Heroes never get in trouble for plowing through buildings, demolishing half the city, killing seventeen people and injuring three, taking things that do not belong to them, or jaywalking, as long as they're being heroic. The necessary explanation seems to be that they've got very, very good insurance, that will take care of everything, including the costs of cleanup, repair, and presumably fat settlements for the people who want to sue the hero's spandex-clad bottom off. Of course, there's also the matter of Secret Identity: even if you wanted to sue Superman for damages, who exactly are you supposed to file your case against?
At worst, the hero will face an Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving speech at the end, but often there's not even that. Morality doesn't come into play, as the consequences of the hero's actions are all but ignored. This is why even The Cape can get away with gross negligence for the safety of innocent people; it's assumed that somehow, nobody will get hurt, and the property damage tab will gladly be picked up by someone else.
It's even more obvious when the hero actually fails to prevent the villain's crimes—this will only add to the sense of urgency the hero faces, instead of making people think that the hero should be taken to task for doing such a poor job.
This trope often occurs with Mis-blamed, in that peoples' anger is wrongly directed at the hero, rather than at the villain who caused the trouble in the first place. Civilians who whine about rescues they don't like can often come across as Ungrateful Bastards when it doesn't seem to occur to them that they could end up enslaved, dead or worse if The Bad Guy Wins and the hero doesn't stop them.
This is sometimes handwaved with the heroes actually mentioning that they've got insurance that will cover this—and is actually a specific rule featured in the old Comics Code—but it's unclear how any insurance company could do this and still turn a profit. Logically, they shouldn't be able to pay for the on-panel destruction unless they are also collecting mammoth premiums from many other superheroes who don't make big claims. So whenever Superman punches through a wall, somewhere, a less-violent hero like Oracle sees her premiums go up? That money has to come from somewhere! Other times the handwave comes from the fact that the hero is a billionaire and could pay for the rebuilds.
This is a popular subject in Deconstruction, where destructive heroes are often portrayed as not much better than the villains they're fighting. In less serious works, this trope can be Lampshaded with Action Insurance Gag.
However, many countries do have laws in place that prevent someone from being held liable for damage caused while saving someone's life. In the USA they are known as Good Samaritan laws. Such laws probably wouldn't apply in some of the more extreme cases of "heroic" destructiveness but is likely an easy enough excuse in situations where the damage caused is minor or where the threat stopped is sufficiently important. However, in some cases like bank robberies and other types of theft, stopping the villain always ends up costing more than just writing off what was stolen.
A subtrope of Saved by the Awesome. See also Never Say "Die", A-Team Firing, No Endor Holocaust. Compare Designated Hero, Wrongful Accusation Insurance, Pay Evil unto Evil, and Paying for the Action Scene. Contrast Hilarity Sues. A real concern for the Walking Disaster Area. Commonly subverted by having the rescued begin Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Averted on at least one occasion where Edward finishes a battle that causes impressive collateral damage, only to be made to clean up after himself by irate shopkeepers. Fortunately, he lives in a setting where powers are as good at fixing messes as they are at making them.
- In another instance, he wrecks a woman's balcony during a big fight. He apologizes mid-battle, and promises to come back and fix it. Later he does fix it (to the woman's surprise) although given his sense of... style, it's debatable whether it's better than it was before.
- Double-subverted when he and Roy have a Wizard Duel. Mustang and Edward end the episode cleaning up the damage with shovels, no alchemy in sight.
- In Cowboy Bebop the reason why the Bebop crew is always starving or using sub-par equipment is because a good chunk of the cash they make off of their bounties is used to pay for the collateral damage they tend to leave in their wake.
- One Piece:
- Averted. The heroes are pirates to begin with, so if they destroy buildings the Navy will respond to it. Normally, the Straw Hat Crew is able to survive their encounters with the Navy. However, if they do commit a serious crime their bounties could increase.
- Also averted when Luffy wrecks a restaurant staffed mostly by former pirates, who make him work off the damage.
- Averted in Moldiver, where not only does the city have to pick up the tab for repairs after superbattles, it contracts them out to the lowest bidder — who happens to be the Big Bad in his civilian identity, and who is driven to distraction by the escalating levels of damage cutting into his profit margin.
- The Big O:
- The titular robot, a Humongous Mecha whose pilot is sometimes guilty of causing just as much damage, if not more, while fighting the Monster of the Week than the monster could cause all by itself. Sometimes entire blocks are razed, but the massive destruction is never really brought up. It's lessened a little by the fact that Paradigm City is fairly underpopulated — a lot of the buildings are entirely deserted, or ruined anyway.
- It's not just fighting monsters either. The act of just deploying Big O and returning it to its "hangar" causes huge thousand-feet-deep craters to be dug all over the place, and nobody seems to care.
- The manga version of The Big O hangs a Lampshade on it: Beck's flunkies, who lack Offscreen Villain Dark Matter, are seen working construction repairing some of the damage afterwards in order to make some quick money.
- Hinted that the main reason Dastun wants to find out the identity of the black Megadeus is to put an end to the constant damage.
- I thought this was the job of all those maintenance men during the Season 2 finale arc who fix the near completely ruined Big O before the final battle. It would certainly explain why damage never carries over, given how fast they are! It's implied that constantly having to dig out from under rubble is why a lot of people have jobs in that universe.
- That doesn't do anything for all the times Big O makes a huge hole in the road, though...
- Lampshaded in Sailor Moon episode 13 when Sailor Mars wants to blast some airplanes being used by the villain and Luna replies that she could never afford to pay for the damage. The joke actually made it through to the DiC English dub.
- Despite not quite being the genre for this, He Is My Master subverts this by having the main character's lack of Hero Insurance driving the plot.
- Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light. After Anubis' defeat, Kaiba leaves in a huff, and Grandpa says, "I'm glad he didn't bring up the damage you all did to his Duel Dome, because I really don't think his insurance is gonna pay for it!"
- Lampshaded in Dai-Guard, where the company that owns the title giant robot is responsible for all collateral damage the robot causes, and numerous insurance-related forms have to be signed before it can be deployed. It's FURTHER Lampshaded in one episode where by the time all the paperwork is completed, Dai-Guard has already been deployed and beaten the Monster of the Week. And when one considers that the only other way to destroy the monsters besides the eponymous giant robot is with nukes, the insurance complaints seem rather inane. In-story they're still cleaning up after the first monster's rampage twelve years later.
- Vash The Humanoid Typhoon. However, it's not without its Lampshade Hangings. Two of the characters are insurance society representatives who stick around to keep an eye on him and fail miserably at keeping him out of trouble, and in the fifth episode of the anime, a character mentions that "Class G Property Damage" contributed to Vash's enormous bounty.
- In the end, the Bernardelli Insurance Company just washes its hands of Vash, and declares any and all damage caused by him "Acts of God." Justified, since he accidentally blew a chunk out of one of the moons; at that point, you can't really call him anything else.
- This trope is arguably deconstructed, alongside the Technical Pacifist trope, with the July 5th incident, the primary source of the bounty on Vash's head. Vash somehow managed to avoid killing a single soul when he blew up an entire city... but it probably would have been kinder if he had vaporised the population, because almost every last man, woman and child either died of thirst/starvation or was murdered for their supplies by their desperate fellows.
- Dragon Ball:
- Usually averted. Particularly in the movies. While battles usually take place in remote areas by default, Goku has often made a point of taking a fight outside of the city to prevent this kind of thing.
- Played straight when Androids 19 and 20 aka Doctor Gero come calling. Goku tries to get them out of the city out of concern for the civilians. Android 20 destroys the city with his Eye Beams. Leading to this exchange:
Goku: How could you do this?! Leave these people out of it!
Android 19: There are no people left to leave out.
- The titular Dragon Balls are a sort of ultimate insurance company as they can be wished for complete reparation of any damage caused during battles (including destroyed PLANETS), and are more than once used for just that.
Announcer: Please don't destroy the arena again.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, explosive destruction of the first Anti-Spiral ship causes significant damage to the surrounding city, blame falls on Simon for destroying it. Subsequent confrontations involve increasingly elegant ways to prevent said damage from occurring. It wasn't a problem before that either, as there were no cities and most fights were in giant deserts/wastelands like the old Transformers cartoon, and latter in space.
- Averted in the most mean-spirited manner. After learning that their first giant robot battle has killed two thousand people and leveled a mountain, several of the children get notably upset by it and want to break the masquerade and tell people about it.
- Plenty of people die and plenty of damage is done when Zearth fights. In fact one of the protagonists father gets crushed while they're fighting, right when he was thinking how a few thousand peoples lives don't matter when it saves the majority and how he and his dad are a few of the strong. Kodama dies soon afterwards himself.
- In the end, a military official notes that while he knows Zearth was the instrument of mankind's salvation, to the vast majority of people, it will probably be remembered as a terrible monster that terrorized the planet.
- Averted in GaoGaiGar; the villains realize early on the potential of handicapping the heroes by bringing fights to populated areas. The heroes respond by inventing a device to create a pocket dimension in which to fight the villains. That said, if the story of the episode needed to have more of a rousing conclusion, GGG does have a small army of Tool based robots ready to repair any damage done.
- New Getter Robo:
- Subverted, where a big deal is made of the property damage when a battle moves into the city.
- And again in the manga. When Shin Getter Robo accidentally blows up a city and puts one of its pilots into a coma from the trauma, people aren't happy.
- And once more in Shin Getter Robo VS. Neo Getter Robo, where the massive amounts of property damage caused by Musashi's Heroic Sacrifice causes the government to abolish Getter Energy research. Though played straight afterwards, as even though Neo Getter run on plasma energy, they still cause property damage while fighting monsters and are never called on it.
- Check the end of the second Project A-ko film. The kind of use would be a spoiler. Check the beginning of any episode. A-Ko causes massive damage just by running to school.
- Averted in Linebarrels of Iron, the main character ends up not only destroying large parts of the city, but believes that he is a "hero of justice" and as such gets very miffed when the authories cover up the battles as malfunctioning mecha. He eventually blows over about this, destroying more of the city with his humongous mecha whilst demanding why no one will praise him for saving their lives, oblivious to the fact that he his in fact being a bigger threat to people's safety than the bad guys. After his friend is killed by another humongous mecha, he goes into a rage and nearly obliterates the city in his rampage. Later he is called out on his behaviour, being told to his face that his selfish actions have done more harm than good, and that if anyone is to blame for his friend's death, it's him.
- Averted in X, the good guys create a barrier/parallel dimension to protect the battle zones which in this case can't be considered collateral damage, tearing down the buildings is the primary objective of the bad guys. If the good guys die, the area retains the damage from the battle. Note that the good guys have an unimpressive track record for "winning". Also, it's not just "death" that dissolves the barrier. Loss of Heroic Spirit, like that endured by Subaru still results in the damage being permanent. Also, in the manga, one holy site gets blown up without the heroes ever showing up.
- Horribly messed up in Shakugan no Shana battles take place in barriers similar to X but the writers can't make up their mind about whether time passes normally outside the barrier or not, after the battles end, human lives are consumed to repair the collateral damage. Depends on who wins. Bad guys use human lives to repair the damage. Good guys use the bits inside "Torches" (the remnant echos of humans whose existence has been consumed by the bad guys).
- Generally averted in Bleach where the Shinigami have the ability to stand on air, which they generally use to keep their battles high above the cities to lower the collateral damage. In the latest arc they've even gone as far as replacing the town with an exact replica of it so they can have an all out war without worrying about breaking anything. They have broken things before, like during Ikkaku's fight with the arrancar Edorad Leones. However it was mentioned that Soul Society fixes everything afterwords, with the costs being taken out of the budget of the squad responsible. (Though that does beg the question on who pays for damages caused by Ichigo's fights...)
- Mahou Sensei Negima! does a Hand Wave saying that the people of the magic world in a city known for its dueling and gladiator fights are used to this sort of thing and have measures in place to deal with it. Apparently up to and including buildings being chopped to pieces. Naturally, this doesn't stop Negi from worrying about it anyway. The implication seems to be that the loser(s) of the fight is made to pay for the damages. One has to wonder what happens if the loser ends up dead, if that's the case.
- Averted in Basquash!. In his attempt to bring back basketball with his mecha, his attempt at a slam dunk being blocked by Iceman ends up destroying a good chunk of the stadium, landing him in jail for a year. Cue Time Skip and Dunk Mask becoming Shrouded in Myth.
- Slayers. Though, the poor innocent villagers probably would make Lina pay for the damage... if they could catch her. Averted; in fact it's a running gag. She's basically what you get if you turn Vash the Stampede into a sorceress and take away the insurance girls. While the audience/readers and her close friend know she is a hero, her path of destruction has made her a feared villainess in her world, to the point a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist got away with arresting her with the charge of being Lina Inverse. Even when she does something truly heroic and redeemable, she blows it by losing her cool and nuking the town she just saved. She rarely gets to claim her reward because it will likely be the down payment on rebuild the town from the ground up around the huge crater she just made.
- Ranma ½:
- Soun Tendo is on the city council, but one has to wonder if that really helps given the amount of destruction his "son-in-law" and friends dish out on a regular basis. Even though there are those "Do Not Smash Wall" and "Do Not Crush Pole" signs everywhere.
- In Fan Fiction a common nickname for Ranma and friends is "Nerima's Wrecking Crew" or "Demolition Crew". Joke stories often have companies that want to renovate call Nabiki Tendo to have set up a fight between Ranma and some rival that takes place in their building. Allowing them to collect the insurance money, and renovate.
- One Fan Fiction even featured the Nerima Building Crew trying in subtle ways to help save their best source of business.
- In S Cryed, Alter powers can't not cause damage, as they rely on the surrounding matter for both energy and mass to make the Alter forms, and the Alter Users don't have much control over what matter gets used.
