Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Astro City

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/86e3b35dcac70623a09f6f97dc923299.jpg
Advertisement:

This page is for tropes about the various notable people (and people-like beings) who make up the Astro City mythology.

    open/close all folders 

Heroes

These are the selfless folks who voluntarily serve to protect the innocent and the ordinary from the myriad abnormalities that occur in Astro City and beyond. Whether it's a planet-shattering overlord, a cross-dimensional breach, or a gang of thematically-dressed bank robbers — if there's trouble, the heroes are there.

    Samaritan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/samaritan.jpg
"There's no time. There's never any time."

Civilian alias: Asa Martin

The very first superhero of the very first Astro City story, Samaritan lives up to his name by endlessly devoting himself to helping others.


  • A Friend in Need: In general. But in particular to people with superpowers but no desire to fight or commit crime.
  • Appropriated Appellation: He got his name after he first appeared on the scene and identified himself solely as "a good Samaritan." The name stuck.
  • Arch-Enemy: Infidel.
  • Barrier Warrior: Samaritan can manipulate an "Empyrean field", which is strong enough to repulse a tidal wave.
  • Blessed with Suck: He has a computer that alerts him to trouble, the ability to arrive at the scene in seconds, and the powers to deal with almost anything. This adds up to a miserable life of perpetually saving the day, with no time for himself.
  • The Cape: He's noble and humble and always willing to lend a helping hand.
  • Commonality Connection: He goes out of his way, twice, to offer help to characters who have superpowers and don't want to fight crime.
  • Deus Exit Machina: He is keenly aware that being unavailable for hours is this, and makes a lot of arrangements to try to cover. Turns out well; many criminals are flushed out by their attempts to take advantage of it.
  • Dreams of Flying: Though he can fly, he occasionally has flight dreams. Due to Chronic Hero Syndrome, he's so busy, he can't find time to fly just for enjoyment.
  • Expy: To Superman: his origin is different but he's got a similar personality and role, and partial overlap of his power set.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Samaritan is a time-traveler who averted the Challenger disaster, but rewrote his history so that he has no place in the future.
  • Flying Brick: He's got a variety of powers, but most notably super strength and durability as well as flight.
  • God Couple: Gets into a long-term relationship with Winged Victory over the course of the series.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: This is Samaritan's relationship with Infidel, as the two realized the futility in continuing their feud when there was no way either of them would ever be able to win. Instead, they set up a yearly dinner just to compare notes and talk. (Talk...in hopes of secretly influencing the other to their own morality, something both characters feel uncertain about who's truly winning.)
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Starting with the name, acquired when he tried to slough off credit for saving the shuttle.
  • Humble Hero: Samaritan attends tribute dinners and accepts awards only because he doesn't want to hurt the feelings of the people who give them to him.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Samaritan's first public appearance came after he prevented the Challenger Space Shuttle from exploding. After landing the shuttle safely, he was mobbed by reporters, and he declared "I'm not a hero, I'm just a good samaritan." Which makes sense, since he wasn't intended to be a superhero but gained his powers by pure chance on his trip back in time. Originally, his mission was to avert the Challenger disaster by working within the system.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Samaritan's civilian identity is a fact checker at Current, a weekly magazine. Unlike Clark Kent, he doesn't really do his job that much (though he knows how to) but leaves some of his future-tech to do it for him while he's busy with superheroing.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Samaritan's hair turned blue after the Time Travel incident that gives him his powers. He can change it to white at will, but not to its original black.
  • Married to the Job: Samaritan is so devoted to helping others that he barely has time to sleep or maintain a civilian identity. His idea of a good day is one where he manages to get nearly a minute of flight time.
  • Mission Control: A handy AI which he brought from the future, the zyxometer constantly scans television, emergency and police radio wavelengths, and other electronic media in order to prioritize emergencies for him to attend to.
  • Phantom Zone: Samaritan has access to such a dimension, using it as a storage closet to hold all the awards and plaques he receives. (They extend to the horizon.)
  • Ret Gone: Samaritan eliminated the Bad Future he came from, along with all of his loved ones and his original timeline. There's now an automated taco stand where he was born.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Trope Namer. He spends as much time as he possibly can flying around the world saving people. Not because he's being forced to, but because he can't stand the idea of so much as taking a break when he has the power to help.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Variant: it's an anagram.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Samaritan uses "Asa Martin" as an alias for his civilian life, but that is not his "real" identity — that got erased when he altered history.
  • Slave to PR: Unwillingly. He used to avoid making public appearances and accepting awards, because those are seconds that could be used rescuing people. But he started getting a bad reputation for 'snubbing' people, so now he makes the time.

    Winged Victory 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/winged_victory.jpg
"What message should I send? That men and women can be equals? Or that women must stand alone to be strong?"

Real name: Lauren Freed

A prominent female superhero who often draws attention and controversy for her advocacy of women's rights. She is appointed — and empowered — by the Council of Nike, a spectral group of women who watch over and judge her actions.


  • Arch-Enemy: Quite a few, but the ones who have gotten the most screentime are Ladykiller/Goldenboy and Karnazon.
  • Clear My Name: The "Victory" story has Winged Victory being falsely accused of masterminding villainous activities to promote a pro-feminism agenda. The perpetrator is Karnazon, a He-Man Woman Hater who's obsessed with making Victory "submit" to him.
  • Conditional Powers: The Council of Nike can weaken her powers or even remove them entirely if her actions displease them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In her past life, Lauren Freed was often taunted and mocked by others, from insensitive classmates to selfish boyfriends, and was constantly running away as a result. After her cheating boyfriend tossed her out of their apartment, she traveled to Europe, where she was drawn to the Greek island of Samotrace and appointed by the Council of Nike. She spends almost all of her time as the super-powered Winged Victory, and only grudgingly admits it's because she's afraid of going back to what she was before.
  • Expy: To Wonder Woman.
  • Flying Brick: She's as strong and tough as Samaritan and can fly at immense speeds.
  • God Couple: Gets into a long-term relationship with Samaritan over the course of the series.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: She IS special now, but was once a timid, scrawny young woman who had been treated like dirt pretty much her entire life one way or another. She rarely switches back to her original identity now because she's afraid of losing her powers. It's not until she briefly faces the very real chance of losing the Council's favor after she's targeted by a massive bad PR campaign (orchestrated by one of her arch-enemies) that she comes to terms with this.
  • Lady of War: Winged Victory flies into battle in full armor wielding a sword.
  • Married to the Job: Winged Victory prefers to stay in her transformed superpowered form all the time, possibly because it's a refuge from her original frail, cowardly past life. She can't even recall the last time she visited her mother, noting only that it's been years.
  • Mind Hive: The Council of Nike, a worldwide psychic network of thousands of women. Their unified goal is to help women everywhere, with Winged Victory being a vessel for their collective power. She becomes considerably weakened when they question her devotion to the cause.
  • Strawman Political: Some citizens view Winged Victory in a distinctively negative light because of her strong advocacy for women's rights and independence.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Her medallion lets her see images of women in danger.
  • Transformation Trinket: In her civilian identity, Winged Victory wears a necklace with an amulet shaped like her logo. She touches it to transform into her Lady of War form.
  • Warts and All: Winged Victory champions women's rights, but recognizes that she's not the be all end all solution to society's gender divide, and is ultimately just a normal woman trying to do the best she can and lead by example.
  • Winged Humanoid: As per her name, Winged Victory has a large pair of feathered wings in her superpowered form.

    The Black Rapier 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/black_rapier.jpg

A longtime leader of Honor Guard, this black-clad fencer is considered one of the world's foremost detectives.


  • Badass Normal: The only unusual thing about him is the youth serum.
  • Dating Catwoman: With the crime lord known as Bamboo in the 70s.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker: The rejuvenation serum's only ever worked on him, and no one's sure why. One scientist mentions that it altered him to make him compatible with it, but for some reason that's never happened again.
  • Enhanced Archaic Weapon: Wields an electric rapier.
  • Expy: Of Batman, with a little bit of Zorro mixed in.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Black Rapier has his life extended due to a rejuvenation serum.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Repaired Beautie once when she was badly damaged.
  • Old Superhero: The Black Rapier retires in a 2014 story, lampshading his 45-year-long crimefighting career.
Advertisement:

    The Silver Agent 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/silveragent.jpg

"Your army's not going anywhere except the stockade, chum!"

Real name: Alan Jay Craig

A mainstay of Astro City in The '60s and The '70s, the Silver Agent was a beloved hero, with his sterling career marred by a shameful controversy. There is a prominent statue of him in Memorial Park, with the legend "To Our Eternal Shame."


  • All-Loving Hero: Even after he had been found guilty of murder and executed, the Silver Agent still uses time travel to repeatedly return to Astro City and save it through several major crises, and his selfless sacrifice shames the citizenry for decades.
  • The Casanova: Downplayed, but he admits that he has left and hurt a lot of women.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: For quite some time, the Silver Agent's fall was shrouded in vague terms, leaving readers to speculate as to what actually happened. "The Dark Age" eventually revealed that he was framed for murder by the Mad Maharajah, and the government executed him to show they still had control over superheroes. Using time travel, he saved the entire city mere minutes after his death, and then returned again to save the world several times afterward, illustrating that he was a hero to the last.
  • Expy: In his earliest mentions, came across as a Captain America Expy (especially Silver Age Captain America), but has evolved beyond that.
  • The Hero: More than anyone else in the Astro City mythos, the Silver Agent is the paragon of the heroic ideal that all other heroes strive to achieve. The Agent's heroic influence is so powerful that it inspires others millennia after his passing.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Despite possessing immense power, the Silver Agent goes to his execution by the city without any resistance to avoid possibly altering the future and undoing the valiant efforts of all of the other heroes who will come after him.
  • Humble Hero: When one hero praises the Silver Agent by saying they could not have won without him, the Agent assures him they would have found a way.
  • Ideal Hero: Not for nothing is the Silver Agent called "the best and the brightest."
  • Inspirational Martyr: The Silver Centurions are the greatest heroes of the forty-third century, with beings from over a hundred worlds all inspired by the Agent.
  • Inter Species Romance: During his stay in the 43rd century, Silver Agent hooked up with the alien woman Merilandra of the Silver Centurions, a group of human and alien warriors who work to preserve galactic peace after being inspired by the stories of the Silver Agent.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After a medical exam reveals that he is sterile, Craig gives up his dreams of marrying his longtime sweetheart, allowing her to eventually marry his brother and have the family she's always wanted.
  • Meaningful Name: The Silver Agent was active during The Silver Age of Comic Books, which ended when he was executed for a crime that he didn't commit.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: He was executed for murdering a former-villain-cum-diplomat while being mind controlled. Turns out said villain/diplomat just faked his death.
  • Silent Scapegoat: The Silver Agent makes no effort to defend himself in his murder trial, and makes no appeal or request for clemency.
  • Stable Time Loop: Implied to be the Silver Agent's ultimate fate in his character special. In death, he releases the energy he picked up during his time traveling back from the future, creating, or manifesting, or becoming, the artifact that empowered him in the first place, leading him to become a hero, in turn leading him to his death.

    The First Family 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/first_family.jpg

Augustus: "We're very proud of you, Astra. All of us."
Julius: "Yeah, what he said. But all salt-of-the-earth-y and nicer."

From adventurers to heroes, the First Family is Astro City's premiere superhero clan, joined together by blood and duty to venture into the unknown and stop trouble whenever it appears. The team started with adventuring brothers Julius and Augustus Furst, but has grown to include Augustus' stepchildren Nick and Natalie, Natalie's husband Rex, their daughter Astra, and Nick's children Sasha and Karl Furst.


  • Adult Fear: When Astra goes missing, the entire Family tears apart a number of villainous legions across time and space to find her.
  • Alliterative Name: The Furst Family.
  • Badass Adorable: Rex looks like a giant orange dinosaur monster with rocky scales (and that's because that's what he is), but he's a level-headed and reasonable person by all accounts.
  • Badass Bookworm: Augustus Furst is the brains of the team, but he's not afraid of doing thinking in the middle of battle.
  • Badass Normal: Julius gets by with nothing more than brawn and determination.
  • Beast and Beauty/Interspecies Romance: Rex and Natalie.
  • The Big Guy: Natalie, the giantess of the team.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Julius.
  • Cigar Chomper: Julius Furst.
  • Cultured Badass: While Rex enjoys a good beer with Augustus, it's a fine wine that really soothes his soul.
  • Energy Beings: Nick, Natalie, and Astra are these, though they manifest their powers in different ways. Natalie internalizes hers to become a Size Shifter, Nick channels his, and Astra can turn herself into an all-energy form.
  • Expy: To the Fantastic Four. Even the initials are the same. Kurt has noted that the team are inspired by the Jack Kirby and Gardner Fox type science heroes of the 50s and 60s in general, showing how such adventurers would naturally develop into an FF style super-team...then beyond, as they're allowed to age and change. (He tried to find another name just so the "FF" connection wouldn't be quite so explicit, but couldn't figure out a better one than "First Family.")
    • Rex is one for Fantastic Four's Ben Grimm/Thing.
    • Natalie is one for Elasti-Girl/ Elasti-Woman, from another family-like superhero group, the Doom Patrol.
    • Astra looks like a mix of Fantastic Four's Valeria Richards and Doom Patrol's Negative Man.
  • Fangirl: Julie was a big admirer of Glamorax back in the 70s, even asking them for an autograph when they asked the First Family for help.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking:
    • Played straight with Julius Furst, a Cigar Chomper of the old school.
    • Subverted with Augustus Furst; word of God is that the pipe he keeps in his mouth is actually a portable energy source, which is simply pipe-shaped for portability and habit.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Most of the family — Nick and Natalie, Astra, and Nick's twins Karl and Sasha definitely qualify.
  • Hand Blast: Nick can fire energy from his hands.
  • Happily Married: Natalie to Rex, and Nick to Darcy. Also, although Augustus was separated from his third wife Nadia, he remained on good terms with her, and did not hesitate to adopt her children Nick and Natalie.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Astra has a variation — she enjoys being a world-saving powerful Energy Being, but she wants to be treated as if she were normal, hanging out with her peers from time to time.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Astra says her energy breakfast tastes "manganese-flavor" after her mother tells her it is supposed to be grape-flavored.
  • Monster Modesty: Rex typically wears nothing but a pair of shorts, though he did get dressed up in ceremonial armor for his wedding.
  • Older Than They Look: Julius and Augustus absorbed some vitalons in the crossworlds that have allowed them to be active decades longer than they normally would, but age is starting to catch up to them.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Augustus.
  • Papa Wolf: All the male Fursts, but especially Astra's father Rex, who once rampaged through three super-villain armies just to find out which one of them had kidnapped her. None of them did.
    Rex: "Where... IS... MY DAUGHTER?!"
  • Parental Neglect: Natalie tended to leave most of Astra's childhood education to a computer program, and was often too busy super-heroing to notice her daughter's growing discontent and social isolation. Justified Trope in that Natalie realizes after Astra's running away that she herself had nothing resembling a normal childhood and very much needed to give her daughter a chance to taste one, so made arrangements for her to continue attending a real school and associate with non-super friends.
  • Poisonous Friend: In her college years, Astra dated a normal young man. The relationship began as a chance for her to feel 'normal' for once... but he was so eager for celebrity status that he started taking money to provide tabloids with gossip. When he took to wearing hidden recording devices in hopes of getting racy footage for them, she caught him by detecting the batteries.
  • Rubber Man: Karl Furst, son of Nick and Darcy.
  • Science Hero: Augustus. While the rest of the team charges into battle with their super-powers, Gus will hang back and analyze the enemy's weakness to six decimal places, then whip up some Applied Phlebotinum to finish it off.
  • Shapeshifter: Sasha Furst, Nick and Darcy's daughter, can change into various types of animals.
  • Shout-Out: Julius Furst is named for and modeled after legendary DC Comics creator Julius Schwartz.
  • Size Shifter: Natalie can channel the strange energies inside her body and grow to gigantic size.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: In the first series, when Astra's a pre-teen, no-one sees anything odd about bringing a little girl to fight supervillains. Possibly justified in that she can fly and is made of pure energy, but still...
  • Super Family Team: They're all related.
  • Superhero Trophy Shelf: The Family has a lot of odds and ends lying around, but how many are actual trophies is unclear.

    Jack-In-The-Box 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jack_in_the_box.jpg

"if you and your little friends can't play nice, your toys are going to be taken away from you!"

Real name: Jack Johnson (Jack-In-The-Box I), Zachary Johnson (Jack-In-The-Box II), Roscoe James (Jack-In-The-Box III)

The Crimefighting Clown of Astro City, Jack-In-The-Box combines bad jokes and dazzling stunts with entangling confetti streamers, electric clown noses, and his rooftop-vaulting Footapults.


  • Adult Fear: Zachary meets three alternate versions of his unborn son; two of them became ruthless vigilantes after his death, and causes him to realize that he might leave his son to grow up without a father just as he had.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Zachary's two bad-future possible sons are perfect examples of this trope — one is a Sabertooth expy, the other is a cyborg killer with a spring-loaded head, and both are absolutely convinced that they are entitled to kill anyone they want because they are the good guys. Zachary moves heaven and earth to make sure they never come into existence.
  • Badass Normal: Jack-In-The-Box has no powers other than his arsenal of gadgets and a quick wit.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Technically, Roscoe qualifies as this — Zachary paid him to be Jack-In-The-Box so Roscoe could make his way through college without requiring a handout.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jack Johnson, the first Jack-In-The-Box, as his family didn't know he was a superhero who died in battle.
  • Expy: While he borrows from a lot of street-level superheroes, Jack-in-the-Box's wisecracking ways and entangling confetti are shout-outs to Spider-Man.note 
  • Extendable Arms: Jack-In-The-Box's costume includes Footapults (spring-like boots) and Handsprings (extendable gloves). They effectively enable him make extraordinary leaps and extend his arms for grabbing and punching opponents.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Jack Johnson invented an incredible amount of strange devices, then found out his bosses were misusing them, so he began using his inventions to fight crime. Zachary Johnson is the CEO and lead inventor at a toy company, and whose weapons are enhanced versions of his various products. He's also smart enough to cobble together a quick-freeze spray from leftover car parts in a junkyard.
  • Happily Married: Zachary Johnson is married to Tamra Dixon, a local television news anchor.
  • The Hero Dies: Happens to the first Jack-In-The-Box (Jack Johnson), leaving his son and wife behind.
  • Legacy Character: The Jack-In-The-Box of The '90s is Zachary Johnson, the son of the original (Jack Johnson). The current one is his protege, Roscoe James, with Zach serving as Mission Control.
  • Le Parkour: This is Jack-In-The-Box's preferred fighting style, aided by his Footapults.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Zachary uses a "doodle bug" to serve as Mission Control to Roscoe.
  • Mission Control: Zachary takes this role after he passes the mantle to Roscoe James.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: While very few villains enter into the spirit of the thing, Jack-in-the-Box does go for laughs.
  • This Means War!: Played for drama in "Serpent's Teeth", when an alternate-timeline version of Jack-in-the-Box's son uses Jack's "Of course you realize, this means war" as motivation to become a Knight Templar on criminals... without realizing that his dad was quoting Bugs Bunny.

