Follow TV Tropes


He's Back

Go To
... and this time, It's Personal!

"I've killed the demons, they haunt me no more
I'm loaded and charged to the core
Unholy poisons depraving my soul
Now I am back in control

Iron Savior, "Dragons Rising"

Something bad has happened to our character. Really bad. It's shaken his faith in himself and in everything else. He may have hit the bottle. He's letting his enemies walk all over him as he rolls around in self-pity and despair, like Achilles in His Tent.

No matter how long it lasts, it won't stick. Sooner or later, our hero is going to shake off his funk and become the man he used to be. After that, we will never mention his low times again (except as a motivator). This is sometimes triggered by some sudden threat he must rise up to face, but when it's done well, it's really more the result of a long healing process finally reaching critical mass. Therefore, the sudden threat is generally used in tandem with a 10-Minute Retirement, whereas He's Back more properly describes the end of a character arc, but the distinction can be blurry, such as in cases in which the 10-Minute version falls across a season break. He's Back is not usually the result of a Whoopi Epiphany Speech, but is often the result of "Get A Hold Of Yourself Man"


Works best if the tragedy was on-screen, but sometimes this is relegated to his backstory. Also, emotional impact is maximized if the character in question is The Woobie.

Often timed to coincide with a Rousing Speech. It could also be punctuated with a "No More Holding Back" Speech just for good measure.

Should be the climax of a long-term character arc, but a lightweight version happens at the end of, eg., a 10-Minute Retirement. He may have been down, and maybe you counted him out, but now he's back, and it's about time.

Note that villains are perfectly capable of doing this as well. In fact, for any good Arch-Enemy, the cue to do so will be the discovery that the hero himself is back — enough moping around, your one and only Worthy Opponent has returned!

The distinguishing mark between 10-Minute Retirement and Passing the Torch. The 'good' ending of We Used to Be Friends. It is also sister to Back in the Saddle which is about a person who is physically out of the fight, either retired, promotion, or some physical injury inhibiting the person, where as this is about a Heroic BSoD. See Conscience Makes You Go Back and Changed My Mind, Kid.


Not to be confused with a character who has returned from being Put on a Bus; in that case, you want The Bus Came Back. This character was never actually "gone", just out of commission until this moment.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • An excellent example of this comes from Dragon Ball Z, when Goku comes back after his first death. First Nimbus scoops Gohan up right out of the blue. Then everyone turns around to see Goku looking all badass as he's standing a few feet away.
    • Cell has a villainous example when he's back as Super Perfect Cell after having been blown to bits by his own Taking You with Me technique; Once he's done regenerating, a wind kicks up out of nowhere, blowing sand up and obscuring vision, then lightning starts circling around said obscuring sand, and finally a pointed index finger extends from the sandstorm, firing a ki-attack which nearly One Hit Kills one of the heroes. The kicker is Cell's nonchalant quote afterwards.
    *evil chuckle* "My aim is as good as ever!" *smug laughter* "It's so good to be back!"
    • Frieza gets a double-dose of this: first, after his defeat on Namek, he comes to Earth as a cyborg to dole out some vengenace...before being dispatched by Trunks; then a second time in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, where he's wished back with the Dragon Balls, more dangerous than ever. He triple-dips in Dragon Ball Super when Whis restores his life as Beerus' thanks for his actions in the Tournament of Power, instead opting to go and rebuild his empire instead of trying to squash Goku again.
  • A perfect example of this would be Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who completely breaks down following Kamina's death only to snap out of it several episodes later in a manner that is completely and utterly awesome. For all those who wished to be exposed to said awesome, check it out. Warning, spoilers!
  • After Lelouch lost a critical battle and was rejected by his sister Nunnally early in the second season of Code Geass, he abandoned his troops and fell into a deep depression, even resorting to drug use. Later, when the Black Knights' submarine has been surrounded by Britannian Navy vessels and they have all but given up hope, Lelouch shows up with a handheld radio and some marine charts and singlehandedly leads them to victory against the entire Britannian fleet. Oh yeah, he's back.
    • Earlier, when he gets his memories back at the beginning of R2, you watch as his Geass comes back into his eye and he repeats the first scene where he got it. He even makes a gloating, over-the-top speech.
  • Judai's return to Duel Academia in Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX after recovering from the side-effects of a failed mind control spell.
  • After sitting most of the season out on the sidelines, and with both his company and younger brother in peril, Kaiba got an epic one during the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, complete with musical accompaniment.
    Listen up, 'cause now I'm back!
  • Berserk has a happy variant of this. After the horrors she suffered through in The Eclipse and spending the last three years in-series as The Ophelia, Chapter 355 shows the return of Casca.
  • Shinji of Neon Genesis Evangelion has at least three such moments. Asuka also has a major one in End of Evangelion. (And if you expect them to subvert the trope, you're right - she's back, but it still isn't enough; rather than actually win, Asuka merely goes down fighting impossible odds.)
  • Trinity Blood: Abel's self-esteem drops dramatically after he fails to save a colleague (who had just revealed that she was in love with him) from being crushed by rocks in a cathedral collapsed by the bad guys. It gets so bad he completely slides into apathy, convinced that he isn't capable of saving anyone, up to the point when he attempts to quit AX. He shakes it off sharply when he learns that Caterina is now in danger and rushes off to save her.
    • It's even better in the novels. After failing to save Noelle, Abel disappears for a while, only to reappear in Rome trying to stop the bad guy on his own. After basically quitting AX and rejecting two of his friends, he's confronted by Caterina. The two share a rather touching scene together, during which Caterina reminds him that, when they first met, he said he wanted to save humanity, and that in that struggle, he's not alone (meaning, among others, her). Abel gets his He's Back scene immediately after that.
  • After getting beaten to a pulp during his encounter with his brother and having to be bailed out on multiple occasions by his scrappy formerly-underachieving rival, Sasuke is able to regain his badassery after the timeskip of Naruto. Unfortunately, it involves him betraying his friends, defecting from his village, and joining up with the Big Bad, Orochimaru.
    • Actually, this is an inversion, as while Sasuke may figuratively 'come back', he literally LEAVES the team to do so, and the first scene of him afterwards was not him coming back to his team, but his team finding him; so it's less like this trope, and more like 'We found him'.
    • Rock Lee in Naruto, after spending an annoying amount of time in the hospital while supporting characters tell him he will never fight again, undergoes dangerous experimental surgery. Pretty much immediately upon recovery he rushes out to save Naruto from Kimimaro, The Dragon of Orochimaru's Sound Five. He does better than the main character, and for a time is able to hold him off and even take the upper hand.
    • The Ninja World War arc has seen tons and tons of these, with plenty of dead characters brought back suddenly as zombies (both characters that had been seen previously and even a few who were only known by reputation). Cue mass Oh, Crap! reactions when these zombie-ninjas arrive on the various battlefields.
    • In chapter 665, Obito Uchiha betrays Madara, referring to himself by his true name, and adding that he's the man who wanted to be Hokage, not Madara.
  • Simoun: Neviril, after mourning Amuria's death for approximately six million episodes.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin recovers from his Heroic BSoD when Tsubame pleads with him to save Yahiko. He races off to do that while an old man (later revealed to be his father-in-law) mentions that a cry for help, not for vengeance, is what spurs him on. He finally arrives and performs the Kuzu-Ryusen to save Yahiko. The good guys arrive, and all see that Kenshin has made his dramatic entrance, with the last bit of dialogue emphasizing who came back:
    Saitou: Battousai.
    Aoshi: No.
    Yahiko: Kenshin.
  • During Blood+, David begins drowning his sorrows after a major tragedy, but recovers and reverts to his old Badass Normal self when Saya returns.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Kira Yamato has one of these, gaining a kickass new Humongous Mecha and dropping his Wangst for good.
  • Eiji Date from Hajime no Ippo spent years outside the ring after horribly losing to the World Champion, suffering several injuries and seeing his Ill Girl wife suffer a Convenient Miscarriage. After his spouse tells him to try it again one last time, he returns to the boxing rings most amazingly.
  • Shishioh Gai in GaoGaiGar FINAL. After being forced to fight and destroy (clones of, though nobody knew at the time) Mamoru and Galeon, being left to fight alone thanks to the rest of GGG being taken out of commission via chemical warfare, finding Cain (the creator of Galeon and the G-Stones) in league with the enemy, losing to Palparepa, Gaofighgar's destruction, and being forcibly mind-controlled by the Sol Masters to fight his own allies in a replicant Gaofighgar, he had a pretty reasonable Heroic B So D. Good thing he snapped out of it just in time to become the one force capable of stopping them: The God of Destruction, Genesic GaoGaiGar!
    • The Gutsy Geoid Guard get one in Episode 34, snapping back from their apparent annihilation by Pasder and the first three Primevals and showing up just in the nick of time to curbstomp ZX-04.
  • Vash from Trigun at least twice he hangs it up, only to come back with basically "I don't have time for this Emo idiocy! I have to save the world!
  • Tenma in Monster; the series is long enough to provide several instances, but the most moving instance happens at the very end, when, after a long battle of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, he decides to stick to his original principles and save the life of the man who had put him through living hell.
  • In season 2 of Darker Than Black, Hei is introduced in bad shape, drinking heavily, and acting like a jerkass. He starts to mellow a bit from roughly episode 3 onward, but what seems to mark him as being "back" is regaining his Big Eater habits in episode 8 which he had abandoned during his funk, and sticking to his promise to stop drinking.
    • And immediately after that he actually gets around to shaving, cuts his hair, and digs out an Iconic Item stash to replace the stuff he lost. He's definitely back now.
  • Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima!. During the Eva story arc he runs away, convinced Asuna and the other girls are in danger because of his presence. Meeting up with Kaede changes his mind.
    • Negi plays with this trope a lot, three times in the festival arc getting freed from the prison, and waking up during the final battle, and after Yue's Bright Slap (although this one is told out of order so it's hard to tell he was lost before the He's Back moment) and many times during the Magical World arc after getting stabbed though the chest by Fate, during the fight with Rakan, and mastering Magia Erebea.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo spends the entire Arrancar Arc struggling with his fear of his inner Hollow, falling into despair after he obliterates Ulquiorra and almost kills Uryuu. Gin tells him to run away as he's no longer in any state to fight Aizen. However, Isshin encourages Ichigo to train one last time, which allows Ichigo to confront and reconcile with his inner spirits. Upon returning to the battlefield, Gin acknowledges Ichigo has regained his fighting resolve, and Ichigo then proves it by curb-stomping Aizen.
    • During the Lost Agent Arc, Ichigo's friends and family are brainwashed against him, and the one ally remaining to him turns on him, stabs him and steals his power. Ichigo is left on his knees, powerless and sobbing. The Shinigami turn up to restore his Shinigami power in the same fashion as Chapter 1. His resolve returns in full force and he thrashes the Arc Villain.
  • A villainous version by Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist. After he's reduced to his true powerless form, May brings him to the underground of Amestris, where they encounter Mannequin Soldiers, mindless humanoid creatures powered by human souls. Envy slips out of his jar and right into the mouth of one of them, who proceeds to swallow him whole. Envy then takes over the creature (while yelling "I'M BACK!"), has it start devouring and assimilating the others, until he has enough energy to morph into his One-Winged Angel form, which then transforms into his default human form. At this point, he lets out a maniacal Evil Laugh and screams "I'M ALIVE AGAIN!!"
  • Luffy in One Piece undergoes a 10-Minute Retirement after Ace dies. Jinbe knocks him out of it relatively quickly, and he's back on his feet in no time.
    • Robin gets one earlier at the end of the Enies Lobby arc when she snaps Spandam's spine in two like a twig after spending 40+ chapters at his mercy.
    • The anime's 15th opening, "We Go!" is essentially "He's Back: The Song".
    • Heck, the entire "Return to Sabaody" arc might as well be titled "He's Back: The Story Arc", "He" being the entire Straw Hat crew.
  • Pokémon: Ash's Grovyle's evolution into Sceptile coincides with a Heroic BSoD after being rejected by his love interest, losing his ability to use his attacks. After seeing Ash put himself in mortal peril just to save Sceptile two episodes later, Sceptile regains all his attacks, and uses them to save Ash.
  • In Heart Catch Pretty Cure Yuri suffers from a massive Heroic BSoD due to her partner dying, losing her fight against Cure Dark and losing her powers. She easily rebuffs Tsubomi and Erika's attempts to get her to help them and rejects Potpourri's request to be the third Precure. It isn't until the Great Heart Tree allows her to reunite with her partner's spirit and she asks the tree to restore her powers that she comes back and aids the rest of the Precures in style.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure has a particularly epic moment. After being sent into a Heroic BSoD in episode 40 so serious that all of Yumegahama was capable of being plunged into despair, Haruno Haruka managed to pull off a comeback in episode 41, singlehandedly turning the tide of a losing battle.
  • In Soul Eater, Black Star is having trouble coping with his recent losses and not being able to master Shadow Star and the Uncanny Sword mode, so he and Tsubaki decide to take a leave from school for a bit. Chapters later, during the DWMA's attack on Arachnaphobia at Baba Yaga's Castle, Black Star and Tsubaki arrive on the scene and are told to wait for their cue to head into the battlefield. Instead of waiting, Black Star chooses to enter in a fashion more suited to his style: tearing through the woods at extreme speeds while yelling at the top of his voice, ready to destroy anything in his way.
  • In episode 84 of Fairy Tail, a heart-to-heart talk with Happy's parents allows Happy and Charle to regain their confidence and their ability to fly.
  • Villainous example in Death Note. Following a Memory Gambit that ranks as one of the best in the history of the universe Light let's the audience know he's back on form.
  • "I'll say it once more. I am the mad scientist Hououin Kyouma... and the world is in the palm of my hand!"
  • Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven. After his Freak Out in Episode 20, which resulted in his Heroic BSoD and Renton thinking Eureka and most of the crew hated him, leaves the Gekkostate in Episode 21. This moment comes around Episode 26.
  • After getting sidelined in the second episode of Mazinkaiser, Tetsuya Tsurugi and the Great Mazinger return in style for the finale, rescuing the members of the Photon Power Plant from a massive Mechanical Monster with a Double Thunder Break.
  • In Light novel Vol. 8/Episode 7 of the second season of A Certain Magical Index Accelerator gets one of these. After being shot in the head and hospitalized, ending up with severe brain damage in Vol.5, he comes back to mop the floor with Awaki Musujime, showing that he's still the strongest in Academy City. You can see the scene here.
    Accelerator "But you see, just because I'm weaker, doesn't mean that you're stronger, does it?!"
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Vivio suffers from Redemption Demotion, due to her inner injuries she received during her fight against her Nanoha-mama in StrikerS, thus making her a Handicapped Badass. Her Adult Mode is notably weaker than her Sankt Kaiser Mode, as it lacks the Anti-Magic Field and strength. The result is that Vivio loses to opponents she wouldn't lose normally. However, after training with Nanoha for her second rematch with Einhard, Vivio retains her Sankt Kaiser Mode and curb-stomps Einhard.
  • In Sword Art Online, in the climax of the War of the Underworld Arc, we get a spectacular one of these, courtesy of Kirito. After spending most of the arc in an Angst Coma due to Eugeo's death, he finally wakes up, and proceeds to freeze 30,000 Korean and Chinese players solid, then turn PoH into a tree and defeat Gabriel, essentially saving everyone in Underworld.
  • In My Hero Academia, during the Paranormal Liberation War arc, two of them occur, one right after the other:
    • In Chapter 291, before Dabi can attack Endeavour and Shoto Todoroki, Best Jeanist tangles up both Dabi and Gigantomachia, revealing he had survived his supposed death at Hawks' hands.
    • In Chapter 292, a group of Nobu race in to rescue Gigantomachia, only for Lemillion to phase up from the ground and slug them all down while shouting out his signature "POWERRRRRRR!" battlecry, signalling his restoration of his Quirk.
  • Mel leaving Meltic Star before the events of Kiratto Pri☆Chan caused Anna to stop doing concerts and even go as far as removing any trace of them from the channel. In episode 9, after gaining motivation to "challenge herself" thanks to Sara's guest appearance in Miracle Kiratts' newest stream, she announces her return to the concert world, which caused the stream she announced it in to be bombed with likes instantly as the fans were screaming out that "Anna is back"! And to top it off, her re-debut song was none other than Play Sound, a duet with Sara that is a complete BANGER.