- Averted in Zambot 3 about as far as it can go. Many battles happen in cities that had been destroyed in previous battles and the people of the Japan don't take too kindly to the heroes.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Nanoha flees the scene of her first battle when she hears sirens, not wanting to get in trouble for the damage caused by the Monster of the Week. Averted when after the final battle of A's, the TSAB works on repairing the damaged areas of the city.
- Averted in Fairy Tail, as the massive property damage the members of the titular guild cause is the main reason they aren't more wealthy or influential despite the considerable power of their mages. In fact the council regulated them would have probably disbanded them several times if their leaders wasn't friends with (an increasingly small number of) council members. Hell, Lucy even states that no matter how high-ranking and well-paying the missions she completes are she's never getting most of it as long as her partners Natsu and Gray keep breaking crap. Eventually, the Magic Council starts actively looking for a reason to disband them. It ultimately fails as the threats and escalate and Fairy Tail are more or less the only people capable enough of facing these monstrous individuals and organizations.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- Deconstructed (like everything else). The series often Lampshades how often that not only are the EVAs really costly to repair and maintain (it costing about enough money to bankrupt a small country to repair a severely damaged EVA after one battle), but how much time, effort, and money it takes to repair New Tokyo-3 as well as disposing the dead Angels (Ramiel sits in the middle of the city for weeks on end rotting before it gets completely disposed of).
- End of Evangelion opened to the image of Tokyo-3 after all of the battles had come to an end. With funding drying up, Tokyo-3 hasn't seen any repairs recently and most of the civilian population has fled.
- It's not even a question of funding. The destruction of Eva-00 was a bigger explosion than any of the previous battles. We know Shinji's friends fled, but it's also a case of Inferred Holocaust, even with the population in shelters.
- There's almost nobody living in the city to begin with. Misato appears to be the only person actually living in her building, most wide shots of the city show little, if any, traffic, and almost every classroom in Shinji's school is empty... and this is before things start getting bad. Dialogue halfway through the series suggests that the population is down to actual NERV employees and a few diehards. It's only in the Rebuild movies that Tokyo-3 is ever depicted as having an appropriate population level for a city that size.
- Perhaps no anime series depicts this trope as often as Dominion Tank Police. Throughout the series, the main characters routinely cause enormous amounts of property damage in the city while attempting to apprehend criminals, sometimes failing to make an arrest in the end. This never results in any member of the tank police being arrested, fired, or disciplined, other then occasionally getting chewed out by a supervisor.
- Justified in Durarara!!: It turns out that someone actually does pay for all that property damage Shizuo causes: his manager (not Tom, but another guy above both of them), who docks it from Shizuo's salary in return. Shizuo's honestly surprised that he still gets paid at all (or that he even still has a job).
- Both Played for Laughs and somewhat deconstructed in Chrono Crusade, depending on the chapter/episode. Sister Rosette is a Hot-Blooded Destructive Savior, so she's quite often shown crashing her car into the sides of buildings, destroying buildings—heck, the very first storyline shows her crashing a ship into the Statue of Liberty. However, it's shown that her supervisor in the Order of Magdalene constantly chews her out for it (even saying they could write a book based on her damage reports), and it's explicitly mentioned that the Order has to help pay for the damages as well as bribing the local media not to mention their involvement with the damage. Also, when civilians are shown badly injured in the aftermath of one of her battles, she's shown being shocked and upset.
- Panty and Stocking must have this in spades considering how destructive their fights with the Ghosts are. Then again, everyone in this universe appears to be Made of Iron.
- Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. While seemingly played straight with Kira getting off scott-free with all the destruction he causes in the Battle at Orb, Shinn's family are revealed to have been killed in collateral damage, and this is the cause of all his malice towards Kira as the pilot of the Freedom throughout the series.
- Exaggerated in Dirty Pair. The Lovely Angels' recklessness in their cases mingles with Finagle's Law to frequently cause the destruction of cities, if not entire planets; nevertheless, the Central Computer of their employer infallibly clears them of blame every time. Which isn't enough to keep them from being hated and feared by most of humanity.
- At the end of the LXE arc of Buso Renkin, Kazuki attempts to reach Victor's regeneration capsule before he awakens by using Sunlight Heart to rocket to the roof of his school, blasting through floors in the process, as he was inside when he came up with this idea. Because of this, Kazuki ultimately caused more property damage than the entire LXE.
- Aversion: As a result of the numerous destructive car chases in Gunsmith Cats, Rally "The Wrecker" has been blacklisted by every auto insurance company in Illinois.
- Averted for laughs in the Kochikame action based episodes and TV specials. Kankichi Ryotsu defeats the villain and saves the day, but gets billed by the owners for property damage he caused or blamed for it. Notably the Fuji TV station (the show's broadcaster) being destroyed multiple separate times. Thanks to Negative Continuity or possibly Ryotsu's gambling winnings, everything's back to normal and forgotten in the following episode.
- Averted in Tiger & Bunny. Damages incurred by a superhero must be paid for either by his/her sponsor company or the hero him/herself. In the very first episode Kotetsu, the protagonist, is berated for damaging a monorail track in order to stop a hijacker. And in episode 5 he is brought before a judge who rules that his company be fined for the property that was destroyed during one of his rescue attempts in episode 4. To be precise, the city pays for any damage deemed necessary for the hero to capture a criminal and/or protect civilians. However, anything the city deems unnecessary is billed to the hero's sponsor company. So a hero who pulls a chunk out of the road in order to stop a bystander being shot would not be charged, but a hero who stomps a car's roof in when he could have just run around it would be charged. All of the heroes in the show are employees or owners of companies which use the hero's "brand" to generate money, so that they don't personally have to pay these charges (and also to generate a living wage for them, as they aren't directly paid to be heroes). One of the reasons co-protagonist Wild Tiger is nicknamed the "Crusher for Justice" is due to his habit of smashing things up with his super strength and earning himself a constant stream of large bills for his sponsor company to pay. The show actually begins with his original sponsor company going out of business due to the large bills he receives. The only reason he agrees to be in a partnership with Barnaby is because the next company to hire him tells him to do it or quit, and implies that no other sponsor company would agree to take on a hero who's fame (and ability to generate money) is waning but continues to rack up such large bills.
- In Zettai Karen Children Kaoru, a special ESPer working for a government agency, is requested a help from a Friendly Enemy Well-Intentioned Extremist organization to help them in a particular task. When they damage a passenger plane to drive one of their evil enemies out of it, Kaoru freaks out for them being so reckless and for gambling with the passengers' lives. When they point out to her that she does the same thing regularly when going on missions, she replies that in that case she is backed up by the said government agency which controls and compensates the damage.
- D.Gray-Man usually plays it straight, but it's averted when Allen gapes at a massive hole Lavi puts in a building using his Size-Shifting Hammer and Lavi carelessly mentions not to worry about it and that Komui will 'foot the bill.' Apparently the Vatican have very deep pockets, considering the damage the Exorcists tend to create during their fights.
- One of the reasons Train and Sven from Black Cat are so poor is because most of their bounty money is used to pay for damage they cause when catching criminals.
- Blue Exorcist:
- The series tends to gloss over this kind of thing, though it does happen. Arguably, since the True Cross Order has been established for about two thousand years, they probably have this kind of thing down pat.
- Actively brought up in an early episode. Since Rin is the half-breed Son of Satan, even before his awakening he was very strong. Combing this with his Hair-Trigger Temper and his Nice Guy tendencies, and you get a few scenes of of Shiro yelling at him for costing him money. Not to mention he couldn't hold a job due to this...
- A short omake at the end of episode 13 shows Mephisto confronting Amaimon on the destruction he caused in his fight with Rin. Scratch that, he was just upset over the now-headless statue of him. The wrecked rollercoaster and ball pen are totally over looked.
- Averted in the anime, in "Showdown at the Poké-Corral" when Ash's herd of Tauros ram Team Rocket away and save the day while destroying a fence. Afterward, Oak makes Ash and his friends rebuild it to end the episode. Played straight in "Pokémon Emergency" wherein a massive Thundershock generated by several Pikachu ends up destroying most of the Pokémon Center, but nobody seems to get in trouble.
- In Pokémon Adventures, Black battles and captures the Galvantula that attacked a camera crew but destroys the filming equipment in the process. He gets thanked but still gets stuck with the bill, which White covers. He's now in her debt and is stuck working for her.
- In Digimon Adventure tri., the Chosen Children find their Digimon to be made out to be bad guys after a few fights wreck the town. Noticeably, Taichi ends up getting flashbacks to the destruction, holding him back.
- The heroines from Pretty Cure don't have to worry about this trope as it's a tradition in the series for the battlefield to return to normal, negating all the damage from the fights, after the Monster of the Week is defeated and the villain of turn makes a quick exit. Strangely enough, Fresh Pretty Cure! is the only entry where this doesn't happen all the time, for reasons that were never explained. Made more jarring by the fact this is the first Pretty Cure series where the Monsters of the Week are summoned mainly to attack civilians and wreak havoc rather than only to deal with the eponymous Magical Girl Warriors, and as such the level of destruction is higher compared to previous works.
- High School DXD generally sidesteps the issue. Organized clashes happen in single-use pocket dimensions explicitly to avoid repair costs, and even a couple of early major antagonists are willing to play by those rules. Later on, both sides of the conflict make a point of fighting in deserted areas or in other ways to limit collateral damage - the heroes do so to avoid unnecessary damage and casualties, and the villains don't want to break The Masquerade any earlier than they have to, lest their opponents go from Great Offscreen War-depleted remnants to seven billion strong (even gods in this setting have to worry about a lot of diddly). When significant collateral damage is explicitly caused, it's usually discussed, such as Souna agreeing to fund and manage the school's repairs in volume 4 since it was her territory, or Rias deliberately refusing to reimburse the feuding vampire factions for damage Gaspar caused since they'd been acting like dicks since the word go.
- The protagonists in Dinosaur King cause enormous amounts of collateral damage when fighting rogue dinosaurs, or their enemies. Sometimes to priceless historical landmarks. They're occasionally berated for this by locals, but rarely actually have to pay up for it. The damage is all undone using the time machine in the end.
- Happens at least once in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders, when Jotaro's first Stand battle nearly collapses his entire school. He never faces any consequences for it; granted, nobody knows he was responsible as only Stand users can see each other's Stands.
- Played for Laughs in Girls und Panzer. Senshou-dou matches often end up in urban areas, and collateral damage is bound to ensue. Early on, during a Sensha-dou match, a tank runs into a shop belonging to one of the members of the audience. His reaction is to Squee! about how he can now renovate it with the insurance money while the others around him comment on his good fortune and pray that their shops get wrecked next.
- In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, Dante wrecks a bridge to defeat a demon, and has to pay for it out of the reward he got for killing the demon.
- Zig-zagged in Konosuba: Kazuma's party destroys a large portion of Axel's walls during the fight with Beldia. It's first a downplayed subversion, since the town won't demand he recompense the city for all of the repairs, but he still has to fork over all 300 million Eris of the reward, as well as go 40 mil into debt. It later turns into a Double Subversion, because the greedy landlord used a demon's powers to make everyone forget that adventurers don't have to pay for damages. The town eventually returns all of the money that was taken from him when the landlord's crimes are exposed.
- Subverted in The Demon Girl Next Door. Sakura paid off the Hinatsuki family 11 years ago for her destroying their family factory in the course of fighting Ugallu by buying the property outright. The Hinatsukis used that money to move westwards and re-establish their business there.
- Kingdom Come addresses this in the novelization. Heroes are impoverished and uncontrollable, so there's no way to deal with the destruction superheroes cause. No one owns automobiles due to the skyrocketing insurance, and public monuments tend to be left where they lie. Yes, there is suffering.
- Spoofed in the late 1980s in Scott McCloud's Destroy!!, which consisted of nothing but one-frame pages depicting a battle between two superhumans which effectively totals the city around them.
- Marvel Universe:
- Lampshaded by Marvel with their Damage Control series — a comic book about the company which cleans up after super battles. D.C. has been shown to clean up very specific examples of property damage, enlisting the help of subcontractors. In the after-effects of the Civil War, its created-for-the-story new CEO is shown to have helped cause damage so the company gets hired to fix it. And they also dealt with the aftermath of World War Hulk, explaining why New York wasn't rubble just days after it was smashed.
- It's mentioned a few times that New York City has a huge insurance policy specifically covering damage from supervillain attacks.
- Marvel has also at times claimed that, despite having probably caused more property damage than Godzilla, the Hulk hasn't actually killed any civilians during his rampages. Ever. Amadeus Cho even claimed that Hulk didn't kill any military, either.
- In one issue, Hulk and his teammates devastated a space launching bay because they didn't want America to interfere with Hulk's son. When called about it, Banner said they killed no one, and rebuilding all of this would create jobs! (If bombing expensive high-tech construction was a good way to create jobs, terrorism would fix economies).
- Lampshaded by Marvel with their Damage Control series — a comic book about the company which cleans up after super battles. D.C. has been shown to clean up very specific examples of property damage, enlisting the help of subcontractors. In the after-effects of the Civil War, its created-for-the-story new CEO is shown to have helped cause damage so the company gets hired to fix it. And they also dealt with the aftermath of World War Hulk, explaining why New York wasn't rubble just days after it was smashed.
- A Superboy series begins with the wide-spread destruction of Smallville and the surrounding farms due to the titular character's battle with Parasite. Superboy recognizes that this might very well spell doom for the entire town, as the collapse of the area farms will lead to massive unemployment, work migration and bankruptcy, so he arranges the first ever Superboy vs. Kid Flash Race to raise money for repairs.
