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Batman Cold Open

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Just another knight at work.
Named after the common scenario found in the adventures of the Dark Knight Detective, this is the short two-to-three page Cold Open sequence that opens a super-hero comic, depicting the vigilante engaging in some crime-fighting on Bit Part Bad Guys.

Typically, this is a bank-robbery or a mugging, usually unrelated to the plot-at-large, meant to illustrate the crime-fighting abilities of our hero, and often giving him the chance to brood about whatever is/will be bothering him for the extent of the issue. It can also help offset The Worf Effect by showing that the hero is competent before having him beaten by the serious threat later in the story. The opening titles for the TV series Batman: The Animated Series also used this trope, as does Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

In a practical sense, it allows for a reasonable amount of action in an issue that may be very talky, especially if it's the start of a Story Arc. Speaking of story arcs, plot-driven series sometimes devote entire episodes/issues/chapters at the beginning to exposition of the heroes' powers and routine assignments, as well as any kind of Applied Phlebotinum, before said plot takes over. If nothing really exciting happens and we are instead treated to normal life at the beginning before trouble starts, it overlaps with Day in the Life.


Sometimes involves Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me.

Subtrope of The Teaser. See also Action Prologue, Danger Room Cold Open and Dramatic Chase Opening. Contrast And the Adventure Continues, which is essentially the opposite, done at the end of the series, and On Patrol Montage, which is something similar during an episode instead of at the start.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Both seasons of A Certain Scientific Railgun devote their first episodes to series protagonists Misaka Mikoto and Shirai Kuroko apprehending and beating up rogue espers or terrorists in showcases of their powers] Conversely, the main series A Certain Magical Index subverts this trope by starting off with its protagonist, Kamijou Touma, running away from pursuing thugs after a misguided attempt to keep them from harming Misaka (actually, to keep her from harming them).
  • Chrono Crusade kicks off with Rosette and Chrono doing an exorcism job in a haunted ship so that the audience understands that in this 'verse, "exorcism" involves less use of holy symbols and more use of guns.
  • Claymore is like this: the first chapters/episodes depict Clare going about the usual yoma-slaying business (until her first almost-Awakening).
  • Cowboy Bebop does this (at least) once with a plane hijacking.
  • Darker than Black opens with one of these and also serves to introduce the concept of Contractors, when a man who can defy gravity at the price of breaking his own fingers is subdued, interrogated and killed by a black-coated person with a white mask. The masked man is the protagonist, although the show doesn't tell us until the end of the two-episode arc (which contains a lot of Expospeak).
  • The very first chapter of Digimon V-Tamer 01 opens this way, the first hint of any on going plot being a Call-Back to C'mon Digimon before the reader learns any events relevant to the current series.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist opens with the Elric brothers on a normal mission, where they explain the principles of alchemy, before the Back Story is explained and the prime plot kicks in. The first anime adapts this as the first two episodes. Brotherhood, instead, adapts it in the third, after some other events; but then, its first episode, an original story, fills this same purpose.
  • The first episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex begins with Section 9 rescuing a bunch of officials taken hostages by robots — although this is related to the plot of the first episode, it is still essentially just to show how badass Section 9 is.
  • Grenadier spends the first episodes expositing the series' world, such as the structure of the Empire and the position of gunslingers in it.
  • The first episode of the Hellsing anime opens with a creepy old guy and a young-looking woman dressed like a prostitute walking into a hotel room. After some dialogue from the old guy, they realize that Alucard has been there the whole time. Cue Alucard pointing his gun at the two of them and shooting the woman, who turns out to be a vampire.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail: Meimi/Saint Tail occasionally opens stealing a priceless artifact and getting away, leaving her "victim" to cry out without thinking about how hard he worked to steal it in the first place and being heard by her detective pursuers.
  • During the opening of Kite, Anti-Hero Sawa uses herself as bait to lure one of her targets, a popular television personality who turns out to be a creep preying on young women out before killing him in an elevator to his apartment, while an old woman who witnesses it dies from shock.
  • The opening chapters/first few episodes of Soul Eater have the main casts carrying out a typical mission in both the Cold Opening and the episode (Soul and Maka succeed at gaining a soul, Black Star and Tsubaki fail due to BS' egomania and Kid fails due to being Obsessively Organized, then in the episode Maka and Soul fail because they succeed, BS and Tsubaki fail because Black☆Star's really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Kid succeeds despite his OCD but does so much collateral damage he has to give the souls up). This is because the artist was hired to do a couple one-shot stories, which eventually took off and became the series proper.
  • Tiger & Bunny opens with the entire main cast having turns at trying to catch a group of escaping bank robbers.
  • The first couple of episodes of Trinity Blood don't do anything for the story except introduce some of the main characters and establishing the conflict between The Church and the vampires.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman is the Trope Namer. Batman #608 (the first part of the Batman: Hush arc) depicts Batman sneaking around a shipyard and taking down four of Killer Croc's thugs in rapid succession to save a small boy who happens to be heir to an enormous fortune.
  • Bookhunter opens with Agent Bay leading a SWAT Team to apprehend a "freelance censor"
  • Deadpool (and later Cable & Deadpool) does this quite often, opening with a splash page of the title character engaged in a spectacular fight against a considerably large group of Mooks while making absolutely random remarks.
  • When Johnny Saturn is first seen in Johnny Saturn No.1, he is putting the beat down on a gang of thugs called the Charlie Blockers or C Blockers. This battle is little more than foreplay before the first Johnny Saturn/Utopian confrontation.
  • The Other Side Of Doomsday starts with four pages of The Flash, The Atom and Supergirl beating up a gang of high-tech crooks called "Sky Pirates" before the beginning of the real plot (which the Pirates have nothing to do with).
  • The Punisher engages in this quite a lot. The title character being who he is, the Bit Part Bad Guys he deals with typically do not survive.
  • In many ways, the beginning of issue #1 of Red Hood and the Outlaws can be considered this, as we witness Arsenal getting busted out of jail by Red Hood and Starfire. The beginnings of issues #6 (the end of some sort of escapade Red Hood has gotten into on a nuclear submarine) and #8 provide clearer examples of this trope.
  • Robin (1993): Issue #167 starts with five pages of Tim apprehending an Arkham escapee who had stolen a semi and gotten on the interstate before being called away to the main plot of the issue; tracking down and recapturing Lock Up.
  • The Sin City miniseries "A Dame to Kill For" opens with the main character spying on a Domestic Abuser (he's a Private Detective) and having to save his mistress from getting killed. This is the main character's introduction and has nothing to do with the main story, though it does do wonders in establishing his character and setting up his Fatal Flaw (his violent protectiveness toward women).
  • Spider-Man does this pretty often; some issues will begin with Spidey trouncing some random gangsters who have nothing to do with the issue's plot.
  • The first issue of Phil Foglio's Stanley and His Monster mini-series is pretty much a standalone plot of the kind that the old ongoing series did a lot. Then, on the second-last page, the real plot of the mini-series begins.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • Combined this with Arc Welding: one plot deals with the Big Bad sending a group of mercenaries to bring Spider-Man to him so that he can find out how Spider-Man knows about all the attempts on his company and why he's been helping to stop them. Spidey has no idea what the guy is talking about until he shows footage of several Batman Cold Opens from previous issues.
    • Shocker exists pretty much solely to get beaten up in the first two pages. This leads to an arc where Peter starts wondering what he's accomplishing, if this guy keeps getting out of jail so easily. It also creates a Wham Episode when Shocker manages to capture Spider-Man.