    Crackerjack 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/crackerjack.jpg
"Another daring triumph for Crackerjack — the acme of adventurers! And not bad work, if I do say so myself..."

The Crimefighting Clod of Astro City, Crackerjack combines bad jokes and acrobatic skill with an ego the size of the Astrobank Tower and twice the flamboyance.


  • Attention Whore/Glory Hound: He is easily Astro City's pre-eminent example of these tropes.
  • Badass Normal: He has no powers other than a superhuman ego, but he's still a great hero.
  • Clark Kenting: Even in Astro City, his original secret identity is pretty obvious on second glance, especially given his access to theatrical makeup. The real reason he gets away with it so long is that nobody'd ever believe the Attention Whore Crackerjack would duck the spotlight in his civilian identity.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He hid a tracer in his boot, which helps the rest of Honor Guard find him and the Black Lab during "The End of the Trail". Unfortunately for him, it took a week to actually work.
  • Fountain of Youth: Crackerjack looks for something to restore his youthful physique once he starts becoming incapacitated due to his advancing age.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Courtesy of the Black Lab who he attempted to swindle a mind transplant into a younger cloned version of his body out of. Instead of giving him what he wanted, the crooks took what they needed from him (including a few organs) to create a small army of Crackerjack thugs and then tossed his broken, brutalized person into the garbage to die.
  • Hidden Depths: After he accidentally reveals his secret identity in public, evidence is recovered suggesting that said secret identity isn't his original one.
    • After Quarrel broke her leg he suggested a type of therapy geared toward athletes that the Honor Guard's doctor hadn't even considered.
    • He repeatedly breaks into places and systems with ease, suggesting some skills at hacking, stealth, or other related fields.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Crackerjack laments that Quarrel is mad at him for flirting with other women even as he flirts with Nightingale.
  • Legacy Character: It's been mentioned that he isn't the first Crackerjack, but the original has never been shown.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Subverted; an alien assumes his arrogance and bragging indicate his true character, and even when seeing his heroism wrestles with the idea that he might really be The Hero. The subversion is that while Crackerjack may not be as good as he thinks he is, he's still genuinely heroic and highly effective.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Crackerjack has given many stories about his origins, none of which have been verified or even consistent. His longtime lover Quarrel has given up trying to figure it out.
  • Never My Fault: Any time someone points out the sloppiness of his crime-fighting style, Crackerjack's quick to brush them off. And then there's the moment under I Resemble That Remark!.
  • Nice Guy: While his superhero persona may be irritating, in his secret identity Crackerjack is friendly to everyone and takes his failures with aplomb. Apparently he keeps his ego and resentment in his tights.
  • Playful Hacker: Has a real gift for getting past security systems, even managing to sneak into Honor Guard HQ without being detected.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Crackerjack is a fantastic physical specimen and often shows himself to be a true hero, but his grandiosity is too much for any amount of skill to back up.
  • Stealth Expert: It's really hard to keep him out of places he's not supposed to be.

    Quarrel II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/quarrel.jpg
"Take that, you jumped-up dust-busters!"

Real name: Jessica "Jess" Darlene Taggart

The second character with the name and the costume, the heroic Quarrel is the daughter of the original, out to erase her father's villainous past by surpassing him in deed and valor.


  • Badass Normal: Deconstructed. 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. She's only with Crackerjack because she doesn't care that he Really Gets Around, and he doesn't care if she forgets his birthday.
    "But I don't have alien DNA or a super bio-serum or the power of the gods or Empyrean Fire or... or whatever! I've just got me. I've got to put all my effort into it. All my concentration, all my focus."
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Or "Q" in this case.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Received a suit of Powered Armor that let her do incredible things, but proved instrumental to her retirement as she felt that it was basically doing her job for her.
  • Commonality Connection: When MPH bitterly assumes that her rejection of him means All Girls Want Bad Guys, she retorts that she's herself and not any other woman, and since he's a Nice Guy, he should find a Nice Girl; she's with Crackerjack because they are both jerks (and understand how seriously you have to train to be a superhero without powers).
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: For a while, Quarrel received financial support from Honor Guard so she could continue to support her family.
  • Farm Boy: Jess and her brothers grew up in the hills near a small town.
  • Honorary Aunt: To M.P.H.'s children. Also to Hummingbird.
  • Legacy Character: The heroic Quarrel is the successor to her father, a small-time crook with the same name and outfit.
  • Promoted to Parent: Thanks to her dad's constant arrests and her mom's drunkenness, she had to raise her three brothers. They all turned out very well.
  • Redeeming Replacement: Her father, the previous Quarrel, was a villain. Steeljack tells her that he would be proud to see her as a hero, and a later story bears this out.
  • Tomboy: Jessica grew up with a burly dad and three brothers, and quickly learned to shoot and wrassle with the best of them.
  • Trick Arrow: Part of Quarrel's arsenal.
Advertisement:

    Cleopatra 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cleopatra.JPG
"You will surrender, Demolitia! Cleopatra commands it — and she will not be defied this day!"

Real name: Sarah Brandeis (Cleopatra II)

A magical heroine whose primary weapon is a mystical staff. She guards the innocent and gives no quarter to wrongdoers. She was a founding member of Honor Guard and continues to serve with them.


  • Affirmative Action Legacy: The first Cleopatra was a blonde Caucasian; the second one is Sarah Brandeis, who has dark skin and tight black curls.
  • Emergency Transformation: Throwing the Gem around Sarah's neck was the best way to keep it from Hellsignor. In a rare moment of guilt, the Point Man does apologize for it, saying she should have had some choice in the matter.
  • Force Field Cage: Cleopatra can create energy pyramids to trap opponents.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate/Kidnapped by the Call: Sarah Brandeis was a lab technician when she was kidnapped by the sinister Hellsignor during his attack on Earth. To foil his plans, the Point Man stole the Gem of Thebis from him, then tossed it around Sarah's neck. She instantly turned into the new Cleopatra and banished Hellsignor to another dimension.
  • Legacy Character: There have been two women so far who have taken up the mantle of Cleopatra.
  • Magic Staff: Her primary weapon is the Sun-Staff of Ra. It can create floating platforms, cage enemies, and fire energy blasts.
  • Magic Versus Science: Cleopatra has a preference for magic over technology.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Cleopatra's eyes are entirely white.
  • Royal "We": Played with; the second Cleopatra spoke more formally and used the Royal "We" during The '90s, but later adapted to more conventional speech patterns.
  • Super Strength: Cleopatra II has super strength, although her predecessor did not.

    M.P.H. 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mph.jpg
"Whichever way you run — you can't escape me!"

Real name: Michael Hendrie

Astro City's most prominent speedster, the Acceleration Ace of Detroit and a longtime member of Honor Guard.


    Beautie 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/beautie_astro_city.jpg
"My skin is ferro-styrene over an omnitanium frame. My breasts and buttocks are rigid. And I have no genitalia."

An adult-sized robot replica of a popular children's toy, Beautie appeared in Astro City one day to rescue a kidnapped heiress. She soon joined up with Honor Guard and became a full-time hero, which helps distract her from questions about her origins and her purpose.


  • Amnesia Loop: Find a lead to her past, discovers a connection to a gadgeteer supervillain, finds her creator, her creator is a daughter whose genius was shunned by her father, is ordered to leave and forget everything by said creator. According to her creator she keeps coming back no matter how many times she orders her to forget.
  • Bald Women: She wears a number of wigs, preferring a pink one when operating as a hero.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Literally, considering she's a robot based on a Brand X Barbie doll.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: The above quote is a response to being hit on—apparently a rote response by this point.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: She's the corporate symbol for Tip-Top Toys.
  • Dude Magnet: Being to all appearances a statuesque woman with perfect features, very much so.
  • Fag Hag: Beautie has an apartment above a gay bar and is friends to the local gay community because they understand what it's like to feel separate from the norm (if in a different way). It also helps that they don't try to proposition her.
  • The Fashionista: As a living Barb-er, Beautie doll she was programmed with the desire to be one of these and owns many outfits.
  • Flying Brick: Beautie has super-strength, enhanced hearing, flight, and a ferro-styrene skin that's resistant to a lot of damage.
  • Frozen Face: Even when her voice is clearly conveying emotion.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Anything about her origin. In fact, when she finds out something, she often forgets it moments later.
  • Literal-Minded: Has some difficulty with the nuances of speech. For example, upon hearing that Hummingbird II was looking for a guy who wasn't just interested in sex, Beautie mentions that she knows several men who aren't interested in sex with women at all—not exactly what Hummingbird was looking for.
  • Loss of Identity: Beautie feels hollow because she does not know where she comes from.
  • Nice Girl: When she's not scrupulously polite and kind-hearted, it's a sign that something's very wrong.
  • Photographic Memory: One of her powers.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: While never expressly stated, it's clear Beautie desperately wishes she were human.
  • Quest for Identity: She tries. The amnesia keeps coming back.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Beautie can pass for human at first glance, but soon reveals her artificial nature by her mannerisms.
  • Robosexual: It's implied she'd like a relationship, but she finds the men who aren't troubled by her lack of genitalia worse than the ones who are.
  • Robot Girl: She's a robot.
  • Spock Speak: Beautie speaks in a rigid and stilted manner.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Puns aside, she's about six feet tall and gets lots of male (and sometimes female) attention.
  • Super Senses: Can apparently "turn up her audio protocols", giving herself enhanced hearing.
  • Uncanny Valley:invoked She works hard to frame the appropriate responses to subvert this.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?:invoked Word of God says that any parallels between Beautie and transgender people are unintended, but also make too much sense to ignore.

    The Hanged Man 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hanged_man_2.jpg

The mysterious spectral guardian of the neighborhood known as Shadow Hill, the Hanged Man stands forever vigilant, protecting the city from dangers beyond human understanding. He is immediately recognizable by the burlap bag and frayed rope that wraps around his head.


  • Dark and Troubled Past: Heavily implied.
  • Expy: The Hanged Man is basically a combination of the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre. He is immensely powerful (leaning toward the Reality Warper end of the power spectrum) and while he is often passive, nothing seems to actively prevent him from intervening when necessary.
  • Horrifying Hero: The people of Astro City recognize that he/it is a hero, but if he appears, you're generally in a lot of trouble.
  • I Have Many Names: The Dancing Master refers to him by quite a few, making clear that "The Hanged Man" is but the most recent one.
  • Living Shadow: Aside from his burlap hood and rope, the Hanged Man's body is a featureless silhouette of a man.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The Hanged Man's shown telepathy, size control, and time travel abilities over his appearances, without any clear limit to his abilities.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The Hanged Man never actually speaks; you simply understand what he's communicating to you. When he "talks", it's depicted as rough-edged yellow-brown narration boxes with shadows, with a different font to everybody else, evoking the impression of old parchment (although the font's changed between appearances).
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Aware of the changes to the timeline caused by a Time Crash Crisis Crossover, perhaps because he was one of those who repaired the crash.
  • Size Shifter: As a spectre, the Hanged Man's height varies from human-sized to hundreds of feet tall.
  • Take Our Word for It: A lot of the Hanged Man's work takes place behind the scenes, handling threats of the Eldritch Abomination type. There was a brief glimpse of this to resolve one of the sub-plots of 'Confession,' and the implication is that he guards Shadow Hill because it's a kind of... threshold.
  • Willing Channeler: There's something of this going on; should the Hanged Man lose his current body, then he'll find someone who'll volunteer to be his new host. The one time it's happened on screen, he found someone being hanged who wanted to redeem himself. No-one wants to find out what happens if they're not willing.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: When the Enelsian invasion force is assaulting Astro City, the Hanged Man looms over Shadow Hill, his arms crossed. The aliens do not engage.

    The Gentleman 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gentleman.jpg
"Not so fast, big fella! You don't want to scare these nice people!"

Ever since he first appeared in The '40s, the Gentleman has been a mainstay of Astro City, despite apparently not aging a day. Immaculately dressed in his tuxedo and unfailingly polite, the Gentleman's charming personality, impeccable manners, and wholesome sensibilities make him the quintessential Nice Guy.


  • The Ageless: Thanks to his secret origin.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Fred MacMurray, a similarity he shares with Earth's Mightiest Mortal. His young, brief sidekick, the Young Gentleman, is drawn to look like Elvis Presley, who was the biggest fan of Captain Marvel's sidekick Captain Marvel Jr.
  • Dream People: He isn't actually "real". He's the idealized version of the late father of a grieving little girl named Tillie who wills him into existence whenever the world needs him. The same applies to his sidekick, the Young Gentleman, who Tillie created to serve as the ideal big brother.
  • Expy: To the original Captain Marvel.
  • Flying Brick: He's super strong and can fly.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Implied. The Gentleman was smart enough to avoid capture by alien infiltrators who had rounded up nearly all of the other heroes. His secret origin explains how.
  • Good Parents: To Tillie, his daughter.
  • Nice Guy: The Gentleman is Astro City's Trope Codifier; no matter how dire the situation, he will always be completely and unflappably polite. For example, after rescuing a news helicopter that endangered itself during a battle against a storm elemental, he simply smiled to the crew and politely suggested that they might want to get to safety and not endanger any of the bystanders on the streets below.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The Gentleman has never been seen wearing anything other than his impressively elegant tuxedo, complete with sash and buttonhole rose.
  • Sidekick: He partnered with Loony Leo for a while, and in the 1950s worked with a teen sidekick named The Young Gentleman.

    The Crossbreed 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/91698_117884_crossbreed.jpg
A team of Christianity-themed superheroes who believe their powers are a gift from God; they spend their time proselytizing when not fighting super-villains.
  • A Friend in Need: They alert Brian to the pickpocket who took his wallet on his arrival.
  • Badass Preacher: When not fighting crime, they're usually street preachers.
  • Beast Man: Daniel is half-human, half-lion.
  • Blood Knight: Daniel may be one of these as he protests a firm reminder from Noah not to kill.
  • The Cavalry: They arrive in time to save Altar Boy if not the Confessor from the aliens.
  • Character Death: The elderly Noah is eventually revealed to have died some time between the "Confessions" arc and issue 18 of the ongoing. Without him, the rest of the Crossbreed ended up going their separate ways.
  • Combat Medic: Daniel.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Peter's power is to manipulate and control rock and soil as if it were dough.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Joshua can unleash sonic screams for various uses.
  • Meaningful Name/Sentai: The Crossbreed all wear red robes with white surplices. Their codenames are Biblical allusions to their powers:
    • Noah: The team leader. He is a bearded man with power over rain and lightning. note 
    • Mary: A woman who flies with large feathery wings. note 
    • Peter: A grey-skinned man with the power to manipulate rock.note 
    • Daniel: A half-man, half-lion Beast Man note 
    • Joshua: A blonde man who can create a destructive sonic scream. note 
    • David: A man who can immediately grow to giant size. note 
  • Natural Weapon: Daniel's main "power" are his claws and teeth. He never kills, however, at Noah's insistence.
  • Old Superhero: Noah looks to be in his sixties at least. At some point after the "Confessions" arc, he passed away, presumably from old age.
  • Petting Zoo People: Daniel.
  • Size Shifter: David can grow to gigantic size.
  • Weather Manipulation: Noah has been seen summoning rain and lightning; it is unclear if he has control over any other types of weather.
  • We Were Your Team: They break up after Noah dies.
  • Winged Humanoid: Mary is an adult woman with large feathery wings.

    The Confessor 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/confessor.jpg
"And is that why we do what we do? For public approval, for fame? Do we help people because they will be appropriately grateful — or merely because they need help?”

Real name: Jeremiah Parrish

First appearing on the scene in The '50s, The Confessor is Astro City's dark guardian, a merciless protector who fights those seeking to prey on the weak and helpless. But what shameful secret does he hide beneath his robes?


  • The Atoner: The Confessor is purposefully torturing himself by using a cross as his costume theme, as a form of mortification in penance for his killings and his self-loathing as a vampire.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: He's a vampire but also a devout man and a genuine hero.
  • Beige Prose: When asked if he's ever killed anyone, his response is "Don't... don't ask me that."
  • Clarke's Third Law: Confessor II uses technological equipment to replicate (some of) the original's abilities.
  • The Cowl: Unlike most examples, he's not part of a larger team and seldom associates with other heroes at all.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Though he operates at night and is a Terror Hero, he's not a bad guy.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Brian uncovers his secret, he drops all subtlety and goes directly after The Deacon, apparently feeling he has nothing left to lose and perhaps planning to get himself killed. Fortunately Brian talks him down.
  • Expy: To Batman.
  • Foreshadowing: Well before the 'Confession' arc, we get a glimpse at the secret files being built up about Earth's superhumans in preparation for the invasion. There are pretty comprehensive write-ups on other heroes, but for the Confessor: "No image available, civilian identity unknown, powers: possible super strength, others unknown." His image can't be captured on film, he's never around in the daytime, and he tries to keep anybody from noticing the pattern that his powers fit.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: He's actually a vampire
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Confessor is famous enough that newspapers actively try to photograph him after his every appearance, but he's not easily found. This also applies to his powers as a vampire, which account for how difficult it is to find him — he doesn't show up in mirrors, like cameras.
  • Legacy Character: The Confessor is succeeded by Brian Kinney at the end of the "Confession" arc.
  • Legacy Immortality: After his death, Altar Boy takes over as the next Confessor, and doesn't bother to inform anyone that he's not the same guy, because it makes it easier to take advantage of their fear.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Jeremiah Parrish arrived in North America in 1869.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The Confessor originally existed as little more than a legend because no video footage or photos of him had ever been taken. This is because he's a vampire.
  • Sinister Minister: Subverted in that while the Confessor is actually a priest, he's heroic to the innocent. Then subverted again when he is outed as a vampire.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: You turn around and there he is. Or isn't.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Broken Man mentions he used the Confessor for his own ends a few times.