- Supergirl: Supergirl usually tries to cleans up after her violent battles:
- In Supergirl vol. 5 #12 new hero Terra (now called Atlee) helps Supergirl take out a giant dinosaur; after the battle she uses her earth powers to repair the streets and even fix a fire hydrant. It is later revealed in the Terra miniseries that she apparently does this after every battle.
- In Red Daughter of Krypton, a city gets leveled and burned down because of a battle between two groups of Red Lanterns. Supergirl and her Red Lantern team want to help out with rebuilding it after the battle, but the frightened locals beg them to leave as soon as possible.
- Bizarrogirl provides several examples: Kara accidentally blasts her bedroom's ceiling, so she fetches a paintbrush and a paint bucket and sets out to repair the damaged surface. Meanwhile, the Justice League is helping out with rebuilding efforts after the New-Krypton-Earth War.
Newscaster: Across the planet, the Justice League has led reconstruction efforts at sites hit heaviest by the Kryptonians including Cairo, Paris, and Metropolis.
- In one issue, Superboy has a nice big fight scene with a robot, and then attempts to fly away. Lex Luthor of all people calls out from the crowd, asking why he thinks he can just leave Metropolis with the cleaning bill. Superman arrives and actually sides with Lex, saying that he always sticks around to clean up after battles.
- Superman himself has actually been shown cleaning up after his particularly destructive battles. After Superman got his powers back post-Infinite Crisis and he and Lex Luthor had a huge smash-up in Metropolis, Supes was shown clearing debris and doing minor construction work (i.e. welding some support beams to the side of a slightly-damaged building to prevent it collapsing) potentially saving the city millions of dollars and months or years of work fixing the damage. In the Golden and Silver Age stories, more often than not, he would repair even minor damage with super speed after he caused it.
- Krypton No More: After defeating an Alien Invasion, Superman, Supergirl and Krypto helped clean up the devastation caused by the battle.
- In one Superman/Batman storyline, Smallville is trashed in a superfight at the climax. The next storyline begins with the entire Justice League pitching in to rebuild the town.
- In Action Comics #700, most of Metropolis is reduced to rubble after Lex Luthor's missiles are set off. In the aftermath, Superman promises Lois he will help rebuild the city, brick by brick. He has already begun on his promise by starting with the Daily Planet globe which he and Perry White view as a symbol of hope for the city.
- A Silver Age Superman story has Superman being charged with, and convicted of, incredibly minor crimes that add up over the issue until they almost keep him in jail long enough for his accuser to perpetrate his evil plan.
- In Marvel Versus DC, Superman and The Incredible Hulk are teleported to the Grand Canyon. Superman is relieved since it means no one will get hurt, and no collateral damage will occur. The Hulk doesn't care, with a "Let's just get ON with it" punch.
- This issue comes up in The Death of Superman. Without Superman to help clean up the aftermath, everyone in Metropolis is left trying to figure out what to do with the mess that was left. Flash and Green Lantern did help to repair the house of one family that was leveled in an early part of the battle.
- This was a major plot point in a Flash storyline where Wally gets legally barred from Keystone City because of all the collateral damage that results from his everyday crime fighting. In order to make their case the city authorities even have accountants following him around and calculating the damage done in front of him. Also explained in another issue... where's it's pointed out that Wally is GREAT at construction... as he can build a bridge in minutes. Though, he does note that it's 'quick and dirty'... but, well... he could fix it up later.
- In an earlier of The Avengers where accountants were talking to the team, trying to account for all the damage caused during a fight with elemental golems. Most of the Avengers were dismissive about it, Thor left a bag of gold, Iron Man reminded them that he was Tony Stark and could pay for it, and Cap... Cap handed over the parking ticket and the badge number of the officer who had ticketed the Quinjet when he'd made an emergency landing in an illegal zone. And the paperwork for having taken something out of a prison without filling in forms beforehand. The accountants loved him. An Avengers annual had the heroes touring a construction site. The employees knew villains would not be far behind (it is a construction site) and indeed, they showed up. Without the heroes knowing, the employees put the smack down on all the bad guys.
- In an issue of Marvel Adventures: Avengers the team fights itself because of a hate ray, throwing some cars around and inflicting minor damage in the process. Once they are done the mayor of New York scolds them, sentencing them to... community service. Well, they are the Avengers. Fighting the next threat probably counts.
- In the "Guardian Devil" arc for Marvel Comics character Daredevil, DD mentions that New York City has a billion-a-year insurance policy on damages caused by superheroes.
- In the comic book series The Boys, a CIA subdivision is set up to take superheroes to task for the damages they incur. One character's girlfriend was graphically killed in front of him by a speedster throwing another superhuman into her, right after they traded "I love yous" for the first time. Of course, The Boys is, depending on who you ask, a deconstruction or just one long bitchfest about superheroes in general. While heroes in other genres might at least make token attempts to minimize property damage or justify it with equal contributions, the superpowered jerkasses of The Boys just don't care and would slaughter a million civilians to apprehend a jaywalker.
- The Authority, which takes a rather cynical view of superhero conventions, actually has the Authority helping out before and after supervillain attacks. Also somewhat unique in that the Authority often acknowledges that what they're doing will cause property damage and probably cost civilian lives. The characters justify it with the excuse that the bad guys would have done much worse if nobody had stopped them, but the fact that they openly acknowledge the cost of what they do is unique in itself.
- There was an amateur comic in Svenska Serier where villain and a Designated Hero, both musclebound bricks, bust out against each other at a high-class party, tearing the place up in the process. The destruction soon rises to ludicrous levels until they suddenly call it off and don their civilian disguises. The manager of the party at the introduction, now the only apparent survivor who is sobbing on his knees in the midst of the destruction, is then approached by two surprisingly muscular suits who inform him that the insurance policy they provide would be excellent should something like this happen again.
- This trope is either deconstructed or parodied in the Marvel What If story The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe. In short, Frank Castle's family is killed in the crossfire of a superhuman battle and he, with the financial support of a group of people who've been similar victims of "collateral damage", goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the superhuman community.
- Subverted with Batman as, being rich, he actually can afford to pay for damage. Was mentioned in the video game of Batman Begins, in which Batman damages a large section of water mains to chase away some corrupt cops from a scene. As he makes his plan, Alfred notes that Wayne Enterprises will likely be making a donation to the water board the next day.
- In the after-effects of the Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War, the dozens of alien lanterns who ended up on Earth decide to stick around for a bit and clean up their messes. John Stewart, a long-standing human GL — and more importantly, an architect in his day job — cleans up the skyscraper damage in Coast City all by himself.
- Discussed again in the first New 52 issue of Green Lantern Corps, when Guy Gardner can't get a job as a high school football coach, largely because simply having him on school grounds on a regular basis would send the school's liability insurance rates through the roof. In the same issue, it's played with a bit again in John's scene, where he tries to convince the company that hired him to design a new building to incorporate expensive measures to minimize damage if it happens to get caught in a supervillain attack or real knock-down-drag-out hero/villain fight. They disagree about whether the added expense is worth it.
- In Miracleman, the title character tosses a car at the villainous Kid Miracleman in a futile attempt to stop him. Recalling the battle, Miracleman says that his defenders claim the car was empty. "I'm sorry, but that simply isn't true." Even worse, it wasn't a car. It was a school bus full of children.
- The "superhero kids" comic PS238 tries to handle the social consequences of superpowers realistically, and has brought up the concept of the "Super Samaritan Laws," which were lobbied for and passed to give superheroes some legal protections from the occasionally destructive consequences of super fights, considering the fact that if they didn't intervene, worse damage would likely happen. It helps that, in the PS238 'verse, many supers have gone into private and public work that doesn't involve crimefighting, and the Mega-Corp Clay Industries (founded by a metahuman super-intellect) is explicitly mentioned at one point to create 'instant-buildings' used to rapidly re-build urban areas damaged by superhero battles.
- The first incarnation of Marvel's Thunderbolts finished winning the hearts of New York City in their first issue by staying behind to repair the damage to the Statue of Liberty caused in one of their battles. It was specifically mentioned that everyone was so happy to see a new team of heroes, that the metalworkers unions weren't going to sue their pants off for doing union work. Citizen V even alludes to the fact that superheroes cleaning up after themselves is usually not appreciated by those who would otherwise be paid to do it. Definitely a bit of Lampshading for this trope.
- The Fantastic Four had a storyline that began as something of a Humiliation Conga. First, their financial wizard disapparated with all their money, then New York "thoughtfully" let them off the bill for all the damage that's been inflicted to New York during their battles on the condition they handed over their HQ.
- There was a comic in which She-Hulk decided the Thing needed some stress relief, so she took him out to a bar for a few drinks and started a fight with him. However, the city block destroyed in the process was scheduled for demolition (and she knew it). In fact, the workers hired to demolish that city block spent most of the comic sitting on the bar roof cheering — their contract said they got a hefty bonus if demolition was completed early, it didn't say the workers had to be the ones doing the demolishing.
- In another story, She-Hulk works as a volunteer for Green Cross, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the damage caused by the Hulk and other gamma-radiation cases. The Green Cross leader and founder later reveals that he was the one who dared Rick Jones to sneak into the gamma-bomb testing area, so he feels responsible for the very creation of the Hulk.
- Similar, in the first issue of JMS' Spider-Man, Spidey levels down a building scheduled for demolition, to work out some anger issues, and the wrecking crew just call it a day.
- Deconstructed in The Ultimates, where one of the Hulk's massive rampages results in many deaths and millions of dollars in property damages — and Bruce Banner on trial for crimes against humanity.
- In the Doctor Strange miniseries The Oath, after Night Nurse finishes operating on Dr. Strange after he is shot by an intruder, Strange jokes that he might still be covered under the Defenders' group health insurance plan. For reference, the Defenders were a somewhat mismatched superhero team-up that included the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
- In the Luna brothers' The Sword, the collateral damages of Dara Brighton's battles with Zakros and Demetrios are treated realistically: the public at large reacts as if the world is ending.
- Subverted in a barfight between Colossus of the X-Men and the Juggernaut, where Cain actually pays for damages afterwards.
- Speaking of X-Men, Cyclops always advises the team to avoid collateral damage (ie, no throwing random cars at bad guys), or at least cut a check to affected parties afterwards, since a mere diversionary tactic could mean years of debt for a civilian.
- Also sort of Lampshaded by Rogue in an issue of Xtreme X-Men, where she comments that "the X-Men may cause more collateral property damage than God," but they don't kill innocents.
- Astro City:
- Periodically Lampshaded. Characters will sometimes make passing references to the city's "great public works" program, usually in the wake of yet another superhero battle. The introduction to the "Local Heroes" TPB includes a newspaper clipping that mentions Honor Guard using alien Applied Phlebotinum to repair damage after one of their fights.
- Likewise, the first issue of the Homage run, "Welcome to Astro City" shows that years of these events have actually caused much of the city's populace to bond together in an extremely intense way, to the point that few (if any) avoid pitching in for clean-up and rebuilding.
- Supersonic came out of retirement to bring down a robot in a clumsy manner of pure force, causing lots of collateral damage; he's angry because he wouldn't have done that in his prime, but he was indeed the only one available, no one was killed, and Astro City is great at coping with damage, so he can live with it.
- The Mighty Magnor hangs a giant Lampshade on the trope. The two comic book writers who accidentally unleashed Magnor are on the hook for his ever-increasing property damagesbalanced only by the ever-increasing licensing fees offered by Hollywood agents.
- Lampshaded in the Sleepwalker comics when a city accountant is examining all the property Sleepwalker has bent and twisted with his warp beams and trying to determine how much money Sleepwalker's efforts are costing the city. Detective Cecilia Perez, head of the NYPD task force assigned to investigate Sleepwalker, justifies the trope when she points out that crime is down 70% in the areas Sleepwalker patrols, and notes that getting rid of him might cause more problems than it solves.
- Averted in the Don Rosa Scrooge McDuck story "The Cowboy Captain of Cutty Sark". While selling bulls to the sultan of Djokja during his cattle days, Scrooge is forced to retrieve said longhorns from thieves, and the resulting destruction, including 'a Scottish cowboy steaming into a port on a run-aground ship', is so costly that he's forced to give up every penny from his sale.
- Shortly before the death of Ultimate Spider-Man, the Shield pointed out how dangerous an uncontrolled Spider-Man was when a battle between him and Boomerang did almost one million dollars in damages, when Boomerang was just robbing a jewelry store for a few dozens of thousands of dollars.
- On parting ways with new Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales for the first time, main universe Spider-Man gives him advice on being Spidey, including to not stick around after battles to avoid clean up duty. While this may be surprising for two such responsible-minded characters, it should be noted that if asked both would feel obliged to help no matter what else is going on, and considering the general crap-tastic time constraints a Spider-Man usually has on the average day, they just simply don't have that kind of time to burn.
- Averted in Kirkman's Invincible several times. Fairly early in the series, a duel between Invincible and Omni-Man shatters entire skyscrapers, killing thousands — so even when Invincible manages a Pyrrhic Victory, he can never reveal his secret identity for fear of criminal charges or even assassination attempts against his family. The trope is averted several times later in the series as well. You'd think that a guy who publicly saved the Earth from annihilation multiple times would be forgiven when a moment's hesitation results in a city being vaporized... but that's not how humans think.
- Played straight in an issue of Iron Man, when Tony Stark and Sasha Hammer have an all-out brawl in the middle of a busy highway, destroying a few passing cars in the process. Made absolutely hilarious when Pepper shows up and smacks Sasha with one of the destroyed cars, saying the owner gave her permission to use what was left of his car to beat the crap out of Sasha.
- Consciously averted in Marvel's Official Parody book Not Brand Echh, in a story where the Thing and the Hulk fight for six pages before an angry inspector from the Comics Code Authority comes and chews them out, listing all the damage they have caused. Because the Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner just before the inspector shows up, the Thing ends up taking most of the blame, and gets stuck with the responsibility for repairing the damages.