    Fan Works 
  • In fanfic Bloodstained Heroes of Humanity the story begins with Todoriki and Izuku defending Yaoyorozu, Kirishima and Iida from a feral werewolf that used to be their classmate.
  • The Night Unfurls: The first chapter of both versions opens this way. It shows the Hunter's chores as a wandering sellsword, hunting down orc bands left and right as his means for earning income. The Hunter also gives brief exposition on how Eostia has a war going on, though he wants nothing to do with it. The only difference between the two versions is that the one for the remastered version has a bit more action.
  • The first chapter of Unity (Finmonster) is the Big Hero 9 team intercepting and apprehending some bank robbers, showing how far they've come as an organized team since the first story. It's actually titled "Cold Open".

    Films — Animation 
  • Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door opens with bounty hunters Spike and Jet apprehending a few criminals robbing a convenience store.
  • Ghost in the Shell (1995) opens with the Major stopping a diplomat from getting a programmer out of the country by shooting him in the head (explosively) and then literally disappearing from sight.
  • Hellboy Animated: Storm of Swords opens with Hellboy, Liz, and Abe Sapien taking down giant bat-monster in Latin America.
  • In Kenji's long voyage with Natsuki at the beginning of Summer Wars, several scenes play out with King Kazma kicking all kinds of ass as a then-background event or action opener, which turns out to have shown off how capable the user of King Kazma is when we find out who he is, making this some kind of Batman Cold Open.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • James Bond movies, typically, although they often do have some relation to the main plot of the movie.
  • In Seven Samurai, we're introduced to Kambei as he rescues a boy being held hostage in a barn. The trope was a custom of Japanese swordfilms called "chambara," though this film was probably the western world's first introduction to the trope.
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960) features Chris and Vin escorting the hearse of a "halfbreed" to the local cemetery when the rest of the town is dead-set against him being buried in their graveyard.
  • Django follows this pattern.
  • The second live-action Guyver movie uses this trope.
  • Blown Away has Jimmy Dove demonstrating his bomb-defusing badassary skills on a not-related-to-main-plot bomb.
    • The mid-80s Pierce Brosnan film Livewire does exactly the same thing with its bomb-defusing protagonist.
  • Wild Wild West spends a good twenty minutes in an opening saloon scene where both West and Gordon fail to catch Disc-One Final Boss Bloodbath McGrath.
  • Indiana Jones, especially his attempt at retrieving the golden idol at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the flashbacks of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
    • UHF parodies the opening of the former, and, in doing so, is an example of the trope.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The Dark Knight had one where Batman takes on Scarecrow, and (though a villainous example) the bank heist at the beginning, (largely) unrelated to The Joker's larger schemes over the rest of the movie, but used to show the audience how devious, manipulative and ruthless he is.
    • Meanwhile, in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane shows off his extremely organized and loyal army by making them crash a CIA plane just to fake the death of one character. It did have some small effect on the overall plot, but it was mostly a parallel to The Joker's introduction.
  • Batman (1989) had one too, after the opening credits. It introduced the audience to Batman in action, as he attacked two small-time muggers on the rooftops.
    • Batman Forever begins with Batman moving out to stop Two-Face committing an overblown bank robbery, where Two-Face declares, "Let's start this party with a bang!"
  • District 13 actually has one of these about twenty minutes into the movie to introduce the second hero, a supercop. The cop has a huge martial arts brawl in an illegal casino to establish his badass credentials before he gets fit into the main plot.
  • In Streets of Fire, the hero is introduced by beating up some local toughs who are breaking up his sister's diner.
  • All the Dirty Harry movies have a scene in the beginning where Harry stops a crime unrelated to the main plot. In the first one, it was a bank robbery, in Magnum Force it was a plane hijacking,The Enforcer it was a liquor store holdup. A diner was being robbed in Sudden Impact and in The Dead Pool it was mob hitmen out to kill him.