    Comic Books 
  • Due to his crippling defeat at the hands of Bane, Batman was relegated to a wheelchair. Following his recovery and regaining of his old martial arts skills, he finally regained his confidence and put on the batsuit again.
    Robin: Welcome back.
    Batman: A little premature, Robin. I won't really be back until I've retaken Gotham...and that battle starts now!
  • Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, had the "Demon in a Bottle" story arc where he developed and then suppressed his alcoholism. Years later in the Obadiah Stane Saga, he had a major relapse in which his alcoholism increased more and more, leading to him dumping the suit and handing it over to Jim Rhodes and Obadiah Stane taking over his company. Eventually he sobered up, manned the hell up, then suited up, proceeded to take back his company, and then face off against Stane in his Iron Monger battlesuit, intending to kill him, but Stane committed suicide so that Tony would be robbed of any "real" victory.
  • Judge Dredd went through this kind of character arc throughout the events leading up to "Necropolis" and the aftermath of those events.
  • After the events of Identity Crisis the Elongated Man became "Un-Elongated" and began to verge closer and closer to despair and insanity. In 52 he gets involved in the Cult of Connor and seems to step over the edge of insanity, he begins to perpetually carry a flask and lets his personal hygiene fade away, but in the climax of his personal story he reveals that he knew Felix Faust had been manipulating him the whole time and had actually been manipulating him. For the first time in weeks Ralph Dibny is clean shaven and wearing a neat suit and tie and reveals that everything has gone according to his plan.
  • Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour gives us the page picture: After Ramona leaves Scott is an absolute wreck and withdraws from everyone and pretty much gives up on life... but after Gideon shows up in town Scott takes a wilderness sabbatical to visit Kim who reveals that Scott's been a real bastard in his relationships. As if that wasn't enough Scott encounters his evil clone Negascott, who turns out to be the negative memories of his past. After merging with him Scott's better than ever and ready to finish what he started and... Well, see the page picture.
  • Daredevil: Born Again has this when the Kingpin, knowing that Matt Murdock, whose life he completely ruined, sends the Supersoldier lunatic, Nuke, to attack Hell's Kitchen. As the maniac is laying waste to the slum, he is struck with a billy club as it ricochets back to Daredevil. There, back in costume after so long and framed by the flames, Matt is ready to show the monster that there will be the devil to pay for all the harm he caused that night!
    • Chip Zdarsky's run on Daredevil has Matt renouncing Daredevil after accidentally killing a criminal, though he continues to fight crime in simple, alternative mask. As Hell's Kitchen plunges into chaos, ordinary citizens don the cowl to fight for their neighborhood, but are quickly defeated. This causes Matt to realize Daredevil has become such a meaningful symbol for the residents of Hell's Kitchen, and inspires him to once again don the mask.
  • A truly epic example in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns where Batman comes out of retirement after 10 years and is around his 60s. What we get are panels of him warring on horrified criminals, news reporters talking about a man dressed like a bat kicking the asses of criminals all over the city, among other reactions. And this is all in his first night back.
    Reporter: Police phone lines are jammed with citizens describing what appears to be a siege on Gotham's underworld... by the Batman.
  • Superman:
    • Superman abandons humanity for ten years in Kingdom Come because he feels that society has become morally degraded beyond repair. When he finally makes a comeback, the first thing he does is rescue a cablecar full of civilians from warring gangs of vigilantes. The narrator puts the scene best:
      And suddenly, there was a wind. No, not a wind. A blur of motion, bending the steel of their weapons and changing the very course of the mighty river below. Even before the bystanders freed themselves from the cablecar, they knew. We all did. We knew... and remembered.
      Bystander: Look! Up in the sky!
    • Reign of the Supermen: The real Supes emerges from a robot, with an all-black suit (and silver logo), long hair, and tells his friends, "Don’t let the costume fool you. I’m Superman - and I’m back."
  • Supergirl:
  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon gave up on being Batgirl after the Joker shot her and left her with waist-down paralysis. After several years in comic time (twenty-three years in real time), Barbara regained the use of her legs and became Batgirl again.
  • The Joker:
    • An interesting case of a hero's return causing a villain's return occurs in any number of the times the Batman has "died", causing the Joker to go temporarily sane or catatonic. Which always reverses itself upon Batman having his own He's Back moment.
    • After a year-long absence he returned in Death of the Family, to the horror of Gotham. His first act is an assault on the GCPD resulting in the murder of 19 officers.
    • And as of the Batman: Endgame arc, after having been absent for two whole years (not counting a revised origin story in Batman: Zero Year), Joker is back in town.
  • Cobra Commander has a pretty big one in the Marvel GI Joe series, in issue 98. He'd been shot in the back, buried in a shallow grave and Left for Dead while Fred VII, the man who shot him, masqueraded as Cobra Commander. Fortunately for the real Commander, it was standard Crimson Guard policy to have Siegies spy on each other, and Fred VIII rescued him and got him to a Cobra doctor - another Fred - in time. Then, the Commander simply bided his time until he was ready to come back to Cobra Island and clean house.
  • Princess Sally Acorn gets her moment in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) issue # 178. As Sally, Bunnie and Antoine are reminiscing of the past, Antoine mentioning his old cowardly ways and Bunnie's reassurance makes Sally remember her old times as leader of the Freedom Fighters. Tired of her angst and moping, Sally asks if Bunnie remembers her old dream of being the royal hairdresser. A few pages later, Sally leads both the Freedom Fighters and the Chaotix in chasing off Dr. Eggman and his Egg Beater robot, finally throwing herself out of Chickification and back into Action Girl status.
  • Captain America does this following his death and in style: leading both the Registration and Renegade Avengers against the Red Skull, barking orders out as if nothing went wrong, then, finally, showing the rest of America that, yes, he's back.
  • In Issue #30 of Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock comes to realize that his arrogance has always been his downfall and that the reason why Peter was such a hero was because he had the same intelligence, but because it came at such a high price he continued to sabotage himself so he wouldn't fall for it. He decides that Peter is the true Superior Spider-Man, restores Pete's memories and destroys his own, asking Peter to rescue Anna Maria from the Goblin King. Peter's response? He grabs his old red and blues, ditches Ock's costume and declares "My turn."
  • At the start of the Doctor Who Magazine comic "The Blood of Azrael", the Doctor is sulking over having lost the TARDIS in the previous story, and refuses to engage with the problem, even though Clara is doing her best to help. Halfway through part two, they end up at a hospital where the Doctor gets roused enough to stop an alien child getting inappropriate treatment. The child gives him a hug and says "You're a good doctor", and the next panel has him bounding towards Clara, talking nineteen-to-the-dozen about their next move.
  • In Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, having spent the first four issues of Volume 2 trying to be normal, steals a cop's gun & guns down Red Mist's Mooks after they set-off a bomb & kidnap Dave at his father's funeral.
  • After the events of Batman: Endgame, Bruce Wayne had been living with no memory of his time as Batman, with Alfred telling Superman and the rest of the Bat-family to leave him be. However, a combination of rescuing one of the Robin Movement kids and an encounter with a possibly healed Joker results in him starting to remember everything. However, it's Mister Bloom's rampage and having a child center he worked on explode thanks to an infected kid that leads Bruce to return to the manor, confront Alfred and tell his loyal butler the five words he did not want to hear: Take me to my Cave.
  • At the end of the New 52's Secret Six #12, Ralph Dibny, still in his Damon Wells/Big Shot persona, discovers Sue has her memory back and is waiting for him. The final page is a splash panel of the first New 52 appearance of the World Famous Elongated Man.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Megatron, after having a Heel Realization and renouncing violence, is cornered with the rest of the cast by the Decepticon Justice Division, and opts out of the fighting, leaving the rest of the cast to fight without him afraid that if he started fighting, he'd never stop. Then Ravage gets killed, and the Heroes are on their last legs. And suddenly, there's a massive explosion and Megatron comes out of the dust, Fusion Cannon in hand, ready to save the day.
    • Over in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Optimus Prime had rejected that title and reverted to being Orion Pax. During The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, Nova Prime kicks him around a bit while monologuing about the corrupted lineage of Primes, shifting between the forms of various Primes, including Orion himself, before Rodimus tells him that the title "Prime" is still a mark of heroism and honour because Orion was the one to claim it. When Nova Prime then knocks Rodimus out, the leader of the Autobots steps back up to the plate:
      My name is OPTIMUS PRIME! [punches clean through Nova's chest]
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • The Ultimates: With the U.S. literally coming apart at the seams, Steve's returned to being Captain America to keep the nation from falling apart even further.
    • Downplayed in All-New Ultimates: Lana practiced her grand return salute, and got filled of doubts and insecurities about it.
  • DC Comics Bombshells: Steve Trevor spends most of the first two volumes suffering from PTSD and unwilling to fight. Then he sees two children being threatened by a monster. He immediately jumps in, punches the monster, then carries the children to safety. He tells Diana that the nightmares are gone.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, Steve Dallas was turned by aliens from a drinking, smoking, chauvinist womanizer into a caring, sensitive, "enlightened" man... but it seems it went too far, as his attempt not to offend, hurt, or impinge on anyone resulted in some people he cared for (okay, the women whom he enjoyed mutually exploitative relationships with) losing interest. Eventually, after the Last Straw Dumping, he ended up sitting naked on top of a fire hydrant in a near-foetal ball. Shortly afterwards, he asked Milo to "fetch them" ("them" apparently being his Cool Shades), who tried to talk him out of it - leading Steve to repeat the request more forcefully ("Steve - they don't deserve this..." "Yes they DO. Now GET THEM!")... When he transformed, Milo screamed, in terror and warning, "He's BACK!" in a tone more suited to a horror sequel trailer. To which Steve replies in a thought balloon: "He's BAD."