- Used by Starscream as part of his plan in The Transformers: Combiner Wars. He secretly sent Menasor to attack the colony of Caminus, then sent his troops and Superion to "rescue" the colony (and having two Kaiju sized robots fighting caused plenty of collateral damage) and offered aid in rebuilding as a way to manipulate them into swearing allegiance to him. Windblade said it was obvious what Starscream was trying to do, but the alternative was a slow death as the colony's Energon reserves gave out.
- A problem in All-New, All-Different Avengers as Tony Stark, by this point, isn't the financial powerhouse he once was, thus the team has to go easy on smashing villains across town. Ms Marvel is horrified when Nova decides to smother a fire by bringing down the entire building, especially since it's on her turf.
- Often tackled in Empowered, as superhero fights cause a lot of collateral damage that is only made worse by how reckless many heroes are (on one occasion Major Havoc nearly killed the girl he came to rescue).
- Most notable are two of Emp's three times using Car Fu: the first time she (ineffectively) throws a car at a rampaging monster only to see the old man owning the car looking at the remains of the vehicle, and the other time, as she uses the various parts of some cars as scaringly effective weapons, we're treated to flashbacks of her time in college, where she mentions that if a superhero has to use as weapon the car of people who struggle to pay their bills the less they owe the owner is to make the most of their sacrifice. She also mentions that car insurance rates in superhuman-populates cities are five times the national average specifically because superheroes continue throwing them at their foes.
- In More Than Human, the city of Townsville has higher tax rates to pay for the large amount of damages done by monster attacks and by The Powerpuff Girls fighting back.
- The story Eiga Sentai Scanranger Lampshades this, saTony Stark and Sasha Hammer take a high speed ride down the interstate while Tony barely bother to glance at the road. Later, when this devolves into your aveying the rangers' backers also supply the people and resources to fix everything that gets broken during their fights.
- In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl endeavors to move her battles away from inhabited places. When this isn't posible, she repairs the damage caused by her fights. Commented by her enemy Satan Girl
The third time, she was manifest as Nightflame, a giant sword-wielding woman who wreaked havoc in San Francisco, born of her old identity and some other elements added from Kara's psyche, amplified by a mage who existed in a sub-atomic universe on a world somehow within Kara.[...]
No killing that time, but she had wreaked undeniable mayhem. It had taken Supergirl a whole afternoon to clean things up.
- Mentioned (for laughs) in DC Nation where Roy Harper is bitching about having to take out additional insurance for a rented Winnebago because he is a publicly-out "cape." Turned out he NEEDED the coverage when six rogues, a corresponding number of Titans, Wonder Woman, and a Green Lantern show up at his location (middle of nowhere Arizona) for a throwdown.
- Touched on in The Girl Who Loved, where it turns out that most Tokyo based Supers donate the profits from their toy deals to charity to keep people from coming after them about property damage.
- The Mad Scientist Wars:
- Subverted. Xyon City has an "abandoned warehouse district" that is paid for by a tax on explosives. When old abandoned warehouses are destroyed, new ones are built. The reasoning seems to be that if people are going to blow stuff up, it might as well be in a designated area away from the important stuff. Played straight in that this doesn't always work.
- A storyline involves the characters trying to run a group of heroes out of town, partially because of this trope.
- Contractors in the city give discounts depending on the number of times your house has been destroyed.
- Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams has the title character using his warp vision to repair some of the property damage caused by his murderous fight with Psyko.
- Several The Sentinel fanfics talk of Jim's high automobile insurance premiums, and one contractor says he put his kid through college on repairs to the Loft.
- Crimson And Emerald: The Heroics Commission give Endeavor a warning due to the collateral damage he causes in his fight. Combined with his more negative publicity, it tells Endeavor it will be difficult to reclaim the #2 spot.
- Played with in Young Justice: Darkness Falls. Clearly there is a mandate that heroes get some grumbles over the destruction they cause. However, there's also reason to suspect that Batman helps cover any serious damages thanks to a line mentioning that he regularly donates to restoration jobs after his battles.
- Megamind acknowledges the Trope. After all of the destruction caused by Titan, Megamind's Brainbots are repairing all of the damage.
- The setup for the film The Incredibles is, roughly, that superheroes in general were forced to go into hiding specifically to avoid litigation for collateral damage. That was basically the cost of the government providing them Hero Insurance.
- Incredibles 2:
- Discussed with regards to the damage caused by the Underminer. The money he stole from the bank was insured and there are contingencies in place that would have covered the initial damage. Mr. Incredible's failed attempt to capture the Underminer just caused more damage beyond what was expected.
- While explaining his PR plan to the Incredibles and Frozone, Winston mentions that they have set up insurance to cover any potential damage. That being said, he decides to send Elastigirl out as the first representative since she has a history of causing the least amount of collateral damage.
Winston: Let's not test "the insurance will pay for literally anything" right out of the gate.
- Batman Unlimited: Mech vs. Mutants sees a literal version of this, as Green Arrow, himself a superhero who's really rich and owns a company like Batman, decides to throw a mutated Chemo into a building he already owned and notes he's insured.
- In Commando, John Matrix has to rescue his daughter from terrorists. During this process, he steals and/or damages several vehicles, breaks into a gun shop, steals an arsenal of firearms, escapes from police custody, beats up a bunch of mall security guards, kidnaps an innocent bystander, and murders two unarmed villains in cold blood, with one of the murders occurring in front of a witness. It's hard to imagine rescuing a family member as a sufficient legal defense to cover all of that.
- In Man on Fire, John Creasy goes on a crime rampage every bit as brutal as the criminals he's chasing in an effort to rescue Lupita. This includes several cold blooded murders.
- After watching the James Bond movies, you have to wonder how much of MI6's budget is set aside for stuff for Bond to drive through.
- Lampshade Hanging in GoldenEye when Bond is told about his car's built-in Stinger missiles:
James Bond: Just the thing to unwind after a long day at the office.Q: Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break traffic laws.
- During filming of the chase scene in The Man with the Golden Gun, they actually had a guy running following the cars with a checkbook to pay for damages. Citation needed
- In Tomorrow Never Dies, Q makes Bond sign off on literal hero insurance for his remote-controlled car.
Q: It's the insurance damage waiver for your beautiful new car. Now, will you need collision coverage?
James Bond: Yes.
Q: [stares at Bond] Fire?
James Bond: Probably.
Q: Property destruction?
James Bond: Definitely.
Q: Personal Injury?
James Bond: I hope not, but accidents do happen.
Q: They frequently do with you.
James Bond: [signs the form] Well, that takes care of the "normal" wear and tear. Is there any other protection I need?
Q: Only from me, 007, unless you bring that car back in pristine order.
- This one is justifiable by context, as throughout the scene, Q is disguised as an Avis rental agent, going through the pretense of filling in the necessary paperwork involved in any car rental agreement. They are MI6 agents, after all.
- Bond seems to have it in The World Is Not Enough, but his allies in the Russian underworld do not, even if he is involved. After Zukovsky's caviar factory is demolished by Elektra King's henchmen (who were trying to kill Bond), Zukovsky shouts, "The insurance company is never going to believe this!" Probably because the damage was done by a helicopter equipped with a tree-cutting buzzsaw.
- Lampshade Hanging in GoldenEye when Bond is told about his car's built-in Stinger missiles:
- Lethal Weapon:
- Fantastic Four
- Fantastic Four (2005) featured the Thing tossing a car at Dr. Doom. We don't hear from the car's owner and he doesn't get called on it, but he did ask to borrow the car first.
- In the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Sue is seen disputing a report from the cops about how many cars were destroyed on a recent mission.
- The movie Hancock has its protagonist as a Jerkass superhero whose penchant for massive collateral damage gets him a lot of flak from the residents of LA in the beginning of the movie, to the point of nearly getting him an eight-year prison term. Later, he gets asked for help by the police, who grant him a bit more lenience for collateral damage to stop the crimes.
- Demolition Man: The reason John Spartan (and thus the film) is actually called "Demolition Man" is specifically because he tends to destroy buildings on the job. Because of this the public was all too willing to believe that he's responsible for the deaths of the hostages that landed him a cryo-sentence.
News reporter: How can you justify destroying a $7,000,000 mini-mall to rescue a girl whose ransom is only $25,000?Girl: Fuck you, lady!John Spartan: Good answer.
- In Back to the Future Part III, Doc and Marty hijack a train at gunpoint to push the DeLorean up to eighty-eight miles per hour, in the process running the train off the edge of a ravine, causing it to explode. Everyone is apparently okay with this to such an extent that they rename the ravine after Marty. Though there is a long tradition of naming or renaming landmarks after people who came to a sticky end there, like Donner Pass.
- Neo from The Matrix Reloaded destroys what looks like a good chunk of a city in his hurry to save Trinity, and before that they destroy a power plant causing a mass blackout, and before that cause numerous car accidents on a highway. And let's not forget the helicopter they smash into an office building back in the first movie. The property damage inside the virtual reality of the Matrix probably doesn't mean much, but people who get killed die for real. Of course, Neo is only the "hero" from his and his associates' point of view, while to the Matricians they are terrorists, and the justification they could provide for their destructive streaks is dubious at best, hence why they don't bother to provide it.
- Godzilla during the 1960s-1970s falls under this trope due to him becoming a good guy.
- The eponymous female lead of I Love You, Beth Cooper commits dozens of crimes during the movie, including fleeing the scene of an accident she caused by reckless driving and intentionally ramming a stolen car through a house wall in front of dozens of witnesses. Through sheer luck she doesn't actually hurt anyone but there is no suggestion at the end of the film that she is going to face any consequences at all for the thousands of dollars worth of property damage she inflicted during the film. In the book version it is mentioned that she only just gets away with it thanks to Tracee's dad being a lawyer. This blog suggests that the law might have made a legal defense difficult.
- One of many Tropes Lampshaded by Last Action Hero.
Danny: He only took your badge because you destroyed more of the city than usual.
- Speed is also a nice example of this. The amount of destruction caused by keeping the bus at its required speed looks like it should cost the city at least 100 times what paying the ransom would have cost. The airplane at the end alone... Note that the bus is owned by the City of Santa Monica, but Jack Traven is a City of Los Angeles police officer, and the woman driving the bus has a suspended license and isn't even an employee of either. Interesting to see who would get sued.
- Played straight and averted in both Ghostbusters films. At the beginning of Ghostbusters II, it's explained that the damage they caused at the end of the first film got them sued by every local official in New York, but at the end of the film they're back to being heroes again.
- Averted in District 9, where the guy who hacked into MNU's databases and helped expose their illegal experiments on the aliens is arrested for his computer crimes.
- Averted in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The Joes are among the most responsible heroes in fiction, and cause almost no damage to public property. The problem is that
Cobra MARSCOBRA isn't — and guess who's still in the area when the dust settles? After the Joes save Paris, the French beat them up, wreck their gear, and slap them with a permanent travel ban. Eagleland is nicer; after Ripcord saves D.C. all they do is hold him overnight before sending him back to the Pit. Of course, the President has been replaced by Zartan; he probably didn't feel like testing the disguise.
- Played pretty straight towards the end of Fast Five, downtown Rio De Janeiro was nearly leveled by that vault... Though they're already wanted criminals, and they just leave the country.
- Played with in the Transformers Film Series. The US government is implied to cover any Cybertronian-related damage. Unfortunately, the Autobots cause a lot of collateral damage in their fights. To the point that the President sends a government official to express his concern to Prime and his team. The third film also implies that civilians are not exactly happy with all the damage inflicted on their homes and businesses (poll results show that half the world would feel safer without the Autobots; they aren't exactly in the wrong here). Additionally, Sam's dad says the government will pay for the damages to their house (caused by Bumblebee shooting at some Allspark mutations). Sam's mom decides to exploit this by demanding a hot tub to be built in the backyard.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- At the end of The Avengers, a New York City official is demanding, in an interview, that the superheroes be held responsible for the damage caused by the Chitauri invasion, claiming that it was "their fight". It's entirely possible that Tony might get sued (considering his is the only name known by the public of all the Avengers and he's the only one who can afford to pay for the damages). There's also the fact that the Stark Tower (and its ARC reactor) were used to open the portal.
- Iron Man 3 shows that Tony did in fact get sued for the damage. A lot.
- At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Corps gives the Guardians amnesty for all their many, many past crimes. They are very careful to emphasize that it only covers past crimes, and is no protection for any they might commit in the future.
Rocket: Question: What if I see something that I want to take and it belongs to someone else?
Rhomann: You would be arrested.
Rocket: But what if I want it more than the person who has it?
Rhomann: Still illegal.
Rocket: That doesn't follow. No, I want it more sir! Do you understand? [is shoved away] What are you laughing at? What, I can't have a conversation with this gentleman?
Drax: What if someone does something irksome? And I decide to remove his spine?
Rhomann: Th-that's actually murder, one of... the worst crimes of all. So, also illegal...
Drax: [genuinely surprised] Huh.
- In Avengers: Age of Ultron, after Tony fights the Hulk in Johannesburg, he mentions that the Stark relief fund is already helping clean up the damage. And said battle even had Tony making sure to suplex his adversary into an unfinished building to make sure no one died in the collapse.
Stark: How quickly can we buy this building?
- One of the viral videos for Ant-Man shows that people are now calling for the Avengers to be held accountable for Ultron's destruction of Sokovia.