    Altar Boy/Confessor II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/altar_boy.jpg
"This isn’t what I thought it would be like. It isn’t what I thought at all. It looked simple… but it’s not."

Real name: Brian Kinney

After his parents died and left him an orphan, Brian Kinney left his small town to make a successful name for himself in Astro City's super-hero community. He soon joins the Confessor as his sidekick Altar Boy, and learns the true power of faith and sacrifice.


  • Ascended Fanboy: He was a fan of superheroes and now he is one.
  • Atrocious Alias: Brian doesn't care for "Altar Boy," but doesn't get a vote in the matter.
    Confessor: "Altar Boy or busboy. Your choice."
  • Badass Normal: He originally had no powers.
  • Dramatic Irony: Brian contemplates a superhero in action while thinking how they get respect. The hero in question is Crackerjack, who gets less respect than his heroism and skills merit, because his Glory Hound ways mar them.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Altar Boy's motive for superheroing is to get respect. He learns better.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: After becoming Confessor, he augments his abilities with magic.
  • Expy: Of Robin, particularly of Dick Grayson (popularity with women and detective skills).
  • Glory Seeker: He wants the fame and glory, though he's willing to earn it.
  • Legacy Character: When he takes up the mantle of the Confessor at the end of the "Confession" story arc.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Brian wants to be a superhero to avoid this trope.
  • Removed Achilles' Heel: As far as the bad guys know, he's still a vampire but is now immune to crosses, garlic, etc.
  • Welcome to the Big City: Brian gets one soon after arriving in Astro City.

    Supersonic 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/supersonic.jpg
Click here to see Dale Enright. 

"I was never at a loss for a plan, no matter how convoluted. I tried not to repeat myself, tried to top my last save — and I had the energy and brains and speed and ingenuity to do it."

Real name: Dale Enright

The high-flying hero of Arizona, Supersonic was a sterling sight in The '60s and Seventies, battling America's enemies with style and aplomb. He eventually retired to a life of quiet tranquility, but gets pulled into action one more time...


  • Are These Wires Important?: Ultimately used by Supersonic to stop the fight against Ominuss' robot.
  • Back from the Dead: After a battle with Lady Lethal, Supersonic suffered massive blood loss and extensive organ damage and was declared legally dead, yet managed to recover while on the autopsy table. His recovery was later cited by a defense attorney in a murder trial.
  • Call to Agriculture: Dale spends his retirement tending to his rose garden.
  • Expy: He represents The Silver Age of Comic Books. His Super Dickery and clever, if sometimes silly, tactics (see The Strategist, below) were both favorite tropes during the era.
  • Dented Iron: Either one too many bumps to the head or simply the onset of senility have dulled his once brilliant strategic mind.
  • Flying Brick: He's super strong and can fly.
  • Got Volunteered: After retiring, Dale moved to Astro City and tended to his garden, but was badgered out of retirement to battle a rampaging robot at a time when the city's other superheroes were unavailable.
  • Heroic Vow: In his heyday, Supersonic pledged to always use a new and original method to defeat each of his opponents, and is proud of never having to repeat a tactic twice. He is shamed when his impending senility has reduced him to simply battering a rampaging robot into submission.
  • Hero Insurance: He observes, in the end, that Astro City is really good at disaster relief, so they will be able to cope with his collateral damage.
  • Old Superhero: He's retired from superheroing.
  • The Strategist: Supersonic was this in his golden days, and enjoyed using his intellect to devise new ways to defeat his opponents. Likely a call back to early Silver Age comics where the hero's defeating the villain often was treated as a puzzle.
  • Superdickery: After an adventure that temporarily gave him 16 exact doubles, Dale took his girlfriend Caroleen to a dance as Supersonic, and had one of his doubles attend in his secret identity of Dale Enright — just to mess with her.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Enforced; Supersonic fights Ominuss’ rampaging robot by battering it into submission, as he is too old to think of a clever, original, or non-violent way to stop it otherwise.
    • Then subverted where he does find a way of being able to stop Ominuss' robot.

    Roustabout 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/roustabout.jpg
"Howdy, boys. You're rousted."

Real name: Calvin Arnold Rory (presumed); alias Rick

A non-Astro City superhero, from the first story set outside the city. Presumed (on Herocopia) to be a man who claimed to have suffered involuntary experiments at the hands of TransGene International, but was unable to prove it and was convicted of breaking and entering on their property. He escaped jail.

He is now living in secret in the Arcadian countryside, acting as a superhero, working as a roustabout at a carnival, and being protected by the country folk, who act as Secret Keepers for him.


  • Arrested for Heroism: Capture two executives performing lethal experiments, get convicted yourself of breaking and entering.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": His costume includes a large belt with crossed "R"s.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Saving a life from a falling crane would be this, if he weren't surrounded by people who pretend not to notice.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker: Team Carnivore announces, when trying to capture him, that their bosses need to take him apart and figure out how he works to fix them.
  • Disposable Vagrant: The victims of the experiments were all drifters or people who worked in rural regions.
  • Flawed Prototype: Team Carnivore seems to be a more successful experiment in the company's eyes.
  • Flying Brick: Camilla characterizes his powers as "vanilla."
  • Genetic Engineering: The presumed source of his powers.
  • Hero of Another Story: The story is actually about a City Mouse adjusting to country life, and learning to become Roustabout's Secret Keeper.
  • Immune to Bullets: One of his powers.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: there's even some evidence during the story that he's telling the truth.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Claims to have escaped the experiments because the sedation failed. Team Carnivore backs up the story with their insistance on taking him back to their bosses to be taken apart so they can figure out how he worked.
  • Secret Relationship: He and his girlfriend naturally keep it quiet.
  • Shooting Superman: Introduced taking down bank robbers he has clashed with before. They haven't learned. He lampshades it with humor.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the experiments.
  • Stern Chase: He has to keep moving, whenever caught.
  • Super Prototype: He's better than all of Team Carnivore, who want him because they think it means they can work out what went wrong with them.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Roustabout is full of down-on-the-farm wit when taking down a gang of bank robbers.
    "Sheriff's got the lockup cleaned out by now, I'll bet. You do this for the cafe meals, don't you?"

    Starfighter 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/starfighter.jpg

Real name: Duncan Keller

Duncan Keller was serving in Vietnam when he started seeing a temple no-one else could. The symbol, the shape, he saw on the temple gave him clarity and a sense of purpose, and he started trying to fix it in his mind. When he finally succeeded, he found himself transformed into the hero Starfighter, in which role he would serve for many years. As time passed, he found he was called on less and less, effectively entering semi-retirement, giving him the opportunity to start a family and pursue his dream of writing.


  • Combo Platter Powers: The Lorus can give someone a super-powered form, be used to open portals from place to place and wipe memories, among other things.
  • Expy: Of Green Lantern, if you squint. A space hero with an extremely versatile power set, guided by an outside force.
    • He has many similarities to the Proto-Superhero John Carter of Mars, in that they are both humans who travel to an alien planet, gain superpowers, save the planet, and end up marrying the local alien queen.
    • He also has a few similarities to James Robinson's Starman. He's powered by a nebulous cosmic force, has a star emblem, wears casual flight gear that resembles Starman's, and has a heavy focus on legacy.
  • Geometric Magic: The Lorus is called upon by drawing shapes in the air.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: his children.
  • Happily Married: To Illula, Seven-Fold Empress of Jarranatha.
  • Interspecies Romance: See Happily Married.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: And he has.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: One of his powers.
  • Kid Sidekick: Tried to teach one, and failed. Had to use the amnesia powers on him.
  • Non-Idle Rich: He's a writer, though he doesn't need the money.
  • Overprotective Dad: First reaction to learning that his daughter is not only training as one of the new Starfighters with four others, but one of those four, a human young man, is romantically interested in her. His wife cools him down.
  • Planetary Romance: A lot of his adventures.
  • Retired Badass: He discovers he's this after a time and makes his peace with it.
  • Rich Boredom: he's aware of the danger, hence the writing.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Lorus, the source of his powers. Also, he discovers, the force that decides it's time for him to retire.

    Hummingbird 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hummingbird_i.jpg
Real name: Barbara Hammcher

An early member of Honor Guard, Hummingbird fought crime with her uncanny aim, buzz-ray, and luminescent flight suit. After an adventure in Peru, she discovered she was pregnant, and soon retired from super-heroics to raise her child as a single parent.


  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias form.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Aside from her flight suit and equipment, Hummingbird's most formidable skill is her marksmanship.
  • Rescue Romance: She rescued her daughter's father against attackers and was thus drawn into helping his people.
  • Retired Badass: When her daughter is born, she stops the superheroics.
  • Reunion Kiss: When a Cool Gate lets her reunite with her beloved, years after their separation.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: When she went to tell her daughter's father about the baby, she learned that he was magically bringing his people into another world — and had to go with them. She could not bring herself to leave her own.

    Hummingbird II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hummingbird_2.jpg
"When I finally started my career as the new Hummingbird, it felt SO GOOD!"

Real name: Amanda Hammcher

The daughter of the original Hummingbird, Barbara grew up relatively normal, though raised by a cadre of super-powered honorary aunts and uncles. When she was old enough, she leaped into superheroics without pause, and became estatic when her meta-abilities manifested — at least, until the price of those powers became known...


  • Alien Hair: It's starting to turn into feathers.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: She acquires hummingbird powers, then finds that she is being turned into a bird.
  • Baleful Polymorph: She finds herself slowly metamorphosing.
  • Cursed with Awesome: In "Lucky Girl," she discovers that her gods-granted powers are tainted with a curse that will eventually turn her into a real bird. She rejects an offer to be cured by having her powers removed, choosing instead to deal with her fate with the help of her Honorary Aunts.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: He took his people into another world for safety, and the spell required him to go with them.
  • Dangerous Twelfth Birthday: It does not seem so at the time, but her wings are the first sign of something dangerous.
  • Disappeared Dad: Her father vanished into another world before her birth.
  • Flight: On her twelfth birthday, she sprouts wings.
  • Honorary Aunt: She observes that the male members of Honor Guard were always ready to help when needed, but her real connection was with the female ones — the aunts.
  • Jumped at the Call: Amanda goes into super-heroics even before her powers appeared.
  • Legacy Character: Daughter of the first Hummingbird.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Solid black eyes are what convinces her that she's got a problem.
  • Plucky Girl: Isn't going to let her curse get her down.
  • Revenge by Proxy: She is cursed by a being her mother defeated.

     Greymalkin (formerly Kitkat) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tabitha_grey.jpg

Real name: Tabitha Grey

Tabitha Grey started her crime-fighting career as Kitkat, the teen sidekick to Leopardman and a founding member of Honor Guard. After Leopardman retired, she pursued a solo career as the heroine Greymalkin, then changed from acrobatics to the arcane by mastering the mystic arts. Today, Greymalkin mostly keeps to herself, earning spooky whispers while serving as a magical consultant to other heroes.


  • All Witches Have Cats: And she has a lot.
  • The Archmage: She apparently learned magic after becoming Greymalkin, and she's the person Hummingbird consults about her Baleful Polymorph.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Lives in a spooky Victorian mansion studying the mystic arts with an army of cats.
  • Expy: A rare one at that - as Kitkat, she was one of Kitten, the sidekick of the Batman-like Catman (not to be confused with the DC character of the same name), a minor comics hero from The '40s note . Indirectly (and more obviously), she's one of Robin.
  • Kid Sidekick: To Leopardman.
  • Meaningful Rename: She not only ceased to be a sidekick, but learned magic in the course of becoming Greymalkin.
  • Retired Badass: Hummingbird goes to consult her after her retirement. The Silver Adept also regularly calls her as a backup for various mystical malfeasance.

     Atomicus 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/atomicus.jpg
"If this is humanity, I don't want it, you hear me? I don't want ANY of it!"

"Real name": Adam Peterson

A mysterious being who formed within a nuclear reactor in 1961 and became one of Astro City's premier heroes, only to leave Earth forever a short time later.


     The N-Forcer 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/n_forcer.jpg
Real name: Unknown

  • Barrier Warrior: Can create force fields.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: The corporate symbol of N.R.-gistics Inc (and formerly that of Nicholls-Royce Electronics).
  • Energy Beings: His suit turns his body into "N-force".
  • Expy: Of Iron Man, sort of.
  • Legacy Character: Dialogue indicates that the current N-Forcer isn't the first one to wear the suit.
  • Power Armor: The N-Forcer suit.
  • Shrouded in Myth: As he's been active since 1959, in-universe speculation is that the suit is piloted by a single long-lived individual or an elite group of successors.
  • Super Strength: It's unclear if this is a side-effect of being an energy being or the suit itself.

     El Hombre 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/el_hombre.jpg
"Have no fear, citizens of Los Angeles! El Hombre is here — and your salvation is at hand!"

Real name: Esteban Rodrigo Suarez Hidalgo

Once a great hero, now a broken old man trapped in his memories.


  • Accidental Murder: People died as a result of the giant robot he commissioned, and he'd have faced charges if his true identity were known.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "So your message, Estaban, is simple: Work hard, stay out of trouble—then inherit two hundred million dollars and everything will be fine?" This inspired him to become El Hombre as a role model.
  • Badass Cape: With metal plates to deflect attacks and weapon fire.
  • Badass Normal: His skills and tools are all he has.
  • Braids of Barbarism: El Hombre's mask has a fake braid down the back.
  • Broken Ace: Handsome, rich, talented, and respected for his actions in and out of costume...but not nearly as much as he craved.
  • Carpet of Virility: Specifically mentioned in the character design notes.
  • Culture Equals Costume: His design is modeled after a very streamlined matador.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crossed it when the woman he loved married a fiery rival political activist. As he'd already been feeling irrelevant and ineffective in both identities, this pushed him over the edge.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Felt this in both his civilian and hero identities. As Hidalgo, he never felt accepted by the Latino community no matter how much money and time he spent improving the neighborhood. As El Hombre he was disappointed to learn that he was the least popular of the Honor Guard and disgusted with himself to realize that he actually cared about that.
  • Engineered Heroics: Made a deal with The Assemblyman to create a robot that he could defeat, winning the adulation of the public. The Assemblyman backstabbed him and revealed everything.
  • Exact Words: When he talks about how the worst part of his scheme was knowing how close it came to working perfectly and how that all that mattered was what people saw on the surface, he's not talking about how he would have ended up living a lie.
  • Expy:
    • Of Batman. Yes, again.
    • He also contains elements reminiscent of Green Arrow. Mainly as a Rich Idiot with No Day Job who later developed a social conscience and wanted to better his community while maintaining some showboating qualities and taking in a young sidekick. Hidalgo's fall from grace shows what would've happened if Green Arrow's ego got the better of him, and his falling out with Bravo can be considered a parallel to how Green Arrow's falling out with Speedy happened due to his failures as a mentor and how they affected the young man.
  • Fallen Hero: After his deal with The Assemblyman is revealed.
  • Glory Hound: Came to realize that he'd been as motivated by this as a desire to improve the community. He hasn't grown out of it.
  • Heroism Addict: Tried to pull this off and failed. Twice.
  • Idiot Ball: Sure, why not trust the mad scientist who you've busted numerous times to willingly participate in a scheme to make you popular?
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Specifically mentioned in the character design notes.
  • Motive Rant: Although neither Steeljack nor the reader are aware of it at the time, talking about his backstory amounts to this.
  • Old Shame: In-universe. Hidalgo despises himself for his past actions. But maybe he can do something about everyone else hating him...
  • Parental Substitute: For Bravo/Ruiz. In fact, he moved from L.A. to Astro City in order to proudly watch over his protégé's career.
  • Parrying Bullets: Could do this with his whip.
  • The Power of Legacy: Why the details of his turn as the Conquistador are never revealed to the public.
  • Race Traitor: Gets accused of this by one of the criminals he busts. He knows it's a baseless insult, but it still stings.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The eye-holes of his mask seen to have red plastic over them, and he turns out to be far less of a hero than he appears.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Averts this in his civilian identity, sinking tons of his money into charity and neighborhood improvement and working as a community organizer.
  • Sidekick: Bravo.
  • Stealth Pun: Someone accuses "El Hombre" of working for "The Man".
  • Whip It Good: Uses a titanium-steel whip which can deliver electrical shocks.

     Bravo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bravo_5.jpg
Real name: Ruiz (First name unrevealed)

An angry street kid brought in by El Hombre and trained as a sidekick. Managed to carry on after his mentor's disgrace, protecting a world that mistrusted and despised him. He eventually hung his bolas up and became a cop.