    Fan Works 
  • At the end of the first chapter of Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Firefly returns to Equestria to help in defending it from the griffin invasion. Granted, she also has a personal motive for coming back.
    • Rainbow Dash returns to action in Chapter Twelve (after suffering a Heroic BSoD) in a glorious fashion.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: Having spent quite a bit of time off Earth, Lelouch makes sure that the world knows that Zero has returned in Chapter 23.
  • Evangelion 303: After being put through the wringer in Part 2, Asuka ran away in chapter 13. She returned in chapter 15 thanks to Shinji's intervention, and according Misato she was totaly rebuilt, free from her latest traumas and looking better than ever.
  • Higher Learning:
    • After the dummy plugs were tested successfully Shinji believed he was no longer needed and he was free to start his own life far from NERV, so he left. However, when Zeruel came along and started to blast Tokyo-3, Shinji returned to fight it.
    • In chapter 48 Asuka finally recovers from her breakdown. When she appears in the battlefield, riding her giant robot and surrounded by enemies and destruction, she says:
      "I'm back."
  • The Immortal Game has several examples:
    • First, Rainbow Dash breaks free of the Insanity and Nihilus' mind control in order to save Pinkie Pie from falling to her death. In the process, she performs a Sonic Rainboom that restores her fur and mane to their normal color (which had previously been turned black and white, respectively, by Nihilus' spell).
    • Then, Twilight Sparkle — who had previously had her mind split and been reduced to an unstable Actual Pacifist by the trauma of being turned into Nihilus — is tortured by Titan, which causes her personalities to reintegrate. She pulls a My Name Is Inigo Montoya and proceeds to annihilate Titan's forces, personally leading the charge in the Final Battle.
    • Then, Princess Celestia, who spent most of the story Brought Down to Normal and being tortured by Terra, has her power restored by the Elements of Harmony. She chases Terra back to Canterlot and joins in the final duel with Titan.
    • During the second Battle of Ponyville, all of the Mane Six get a variant of this, as they manage to reignite the neutralized Elements of Harmony and even the playing ground with Terra.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, there's a villainous variant with ProtoMan in Episode Eleven.
    • Mega Man himself does the same one chapter later.
  • Mega Man Reawakened has this in the Arc Three finale, as Robert lets go of his hatred.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • This happens to Twilight in the Dark World when she finally frees herself from Discord's control with the help of Cadence's spirit, followed up with a "No More Holding Back" Speech.
    • Happens again shortly after when Applejack/Liarjack is likewise freed of Discord's control thanks to a Vision Quest and help from Applebloom's spirit and The Father of Alicorns. Like Twilight, she gives an impressive "No More Holding Back" Speech, which ends with a Badass Boast promise to go after Discord.
    • Rainbow Dash's comes a bit later. Unlike the others, after she's freed from Discord's control, she's suffered so much emotional and mental suffering, she's left suicidal, going into a Deep Sleep to repair her damaged soul. She finally wakes up and flies towards Discord's palace to help the others arriving just in time to pull a Big Damn Heroes and save the heroes from Odyne!Cruelty's Mega Stare, ultimately reigniting her Element of Loyalty so the group can defeat her.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: After being Mind Raped by Arael Asuka thinks she is a worthless failure and a bratty girl who never deserved to have powers and decides to quit being a super-heroine. However, when the next Angel attacks, she dons her Supergirl costume again, joins the battle and blows Armisael up. After that, she decides that she will not give up again.
  • Paul breaks out of his Drowning My Sorrows “Depression Era” when he finally gets his magic in With Strings Attached. He is imbued with it when he is turned into a diamond statue, then blown up and reformed. Though he's a bit dismayed to discover that he's been Blessed with Suck and now has Power Incontinence.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic / Transformers: Prime crossover Friendship Is Magic: Prime: Act II, Discord comes to Earth, Discords nearly everybody, and takes over. Megatron, one of the only sane individuals left, attempts to form an Enemy Mine with Optimus Prime to stop him, but Optimus has been Discorded and doesn't care anymore. Megatron angrily gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and tries to stop Discord on his own. Megatron's words, along with Miko's sketchbook, which details all their past adventures, help remind Optimus of his reason to fight. He shakes off the brainwashing and returns to the battle.
    Optimus Prime: Discord! I have seen through your ruse, and will tolerate your treachery and deceit no more!
  • Turnabout Storm has an antagonist variation when Trixie pulls herself together after Sonata's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to pull an Enemy Mine. The trial's Mundane Made Awesome levels are particularly strong here.
    Trixie: You need to be taught some manners, you impudent hussy! Nopony, and I mean NOPONY, disrespects the GREAT and POWERFUL Trixie!
    Sonata: This is exactly why she shouldn't be prosecuting...
  • Naruto in Escape from The Hokage's Hat. After spending 20 chapters on the sidelines and Tsunade reworking his lackluster skills from scratch (both due to a Game-Breaking Injury), he finally gets his time to shine. And shine he does ladies and gentlemen.
  • In Robb Returns, the Call sparks something in Robert Baratheon, starting to bring back the energetic, powerful man of action he was before the Rebellion.
  • In The God Squad, the second season opens with Tydal having renounced violence and become a pacifist. He is seconds away from enlightenment when Celestia (who is his adopted daughter in this reality) is attacked and, for the first time in the story, calls him 'daddy'. He instantly goes on a literal roaring rampage, taking out the attacker in brutal fashion and telling all the rest gathered that he will kill anyone who touches his children. Celestia invokes this trope, crying out that he's back.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Twilight Sparkle finally acknowledges her true self and breaks out of the Smarty Pants identity she's withdrawn into during her thousand years of imprisonment, an act which forces Reality itself, and all of the Powers, to take notice of the event.
  • Brock in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines suffers pretty bad after his parents die, which affects his performance as a Gym Leader and puts him at risk of getting his Gym shut down. However, after he meets Pike Queen Lucy, she offers to train him to get back to his game. Not only he improves his winning rate to over 90% in half a month, but the two eventually start dating and become engaged.
  • After driving himself well past his limits to the point of nearly killing himself and being pretty much Driven to Madness, Stephen Strange of Child of the Storm at first seems almost broken by the end of the Forever Red arc in the sequel, Ghosts of the Past. But after some time and medical attention and the immediate crisis has been averted, he does some explaining of what has been happening and (part of) his plans for what's happening next.
    "For the first time in a while, that wicked little smile, the one that said that its owner had it all worked out and that, moreover, if you were in his way, you were beyond screwed, spread itself across his face. And if any of the assembled wicked witches and wizards, demons, dark lords, and darker gods that menaced Earth had been there to see it, they would have shuddered.
    Doctor Strange was back."
  • In 'A Prize for Three Empires'', Carol Danvers quits The Avengers and tries to lead a normal life until she sees a villain beating Iron Man down on TV.
    Carol cursed. Why did they both have to be in Seattle? Why couldn't he have stayed in New York City with all the rest of the super-freaks? Why couldn't she get off this merry-go-round of heroes and villains?
    Because there were more villains than heroes.
    And because she couldn't let a friend get killed, while she could do something about it.
  • In Taylor Varga, Danny Hebert had been someone that people in Brockton Bay knew not to piss off. Annette's death caused that aspect of him to disappear for a while. Then he learned that Taylor needed him...

    Films — Animation 
  • Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles fits the trope very well. And, by extension, Elastigirl and Frozone.
  • Cats Don't Dance: After Darla's manipulations get all the animals fired from Mammoth Studios, Danny gives up completely and decides to just get on the bus back to Kokomo. However, after listening to the bus driver's negative comments on how animals would never reach the top and seeing all of the other animals suffering on the streets, he quickly regains his confidence and gets off the bus, triumphantly declaring, "See you in the movies!"
  • Happens at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2 when Po returns from near-death and learning the truth about his Dark and Troubled Past for the final confrontation with Lord Shen.
  • The Lion King: "The king...has returned."
  • Madagascar: Europe's Most Wanted: Vitaly the tiger has been in a deep depression ever since he was badly burned during his ring-jumping act, bringing down the morale of the whole circus with him. After a pep talk from Alex and with the help of nonflamable hair conditioner, he makes his big comeback and helps make the circus successful again.
  • "You dare challenge Megamind?"
  • "I AM the Pumpkin King!"
  • In Sing, the eternally optimistic Buster Moon is crushed into a Heroic BSoD after his beloved theatre is destroyed. However, when he hears the usually stage-shy Meena singing beautifully, it inspires him to get back on his feet, and he organizes the other performers to rebuild the theatre's stage and put on a comeback performance so that all their hard work won't have been for nothing. This ends up getting them the money needed to rebuild the theatre.
  • Cars 3: Lightning McQueen has spent most of the movie in a funk trying to build up speed to beat the new generation Jackson Storm and move past his horrible crash. He's been training with his mentor's mentor Smokey and practice racing against his younger trainer Cruz as practice. It's harshly subverted when even with all of the training throughout the film, Lightning can't catch up to his trainer in their final practice run. He's noticeably shaken afterwards and struggles through thanking everyone for mentoring him.
    • This is played straight however after the final race after Cruz takes over for him midway through and wins. Since he started the race and she finished it under his number, he is considered a winner along with Cruz and decides to keep racing and becomes her personal mentor.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2:
    Spider-Man: ( After months of mourning Gwen Stacy's death.) Hey, Spider-Man. Thanks for stepping up for me.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
    • Ron, after being fired, becomes a mess, grows a beard and starts drinking. He cleans up well, though.
    • In Wake Up Ron Burgundy, the DTV movie made up of deleted scenes from Anchorman, Brick Tamland snaps out of his idiocy to bark out a series of Vietnam-style attack orders, prompting Ron to remark, "Looks like the Captain's back!"
  • Back to the Future Part II uses a fairly innocuous "we're back" conversation (from one of the least stressful time travels in the movie) in the trailer to announce the return of the movie series itself.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Jim was the fastest gun in the West, but the stress of having every gunslinger coming for him (culminating in getting shot in the hinder by a little kid) left him with shattered confidence, a shaky hand, and a drinking problem. When he comes back better than ever, he sits tall in his saddle and confidently shoots the guns out of everybody's hands, so fast that you never see his gun leave its holster.
  • The Color of Money. Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) was forced to stop hustling at the end of The Hustler — by the end of The Color of Money, Felson has a Moment of Awesome as he declares, "Hey, I'm BACK!"
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, this happens twice, first when Batman returns after the stock market is hacked, then after Bruce escapes the Hellhole Prison he was put in following his Curb-Stomp Battle with Bane.
    Bane: So, you came back to die with your city!
    Batman: No. I came back to stop you.
  • In Dracula Untold, after insisting that That Man Is Dead, Vlad reverts back to the savage killer "Lord Impaler" to slay the Ottoman soldiers sent to take his son. He even manages to kill the last one via Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • The Expendables 2 has Arnold Schwarzenegger come out of a car and yell "I'm BACK!" as a Mythology Gag to his famous quote from Terminator films.
  • Ghostbusters II:
    • Peter Venkman speaks for the whole team after catching the ghosts in the courtroom scene, with this Badass Boast:
      Venkman: We're the best... we're the beautiful... we're the only... Ghostbusters!
      Ray Stanz: We're back!
    • Janine also gets to say it triumphantly as the music kicks in and the guys return to business, confirming "yes, we're back!" on the phone.
  • Hook is the Peter Pan edition of this trope. Peter Pan had left Neverland, grown up, forgotten everything and become boring, but when his Arch-Nemesis shows up for a final round, he has to spend most of the movie learning to be Peter Pan again.
    Peter Pan: Pan the Avenger is back.
    Captain Hook: And the Hook is waiting.
  • The last half-hour or so of Hot Fuzz.
  • John Wick left his life as a hitman to get married. Okay. His wife dies of illness. Shit happens. Mafiya boss' son destroys Mrs. Wick's parting gift to John, and steals his car. Wick responds by digging up all his old hitman gear and going after the fucker who did it, taking down a sizable criminal syndicate in the process. We can all agree with Winston, the owner of The Continental, that He's Back.
    John: People keep asking if I'm back and I haven't really had an answer, but yeah, I'm thinking I'm back.
  • The Lord of the Rings has Aragorn doubting himself not wanting to deal with the pressure of being a king. Elrond shakes him out of it and he saves the day with his awesome influence.
  • Major League: In the second movie, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn adopts a "corporate" image thanks to his new girlfriend and publicist, Rebecca Flannery. This includes him wearing suits and doing a commercial for Right Guard Sport Stick at a country club. He also gets rid of his trademark haircut from the first film. Unfortunately, his performance suffers as a result and he's eventually relegated to the bullpen and faces mockery from the fans and press. In the final game of the ALCS, Taylor, filling in for Lou as manager, signals for Vaughn to pitch in the final inning. Just before he comes out, Vaughn, off screen, finally tells off the obnoxious Indians fan who had been pestering him and insulting him throughout the film. The fan sees that "Wild Thing" has returned before we do and immediately shuts his mouth. Afterwards, he comes out of the bullpen wearing his leather vest from the original. Once people notice that "Wild Thing" has returned, the song "Wild Thing" is played over the stadium's P.A. system as Vaughn walks to the mound, recreating the scene from the first film. Vaughn then pitches while wearing his skull and crossbones glasses that he hadn't worn in the second film up to that point. All of this leads to him showing that he's gotten his intensity back and now remembers how to throw a fastball after apparently having forgotten how to do so.
    Phelps: Oh no! Not that damn song again!
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II after Co dies at the hands of the Vietnamese soldiers Rambo stops holding back and releases all his fury by going on a killing spree wiping out every one of his enemies.
  • The Mask does this toward the end.
  • At the end of Men in Black, Kay retires and wipes his memory. In Men in Black II, he returns, and after being de-neuralyzed, he shoots an alien in the head (a Running Gag since that particular alien can grow it back) leading Jay to say "You're back." Kay, however, insists he isn't, until he goes outside into the alien neighborhood and begins understanding.
  • A fairly brief one after Barbossa's uncharacteristic silence following Calypso's refusal to aid the pirates during the final battle of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
    Elizabeth: Captain Barbossa! We need you at the helm!
    Barbossa: *eyes widen* Aye, that be true!
  • The Return of Captain Invincible. The title says it all, really.
  • This trope is basically Rocky III in a nutshell.
  • From the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim. After his band sells out and he dies at the hands of Gideon Graves (though he sort of deserved it), he mans up, uses the 1-up he received during the twins battle, and marches back in for take two: smashing the bouncer, snapping Ramona out of her trance, and tag teaming with Knives to bring Gideon down.
  • This moment in Skyfall:
    M: Where the hell have you been?
    James Bond: Enjoying death. 007 reporting for duty.
  • Spider-Man 2 does it with Spidey (who starts losing his powers due to stress). In fact, the Daily Bugle announced his return in its headline with the exact trope name.
    • There's also the third movie where he dons his trademark red and blue suit again for the first time since ditching the black one.
  • Superman
    • In Superman II when Superman regains his powers after giving them up to live a normal life with Lois.
    • Superman III also does this when Superman is exposed to synthetic kryptonite, causing him to make a Face–Heel Turn. The krytponite eventually splits him into Clark Kent and the evil Superman in a junkyard. After a long battle, Clark eventually triumphs and the evil Superman disappears. Clark then rips open his shirt to reveal iconic "S" shield and once again dons the Superman costume, his first order of business to undo the damage his evil self had caused, as the theme music thunders to life. This is probably the only truly great moment in a movie that is mediocre at best.
    • This is pretty much the whole point of Superman Returns. The part of the soundtrack when he steps onto the plane to make sure everyone is alright, after five years of absence, is even titled "He's Back".
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Leonardo announces "It's time to go back" after he and the the other turtles receive a final message from Splinter via Astral Projection.
  • In Thor, the eponymous god has spent the bulk of the movie depowered by Odin to learn a lesson. He proves he learned that lesson when he lets the Destroyer kill him to save his friends. At that moment, Mjolnir flies to his hand, breaking the sound barrier in the process, and by the time the dust clears he's back in action and a Curb-Stomp Battle ensues.
    • In the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, having hit rock bottom and suffered a serious breakdown after Frigga is killed, Loki sacrifices himself to help Thor stop Malekith. But after Thor confronts Odin and renounces his claim to the throne, Odin turns out to be a satisfied Loki in disguise.
    • In the second sequel, Thor: Ragnarok, during the final battle, Thor is being badly beaten and pinned down by his older sister Hela, after spending most of the movie Brought Down to Badass and having to rely on his combat training after Hela shattered his hammer Mjölnir, his primary weapon. But then he sees a vision of Odin reminding him that he's the god of thunder, not the god of hammers, and is able to finally fully harness and use his Shock and Awe abilities without his hammer, using these powers to blast Hela with a huge bolt of lightning and take down dozens of undead mooks, immediately turning the tide of the battle in his and his allies' favor.
  • Top Gun ("Maverick is re-engaging!")
  • And Days of Thunder, given as it's essentially a remake of the above...
  • Played with in the "Weird Al" Yankovic movie UHF with Gandhi II.
    "He's back! And this time, he's mad!"
  • The Waterboy:
    "Remember the time Bobby Boucher showed up at halftime and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl, do ya?"
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit Eddie Valiant has this moment when he decides to finally put the past behind him and go back into Toontown to look for Jessica (who he believes has just killed R.K. Maroon). When he takes out his own toon-style revolver and the toon bullets ask him where he's been, he simply responds, "Drunk". (And to drive this home, he's about to drink from a bottle, but then changes his mind, throws it in the air, and uses the gun to shoot it.)
  • X-Men Film Series
    • The Wolverine:
      • This happens when Logan figures out how his healing power was suppressed and manages to regain it all, turning him back into the near-unstoppable fighter we know and love.
      • The Stinger features Magneto returning with his powers restored and Charles Xavier alive again.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: After receiving a pep talk from his future self, Charles finally pulls himself out of his depression and is able to use his powers to their fullest extent.
    • Logan: Wolverine gets this one last time when he takes the Super Serum to restore his powers so he can help the X-23 children. One obviously panicked soldier's reaction says it all:
      Oh shit! It's the Wolverine!