- This is a major plot point in Captain America: Civil War. People are fed up with all the collateral damage the Avengers cause during their missions, so the governments of the world craft a series of laws called the Sokovia Accords to keep the heroes in line. Of course, the Avengers are criticized for the damage they caused to New York while fighting the Chitauri, but the fact that they were stopping an alien invasion that was trying to kill everyone they encountered (and that the Avengers prevented the World Security Council from nuking the city) goes unmentioned. Likewise, General Ross conveniently fails to mention his own involvement in the Harlem incident during the events of The Incredible Hulk. And the ensuing Civil War was due to Zemo wanting to avenge his family who died in Sokovia, framing Bucky Barnes to ensure team-destroying in-fighting would happen. However, this trope is averted when the big hero fight does happen: the Avengers duke it out in an airport tarmac far from civilians, and collateral damage is relatively light. In context, Cap's team are trying to reach a Quinjet to fly to Siberia, and Iron Man's team (not knowing the full story) come to stop them. From a writer standpoint, it's a much better option than having the heroes go at it in the middle of New York City.
- Strangely, no one brought up that all the damage cause in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was caused by the fact that the organization that previously oversaw The Avengers was launching a murder fleet as part of a world domination plan.
- In Déjà Vu the protagonist, ATF agent Doug Carlin, drives half-blind down a busy freeway bridge to see the route their terrorist suspect took (It's a Long Story) causing multiple car wrecks by doing so, which probably result in severe injury and death. Except for helpfully saying "Send paramedics" nobody brings this up again, and he faces no legal consequences.
- The Taken trilogy:
- Taken: Brian Mills causes considerable property destruction while trying to save his daughter. He also kills numerous bad guys, including a few captured or unarmed ones in cold blood, and shoots an innocent woman just to get her husband to give him information.
- In Taken 2, the hero (and his daughter) cause a considerable amount of destruction in battling the vengeful surviving members of the human trafficking ring from the first film. Some of it includes police or government property. Hell, some of it includes an officer. (He was in league with the bad guys, but still.) You'd expect the number of crimes they commit would mean they'd be in prison until the next ice age, but we end with no talk of legal trouble.
- In Taken 3, Mills again causes considerable property damage. He also escapes from police custody, breaks into a building, and abducts a motorist on the road at gunpoint to get a ride into town.
- Man of Steel:
- The fights in Metropolis must have killed hundreds if not thousands of people and run up a repair bill in the billions (three guesses whose Mega-Corp is going to end up bankrolling that?). Some time is taken to show how terrifying it would be to be a civilian on the ground with buildings collapsing in every direction. However, it's still nothing compared to the total destruction of humanity.
- This extends to Smallville too. Its downtown is almost leveled by the fight there and includes an explosion at a gas station.
- Superman fights Zod and/or his warriors in Smallville and later Metropolis despite being outclassed, and so a lot of damage happens. His attempts at knocking or throwing them away are invariably countered, at one point reaching Earth's orbit. Most of the time he's smashed into buildings by their attacks but sometimes he does the same (granted, into apparently empty or unfinished ones). The damage is compounded by attempts by the US military to intervene. Superman later also willfully trashes a multi-million dollar spy drone that has been snooping on him to make a point to the military to get off his back.
- In fairness, most of the destruction is caused by Zod's forces or machines. Superman causes comparatively little damage.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice centers around this. Batman (and a lot of others) is pissed at Supes for destroying Metropolis. The U.S. government is even trying him for some of the destruction.
- In Pacific Rim the Jaegers cause probably billions of dollars worth of collateral damage. However, considering that it's them vs. the apocalypse, you can see why people tolerate them. And it's known that standard procedure is to intercept the Kaiju long before they make landfall. For several years, the Jaegers run a near flawless record. Fighting in and thus damaging cities is avoided and would only be a lot worse without the Jaegers, as a tactical nuclear strike is the only other effective anti-kaiju weapon.
- In The Negotiator, Roman takes several innnocent people hostage during the incident as he fights to clear his name. The movie does not imply that he will ever face consequences for doing so. Even if you have been framed for murder, taking innocent people hostage is still a crime.
- The Mask: Stanley breaks out of a jail cell, assaults an officer, steals his gun, kidnaps another officer at gunpoint and steals his car, yet receives no punishment. Even worse, he committed the crime he was held for and there was good evidence of him doing so. The trope is justified because the mayor thinks Stanley is a hero who was framed by Dorian. Plus, many of those crimes Stanley committed weren't entirely his fault, and he had to escape from the cell to save Tina and stop Dorian.
Mayor: Dorian Tyrell was "The Mask." I saw it with my own eyes.
- In Firewall, Harrison Ford's character, in the course of trying to save his kidnapped family: (1) breaks into an apartment and arrives at a murder scene, (2) gets his hands on the murder weapon, clearly leaving prints, (3) takes a bank teller hostage at gunpoint, (4) breaks into his ex-secretary's apartment and apparently forces her to help him after firing her earlier, and (5) then hacks into the bad guys' account to erase their money.
- Gone: Jill isn't arrested for illegal possession of a gun or menacing on coming back, though the police had been looking for her because she'd done these over the entire day. Possibly justified as she'd shown they were wrong to disbelieve her, and charging her would make them look bad when this came out.
- Averted in Dragon Bones: When the heroes travel through a country where people from their country are universally hated, and no one sells them anything, they ration the food, and make do with what they have, instead of stealing things. Also, after killing some bandits, they give back everything that belonged to the village people. Eventually, this pays off and people are friendlier to them. When, at the end, Ward destroys a whole castle, it is his own castle, so no one can be angry at him for damaging their property.
- In a The Man From Uncle novelization, Solo and Kuryakin actually give a woman UNCLE's insurance agency's card, to pay for the hole they cut in her floor.
- Harry Potter
- Before the fifth book, Fudge is quite committed to providing this for Harry, making several special exceptions for him to avoid him getting into too much trouble. He considers Harry, as "the boy who lived" a special case, a Double Standard that Snape criticizes, noting that Harry is better off being treated like any other student (a valid point, though hollow given Snape's bias to treat Harry worse than any other student). This bites Fudge in the ass when he attempts to dredge up these instances to smear Harry, at which Dumbledore points out that Fudge himself was happy to dismiss them at the time.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after a battle in a cafe, Harry and the others take the time to actually repair the damage. Only to save their own hides. Other Death Eaters would've seen the damage and known where they were. However, it is very considerate of Hermione to pay for the food they steal while they're on the run.
- The Spider-Man book Secret of the Sinister Six features a radio advertisement for metahuman insurance, including testimonials from people who had the Hulk thrown through their kitchen.
- The Dogs of War. The mercenaries planning a coup in a small African republic are told to take out insurance for a short sea voyage from Europe to Africa. Any survivors would swear that the covered party fell overboard, or lost a limb due to shifting cargo during a storm.
- In The Lives of Christopher Chant, when Christopher's magic first emerged, it did so rather spectacularly, trashing his teacher's house in the process. His teacher then spent the next month forcing him to fix everything that he broke.
- In Dealing with Dragons a famous hero is mocked because, when he threw a rampaging giant into a lake to drown it, the resulting flood actually did more damage than the giant itself would have.
- Averted in Simon R. Green's Nightside, where the protagonist, John Taylor, is now classified under Acts of Gods by the insurance companies.
- When the Wraiths start a Bar Brawl as phase one of their latest Zany Scheme, they actually pay for the damages to the bar. Or more accurately, they rob the soldiers they had beaten up and use that money to pay for the damages.
- The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm by Daryl Gregory shows the collateral damage among citizens who happen to be living in a country ruled by a supervillian when it's 'invaded' for the umpteenth time by American superheroes... What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?
- In Shadowboy , Hero Insurance is a literal requirement to be a licensed hero with individual premiums for collateral, liability and medical, depending upon the hero's destructiveness and durability.
- Averted in Lockwood & Co., where the heroes' negligence makes them ineligible for their fines to be covered by the ghost-hunting government agency.
- Quiller is not allowed to steal or damage private property during the course of a mission, and he's always griping about how his expenses are scrutinized minutely. This is sometimes used as a handwave as to why the British spy doesn't just James Bond his way out of a situation.
- In The Specialist by Gayle Rivers the mercenary protagonist is recruited for a mission into Beirut. He doesn't take out insurance but mentions there's nothing to stop him from doing so, as no insurance company would be told he was thrown off a Druze command post with a knife between his shoulder blades. The most violent death that would happen to him officially would be a car accident.
- In the superhero novel Just Cause, this trope is parodied by playing it straight: the titular organization does in fact have insurance to cover damages caused by their battles, as do most other superhero organizations. The "most" part concerns protagonist Mustang Sally, as the previous group she was a part of trashed a science hall in the first few chapters in a failed attempt to get a supervillain.
- Similarly, if not as explicit as Just Cause, insurance is mentioned in the Wearing the Cape series, as are rules of engagement that EXPLICITLY say make every effort to avoid civilians in superhuman fights. And woe to the superhero who tries to play the Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! clause without an ironclad excuse.
- Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): A more low-key version. Shallan manages to convince a gang of deserters to protect her caravan from another gang of deserters, promising them clemency for their crimes in return, despite the fact that there's a kill-on-sight order out on them. Once she gets to civilization and speaks to Highprince Dalinar, he agrees without a second thought, noting that he's never liked hanging soldiers, deserters or not. She does snarkily remind the deserters that it's only clemency for past crimes, not any future ones.
- In Super Powereds and Corpies, such things are handled by the Department of Variant Human Affairs, a federal agency that licenses Supers, who have gone through the four-year Hero Certification Program at one of the five universities that offer it, to be full-fledged Heroes. Only Heroes are allowed to actively engage criminal Supers and Powereds. Any other Super, who tries his or her hand at vigilante justice, will quickly find him- or herself in jail. Only Hero actions are covered by the DVA. Also, there is a reason the HCP is a Training from Hell. Only the best of the best Supers are permitted to become Heroes (no more than 50 are licensed per year in the entire country), and the DVA comes down hard on Heroes whose carelessness causes needless destruction and casualties. Heroes can find themselves restricted to non-combat activities or even have their license revoked permanently. Also, no HCP accepts an applicant with a criminal record, although one makes an exception in Corpies, when a trusted Hero vouches for her.
- Villains Don't Date Heroes!: Standard policy seems to be to blame any destruction the heroes cause on the villains they were trying to stop. This annoys the villain Night Terror to no end, as she had a strong policy of no collateral damage, and the hero Fialux causes more damage in a couple weeks than Night Terror did in her entire career.
- The Henchman's Survival Guide solves this from the opposite end. All hero and villain activity is restricted to Little Big City, and one of the conditions of living, or visiting, is signing paperwork to waive your rights to sue for damages.
- Lampshaded in Charmed. In Billie's first battle with a demon, she hits an empty seat in a movie theater with a fireball, and wonders, "Now help me out here, I'm new at this. Who pays for that?" But mostly averted with the No Personal Gain rules, the sisters must cover damage done to the home out of their own pocket. They Lampshade it by noting one window repair man likes their business.
- Also Lampshaded in Angel: after a Super Window Jump he comments that the demons were now good guys who "own a number of restaurants with pretty expensive windows"
- Power Rangers:
- The Rangers were bad about this. In the never ending series of the same name, the protagonists often leveled up to a quarter of the city they live in while fighting of some random mooks. Building destruction has been greatly toned down since 9/11, though.
- It has also often been Lampshaded throughout the show's run. Early on, battles took place in the "abandoned warehouse district", presumably because abandoned warehouses are just begging to be blown up (or possibly because the city residents wisely abandoned the district when they noticed how often megazord battles took place there). Additionally, one warehouse was apparently still in use, as its smokestack was destroyed every week by the Dragonzord, yet it was remarkably good as new the next week - perhaps they really did have hero insurance?
- Partial aversion in Power Rangers RPM. When Sociopathic Hero Creepy Twins Gem and Gemma bust down the door to a candystore to stop a petty criminal, they are forced later on to repair the door themselves. They are, however, still off the hook for any damage incurred fighting the minions of the Big Bad, however.
- Averted regularly in Power Rangers S.P.D.:
- The SWAT Megazord's finisher involved flying the criminals' giant robots into low orbit, then turning into a cannon and blowing them away. Presumably SPD doesn't want that kind of ordnance going off within city limits.
- Also it has been shown that when the zords are on the move the Pink Ranger takes care of crowd control by directing traffic away from the combat zone.
- And the premiere shows the B-Squad's status by showing them cleaning up the wreckage from the A-Squad's mecha battle. Presumably when A-Squad goes AWOL and B-Squad takes over Earth's defense, they have lower-ranked cadets cleaning up their messes.
- The Pink Lightspeed Ranger did something similar to the Pink SPD Ranger, using her zord to clear the streets; only she evacuated cars directly... into her own zord...
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Lampshaded in the episode "Flooded". While assessing the damage after yet another fight with a demon has caused extensive damage to her house, Buffy asks: "I've trashed this house so many times. How did Mom pay for this?"
- This later doubled as the reason that the furniture was apparently made of balsa wood. The good stuff was broken just as easily in fights, so she had replaced it as cheaply as possible.
- Lampshaded earlier in "Ted" when the gang worries what punishment Buffy will receive for killing the eponymous character who turns out to be not dead, since he was a robot
Cordelia: I don't get it. Buffy's the Slayer, shouldn't she have—
Xander: What, a license to kill?
Cordelia: Well, not for fun, but she's like this Superman. Shouldn't there be different rules for her?
- In Band of Brothers, during Operation Market Garden, Easy Company comes across a Dutch bell tower that the Germans are using to conceal their tanks from the advancing Allies. They ask a British tank commander to fire through the tower, which would destroy the buiilding but also hit the German tank on the other side. The British commander refuses, citing that they are under orders to minimize collateral damage in friendly countries. This ends up costing the British tank crew their lives, as they are sitting ducks once they round the corner into German crosshairs.
- House: Dr. House in Real Life would have his medical license stripped and face multiple malpractice suits, if not actually be in prison. Members of his staff and the hospital would also find themselves in trouble. The hospital actually earmarks a portion of the budget for House-related lawsuits.