  • Arm Cannon: Fires his bolas from a wrist launcher as an adult.
  • Badass Cape: Metal-plated like his mentor's.
  • Badass Normal: Like his mentor.
  • Berserk Button: Understandably reacts really badly when Steeljack brings up El Hombre.
  • Broken Pedestal: Upon learning about El Hombre's scheme.
  • Expy: Of the Jason Todd Robin, a street kid who was trained by an older hero.
  • Friend on the Force: To the Irregulars, Goldenglove II, and Steeljack.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: El Hombre's actions left a stain that tainted his entire career, but he persisted.
  • Killer Yoyo: Wields bolas in combat, using them as melee and thrown weapons.
  • Nice Hat: Although Busiek isn't sure what it's called. He apparently decides to ditch it as an adult.
  • Parental Abandonment: Lost his parents through unrevealed circumstances, and all his brothers died due to gang violence.
  • Parental Substitute: His relationship with El Hombre. Even after everything that happened, it's shown he still cares about him.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Founded the Astro City Irregulars, a team of outcasts like himself.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After a rocky start, Detective Ruiz turns out to be one of these.
  • Secret Keeper: Chose not to reveal El Hombre's secret identity, sparing Hidalgo criminal charges.
  • Sidekick: Starts out as one of these to El Hombre, striking out on his own after his mentor falls.
  • Spiteful Spit: Gave one to Hidalgo.
  • Superior Successor: Had a much greater impact than his mentor. Forming the Irregulars alone has given all kinds of former villains and at-risk misfits a place to belong for almost forty years.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Retired as Bravo to become a police officer, but left retirement to lead the Omega Rangers. The second retirement stuck.

     Flying Fox II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flying_fox.jpg
Real name: Samantha Cronin

Daughter of the woman who drove Atomicus away from Earth, her mother's determination and perseverance inspired her to become a superhero.


     Goldenglove II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/goldenglove.jpg
Goldenglove in 1998.
Click here to see her in 2016. 
"You're a loser — so you think everyone's a loser! Well I'm not! I'm different! I'm special! I got what it takes! No more macaroni! No more sweaty boys' hands! No more hand-me-downs!"

Real name: Yolanda Costello

The daughter of blue-collar supervillain Goldenglove, Yolanda is determined to rise above her circumstances by any means possible. She was originally tempted by a life of crime, but the intervention of some well-meaning interlopers eventually set her on the path of heroes.


    Starbright I 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/starbright_i.jpg
"Just because people look at you and see something they don't understand, it doesn't mean you have to be whatever they see. It's all up to you. All you have to do is just be yourself. Figure out who you really are and be that. Just as much as you possibly can. Light up the world with it."

Real name: Chet Markham

    Starbright II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/starbright_ii.jpg
"I just hope—I don't really believe in destiny, but if I've got one, I hope it's something worthwhile."

Real name: "S", formerly Simon Siezmanski

  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Starbright I was a heterosexual white male, Starbright II is a transwoman.
  • Break the Haughty: Simon was a full out mad scientist filled with bitterness toward humanity and delusions of superiority. Starbright's death and the reveal of his identity as Chet utterly crushed Simon and changed all of that.
  • Does Not Know How to Say "Thanks": Simon's way of thanking Starbright for her birthday party was setting a death trap that was really easy to escape. Starbright understands anyway.
  • Easy Sex Change: If you consider extensively researching Starbright's energy powers and figuring out how to give them to yourself, then using them to accurately alter the sex of your baseline human form (a process that appears to be agonizing in whole or in part) "easy", then sure. Simon still undergoes counseling and hormone treatments first, though.
  • Energy Being: Can shift into one, like Starbright I. As she's shown using energy blasts, unlike him, it's possible that Simon made some improvements.
  • Expy: Of Lex Luthor, particularly the Silver Age version who knew Clark Kent's Superboy.
  • Flying Brick: Presumably. She hasn't really had a chance to show her stuff.
  • Friendless Background: Averted. Simon actually had some friends among the geeks and outsiders at school. Enough to throw a party, at least.
  • Friendly Enemy: Simon Says arrogantly mocks Starbright, and thinks his heroism is foolish, but it's made clear later that she regarded Starbright as one of the only people who truly understood and cared about her.
  • Gender Bender: As mentioned above.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Moved by Starbright's aka Chet's kindness and belief, Simon Says transitions into the second Starbright (and becomes a young woman as well
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Simon Says's price for putting her vast intellect at Starbright's disposal for twenty-four hours? Taking all of Simon's old friends to her sixteenth birthday party.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: As Simon Says.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Simon is reduced to this upon Starbright's death.
  • Irony: After being bullied her whole life, Simon's own prejudice blinded her to Starbright's true identity.
  • Jerkass Woobie: invokedSimon Says claimed superiority over the "morons and throwbacks" that made up most of humanity, but was clearly damaged and bitterly lonely.
  • Kid Hero: Her former classmate and friend Rick recently graduated high school, implying that she's the same age.
  • Legacy Character: To the first Starbright.
  • Mad Scientist: As Simon Says.
  • Meaningful Rename: Like many transgender people, she stops going by her old name, but hasn't decided on a new one yet so simply goes by "S".
  • Mistaken Identity: Simon believed that a compassionate soul like Starbright could only be a misunderstood outsider of some sort, and so thought that his secret identity was her crippled black friend Rick. Finding out (posthumously) that Starbright had been a straight rich white quarterback blew Simon's mind.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: A variant. At her party, Simon has a friendly conversation with Rick about her motivations and going straight, and mentions that she truly likes him. At the time, Simon thinks that she's talking to Starbright's secret identity.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Rick, possibly. Put it this way, if it turns out they are romantically involved, it wouldn't be much of a shock.
  • Power Glows: Orangish-pink.
  • Superior Successor: "S" might not agree, but Simon has amply demonstrated what her intellect wedded to Starbright's power could accomplish.
  • Sobriquet Sex Switch: Defied; she doesn't want to use Simone as her new name, because she doesn't perceive authentically living as a woman as simply "Simon but a woman".
  • Super Strength: Assumedly, although she doesn't demonstrate it in-story.
  • Tears of Remorse: Simon is crushed upon realizing how horribly she'd misjudged Chet Markham... aka Starbright.
  • Teen Genius: In criminal deduction as well as science.
  • That Man Is Dead: "S" wants to make a complete break from her former life.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: A lifetime of bullying caused Simon to turn her back on society and become a mad scientist.
  • Transgender: It takes a while for Simon to come around to it, largely because the jocks who'd tormented her had used it to mock her and so she'd naturally resisted the idea.

    The Assemblyman II 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/assemblyman_ii.jpg
Real name: Ken (Surname unknown)

One of the newer members of the Honor Guard, little has been revealed about him as yet.


    The Point Man 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/point_man_1.jpg
Real name: Unrevealed

A superhero and member of the Omega Rangers during the 80's, The Point Man inadvertently became responsible for a great deal of the misery of the latter Dark Age.


  • Didn't Think This Through: Point Man's M.O. is to take swift, decisive actions to solve the problem in front of him immediately. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it really, really doesn't.
  • Expy: Of the Guy Gardner Green Lantern. A brash, headstrong, jerk who manipulates a form of green energy.
  • Hand Blast: Creates triangle-shaped "points" of energy in his hands that he flings or launches at foes.
  • Flechette Storm: Can use his energy "points" like this.
  • Flight: One of his powers.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Seems to be much smarter than you'd expect, figuring out that Hellsignor's dominance was basically a death sentence for his followers and sussing out how to fire the Innocent Gun rather quickly.
    • His apologetic speech to Sarah Brandeis/Cleopatra implies that he hates the things he's been forced to do as a hero.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How he justifies his actions.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In spite of everything, it's shown that he does have a decent heart under the arrogance, and that he regards super-heroism as a burden that no one should be forced into.
  • Meaningful Name: His energy attack takes the form of triangle points, and his powers and impetuous attitude often have him at the forefront of situations.
  • Never My Fault: Ignored the people warning him not to fire the Innocent Gun, then blamed them for not putting some indication on the gun that firing it was dangerous. Still, a Mr. Yuk sticker or something might have been a good idea.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sometimes a gun is more than "just" a gun.
  • Shoot the Dog: Tends to take it upon himself to shoot a lot of dogs he may not necessarily have to.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Another of his powers.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted. He has no qualms about using potentially-lethal force against his foes or killing Hellsignor's thralls, who were going to die when he was defeated anyway. Also killed the plant-soldiers of E.N.G.I.N.E, though they were still developing. (They sure felt pain, though. Brr.)
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Innocent Gun was meant to be fired by a pure soul, at the right foe, at the right time. The Point Man using it to shoot Kerresh was none of those things, and it opened a rift in reality, killing hundreds, and causing dark, corrupting energy to seep into Astro City and its people, as well as allowing The Pale Horseman to enter our world. Finally, the Innocent Gun can only be fired once, so it won't be available to use against whatever it was supposed to kill.

    American Chibi 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/american_chibi.jpg

"SPLAMMO! Did you see that? Did you see that? Came up through the street from the subway tunnels! You didn't even see me coming!"

Real name: inapplicable. Her successor is Marguerite Li.

An exuberant young heroine resembling an anime character come to life, small skinny body with a disproportionately large head. Revealed to have been brought to life by The Unbodied in a bid to gain a foothold in the real world, using the subconscious mind of video game designer Marguerite Li.


    Silver Adept 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/silver_adept_0.jpg
"...the Silver Adept, Champion of the Light. Renowned across countless realities. The savior of more living souls than you can possibly imagine. And yaddita yaddita yaddita..."
Real name: Kimberly To

One of the most powerful mages in the world, her role is to protect this dimension from supernatural threats.


  • Alien Lunch: Implied on at least one occasion:
    "I was in one of the Enfolded dimensions. I calmed an ifrit. There was a celebration, it went late. But there was sushi. Amazing, fantastic sushi. At least I think it was sushi..."
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her main uniform
  • Expy: Her position of Champion of the Light makes her an expy of Doctor Strange, while her wardrobe and decidedly more flighty personality makes her one to Strange's one-time disciple and lover Clea.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Tends to do that when celebrating her victories.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Her personal assistant Raitha McCann handles the day-to-day operations, leaving Kim free to fight the major threats.
    • Later, after Marta Dobrescu defends her successfully in a cosmic court, Kim hires her as her personal attorney.
  • The Red Baron: "The Champion of the Light"
  • Ring... Ring... CRUNCH: Tends to go through a lot of alarm clocks:
    Silver Adept: I set the alarm, I swear I set the alarm!
    Raitha(noticing an alarm clock embedded in the wall above the door frame): I don't doubt it.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The Orb of Ebon Stillness allows the wielder access to a pocket dimension where time goes much slower than in our world. Kim enters this dimension to allow herself time to prepare a series of wards to protect an interdimensional world from demons. Normally the wards would take days to prepare but with the Orb she can complete the wards in a matter of hours.

    Wolfspider 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wolfspider.jpg
Real name: Ben Colstone

A size-shifting hero hailing from Australia.


  • Determinator: Bitten by an incredibly venomous spider, he managed to stay clear-headed enough to capture it and take it back to his mother before finally passing out. He was also six years old.
  • Expy: A combination of Spider-Man and Ant-Man.
  • Fake Weakness: Channels his venom-blasts through his Skyflyer, so people don't realize he's doing it himself.
  • Flying Car: His Skyflyer.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He gets it from his mother.
  • Genre Blind: As he himself notes, he probably should have questioned the sudden appearance of his favorite childhood cartoon heroes a little more instead of eagerly offering to join their team.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: A side-effect of the spider venom and the serum that cured him.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Part of his mutation allows his brain to be able to control four extra limbs, which are provided by his arm-harness.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: Helpful when building things.
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon: As a youth, he was particularly obsessed with a superhero cartoon called "Queenslaw".
  • Shock and Awe: Has the ability to fire "venom-blasts" from his body that can destroy objects and have an effect on enemies similar to being tasered.
  • Sizeshifter: The cure his mother spent sixteen years developing to counter the effects of the venom allowed him to grow to normal size and shrink at will.

    Reflex 6 
Astro City's super-teen team for the 21st century, Reflex 6 fights crime with style, panache, and all of the social awareness of today's ever-connected generation.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Reflex 6 has corporate sponsors, and benefits include a stipend for members, branding research, and a genre-saavy marketing department.
  • Emotion Control: This is the primary power for Medulla.
  • Energy Being: Astra Furst of the First Family is a member.
  • Intangibility: Jimmy Shade can render all or part of himself intangible at will.
  • Power Armor: Team Leader Skyraker wears an armored flying suit that can interface with various computer systems.
  • Super Speed: Tearaway is the obligatory team speedster.
  • Word Salad Title: Good luck figuring out what "Reflex 6" refers to.
    Crackerjack: I mean, 'Reflex 6'? What does that even mean?

    The Astro-Naut 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/astronaut.jpg
Real name: Roy Virgil

Before Samaritan, before the Silver Agent, there was Roy Virgil, the Astro-Naut, the man who inaugurated the first age of superheroes in the 1930s/40s. A genius engineer and inventor, he fought evil on Earth and many other worlds, ultimately putting his life on the line to save his home city of Romeyn Falls from an alien invasion before disappearing forever. In his honor, they renamed Romeyn Falls Astro City.


  • Ambiguous Ending: His ultimate fate. Did he survive his Heroic Sacrifice? Did he ever find Xalzana? It's left open, but his friend Joe liked to think he did, that he earned his happy ending.
  • Badass Mustache: In the mould of Errol Flynn.
  • Badass Normal: No powers, just a once-in-a-lifetime mind.
  • The Casanova: Said to have been a ladies' man.
  • Chest Insignia: Which became the Astro City logo.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Emphasis on "genius" - he came up with inventions subsequent heroes like Augustus Furst and the N-Forcer would discover independently decades later.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Partly the era, partly badass.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Stopped the Mrevani invasion by blowing up their flying base, but was badly injured in the process. Whatever happened to him afterwards, he never returned to Earth.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His refusal to share his inventions with the US government left the public feeling shocked and betrayed. His shell-shock likely played a large part in why he didn't explain his reasons for not sharing. People still believed in him, they just didn't like talking about him.
  • Non-Idle Rich: A millionaire inventor and hero.
  • The One That Got Away: Xalzana, a Green-Skinned Space Babe he met during his adventures, who went missing after an attack on the night he'd meant to propose.
  • Planetary Romance: A good part of his adventures.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: A later plot point has the Astro-Naut refuse to share his super-genius technology with the government and the rest of the world despite the countless possibilities. It's revealed this is because he fears that humanity is not ready to be entrusted with such inventions, based on his experiences with the Mrevani. It's a subtle example of one compared to others, but it's not implied that he discovered the Mrevani to be Not So Different from humans.
  • Science Hero: Appears to have preferred using his inventions to fight evil.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Following his first encounter with the warlike Mrevani, he withdrew from society, becoming a recluse.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: After meeting the Mrevani, he went from a man who saw the limitless possibilities that awaited humanity out in the universe to a man concerned that humanity wasn't responsible enough to be out there yet.
  • The World Is Not Ready: His motive for not sharing his technology with the US government; he couldn't trust humanity would use his inventions responsibly, that they wouldn't end up following in the Mrevani's footsteps.

     The Living Nightmare 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/living_nightmare.jpg

The Living Nightmare was the product of an early '60s experiment Gone Horribly Wrong - an attempt to eliminate fear instead resulted in it being externalized, manifesting as a monster. Over the subsequent decades, the Nightmare was controlled by both villains and heroes, used to serve their ends... until it finally asserted its independence.


  • Anthropomorphic Personification: It's a manifestation of human fear, and that fear shapes and sustains it. If need be, it can draw on that fear to bolster its determination.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Described as "some kind of living nightmare" by one of the heroes who first fought it, and it stuck.
  • As Long as There is Evil: In the Nightmare's case, it's 'as long as there is fear'.
  • Belly Mouth: Its mouth is situated on its chest. Its configuration as of "Nightmare Life" also adds a pair of eyes and a nose above it, so it now has a face there.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zigzagged with Dark Is Evil. The Nightmare isn't evil left to itself, but it's been used for evil by others.
  • Dream Spying: During "Nightmare Life", dreamers share in what the Nightmare's thinking and experiencing.
  • Emotion Control: Able to absorb fear and return it amplified.
  • The Empath: Can sense what others are feeling, particularly fear.
  • Energy Absorption: Able to absorb the energy of the heroes who fight it.
  • Expy: Of the Savage Hulk, when initially introduced - a violent, destructive creature of great strength that lashed out at anything that threatened it, created by an experiment with unintended consequences.
  • Extra Eyes: A ring of eyes on its head-equivalent, plus a pair on its chest in its "Nightmare Life" configuration, all of which glow.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Forced on the Nightmare. As control of it switched from user to user, it went from villain to hero to villain again, until it finally broke free, deciding to become a hero.
  • Horrifying Hero: Has been before, as piloted by Peter Carney, and seeks to be again.
  • Hulk Speak: When it finally speaks. Its version seems to be of the 'more intelligent than it sounds' type.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Historically, villains controlled the Nightmare through the use of pain and fear to compel its obedience - until it overcame its fear of the pain.
  • Living Weapon: What the Nightmare was chiefly used for by others.
  • Logical Weakness: Being dependent on human fear to sustain and empower it, if it's far enough away from anyone, it temporarily dies - although said distance is somewhere between Earth orbit and the Sun.
  • Meat Puppet: A heroic version, oddly enough; for a while, the Nightmare was mentally piloted by Lieutenant Peter Carney through a Mind-Control Device, directing it to fight for justice.
  • Mind Virus: Traces of it were once used to inflict bad dreams on Samaritan. When it was extracted, the mini-Nightmares began recombining into a single Nightmare.
  • No Biological Sex: No sexual characteristics, and no apparent gender identification, though one or two people have used "him".
  • No-Sell: It's able to punch through Samaritan's Empyrean Web as if it's not there.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Inspired by Honor Guard's example in "Nightmare Life", the Nightmare overcomes the fear and pain being used to control it, and follows the commands back to their origin to confront its current master, Doctor Dominax.
  • Quest for Identity: Its goal as of the end of "Nightmare Life", seeking to learn how to be a person and a hero.
  • Reluctant Monster: When it started out, it was naive, curious, and unwittingly dangerous.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Even if killed, it will reform, for fear never ends.
  • Shapeshifting: When it was first created, it reconfigured itself based on what it saw in people's minds, eventually ending up with the main form it has in the series. It still has at least some of that mutability, both involuntarily, the details of its form shifting over time, and voluntarily, growing temporary wings to allow it to fly.
  • Super Strength: Smashes walls and floors easily.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Able to walk between shadows in a form of short-range teleportation.
  • Throat Light: In the Nightmare's case, it's as much a sign of something to fear as it is a sign of power, especially given its mouth is in its chest.
  • You Can Talk?: Honor Guard's reaction when the Nightmare finally speaks in "Nightmare Life".