  • In The Dinosaur Lords, after Karyl has a prolonged period of non-communication and complete self-loathing, he's brought back by combination of Rob pushing him to start acting again, Melodía lending him a shoulder to cry on and Karyl himself finally opening to other people. We learn that he's back when provides Jaume's side with The Cavalry in form of Triceratopses.
  • Discworld: Sam Vimes, after reluctantly retiring, and then giving into despair and falling Off the Wagon halfway through Men at Arms, returns to the Watch for the finale, as signalled by his demanding someone give him a helmet.
    "Right ... helmet ... sword ... badge ... Now ..."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Cold Days, Harry finally returns to Chicago after more than a year of being dead and recovering (it's a long story) and immediately proceeds to go out there and fight one magical bad guy, who nearly craps his pants when he realizes that, yes, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is back.
      • Discussed and Played With in Skin Game, however. Harry may be back in town, but he's more brooding, isolates himself from his friends, and is now working for Mab, who may be a Noble Demon but is still pretty damn evil. Several of his allies believe that he's Come Back Wrong, though eventually even the most skeptical come to see that yes, despite his problems and his brooding, he is the same old Harry.
    • In Skin Game, Michael Carpenter is now a Retired Badass, following his injury on Demonreach. When Nicodemus presents him with a Sadistic Choice, Michael agrees to swap himself for his friends. But then Butters runs around the corner with Michael's old sword Amoracchius, and Uriel loans Michael his Grace, temporarily healing Michael's injury.
      Michael: I said I would come out to you. [kicks down the garden door] I'm out. In nominae dei, Nicodemus, I have come to face you.
  • In the Paladin of Shadows book A Deeper Blue, Mike snaps out of his funk when he learns that an operation has Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Tyrion Lannister. He reaches his lowest point when he's being auctioned off as an amusement at a slave market after a truly terrible Trauma Conga Line. By the next time we see him he's worked himself into a position of power with one of the most powerful mercenary groups on the continent. There is no specific moment when he revives himself, but there is no doubt that the series' Ensemble Dark Horse extraordinaire is back on track.
    • Another example is Davos Seaworth, who has been completely broken by the disaster at the Battle of Blackwater, but once he drags himself back he is as loyal and resourceful as he's ever been.
    • Stannis himself following his defeat on the Blackwater seems to have been knocked out of the game. His appearance at the Wall proves there's life in him yet.
    • Cersei could be a villainous example. The Humiliation Conga at the hands of the High Septon seems to have broken her, but the last chapter we get from her perspective ends with a return of her old confidence.
    • Varys disappeared for quite a long time and apparently fled, but his one reappearance at the end of ADWD proves in truly spectacular fashion that he is still a force to be feared.
    • Theon Greyjoy gets horribly tortured until he forgets who he really is and thinks he's just a servant named Reek. He eventually manages to regain his identity. One day, he prays, and in response hears a voice whisper his real name, cheering him up greatly and he casts aside the Reek identity permanently.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Destiny's Way, Admiral Ackbar comes out of retirement to effectively run the Republic Navy, in a reference to the Churchill example below, the Fleet sends out the message "Ackbar is back", and the cheering goes on for more than an hour.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Eric Camden's return to the clergy in 7th Heaven.
  • Jack Bauer has undergone several such occurrences during 24's run, including moving on from the murder of his wife (at the start of season 2), overcoming a heroin addiction (halfway into season 3), regaining his job at CTU after being fired for said heroin addiction (start of season 4), and then returning to his job after going into hiding from the U.S. government (at the start of season 5 and again at the start of season 9).
    • 24 pulled off one of the best Hes Back moments in the first episode of season 2 when Jack Bauer overcomes his grief following the events of season 1 and sets about saving the world again. Epitomized in the scene where a disheveled Bauer gets a shave and a haircut and once again looks like the official badass he is.
    • Cruelly Subverted in season 6, after season 5’s Cliffhanger of him getting tortured by the Chinese government for two years. While he returns to the field to help CTU, he never does have a triumphant moment of getting over his trauma, and he seems just as broken at the end of the season as he did in the beginning. While season 6 had its share of writing problems, this subversion is widely considered one of the better ideas as it shows that even Jack Bauer can’t get over every trauma he faces.
  • Angel in "Epiphany" and again in "You're Welcome", though the second one doesn't become clear until some episodes later.
    • Wesley slowly returned to the Fang Gang after he had his throat cut. There isn't a particular moment, though. He's back all the way by the beginning of season 5.
  • Arrow has a few examples focusing on Oliver Queen.
    • In Season One, he encounters his Evil Counterpart, the Dark Archer (secretly Malcolm Merlyn), and suffers a brutal beatdown; he escapes alive, but the next episode shows him struggling to regain his confidence and focus. Eventually, his confidant John Diggle gives him a much-needed pep talk about drawing strength from his loved ones, and he recovers in time to don his costume and stop Villain of the Week Firefly.
    • In Season Two, having failed to stop Malcolm from destroying the Glades and watched his best friend Tommy die in front of him, Oliver retreats to the island of Lian Yu, where Diggle and Felicity Smoak have to convince him to come back and save his family's company. Through reconnecting with his mother and sister while confronting his guilt over Tommy viewing him as a murderer, Oliver adopts a new Thou Shalt Not Kill approach, ultimately making a Big Damn Heroes return as the Arrow to save his sister from four murderous copycats.
    • In Season Five, after being thoroughly tortured and broken by Prometheus, Oliver goes into withdrawal, disbanding the team and willing to make a deal with the Bratva to have Prometheus, civilian identity Adrian Chase, killed. John manages to get through to him with a Rousing Speech, reminding him that Oliver helped him out of a similar situation not too long ago. Oliver's spirit gets revitalized and he puts the team back together, complete with uplifting music to signify his return, though it takes several more episodes and some encouragement from Felicity for him to put the Green Arrow suit back on, and just in time to capture Prometheus, too.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: The pilot, "El Jefe", shows that Ash has spent the thirty-plus years since his first encounter with the Deadites in hiding, spending his days wallowing in survivor's guilt, indulging constantly in drugs, booze, and cheap sex. However, when the Deadites track him down in his trailer and attack him and his friends, he decides he's tired of running and fights back, showing that despite being an arrogant blowhard, he's still one of the most badass demon slayers in human history.
  • Garibaldi at the beginning of season 2 of Babylon 5. He gets shot in the back and left to die by his own second-in-command, in process foiling his chance to save the President from assassination, spends several episodes in a coma, is only brought out by use of a wacky alien healing device, and then is in his room contemplating suicide because he thinks of himself as a failure. Then he overhears a crisis, figures out where the bad guys have stashed Ivanova, brazens his way into the room, and proceeds to kick ass. Yup, he's back.
    • Captain Sheridan does this during the beginning of season 4 after turning up during a major attempt to break up the coalition the Babylon 5 crew had created and run from a war against two major races. In addition to this, he was actually dead at the time.
  • A Villain Protagonist version at the end of "Granite State", the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad. After being rejected by his family and knocking on death's door from the cancer, Walter White calls the police to the bar that he's in to let them track the phone so he can turn himself in. As he orders one final drink, he sees his former friends and co-founders of the company he left, Gray Matter, disowning his contributions to the business, causing him to fill with rage. As the Breaking Bad theme kicks in, the police show up and storm the bar looking for him, with only a half-drunk glass and tip left behind. Heisenberg has returned.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had several:
    • "Welcome to the Hellmouth", deciding to resume slaying after it had gotten her kicked out of her previous school.
    • Then again in "Prophecy Girl" (season 1 finale) when she heads out to fight the Master after initially being terrified by the prophecy that the fight will kill her.
    • At the beginning of season 3 ("Anne") a brief trip to hell reminds her of her purpose, and she returns to Sunnydale. This after getting kicked out of her house and killing her boyfriend in the season 2 finale, at the start of the episode she is hiding out in LA waiting tables.
    • "Beer Bad" near the beginning of Season four shows Buffy finding her power again after four episodes of being put way off-balance by College.
    • When Spike discovers he can hurt demons, he promptly cuts loose and beats the shit out of one.
      Spike: That's right! I'm back, and I'm a BLOODY ANIMAL! YEAH!!
    • "Primeval" at the end of season four has Buffy (plus a few other people) destroying Adam after several losing battles that had pretty well convinced her she couldn't win against it.
    • The beginning of the season 5 finale, "The Gift" has Buffy stepping up to the plate and deciding to go out fighting after spending most of the previous episode catatonic, mentally reliving over and over the moment she gave up on defeating Glory.
    • Subverted in "Bargaining, Part 2" when a traumatised Buffy starts kicking demon ass, causing her friends who are worried that she Came Back Wrong to think the old Buffy has returned. Instead she's just acting on instinct — Buffy runs away leaving her friends alone with the demon leader and tries to commit suicide.
    • Subverted in Season 6 in general; it takes most of the season for Buffy to recover from her depression over having been wrenched back into the real world.
    • After spending most of the second half of Season 7 in denial about all the people she was going to lose going up against the First, "Touched" has her deposed as leader of the potentials and kicked out of her own house by her sister, until Spike pulls her together and she decides she's going to take the Scythe from Caleb.
    • Spike also has one in "Get it Done" when he puts on Nikki's leather duster again for the first time after his re-ensoulment and heads out to kill the demon.
  • The revival of Dallas has JR coming out of semi-comatose state when his son tells him Bobby is selling off the family ranch.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Christmas Invasion": Having spent more than half of the episode in bed feeling ill, the Doctor is revived by a cup of tea and emerges from the TARDIS, in his pajamas, to save the Earth.
    • "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood": The Doctor is turned into a human, with a false life created around him, and no knowledge (save odd dreams) of who he was. Most of "The Family of Blood" involves trying to persuade him to return to being the Time Lord he was. And when he does, he's angry.
    • Perhaps most gratuitously, this occurs in "Last of the Time Lords" however, when the Doctor has been aged almost to death, and is a shriveled, imp like creature kept by the Master in a birdcage. He doesn't just return to being the Doctor at the end of the story, he turns into a floating, incandescent, godlike being (albeit briefly).
    • The TARDIS and Donna get one in "Journey's End" when the metacrisis Doctor lands it inside the Crucible.
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": Vincent van Gogh gets one after a scene where he's suffering from an episode of depression. Next scene? Back in effect, Badass Longcoat and sweet hat in place, clearly ready to... paint some monsters.
    • The Doctor gets another in "The Big Bang" after he gets brought back into existence by Amy.
    • In "A Good Man Goes to War", Rory gets one returning to his "Last Centurion" persona, attacking the Cyberman fleet asking where his kidnapped wife is.
    • "Let's Kill Hitler": the Doctor is poisoned, Amy and Rory are stuck inside a robot which is about to execute River, and the pain of his organs shutting down one by one is too much for him to try to help. Luckily a hologram of young Amelia Pond inspires him enough to change into a top hat, coat and tails and walking cane, along with a Heroic Second Wind.
    • "The Snowmen": The Doctor goes into a Heroic BSoD after losing Amy and Rory, and even stops wearing his trademark bowties. He gradually regains his senses, and it's when he realises he's wearing a bowtie again that he fully snaps out of it:
      Clara: [noticing the room is getting colder] It's cooler.
      The Doctor: Yeah it is, isn't it? Very cool... Bowties are cool!
    • "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror": After having spent the previous episode in a darker and more aggravated state than usual as a result of something she found out at the end of the season premiere, the Doctor is more cheerful and back to her old self... although the Skithra Queen asking her if she's ever seen a dead planet clearly strikes a nerve.
  • Richard Dawson returned to host Family Feud in the 1994-95 season, nine years after his original version ended (Ray Combs had hosted Feud in the interim since 1988, when CBS brought it back).
  • Frasier: A worrying variation in Donny, who hits a bad depression after he's jilted by Daphne, and desperately serves her a lawsuit. Frasier manages to talk him out of the latter, which he didn't seem all that committed to... but when he finds out that Frasier was complicit, Donny "the Piranha" Douglas is back on the kind of top, ruthless form as when he was first introduced as Niles' divorce attorney.
  • Game of Thrones: When Sandor returns in "The Broken Man", he seems to have renounced violence and is living his life as a peaceful and humble villager. But then the Brotherhood Without Banners slaughters his friends, and the Hound returns with a vengeance.
  • Gotham: After being framed by the Riddler, incarcerated, and his fiancée Lee miscarrying their unborn child and subsequently leaving him out of grief and blame, Jim Gordon spends the latter half of season 2 and the first few episodes of season 3 off the force, despite being cleared of all charges. Jervis Tetch's hypnosis forces him to confront his suicidal self-loathing head on, and he realizes that he wants to lives, accepting that he - and the GCPD - can still be a force for good.
    • The Penguin spends a few episodes of season 2 brainwashed and traumatized by Hugo Strange into abandoning his criminal aspirations, even meekly allowing himself to get tarred and feathered by his enemies. It takes his stepmother murdering his father to snap him back to himself, which involves killing the offender's children, feeding her their roasted bodies, and then stabbing her in the throat. The episode ends with him sarcastically toasting her corpse, covered in her blood, having reclaimed his rightful inheritance while his leitmotif blares. He's back.
    • Bruce Wayne spends most of midseason 4 in a self-loathing funk due to killing Ra's al Ghul and failing to protect Alex Winthrop, indulging in wild party behaviors and even firing Alfred when they argue about it. It takes a vision induced by one of Poison Ivy's chemicals for him to realize that he's become unrecognizable to his loved ones, and also that despite failing previously, he can still help and save people. The latter revelation, it should be noted, comes in the form of a vision of his future self as BATMAN.
  • At the end of season one of Homeland, Carrie is convinced that she was wrong about Brody all along; she has also had a manic-depressive episode that has convinced her that she is insane, and in need of electric shock therapy, and she has been fired by the CIA. At the beginning of season two, she seems to be recovering mentally, and then gets asked by the CIA to go back into the field to deal with a source she had recruited years earlier. She does excellent work, and thinks that this might be her way back in; when she is then humiliatingly dismissed with a pat on the head, she is so depressed she attempts suicide. Then, just when she is at her lowest, Saul shows up with ironclad, smoking-gun proof that she was right all along.
    Carrie: I was right?
    Saul: You were right.
    Carrie: I was right.
  • When the Jonathan Creek episode "The Case of the Savant's Thumb" opens Jonathan has spent the three years since we last saw him getting married to a woman who doesn't hold with all this conjuring and crimesolving stuff and working as a middle-manager in her father's company. When she gets called to America shortly after a particularly baffling Locked Room Mystery takes place, he says goodbye to her, walks to the wardrobe, shoves all his nice suits out of the way, and pulls out the duffel coat.
  • During season 2 of Leverage, this happens with Sophie. After wondering who she really is due to her life as a grifter, she leaves for the second half of the season only to reemerge in the second season finale to save the team after Nate gets them in over their heads.
  • This happens to Reese in one episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Malcolm decks him with a single punch after finally being pushed too far, causing him to behave submissively for much of the episode. At last, however, Reese intervenes when an old woman attempts to bully Malcolm and Dewey.
    Malcolm: All right, Reese is back!
    Reese: Do you want to take your teeth out before we start this, grandma?
    Malcolm: Oh no, Reese is back!
  • The Mandalorian: This trope ends up coming into play for Boba Fett himself. As the show takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, he has spent all that time living life in isolation on Tatooine following his less than pleasant encounter inside of the Sarlacc Pit. Even his beloved armor, the last vestige of his father, found its way into the hands of the Marshall Cobb Vanth. It's only when the eponymous lead of the show arrives and is able to bargain his way into obtaining said armor from Vanth that Fett goes after it, with the assassin Fennec Shand (whom he saved from an earlier encounter with Din Djarin) in tow. As he bargains his way into getting it back, the Empire arrives and starts attacking. He quickly makes short work of their mooks. Then he gets his suit back...and the galaxy at large sees just why he's the most notorious bounty hunter of them all.
  • Throughout season 9 of Night Court, Dan Fielding began working on a charity organization and went from a lecherous womanizer to a goody two-shoes that made everyone sick to their stomachs. What snaps him out of it is when a woman ends up disappointed after a date because he didn't sleep with her, and she slaps him. The stinging sensation on his face brings back some old memories and he immediately grabs her and carries her to the broom closet. After they both stagger out, Dan looks at Christine, who was standing out in the hallway, and just says "I'm ba-aaaaack!"
  • Oz. Tim McManus' return as Unit Manager of Em City (after having being fired after a series of personal and professional humiliations) is actually announced by him saying "I'm baaaaack!"
  • Anubis "Doggy" Cruger in the Power Rangers S.P.D. episode "Shadow".
    • Tommy Oliver in the first and second seasons when he left the team. The way he played up his last days both times was pretty depressing, leading one to assume he might have stumbled into a heroic ditch...
    • Jason returning to become the Gold Ranger in Zeo was just as surprising as it was was welcome.
    • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers season 3's four-parter "Ninja Quest", Rito Revolto easily hands the Rangers their butts and forces them to find Ninjor and gain the new Ninja powers. When they come back with the new Ninja Zords, Rito squacks out "They're back!"
  • The Punisher (2017) opens with Frank Castle trying to live a normal life after hunting down the people responsible for the murders of his wife and children. When a construction worker he befriends is in danger after a heist gone wrong, however, he goes back to doing what he does best; playing judge, jury, and executioner.
  • After not being seen since Series 2 of Red Dwarf back in 1988, with the character (post-Hattie Hayridge) lost and presumed destroyed, Norman Lovett's version of Holly returned at the very end of Series 7 in 1997, in preparation for a full-time return in Series 8 (1999). In fact, one of Holly's first lines upon his return is, "He's back. Kicking bottom or what?"
  • Smallville: While he first world-jumps in "Luthor", (E-2) Lionel's triumphant "return from the dead" hits this trope full-force in "Beacon", where he shows up, usurps control of LuthorCorp from E-1 Tess, and takes control of Lex's teenage clone Alexander. He utterly decimates any attempts from Tess to fight him in his first episode, basically reducing her to tears and almost winning out in the fight for Alexander during the episode. He was definitely back with a vengeance.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: After episode 6, Spartacus is utterly depressed over the death of his wife Sura, so he gives up on trying to escape gladiatorial slavery and plunges into his role as Champion of Capua. After his best friend Varro dies in episode 10, he gets even worse. In episode 11, he has a Fever Dream Episode that lets him see that his master caused Sura's death so he would never want to leave. He recovers from his fever stronger than ever, and when his master asks if he's all right, he replies, "Yes, Dominus. I am myself again." As he remembers who he really is, and begins to sow the seeds for the Gladiator Revolt.
  • Oddly, Sports Night attempted to do this with Casey in the very first episode. Unfortunately, this causes new viewers to think Casey is just a Jerkass until the very end of the episode.
  • A team one for Stargate SG-1 occurs after their off-screen split at the end of season eight. They're finally reunited early in season nine, with Lt. Col. Cam Mitchell replacing Jack O'Neill, and the sort-of addition of Vala Mal Doran.
    Mitchell: Looks like the band's back together.
    Carter: Yeah. What's with the extra backup singer?
    • Let's not forget Daniel's return from ascension at the beginning of season 7. Granted, he doesn't know he's back at first, but still.
      • Or, basically, every single time Daniel has died or been thought dead. Of which there are several.
    • A villainous one for Anubis showing back up after several thousand years of exile, all semi-ascended, and handing the rest of the System Lords their collective asses.
  • Supernatural:
    • Castiel taking on the demons in "The Born Again Identity", Awesome Music in the background.
    • The end of the fifth season has a moment where, after spending the last several episodes in a Heroic BSoD, Dean's ultimately hit an absolute low and is ready to let the angel Michael take over his body. However, thanks the support of both Sam and Bobby, Dean is snap back to his usual self and the reveal that he's back comes via one of his trademark smirks, just before he kills the Smug Snake head angel trying to make him go through the deal.
  • In series 3 of The Thick of It, Malcolm Tucker is sacked. We then see him slumped on his sofa looking depressed in between his futile attempts to find a fulfilling career outside politics. When he eventually returns to work in casual clothes and looking like he's spent most of his time off crying it is genuinely disturbing. Happily he's soon charged with managing the party's election campaign, and the minute he gets back into a suit he reverts to his usual intimidating self. His PA Sam's happy face says it all.
    • Also subverted in this scene, where former minister Cliff Lawton wants to stage a political comeback.
      Cliff: To put it simply, I'm back!
      Jamie: Oh fuck off, Cliff!
  • Third Watch had several of these: after Sully's battle with alcoholism in Season 4, and after Faith and Bosco got shot in Seasons 5 and 6 respectively and had to take a few months off work.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Elijah's return in "The Ties That Bind".
    Damon: So, why don't we talk about this? [shows dagger]
    [a couple minutes later]
    Elijah: So, Niklaus, what'd I miss?
  • Josh got his when he turned a political defeat into a resounding victory at the same time in The West Wing episode "Shutdown".
    • The President got his in the first season episode "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet", when he endangered his own re-election to take a stand on issues like campaign finance reform.
  • At the end of season one in The Wire Omar leaves for New York while running from the Barksdale clan. In episode three of season two he comes back. And embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • He does this again in Season 5 against Marlo.

