersatz for Batman, this isn't surprising.
  • Everyone in Jaime Reyes' supporting cast that doesn't have superpowers, especially Brenda and Paco, aka Anger Girl and Stick Boy. And Jaime's predecessor Ted Kord.
  • Any human Green Lantern, deprived of his/her ring, becomes this by default.
    • This is helped by the fact that two of them (Hal Jordan and John Stewart) either serve in or have served in the armed forces.
      • In the relaunched Green Lantern, Hal jumped out a window to reach the building across from his where a woman was being domestically abused (only in that case it turned out to be actors filming). Later he got a weaker copy of the ring. He proceeded to outrun a planet of super-villains with nothing but a ring powered motorcycle.
    • Many Green Lanterns, though aliens, don't tend to have abilities that would be considered superhuman. Sinestro without his ring is still able to put up a decent fight against both Hal and John (both similarly depowered).
  • In every Legion of Super-Heroes continuity, Val Amorr, Karate Kid, is the one member of the team without superpowers, beyond a low level of Enlightenment Superpowers theoretically available to any human in the DCU due to his training. However, his skill with martial arts is such that he can fight Superboy to a standstill — you tell him he's not good enough for the Legion.
  • Quite a few of the members of the Justice Society of America fall under this, however, there are some notable examples. There's both iterations of Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane and Michael Holt) who exemplify Charles Atlas Superpower as Olympic-level athletes with multiple PhDs (Holt has the distinction of being the third smartest man in the DCU). And then there's Wildcat who has no superpower beyond a prize-winning right hook. Oh, there's also a case of a weird backfired magical curse that gave him nine lives, but the fact that comes up so rarely is a testament to how good he is at what he does. And what he does is punch people.
  • Deadshot is a man with no powers other than being an inhumanly good marksman, hence his name.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Etta Candy and the Holiday Girls are normal humans that can usually keep up with Di or keep the villains occupied while waiting for Wonder Woman's arrival. Etta in particular is an incredibly good Boisterous Bruiser who can keep up a steady stream of snark while taking on multiple opponents.
    • Steve Trevor is an Ace Pilot military intelligence officer (and outright excellent spy in several continuities) with a sharp tactical mind and who has held off foes with meta-human or mystical abilities and once took on Medusa after seeing her turn the rest of those in the room to stone with a glance. He was able to hold her attention and keep her from progressing further long enough for Wonder Woman to arrive and take over.
    • Wonder Woman (1987) Natasha Teranova was a cosmonaut who joined Diana's crew of Space Pirate Revolutionaries after being captured by the Sangtee Empire as one of the best, and trickiest fighters in the crew. She personally slipped her bonds and took out her kreel captors in the final battle which forced the Empire to abolish slavery.
  • Amanda Waller, who in a universe filled with aliens, gods and monsters, is still one of the most terrifying beings alive, capable of staring down the god-damn Batman himself. She's not even remotely afraid of Lex Luthor. And she routinely gets dangerous super-criminals to do as she says.
  • The original Golden Age Black Canary was this. Unlike her more well-known successor daughter, Dinah Drake didn't have any superpowers to speak of. She simply used her fists and wits to fight. Her daughter, Dinah Lance (though, as of the New 52 they've been made into a Composite Character known as "Dinah Drake"), spends most of her time using her normal strength as well, but also has a supersonic screaming power. One issue had a middle-aged Dinah Drake forcibly come out of retirement due to mind-control, and even after having a 20+ year old daughter she's still perfectly fit to fight. Unsurprisingly, Dinah Drake was a member of the Justice Society of America.
  • Jonah Hex, who is basically a Western gunslinger who fought and defeated superpowered foes with nothing more than his quickdraw, marksmanship and a cunning worthy of Batman. Lampshaded in two comic book series of his where he fought supernatural monsters in Vertigo Comics and futuristic foes in ‘’Hex’’. He’s even defeated Vandal Savage once.

     Marvel Comics 
  • In the Marvel Universe, Hawkeye, Clint Barton, has no powers, just a bow, and an arsenal of customized trick arrows (the majority of which he's made himself, albeit often appropriating other people's tech and inventions). And, when alien invaders summon a zombie army to destroy the universe, guess who is one of the only two people standing at the end of it. Go on, guess. Not bad for "an orphan raised by carnies, fighting with a stick and a string from the paleolithic era." This has also been explored a few times with his character, as at multiple times villains have dismissed him as the weakest of the Avengers only to be proven wrong, while Clint repeatedly has been shown feeling very insecure about his place among the World's mightiest.