    Mister Cakewalk 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mister_cakewalk.jpg

In the early years of the 20th century, the roguish Mister Cakewalk embarrassed and humiliated the wealthy and privileged of Romeyn Falls, standing up for the poor and oppressed.


  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Gold and black skin, giving his face the appearance of a golden mask.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: He is the personification of counterculture music, "whatever's new, and moving young people to feel, to move, to act".
  • Fad Super: Embodying ragtime, and the spirit of cakewalk it came from.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: He and Dame Progress have something that might be a rivalry, might be a romance, or perhaps even both.
  • Gentleman Thief: Dresses to fit the part, though he doesn't quite talk like it.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Steals from the rich and gives to the needy.
  • Nice Hat: A white top hat.
  • No-Sell: He's unaffected by Dame Progress's pneumo-tranquilizing shells, though he does admit they sting.
  • The Nth Doctor: The first incarnation of living counterculture music.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: A light-colored suit, black-and-red waistcoat, red bowtie, top hat and cane.
  • Super Reflexes: Agile, nimble, and quick on his feet, jumping around with superhuman agility.
  • Totally Radical: Described as talking like something out of a minstrel show.
  • The Trickster: Dedicated to showing up the rich and privileged.

    Jazzbaby 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jazzbaby.jpg

Civilian alias: Harmony Chord

A Jazz Age heroine who threw down with the underworld of Romeyn Falls, both human and otherworldly.


    Zootsuit 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zootsuit.jpg

A hero of whom little is known, first appearing with the zoot suit riots of the Forties.


  • All There in the Manual: His name's given in the solicit for issue #41, but not the actual comic, finally showing up in issue #45. As it turns out, his name actually was supposed to be revealed in #41, but an editing error removed the thought box mentioning him. It was later restored in the trade collection.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Gold skin, like his predecessors.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Like Mr Cakewalk and Jazzbaby, he was the latest personification of counterculture music.
  • Bouncing Battler: From the little we see of him, this is how he fights.
  • Fad Super: Representing zoot suits, and the riots named for them.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His reputation got off to a bad start when the first time anyone had really heard of him was over how he beat up a couple of soldiers. What most people didn't know was said soldiers were actually serpent men in disguise trying to kill a young woman.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: This happened between him and a woman named Carlotta Valdez. When she meets Glamorax a couple of decades later and Glamorax finally remembers their past as Zootsuit, Glamorax apologizes, saying they hated leaving Carlotta without saying goodbye to her.
  • Nice Hat: A jaunty little number with a feather in it.
  • The Nth Doctor: The third incarnation of counterculture music.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: A zoot suit, what else?
  • Totally Radical: Not much to go on, but he seems to speak like mid-century Latinx stereotypes.

    The Bouncing Beatnik 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bouncing_beatnik.jpg

A hero for the 50s, the Bouncing Beatnik was always ready to jam whenever crime reared its ugly mug. Unfortunately, the squares of Astro City weren't so appreciative of his attempts to help.


    Glamorax 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/glamorax.jpg
"Oh, don't talk about me like I'm other people, baby. Who says I can't be wherever I damn well please?"

A superhero in the 1970s, who tended to operate around Shelton Square.


  • Amazing Technicolour Population: Glam's skin is a shining white color.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Despite appearing outwardly female, Glamorax refuses to identify as any gender.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Like Mr Cakewalk, Jazzbaby, Zootsuit and the Bouncing Beatnik, Glamorax was the latest personification of counterculture music.
  • Fad Super: Glam rock, this time.
  • Light 'em Up: Glamorax can create disorienting light shows.
  • The Nth Doctor: Glam's the sixth incarnation of living counterculture music. They're the second to actually realize this and are unnerved by the thought, but thrilled by the idea of changing into something new, knowing they're going to go soon, feeling the change coming on, and even speeding up the process. Unfortunately, things don't go very well...
  • Past-Life Memories: With some help from Thomas O'Brien, Glam learns of their past lives.

    The Putrid Punk / The Peerless Punk 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/putrid_punk.jpg
"y-you— you putrid, self-satisfied, smug, useless bags of—"

The abortive last incarnation of the Spirit of Counterculture Music. Even his name (or rather, what he would have chosen to call himself) is just a guess.


  • Amazing Technicolour Population: Punk's skin is a glowing yellow color, with black patches that resemble punk band-aids or tattoos.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Heavily averted. His predecessor was completely androgynous, and beautiful to both sexes. He is aggressively male.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Had he survived, he would have been the latest personification of counterculture music.
  • The Nth Doctor: Punk is - or rather should have been - the seventh incarnation of living counterculture music. They are the only one whose change was witnessed by others, which proved to be a disastrous miscalculation on his predecessor's part...
  • Token Evil Teammate: He probably would not have been strictly evil, but it is clear that the elderly admirers, well-wishers and former lovers who gathered to witness the fundamentally kind and joyful Glamorax's transformation would have been in for a seriously rude awakening once the transformation into the angry and rather terrifying Punk was complete. The character quote above was in fact directed at them, and not the snake cult that disrupted the ritual (he was not yet aware of their presence).

    "Kittyhawk" 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kittyhawk.jpg
Nightingale and Sunshrike's pet cat, a stray they adopted in the early '80s after an accident during one of their adventures.
  • Animal Superheroes: It's a cat that has superpowers.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: According to G-Dog she has a "sardonic reserve".
  • Flight: Can unfurl a pair of functional wings from her back and make them disappear when not in use.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Got covered in mind-control goop, which somehow gave her superpowers.
  • Insistent Terminology: Inverted, as Sunshrike insists they're not calling her Kittyhawk.
  • Intangibility: Walks through barriers like there's nothing there.
  • Intellectual Animal: Though she can't talk, she's smart enough to decide to find a kidnapped girl and get Rocket Dog's assistance in tracking her down. That said, she's still enough of a cat to play around with things she really shouldn't.
  • Living a Double Life: Her new humans don't know she has superpowers and fights crime, though Nightingale has her suspicions...
  • Locked into Strangeness: Originally, she was grey and white with black stripes, but after getting covered in the goop, all her grey fur turned black.
  • Shout-Out: To Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat.

    Stormhawk 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stormhawk.jpg
Real name: Christopher "Topher" Martin

    G-Dog 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/g_dog.jpg
Real names: Andy Merton and Hank

Half-man. Half-corgi. Mostly hero. Utterly adorable.



Villains

From petty crooks to universe-shaking conquerers, here are the villains, troublemakers, and invaders who keep the heroes' days very busy and full of interest.

    The Deacon 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/deacon_2.jpg
"How can I help you, my friend?"

Real name: Deke MacManus

The most eminent crime lord of Astro City. He has no powers himself, but he doesn't need them.


  • Arch-Nemesis: To the Confessor.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: The Deacon always wears priestly robes, even though there's no evidence that he holds any ecclesiastical station. This further contrasts him from the Confessor, who is entitled to such apparel but doesn't feel worthy to wear it.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Deliberately, for creepiness.
  • Expy: To the Kingpin, in terms of his role.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Deacon is always quiet, smiling and polite, even as he orders his men to kill you in the most painful way possible.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Spends years manipulating his boss without him knowing, then kills him and takes over his position as crimelord.
  • Sinister Minister: Subverted, as the Deacon is sinister, but not an actual religious figure.
  • The Starscream: Before becoming the Deacon, Deke MacManus was second-in-command to Astro City crime boss Joey "The Platypus" Platapopoulous. He took advantage of the social tension in Astro City during the 70's to covertly hide away funds and weapons, then during the riots of '76, he revealed to The Platypus that he'd orchestrated most of the turmoil to weaken his position, then shot his former boss dead.

    The Unholy Alliance 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/unholy_alliance.jpg
"Attention Binderbeck Plaza! You've been scheduled — for DEMOLITION!"

A team of super-villains led by Demolitia. Typically consists of four or five members, with little variation in membership. They perform various villainous acts for whoever pays them, and sometimes just For the Evulz.


    Pyramid 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pyramid.jpg
An international conspiracy out for world domination, Pyramid has been active for centuries, and regularly clash with Honor Guard. They are led by the five Lords of the Theban Council, who in turn obey Pyramid's supreme commander, the Sekhmet Stone.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Pyramid has been active for centuries and conspires to take over the world.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Sekhmet Stone, a giant Sphinx-like stone face that is somehow alive and claims to have mystic insight.
  • Badass Army: The heroes of Astro City keep knocking them down, but they keep coming back up.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The group doesn't care about what social groups their recruits come from, they accept anyone, though it's implied that anyone who isn't physically fit enough to be soldiers are disposed of to prevent them from leaking information.
  • Faceless Goons: Pyramid members typically wear helmets that partially or completely cover their faces.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The ranks within Pyramid are named after animals native to the Egyptian deserts.
  • Mythical Motifs: Being a group based on Egyptian mysticism, scarabs and sphinxes are prominently featured.
  • Religion of Evil: Has aspects of this, especially with their worship of the Sekhmet Stone.
  • Take Over the World: Their goal.
  • Training from Hell: The group has dozens of paramilitary camps hidden out in the wilderness where recruits are put through an extiensive regiment of combat training and brainwashing.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Pyramid agents are trained to believe this.
    "The world is bad! The world is foul! Only Pyramid can fix it! Only the strong hand of the Scarab Throne!"

    Aubrey Jason/Lord Sovereign 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aubrey_jason.jpg
"It ends here. Your folks stay dead, you join them, and in all this carnage no one ever thinks twice about it."

Beginning as a Pyramid field commander, Aubrey Jason gradually rose through the organization and was poised to join their highest ranks. But the determined vendetta of Charles and Royal Williams derailed those plans, eventually sending him to seek greater power and leading to his transformation into Lord Sovereign.


  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When confronted by Charles and Royal Williams, he readily admits he doesn't remember — nor care about — his cold-blooded murder of their parents.
  • Casting a Shadow: As Lord Sovereign, he can control and wield the mysterious dark energies that empower him.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Aubrey Jason would have been content to remain a high-ranking member of Pyramid, but was pushed into acquiring vast power to protect himself from the relentless pursuit of the Williams brothers.
  • Dark Is Evil: Jason was already evil from the beginning, so acquiring dark energy powers was a natural fit.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: His eventual supervillain alias, "Lord Sovereign" (Or "Lord Lord", essentially), which the Williams brothers even note in-story. It works as a nod to the Dark Age of Supernames, however.
  • Evil Is Petty: Gunned down two innocent people because he was pissed off that the HUD on his helmet was busted.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Lord Sovereign is able to mentally control weak-willed underlings and make them do his bidding.
  • Red Right Hand: Aubrey Jason has a long scar running down the right side of his face.
  • Telepathy: As Lord Sovereign, Jason can read the thoughts of people nearby.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Lord Sovereign needs a piece of the Sekmeht Stone to contain and focus his energy powers.

    The Chessmen 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chesssmen.jpg
A group of villains wearing armor themed after chess pieces, and active since The '60s, if not sooner. The armor has changed hands several times, allowing different villains to appropriate the Chessmen name for their own ends.
  • Power Armor: The Pawn armor seems to be built for speed, the Rooks (which are more like Mecha) as Beam Spam machines, the Knights as teleporters, and the Bishops as full-fledged Flying Brick types. Queen and King-class armor has yet to make an appearance.

    The Junkman 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/junkman.jpg
"It doesn't matter what I can do — what I can think of, what I can create — I'm just suddenly obsolete?"

Real name: Hiram Potterstone

A villainous retiree who seeks vengeance on society for age discrimination, the Junkman commits crimes using equipment he recycles from discarded trash.


  • Anti-Villain: His 'crimes' are largely restricted to heists and resisting arrest, he's got a sympathetic motivation, and he seems to enjoy bantering with Jack-in-the-Box.
  • Arch-Nemesis: To Jack-In-The-Box.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The Junkman pulls off a bank heist so perfect that no one has any idea who did it, and then retires, secure in the knowledge that he outsmarted everyone. His joy is short-lived when everyone assumes that the robber must have been caught anyway, simply because the heroes always win. This makes Junkman realize that his victory isn't really worth anything if no one knows about his deed - so he repeats the heist with one tiny flaw and gets caught, so that the whole world can watch his televised trial and understand his brilliance.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: All of the Junkman's equipment come from equipment scrounged from the city dump and re-purposed.
  • Homemade Inventions: His motivation is to show that "old things" - such as himself - aren't useless, so he'll rebuild junk into tools and weapons.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: For example, super-speedsters are a major inconvenience, unless you've juiced up some marbles to be attracted to their feet.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Used sympathetically in his backstory.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Humorously deconstructed in "Show 'Em All".

    The Conquistador 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/conquistador.jpg
"I have assembled an army of operatives — all skilled, if not deep thinkers."

Real name: Esteban Rodrigo Suarez Hidalgo

A modern-day version of the conquerors of old, the Conquistador gathers an army of criminals for his grand scheme — a plan whose full details are even more brazen and daring than anyone could imagine.


  • Bad Boss: The Conquistador. Not only does he kill any of his hired criminals if he suspects they might figure out his Engineered Heroics plan, but the plan itself ends with killing all of them ANYWAY just so he can establish himself as a new superhero, El Guerrero.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Hidalgo is willing to frame Maria Alvarado as the Conquistador simply because he's never forgiven her for marrying someone else.
  • Engineered Heroics: The Conquistador's plan is to gather numerous criminals to simultaneously commit crimes across Astro City so he can use his heroic identity of El Guerrero to kill them all as part of his heroic debut.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: His madness is driving him from Fallen Hero to out-and-out Knight Templar.
  • Power Armor: The Conquistador and his heroic alias El Guerrero is clad in a suit of Power Armor that completely covers his features. It also distorts the voice of the person wearing it, and can project a hologram to disguise the wearer's face as another person's.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The Conquistador insists on not hurting any people with his plan, but does not consider his criminal underlings as "people."

    The Mock Turtle 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mock_turtle.jpg
"I assure you, my dearest one, you haven't heard the last of the Mock Turtle!"

Real name: Dr. Martin Chefwick

A lifelong daydreamer, nebbish Dr. Chefwick thought he finally had a chance to become a brave adventurer when he invented an advanced all-environment exploration suit. But when his employers wanted to give it to a professional explorer, Chefwick stole the suit, equipped it with weapons, and became the Mock Turtle, a daring thief of the British underworld.


  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: For some reason he chose the Tenniel version of an obscure Alice in Wonderland character.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: He was given an entire story arc and he is a highly adorkable Love Martyr. He's killed off in his next appearance
  • Ditzy Genius: He's painfully easily manipulated and spent his childhood trying to climb through mirrors, but he's a skilled inventor and an effective supervillain.
  • Gentleman Thief: Chefwick imagines himself to be this as The Mock Turtle.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Marcia leads him on, the poor chump.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Martin Chefwick spent his childhood trying to find his way into a magical world like Oz or Narnia or Wonderland. As an adult he became an engineer and snapped after learning that he wouldn't be allowed to pilot the exploration suit he had created. His childhood sweetheart may have had something to do with it as well...
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Martin envisions himself as this, stealing from the rich and giving to Lucia's "charitable works." In reality, she's a Manipulative Bitch who's building her own criminal empire with his aid.
  • Longing for Fictionland: Martin would spend his childhood trapped in wardrobes, trying to find a portal to Narnia. If he could have found a twister or a rabbit hole, he would have tried that too.
    • When he arrives at Astro City, it's framed and lit to strongly resemble the Emerald City of Oz, and he thinks he may finally have found the place of his dreams.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Despite his intellect, Martin is blinded by love for his childhood sweetheart Lucia, who he constantly imagines as an innocent girl to be sheltered from his roguish life. She, in turn, easily exploits his intellect and engineering talents for her own gain.
  • Power Armor: The Mock Turtle suit was originally intended for extreme environments (high altitudes, sea bottoms, etc.) but is readily put to use for thievery. When he's up against the Chessmen, whose suits he himself upgraded for combat, running is his only option.
  • Unreliable Narrator: His narration when relating his backstory is very complimentary of Lucia, but it's clear to the reader that she's been a crook taking advantage of him from when they first met as children. He also completely misreads the situation when he finds himself in Keifer Square in the middle of Steeljack's first arc.

    Glue-Gun 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gluegun.jpg
"You thought you could just throw me in jail and forget me, didn't you? You thought I was just some joke, someone anybody could beat!"

A small-time crook with his quick-drying epoxy sprayer, Glue-Gun is after two things: an easy job and the respect that's long eluded him.


  • Butt-Monkey: If something embarrassing happens to a villain in Astro City, odds are good Glue-Gun will be the subject.
  • Expy: Of Marvel Comics' Paste-Pot Pete.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Glue-Gun's only major appearance showed him invading a superheroes' dinner club, only to be taken out by the busboy he was holding hostage. And then all the incognito superheroes laughed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Or at least "Would Hold a Teenager Hostage".

    Infidel 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/infidel.jpg
"Infidel? Aye, call me infidel. For you may fear it, but I do not!"

This time-traveling mage once conquered empires and shattered worlds, until a showdown with Samaritan left him boxed in a willing stalemate. Now he bides his time researching the mysteries of the universe and the limits of his foe.