  • Yusuf Islam's release of Roadsinger on 5th May 2009. He released An Other Cup, his first album in 28 years, in 2006, but Roadsinger is much better and often considered his true return.
  • Death Magnetic has been recognised as Metallica's "He's Back" moment after their Dork Age in the Nineties.
  • After Lupe Fiasco's third album LASERS failed to live up to expectations, many fans felt he had lost his edge and finally given in to Executive Meddling, but that changed with the release of American Terrorist III, and his new mixtape Friend of the People: I Fight Evil.
  • Alice Cooper's album Constrictor, his first in three years and his first good one in even longer, was considered a comeback album and the subsequent tour was Alice's true return to his gory, violent, shocking and downright nasty roots. Whats the name of one of the singles? "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)". Some fans weren't satisfied with the new hair metal sound though and to them the true "He's Back" moment came with 1994's The Last Temptation.
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have a song called He's Back.
  • While X Japan's reunion was somewhat of this trope for the entire band (or at least for drummer and bandleader Yoshiki Hayashi) in 2007, a true example came in 2010 with the announcement of vocalist Toshi's exit from Home Of Heart., bringing back both of the original founders of the band working together as they once did, and the 2010 return of original bassist Taiji Sawada (although his playing only one song led to some backlash). The only thing preventing this from being a complete example of this trope is Author Existence Failure for both hide and Taiji.
  • Many bands that broke up in the 70s and 80s released their first album in twenty years or more in the late 2000s or early 2010s. Among these are Mission of Burma, Swans, The Feelies, Steely Dan, The New York Dolls, Devo, Throbbing Gristle, The Vaselines, Big Star, Eagles, Bauhaus, The Slits, The Stooges, and The Who. Unfortunately, only the first couple really exemplify this trope; the others' comeback albums were regarded as trivial at best.
  • John Lennon's "He's Back (or "They're Back" if you appreciate Yoko Ono's work as well) was cut short by his murder. After five years of retirement, they'd recorded and released Double Fantasy in the fall of 1980. They had a lot more work planned and demo-recorded, much of it now available.
  • Vashti Bunyan and Levon Helm (of The Band) were among the '70s singer-songwriters (along with the aforementioned Cat Stevens) to release comeback albums in the 2000s. Both albums were critically acclaimed.
  • In 2004, David Bowie was forced to cut his Reality Tour short due to heart problems that required emergency surgery. His appearances on stage, screen, and records grew fewer and fewer, ceasing after 2008. The world came to accept that he was a quietly and happily retired Reclusive Artist. On January 8, 2013 (his 66th birthday), he announced he was releasing his first album in nearly ten years (The Next Day) in March, and its first single and video were released to the public. The news made entertainment headlines worldwide, in part because absolutely no one in the media or his fanbase saw it coming. (On top of this, the album received good-to-great reviews and topped the sales charts in many countries once it arrived; it was his first album to reach number one in his native U.K. since 1993.)
  • After a seven-year wait, upon which he pursued an acclaimed acting career, former *NSYNC lead singer Justin Timberlake would return in 2013 with a new single, "Suit And Tie", a follow-up album called The 20/20 Experience, and an well-received appearance performing his new single at the 2013 Grammys.
  • Appears on the faux newspaper headline in the clip for for Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi": "SHE'S BACK!"
  • Van Halen had one in the form of A Different Kind of Truth, the album that heralded the return of David Lee Roth into the fold.
  • No mention of Neil Peart? After suffering the loss of his daughter, then his wife less than a year later, he drove 50,000 miles on his motorcycle through North and Central America. His bandmates Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson thought he was done with music, and therefore would be the end of Rush. However, Neil resettled in California, met his new wife, and got back in the game. Rush's 2002 comeback album Vapor Trails was an exercise in catharsis for Neil, his lyrics a form of expression regarding his pain. The opening track, "One Little Victory", starts heavy on the drums, proclaiming to the world that Neil Peart is, indeed, back.
  • As far as actual songs that embody this trope, there's the Thin Lizzy classic "The Boys Are Back in Town".
  • Embodying the trope as well as a band's reunion is the opener of Soundgarden's comeback album, "Been Away Too Long".
  • In-universe example with Mega Man in the work of The Megas. While he wins all of his battles, he never gets any comfort from them, slipping deeper into despair - to the point where, by "Fly on a Dog", he can barely remember why he fights at all, and even the most optimistic song he gets in the entirety of History Repeating - Blue, "History Repeating, Part 2 (One Last Time)", is about how little he wants to be doing this. Then he encounters Proto Man in "Make Your Choice" on History Repeating - Red and it's like a switch is flipped from "angsty" to "unstoppable". He takes out the giant "peacekeeping" robot Gamma while having a philosophical argument with Proto Man, kicks Doctor Light off the self-destructive and vengeful path he was on, delivers a Kirk Summation that helps Proto Man find some measure of peace, takes down Wily for good measure, and finds an ideal that he can live and fight for. This takes less than two songs.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Odysseus was away at war for many years. During that time his palace had filled up with suitors trying to gain the attention of his wife. On his return he disguised himself as an ancient beggar and sneaked back in, then whipped off the disguise, revealing himself even bigger and stronger than ever. For even more awesome, he and his son were armed to the teeth, and they had stolen all of the suitors' weapons beforehand. Oh yeah, and Athena, the goddess of battle, was on Odysseus' side. Needless to say, the suitors shat bricks. And then he killed all of them.
  • Jesus. Although in his case, it was all part of the plan.