- Averted in the NCIS: Los Angeles episode "LD50", when the mall where the heroes stopped botulimin from being released billed the organization for the fish that died from their method of stopping the botulimin (holding the broken vial in the tank).
Hetty: The Koi fish in that fountain went belly up from the botulimin. Oh dear, when one so rarely uses that phrase literally. Anyway, the mall has billed us $72,000.
Kensi: For fish?
Kensi: (to Callen) Do you know what I could buy with that?
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor causes destruction and mayhem on a regular basis, on one occasion draining the River Thames, and he never sticks around to clear up the mess. It is kinda hard to charge him for damages considering he can simply escape by jumping around through time and space. Not to mention changing his appearance every now and then. Easily explains his mixed reputation among those people who know about him, though. This is why the original Torchwood had him listed as an enemy in their charter. They were founded when Queen Victoria saw him in action; she knighted him for his heroism then banished him for his crimes (and for being too damn cheerful about the deadly werewolf attack).
- In Common Law, one of the leads foils a convenience store robbery... by driving his car through the front of the store. Doesn't seem cost effective.
- The Finder: In the second episode, Walter shot a Dirty Cop so that, when the medics found the bullet, they'd also find the bullet that'd expose the Dirty Cop as a murderer. He explained that, if he went through bureaucratic methods to force the Dirty Cop to reveal the bullet, it wouldn't be found in time to clear the name of an innocent man framed for one of the murders before execution. That justification cleared him for shooting the Dirty Cop and stealing the gun from another nearby cop.
- Elementary: Holmes and Watson break into multiple people's homes, hack or steal their phones, etc. to gain evidence. Not only are these felonies for which they could face time in prison, but since they consult with the police, all that evidence could be suppressed against defendants if this were revealed. However, aside from in one episode this never becomes a problem.
- All of the The Defenders (2017) shows from the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Daredevil (2015):
- The events of "The Incident" are addressed in the show. Wilson Fisk's rise as an organized crime boss is the result of exploiting government contracts for rebuilding efforts in Hell's Kitchen.
- It's made clear at multiple points that Matt Murdock doesn't have hero insurance. In fact there are several points where he almost gets arrested when police roll up while he's in the middle of doing something as Daredevil. The only reason they don't haul him in is that he's able to talk them down into going after the more dangerous fish. And the friction between Foggy and Matt throughout the last few episodes of season 1 and most of season 2 is implied to be because he knows just what's at stake if Matt gets arrested or killed. Fisk even manages to exploit this in season 3 by having Dex impersonate Matt's alter ego.
- Averted greatly for Frank Castle in season 2. He may be the Punisher who goes after crooks like the Mexican cartels, the Kitchen Irish and the Dogs of Hell, but he still gets arrested, charged with murder, and put through the process of a trial.
- Ditto for Jessica Jones (2015).
- In one episode, Jessica faces Audrey Eastman. She is a fashion designer who hates superhumans because her mother died during the Battle of New York. She holds the big green guy and the flag waver just as responsible for the destruction of New York as she does Loki or the Chitauri, and reasons that Jessica has to die before anyone else gets killed.
- Also an aversion: Jessica gets arrested for killing Kilgrave. Though Jeri Hogarth is able to secure her release or at least get her bail posted.
- Luke Cage (2016):
- Luke Cage may have cleared his name of the crimes that put him in Seagate prison in the first place, but he is still a fugitive from the law for breaking out of there.
- Daredevil (2015):
- The whole premise of the DC Comics series Powerless (2017). The show examines how a normal person living in the DC Universe would react to all the chaos and collateral damage caused by superheroes and their villains.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "For the Uniform", Ben Sisko orders the poisoning of the entire atmosphere of a Maquis planet in order to convince a treasonous former Federation officer to surrender. The series does not imply Sisko ever faces any consequences for essentially ordering the commission of a war crime by using a bio-weapon on a defenseless civilian target.
- Wonder Woman: In "Mind Stealers from Outer Space", the aforementioned mind stealers use their beam weapons to level a building with Wonder Woman and Andros inside. It's never addressed who picked up the tab for the demolished building.
- The Boys (2019): A-Train kills Robin by recklessly speeding past while she's just barely in the street (one foot off the curb, as Hughie says). Later he lies and claims she was in the middle of the street while he was speeding past pursuing bank robbers. He can't be prosecuted so long as it was part of his crime-fighting, and this is explicitly said to be like the semi-immunity law enforcement officers have while performing their duties, so the idea appears to have been codified by law in the show's universe. It's said he could still be sued, but Hughie's father says it would be too hard to prove he did anything wrong. Mostly their reputation protects them, though superheroes are shown carefully covering up actual blatant crimes they commit.
- Tremors: It's mentioned that, along with weapons and equipment, the U.S. government provides liabilty insurance to Burt Gummer when he has to hunt Graboids. Graboids tend to be destructive. Burt's methods for killing them tend to be...more destructive.
- The Mutants & Masterminds setting Freedom City has something of an explanation — Freedom City has its own guardian spirit, Doc Metropolis. In addition to serving on the local hero team, he also uses his powers over the city to fix whatever damage is wrought by superpowered battles.
- GURPS Powers has a table for you to roll on to decide how many dollars of collateral damage were dealt during a fight. It's up to the GM who exactly has to pay for it.
- Exalted: During the First Age, the Solars' Hero Insurance is backed by the authority of Sol Himself and the rest of the Heavens. Whole Cardinal Direction obliterated in your fight? Doesn't matter, things can be rebuilt and the Sidereals make sure that the collateral victims reincarnate into a favorable life. Like everything else heroic, this is ultimately Deconstructed — the Solars eventually don't even see mortals as real people.
- Player characters in virtually all tabletop RPGs owe most of their ability to get away with literal murder and other less-than-virtuous activities (except where the GM thinks it would be entertaining) to this trope in the name of escapism and saving valuable playtime. It's all just imaginary damage anyway, so if the group doesn't feel like dealing with it there's no actual harm (save possibly to the players' willing suspension of disbelief) in simply ignoring it and moving on. Handwaves optional.
- This trope is actually a core aspect in Shadowrun. As a Shadowrunner you are literally a mercenary criminal, but once you get away with the goods and get paid the target of your activities will USUALLY not bother with something so petty as revenge, because A: you might do a job for them sometime, because everyone needs "deniable assets" at some point; and B: it's not cost effective to waste resources on hunting you down that could be better utilized in shoring up against the next attack. However, if you get a little too liberal with the application of automatic fire and high explosives, then it's going to cost you - one way or another.
- City of Heroes:
- Subverted with the Faultline zone, the victim of a massive earthquake attack by a tectonics-controlling villain, which for years remained as a giant deserted fissure in the ground. Faultline only started being slowly rebuilt a year or two ago.
- There are billboards in the city advertising insurance for damages caused by hero/villain struggles, but there are a lot of hazard zones which are just decimated sections of town still, so...
- Being a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game and all, anything you break is back to normal as soon as you zone out.
- However, in one of the game's cinematic trailers (one where the Rikti invade), you briefly see the heroes helping to clear the wreckage left by the invasion.
- Deconstructed in the Shoot 'em Up A.S.P. Air Strike Patrol. If you think you can be like Team America: World Police and blow up everything in your way, enemy or civilian, you're going to be proven wrong very quickly. International news will cover your "exploits," anti-war demonstrations will protest your actions, and you'll get a Non-Standard Game Over as the Coalition pulls out.
- Desert Strike and the rest of the Strike series penalizes you for killing civilians and destroying their buildings, usually by deducting points from your score at the end of the mission. At worst, you'll be ordered to return to the frigate, berated for your actions, and forced to do the mission all over again (this also happens on other conditions).
- The Just Cause franchise, especially the third installment, which is set in Rico Rodriguez's home country of Medici. Rico can commit vandalism, murder, assault, vehicular manslaughter, theft, etc. and civilians will not say "boo" about it. He is already a national hero and can get away with anything.
- Quite a number of stages in the Aero Fighters series allow the player to destroy civilian buildings and vehicles, up to and including Monumental Damage—and very often, the player is rewarded for this. (This is, of course, exempting those buildings and monuments that turn into missiles or enemies.)
- ESP Ra De:
- The game, on multiple occasions, makes civilian buildings and vehicles in Tokyo-2 fair game—such as parts of Houoh High School, and the cars on the street just before fighting the "Izuna" Assault Tank in the shopping mall stage. There's no penalty, in-game or story-wise, for doing so.
- Averted with J-B 5th though, as his backstory says it's not only the Yaksa after him, but the Japanese Self-Defense Force as well.
- XCOM Apocalypse:
- You have the option of paying for any collateral damage you do while cleaning buildings from aliens. If you don't, the owners may attack you the next time you have to go in.
- And there are also relationship hits from damaging buildings from the outside, which may require financial compensation for staying friends with the specified organization. It seems X-COM doesn't pay for repairing its own buildings on the outside (although this might be justified, since the expensive stuff is underground, the above ground stuff is just a damage buffer). However, all the organizations have their own fund sources and reserves and it is very much possible to drain those, thus depleting their ability to replenish their weaponry etc. - which basically means that subsequent raids are worth less if you also do damage to the buildings. Raiding for experience and items seems to be fine, although it also decreases the finances of the organization.
- In the original X-COM, you can, thanks to the miracle of modern agricultural insurance, burn an entire farm to ashes with no repercussions, although you are a UN task force and it's not like anyone in the area is still alive to sue. For that matter, burning down a section of a major city has no consequences beyond a minor point loss for civilians killed or troopers caught in gas station explosions.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown is even worse - since enemies can infest civilians with their spawn, and disguise themselves as civies in the sequel, you are obligated to murder any non-essential civilians with grenades, flamethrowers, or outright zombify them with a mind-controlled floating eldritch psychic horror, just to make sure the aliens don't use them as a tactical advantage first. And there's more destruction of property in the average campaign than a hurricane.
- Mass Effect:
- Played with, in which Shepard is a Spectre and has broad operational authority to do whatever the heck he/she feels like but still gets chewed out by his/her superiors for any collateral damage.
- Sparatus, the Turian Councillor, particularly isn't amused when Shepard detonates a nuke to destroy Saren's cloning facility on Virmire. Although technically, the nuke idea came from the Salarian Special Tasks Group and Shepard just helped them infiltrate the facility to deliver the payload.
- At the end of the last piece of DLC for Mass Effect 2, s/he (both Paragon and Renegade) was forced to destroy a mass relay to slow down the Reaper invasion. It went supernova, wiping out an entire solar system and killing 300,000 batarians. Admiral Hackett notes that while he knows s/he did it for the right reasons and will try to slow down the fallout, s/he will have to face trial for mass murder and terrorism, and it's doubtful that the Council (who don't believe him/her about the Reapers) or Udina (who hates Shepard) are going to give him/her any protection. There are limits even for Spectres. It all becomes moot before the third game begins, since the Reaper invasion took out the entire Batarian civilization in the first hours. Although Shepard is in custody awaiting trial as the game begins.
- Subverted in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All. After Phoenix breaks down the door to the summoning room in the Fey Manor, he later gets a bill for the door, despite breaking it to protect Maya and find out about the gunshot heard in the room. Of course, the owner of the door was an accomplice of the murder that was happening, and by entering, Phoenix was interfering with the plans. Plus, if you read some of the tapestries in the school, as well as in the exhibit in the third game, they all discuss methods of making money. The Kurain school of mysticism would gouge anyone for a nickel. (Appropriately, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice shows that the country where it originated is also extremely litigious.)
- In the vehicle driving sections of L.A. Noire, Cole can cause massive damage to innocent motorist cars and even hit pedestrians without severe in-game consequences. This will lower your final score, but will not prevent you from completing the mission, nor will it get you fired or put on trial for vehicular homicide.
- Also subverted in the original The Legend of Zelda, where if you burn down/destroy certain doors, the owners of said doors make you pay them for the damage. This also happens in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games sub-series. In at least one instance, burning through a door has the inhabitant of the house pay you.
- Many light-gun games even encourage you to shoot up the scenery of the location you're trying to save, with rewards including bonus points, powerups, and secret rooms. Apparently glass windows are #3 on the Most Wanted list.
- Lan/Netto commits so many felonies during the course of the Mega Man Battle Network series that the Let's Play of it actually harps on the fact. It's actually less egregious than other examples because he very rarely breaks physical stuff - Lan mostly sneaks somewhere he is not allowed to be in pursuit of of the current villain. And because he manages to save the day, officials can let it slide. The sequel series Mega Man Star Force Lampshades hero insurance in the 2nd game, Omega-Xis mentions being considered a hero is something to be proud of, and that because of it, people won't mind if they cause damage.
- In Superman Returns, as Superman is invincible, the life bar is that of collateral damage done to Metropolis. Which is a brilliant idea in a shitty game.
- While the first Red Faction was notable for allowing the player to break stuff up to and including the level geometry itself, the sequel looks to be taking this to ludicrous extremes. Not only does the ultramodern architecture give way like wet tissue paper, the protagonist effectively levels an entire city to protect the citizens of said city.
- In the 2009 Ghostbusters game, it's revealed early on that the Ghostbusters no longer work for the people of New York, but for the city of New York, with a contract to take care of any and all paranormal disturbances. In addition, the city has a lucrative insurance contract for damage due to either paranormal entities or paranormal "investigations". In fact, the mayor got the insurance policy after the Ghostbusters endorsed him in the election campaign, and it's outright stated by Ray that it probably won the election for the mayor. In addition, there's an oversight committee, headed by the ever-lovable Walter Peck, called the Paranormal Contract Oversight Committee. And the icing on the cake: the game TRACKS how much property damage the Ghostbusters incur.