  • Appropriated Appellation: Infidel took his name from the cries of the ignorant masses who opposed his research on the grounds that it was "unnatural".
  • Arch-Nemesis: To Samaritan.
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald. He's evil.
  • Beard of Evil: He's got a beard. He's evil.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Infidel is a black man with a platinum blond beard; his hair changed color as a side effect of time travel. When he uses his powers, his hair turns emerald green.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Infidel is a time-lost villain whose own timeline was inadvertently destroyed by Samaritan's actions.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Was originally just another member in some nameless tribe in what was then Nubia in Africa. Unlike his family and tribe, he wanted to understand how the world worked, which led him to wander, eventually being sold as a slave and suffering all manner of abuse but finally gaining enough knowledge to set him down the path to becoming Infidel.
  • It's All About Me: Infidel reflects more about the names hurled on him than one particular reason for them, namely, kidnapping people to perform experiments.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Previously, Infidel would time-travel to various historical crises and ask which of the victims were willing to survive as his slaves.
  • Mad Scientist: Infidel combines this with the "Mad Alchemist" and "Mad Wizard" subtypes.
  • Magitek: Infidel often uses magic to replicate technological functions, including audio/video recordings of events and artificial servants.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Infidel takes no shame in indulging himself; being able to create anything with magic and having all of eternity to do it doesn't hurt, either.
  • Not So Different: Has become this with Samaritan after retiring. He notes that both of them are more similar to each other than they'd like to admit, and their frequent interactions have slowly begun to affect each other. Samaritan, exhausted from his role as protector of the world, is implied to sympathize more with Infidel's point of view, while Infidel, for the first time having someone to talk to who doesn't treat him like shit, has begun to understand the positive aspects of human interaction.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He grew up in medieval Africa and Arabia, and never bothered to change his social views despite his genius. He's incredibly sexist, and sees it as his right to kidnap women to be his sex slaves. He doesn't even seem to do it because he thinks women are inferior per se; many of his victims are very intelligent women who he takes to have someone who can talk to him on something close to his level even as he exploits them sexually. He genuinely seems to think that women exist to service men, or perhaps, to service him. Even after his retirement, he still insists on creating mindless female clones made from DNA of the women he actually wants to service him, much to Samaritan's frustration.
    • Despite having been a slave himself, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with slavery and used to grab victims from various historical disasters because no one would miss them, enslaving them to build his projects in the far future.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Infidel seeks to understand existence by analyzing its alchemical underpinnings.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Infidel once destroyed the universe in a "fit of pique." After discovering even that wouldn't kill Samaritan (and Samaritan realizing the same for Infidel), they collaborated to put everything back together.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: As noted in Appropriated Appelation, he takes his name from people attacking him for his "unnatural" research. This wasn't just a few one-offs either, there were CRUSADES launched just to kill him, even though he didn't really do much other than sit in his tower and study.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers Samaritan to be this, especially now that they are no longer actively opposing each other.

    Gloo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gloo.jpg
"Clowncar!"

A failed experiment to clone Jack-In-The-Box resulted in Gloo, a liquid monster who uses its twisted sense of humor to punish wrongdoers — or anyone else it thinks is a wrongdoer.


  • Making a Splash: Gloo can shoot acid and other toxins from his liquid body.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Gloo's preferred method of combat is to subject its targets to distorted and deranged pranks and jokes, such as jamming two dozen people into a small car or spraying acidic "seltzer" at victims.

    Team Carnivore 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/team_carnivore.jpg
"Roustabout! Think you smart — hide from the law, hide from us — !"
"When done with you, you wish cops found you!"

A team of genetically engineered villains who attacked the carnival in search of Roustabout. They admit to having been through the same process as him, less successfully, though they do not name those responsible.


  • Beast Man: In appearance.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: They overtly threaten the crowd to draw Roustabout out.
  • Evil Gloating: They openly tell him that their bosses will take him apart, learn how he works, and fix them.
  • Genetic Engineering: The source of their powers and appearance.
  • Hulk Speak: None of them speak normally.
  • Tragic Monster: Tweaked at the edges; although they are trying to kidnap Roustabout and expect him not to survive the experiments, they do it to get themselves fixed, as it went wrong applied to them.
  • Villain Team-Up: Seems to have been organized as a team.

    Jitterjack, the Divided Man 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jitterjack.jpg
"Calm-Talking-Man and Man-With-Treats. They say you bad, not do what you told. They say kill you, bring back heart. Get treats."

Real name(s): Unknown

A top Pyramid assassin, Jitterjack is two men fused together and driven insane by the experience.


  • Ax-Crazy: A violently unstable psychopath, kept under a degree of control by stun-sticks.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Half of him is straight-up comic book Native American.
  • The Dreaded: He's got a nasty reputation.
  • Fusion Dance: The means are uncertain, but Jitterjack is two men fused together down the middle.
  • Hulk Speak: As demonstrated above.
  • Lightning Bruiser: His strength, speed, and reflexes have increased exponentially, well beyond simply being doubled as you might expect.
  • Mad Oracle: Has supernatural insight, being able to divine the true nature of The Incarnate and sensing the darkness within Black Velvet. Dialogue ("Hound dog. Hound dog. Puppy dog.") also seems to imply that he saw the kirin within Hellhound, who doesn't look very canine.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Technically, he is half-Native. *Rimshot*
  • Mysterious Past: Just how he got this way is unclear.
  • Psycho for Hire: It's uncertain if Pyramid even pays him, or if they just feed him and point him at things they want dead.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A violent lunatic who talks like a small child and works for treats.
  • Spare Body Parts: At the very least, he's got two hearts.
  • Super Senses: Another result of his transformation.
  • Two-Faced: One half Native American, one half blonde soldier. Even his necklace switches from beads and claws to dog tags.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had no way of knowing that mortally wounding Black Velvet would unleash a Hate Plague. That probably wouldn't have stopped him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Last seen being taken away by an ambulance after Black Velvet roughed him up and stopped one of his hearts.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Incredibly powerful, but equally mad.

    Mister Drama 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mister_drama.jpg
Real name: Frank Darman

"Jack-in-the-Box!? Nah, nah, I ain't got time for ingenues, kid! Come back when you get your equity card!"

A dock worker with dreams of acting on the stage, he snapped after being turned down for a role and became a brilliant criminal mastermind with a dramatic flair. Both he and Jack-in-the-Box met their end on Torres Island in 1983, and no one knew the details for decades.


  • Didn't Think This Through: The theater he robbed had his address on file. Fortunately for him, he wasn't home when the cops came knocking.
    • He planned to use the weirdies to record the explosion which killed him and Jack-in-the-Box and show the world his dramatic death, but forgot that they refuse to be too far apart from each other. None survived.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Get turned down for an acting role? Rob the theater!
  • Driven to Suicide: Upon learning that he'd contracted a fast-acting cancer during one of his heists that would kill him in a matter of weeks.
  • Duality Motif: Wears a comedy/tragedy mask with divided yellow and purple clothes.
  • Flunky Boss: Made use of the Underlord's weirdies, a bunch of really bizarre creatures.
  • It's All About Me: Enacted his Thanatos Gambit without one thought about how it would affect his wife and daughter.
  • Nightmare Face: The aforementioned cancer acted so fast that by the time he confronted Jack-in-the-Box he was basically rotting alive.
  • Rogues Gallery: Fought Silver Agent and Max O' Millions before becoming one of Jack-in-the-Box's first and most recurring foes.
  • Taking You with Me: Successfully does this with Jack-in-the-Box I.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Planned a dramatic suicide that would also kill the first Jack-in-the-Box and make him notorious. Unfortunately for him, the means he used ensured that no one would find the truth for decades.

    The Drama Queen 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drama_queen.jpg
Real name: Francesca Darman

"You killed him! You murdered him! And now, at long last, you'll suffer the vengeance of—THE DRAMA QUEEN!"

Raised on a diet of bitterness by her mother, the granddaughter of Frank Darman found a warehouse with his equipment and notes and sought to avenge her grandfather's death.


  • Driven to Suicide: Upon learning the truth about her grandfather, she tries to self-immolate. Nice and dramatic.
  • Duality Motif: Like her grandfather.
  • Flunky Boss: Like her grandfather, but she treats the weirdies like beloved pets.
  • Foil: To Ike Johnson as well as the Box and the Jackson, the two warped possible future versions of Ike who fought his father. The comparisons are admittedly stronger with the Jackson.
    • She's the granddaughter of Mister Drama just as they were the grandsons of the original Jack-in-the-Box who fought Mister Drama.
    • Like the Jackson, she's based her entire life on a misconception built around what happened to her grandfather and blames Jack-in-the-Box for destroying her family and does not react well to learning the truth about him. When she learns her grandfather planned his suicide as a form of final revenge against his hated foe, she becomes horrified at how the man she practically revered abandoned their family for his own ego and how she almost murdered someone who didn't deserve it.
  • Legacy Character: To Mister Drama.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Blames Jack-in-the-Box for murdering her grandfather and ruining her mother's life, only to learn that he'd committed suicide.
  • Sky Surfing: Flies around on a big comedy/tragedy mask.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Uses grenades shaped like comedy/tragedy masks in combat.

    The Box and The Jackson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_box_and_the_jackson.jpg
Real name: Jerome Isaac Johnson

The Box: "You must be judged, father. Judged for failing your son. For failing your world."

The Jackson: "You are a heretic and false prophet, blind to your own teachings. You will be cleansed."

  • '90s Anti-Hero: They approach this from different directions, right down to their designs (clunky overbuilt cyborg/twisted biological horror).
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Both are willing to kill for even minor infractions.
  • Alternate Self: Both come from alternate futures where Zachary Johnson was killed, but from differing timelines.
  • Bad Future:
    • The Jackson comes from a post-apocalyptic one.
    • In The Box's case it's not clear if his future's that bad or if he just bit off more than he could chew.
  • Bio-Augmentation: The Jackson has been altered to have superhuman physical abilities, claws, and can emit acidic blood. It's unclear how much of his costume is a costume and how much is, well, him.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Box has mutilated himself, having several limbs and an eye removed and replaced with garish cybernetics.
    • The Jackson has been altered into a feral monstrosity.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • The Box blames Jack-in-the-Box for not taking the proper steps to eliminate crime in his time.
    • The Jackson literally worships his father, but when Jack-in-the-Box tried to correct his misconceptions he immediately turns on him, decrying him as an impostor.
  • Cult: The Jackson was raised by the Brothers of Trouble, an alternate future version of the Trouble Boys who worship Jack-in-the-Box.
  • Cyborg: The Box had himself cybernetically altered to make up for the training and preparation he felt he'd missed out on, and kept enhancing himself over his career.
  • Disappeared Dad: In their timelines Zachary Johnson was killed while his wife was still pregnant.
  • Expy: The Jackson's appearance is modeled after Wolverine, Sabertooth, Lobo, and similar characters.
  • Electronic Eyes: The Box's right eye has been replaced by one on a stalk, though any special abilities it has are unclear.
  • Energy Absorption: The Box absorbs electricity.
  • Extendable Arms: The Box's legs extend, allowing him to take superhuman strides.
  • Eye on a Stalk: The Box has a cybernetic one.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Jackson worships his father as a religious figure.
  • Future Imperfect: The Brothers of Trouble take every one of Jack-in-the-Box's offhand jokes and references as literal gospel truth.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Jackson has these when enraged.
  • Hollywood Acid: The Jackson's blood can burn through Jack-in-the-Box's streamers.
  • Knight Templar:
    • The Box waged a one-man war against against crime itself, and unsurprisingly proved unequal to the task of eliminating it.
    • The Jackson's war on crime is a holy crusade in his father's name.
  • Legacy Character: Anti Hero Substitutes for Jack-in-the-Box II.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: The Jackson's solid yellow eyes aren't part of a mask.
  • Natural Weapon: The Jackson's claws.
  • Sequel Hook: Averted. They both threaten to come back right before they're sent back to their respective timelines. Twenty years later, they still haven't returned.
  • Sketchy Successor: They're both nightmarish distortions of their father's legacy.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": They both do this.
  • Super Senses: The Jackson has at least a heightened sense of smell.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Box's left arm has been replaced by a semi-autonomous puppet named "Justice Jacky", which can produce and use a number of weapons and tools.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: They avert this with a vengeance.
  • Time Travel:
    • The Box goes back in time to kill Jack-in-the-Box.
    • The Jackson was taken from his mother as an infant and brought into the future in order to save him from The Wasting, and after receiving training and alteration went back in time to save his father...but changed his mind.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Willing to harm one of the Trouble Boys to draw Jack out.

    The Assemblyman I 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/assemblyman_i.jpg
Real name: Unknown

A mad scientist operating in the 70's, El Hombre approached him with a plan to get popular, only to get stabbed in the back.


  • Gadgeteer Genius: His schtick.
  • Humongous Mecha: Sent one on a robbery spree so El Hombre could "fight" it, but sabotaged the remote that would have stopped it.

    The Pale Horseman 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pale_horseman.jpg
"The Pale Horseman rides. You have called for me and I ride. And not before time, I say, for I smell it. This place, this land is rich, rotting and fecund with it. I smell it. I smell—TRANGRESSION."

An entity summoned into our reality through the crack opened by the Innocent Gun.


  • All Crimes Are Equal: All transgressors, from murderers, to safe-crackers, to jaywalkers, to, oh, children swiping shopping carts, are punished by incineration.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Speaks in a very formal fashion.
  • Berserk Button: Having his faith in his mission shaken puts him into even more of a rage than usual. As Street Angel learns.
  • Detect Evil: Can sense and identify transgressions.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Punishment itself given form and brought into our world from...somewhere else.
  • Evil Laugh: It sounds like "ash and bone and the grave".
  • Evil Smells Bad: Preceded by a hot, dry wind that smells of sulfur.
  • Expy: Of Ghost Rider and The Spectre - but takes it even further than those notoriously hardline spirits of vengeance.
  • Hellish Horse: Rides a flaming skeletal stallion.
  • Hell Is That Noise: His presence is said to make a sound like night itself, and not a good one.
  • Hypocrite: Calls Street Angel a killer even though he's racked up an incredible body count himself. Pointing this out is the last thing Street Angel ever does.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am retribution! I am vengeance!"
  • Knight Templar: Very probably the living embodiment of this.
  • Large Ham: Given what he is, it would be surprising if he weren't.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-universe. Since he's not exactly discerning, he could literally show up to kill anyone at any time for the slightest misdeed. This doesn't do a lot of favors for the morale of Astro City.
  • Playing with Fire: Projects flames.
  • The Power of Hate: Called into our world by Astro City's hatred for criminals and desire for retribution, and is attracted to scenes of such.
  • Wreathed in Flames: A vaguely humanoid being of flame with a cloak and wrappings around its limbs.

    Mister Manta 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mister_manta.jpg
Real name: Martin Mantel

"No. No, I'm ready. I have to be ready! I'll take the ship. I'll take the ship and loot it, and return to civilization victorious!"

A one-time enemy of the superheroine Mermaid who made use of his powered suit to rob ocean traffic, until a fight with Mermaid critically damaged his suit and a storm washed him up on a Deserted Island. He spends the next three decades trying to repair his suit, seeking to return to the glory days of his supervillain career, but when he gets the chance, he discovers a lot of things have changed, including him...


  • Accidental Hero: He was set to rob a cruise ship in order to make his comeback, but after he ended up fighting off the criminals who were already attacking it he was hailed as a hero.
  • Alliterative Name: Both his civilian and supervillain names.
  • The Aloner: Having been isolated from civilization for almost three decades, he's unable to cope with the Sensory Overload when he tries to make a comeback. When he returns to the island, he focuses on making himself more at home, having accepted this is where he's comfortable.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal abilities variant, courtesy of his suit.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mermaid, of the Honor Guard.
  • Badass Beard: Which grows out nicely over three decades on the island.
  • Bamboo Technology: Downplayed; he's making use of available resources to repair and replace his existing tech.
  • Beard of Evil: A small, thin one in his villain days.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: His suit looks to give him flight and Super Strength, and allows him to operate underwater for long periods.
  • Expy: Of Aquaman villain Black Manta.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Created his own arsenal back in his villain days, and manages to get his suit into a functional condition with salvage and the island's resources.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: They light up, allowing him to see in the dark.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Not insane, per se, but his time alone has left him unable to function in society.
  • Retired Outlaw: Accepts he's this after his comeback fails.
  • Robinsonade: Spends thirty years making a nice life for himself on his island.
  • The Speechless: When he finally tries to talk to someone after thirty years, the only thing that comes out is a croak.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Martin Mantel becomes Mister Manta.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: He wasn't satisfied with the condition of his rebuilt suit, and had a battery of tests and improvements he wanted to make, but when he heard the cruise ship's mayday on the radio he decided he couldn't wait any longer. It does eventually fall apart, but it also gets the job done.


Civilians and Others

Everyone else who is neither a hero nor a villain, but just the folks trying to get through the day without undue duress.

    Andrew "Eyes" Eisenstein 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eyes_2.jpg
"I just — I just saw Jack-In-The-Box's real face."

A small-time crook and lookout. In "A Little Knowledge", he manages to get a good glimpse at Jack-In-The-Box's unmasked face; now he just needs to figure out how to make it pay off...


  • Atrocious Alias: When stuck on a pseudonym in the presence of Zachary Johnson and his wife, "Eyes" quickly improvises "Jack Bachsinger", and immediately mentally slaps himself.
  • Call-Back: Eisenstein scrambled aboard a bus way back in Vol. 1 of Astro City, but his name appears on a magazine subscription in Astro City: Astra #2 - in Fairbanks, Alaska. Looks like he's still hiding out.
  • Mook: He's not a supervillain, just a street thug.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: "Eyes" becomes increasingly worried about being cheated out of his discovery by his colleagues.
  • Paranoia Fuel: An in-universe examination of the trope: Eyes begins to panic as more and more possible consequences of squealing occur to him.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Ultimately, Eisenstein doesn't try to cash in on Jack-in-the-Box's secret; instead, he hops on a bus to Alaska and never comes back.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: "Eyes" figures out what Jack-In-The-Box's identity is, but Jack himself doesn't know he knows.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Eisenstein worries that this trope will hit him once he reveals his secret.

    Pete Donacek 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donacek.jpg
"My name is Pete Donacek. I live in Astro City. I wear a uniform too."

The Senior Doorman at the Astro City Classic hotel. He checks bags, gives directions, and loves hockey. He likes to look out for the newcomers to the city, pointing them to tourist spots and informing them where the danger zones are.