  • Things seemed fairly hopeless during Welcome to Night Vale after the radio station is taken over by the StrexCorp shills Kevin and Lauren. That is until a certain subversive radio host makes his triumphant return. Cecil takes his rightful spot behind the microphone for the rest of the episode.
  • We're treated to a few near the end of the Balance Arc of The Adventure Zone.
    • The Red Robe, a mysterious figure that has been following the Tres Horny Boys throughout their adventure, finally reveals his true identity when they see him possess a clone of his body. Despite him being a relatively minor character before then, Griffin still manages to make Barry Bluejeans's return one of the most memorable moments in the campaign.
    • After the Stolen Century, the Bureau of Balance is attacked by the Hunger, and Angus casts Scorching Ray, a spell that he doesn't know. After multiple events of the Umbra Staff acting weird and casting fire spells (a staple of its creator and Taako's beloved twin sister, Lup), Taako decides to snap the staff over his knee. We get treated to a scene of the mysterious fate of Lup, who was trapped in the Umbra Staff due to its own powers. Lup then reappears in all of her blazing glory, and proceeds to kill ''every remaining enemy on the battlefield''.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During the lead-up to the Invasion PPV, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had changed from his familiar ass-kicking self into a different man, one who frequently hugged Vince McMahon and had walked out on Mr. McMahon's pleas to have "the old Stone Cold." He's spent the better part of one show down at the local bar, ignoring the pleas from other wrestlers as The Alliance runs roughshod on the WWF. Then Austin throws down his beer, snaps a pool cue, and storms out of the bar. The next time he's seen, he comes roaring up in his pick-up truck, lays out every Alliance wrestler in sight on his way to the ring (while Alliance mastermind Paul Heyman is freaking out at ringside). And then— *glass shatters*— here comes the OLD Stone Cold, hitting the ring with a vengeance, where he delivers a Stone Cold Stunner to any Alliance wrestler that's put in front of him. Ultimately subverted however, when he betrays the WWF and joins the Alliance at the PPV.
  • Shawn Michaels has had a few but perhaps the greatest was after his one-off return (after four years of being laid up with a broken back) to fight Triple H at SummerSlam (supposed to be a one-time comeback), he's mangled so badly as to be confined to a wheelchair. But after giving an uncharacteristically stoic promo, warning the "Don't hunt... what you can't kill." To prove his point, he started to struggle to stand up out of his wheelchair, trying and failing a few times. Then, he shrugs, easily stands up, kicks over the chair, and starts dancing. A few weeks later, in his first match in three months (and second in the last four and a half years), he beat Kane, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Chris Jericho, and, in the big finish, Triple H himself in the first ever Elimination Chamber to win the World Heavyweight title.
  • Veteran wrestlers returning to their older gimmicks. The Undertaker once again becoming the "Dead Man Walking", Kane regaining his mask, are generally met with a huge pop.
  • Shane McMahon returning to RAW after an absence of almost seven years. Not only was this to a huge pop, but a complete surprise. The WWE had teased a special guest, but no one pegged Shane O'Mac coming back.
  • Bryan Danielson went into voluntary exile from Ring of Honor and for a time, most regions encompassing the pro wrestling circuits outside of Europe and Japan, out of frustration with his inability to take the Ring of Honor World title from Austin Aries in 2005. There was news that TNA was interested in him but after missing the end of Aries's reign and the entire world title reign of CM Punk, Danielson returned to ROH to defeat James Gibson and finally become World Champion, to become The Best In The World.
  • What was thought to be Bryan Danielson's final independent pay per view appearance, his final any kind of pro wrestling appearance not under the WWE banner was in 2009 in Dragon Gate USA, where he requested the hardest possible match up he could get, and after losing to Open The Dream Gate Champion Naruki Doi, told fans he didn't think he could remain the best in the world while in WWE and urged them to continue to support independent pro wrestling, assuring them new wrestlers would take over his position as such, if they had not already. Well, WWE fired Danielson for being too violent, so he returned to DGUSA the next year, ready to once again become, Best In The World.
  • 3/27/2015: For the first time in seven years an ROH legend returns, and unlike last time, you'll actually get to see it... he went back out the door after four more dates but it was nice while it lasted.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, THE HOST of Wrestlemania 27... *zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap*...........*all the lights turn off*...........*more electricity, this time on the titantron...........*titantron goes completely white, then blacks out*....................
    • To make it official, That Other Wiki has confirmed that he has signed a multi-year contract with the WWE. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's official: ''THE ROCK HAS COME BACK! HOME!'
  • After having been missing from TNA for almost a year, The Monster Abyss returns during the Darkest Hour of the Aces & Eights angle. By the end of the night he managed to layout the entire stable singlehandedly, becoming the Hope Bringer for TNA.
  • Months later, as the Main Event Mafia is down a man against the Aces & Eights in a match where whoever gets pinned is ousted from the company, "My Evil Ways" starts playing and AJ Styles walks which point the music cuts out, 2 familiar drum beats hit, and 4 words that hadn't been heard in a year hit the speakers: "GET READY TO FLY!" The Phenomenal One has returned.
  • Here comes the pain again!
  • In 2015, Oedo~tai jumped on World Wonder Ring STARDOM's first USA tour, bringing Hudson Envy back to the EWF arena, where she got her start, for the first time in three years, only to see her and Thunder Rosa's thunder stolen by Melina Perez coming behind them to end an eleven year absence.
  • Here's a big surprise in the November 12th, 2019 episode of WWE backstage. (the sound of static and a guitar rift not heard in five years)
  • Prior to the 2020 Royal Rumble, there had been rumours that Edge would make an appearance backstage or on the pre-show. Then during the men's rumble, the clock ticked down to number 21, and all of a sudden - "You think you know me" - and the crowd went insane. At this point, Edge had been away from wrestling for nine years, and it was looking highly unlikely he'd ever make another appearance inside the squared circle. You can tell how sorely he was missed (and, going by the look on his face, how sorely he'd missed wrestling).

  • The Gamer's Alliance has a villainous version when Ronove regains his memories of being a higher demon during the Battle of Vanna. As soon as he's back in the game, he shows everyone why he was once called the Walking Death by defeating the seemingly invincible demon Dreadlord with ease.
  • A villainous variation occurs with Survival of the Fittest character Julie Mikan. After killing a fellow classmate she goes into a Heroic BSoD, before somewhat reforming. However, a couple of days later, Julie finally breaks down due to the heat and sleep deprivation, signifying a return for her villainous self.

  • The final act of Hamlet is a classic example, with the title character defiantly returning home to confront Claudius after his months spent abroad in England, despite knowing full well that Laertes is out for his blood. After four acts of angsting about Death and the Meaning of Life, and ultimately being forced to his lowest point after accidentally murdering Polonius and driving the love of his life to madness, the Prince of Denmark is back—and no force in Heaven and Earth can stop him from having his revenge.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Terra finds herself unable to fight after the party gets separated in the World of Ruin. However, when Humbaba threatens the group of orphans that she cares for, and cuts down her friends who try to help, Terra snaps into her Esper form and stays in it for the entire fight. Asskicking ensues.
    • Compilation of Final Fantasy VII:
      • In the original game, Cloud has a spectacular mental breakdown under Sephiroth's possession, falls into the Lifestream and, due to exposure to such a powerful spiritual force, goes completely insane. It's only when he and Tifa both fall into the Lifestream together, and she enters his subconscious to talk to him, that he regains his sense of self, in time to give an inspiring speech to the party and lead an assault on the Junon military base.
      • In Advent Children, when evil arises once more, Cloud at first refuses the call, but the combined encouragement from his friends manages to bring him out of retirement to save the day. In a totally badass fashion, nonetheless.
    • Lightning, the main protagonist of the XIII trilogy, was frozen in crystal to live through the time crash at the end of XIII-2, and slept for 500 years, when she finally returns from her imprisonment to help save the world in the last game.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has a noteworthy example of a character last seen at the end of the main story questline of A Realm Reborn: Gaius van Baelsar, the original Big Bad. He returns in the endgame story questline of Stormblood, having survived his fight with the Warrior of Light and, upon realizing his actions and The Empire were being controlled by the Ascians, took on the name of "Shadowhunter" and organized a resistance movement to root out the Ascians. His identity is only hinted at with his familiar mask kept on his belt until he finally reveals his identity in 4.5.
  • Will in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. He breaks down after his mentor, Brenner, gets killed by what's implied to be a nuke. He gets over it just in time to save his men from the pursuing enemy and strike back, determinted to carry on.
  • The Dark Side ending of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
    • The Light Side ending as well, but in a more subtle fashion. Instead of being the galaxy-conquering variety of badass, you're the galaxy-saving variety that you were before the Mandalorian Wars and zero guidance got you Drunk on the Dark Side.
    • The scene in the sequel where Kreia's coaching helps the Jedi Exile regain her confidence and powers.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has a villainous example in the "Decieved" trailer, with Darth Malgus announcing the Sith's return to the galaxy (after 300 years of what passes for soul-searching for the Sith) by attacking the Jedi Order's HQ head-on — and winning.
    "And now, finally... We. Have. Returned."
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Rahm Kota recovers from his self-pity and binge-drinking to become the mighty Jedi Knight he once was.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission: Getting shot down and losing your Power Suit? Running and hiding from just about everything? A Chozo Trial boss fight later, and The Hunter, who strikes fear into the hearts of the Space Pirate legions, is reborn, more powerful than ever. With dozens of Space Pirates now waiting between you and where you need to be, the Theme Music Power-Up starts playing and the Space Pirates get to experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge by Samus Aran.
  • Marathon: "Suprised? You shouldn't be."
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, this trope is an integral part of resident Broken Bird Kaori Yae's storyline. After a 2-years long Heroic BSoD due to a traumatic event that occurred before the game's proper, she manages to overcome her past and turn back to the Genki Girl she was, thanks to her relationship with the protagonist. The change in her attitude and appearance after she takes her resolve is dramatic: she enters the Volley-Ball Club and fully involves herself in; her body language sprites change from unhappily talking-over-her-shoulder or holding-her-arm-and-looking-at-the-floor poses, to looking straight at you with a beautiful and cheerful smile; her clothes' fashion at dates become colorful, elaborate and varied; she regulary comes to you to invite you for dates; and her somber theme tune is replaced with a peppier variation of it.
  • Two instances in the Mass Effect trilogy, first when Shepard wakes up on an operating table and proceeds to slaughter his/her way through a facility full of robots bent on killing him/her while grossly underarmed at the start of the second game, second when Shepard gets exonerated and reinstated as an emergency measure at the beginning of the third game.
  • "They used to tell stories of a man who saved the world. Man whose very presence sent aliens running back to their motherships. The man who disappeared without a trace. When the invaders came back, they came back angry. They tore our planet apart bit by bit. But... they made one mistake: They shouldn't have gone after our women." HAIL TO THE KING BABY!
  • Kingdom Hearts II: Upon arriving at Beast's Castle, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are surprised to learn that their old buddy The Beast has a much larger stick up his ass than usual, as shown when he swats away both The Heartless and the heroes to make sure his precious rose is safe, then leaves without a word. After multiple attempts to get him to stop obsessing about the rose that Xaldin stole and the fact that he believes himself to be a monster now, you finally get the badass you had in the first game back after Sora reminds him of how it was before Belle showed up.
    Beast: I know one thing... This castle belongs to me. Xaldin will never be welcome here.
    • Another KH2 example, when Sora, Donald, and Goofy are about to be overwhelmed by Nobodies, fan-favorite Axel returns to help Sora kick ass...and then kills himself in the process.
    • Also, Riku when he turns back into his normal self. If anything, he becomes twice the badass he used to be.
    • A much more subdued example: as you progress through the final world, you find that Ansem the Wise, that is, the real Ansem has come there to set things right that he himself put wrong in the first place instead of simply sitting in wait to hope things fix themselves. A Heroic Sacrifice ensues after forgiving himself for his anger and he damages Kingdom Hearts enough to prevent Xemnas's plan from coming to fruition.
  • Epilogue 1 of Red Dead Redemption 2 comes after a rather long emotional and quiet stretch. Arthur had died of tuberculosis to give John and his family a better life. John, now going under the name Jim Milton, finds work at Pronghorn Ranch working for David Geddes, who's been hassled by the Laramie Gang. One night, the gang attacks the ranch and John, having had enough of them, suits up for a shootout in the mission "Jim Milton Rides Again" to show that John Marston is back!
  • Resident Evil 6: Chris Redfield suffers a Heroic BSoD after Ada Wong's Doppelgänger Carla Radames kills most of his squad in Eastern Europe, leading him to become an amnesiac drunk for the next six months until the BSAA find him and convince him to come back. When he finally regains his memories, he becomes obsessed with getting revenge on Carla, which leads to the deaths of even more of his men, and finally snaps out of it and returns to his old self after a meeting with Leon Kennedy.
  • In MS Saga: A New Dawn, the main character's best friend, Fritz, realizes he's The Load and feels that he isn't worthwhile anymore and, thus, disappears before a big battle, claiming he'll return when he's stronger. He lives up to that promise after the battle leaves the hero without his friends when he arrives to save the day, much more confident and armed with the FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberium, Kane is fond of pulling these after he's been believed killed. Usually in Do Not Adjust Your Set ways. An excellent example (Though by far not the only one) is in the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun where his followers are chanting his Badass Creed as a traitor is being executed.
    Anton Slavick: "In the name of Kane!"
    Mob: "Kane lives in death!"
    Anton Slavick: "In the name of KANE!"
    Mob: "Kane lives in death!"
    Anton Slavick: "In the NAME OF KANE!"
    Kane, appearing on a big screen behind Slavick: "KANE! LIVES!!".
    • Note that he pulls this off to great effect so many timesnote  that by the time he is gone for goodnote , people don't believe the news that he's gone for good.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order: BJ Blazkowicz takes a large chunk of shrapnel to the back of the head at the end of the prologue, loses his memory and is reduced to a sorry state. He's taken in at a mental hospital in Poland and cared for by a kindly nurse. While he's down, the Nazis defeat the Allies and conquer the planet. The Nazis send a detachment to execute the patients and they make the big mistake of turning on the staff too...
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus starts off with BJ at death's door following the finale of the previous game, which saw him injured so badly that the only way he can even stand and walk is with Power Armor. He is dispondent over his impending mortality and keeps fighting just so he can give his unborn children a better world to live in after he dies. After getting beheaded by the Nazis, however, his friends recover his head and graft it onto an Ubersoldat body, granting him a new lease on life and his vim and vigor once more.
  • Tales of Xillia: A rather awesome one from Milla considering she died and she had to practically will herself back into existence.
  • In Chapter 8 (Jax's chapter) of the Story Mode of Mortal Kombat X; it's been 25 years since Jax was restored to life and freed from Quan Chi's magic; he hated the thought of his daughter joining the military, and Sonya practically has to beg him to help now, seeing as said daughter is missing. However, when he finally gets to the Outworld and faces Quan Chi's revenants:
    Revenant Kung Lao: Do not interfere, Jackson Briggs. Return to hiding.
    Jax: Hiding? Guess I have been.
    • He then proceeds to beat Kung Lao black and blue, proving he's done hiding.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, during the battle against Penelope, Bentley finally has shaken off his Heroic BSoD from discovering her betrayal and shows up to take her on. And he's piloting a robot suit. Awesome.
    • Earlier on, during the events of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, we learn that Murray blamed himself for Bentley being crippled by Clock-La, and later left the team to go find inner peace. The entire first chapter of the game revolves around Sly and Bentley trying to stop the environmentally-unfriendly schemes of Octavio in order to get Murray back. It culminates with Bentley nearly getting killed by Octavio, which provides the push Murray needs to jump in and save the day.
    Murray: "The Murray" RETURNS!!!
  • The reboot of Killer Instinct leaves T.J. Combo near-penniless, banned from the ring, and publicly shamed by the time the game starts due to UltraTech's machination. His response? Give up his former cheating ways, rip out his own cyber-enhancements, and take the fight to UltraTech to prove that nobody can keep the champ down.
    "I took the easy route, once. It got me fame, fortune and glory. But it was all hollow. When I fell, I fell hard. I lost everything. But I'm back now, and this time, I'm doing it right. And don't think for a moment that I'll let anything get in my way. 'Cause if you give me that moment...I win!"
    • His theme song is practically a giant hype builder; He has rediscovered his passion for boxing, feels a whole lot better about himself after removing his enhancements, and he is making a comeback.
    I'm back to Rise! I'm back to Glow! I'm back to Fly! I'm back to Soar! I'm back to War! Let the truth be Told! I feel on fire when my passion Flow!
  • Kamille gets his signature Zeta Gundam halfway through Super Robot Wars V and while at first he's in his Heroic BSoD phase, he finally gets out of it after confronting Jerid and gives him a Waverider Crash.
  • When Lelouch suddenly finds himself revived in the world of Al-Warth in Super Robot Wars X, he is in a Heroic BSoD due to the trauma of the series combined with his death and resurrection. Death God believes Lelouch to be a Dark Lord, because of the way Lelouch's actions shook his world. Using the Mirror of Truth, Lelouch's true personality, which rejects all evil, is brought to the surface. Lelouch promptly rejects the notion of becoming a Dark Lord and leads the X-Cross to victory.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals: After being dumped by Kalalau, Larry does not know what to do. Give up on women forever, perhaps enter the ministry? No! Not Larry, Larry Laffer! So he summons a telephone booth, gets rid of the cool surfer look, and retrieves his classic polyester suit: the original swinger is at it again!
  • In Devil May Cry 5, Dante is beaten hard and presumed dead in the prologue, leaving Nero and V to try and defeat Urizen in his place. Unfortunately, in the month past Urizen has only gotten strong, easily tossing Nero around like a toy. Just when Nero is captured and all seems lost, something flies in and destroys Urizen’s grip on Nero. A few missions later, we find out that this is Dante, awakened from a month long coma. While he initially doubts he can beat Urizen even with a boost from the Qliphoth and the Sparda, once he uses the Rebellion on himself his power is multiplied greatly to the point that, in the battle that follows, Urizen is helpless against Dante, who can shatter his crystal barrier, which took Nero an entire boss fight to destroy, with a few swipes of his sword in his true demonic form, the Sin Devil Trigger. He's Back indeed.
  • Night in the Woods: At the start of the fourth chapter Mae's concussed in a fall while running from the cultists, and is limited to clutching herself and walking. After they're trapped in the cave, she has an encouter (maybe?) with the eldritch monster they were sacrificing people to, and delivers a badass boast to make it leave her alone. At that point what should be needed to save the day, but a jumping puzzle? Cue Mae saying she feels better and the full jumping mechanics being restored.
  • God of War (PS4): Kratos has a moment of doubt when his son is on the verge of death, and the only way to cure him is to descend into Helheim. But it's a place of impossible cold, where the Leviathan Axe will be of no use, and no flame lit in the Nine Realms will be enough to hold back the chill. Kratos considers for a moment, and then returns home. Whereupon he opens up the floorboards and retrieves the Blades of Chaos. No flame lit in the Nine Realms can hold back the cold of Helheim... but Olympus wasn't in the Nine Realms. The God of War has returned.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney
    • Miles Edgeworth in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy. At the end of the first game, he gets framed for murder, accused and linked to forgery of evidence, and nearly loses his freedom before Phoenix saves him, and decides the most mature reaction to this in the second game would be to bugger off to Europe, leaving what appears to be a suicide note. He returns during the last case of the second game, having found the true meaning of a prosecutor and gotten some snazzy new theme music in the process.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, guess who's regained his attorney badge and makes a Big Damn Heroes entrance in the very first case, clad in a nifty new version of his familiar suit? Phoenix Wright himself, after seven years of unjust disbarment, has returned to the courtroom. An even better example is the DLC case, Turnabout Reclaimed, which shows Phoenix's first trial after getting back his attorney's badge. He not only proves his client innocent, he proves that NOBODY was guilty. He held the Judge's verdict just to prove that the witness on stand was innocent as well.
  • Steins;Gate: After suffering many a Heroic BSoD, Okabe is finally shaken out of it when Suzuha shows him the video of his future self explaining how he can save Kurisu, which catapults him right back into Large Ham territory, turning his Narm speeches into a Badass Boast he can make into reality.