    • It should be noted that Hawkeye stretches his Charles Atlas Superpower to its absolute limit. The guy uses a bow with a 250 lb draw weight and can fire at near machine gun rates. for reference the draw weight of re-curve bows used in the Olympics tops out at less than sixty pounds with nowhere even remotely close to that firing rate.
    • Plus Hawkeye II (also known as Golden Archer, Wyatt McDonald of Squadron Supreme) and Hawkeye III (Kate Bishop, jokingly called "Hawkingbird"). The latter's first appearance in the Young Avengers, all either superpowered or having fantabulous armor, involves her saving the team's bacon during a botched hostage situation, later to become the official "Bad Ass" member of the team.
    • Hawkeye (Barton) and Hawkeye (Bishop) actually deconstruct this in the Fraction-penned ongoing series; repeatedly they're shown wiping the floor with large groups of mooks, and when together take on multiple crime syndicates' forces to recover a tape supposedly showing the former assassinating a terrorist leader, but at the same time they end their adventures bruised, bandaged, sometimes hospitalized, and Barton comments on having a concussion a few times.
    "I may not have the claws and the webs... but I know a thing or two about a thing or two. Yeah, that's right... run like a bitch."
  • Mockingbird — an intelligence officer who fights crime with nothing but two staves and the flexibility of a gymnast. She later got upgraded to Empowered Badass Normal (that happens alot in Marvel).
  • Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, is clearly not normal, but sometimes in the history of the Fantastic Four, Reed or someone else has managed to cure him and restore him to human form, although such cures are always temporary. During these times, Ben certainly fits the description, often able to fight alongside the team with nothing more than what he learned in the Yancy Street Gang.
  • The Squadron Supreme also has Nighthawk, an alternate-universe Captain Ersatz for Batman.
  • Most members of S.H.I.E.L.D. tend to be this. Nick Fury has often played with this as, for the most part, he is an example, if not for the fact he doesn't age thanks to ingesting the Infinity Formula. His Ultimate Marvel version, based on (and in the films, portrayed by) Samuel L. Jackson, was this at first until it was revealed he was the subject of a prison experiment that granted him mild superhuman abilities beyond not aging.
  • Bucky Barnes, prior to the cybernetic arm and becoming Winter Soldier.
  • Black Widow: "world class athlete and gymnast, expert martial artist (including karate, judo, aikido, savate, various styles of kung fu, and boxing), markswoman, and weapons specialist as well as having extensive espionage training. She is also an accomplished ballerina." says Dr Wiki. Similar to Nick Fury, she's technically an Empowered Badass Normal now as she took a formula that stopped her aging and kept her in peak-level health back when she was a Russian spy.
  • Almost every Daredevil villain. Bullseye started out as a professional baseball pitcher who somehow developed enough skill to turn anything he got his hands (or feet, or teeth) on into a lethal throwing weapon.
  • The Punisher has no superpowers, but more than makes up for it with deadly martial arts skills, a brilliant tactical mind, and enough firepower to destroy a country. The skills of both the Punisher and Captain America are such that they've repeatedly tangled with superhuman foes and come out ahead by using their skills in clever and creative ways. (The MAX (mature readers) Punisher story Born may subvert this by implying that he may have made a deal with the Grim Reaper to continue to live in order to keep killing, but it is the only such hint in all of MAX Punisher. Otherwise, he's just a Badass Normal who looks his age and has been confined to bed rest multiple times from severe injuries.)
  • Similarly, The Kingpin uses both his powerful brains and more powerful brawn to keep the costumed villains in their place, and screw over the heroes.
    • Oddly enough, when he started off as a Spider-Man villain it was specifically stated that he had superstrength, the origin of which, was a mystery. It was to the point where it was all but stated he was stronger than Spidey who can lift roughly 10 tons. Once he shifted over to a Daredevil villain, he had a Retcon, explaining that he was just a really strong human. After that, whenever Kingpin showed up in Spidey comics, he curiously turned into a master-manipulator type instead of the brawler he once was.
    • The character also features a deconstruction of the trope, in that no matter how badass he is, a normal person can't be expected to fight highly powerful superhumans head-on and expect to come out on top. Kingpin is often able to fight Spider-Man man to man, but the reason for this is that Spidey has to hold back his full strength when fighting human enemies to avoid killing them. In "Back in Black," one of the Kingpin's henchmen has just shot Aunt May, and Spider-Man comes within an inch of killing the Kingpin in an utter Curb-Stomp Battle. This proves that Kingpin as a Badass Normal can only fight superheroes because they let him.