  • The beginning of For a Few Dollars More shows two bounty hunters, Colonel Mortimer and Manco separately tracking and killing wanted criminals and collecting their bounties.
  • Beverly Hills Cop starts with Axel Foley undercover trying to bust a cigarette smuggling operation and turns into a big chase with him hanging from the back of a speeding semi and dozens of police cars.
  • Minority Report starts off with Pre-Crime going off after a double murder foreseen by the Pre-Cogs. It really lacks impact into the story afterwards with the exception of telling the audience that Pre-Crime fundamentally works by avoiding the homicides.
  • The Expendables
    • The Expendables show the team rescuing a group of hostages from African pirates, just to show how good they are at what they do.
    • The Expendables 2 opens with them raiding a stronghold to rescue a Chinese billionaire.
  • Inception not only uses this trope but also introduces us to a major character of the film as being the target.
  • The first few minutes of The Marine show John Cena (or, rather, a character played by him) fighting terrorists (or at least terrorist sympathizers) in a Middle Eastern country. This cold opening actually serves two purposes: 1) establishing John Triton as a badass and 2) showing him disobeying a direct (although unreasonable) order from his commander, thus justifying his being discharged from the service and sent home to the United States, where the real plot takes place.
  • While Sneakers technically opens with a scene from the main character's past, the next scene is very much this trope.
  • In the Line of Fire begins with an introductory scene of Frank busting some counterfeiters while undercover, which has no relation to the rest of the movie. It also acts as a Shown Their Work scene for the writers to demonstrate that they're aware the Secret Service still has a few functions other than protecting the President.
    • It does play into the plot a little later on, when it's revealed that Frank's colleague Al is having some difficulty coping with the pressures of the job (in the Cold Open he comes very close to getting killed), which leads to the film playing with the Retirony trope.
  • The investigation of Old Man McGinty in Mystery Team.
  • The opening sequence on the planet Nibiru in Star Trek Into Darkness, which drops the viewer right in the middle of a scene in which Kirk and Bones are Chased by Angry Natives.
  • The Professional begins with a scene showing the title character on a routine job, killing a gang of drug dealers in a matter of minutes. The entire scene only exists to establish how proficient he is and has nothing to do with the rest of the film.
  • Cloak and Dagger begins with Jack Flack on an espionage mission, then reveals that it's all been the plot of game being played by our kid hero Davey, who soon gets embroiled in a real spy caper.
  • The exceptionally long cold opening of Super Troopers starts off with two of the troopers toying with and eventually busting some stoners, then getting drawn into a high-speed chase by another trooper playing a prank on them.
  • The Black Cobra starts with Cowboy Cop Robert Malone going after some bank robbers who've taken hostages.
  • Lethal Weapon gives Riggs one where he leads a cocaine bust.
  • Werewolves on Wheels opens with biker gang the Devil's Advocates kicking the asses of a couple punks who tried to run them off the road.
  • 2019: After the Fall of New York: Parsifal gets one where he participates in a gladiatorial demolition derby.
  • Lethal: Samantha gets one where she captures a rogue mobster.
  • The Live-Action Scooby-Doo movie starts this way. Mystery Inc. is trying to catch the Luna Ghost, providing the audience a chance to see each member of the gang's strengths, weaknesses, and role in the Five-Man Band. After the Ghost is caught, tensions between the main characters lead to their breakup, thus setting the tone for the first act of the plot.
  • A major tradition of the Star Wars films. Each film opens with an action-packed prologue which mostly serves to introduce the main characters and basic ongoing plot before shifting into the film's proper story, probably as part of the homage to the old film serials where there was no way for new viewers to get caught up on previous episodes if they came into it midway.
  • Mission: Impossible (1996) opens with the IMF finishing off a mission.

  • Except for the first book, each installment of the Seekers of Truth series starts this way.
  • Artemis Fowl novels will often open this way, especially when bringing Holly Short into the story. One example: Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony starts off with Holly tracking a smuggler, though in true Artemis Fowl fashion it ends up becoming a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Blood Rites: The novel begins in a burning building, finishing up a job prior to the start of the story proper.
    The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault.
  • Simon R. Green starts off many of his novels like this, particularly in his Nightside and Hawk & Fisher series.
  • Feet of Clay introduces both Carrot and Angua with one of these
  • John Dies at the End opens with a prologue in which Dave and John are lured to a remote cabin and attacked by a monster made of meat.
  • Margin Play by Eric Plume opens with a chapter about Amber serving court papers on Thom Cullen. It's completely unrelated to the main plot.
  • The Sword-Edged Blonde begins with the protagonist being hired for a relatively typical assignment: retrieve a teenage aristocratic runaway who has fallen in with the wrong crowd in a rough border town. This serves to show the kind of unglamorous thing that he normally does, before the book moves on to the main plot (which involves royal infanticide and goddesses.)
  • In the prologue of Star Wars: Kenobi, Obi-Wan intervenes in a bar fight while on his way to drop Luke Skywalker off at the Lars's. A very drunk old man finds himself holding an infant and watching as an odd blue light takes out several of Jabba the Hutt's thugs in the dimness.
  • Ra starts with the heroine getting accosted in an alley by a group of thugs, and taking them out with her magic skills.
  • InCryptid: When the prologue isn't A Minor Kidroduction, it's usually this. For instance, the prologue of That Ain't Witchcraft is a sequence of Casual Danger Dialogue between Annie and Fern as they hunt a unicorn. The first chapter has Sam and Annie, in the present day, destroy a Corn Blight that has been killing people in a small midwestern town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Boston Legal episode "An Eye for an Eye", the dubious moral compass of star lawyer Alan Shore is established by him showing up on trial at night court dressed as, ironically, Batman. It plays no further role in the episode.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer frequently start with Buffy killing a random vampire on patrol. Occasionally doubles as a Couch Gag; for instance, "Halloween" starts with Buffy fighting a vampire in a pumpkin patch.
    • Ditto Angel saving innocent girls from vampires — though here the trope was subverted more often than it was played straight. It would turn out to be a dream, or someone would interrupt Angel, or Spike would be nearby doing color commentary...
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: Each episode starts with an unknown gunman sneaking up on Captain Scarlet and unloading an entire magazine into him from a submachine gun to no effect, before Captain Scarlet shoots him.
  • The second season of Daredevil (2015) starts out like this, showing the titular hero beating up a few common criminals. Besides showing how badass he is, the scene also shows that he became part of the day-to-day life of Hell's Kitchen, as he was mostly unknown through a good chunk of the first season.
  • In Deadwood, Seth Bullock is introduced as he faces down a Montana lynch mob and executes a prisoner on the porch of his Sheriff's office. Immediately afterward, he retires from his post and departs for Deadwood, starting the show proper.
  • Dollhouse: Due to Executive Meddling, the first five episodes are 'Imprint of the Week'-style stand-alone stories, before any kind of Story Arc kicks in.
  • Firefly was due to start with a double length origins episode, featuring the arrival of River Tam, Simon and Book. Instead, Executive Meddling mandated that a train heist episode be adjusted to become the first episode, in order to show the normal hijinks of the Firefly crew on a job. The prequel story was later shown out of order without warning, causing mild temporary confusion for some viewers.
  • The "opening gambits" of MacGyver (1985) — especially for the first few episodes — have little to do with the rest of the plot and are often directed by a separate team. This particular style of opening is important in the pilot, as it's our first glimpse of MacGyver in action. A good portion of the episode is devoted to this gambit: Mac scales a sheer cliff, disarms a missile, and makes an impromptu rescue, all while his internal monologue brings us up to speed via a series of somewhere between home-spun and downright corny analogies about hockey, riding horses or people he knows.
  • A few Power Rangers series have been known to do this:
    • Power Rangers Zeo has at least two. The first has Adam being pursused by 4 "ninjas" who are later revealed to be the other Rangers. The second has the Gold Ranger protecting the team from a group of Cogs.
    • Power Rangers Time Force uses this extensively to make use of Stock Footage that they couldn't use any other way.
    • The premier of Power Rangers: Dino Thunder has Tommy escaping from an exploding island before anything else in the season.
    • Power Rangers RPM likes to do this, often starting in the middle of a megazord battle before moving on to the plot o' the episode, which is usually unrelated. The main purpose is pretty much to emphasize just how much of a war of attrition is going on, and how relentless the machines are ... and to get the merchandising for the giant robots out of the way as soon as possible, so they don't have to interrupt the plotty action scenes with stock footage.
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad frequently opens in the middle of a battle with a Monster of the Week sort of construct, which sometimes leads to the villains immediately coming up with a new plan (and the true monster for the episode) to avenge the thwarting of the old one.
  • The series opener of The Wire begins this way. Detective Jimmy McNulty is introduced while investigating the murder of a guy named Snotboogie. The little episode makes a statement about the America Dream, a major theme of the series, but the Snotboogie murder itself has nothing to do with the plot of the rest of the season.

  • In the Mrs. Hawking play series, part III: Base Instruments opens with the team finishing a case up by beating up a gang of ruffians, in order to lead into the otherwise fairly cerebral plot of the main mystery.

    Video Games 
  • The entire first day of Tex Murphy - Under a Killing Moon. Also serves as an introduction to most of the regular characters.
  • The first stage of X-Men 2: Clone Wars on Sega Genesis. Literally a Cold Open, too; you are dropped right into the stage with a random character the instant you power on the console, and only see the title screen once you've beaten the stage. Plus, it's snowing.
  • The first Modern Warfare game has a tutorial, followed by a mission on freighter (ending with an epic Video Game Set Piece) related to the main plot (It helps set up Al-Asad having the nuke later on), then the credits play over a Scenic-Tour Level.
    • Similarly, Modern Warfare 2 starts with a tutorial, then a typical Middle-Eastern urban warfare mission that's completely unrelated to the plot (except that it seems to occur on the tail end of the war that begins in the first game), and then "No Russian" is where the game's plot really starts.
  • Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario 64 and all the Mario & Luigi games had Mario fighting Bowser in some form (and in one of them... Bowser wins).
  • Mirror's Edge starts the Prologue off with Faith delivering a package, setting her own job as Parkour "courier" in-universe. That really only serves to explain why she has the flexibility, speed and energy of a monkey overdosed in Redbull before she goes off to clear her sister's name.
  • Breath of Fire II begins with a normal day in Ryu's childhood. After a timeskip, Ryu and Bow are shown taking on a normal job.
  • In LEGO Batman there's a cold open scene directly before the title screen (which is skippable) that is pretty much exactly the same as the BTAS opening. This is likely intentional. Additionally, in the third game there is a very similar cold open.
  • Cosmic Star Heroine begins with the protagonist Alyssa L'Salle, an API agent, being sent to counter a terrorist attack holding civilians hostage. While showing that Alyssa is a competent agent, this mission has no bearing on the plot except for setting up a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment that happens later.
  • The Action Prologue of Bonfire is a Justified Tutorial that pits you against enemies designed to be countered by your starting heroes, allowing the game to show off their abilities while teaching you how to use them.

  • Acrobat plays it straight and made into a hot closing with Magnum and a villain in issue 4.
  • The online version of The Order of the Stick begins with the party effortlessly trouncing a bunch of random goblins before the game system is updated. It was later revised in the print version to begin earlier, with a voice-over about the Order and their goals.
  • The first few pages of Once Stung cover Queen Bee foiling a robbery before flashing back to her origin story.

    Web Videos 
  • Deconstructed and parodied in Joel Haver's "Batman but he doesn't show up", where four goons are loading and transporting a shipment of wooden pallets (just pallets, nothing else) to the Penguin, and are all on edge in case "the Bat" arrives. In spite of a few false alarms, he doesn't arrive: they load the trucks, drive them to the rendezvous, and unload them without a hitch, which leaves everyone a little confused as to what to do next. Two of the goons, Bruiser and Stinger, are pleasantly surprised to hear their names used for the first time, not expecting that they'd have any. It then cuts to the main thug at home, shocked to learn that he has a wife and kids, too. When Batman arrives in his bedroom in the dead of night to beat him up, the goon tells him he can't, because he's already spent too much time as the protagonist and the audience is endeared to him.
    Thug: ...Does this mean I'm the main character? Is this my Joker? Am I gonna get an Oscar?

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has some of these. For instance, "Some Assembly Required" (which takes place almost immediately after the Avengers' founding) begins with the team confronting Mandrill after a bank robbery.
  • The first episode of The Batman opens with Batman taking down Rupert Thorne and his goons before moving on to the actual plot of the episode.
  • Batman: The Animated Series uses this as its opening sequence. It succeeds at Show, Don't Tell to such a degree that it was only after seeing the finished product that the producers realized that they never actually showed the title.
  • In particular, this is done in an unusual way in Batman: The Brave and the Bold as we see one short adventure before the credits, often unconnected to the main story, with a different villain and partner. There are still occasions in the main story as well, where Batman will meet his team up during or just after defeating a minor villain. During the second season, the cold opens involved their own ongoing story, where one of Batman's past partners encounters Starro and gets mind controlled by him which eventually led to the Siege of Starro two-parter season finale.
  • Biker Mice from Mars: Many episodes of the original 1993 series have Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo heckling and messing with the main villain, Lawrence Limburger, in the beginning just before the opening title. The 2006 revival did the same with the series' new villains, the Catatonians and Ronaldo Rump.
  • The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Gadget Goes Hawaiian" opens with the Rangers already in dire peril, having to defend themselves against a giant octopus while being tied up. It is not explained how they got into this situation, and this is not that episode's actual case either.
  • The Danny Phantom episode "13" has this with the hero combating various animal ghosts in the beginning. He ends up losing thanks to the Monster of the Week's bad luck shadow.
  • Exists in the original but mostly cut out from the first episode of Darkwing Duck, where the widely broadcast version only shows him turning in the criminals.
  • The first handful of episodes of Generator Rex begin this way, showcasing Rex's EVO-defeating chops.
  • The first episode of Justice League Unlimited begins with Green Arrow foiling a supermarket robbery before being beamed up to the JL Watchtower and asked to join the all-new expanded Justice League.
  • A common occurrence in Kim Possible, although the "action" teasers would occasionally have exposition about Kim's personal subplot as a lead in.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has this kind of opening in its early episodes.
  • Most episodes of Men in Black: The Series have one of these, though it sometimes leads into the main plot.
  • About half the episodes of The Real Ghostbusters begin with the Ghostbusters in the middle of busting one or more ghosts. You can pretty much count on these ghosts to have nothing to do with the main plot, and they are often the same ghosts used in crowd scenes or cold opens in other episodes, since the animators worked from a small pool of stock ghosts. But every so often they do figure into the main plot later in the episode when they're released from the containment unit by the ghost-of-the-week or phenomenon-of-the-week.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man often begins this way, with Spider-Man mid-battle with criminals.
  • Doctor Light in introduced to the Teen Titans (2003) in this manner, only to be immediately traumatized for the rest of the series by Raven.
  • Episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) focusing on super-hero guest-stars often open this way, replacing the show's usual In Medias Res teasers.
  • The VeggieTales episode "LarryBoy and the Rumor Weed" uses one of these, with LarryBoy catching a thief who's been stealing kids' milk money. It ends with LarryBoy inadvertently creating the villain of the episode.