    Web Animation 
  • Nabi gets one of these in Step 5 of There she is!!, kicking off the Race for Your Love to the finale.
  • In the Halo 3 Machinima Deus ex Machina, Deus resolves to give up crime-fighting when things don't work out at all for him. He is forced back into his usual routine when a huge threat rears its ugly head. Though this "He's back" turns very tragic...
  • In CPU Championship Series, Skillshare Kirby hadn't won a single round since he was sponsored. But in ENDGAME, he shows why he was the first sponsored character, beating numerous Dark Realm inhabitants, and defeating Blood Falcon, who had already killed Captain Falcon, Vincent, and King Dedede, and proceeds to win the tournament, beating his rival, Zelda. He's back INDEED.
  • After his Heel–Face Turn in Ducktalez 3, Vegeta loafs around Scrooge's mansion and acts like a nuisance. Near the end of 7, Scrooge snaps at him, which causes Vegeta to have a Heroic BSoD. After a revelation from Huey, Vegeta shows up and helps Scrooge beat the Beagle Boys.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang spends the Time Skip between Volumes 3 and 4 in a Heroic BSoD following the events of Volume 3 before she's able to pull herself back together. Her disastrous defeat at the hands of Adam Taurus during the fall of Beacon leaves her struggling to find a road to recovery throughout Volume 4, while her sister Ruby travels the world trying to find out who was responsible for the destruction of Beacon. She begins to take the first steps only when she realises her father had to choose which of his two daughters to protect because he can't be in two places at once. By the end of the volume, she's mastered the cybernetic arm General Ironwood commissioned for her, color-coded it to suit her style, and is racing through the wilds of Anima on her motorcycle to reunite with Ruby.
    • When Ozpin's secret is revealed in Volume 6, all of the heroes lose their trust in him; when even Qrow turns on him, Ozpin tearfully accepts their recriminations and abandons the fight against Salem. It takes him some time to pull himself back together and return. He seals himself so deeply inside Oscar's mind, even Oscar cannot reach him. However, Jinn stated in her vision that, no matter what happens or how crushing his burden becomes, Oz always returns to the responsibilities the Gods have given him. When Ironwood shoots Oscar off a ledge in Atlas' Vault, shattering his Aura in the process, Oscar resigns himself to death. Ozpin's voice calling him is accompanied by his eyes flashing gold the way they do when Ozpin takes control before returning to their normal colour. Oscar then reaches for his cane and activates it, allowing him to summon powerful magic and survive falling all the way from Atlas to Mantle's surface. Upon landing, Oscar realises that the power and memories he now has are proof that Ozpin truly has returned. He then asks Ozpin to help him save Atlas.

  • Brawl in the Family's 2009 "A Mushroom Kingdom Carol" (here) has Bowser defeat Mario by seemingly leaving the Mushroom Kingdom forever and then sending Bowser Jr. to lead an assault years later when Mario was too old and out of practice to fight. Mario degraded to a sour Scrooge of a hermit over the next number of years as a result of his humiliating defeat. But after the visitation of three ghosts that ultimately reminded him just who he was, he donned his old hat and jumping shoes and went back to Bowser's castle with a vengence... and an army of Yoshis.
  • The Oracle from Dragon Mango. Initially she looks like a confused seer and Harmless Villain, but as soon as she learns the one bit of information she lacked, she figures everything out instantly, gets her Vision back in full force, and promptly orchestrates a Thanatos Gambit.
  • Aradia from Homestuck. Prior to the events of the story, she was quite friendly and happy... until she was killed and came back as a ghost. She spends most of the series (aside from act 5 part 1) sitting around moping about how the trolls are doomed to die and that there's no way they can stop the demon that's rampaging through their session, and only contacts Rose to flip out at her to try and keep her from going through with Doc Scratch's plans. Then Derse blew up, awakening Aradia's dreamself, allowing her to rise to the god tiers and timestop Bec Noir. She's back to her old self again now.
    • Rose was one of the smartest and most confident characters among the kids. By the meteor intermission she's been manipulated by Scratch and the Horror Terrors to make their session worse and lost her Mom to Jack. She's less confident in herself and deals with it by drinking to alleviate her nervousness and to pass the boring 3 years. The result has dulled her once sharp wit, and left her a wreck, nearly failing at her relationship and failing to auspisitice between Gamzee and Terezi. She pulls herself back together after an argument with Kanaya, and when the battle flares up on LOFAF she pulls a wand (the first time doing so since Jack killed her) and once again tries to auspistice, showing the confidence in her actions she used to have.
  • Belkar of The Order of the Stick, after spending hundreds of strips hampered by the "Mark of Justice" that prevented him from fighting effectively (not to mention killing), and dozens reduced to an ill, delirious puking wreck, proceeded to reclaim his title as "Sexy Shoeless God of War" as soon as he was finally free of the curse by savagely beating a group of a dozen rogues out to kill him in what amounts to a Foe-Tossing Charge, leaving 11 dead (though one of them was taken out by his cat, and two were killed by the Cleric who uncursed him) and making out with the hot female bard among them (who does not mind this in the slightest). His final kill is an Offhand Backhand double dagger throw made while he was making out with said bard. He then leaves to go look for more things to kill, while drinking moonshine.
  • After Steve had been on a bus ride for a while in Questionable Content, he retroactively became a parody of this trope. He had originally disappeared after breaking up with his girlfriend and drinking himself silly. In the middle of his binging, the government hires him and he spontaneously transforms into James Bond, blows up some bad guy's Volcano Lair, etc., and afterward he inexplicably goes back to being a normal guy. Or maybe none of that really happened. But it probably did. Maybe. The author's not telling.
  • Bun-Bun has one of these in Sluggy Freelance after a head injury left him acting like a normal rabbit. The instant he regains his memories, he holds a family of telemarketers hostage over a piranha tank and re-declares his revenge on Santa Claus. That's the bunny we love.

    Web Original 
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum:
    • Agents Suicide and Dio disappeared after the Subjugation mission failed, but were back for Ring Child.
    • Makes-Things got skewered by a huge macrovirus trying to infect him, but recovered by still-unknown means.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Leonardo spends half of the 4th season of the 2003 Ninja Turtles cartoon in a funk after a huge near-miss with the Shredder. His increasingly maniacal training schedule, surly attitude, and short temper culminates in Splinter kicking him out to train with Hamato Yoshi's old master in Japan. Once he gets over his self-blame, Leo is able to return home... to find the lair in ruins. But the turtle in blue is back. He has little trouble finding and gathering the scattered Turtles and Splinter. He even confronts the new leader of the Foot one-on-one while running errands for his battered comrades, and delivers a clear message of "don't bother my family again or else."
    • Leo gets an earlier instance of this halfway through the first season, when the process of reforging his swords, with Raphael's encouragement, helps him regain his spirit after being defeated and badly beaten by the Shredder and his minions. When he comes out at the end of the episode to announce that they're taking the fight back to the Shredder, it's a very clear declaration of this trope.
  • Optimus Primal of Transformers: Beast Wars returns with guns blazing after a brief bout of being dead. It's a nicely satisfying big slagging hero moment.
    • And he gets to be a metal gorilla which flies on a flying surfboard.
    • His return is marked by him blowing a hole through the wall of their base for no reason other than to be awesome.
      • He also gets another one earlier, after being released from an alien probe that he'd been trapped in.
      • Of course, there's also "The Return Of Optimus Prime" from G1. After the heartbreaking death in the movie... he came back. And wiped the Hate Plague from existence. Because he's Optimus. Slagging. Prime.
      Sky Lynx: "It's true.. our leader is back!"
      Optimus Prime: "Yes, Sky Lynx. And this time, no force in the universe can stop me."
    • If you think that's something, Transformers: Prime one-uped it in "Orion Pax Part 3". In the season finale, Optimus lost his memories and reverted to his pre-Prime state after using the power of the Matrix to save the Earth. When his memories are restored, it's shown when he Bare Handed Blade Blocks Megatron, complete with this one liner:
      Optimus: "Megatron, be gone!"
    • Then it one upped the one up in the fourth episode of season three where Optimus, after being badly hurt due to the Decepticons destroying the Autobots' base, gets a Came Back Strong with a new, bigger body and pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment to save the others and help them bring down Megatron's fortress.
  • When Danny Phantom is powerless and being attacked by thousands of ghosts, his ghostly abilities get shot back into action, resulting in this;
    Danny: Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news? My powers are back. The bad news? My powers are BACK!
  • Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender makes a triumphant reappearance in the finale, destroying Ozai's airship as it enters the Earth Kingdom.
    Suki: What just happened‌?
    Sokka: It’s Aang! He’s back!
    • In the sequel series The Legend of Korra, his successor Korra follows suit at the beginning of Book 4 after being tortured, traumatized, and poisoned by the Red Lotus at the end of Book 3. Notably, it took a 3-year Timeskip and 4 episodes to do it.
      • Unusually for this trope, Korra has to come back multiple times on different levels. First she has to physically remove the poison from her body, and then she has to emotionally confront the root of her trauma.
  • This happens to the main characters in the episode The Return of Harmony, Part 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic after being emotionally broken and brainwashed by Discord.
    Discord: Chaos is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
    Twilight Sparkle: (offscreen) Not as wonderful as friendship! (camera pans to the Mane Cast in an Ass Kicking Pose with trumphant music)
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "The Problem With Power" Skeletor devises a plan to make He-Man think he's killed a villager resulting in such a giant Heroic BSoD that He-Man throws away his sword and quits being He-Man forever resulting in the good guys being left with no alternative but to send Teela on a suicide mission to try and save the day. Orko finds out about the plot and manages to enlighten Prince Adam just in time for He-Man to make a Big Damn Heroes come-back to save both the day and Teela.
  • An excellent moment occurs in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "I Am the Night." Already wondering if his crusade is doing any good at all, Batman snaps when Commissioner Jim Gordon is wounded after he's late helping Gotham Police during a bust, due the the Dark Knight visiting the site of his parent's death as it happens to be the anniversary. He's so broken by this, he considers hanging up the mantle of the bat even when Dick Grayson comes by to give him some moral support. Later on, word gets out that the man who put Gordon in the hospital is now looking to finish what he started. Dick attempts to rally Bruce to the scene, but he is unresponsive, and in the end Dick heads out as Robin to guard Gordon himself. And then just when Robin's getting ready to leave the the Bat Cave, he's stopped by Bruce, decked out once again in his Batman costume.
    Batman: No, Dick. This is my hunt.
  • An interesting inversion comes in the middle of the 15th season of South Park. Stan turns ten, and suddenly begins to view everything around him in a much more ... erm ... crappy light. At the end of the two-episode long arc, he's back ... but only with a bit of help.
  • In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back," an episode of Futurama, there were two examples. Bender's personality chip was removed by Morgan Proctor and hidden in the Augean files of the Central Bureaucracy, leaving Bender unable to say anything other than "I am Bender; please insert girder" in an emotionless monotone. It was explained that, in order to find it in time would require an atomic powered sorting machine, at which point Hermes calls out from the balcony "You rang?", his confidence having been restored. Then, when Bender's personality is successfully restored, he declares "I am Bender, baby! Please insert liquor!"
  • After spending the first half of the final season battling with depression, Samurai Jack is reminded by a Heel Face Turned Ashi just how much good he's done. It works — he regains his Heroic Resolve just when he was on the edge of committing Seppuku. This is followed up in in the next episode, as he undergoes a Vision Quest wherein he finally vanquishes the inner rage and despair that have been haunting him all season, finally earning the right to have his sword returned to him, which fully restores him to how he was in the previous seasons.
    • After spending most of the final season battling his own depression and refusing to even spy on Jack out of perceived uselessness, Aku himself finds his fire rekindled when his damaged minion Scaramouche finally arrives at his fortress after his battle with Jack in the first episode to tell him Jack has lost his magic sword and thus the only way to kill him. Aku is so elated he restores Scaramouche and heads off to confront Jack only to find Scaramouche was too late with the information and kills the robot. However, this act lets him figure out Ashi's relationship to him as his daughter and at last disarm and have his greatest opponent at his mercy. Thus, Aku is fully restored to how he was in the previous seasons as well.
    • In a meta example, the tagline for the advertising heralding the long, long awaited proper conclusion to Jack's story is simply: "Jack is back."
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Adora spends most of the episode "Beast Island" wrestling with her self-doubt, her guilt over her damaged friendship with Glimmer, and the depression-inducing Signal that pervades the island - and it doesn't help that the Sword of Protection isn't working. When she, Bow, Swift Wind, and Micah are all succumbing to the Signal, their eyes dulling, creepy vines wrapping around them, Adora gets a montage of memories of Glimmer, starting with their time at loggerheads but gradually being overtaken by memories of happier times. Then, her eyes start glowing, and her Transformation Sequence begins...
  • Sponge Bob Squarepants: In the episode, "Pickles", Spongebob has his confidence shaken after failing to provide the exact order Bubble Bass wanted. So much so, that he completely forgets how to make a Krabby Patty and takes a temporary leave from the Krusty Krab. Soon after though, he returns to confront Bubble Bass once again to thunderous applause, this time exposing the fact that he had a pickle under his tongue the entire time and restoring his honor as a fry cook.