  • Aside from the above-mentioned Kingpin, several more Spider-Man villains are Badass Normals. Although they also overlap with Empowered Badass Normal:
    • Chameleon and Mysterio are examples of supervillains that use guile, gadgets and deception rather than fighting the hero head-on. Mysterio in particular uses psychological warfare, SFX skills, hypnosis, and custom made gasses to challenge Spider-Man mentally.
    • Kraven the hunter is a badass normal Super-Persistent Predator who uses both advanced and primitive hunting gear and guerilla warfare to hunt down Spidey as opposed to fighting him head on. Kraven instead ingests a magical potion to give himself super strength when the time comes to fight Spidey head-on, recognising that athleticism and advanced combat skills don't exactly cut it next to a guy who can bench press a truck and sense your every move.
    • Shocker, Living Wheel, Beetle and others derive their powers from their technology rather than having superpowers themselves.
    • Doctor Octopus falls in the same category, although with Doc Ock the argument can be made that he at least has superhuman concentration as a result of his brain rewiring to accommodate four additional limbs. In his original appearances his arms were stuck to his body and after they were removed he maintained a mental link to them, making him more of a real superhuman, but in modern comics he basically uses replaceable sets of arms that he can attach and discards as he needs.
    • It's easy to forget but without his Venom Symbiote Eddie Brock still counts as one. Always an athletic prodigy, Eddie started working out obsessively after his career went down the drain. Canonically, Eddie is actually stronger than the aforementioned Kingpin and only a smidgen below Captain America. When separated from the symbiote he is often resourceful (being a former investigative reporter and all that), cunning, and strong enough to hold his own against superpowered menaces until they reunite.
  • Runaways:
    • Alex Wilder, who's also team leader. It turns out he's The Mole, but that in no way reduces the badassitude of his actions.
    • Chase Stein, despite being considered the least intelligent of the group, has street smarts enough to figure out how to outwit the Gibborim while he also forcibly recruits the geek squad who worked for Wilder Senior.
    • Alex's father, Geoffrey Wilder, is a villainous example in both his 1985 and 2000s incarnations. He's been the leader of The Pride (a group that includes Mad Scientists, aliens with Light Is Not Good powers, time-travelling criminals, Evil Sorcerers and Mutants) since day one on the force of personality alone, and took control of most of LA, while the rest of The Pride handled out of town affairs. When his 1985 incarnation is brought to the future he proceeds to give the Runaways a serious fight, ultimately kidnapping Molly and killing Gert before being banished back to his own time.
  • New York is both hero and villain central, so the NYPD came up with Code B.L.U.E., a police unit that uses training, tactics, Wonderful Toys, and brilliant improvisation to deal with superhuman beings. They've taken down Gods.
  • Storm of the X-Men lost her powers for some time, made do as a Badass Normal, and still proved a great field leader of the team, beating out the powered Cyclops for the leadership position (although Cyclops was mentally influenced into losing by Madelyne Pryor). It even proved an advantage at one time, when the team was trying to stop the infamous massacre of the Morlocks. During that battle, a villain who could neutralize powers with his touch tried to do so with Storm, but she had no powers to affect and he left himself wide open for a knockout punch by her to put him out of action. She's also taken out Callisto and Crimson Commando in hand-to-hand combat, both of whose mutations make them nearly superhuman fighters, and she did so without using her powers.
  • Captain America would be this Depending on the Writer. The Super Soldier Serum turned him into what is referred to as a "peak human". Exactly what that means is up to interpretation, as the Super Serum can still be blamed if they ever need him to do something outside what even "peak normal" is.
    • Most of Captain America's enemies also lack any explicit superpowers, and are better examples of the trope than he is. Archenemy The Red Skull, Crossbones, Sin, Viper, Barons Heinrich and Helmut Zemo, and yes, Batroc the Leaper and Flag-Smasher all make a living fighting against a super soldier and his superpowered allies, with nothing more than their physical abilities.
  • Iron Man's buddy Rhodey was also this before he became War Machine. On the villainous end of things we have Mark Scarlotti, alias Whiplash I and Blacklash I, who, for forty years of publishing history, fought Iron Man armed only with a kevlar bodysuit and a pair of titanium whips.
  • Rictor, after losing his powers during House of M/Decimation, has turned into this. Peter David describes him as the "moody former mutant who believes he's useless and yet keeps happening to save the day." He's saved Siryn from a kidnapper, beaten the Isolationist and Arcade, programmed Danger Room technology to create a very convincing illusion, and helped stop Quicksilver from blowing up any more former mutants.
  • The Spider-Man villain Tombstone originally had no powers, and was, in Spidey's words, "Just a guy." He was just a guy with a tendency to Neck Lift people while strangling them to death — one-handed. When he and Spider-Man finally fought after a several-issue storyline, Tombstone gave the overconfident superhero a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at first using just his hands and then a metal pipe. Once Spidey realized that he was actually dangerous, he got serious and served up a Curb-Stomp Battle to the mob enforcer. Eventually he crossed over to become a Empowered Badass Normal with brick powers after his old "friend" Robbie Robertson trapped him in an airtight chamber filled with gaseous Applied Phlebotinum.
  • The character "MVP" manages to become a "peak human", supposedly on the same level as Steve Rogers, simply by specific exercise programs and a particular diet. Yes, he ate his veggies and did his pushups in just the right combination and everyone thought he had superpowers.
  • Shingen Harada, a Yakuza boss with no superpowers who, despite his advanced age nearly killed Wolverine in the seventies.
  • David Alleyne, AKA Prodigy of the New X-Men and Young Avengers, is in a similar boat as Storm and Rictor: Used to be a mutant, but isn't any more. His power when he was a mutant though was to absorb the skills, talents, and experiences of people around him, and after he lost his powers he had all that absorbed knowledge returned to him. Now, he has the combined fighting prowess, intellect, musical tastes, and mastery of the entirety of the X-Men, including fields ranging from parkour and close-quarters-combat to magical incantations and stances (without the ability to actually perform said magic). Thanks to this also giving him the sexual experiences of both men and women allowing him to explore his sexuality without actually doing anything, he realized he was bi, so he's also now a Badass Bisexual too.
  • Moondragon has telepathic powers, but the reimagined version in Ultimate Marvel does not (at least, not that we know for sure). She is instead a badass normal, and gave Misty Knight a run for her money.


  • Sam and Twitch from the Spawn series. Although they don't have superpowers, they have their own skills and training to compensate such as Sam Burke's large fatty built that allowed him to fight the superhuman Udaku and vampires up close, and Twitch William's marksmanship and knowledge of trigonometry that allowed him to defeat the cyborg bulletproof killer Overt-Kill by shooting a bullet through his ear canal.
  • The muscle man Walter, the archenemy of The Mask. He's the only enemy so far to hurt Big Head and even defeated him (her). And all he needed was his large build, cunning and brute strength.
  • Mina Murray, from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is the team leader by dint of her sheer force of personality. In the movie, Mina gains vampire powers, and the Badass Normal team leader mantle is handed off to Allan Quatermain. Considering that he's played by Sean Connery, it's arguably one of the few changes that works.
  • Adam Warren's Empowered:
    • ThugBoy takes this trope a step further. He's a Mook who'd made a successful living at getting the better of both superheroes and villains alike. Unlike a lot of these, however, he really really likes guns.
    • The Goddamn Maidman, who is an awesome Wholesome Crossdresser. He fights and acts like a skirt, garters, and stiletto heels.
    • Ninjette could also qualify.
  • Lobster Johnson from the Hellboy-verse. Armed only with guns, bombs, and a glove for burning the Claw of Justice onto his enemies' foreheads, the Lobster manages to hold his own against The Mafia, Nazi cyborgs, Yetis, Ninja, and a Yellow Peril villain attempting to summon Eldritch Abominations.
  • Cassie Hack of Hack/Slash habitually fights superpowered Ax-Crazy undead with no more than combat training, ferocity, and a very large friend.
  • Alec Swan, protagonist of The Ultraverse's Firearm is a former secret agent turned Private Detective armed with nothing more than his wits and a Hand Cannon.
  • In Johnny Saturn, both Johnny Saturn I and II are badass normals. Indeed, in a world full of high-powered superheroes, non-powered vigilantes are referred to as Mystery Men. Mystery men get by on martial arts, toughness, and willpower.
  • Every single hero or villain in Watchmen except Dr. Manhattan, the only being in the universe with super powers, and Ozymandius, who doesn't have superpowers but does have sufficiently advanced technology to replicate them (genetically engineering telepathic alien squid, for instance).
  • Obregon Kaine from Negation. He's a soldier trapped on a prison planet with a bunch of aliens, many of whom have incredible super powers. He wants to organize a jailbreak, but everyone hates his guts because they've become resigned to their fate and they think he's making a bad situation worse. Eventually he gets them to cooperate long enough to escape, and throughout the majority of the series, it's Kaine who holds the small group of super-powered fugitives together by being tougher, smarter and more dogged than anyone else, despite having no powers of his own.