- Subverted in Super Paper Mario, where Mario breaks Mimi's vase and is forced to work off the debt for the rest of the chapter - of course, since Mimi is working for the Big Bad, it's all just a scheme.
- Lampshaded in the 2001 enhanced remake of Spy Hunter: in the first half of the game, you fail a mission objective if you cause too many civilian casualties (about 4), but they don't prevent you from moving on to the next mission. In the second half of the game, it's explained the agency's insurance provider has altered their policy, and ANY civilian casualties are no longer acceptable (although if you complete enough of the other objecties, you can usually advance).
- Subverted in the Excuse Plot for Stair Dismount a.k.a Porrasturvat: The main character is a superhero who has just wrecked the city in a big fight, and has to pay for the damages by commiting insurance fraud. How, you may ask? By pushing himself down a flight of stairs.
- Lampshaded in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. A collectible allows the player to hear a commercial for an insurance company that specilizes in superhuman related damages.
- Deconstructed in Fallout 3, two superpeople known as the Mechanist (Hero who fights alongside an army of robots) and the AntAgonist (Villain who fights alongside an army of giant ants). The residents of Canturbury Commons, the town in which they stage most of their dramatic battles, fear for their lives and property. They generally wish that BOTH of them would just go away, except for the town's only child. He thinks they're Crazy Awesome and actually has suggestions on how you could join them as a third superperson, complete with your own army.
- In Freedom Force, collateral damage incurs a prestige loss. Prestige is used to recruit new superheroes to your team and keep score, and therefore smashing up things too much and letting civilians get KOed will reduce your hiring rate and your high score. There are no other penalties.
- Even though what they do is to take back their cities from bad guys, player tank in Seek And Destroy never needs to pay for whatever damage he cause to those cities, and they are miraculously restored right after the hero troop conquer them.
- Lampshaded in A Day in the Life of a Super Hero, where the main character assures an irate truck driver that his Super Hero Insurance "will definitely cover stuffed toy elephants crushed beneath [him] by being hurled from a bridge."
- Demonbane: entire city blocks are wiped out in every single battle, yet life in Arkham City continues as though nothing is wrong, and only cursory attention is paid to the damages and loss of life. The fact that the hero is working for the Hadou Group, which effectively owns the city and is rich enough to do whatever they want, explains why they are never held accountable, though it is mentioned several times that the people of the city are uncertain as to whether Demonbane is truly a "hero of justice" or just another rampaging threat. Finally subverted after Cthulhu's summoning, which results in Arkham City getting wiped off the face of the Earth, though most of the population survives via underground shelters.
- At the end of Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, Captain Roger Wilco triumphantly returns to StarCon after saving the galaxy from yet another threat. Space Quest VI begins with a court-martial, where his violations of regs are brought up and used to strip him of his rank. His accomplishments are brought up as an afterthought, which lets him stay in Starcon as a janitor. The fluff implies that the mother of Captain Raemes T. Quirk, whom Roger is forced to kill to end the threat, pushes for Roger to be found guilty.
- Discussed in this comic from Boulet Corp.
Alt Text: "If superpowers were real, you would probably be some dumbass watching them do the amazing stuff, waiting to be killed by some supervillain, or even worse: you'd be a collateral dammage in their fights and noone would notice you."
- Mentioned in League of Super Redundant Heroes, Laser Pony apparently has insurance which covers damage to blimps. Just as well, considering he has shot down two of them so far.
- Referred to in The Hero Business, where the eponymous marketing agency appears, at least, to have a tab with the municipality.
- The fact that heroes seem to get away with massive property damage gets thoroughly skewered, among other things, in this Shortpacked! strip.
- Parodied in Evil, Inc.. One of the services the titular company provides is "Battlefield Location and Booking" which seeks out abandoned locations for villains and heroes to battle to avoid lawsuits from any property damage and casualties. This could also be considered an inversion since, as the name of the company indicates, it's the supervillains who are in charge of this service. If there's one thing supervillans probably will hate more than superheroes, it's lawyers.
- In MegaTokyo the TPCD takes the part of clean-up and repair after the many scheduled and unscheduled disastrous events in Tokyo. They even take requests from affected house-owners for changes on rebuild.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has an unorthodox approach to hero insurance. Because the populace acknowledges that McNinja's vigilantism is actually beneficial to the community despite the crimes he commits in the process, he and the police have worked out an agreement: After committing a crime, Dr. McNinja needs only to return to his office and call "base" in order to have his crimes absolved.
- Exiern: has some very literal hero insurance here and here, overlapping with Impossible Insurance too.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, part of the Running Gag about Bob's roof repeatedly getting destroyed is that each story arc ends with the roof either getting repaired, or Bob receiving just enough money to repair it.
- City of Reality has Hero Insurance, literally, as part of the deal that makes the inhabitants happy to have super heroes around. More than happy, in fact.
- In Sluggy Freelance the GOFOTRON crew doesn't seem to get in any trouble when they slice a giant broccoli monster into pieces, and one of said pieces crushes all the Innocent Bystanders.
- In Spinnerette Benjamin Franklin mentions that the super hero organization he founded handles damage compensation, legal help, medical help, etc through a combination of money from bank interest from the 1700's to merchandizing super hero memorabilia.
- Super Temps has literal Hero Insurance — the Supers Union actually pays a large chunk of their various merchandising and media profits to the government to pay for collateral damage. Since super-antics actually drive the economy in a cycle of media sales, merchandising, and job creation to handle the damage... this makes perfect sense in a Fridge Logic kind of way.
- Turned Up to Eleven with Atomica in a recent story in Fafnir The Dragon. A Super Hero in a Stripperific costume who, apart from the Most Common Superpower, is Immune to Bullets (which causes bullets the robbers shoot at her to riccochet into every nearby hostage), Super Strength (which allows her to use a bankvault door as a shield to protect hostages from gunfire... only to drop it on top of them when she goes of to pursue one of the robber), the ability to melt guns (which sets the robbers on fire) and the ability to gently knock out a robber with a thrown object (at the edge of the curb, where his head gets crushed by the police car). Her being The Ditz, she never actually notices and thinks she's a Golden Age Superhero and the Strawman News Media praises her all the way.
- Darths & Droids brings this a couple of times, most notably in this strip where the entire party gets chewed out for how much collateral damage their latest adventure caused.
- Grrl Power: Since the superheroes are a hybrid of military and police officers, most of the damage they do is covered under insurance. But they're still warned that it's best not to cause those damages in the first place; slamming someone into the ground (which is probably owned by the city) is far cheaper and less likely to make people mad than to throw a privately-owned car as a weapon. Maxima's first bit of advice to Sydney is to always check behind your target before unleashing your power.
- Amanda Green Superhuman Insurance Agent is pretty much this trope in the form of a webcomic. Amanda is not a superhuman insurance agent, she's an agent who sells superhuman insurance: e.g. insurance against any superhuman-related losses caused by super heroes and supervillains alike.
- Captain Hammer, of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog practically defines the trope. In his introduction alone, we see him jump onto a remote-controlled van, break its autopilot, jump off to flirt with a beautiful bystander, and all but abandon the vehicle to terrorize the streets. He also completely fails to prevent the theft of the goods inside the van, due to flirting with a yet another woman. Hence the only thing he actually accomplishes is needlessly endangering bystanders. And everyone loves him for it anyway due to his manly charisma. Did we mention that Dr. Horrible is a deconstruction of super heroes vs. supervillains?
- Averted in the Whateley Universe. An early story features an English class which specifically mentions that insurance and damage laws have evolved to address superhero-supervillain battles. Also, one of the major purposes of the school is to teach enough self-control that the kids are not destroying everything in sight while fighting the villain. And finally, in a novel set over Thanksgiving of first term, the kids find out that a brutal battle years ago in New York City has led to the point that everyone at school has to have a Mutant Identification card filled out in a meeting with the Mutant Commission Office, or they can't return to the school.
- Subverted in a early arc of How to Succeed in Evil. It is openly stated that Superhero Insurance doesn't exist because it would be too damn expensive. Doesn't stop Edwin from selling (and by selling we mean threatening into submission) it anyways.
- Subverted in Trinton Chronicles, the city isn't really too fond of the vigilantes (heroes) fighting each other in the city with out rules..after all, it's a whole world full of super-powered people... even they have rules against over-use!
- Played straight in Skyway Mechanix where the state super-hero tells a police officer to send a bill to the "World Hero Alliance - Hero Insurance Department" after the chaotic neutral protagonists destroy a motel and blow up a gas station.
- Discussed in Worm after the bank robbery arc. When the Undersiders villain team robs the bank, Kid Win, part of the Wards hero team sent to stop them, pulls out an energy cannon that inflicted serious property damage - damage that inflicted costs that actually exceeded the amount of money that the Undersiders stole, and not counting other damages from the fighting. He is given a severe talking down by Director Piggot as a result of his misuse of the weapon and the costs of the damage he inflicted. However, issues of property damage are only brought up for "minor" villain confrontations. When Class S threats like the Endbringers or the Slaughterhouse Nine show up, all issues regarding property damage go right out the window and everything gets thrown at the threat until it is destroyed or driven off.
- It's further touched on in reconstruction form later in Worm and the sequel Ward: Hero Insurance is literal for most high-profile teamsnote , and commercial and property insurance policies typically have some level of "Villain Insurance"-type coverage for when the mad tinker tests their new resonance canon on your storage shed. Mentions are made of collateral-damage-prone heroes having financial problems due to astronomical insurance rates, so most heroes quickly learn to use their powers in ways that minimize collateral damage. Major organizations like the PRC also typically have some sort of legal counsel dedicated to quietly settling lawsuits from people Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like and determining how much of the damage to the antiques store the heroes are actually liable for.
- Spoofed in the Robot Chicken premiere. After a battle, Optimus Prime congratulates the Autobots: "Megatron was defeated with only 50 humans killed in the crossfire, a new record!" Everybody cheers.
- Megas XLR:
- Megas regularly destroys significant chunks of the vicinity while he smashes the Monster of the Week. It's mostly Played for Laughs since Coop's a loveable buffoon, and the stuff he destroys often has signs that say things like "Conveniently Empty Building" and "We Were Going to Tear This Down Anyway". Plus it takes place in New Jersey, where such destruction might actually serve as an improvement...
- There was an episode where a Gatchaman / Power Ranger Expy group fought Coop, after watching some videos of his blunders at piloting the robot, under the idea he was a villain. Even the team's own villain thought Coop was evil. They eventually realized Coop is a good guy, just really clumsy, and became allies.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- The girls don't seem at all concerned about how much collateral damage they cause defeating the monsters that invade Townsville — the monsters alone would probably cause less damage. The citizens of Townsville have apparently gotten used to this... but The Big Rotten Apple metropolis of Citiesville, where the girls temporarily move to, is not so understanding:
Citiesville Mayor: At what time did it seem like a good idea to blow up the Citiesville Bridge? Do you realize that the bank robbers you captured stole approximately $400? Do you realize you did over three ''million'' dollars IN PROPERTY DAMAGE TO THAT BRIDGE?!!
- In another episode, when the girls' class has Career Day, Hanut's father comes in. In a deadpan style, he says that he insures buildings in Townsville from damage... and that he is a veeeeeery busy man. Of course, it's best not to think of how unlikely it is that any insurance company would agree to insure buildings in Townsville at all.
- And then there is The Movie of the girls' origins, in which they almost destroy pretty much the entire town. From playing tag. Professor Utonium is actually arrested over this, and there is talk of the girls being incarcerated. Said movie also shows that Townsville pre-Powerpuffs is a horrifying dystopia of crime and violence where criminals run rampant and the police seemingly never leave their favorite store, the Donut Thing. The Powerpuffs might cause a lot of property damage, but Townsville seems to think that the reduced crime rate is worth it.
- In still another episode, the Professor is horribly worried about the girls' getting injured, and so builds a Humongous Mecha for them to use. They refuse to... until they come up against a bigger monster that even they can't handle. They win... but level virtually all of Townsville doing it. The Mayor thanks them, then asks them whose stupid idea the big robot suit was. When they say it was the Professor's, he decides he'll let them off as long as they promise never to use it again. They're only too happy to agree, as the thing was damn finicky to work with. The suit returns in a later episode after The Mayor unwittingly activated the autopilot, and it's just as destructive as before
- Yet another episode has a garbage man praising their destruction because it's keeping him in work.
- The girls don't seem at all concerned about how much collateral damage they cause defeating the monsters that invade Townsville — the monsters alone would probably cause less damage. The citizens of Townsville have apparently gotten used to this... but The Big Rotten Apple metropolis of Citiesville, where the girls temporarily move to, is not so understanding:
- Underdog had a Catchphrase for whenever he was confronted with the vast destruction caused during the episode: "I am a hero who never fails./ I can't be concerned with such details." For fairly obvious reasons, this was quietly dropped early in the show.
- In the universe of The Venture Bros., fully-certified membership with the OSI includes a literal license to kill.
- Danny Phantom: Danny apparently has no Hero Insurance since he actually feels bad about any collateral damage he causes while capturing ghosts, especially when people he knows bear the brunt of it. When he accidentally destroys a section of the mall, Tucker comments, "I sure hope they're insured." This could be either because, or partly why, Amity Park is an Untrusting Community.
- From the Superhero Episode:
Mayor: Thank you, mysterious heroes! The value of the Gemerald you saved is slightly greater than the cost of the damage you caused to this museum: A net gain for our great city!
- Leela also gives the reason for having secret identities: so they can only charge the "hero" persona for any resultant damages.
- From the Superhero Episode:
- The Tick:
- Subverted. Arthur's attempt to break through the Sidekick Glass Ceiling ends with a climactic battle with the Tick, in which a restaurant was partially trashed. The episode ends with the reunited heroes fixing the same restaurant, with the maitre d' profusely thanking them: "When most superheroes have their brawls, they just leave a mess."
- When The Tick went to Europe for a hero exchange program, he was prevented from Roof Hopping due to damaging historically important buildings.
- At one point, he's vetoed from starting a fight with a supervillain in the supervillain's evil... Apartment?... On the basis that the supervillain will lose his cleaning deposit if it gets messed up. They decide to go fight on the roof instead.
- Also subverted in Episode 3, a 70-foot tall dinosaur, whose DNA subverted a human is rampaging through town. A reporter catches another superhero on camera. "This is Sally Vacuum at the scene of the Dinosaur Neil crisis. As you can see, Neil is still growing. We have with us one of the city's superheroes, Der Fledermous."
"Thank you, Sally."
"Der Fledermous, can you tell us what the superhero community plans to do about this menace?"
He tales one look at the creature, chuckles, and says, "Good question, Sally. I think we'll just, um, sit this one out and wait for the National Guard."
- The DCAU had its share of this as well:
- Witness this battle between Superman and Darkseid, which is made all the funnier by Supes monologuing about how he usually has to hold back so nobody gets hurt. Gee, I guess all those buildings he punches Darkseid through were conveniently evacuated moments before?
- Conversely, the fight between Superman and Captain Marvel was conveniently set in an empty city (built by Lex Luthor as a publicity stunt for his presidential campaign and it was its opening night). Two Capes tearing up Metropolis over an argument might have stretched the suspension of disbelief just a little too much. After the fight, Superman even offers to repay the cost of the damage from the Justice League coffers, looking at Batman as he says this.
- In the Superman-Darkseid fight, Metropolis actually had been evacuated. You can see people watching the Superman-Darkseid fight, but a lot of people don't leave a city that has been evacuated. Also, given the fact Darkseid had pretty much invaded Earth in full force at this point, well... if they're gonna get killed, might as well enjoy the superhuman slugfest beforehand.
- Also, see the fight against Solomon Grundy in Wake The Dead. Supes makes his appearance by punching Grundy through a line of cars, into the distance and into a gas line, and, while he chats with the League about strategy, there's a gigantic explosion far away in what is apparently a populated urban area. This just marks the fight getting more and more out of control and, of course, more collateral damage, almost all of the big things involving Superman.
- However, there is a subversion in "The Greatest Story Never Told". After the League's battle with Mordru leaves whatever city they're in utterly demolished by collateral damage, the League helps clean up. Booster Gold, who had been criticized by the others for being too arrogant of a hero to actually be a hero (and himself coming to believe this over the course of the episode) and being relegated to crowd control, leaves the scene with the woman he was helping during the episode, saying that he only does crowd control.
- Lampshaded when Superman was supposed dead and Lobo showed up to fill the vacancy. Showing why he's not the best replacement for the real Flying Brick, his strategy for defeating a baddie is by simply piling cars on top of him. When the rest of the League waves him off from adding another one once the villain surrenders, a dejected Lobo tosses it over his shoulder and into a building.
- Earlier in the Superman animated series, Bizarro tries to help save the city, except doing more harm then good, such as "saving" a building being demolished by throwing the wrecking ball away (which almost landed on a wedding), "fixing" a draw bridge (that a tanker was about to pass under), and "saving" Lois Lane from the real Superman (by knocking over the Daily Planet globe).
- In Superman: Doomsday, Supes throws Doomsday through a building on more than one occasion, and eventually defeats him by taking him to orbit and slamming him into the ground in the middle of Metropolis hard enough to level the entire block. In real life, Supes would've racked up a higher death toll than all the villains in the movie put together with that move. And he may well have, as this being a direct-to-DVD release rather than a TV episode, people were being explicitly killed in the show... but he was "dead" at that point, and he did stop Doomsday, who had wiped out entire worlds on his own. To put this in perspective, Metropolis is essentially in the same place as New York City. In the comic arc that this was based on the Justice League engaged Doomsday in central Ohio, and would have been completely wiped out if Superman hadn't shown up when he did. The battle between the two stretched over a third of the country, and left more than a thousand dead in its wake. The government's position was that anything that could take that kind of punishment was a serious enough threat that even losing most of Metropolis would have been a justifiable price for putting it down.
- Transformers Animated:
- Lampshaded. When Optimus Prime crashes into a truck, he apologized and says he heard something called "insurance" will cover that.
- Inverted in one episode with Henry Masterson stealing yet another autobot body. Powell, the guy who sprung Masterson from jail and gave him a job, gave his employee what amounts to Villain Insurance by pointing out that the damage was done on his company property (it was the company's ship, and the company's goods that were damaged) and that hijacking an Autobot body was not a crime, as there were no laws concerning autobots, leaving Fanzone unable to arrest Masterson since the latter technically didn't commit any crimes.
- Also played with a little bit in the live-action movie. In most cartoons, the Transformers trot around human areas with little to no difficulty. The movie shows just how destructive having giant, heavy robots mill about your back yard would be, even if they were trying to be not just careful but stealthy.
- Played with further during one scene showing Optimus Prime running along a busy road; his feet chew giant holes in the tarmac, but he doesn't hit a single car.
- This never came up in the Generation One series because they mostly fought in desert areas and even the city locations didn't have too much collateral damage. But Transformers Animated tries to balance it out considering the Autobot heroes are occasionally seen helping to put the city back together after a battle. Robot Chicken had a segment that mocked this trope, however.
- They also get called on it more than once, especially Gentle Giant Bulkhead. It's not fear that makes public opinion towards them someone ambivalent—it's the fact that they keep breaking stuff.
- Averted in Generation One's third-season episode "The Burden Hardest to Bear" where Rodimus Prime is chewed out by Japanese politicians and business men over the damage caused in recent battles. This forms the basis for his Take This Job and Shove It moment.
- One episode of Darkwing Duck had this factor into public opinion about him, with one member of the public complaining that he stepped on her foot and a construction worker complaining he somehow knocked a building out from under him. Not bad, for someone without any actual superpowers.
- Animaniacs played with this in its Power Rangers spoof 'Super Strong Warner Siblings'. Even activating their Humongous Mecha caused quite a bit of damage. Meshed with the Running Gag of the episode, at least...
- Teen Titans:
- Cyborg once used a building against Plasmus. Perhaps The Abridged Series' line that "This city already has its own destructive jerks - the Teen Titans!" was closer than you'd think.
- And how many cars has Raven telekinetically thrown at villains?
- Raven has Cyborg beat in "Birthmark", where pretty much the entire city, frozen in time mind you, becomes her weapons. She used two buildings to try to crush Slade, who had superpowers at the time and survived unscathed. It's hard to believe that those buildings, or even half the cars, were empty.
- They put several holes in several buildings and wreck a road chasing a jewellery thief.
- One of Commander Feral's main points when speaking out against the SWAT Kats to the media is the amount of collateral damage they cause. The Mayor/Deputy Mayor accept that the big Villain of the Week will cause more damage with the huge mecha/giant spider/ultratank/whatever else if left unchecked. Because the Enforcers can't stop them using Feral's tactics to 'minimize damage'. Not that Feral cares. He's tried to have them arrested several times and tried to hold them accountable for city damage.
- VeggieTales: In a radio interview, Larry-Boy complained about how he has a really high insurance deductible, even though most of the things he breaks while fighting crime are only worth about five dollars.
- Averted on The Fairly Oddparents with Catman. This is the main reason he's a Hero with Bad Publicity, aside from being completely insane.
- In the premiere of Sym-Bionic Titan, the giant robot/giant monster battle creates a huge crater in the middle of the city. The heroes are dismayed by the destruction and resolve to fight future battles in remote, unpopulated areas (with limited success at keeping to that resolution). In the very next episode, we see that the city has already completed a long viaduct right through the middle of the crater and is starting to erect new buildings. A few episodes later, a drag race takes place in the construction zone, and we see that considerable progress has been made in the rebuilding. Now, just imagine if New York City had instantly begun building new roads and towers on Ground Zero after 9/11. And consider that the destruction zone here was much, much larger — and given that people actually do die in this cartoon, it's unlikely that entire sector of the city had been conveniently evacuated. One must conclude that the people of this city are remarkably unsentimental.
- While Hong Kong Phooey isn't so destructive given he doesn't have superpowers, he's so popular everyone who directly suffers from a fair share of his destruction is pleased for this.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Korra catches a trio of gangster benders and she's arrested along with the thugs for causing far more damage than the thugs would have if left unchecked. Chief Bei Fong explicitly tells Korra that the fact that she's the Avatar means squat to her.
- Subverted. Tenzin steps up and offers to cover the damages as part of the agreement for Korra's bail. Another part of the agreement was that Korra would immediately be sent home, but Tenzin later changes his mind. Though not happy with the decision, Chief Bei Fong accepts it as long as Tenzin keeps an eye on Korra.
- Double Subverted later on. After Lin sees the danger the Equalists, she is more or less lenient about Korra's way of handling things.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The Mane 6 have caused a surprising amount of damage to poor old Ponyville. Their reasons for wanton destruction are usually caused for decidedly unheroic and mundane reasons (Well, mundane within the show's context at least) and include a flubbed spell to drive out parasprites, Pinkie Pie finding a cloning pool, and Twilight afraid of being late for a homework assignment. However, since they're the heroes, not once are they called on it.
- Poor Derpy, on the other hand, gets some serious scorn heaped onto her by Rainbow Dash, for whom causing severe damage to buildings is part of the daily routine, after she inadvertently trashes City Hall. Hilariously though, it's Applejack who ends up going out to earn the cash to fix it.
- The Season 7 episode "Daring Done?" examined this trope, as it deals with Daring Do dealing with the fallout for leaving destruction across Equestria when trying to save the day. However, the royalties from her book sales mean she is rich enough to pay for the damages—she just gets so distracted stopping the bad guys that she forgets to clean up after.
- Nick Logan of Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends causes a lot of damage while pursuing/running from aliens. Since he's part of a secret organization they have a team dedicated to keeping it all under wraps, either by suppressing knowledge or arranging for someone else to take the blame.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man Spider-Man engages the Sandman who's robbing an oil tanker in the city harbor, even though there was literally no conceivable way for Spidey to defeat a colossus made of sand. In the ensuing fight Sandman accidentally sets the ship on fire and casualties are only prevented because he comes to his senses and saves the crewmen, and then sacrifices himself to protect people from the explosion. Spider-Man gives him an appreciative little speach and then leaves, oblivious to the fact that due to his pointless intervention both the oil and the tanker have been lost, and the oil spill and fire have probably spelled an ecological disaster for the city, not to mention all the hindrance from the wreckage. Somehow, nobody in the city holds it against him either. Maybe Jameson was on to something...
- Gumball and Darwin, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the Wattersons in The Amazing World of Gumball cause all kinds of collateral damage in many episodes yet are rarely punished for it. Subverted and Lampshaded in "The Finale" when the consequences of their actions throughout the series come all at once.
- In Miraculous Ladybug, this is one of the titular heroine's powers; she and her partner Cat Noir are basically free to do as much damage as they want in their battles against akuma because her magic powers can fix everything afterwards. Some plans do involve purposely wrecking their surroundings to defeat their opponents, up to and including slicing the Eiffel Tower in half. This power explicitly even restores anybody who's killed in the battle, since on one occasion they fought an akuma with the power to erase anybody it touches from existence. Without Ladybug's World-Healing Wave, the supporting cast would've gotten a lot smaller afterward. This is probably also why there's no apparent stigma against people who had previously been transformed into akumas.
- In Steven Universe, the Crystal Gems regularly are in the middle of destruction of Beach City. Most citizens complain, but quickly bounce back. Only Mr. Pizza got seriously angry at one point and asked for repairs. The Gems ignored him and Steven apologized for them which Mr. Pizza accepted. It's never mentioned how the town pays for all the repair costs. In the Gems' defense, one episode explains that the Gems had actually warned the citizens ancestors about settling there since they would be in danger. The humans settled anyway and most have grown up with the weirdness, only reacting confused or in panic when directly confronted by it.
- The Gargoyles are pretty destructive when saving lives and fighting villains. Vehicles are some of their most frequent victims: motorcycles explode, train/subway cars get their roofs torn off, and cars get flattened. Gargoyles will leave claw marks and holes on walls whenever they climb up a building, and chunks of rock burst away from them and litter the ground when they wake up from stone sleep each morning. The gargoyles get away from all the repair bills, because they're seen as nothing but urban myths.
- This is a constant problem for the Mayor of Mega City in Atomic Puppet. He's the one on hook for all the bills racked up by the battles between Atomic Puppet and their various foes after all, so he's determined to try find a reasonable way to replace Atomic Puppet, like getting the police force to step up their game or bringing in a less destructive superhero. This was averted in one episode though when Atomic Puppet was forced to pay for destroying an art museum and a wrestling stadium during two separate fights.
- A citizen of Goodhaven in Ralph Bakshi's Terrytoons series The Mighty Heroes lampshades this in the simplest of terms:
With heroes like these, who needs villains?
- Good Samaritan laws protect people who attempt to give reasonable aid to others. The laws vary by region and jurisdiction, providing more or less protection based on the version of the law.
- Collateral damage and friendly fire during wartime is often a problem. In spite of improving technology, war inevitably results in civilian casualties, including civilians that one side is trying to protect from the other.
- During the Cold War, US military in Germany had personnel specifically tasked with paying civilians for damages it caused during maneuvers off bases who usually accompanied the troops.
- The United States during The War on Terror has entire offices set up in Iraq and Afganistan solely to compensate people for the lost of limbs, property, or loved ones.
- Retired lawyer Bob Ingersoll, who reviews comics for legal accuracy with his "Law Is A Ass" column, has stated that in many cases superheroes would legally be covered by the "emergency doctrine", and thus couldn't get prosecuted or sued when they cause property damages when trying to save lives.