    Real Life 
  • Robert Downey Jr. fell into drug and alcohol abuse and dropped off of Hollywood's radar for the most part during the late 90's. Then came 2008 and Iron Man, and he became a star again.
  • 3rd of September, 1939. Britain declares war on Germany, and the Royal Navy receives a message: "Winston is back."
  • Duke of Caxias had retired from war and went into a career of politics. Then came the War of the Triple Alliance, and once more he took command of the army.
  • Michael Jordan retired from basketball in 1993 after the murder of his father. After a couple of unproductive seasons playing minor league baseball (and saving the Looney Tunes characters from aliens), he announced his return to the NBA in 1995 with two simple words: "I'm back."
  • General Douglas MacArthur on returning to the Philippines in 1944, fulfilling a vow he made 2 years earlier to do so.
  • World-renown Pinball designer Steve Ritchie stopped designing pinballs in 1995, due to Williams Electronics leaving the industry and the decline of arcade gaming in general. When he returned eight years later with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the advertisements simply said, in big, bold letters, HE'S BACK! note 
  • Four years after announcing on a live television event that he was leaving Cleveland for Miami, LeBron James announced his return to Northeast Ohio with a fantastically received Sports Illustrated essay that simply ended with "I'm coming home."
  • SNK declared bankruptcy in 2001, and its various game franchises fell into the hands of other companies. CEO Eikichi Kawasaki then spend the next two years rehiring many ex-staff and rebuilding the company. By 2003, SNK Playmore had regained many (if not all) of its former franchises.
  • After leaving Konami and founding his own studio, Hideo Kojima walked on stage at Sony's E3 2016 press conference to show off his new game and simply declared "I'm back!"
  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson was forced to retire from the NBA during the 1991-1992 season due to his HIV Positive status, at a time when he was still playing at an All-Star level and public knowledge of HIV/AIDS was more rumor and urban myth than fact. In 1996, he was medically cleared to play and rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1995-1996 season, when HIV was better understood and was no longer considered an instant death sentence. Johnson returned both to show that people with HIV could live their lives normally and so that his final season would be played on his terms.
  • Brazilian footballer Ronaldo suffered a nervous breakdown the day of The World Cup final in 1998, affecting his teammates who went on to lose 3-0. The following years had Ronaldo mostly off-field struggling with injuries (worst being his knee collapsing upon a return to the pitch after five months). Some questioned whether the coach having faith in Ronaldo's recovery to call him for the 2002 World Cup would result in anything... and the result was that Ronaldo was the tournament's top scorer, with goals in all but one game, including both in the final.
  • Nintendo:
    • Nintendo began as a popular playing card company, but was forced to move away from the market due to the lack of growth. The company struggled to find success in other ventures (including taxis, television, food, and love hotels) for over a decade, causing their stock to plummet to disastrous lows. It wasn't until they moved into video games by distributing the Magnavox Odyssey in Japan and creating Color TV Game consoles during the 1970s that they regained sustainable profit, with 1981's Donkey Kong cementing their newfound success.
    • In 2006, the prospect of Nintendo quitting the home console business altogether was becoming increasingly believable after the middling performances of the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo GameCube. Skepticism towards the Wii, a console that relied on motion controls and outputted standard-definition video when HD was on the rise, also added to this public perception. However, the Wii proceeded to become a smash hit thanks to its ease of accessibility attracting the casual audience that competing console makers hardly considered, and became Nintendo's best-selling home console of all-time.
    • In 2017, the launch of the Nintendo Switch following the commercial failure of the Wii U. Despite being seen by some as essentially a portable version of the aforementioned failure, the lessons learnt from the mistakes made during the Wii U's lifespan (from advertising to game library) led to the system having the best launch of any Nintendo system to-date and surpassing its predecessor's lifetime sales after less than a year on market, going on to also surpass the Gamecube, N64 and even the SNES.
  • In tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have defied predictions that they would never again return to top form after suffering injuries or having lackluster results too many times to count. The best example of this is when Federer and Nadal ended their 2016 seasons early due to injury and hadn't won a Grand Slam in over 4 years or 2 years, respectively, only to win 2 Grand Slams each the very next year.
    • Novak Djokovic, after being nigh-invincible on the ATP tour in 2015-16, fell away from the top of the game and spent 2017 and the first half of 2018 nursing injuries or losing to lower-ranked players he would never have lost to just one year ago. He even said after a dispiriting loss to No. 71-ranked Mario Cecchinato at the 2018 French Open that he wasn't sure if he'd even play the grass season... then he won Wimbledon and the US Open and ended the season as the World No. 1.
    • Juan Martín del Potro, after winning the 2009 US Open, has been plagued by chronic wrist injuries and needed to take multiple extended breaks from tennis to undergo 4 wrist surgeries. His injuries were so serious that, after his 2012-13 resurgence back to the top 10 was cruelly derailed by them, he was contemplating retirement in 2015. Then in 2016, he went on a miraculous run at the Rio Summer Olympics to win a silver medal in spite of being ranked No. 141 at that time and having to beat Djokovic and Nadal to do it, helped Argentina to clinch the Davis Cup title by coming back from two sets down in his rubber, and re-entered the top 10 the following year.
  • Quite a few examples can be found in NCAA Division I conferences.
    • ASUN Conference (founded in 1978; adding football in 2022)
      • Jacksonville State joined in 1995, left in 2003, but is coming back in July 2021.
    • Atlantic 10 Conference (founded in 1976; sponsored football from 1997–2006)
      • Penn State left in 1979, returned in 1982, and left for good in 1991.
      • Duquesne left in 1992 but came back a year later. Unlike Penn State, the Dukes remain in the A-10 to this day.
    • Big Sky Conference (founded in 1963)
      • Idaho left in 1996 and came back in non-football sports in 2014. Football returned to the Big Sky in 2018.
    • Big South Conference (founded in 1984)
      • Charter member Campbell left in 1993 and returned in 2011. However, its football team didn't join until 2018.
    • Big Ten Conference (founded in 1896)
      • Michigan left in 1907 but came back for good in 1916.
    • Big 12 Conference (whose charter dates back only to 1994, with play starting in 1996, but unofficially traces its history to the formation of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907 [the conference split in 1928, creating the Big Six and Missouri Valley Conferences])
      • Nebraska left in 1918 but returned in 1921. The Cornhuskers left for good in 2011.
      • Oklahoma A&M left when the MVIAA split in 1928, joining the Missouri Valley Conference. That school returned in 1958, a year after adopting its current name of Oklahoma State.
    • Big West Conference (founded in 1969; dropped football after the 2000 season)
      • UC Santa Barbara left in 1974, three years after dropping football, and came back in 1976.
      • Variation: Hawaii was a member for women's sports only from 1984 to 1996. The Rainbow Wāhinenote  came back in 2012, bringing the Rainbow Warriors (their men's teams) along for the ride.
    • Conference USA (founded in 1995)
      • Charter member UNC Charlotte, which changed its athletic identity to Charlotte in 2000, left in 2005. The 49ers came back in 2013, the same year in which they launched their football team (which joined C-USA in 2015).
      • Variation: UABnote , also a charter member (it joined C-USA football in 1999), dropped football in 2015, claiming financial distress. It soon came out that the decision to drop football was politically motivated, leading to an uproar that soon caused the school to announce that football would return in 2017. UAB remained a conference member throughout its football hiatus.
    • Horizon League (founded in 1979; non-football)
      • Notre Dame was never a member in men's basketball, but joined for other men's sports in 1982. The Fighting Irish left in 1986 and came back a year later, bringing their women's sports along in 1988 before leaving for good in 1995.
    • Mid-American Conference (founded in 1946)
      • Marshall joined in 1954 and was kicked out in 1969 amid a recruiting scandal, only a year before most of the football team died in a plane crash. The Thundering Herd returned in 1997, only to leave for good (this time voluntarily) in 2005.
      • Northern Illinois, which joined in 1975, left in 1986. The Huskies returned at the same time as Marshall, but remain in the MAC today.
    • Missouri Valley Conference (the other half of the MVIAA split, and now the only conference that claims the MVIAA's history; dropped football in 1986)
      • Creighton left in 1948, a few years after dropping football, and returned in 1976 without football, leaving for good in 2013.
      • Drake left in 1952 in response to the MVC's failure to address a racially motivated on-field assault against one of its football stars. Bradley left at the same time in sympathy with Drake. Both schools returned in non-football sports a few years later (Bradley in 1955, Drake in 1956), but Bradley never returned to MVC football (dropping the sport in 1970) and Drake football didn't come back until 1971.
    • Ohio Valley Conference (founded in 1948): No straight example, but a couple of variations.
      • Charter member Western Kentucky left in 1982, but its football team came back in 1999 before leaving for good in 2001.
      • Austin Peay has been a full member since 1962, but its football team left in 1997 before returning in 2007.
    • Pac-12 Conference: While the current charter of the conference dates only to 1959, the Pac-12 claims the history of the Pacific Coast Conference, founded in 1915. The PCC disbanded in 1959 due to recruiting scandals and infighting, and five members founded today's Pac-12 as the Athletic Association of Western Universities. Three of the four PCC members that were left out of the AAWU joined in the following years, with Washington State joining in 1962 and Oregon and Oregon State in 1964.
    • Southern Conference (founded in 1921)
      • VMInote  left in 2003, only to return in 2014.
      • East Tennessee State, which left two years after VMI, also came back in 2014.
    • Summit League (founded in 1982; dropped football after the 1984 season)
      • Oral Roberts left in 2012 and rejoined in 2014.
      • UMKCnote  left in 2013 and rejoined in 2020, a year after it changed its athletic identity to Kansas City.
    • Sun Belt Conference (founded in 1976, began sponsoring football in 2001):
      • New Orleans left in 1980 and rejoined in 1991, leaving for good in 2010. It never had a football team while in the Sun Belt, and still doesn't.
      • Georgia State left in 1981 and returned in 2013, a few years after it added football.
      • Variation: New Mexico State joined in 2000, with the Aggies moving football into the Sun Belt in 2001, and left in 2005. The football team (but not the rest of the athletic program) returned in 2014 but was effectively kicked out in 2018.
      • Another variation: Idaho was never a full member, but played Sun Belt football during the same periods as NMSU.
    • West Coast Conference (founded in 1952; non-football)
      • Charter member Pacific left in 1971 and returned in 2013.
    • The Big East Conference takes this trope in a slightly different direction. For background, the Big East split along football lines into three blocs in 2013. One group of three schools, all of which played football in the top-level FBS, left for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The seven schools that did not play FBS football left as well, buying the "Big East" name and forming a new, non-football Big East. The remaining FBS schools, including founding Big East member UConnnote , remained in the old conference structure with the new name of American Athletic Conference. That said, Big East 2.0 maintained the competitive history of the original Big East in all sports that it sponsored. In 2020, UConn left The American for the Big East, parking its football team as an FBS independent. Although the current and original Big East are technically separate legal entities, both the (current) Big East and UConn consider the Huskies to have "rejoined" the Big East.
    • Another variation is Western Athletic Conference football. The WAC had been a pretty good football league until an ill-advised expansion to 16 schools in 1996 led to more than a decade of turmoil, culminating in the WAC dropping football in 2012 after losing all but two of its football-playing members. The WAC managed to hang on to life by the skin of its teeth, and eventually picked up two new football schools moving up from Division II. The conference then started looking for more football schools, with a view to restarting its football league, this time in the second-level FCS. It hit paydirt in January 2021, announcing that five schools with FCS football would join in 2022, at which time the WAC would reinstate football. But then they decided to move the relaunch of football to July 2021 once the Southland Conference, which had been home to four of the five new arrivals, kicked its departing schools out a year ahead of schedule.
    • Still another variation in NCAA men's ice hockey saw an entire conference figuratively come back from the dead. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association was founded in 1971, and established itself as one of the best NCAA conferences in that sport by the late 1980s. Things went along swimmingly until energy billionaire Terry Pegula funded the startup expenses for men's and women's teams at his alma mater of Penn State, kicking in a lavish new arena as well. This gave the Big Ten Conference six members with men's hockey teams, which was the exact number required for the conference to (1) officially sponsor that sport and (2) receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Accordingly, the Big Ten announced it would start a men's hockey league in 2013–14... which led to a massive conference realignment in that sport. When the dust cleared, the CCHA was no more. Though one of its members, Bowling Green, would keep ownership of the conference name. This proved important later in that decade, when the seven Midwestern schools among the 10 men's members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association got tired of being in a league with two schools in Alaska and one in Alabama. Four of these seven, Bowling Green among them, had played in the final season of the CCHA. In November 2019, said schools announced they would leave the WCHA after the 2020–21 season; three months later, they officially formed a new CCHA.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Shes Back, Im Back


Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals

After getting depressed with Kalalau's shocking news, Larry starts wondering what he's going to do, before cheering up and returning to his original swinging self.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / HesBack

Media sources:

Main / HesBack