  • Good Samaritan: He saves a little girl during a supervillain attack.
  • Heroic Bystander: Pete decided to stay in Astro City after risking his life to save a stranger's little girl, as he had lived the dream of being a real hero.
  • Samaritan Relationship Starter: Played with; during an attack on the city, Pete saved a young girl from falling debris, despite risk and injury to himself. Even after she's grown up, he watches her pass his station every day, but it's strictly a one-way platonic affair.

    Manny Monkton 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/manny_monkton.jpg
"The kids don't want facts. They want drama! THRILLS!"

Editor-in-chief and publisher of Bulldog Comics. Through Bulldog, Manny publishes many books about Real Life superheroes and villains, and sometimes gets into trouble over his unlicensed and creative interpretation of events.


  • The Charmer: Even people who know about Manny's manipulative skills can't help but admire his bravado.
    Eli: "He's a good talker. Besides, I'm used to him. And life, well, life would be a lot duller without him around."
  • Consummate Liar: When Crackerjack shows up to complain about unpaid royalties, he used outrageously lowballed sales figures and Hollywood Accounting to claim that he hadn't made any money on Crackerjack's title and therefore didn't owe him anything.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To his credit, Manny can deliver zingers even when he's being manhandled by a super-villain.
    Glowworm: "Do you know what my mother thought when she read that stinking book of yours?!"
    Manny: "And, um, how does she feel about you robbing banks—?"
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: After his encounter with Glowworm, Manny becomes inspired to create a new line of comics dealing with Cosmic Entities, beings who wouldn't care about anything ordinary humans do. Needless to say, it does not end well.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Played for laughs. Glowworm teaches Manny a 'lesson' that leaves him with a cast, a neck brace and a swollen eye, but he hasn't learned a thing.
  • Malicious Slander: Although Manny doesn't intend to hurt anyone with his truth-stretching, some of his subjects see his 'alterations' as vicious libel.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: He claims that if he doesn't take liberties with the truth, readers won't be interested.
  • Smug Snake: Manny takes this tack when Nightingale chews him out for insinuating a lesbian relationship between her and her sidekick Sunbird. He accuses her of being homophobic for taking offense, and then points out that she can't sue him without revealing her secret identity.
  • The Storyteller: A Loveable Rogue version.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He writes not exactly true stories about people who could, at the least, throw him out of his office, and at worst, turn him into a gnat's fart.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Manny is this in-story, as he encourages his writers to play fast and loose with the facts to make their stories more exciting.

    Loony Leo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/loony_leo.jpg
"Ah, what the hell. It's show business, right?"

A cartoon lion who was accidentally brought to life in 1946. After realizing he was stuck in the real world, he had a series of adventures, from superhero sidekick and movie star to supervillain's pawn and a recluse, until finally finding something that would fill his days.


  • The Alcoholic: Sank into this after his career failed.
  • Appeal to Novelty: The main gimmick of Loony Leo's restaurant is visiting Leo, the living cartoon.
  • Chaste Toons: Was one of these before being brought into the real world, with three rascally nephews and a chaste romance with Lola Lion.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: He was originally sustained by the combined belief of Astro City's citizens.
  • Complete Immortality: At the very least, he doesn't age, starve to death, or die of exposure (although he does feel every bit of the latter two). He's not even sure if being torn apart would kill him.
  • Death Seeker: After he hit rock bottom, he was one of these for a while, to the point of briefly becoming a supervillain working for someone who was (lying about being) able to kill him.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: He paid Corliss McBride money that he knew very well was going straight into her veins because it was the only reason she stuck around and he was too lonely to break things off. He really should've gotten a pen pal.
  • Expy: Of Tawky Tawny, an anthropomorphic talking tiger from the original Captain Marvel stories.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Briefly served as The Myth-Master, a villain who defeated Honor Guard by summoning the greatest fighters of human mythology. He was tricked by an alien who assured Leo that this would allow him to finally die.
  • Fake Memories: Strictly speaking, the events of the cartoons which were made before he became real didn't actually happen to him, but he remembers them as though they had.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He's a chain-smoker - when his cartoons were being made, 'Smoking Is Cool' was the prevailing opinion.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: He doesn't like his career much, but he does love being a celebrity.
  • Interspecies Romance: Apparently can and does hook up with human women. It's probably better not to think about it.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: as a living cartoon, he stands out from the more realistically-rendered characters.
  • Old Shame: In-universe. He feels that he earned the disdain people showed him after his Role-Ending Misdemeanor, and is also ashamed of his turn as The Myth-Master.
  • Refugee from TV Land: In-universe, Leo started off as the star of a series of theatrical cartoon shorts, but was made real due to a "Belief Ray" from Professor Borzoi.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Leo is a living incarnation of this trope. After becoming "real," he even featured in a couple of live-action films in the style of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the novelty value eventually faded.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: In-universe. His career was doing a fine job of dying quietly on its own when the hooker who was the closest thing he had to a friend OD'd in his hotel bed. Oh, and she turned out to have been hiding the fact that she was only fourteen. Pretty soon nobody would even hire Leo to wash dishes.
  • Sidekick: To The Gentleman, for a while.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: A review of his restaurant mentions that the beef dishes are incredible and everything else is either fine or so-so—he is a lion, after all.
  • Tulpa: Brought to life by scientific means but sustained through belief and completely independent.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Fago's Funny Features attempted to claim Leo as their property. The court case which established him a free person and citizen set a precedent for other artificial beings such as Beautie.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Leo used to be a major movie and television star, but now spends his day as a restauranteur and living novelty.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: He's virtually immortal, and has gone through extended periods of angst and depression.
    • An added issue is, while Leo can't starve or freeze to death, he can FEEL those sensations, meaning that during his time on the streets, he both froze and starved with no possible relief.

    Carl Donewicz (Steeljack / The Steel-Jacketed Man) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/steeljack.jpg
"But I been runnin' all my life now... and I'm still in the same place..."

A delinquent from the seedier Kiefer Square section of Astro City, Carl Donewicz volunteered for an experiment that resulted in his body being covered with organic steel, then exploited it to be a super-villain. After a youth wasted in elaborate schemes that landed him in Cardboard Prison over and over, Steeljack just wants to stay out of trouble and make an honest living — but is hard-pressed to do so when a killer stalks the residents of the Square.


  • Bad-Guy Bar: His favorite little bar serves a clientele of C-list supervillains, fences, fixers and Mooks. Carl can't even walk past the place without violating the terms of his parole.
  • Blessed with Suck: Being made of metal isn't all it's cracked up to be. His fingers can't operate touch screens and are slippery when wet, he stands out in a crowd, he's extremely heavy, vulnerable to magnetism, and as he ages his skin is starting to feed off of itself (though iron supplements have been recommended to help with that last one).
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Carl admits that his sex life is almost entirely nonexistent due to the scarcity of partners who can endure an 800-pound steel man.
    • Ultimately averted in his second arc, when he is reunited with a former partner in crime, Ismiri "Izzy" Dvi-Zaralkh, alias Cutlass, former leader of the Terrifying Three, who also underwent a Heel–Face Turn, making a small fortune in real estate. Iz came from an interdimensional city called Uld, and is physically tough enough to hold her own with Steeljack. At the end of this arc, she tells Carl, "Make sure you take your iron pills, you're going to need them."
  • Chrome Champion: His visually distinctive power means he can't just adopt a new identity or drop out of sight.
  • Cold Iron: Finds he qualifies as this when he fights a group of supernatural creatures.
  • Commonality Connection: How he figured out that The Conquistador and the former El Hombre were one and the same. After hearing Hidalgo's story, he recognized that they both regarded themselves as failures who had ruined their lives and who would do anything to change how they felt.
  • Determinator: An 800-pound man made of steel is all but unstoppable when he wants to be.
  • Dumb Muscle: Averted. He'll freely admit he's no genius, but he's not half as stupid as he says he is.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It's a Bittersweet Ending, but that's all he ever asked for.
    • He earns a better ending in his second arc. He winds up arrested for the murder of Jared Everall, a corrupt businessman who had been framing other super-criminals for his own crimes and was killed by a Sealed Evil in a Can he tried to open. At his arraignment Carl stays silent, convinced that he can't prove his innocence. However, Izzy then shows up in court with a first-class lawyer to defend him from all charges, testifies on his behalf, reveals evidence proving his innocence and brings a lot of Carl's friends from Kiefer Square to the courtroom to act as character witnesses, although by the time she's done testifying they aren't even necessary. By the end of the story, he finds that he has the respect of his neighbors, is lauded as a hero by the press, and he and Izzy renew their old romance.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Steeljack's efforts to reform are partly an effort to live up to the standards his mother set, and he visits her grave often. He eventually becomes caretaker for the cemetery she's buried in.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Early in his first arc, Carl sees a man being mugged. He's determined to mind his own business until he realizes that the street thugs are going to kill their victim to avoid being identified. He steps in, lets the bullet bounce off him, and orders the thugs to leave.
  • Falsely Reformed Villain: The tragic form of the trope is examined and, eventually, subverted. What are the legitimate job prospects for an ex-con whose only useful skill is invulnerability? Will anybody believe he's going straight?
  • First-Name Basis: With Cutlass.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Was once just another street punk until he decided he needed an edge to stand out in the underworld. He ended up the subject of a mad scientist who bonded him with a metal skin, giving him invulnerability, super strength and endurance, creating one of the most famous supervillains in Astro City.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Carl is too old and too tired to fight any more, but somehow trouble keeps crossing his path.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Years after the events of the "Tarnished Angel" story, Carl sets himself up as a private investigator. He spends more time chasing super-powered bail jumpers than solving cases, however.
  • Healing Factor: Seems to have a low-key one.
  • How We Got Here: His second arc begins with his being arrested for murder, and then flashes back, Film Noir-style, to how he got into this mess.
  • Logical Weakness: He's ferromagnetic, so he's vulnerable to weapons designed to exploit this.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Literally man of steel in his case - Steeljack notes that he can't have sex much because normal women can't take his strength and enormous weight (about 800 pounds). Thankfully, there ARE willing superpowered villainesses around so he doesn't have to be completely celibate.
  • The Needless: Not entirely, but he does metabolize oxygen much more slowly than other people.
  • Not Used To Freedom: In the story "The Tarnished Angel", Steeljack agrees to investigate the deaths of small-time criminals simply because, as a recent parolee, he's got way too much time on his hands and can't think of any other way to fill it.
  • One Last Job: In "The Tarnished Angel", Steeljack comes to realize that almost all of his fellow low-rent supervillain peers are constantly lining up for that one last job, the one that will lead them to greatness and riches... but it never works out.
    "This time was the big one, always. This time, the one that'd end all our troubles."
  • Private Eye Monologue: He narrates his arcs.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Steeljack is the poster boy for this trope - his past is well known and he is stigmatized by all.
    • Averted in his second arc, which ends with him being lauded as a hero, and showing that he has earned the respect of his neighbors, many of whom turned up at his trial to serve as character witnesses if necessary.
  • Retired Outlaw: At the beginning of his first arc.
  • Right Makes Might: In the final confrontation of his first arc he's badly hurt. But the stakes are too high for him to lay down and die. He goes back into the fight, though even he doesn't know where he's getting the strength to stand.
    "Unless, maybe, bein' right is what gives me the strength."
  • Scrap Heap Hero: It's a long and difficult road, but Steeljack eventually fulfills this trope by defeating the Conquistador and making peace with his checkered past.
  • Spider-Sense: Although he himself doesn't have one, he eventually obtains a pair of goggles which warn him of the impending potential deaths of others.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: To be fair, it's hard to swim when you weigh 800 pounds. Carl later turns this into a part-time job, performing underwater salvage operations for the city.

    Donnelly Ferguson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donnelly.jpg
"One thing this world'll always have plenty of is those needin' a dirty job done, and those willin' to do it."

A longtime resident of Kiefer Square, Donnelly is the grizzled old fixer everyone goes to when they need some muscle for a job or a job where they can rent out their muscles. He may be an affable and charming old snake, but how much can you trust someone who deals in information?


  • Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil: He's affable, and definitely not a nice person, but how much of this is genuine, and how much him knowing the value of PR, is left ambiguous.
  • Back for the Dead: Donnelly eventually returns to Kiefer Square for burial in the cemetery.
  • Knowledge Broker: Fergusson uses his knowledge of the city's underworld to find jobs for the villains of Kiefer Square.
  • Mysterious Past: The most the reader ever learns about his former life is when he suddenly pulls out a snake-themed laser pistol.
  • Not Proven: Despite his numerous shady dealings, Ferguson manages to keep himself clear of any wrongdoing. This is one reason why Steeljack hangs out with him, because Ferguson is one of the few people he could associate with and not risk violating his parole.
  • Pet the Dog: Played with. He could be acting for completely selfish reasons when he helps Steeljack find the "black-mask killer", or it could be a case of Even Evil Has Standards.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The "Tarnished Angel" arc ends with him going on the run to avoid possible retribution from the villains he (unknowingly) set up.

    Charles and Royal Williams 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/charles_and_royal.jpg
Charles: "He killed 'em, remember? Shot 'em dead, like they were nothing."
Royal: "I'd like to get him, sure. But I'd rather my brother was alive."

After their parents were killed in a conflict between the Silver Agent and a Pyramid squad commander, Charles and Royal Williams grew up following very different paths. But their attempts to live their own lives is tested when their parents' killer returns to Astro City, setting them on a course of vengeance that will test them — and their uneasy relationship.


  • Badass Normal: Both Charles and Royal would eventually become this, thanks to years of training and their ongoing pursuit of Aubrey Jason.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The death of their parents made the Williams brothers disillusioned with society's ideals. Royal ended up believing he was justified in doing whatever was necessary to get by, while Charles ended up skeptical and distrusting of all super-heroes.
  • Darker and Edgier: In The '70s, Charles is a policeman who dreams of starting a family, while Royal is a low-level Mook making money through questionable means. The "Dark Ages" story arc follows their descent into becoming cold-blooded Anti-Heroes in their search for retribution.
  • Determinator: Once he discovers the identity of his parents' killer, Charles embarks on a years-long pursuit for vengeance, taking his brother Royal along in his wake.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Over the course of the story, they go from terrified kids to ruthless avengers.
  • Gold Digger: Darnice, Charles's first wife, turned out to be one of these. Royal warned him against marrying her, but he didn't listen. Ultimately, she left him after he refused to take bribe money.
  • The Infiltration: Royal Williams ends up joining Pyramid to get more information on Aubrey Jason's whereabouts.
  • It's Personal: Very much so.
  • Mook: Royal Williams starts off as this, being perfectly happy to make a living picking pockets and doing low-level grunt work for other criminals to get by.
  • Nineties Antihero: Charles and Royal eventually become this.
  • No Points for Neutrality: Not taking bribes, but also refusing to report dirty cops to Internal Affairs left Charles poor, wifeless, and eventually shot in the back.
  • Origin Story: Defied. The brothers (or Royal at least) consider what to do after Aubrey is dealt with, that maybe they could keep putting their talents to use in order to avenge other victims like them. But ultimately, they resist the call.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: Royal has to do this to deflect suspicion while infiltrating Pyramid.
  • Retired Badass: After Lord Sovereign disappears into the dark dimension, the Williams brothers realize how self-destructive their quest for revenge was, and eventually leave to run a chartered fishing business.
  • Silver Fox: It's a small thing, but in the framing story "Royal" mentions that he never married, preferring to hook up with pretty young tourists instead. "Charles" snarks that he's having less success these days—implying that he's still having some.
  • Stage Name: At the end of the "Dark Age" story arc, it is revealed that "Charles" and "Royal" are not their real names; instead, they're picked by an author writing a book based on their experiences, and he is using aliases to protect their real identities.
  • Street Smart: Royal is unashamed of his street-savvy ways, and Charles even acknowledges that he's the smarter one.
  • The Unfettered: Charles does just about anything in his quest for revenge, and at one point is prepared to let the heroic Silver Agent fall to his doom just to avoid losing any time in pursuit of Jason.
  • What Have I Become?: While pursuing Lord Sovereign, Royal catches a glimpse of his reflection, which causes him to eventually realize that he and Charles were turning into the same type of cold-blooded Anti-Heroes who had ignored them in their own tragedy.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: When they become their own agents of vengeance, the Williams brothers keep themselves supplied by stealing money and equipment from the various Pyramid bases they've raided.
  • Worth Living For: Charles recovers from the brink of death after Royal tells him that he's discovered the person who killed their parents.
  • You Are What You Hate: Lampshaded when Royal realizes that while he and Charles didn't care for superheroes and villains, by the mid-eighties they had almost become a vigilante team of their own, to the point where there was virtually no difference between themselves, Aubrey, and other Nineties Anti-Heroes like Stonecold, the Blue Knights, and the Street Angel.

    Mitch Goodman (The Crimson Cougar) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mitch_goodman.jpg
"This is what you do! You get up on the bull and ride it as long as you can!"

A stuntman and actor, Mitch Goodman plays the superhero character "Crimson Cougar" in the Tomorrow's Dawn soap opera. After thwarting a robbery at a convenience store, Mitch became an overnight celebrity as a Real Life superhero — and then his troubles began.


  • Action Survivor: As a former stuntman who keeps in good shape, he's pretty tough and agile.
  • Actor/Role Confusion: After Mitch begins to consider himself seriously as a hero, several villains decide to make sure he doesn't decide to do it for real.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: He plays one on TV.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Crimson Cougar suit was designed to look badass, not be fought in. The teeth on the midsection dig into his gut when he tries to be acrobatic, and the claws are plastic.
  • Badass Normal: Plays one on TV.
  • Glory Seeker: He's gone from a simple rancher to the rodeo to stunt work to acting by taking every opportunity he could get, and the Crimson Cougar turns out to be his big chance.
  • He Really Can Act: Invoked. After realizing this about himself, he decides to try acting for its own sake instead of just as a means of getting ahead.
  • Mistaken for Badass: After he foils a convenience store robbery while still in his Crimson Cougar outfit (they were filming an episode nearby), he gets attacked by several villains trying to discourage him from pursuing life as a superhero.
  • Not Worth Killing: Happens to Mitch when he gets attacked in public by the brand-new villain Dark Centurion, who easily pummels him into the ground. When Mitch begs for mercy, the Centurion sneers and leaves. It was a ruse set up by Mitch and his friends so he would stop being a high-profile target.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Ends up in three of these situations over the course of the story, and each one makes him more famous.