    • Arwen from Sojourn, who at the beginning of the story attempts to hunt down and kill the undead Sigil-Bearer Mordath with no preparations, powers, or unusual equipment (yet). She fails, but it clearly establishes what kind of character she is, and Mordath himself compliments her skill and courage.
  • German comic strip detective Nick Knatterton. Once he lifts a car! (He was angry at that time; and as the author pointed out, being a taxpayer, he's used to shoulder great weights.)
  • Both Quantum and Woody qualify. Most notable in Woody's case, as he doesn't have the military training or combat experience Quantum has.
  • In the Star Wars "Infinities" comic for "A New Hope," Han joins Luke in going to face both the Emperor and Darth Vader, armed with nothing but his trusty blaster. While Luke does the vast majority of the fighting, Han does manage to take down an imperial guard, and very briefly wields a dual bladed lightsaber.
  • Gold Digger has a lot of them, but certainly the most prominent is Gina's mother Julia, greatest warrior of Jade Realm, who routinely takes down monstrously powerful supernatural opponents with nothing but her sword, martial arts, and her brain. In a universe where many martial artists learn to thrown chi attacks, she's one of the scariest fighters around. She even has access to magical weapons but prefers hers to be simple well-balanced blades made of spell-resistant metal.
    • The same goes for her rival G'nolga. Like Julia, surrounded by her team of ogres, mages, a card-carrying electric supervillain, and superstrong warriors with all kinds of weapons, compared to her dwarf with a metal-plated three section staff, she's the one you gotta worry about when the fighting starts.
  • Magnus Robot Fighter: The title character was this originally: a martial artist so badass he could beat robots with his bare hands. The later Valiant Comics version eventually retconned it so that he did have super-strength after all.
  • In All Fall Down, the Ghoul is revealed to be one of these.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures, Donald Duck (yes, that Donald Duck) is this. He must use his wits and courage to fight aliens, cyborgs and the like.
  • Golden Age Daredevil was just some guy who threw around a boomerang and fought crime. And yet, he was capable of regularly fighting a size-changing sorcerer and pulling off acrobat feats that should not be possible.
  • Amy in Sonic the Comic, she does not have the raw power of Sonic or Knuckles, but her smarts and ranged combat abilities allow her to be almost as effective in battle making her far more lethal than any other version of her to date and as well as an Adaptational Badass.
  • Colt from Femforce is the only team member who has no superpowers.
  • The few enemies of Werewolf by Night who weren't literal monsters or sorcerers were humans like Hangman who could put a surprisingly good fight against an enraged werewolf.
  • Tyler in PS238 is the only student in the school who doesn't have superpowers, and has to learn to be badass very quickly just to survive. The teachers have the idea of partnering him with the Revenant, one of the new Badass Normals in this setting (he mentions that other superheroes generally feel the heroing should be left to the "special" people). To his own surprise, Tyler/"Moonshadow" turns out to be surprisingly competent; he winds up resolving situations better than most of his superpowered peers, who incorrectly believe that Moonshadow must have won the Superpower Lottery.
  • Charge, of All Superheroes Must Die, as well as apparently all of the superheroes who came before the protagonists.
  • Jenkins of Atomic Robo is possibly more effective than the eponymous protagonist, despite being only human. He's also an In-Universe Memetic Badass as well as The Dreaded to the military.
  • Many of the veteran crimefighters of Astro City are regular folks coupled with a few gimmicks (Jack-In-the-Box, Crackerjack, Altar Boy), but who have trained their reflexes up to bullet-dodging levels. It gets deconstructed with Quarrel; she constantly realizes that she's a Badass Normal in a world of super-powered beings, armored villains, aliens, and gods, and compensates for it with lots of training — to the point where she cannot sustain any sort of normal relationship because of the commitments required.
  • Non-Sand Masters in White Sand are usually this.
    • Baon is Khriss' bodyguard and capable of beating up, shooting or otherwise incapacitating an entire strike team of Kerztian warrior-priests - something the entire diem of Sand Masters had problems with.
    • Aarik, Muggle Best Friend to Kenton, can take down Elite Mooks with two swipes of his swords, and that's when he's not trying very hard.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Murata, unlike most of his allies, does not have any inherent magical powers (Wismerhill, Hellaynnea) or incredibly size and strength (Ghorghor). He's just a very well-trained human Samurai.
  • The earliest Grendels all fit into this category, being only humans armed with an electrified Blade on a Stick who can take on Anti-Hero werewolf Argent.

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