    Marella Cowper 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marella_cowper_6.jpg
"Spot a super-villain in your area? An alien incursion? People inexplicably turning into statues or robots? You call us, we alert them."

A woman in her early twenties, who works for Humano-Global, secretly a call-service for The Honor Guard, answering emergency calls for the superhero team.


  • The Atoner: When a girl named Esme calls to report a man beating her mother, Marella sends the call to Social Services. When this leads to an attack by the Skull-Crushers, Marella goes to extremes to help find the girl and her mother.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Humano Global" is actually a false name for Honor Guard's Emergency Contact Service, used as a cover to protect the company from Honor Guard's enemies. Other employees have ID cards with different cover names for the service, all sporting the initials "H.G.". The same initials as Honor Guard.
  • Good Feels Good: One of the reasons Marella enjoys her job at Humano-Global is because she likes helping people
  • Infraction Distraction: Downplayed. When she figures out that the relief staff think she has black market connections, she lets it stand; it will hide that she uses portals.
  • Portal Door: Humano-Global employees can access a network of portal doors via their employee ID cards, allowing Honor Guard to keep Humano-Global's headquarters a secret. Marella uses these portals in her efforts to save Esme and her mother.
  • Tracking Device: Honor Guard is able to break into the Skull-Crushers' HQ by homing in on a tracking device in Marella's Humano-Global ID badge when the Skull-Crushers capture her.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: While Marella's convinced she'll be fired for screwing up the Esme case, Cleopatra assures her that she's the kind of person Honor Guard wants working for them, since even if she did make a mistake, she was willing to do what she could to make it right.

    Martha "Sully" Sullivan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sully_8.jpg
"I had a good job. I was using my powers, and I didn't have to get into any fights."

A middle-aged woman with modest telekinetic abilities, Sully works in the entertainment industry, using her powers to manipulate models and aid in stunt work.


  • Action Survivor: Just having powers has gotten her dragged into enough crazy situations to develop into one of these.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Mentions that she's living with someone named Jen, although whether their relationship is friendly, familial or romantic isn't made clear.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: People seem to think that just because she and her fellow "sideliners" want to live quiet lives, using their powers for mundane purposes, that they're pushovers. Nope.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Spent her youth wondering what she was meant to do with her powers, if she couldn't bear being a hero or villain, before figuring out she didn't have to be either.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Points out what a hoary old cliché gassing someone is even as she's passing out from it.
  • Mind over Matter: Lampshaded when she admits that she considered becoming a super-heroine with the codename "Mind Over Mattie".
  • Mundane Utility: Makes a great living using her powers for special effects. She also has a first-place bowling trophy on her shelf.
  • Murder by Inaction: Wasn't particularly fussed if the Majordomo's crew died after they left them, since a) they came after the sideliners, and b) she doesn't claim to be any sort of hero.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Her brief flirtation with superheroism ended when she screwed up and nearly killed a man.
    • Her brief flirtation with villainy lasted mere seconds, when she was immediately stricken with horror and remorse after forcing a slot machine to pay out.
  • My Greatest Failure: As "Mind Over Mattie" she stopped a carjacker by locking his brakes. To her horror, he swerved, crashed into a pole and very nearly died. That's what made her realize she wasn't cut out for the superhero life.

    Irene Cronin (née Merryweather) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/irene_merriweather.jpg
"I was going to have it all. And I almost did."

Inspired by her grandmother, who'd worked in a factory during World War II, Irene became determined to find the perfect career and the perfect man and carve her name into the world. As a mayoral aide, she encountered Atomicus, and seemed to be well on her way to getting everything she wanted...


  • Determinator: Played with. Her determination gets her a job many 1960's women wouldn't be able to, costs both her and the world Atomicus, and then helps her rebuild arguably a much more fulfilling life from the ashes.
  • Expy: Of Lois Lane.
  • Innocent Bigot: Downplayed. She's not mean or pushy about it and it's wonderful that young ladies have so many more options these days, really, but it sure would be nice if her daughter would break it off with that girl she's seeing and find a nice young man before it's too late.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Although not actually a reporter, she takes on a similar role, investigating crimes and reporting them to Atomicus. Unsurprising, given her inspiration.
  • Irony: Driving Atomicus away and torpedoing her old career helped her find a man who could truly reciprocate her feelings and gain even greater success than before. Doubly ironic in that she doesn't seem to realize this.
  • Loving a Shadow: She was honestly under that impression that Atomicus was a fully-mature adult who was merely toying with her affections rather than the terrified, awkward Manchild he really was.
  • The Man Behind the Man: A positive example. Without her influence Morton wouldn't have been elected mayor, and Cronin would have stayed an obscure alderman instead of becoming a state senator.
  • My Greatest Failure: When Atomicus needed a friend/love and mentor to gently usher him into humanity, she instead became an unintentional antagonist who made his life hell, eventually driving him away from Earth.
  • Plucky Girl: Resourceful, clever and determined to make her mark.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Misinterpreted Atomicus's attempts to get her to back off as a challenge to prove herself worthy of him by revealing his identity.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Realizing that Atomicus tricked her again (after she accepted that he and Adam were separate people) causes her to march right up to him and rip open his shirt in front of everyone, finally exposing his identity, while angrily accusing him of messing with her for fun.
  • Second Love: With Senator Cronin. She worries that he went to the grave thinking he was second best, though her daughter assures her otherwise.
  • Secret Chaser: Becomes this for Atomicus, much to their mutual regret in the end.
  • Trauma Conga Line: After she drives Atomicus away, she's fired, reviled by the public, falls into the bottle for a while, and gets mocked when she tries to find work again. That doesn't stop her.

    Ismiri Dvi-Zaralkh (Cutlass) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cutlass_2016.jpg
"When I say open the vault door and we're on a tight timeline, I expect action!"

A fugitive from the inter-dimensional City of Uld, she became a supervillainess on Earth in the 1960's and worked with Steeljack and Quarrel as the Terrifying Three. After the Three broke up, she made it big in real estate and put the past behind her, or so she thought.


    Marta Dobrescu 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marta_7.jpg
"Though it is not without its dangers — though it has never been without danger — I love my home."

Marta grew up in the eerie Shadow Hill district of Astro City, and adapted to the various supernatural menaces in her neighborhood. As a young adult, she sought independence from her immigrant parents and considered joining the city proper, only to realize that what she was looking for wasn't necessarily what she wanted. She eventually ends up running one of the biggest law offices in Shadow Hill, with clients both mundane and otherwise — even by the Hill's standards.


  • Attempted Rape: Suffered this at the hands of Slamburger, but Nick Furst saved her.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: A few hours with a pile of dubiously-translated spells allowed Marta to accurately deduce the personality and motivations of one of the most powerful entities in the universe.
  • Better the Devil You Know: Sure Shadow Hill may be so chock-full of supernatural nasties that it might as well be an Eldritch Location, but as long as one is careful and has the right protections even an ordinary person can keep themselves safe from them. You can't do that with supervillains.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: A positive example. Everyone else thinks Shadow Hill is a nightmarish realm out of Lovecraft or Hammer, but Marta grew up there and knows that it's a place like anywhere else as long as you know how to take care of yourself.
  • Country Mouse: Although Shadow Hill is technically part of Astro City.
  • Cutting the Knot: Her suggestion to have Tzammath's cult just summon the lady herself and see what she wanted turned out to be the right thing to do.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Knows a ritual that allows this.
  • Functional Magic: Although not a mage, like most people in Shadow Hill she knows some rituals and methods to protect herself from evil beings, as well as a few other small magics.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Slamburger gave a favorable opinion of her looks. Granted, that's not an endorsement you'd want...
  • I Want Grandkids: Since ghosts tend to fixate on what mattered to them when they died, Marta's mother's been bugging her from beyond the grave, even though she's in her forties.
  • Mundane Utility: Summoning ghosts is pretty handy for settling all sorts of legal problems, particularly wills.
  • Pals with Jesus: The Hanged Man has taken an interest in her and trusts her to help him. He even seems to genuinely like her.
  • Protective Charm: Marta is well-versed in these, having learned them from a young age.
  • Skunk Stripe: Develops a couple at her forehead as she ages.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Normal people tend to be shocked at how casual she is about Shadow Hill.

    Charlie Provost (Quark) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/charlie_provost.jpg
"I'll remember! I'll remember—an' I'll be back! Damn you Starfighter, I'LL BE BACK!"

Charlie was recruited as a teenager to be the sidekick of the superhero Starfighter; unfortunately, he became drunk with power over time, requiring his mentor to intervene — but leaving Charlie emotionally shattered as a result.


  • The Alcoholic: He can't let go of his glory days, and drinks to cope.
  • Blood Knight: He proved even more brutal than the criminals he fought, so Starfighter ultimately had to wipe his memory of how to use the Lorus.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Like Starfighter.
  • Geometric Magic: Like Starfighter.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Starfighter wiped his memory of the shapes of the Lorus, effectively de-powering him.
  • Psychic Powers: Could sense the presence of the Lorus, but not actually see it. Starfighter thought this qualified him to be his sidekick, but soon realized that he'd made a mistake.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Once Starfighter's sidekick, now survives off of occasional acting gigs and signing things at conventions.

    Jerome Isaac "Ike" Johnson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jerome_johnson.jpg
The latest Johnson son of Jack-in-the-Box. Ike sought to follow in his father and grandfather's heroic footsteps, but life took him on another path.
  • Alternate Self: Three of his have shown up in the past, though it seems his parents haven't told him about them.
  • Atrocious Alias: He's the only one who liked the name "Jackie Justice".
  • Call-Back: The name "Jackie Justice" is just like "Justice Jacky", and judging from Zachary's reaction, he definitely made the connection.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Found one by the end of his spotlight story.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Although he downplays his intellect, he did find and fix a problem with one of his father's devices that had left him stumped.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: On his first sojourn as Jackie Justice he broke his leg and messed up his knee badly enough to curtail any further acrobatics, though at least he can still walk.
  • Legacy Character: Felt an obligation to try to be one of these, in the light of his father and grandfather's deeds. Roscoe and his father make certain he understands that it's not necessary to have a Jack-in-the-Box in the world, probably to forestall any chance of some form of The Jackson/The Box coming to be.
  • The Medic: Has been taking a sports medicine class at high school and doing independent study with the intention of becoming a doctor, and used his knowledge to save Drama Queen's life.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: According to him, he's not the genius his father and grandfather were, though he's perfectly intelligent in his own right.
  • The Shrink: After saving Drama Queen, he's taken an interest in helping heal people's emotional scars, and has tentative plans to become a psychiatrist.
  • Sidekick: Had intentions of becoming one and tried to do it without his father or the current Jack-in-the-Box's knowledge or permission. It went badly.

    Stekk (Sticks, Tuxedo Gorilla) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sticks.jpg
"It was sound and noise and rhythm and beauty. It was emotion and release and control. It was joy and creation. Making something together. And just like that — I felt like I'd come home."

A talking gorilla from Gorilla Mountain, a pocket of subtropical forest in Antarctica, who jumped ship to become a musician in the outside world.


  • Aliens Steal Cable: How Sticks learned about human music; some of the gorillas on Gorilla Mountain tapped into human radio, and subsequently the Internet.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Played with. Sticks is a gorilla, but he prefers to create music rather than break things.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He may be through with Gorilla Mountain, but at least one faction of Gorilla Mountain isn't through with him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Rejected his people's Forever War and consequent militaristic lifestyle in favor of humanity and its music. Part of it was his awareness he wasn't cut out for a soldier's life.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Had one of these back on Gorilla Mountain.
  • Everyone is a Super: By the standards of Gorilla Mountain, Sticks is basically just another grunt. By the standards of the outside world, Sticks is an intelligent talking gorilla with enhanced strength and combat training.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Well, apes, but you get the idea.
  • Fun with Homophones: When he very briefly joined Reflex 6, their sponsors suggested he change his code name, since focus groups were confusing it with "Styx", as in the river.
  • Hellgate: Gorilla Mountain's situated over a dimensional rift, which accesses a lot of other worlds.
  • Lead Drummer: Forms a Five-Man Band of superpowered musicians, with crimefighting as a sideline.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Spent his introduction trying to avoid this, as he didn't want to be pulled back into a life of combat, willingly or not.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sticks is a pun on his real name, Stekk.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: He's not really "the best", at least by his people's standards, but every supervillain wants to get their hands on a super-strong talking gorilla. Who wouldn't?
  • Roof Hopping / Wall Crawl: How he gets around.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As Tuxedo Gorilla.
  • Small, Secluded World: Gorilla Mountain. Enforced by the Pack Council, who don't want any outsiders tainting the purity of their culture, despite the fact Gorilla Mountain society is still around thanks to outside influence. They don't like having that pointed out.
  • Super Strength: Sticks and his people are stronger than ordinary gorillas.
  • Take a Third Option: He couldn't be part of a normal band, since just being who and what he was, put his normal bandmates at risk, and he couldn't join a super-team since he couldn't stomach the life...so he split the difference.

    Silverstring 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/silverstring.jpg

In the late 1800s, there was a travelling musician, a man known as Silverstring, called that for his guitar, strung with pure silver. Who he was and where he came from, no-one can say for certain.

It was said he could play magic on that guitar, magic that kept darkness and demons away, that he used that magic to save lives and defend people.

It's said that he died somewhere round Romeyn Falls, Astro City as was, and his guitar destroyed itself with him... but he left behind a most unusual legacy.


  • Ambiguously Brown: No-one knows what ethnicity he was - he was identified as black, white, Mexican, half-Indian, Chinese...
  • Death by Origin Story: His death sets in motion a legacy of heroes that stretches over the 20th century, living incarnations of counterculture music, beginning with Mister Cakewalk.
  • Expy: Of Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John.
  • The Faceless: His face is never shown clearly, always kept in shadow by his hat.
  • Magic Music: Used his silver-stringed guitar to play magic that warded off darkness and demons.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Known only as Silverstring; no-one had any other name for him.
  • Shrouded in Myth: No-one knows much of anything about him for certain: what his origin was, where he came from, the circumstances of his death...
  • Walking the Earth: What he did, living as a travelling musician, walking this world and perhaps lands beyond, refusing any offer to settle down.

    The Broken Man 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/broken_man.jpg
You, out there with the face. *sigh* Yes, I can see you. Get over it.

A strange person with an awareness he's fictional, fighting a shadow-war against the mysterious thing called the "Oubor".


  • Amazing Technicolour Population: He's a very deep purple in his mental body. His physical body, however, is yellow.
  • Astral Projection: His body's in an institution, but he can project his mind a sidestep away from reality, allowing him to wander the world and interact with us.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Has a marked resemblance to David Bowie, particularly on the cover of Vertigo issue #37.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's very sarcastic, especially when commenting on superheroes.
  • Deaf Composer: He can't hear music anymore, only remember it, but nevertheless, he still plays.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: He directly addresses the reader from the get-go, even threatening to "not let you in again" after reading things they weren't supposed to.
  • Man in White: Stops just this side of going all-out, wearing a white tailcoat, white trousers, white shoes, white t-shirt with the Astro City logo, and white-and-red socks.
  • Medium Awareness: As mentioned, he's fully aware he's fictional. His first appearance has him snarking about the Dark Age miniseries, and saying that if he explained everything all at once "we'd be here for a dozen issues and your eyes would glaze over".
  • Mismatched Eyes: In his early appearances, one's green and the other's purple; from issue #37 on, however, they're both green.
  • Mysterious Past: He's forgotten who he might have been; however, it's implied that he's the latest personification of counterculture music, but the Oubor's agents interfered with his change, fracturing him into his current state. The trauma of the disruption appears to have made him forget who he is, constructing a new past for himself, and he refuses to accept he might be the spirit when it's suggested to him.
  • Speech Bubbles: His are irregular purple polygons with white borders and white words.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or in his case, fluorescent green hair.

    Matilda "Tillie" Jane Armstrong 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tillie.jpg
The Gentleman's daughter, who holds the key to his secret origin.
  • The Ageless: One of a select few people who, for whatever reason, have stopped aging - in her case, as a child in the '40s.
  • Dream People: When Tillie's father died during a supervillain attack in The '40s, she manifested an idealized version of him, the Gentleman, to answer her grief - but because they were both fundamentally decent people, he also did his best to help others as well. However, she couldn't manifest him permanently, so she only calls on him when she, or the world, needs him. She believes that, if she wanted to, she could let go of her father and begin aging normally, but... the world needs heroes, and she needs her father. During the '50s, feeling that it was selfish of her to hold onto him, and that it'd be selfish to let go of him, she decided to indulge herself and created the Young Gentleman as a big brother for herself.
  • Expy: If the Gentleman is an expy of the original Captain Marvel, Tillie is an expy of Billy Batson, being a fundamentally decent, good-hearted kid with her feet on the ground and a talent for encountering weirdness.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The Broken Man discovers she's this, much to his consternation, when he introduces her spotlight issue - she's aware of him, she can see the audience reading the future comic she's appearing in, and she knows what she must look like to any Astro City resident who can't see the fourth wall. That said, she doesn't see as much as the Broken Man can, wondering what he means by "We're on page twenty-three, 'Til. There really isn't any room left."
  • Girlish Pigtails: In keeping with being a Forties-era nice girl.
  • Nice Girl: You can see where she came by it.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother died when she was born, and her father died during a supervillain attack during the war.
  • Walking the Earth: How she apparently lives.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Ever since her father died, she seems to have developed a knack for stumbling upon weird situations - discovering her headmistress was training an all-girl pickpocket ring, having trouble with counterfeiters, going on a school trip to a museum right about the time a serpent cult launched a raid...
Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback