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Retired Badass

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The Jokerz ran away, and Batman went gray.
"Maybe I’m not as tough as I used to be, but my brains can make up for that and my hands are still quick enough."

How well do you know your neighbors, shopkeepers, the old guy down the street with all the little mementos and dusty medals from around the world? If you haven't known them your whole life there's a chance a few may be a badass.

Just as badasses come in many different varieties, so do retired badasses. Some are happily retired from adventuring, sports, military, fighting crime, or whatever they used to do and are content to live a normal life in a normal little town, Everytown, America or even the simple life in Arcadia. Some have become shopkeepers or cafe owners who just do a little work to keep in touch with people and get by in their old age. Some get promoted within their organization to a Desk Jockey supervisory role in the bureaucracy. Some may spend their time tending a field. Some of them never really get into retirement because every time they start to settle into it they get jolted back out. Maybe they have a secret longing to get back into the game, (whatever it may be) or regrets about the past. Often they're perfectly happy in their retirement and are pointedly ignoring events of the outside world until the evil Mooks of whatever Big Bad that is looking to take over the world come in and wreck his shop, then laugh at him because, after all, what can an old man do about it? It doesn't take long for the asskickery to commence.

Their personalities often break down into two broad categories; some are Zen Survivor types who've made peace with their past and the fact that they are no longer The Hero, and now just want to get on with their life. Other times, bitter and cynical with age, they turn into a Straw Nihilist after being put on the scrap heap of life.

One thing badasses of all types have in common is that they're magnets for trouble, and even in retirement this doesn't change. Occasionally these guys get pulled back into action because the Big Bad (or his men) know his reputation and come to make trouble. Other times it's because a young Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy wants to make a reputation by beating the old legend. Perhaps the most frequent case is that when the heroes are in trouble and need help to accomplish their goals, they will come to the Retired Badass either for physical help or advice about their quest or because the retired badass is a past teacher, mentor, even father figure.

Exactly how the retiree in question will respond may vary. Sometimes they will come fully out of retirement to join up with the heroes and their party, sometimes they will just give some words of advice and/or an epiphany that the hero couldn't come up with on their own, (or teach the hero something specific, like the ever-popular Dangerous Forbidden Technique) but often they're just as likely to simply fade back into retirement once the immediate situation has been resolved. Their help or advice is frequently a one-shot deal: sure they can point a hero in the right direction, but after that, (and wiping the floor with some disrespectful mooks like those mentioned above), don't look to them for further help. After all, it's a big world and they're getting too old or disillusioned to play hero. Let someone younger pick up that mantle and save the world while they get back to living off their pension. However, they are usually more than capable of a Let's Get Dangerous! moment if needed. Expect him to have an Emergency Stash of money / weapons / IDs when needed.

Occasionally, a current hero will turn into The Knights Who Say "Squee!", much to their embarrassment of their fans, who treated what they thought was an insignificant elderly person with contempt.

Compare: Older and Wiser, Old Master, Cool Old Guy, Old Superhero, Retired Gunfighter. Compare and contrast to Retired Monster and Retired Outlaw. A retired badass is one of the more common types of Heroic Neutral. Those that are willing to come entirely out of retirement to help a hero, (such as the Student–Master Team, for example) need to beware the Mentor Occupational Hazard, or at the least of being less badass than they used to be because they're Feeling Their Age. Might be the fate of a Kid Hero All Grown-Up.

When someone's mission is to seek out a group of them and rouse them back into action, they're on a Retired Badass Roundup.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 

  • Astro City:
    • "Hero's Reward" is about Duncan Keller, a.k.a. the hero Starfighter, adjusting to being this. The Lorus that gives him his powers has decided he should enjoy his retirement, and he should accept that it's okay to just take it easy.
    • The Black Rapier, leader of Honor Guard, voluntarily retires after decades of super-heroics.
    • Dr. Cannon, Honor Guard's on-call medic, was formerly the superhero known as Tenspeed.
    • Though they stopped short of giving themselves a team name, Charles and Royal Williams qualify — they go from being a pair of vengeful Nineties Anti Heroes to running a chartered fishing business in Mexico.
    • "Old Times" shows that Supersonic still has the speed and the strength of his youth, if not the cleverness.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The entire thing was about Batman retiring, dealing with his retirement, and returning to the job, despite problems with his age.
    • Also, Batman's majordomo Alfred. Several of his origins highlight his retired badass status. RAF, Special Forces... the job title he's retired from varies Depending on the Author, but they're all badass military positions.
  • The Musketeer and the Legionary of Batman's Club of Heroes; The Musketeer is probably the greatest swordsman to ever emerge from Europe, even years out of practice and with no real interest in fighting crime anymore. The Legionary, however, is another story, having fallen from grace dramatically and becoming a fat slob in his later years. However, when he is assaulted at the Club of Heroes reunion he manages to not only land a bone-shattering backhanded blow on his assailant despite suffering from 17 stab wounds, he leaves a clue for the other heroes to both indicate the killer and ensure their safety. He may have gotten sloppy, but the Legionary once stood shoulder to shoulder with (and garnered respect from) freaking Batman; he is not going down without a fight.
  • Gran'ma Ben and Lucius Down from the Bone comic book series.
  • The titular characters of The Highwaymen.
  • Kaiju Dayz: Big Mama is a powerful kaiju whose rampages were legendary, but she more or less retired to raise her kids, training them to succeed her in the family business of city-smashing.
  • Jessica Jones's backstory involves her being a former superhero who went to high school with Peter Parker. However, a few years into her hero career she was kidnapped and enslaved by Purple Man for eight months. The experience so traumatized Jessica that she quit superheroics, though continues to fight crime as a private eye.
  • The modern Justice Society of America series is about these coming out of retirement in order to train the next generations of heroes. It helps that most of them have slowed aging, thanks to exposure to energies in a battle in the 40s or through other means.
  • Lady and the Tramp: The Tramp, once something of a legendary figure among other dogs, is perfectly happy to live a lazy family life. Not that he can't be provoked into showing some of his skills every so often. Just as long as Lady doesn't find out.
  • Scrooge McDuck. In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which follows Scrooge's entire life until Donald and his nephews are introduced to his old self, having become a shadow of his former self. Thanks to having to take action against a new generation of Beagle Boys, however, he gets an Adrenaline Makeover and returns as a still-capable badass.
  • Paperinik, Donald Duck's superhero person, became this in the Bad Future shown in issue 34 of Paperinik New Adventures, having passed the last fifteen years in hiding because he was framed as a terrorist. He gets back in the game when a chance to change the past arrives.
  • After multiple eventful tours in Vietnam, Frank Castle decided to stay home with his wife and children. Tragically, one bad day in the park gave him a new war to fight.
  • Sam's Granny Ruth, from Sam & Max. She ran a Jail much like Alcatraz during the Cold War.
  • In The Silencer, protagonist Honor Guest is a retired assassin formerly employed by Leviathan.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Thundercracker during his prime was a Seeker, high ranking in the Decepticon Hierarchy, having bested Bumblebee (who was smart enough to defeat Thundercracker's wing mate, Skywarp), and nearly killed Hot Rod in a joint attack with Skywarp. Nowadays he's abandoned the Decepticons and lives on Earth, keeping out of the conflict and writing truly awful television screenplays.
  • General Thaddeus Ross in Ultimate Fantastic Four. He's the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D., who was nearly killed by Weapon X in Ultimate X Men. After coming back from the dead, he was put in charge of the Baxter Building project instead.
  • James "War Machine" Rhodes becomes this after Iron Man was thought to have been killed during Onslaught Crisis Crossover. He started his own marine salvage business called "Rhodes Recovery". A mixture of his sister being killed by a powerful gang and his business going bankrupt due to his shady accountant force him out of retirement.
  • Subverted in Watchmen — a reader accustomed to this trope might expect Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, to fight off the street gang that breaks into his place with ease. This, to say the least, is not how it plays out.
    • In the director's cut of the film version, Mason does fight back, with the blows cutting to brief flashbacks of him landing punches on masked villains when he was in his prime, but in the end, there's just too many thugs for him to take on at once. There's even a brief Hope Spot for him (and an Oh, Crap! for the thug) right at the start, where he catches the first punch before laying out the thug.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Hay Lin's grandma Yan Lin fits, as (when she as younger) she had her granddaughter's place in the Kandracar Five-Man Band.
  • Wolverine is living like this at the start of the possible-future story of Old Man Logan. In fact, he hasn't popped out his claws in years.
  • In Youngblood (2017), founding Youngblood members Diehard and Vogue have retired from being active superheroes, now having become President and First Lady.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "The Soldier And Death": The main character is a retired soldier who served in the army for twenty-five years.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores And Boomsticks has Professor Oak is this to the surprise of no one who knows anything about Pokémon. Once he gets Dragonite, he completely devastates Tyrian Callows without even blinking.
  • The Child of Love: After the Angel War Shinji and Asuka retired from piloting and tried to lead normal lives, although they were still called to take part in peace-keeping missions every so often.
  • Dragon Ball Reboot: Oniott is an elderly Saiyan veteran and the former general of King Vegeta's Elites. At his peak, he claims to have held on the title of "Best Saiyan" for over a decade. Nowadays, he's been forced into retirement due to his old age with his adopted daughter Gine acting as his caretaker.
  • Steel Song is enjoying a quiet small-town life at the start of the first book of The Dusk Guard Saga. However, he is an ex-guard, has worked for many years as a bodyguard, becoming quite famous in the process and is the only living non-griffon Blademaster in existence. When he's called out of retirement to lead the Dusk Guard, he amply demonstrates just why the Princesses have chosen him.
  • Earth's Alien History: After the end of the Reaper War, the happily married couple of Diana and Liara retire from both the military and active membership in the Conspiracy of Light in order to raise their family in peace.
  • FIRE! (DarkMark): Spider-Man, the original X-Men, the Human Torch, and Iron-Man all retire after the main conflict is over.
  • Forewarned is Forearmed: By the events of Forearmed, Koromaru has reached his doggy golden years and doesn't show up with the rest of the Persona users Akira calls in to draw in Elizabeth because he's simply too old to be in this kind of action anymore.
  • Futures Freak Me Out: Shinji and Asuka retired from piloting war machines three years ago. Since then, they have been going to school and trying to overcome their post-traumatic stress disorder. Shinji has adapted decently to his new life, but Asuka is not coping well with the changes.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji and Asuka were mecha pilots and child soldiers in their teens. After the War, they get therapy, go to college, get jobs and never fight again.
  • Hellsister Trilogy has Destruction of the Endless, a very old, very powerful god who gave up his domain several millennia ago.
  • Here There Be Monsters: Most members of the Squadron of Justice had not suited up in many years, but they return to help the Marvel Family out.
    Mister Scarlet: "The costumes are over. They had their time, but now the war, as far as we're concerned, is over. All we are now, is ourselves. Without the masks. So don't let me hear that you've put on the suit again and started trying to catch crooks. Fighting crime and studies don't mix."
  • HERZ: After the Angel War Shinji, Asuka and Rei were still soldiers but they seldom piloted mechas. After the last chapter, Shinji and Asuka retired from piloting for good.
  • In the Naruto fanfic Kamikakushi, Akahiko was skilled enough to earn the title Swordbreaker. Now he has tremors that resulted in him no longer being on the battlefield.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the titular character quits her hero identity and moves to planet Rokyn in order to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, danger and fights are determined to find her, no matter what.
  • Long Time No See: Fifteen years after the War, former child soldiers Shinji and Asuka have become a cook and a high-school teacher.
  • Xander's shop teacher Mr. Hanson in Lucky at Cards reveals that not only is he a former demon hunter, but most shop teachers are. According to him, it's because shop teachers can be missing a few pieces and people just assume they were clumsy. He advises Xander to get some teaching credits when he can, in case he lives long enough to be forced to retire.
  • Gray Ghost in Manehattan's Lone Guardian served as an officer with the city's Royal Police, and was trusted enough to be selected for the S.M.I.L.E. agency. Princess Celestia would later refer to her as "an absolute beast in combat". However, she retired young in her mid-twenties in order to marry and raise a family, and never regretted her decision. Fifteen years after her last real action, she proves her chops when allowed to fight Leviathan on an even playing field, giving the Reploid the same thrill of a fight that Zero gave her.
  • The Naruto fanfic "What Went Wrong For Us?" has Freyja, a former shieldmaiden turned farmer's wife from a viking/Scandinavian-inspired country called Fjordland. She's implied to have killed so many people she forgot the exact number.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. Flash Forward Fic Next of Kin, several characters — especially the Smashers — have become this in the twenty years since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, focusing on settling down and raising their children.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, Dumbledore hires Gellert Grindelwald for a Defence Professor. Yes, to everyone but Dumbledore's bemused outrage, the man who once came close to Taking Over The World through causing goddamn World War II is now a schoolteacher.
  • Pokemon: Johto Quest: Martha from episode two is this for standing up to the Mareep Liberation League (who were trying to take her flocks of Mareep) and calling on her Ampharos to take care of them prior to moving to Johto.
  • Pony POV Series: Silver Spoon's father Silver Axe/Silver Tongue was once a member of the Royal Guard before leaving to raise a family. He is forced to fight again during the Wedding Arc to stave off the Changeling Invasion and proves he's Still Got It.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Batman's butler Alfred is a former 006 agent. Not only that but he was retired for being too old (Double-Oh agents are required to retire at 45); he was skilled enough to complete his career without ever getting seriously hurt.
  • In Superman fanfic Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, the descendant of the first Batman resolves to quit after taking down the last Joker, although he still trains the younger heroes (Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) comprising the new Justice League.
  • Team 8: Moritake is a retired shinobi who lost much of his left leg to an explosive tag in a war between Konoha and Iwagakure. He now runs a small cafe.
  • A Thing of Vikings: Mildew was apparently a "a dragon-slayer of supreme skill" before he was cast out of his own clan for his crimes.
  • Gideon becomes this in Criminal Minds fanfic To live again. He retired from profiling and opened a little store in a small town, the same place where Annie lives. He's still capable of serious ass-kicking, especially if his pseudo-daughter is at the risk. (No, you don't want to face a Papa Wolf ex-profiler. You really don't.)
  • The Star Trek fic "To the Journey" opens with James T. Kirk being saved from his death on Veridian III (Star Trek: Generations). Reading about the current state of the galaxy, such as escalating tensons with the Cardassians and the Dominion, he decides to apply to return to Starfleet; while he affirms that he accepts that Jean-Luc Picard is the captain of the Enterprise for this generation, Kirk soon accepts his new command of the Defiant-class Fearless.
  • True Potential: Koharu and Homura. Although it's subverted when in the wake of the deaths of Danzō and Hiruzen, they make a request to the Fifth Hokage to come back to active service.
  • We Must Be Killers: The oldest victors (Ronan, Odin, Caius, Hera, Adessa, and Luna) won just as brutal games as their younger counterparts and do well during the mistletoe fighting competition, but rarely deliberately seek fights anymore and enjoy quiet pastimes like gardening and going on walks with dogs.
  • Parodied in X-Men: The Early Years. After the events of "Hit Women, Goats, and Other Vacation Blunders", Jeanette "the Super-Goat" quits the "heroing" business.
    Jean: So how is the sixth member of our team doing?
    Scott: Jeanette is being retired to a beautiful country estate that a friend of Professor Xavier owns. There, she'll live out the rest of her days in peace, officially retired from the superhero business.
  • In Weiss Reacts, Professor Ozpin is heavily implied to be this, considering that he cows even the badass Adam Taurus into following him with nothing more than a glare.

  • Retired Heroes: Basically all the main characters, obviously. Chris and Saliy are the heroes who saved the world but are now just living in a random town, their friends are wandering the world as nameless adventurers, and they left the party mage to look over the kingdom.

    Multiple Media 
    • Turaga are Toa who retired by sacrificing their powers to save Matoran. The only ones we've seen this happen to did it as self-sacrifice (and for all we know that may be the only way to do it), so they tend to be of the zen variant.
    • Rahaga. Formerly Toa Hagah, but Roodaka ambushed and forcibly retired them from being Toa. That is, until several thousand years later, the Toa Nuva forced Roodaka to turn them back.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Anthony Ruttgaizer: In 1997, Anthony took time off from writing Comic Books and joined an indie wrestling league. His career lasted until the 2000s, where his career injuries caught up with him.
  • Lou Thesz served as a trainer behind the scenes as well as a locker room reporter and interviewer after leaving the ring, commanding the respect of even Ox Baker, who reminisced about getting beaten up by Thesz and admitting it was for his own good.
  • Cindy Rogers, who had to retire due to a neck injury, said that commentating on WSU matches was difficult. Watching pro wrestling made her want to do it.
  • After health problems forced Nigel McGuinness out of the ring, he continued to serve as a commentator, match maker, and various other executive roles in Ring of Honor.
  • In Progress Wrestling there's RJ Singh, currently a commentator, who used to be a wrestler and will leave the table to get involved if people need to be pulled apart after a match.

  • In Big Finish Doctor Who, the Seventh Doctor is depicted as this during the time leading up to his regeneration in the Doctor Who TV Movie. Years of being The Chessmaster had turned him into a burnt-out, weary old man who's aware that the end is coming. He still has the occasional adventure, but he's mostly focused on tying up loose ends before he regenerates. He no longer travels with companions, he doesn't make any elaborate plans or schemes and is generally a more morose, contemplative figure than he was at the start of his life. And he doesn't play the spoons anymore.

    Sequential Art 
  • Large Hat Gentleman in The duel with sabres by Caran d'Ache (Emmanuel Poiré). Page one, page two. "Not so bad for an old 'un", indeed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Often used to keep the designated heroes in check. One of the easiest ways to stop a 7th level adventurer from robbing a shop blind is to have a retired 14th level adventurer as the shopkeep. They're also helpful for breaking up a Bar Brawl (whether or not the PCs started it).
  • There's a few of these floating around in BattleTech, where some pilots and other soldiers retire from active combat to either go back to civilian life or into non-combat roles. There's actually an entire monastery of them called St. Marinus House, where Mechwarriors are allowed to sequester themselves without question from the monks there (most of whom are themselves former pilots) — most of the Mechwarriors seeking sanctuary there have been severely emotionally scarred by their experiences in combat and go to St. Marinus House to seek peace and solace away from combat. Doesn't keep some of them from coming out of retirement when truly needed, though.
  • Sometimes found in Dungeons & Dragons either as something that happens during the course of the story or as a small event when, say, an innkeeper pulls the mace down off his wall to help the heroes and show that it's not just ornamental. Having the 'adventure inn' be run by a retired high-level adventurer is something of an old cliché in the game.
    • At least prior to the recent Reset Button, it seems the Forgotten Realms is stuffed full of Retired Badass characters... and then stuffed some more.
      • Whole areas populated by these. One example would be City of Ravens Bluff note  — during the city's rise as a major trade port, its populace grew from about 17000 resident and 3000 adventuring to about 30000 settled plus 10000 adventurers — fair number being high-level, with the heads of local Wizards Guild equal in power to less powerful among the rulers of magocracies, and so on. Dales are different, but Dalesfolk tend to be very tough. In both cases, locals who live to tell interesting tales and outside adventurers who like the atmosphere end up settling there.
      • 4e got most of those retired badasses dead. Elminster and Drizzt are just about the only two, and both are very busy. (Elminster is VERY retired... he doesn't leave his hut!)
      • Truthfully, Elminster always claimed he was retired, but the thing is, with wizards, being "retired" isn't always that straightforward. (Folks in the Realms often suspect that a wizard who makes this claim is up to something, and they're usually right.)
  • Feng Shui, whose character classes are based on character tropes, naturally has one for "Ex-Special Forces".
  • In Nomine: The Old Guy, a warrior angel NPC in Austin, Texas, is old enough to remember dinosaurs. He's away from the front lines and drastically weakened from what he used to be, due to the poisoning of a tree his life is bound to, but he hasn't lost any of his cunning or his skill, as he'd be glad to remind any demon stupid enough to come onto his radar.
  • Jake Kramer from the Mutant Chronicles franchise. Wisecracking Cool Old Guy, officially killed in action, unofficially either doing undercover jobs for the Capitol corporation or killing things with fire.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In order for a T'au of the Fire Caste to be able to "retire" from the front lines to a teaching or strategic advisory position, they must be able to prove that they will contribute more to the Greater Good as such than continuing to risk them in the field. To be even considered for this, the T'au in question must have achieved the rank of Shas'O - the highest possible field rank, which requires three Trials by Fire and at least sixteen years of active service (out of a T'au 30-40 year lifespan, and doing it in just sixteen would be considered a meteoric rise). In other words, only the biggest badasses are allowed to retire in the first place, and none of them are afraid to get back into the battlesuit if the Greater Good needs them to.

  • Professors Trevols and Dymond of Alice and the Nightmare are both retired oneironauts, meaning that they've spent likely over a decade of their lives going willingly into lands filled with Nightmares.
  • The village of Pagat Or from Ashface's Daughter seems to be filled with these.
  • In Blue Yonder, Lena learns that a neighbor was in N-Forcers.
  • In Bruno the Bandit, the protagonist's mother Eunyce is eventually revealed to have been a Xena: Warrior Princess Captain Ersatz when she was young. Before that, she's entirely retired; afterward, she comes out of retirement more or less permanently, ready to use her skills whenever necessary.
  • Chancellor Palpatine in Darths & Droids isn't the incredibly dangerous character he was in the movies, he's not even much of a villain, but he is a retired Jedi who can hold his own against Yoda.
  • Even In Arcadia has Master Odai, an old Fae who has secluded himself off in the forest. He's a retired Emerged, the most powerful type of known mage.
  • Girl Genius gave us:
    • Old Man Death, who ran with the Jägers in his youth and Never. Lost. A. Fight. After being "ravished by a wild princess" he married her, gave up his old life and opened a deli. However, he can still hold his own in a fight with a science-magically modified super-soldier.
    • Carson von Mekkhan, Seneschal to Bill and Barry Heterodyne, also rode with the Jägers in his youth, an occupation described as something for people who liked to drink and fight and mess people up, and didn't care if they lived or died. When we first encounter him, he is sitting in a rocking chair and discussing dinner plans with his granddaughter. He is still badass enough to go toe-to-toe with the Castle and win regularly.
  • In Gosu, Gha Woobok, once feared as the greatest killer of the Baekma Valley, left the murim and is now a door-to-door merchant. It didn't last long.
  • In Kidd Commander:
    • Very definitely Jocasta Hubris. Her first appearance says "Retired, or something". And, apparently, "escaping a sundog's maw" is impressive on its own, compounded by jumping right back in for her coat.
    • Crow Gideon might qualify, but he seems to be more inactive than retired. He's just not heard of or from in quite some time.
  • Shiné and Shaedo in NewRem Comics. Both characters had played major parts in saving the world, the former even having at one point been made the world's goddess, before moving on to lives of internet-trolling and video-game playing, respectively.
  • Tech from NEXT!!! Sound of the Future was one of the most famous idols in the industry until she retired for unknown reasons. When Shine meets her, she's a Perpetual Frowner with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness who works as a cashier, which is such a far cry from her former idol self that it seems like her experiences in the industry and/or the circumstances behind her retirement were not pleasant.
  • Obscurato follows a retired warrior who has to come out of retirement to protect her family.
  • In Our Little Adventure, two elves prove to be this.
  • Played with in this example of dreaded continuity from Penny Arcade.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Brutus is a former military dog, and his scars indicate he's definitely got some combat under his belt. However, he's now retired to a nice suburban home.
  • Ye Thuza from Sandra and Woo was a Burmese guerrilla fighter in her youth, but these days she spends her time as a suburban housewife. Of course, that doesn't stop her from being the toughest character in the comic or passing on her skills to her children.
  • General Tagon in Schlock Mercenary, the familiar-looking father of Captain Tagon, retired with honours (and a law he wrote himself mandating that he NOT come out of retirement in any military capacity) some time ago. But as various events prove, he hasn't slowed down a tad.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Trond made it to general in a society centered around hunting Plague Zombie monsters before being more or less forced into retirement. He also accumulated plenty of Blackmail material along the way.
  • unOrdinary: John turns out to be this. When he comes out of retirement, pretty much every other badass in the series is given a rude awakening as to where to they stand on the power scale.

    Web Original 
  • Orym, at the beginning of Ash & Cinders. He was living a quiet life as a lovable lunatic in the Smallwood due to an as-yet unexplained event that made him decide to give up being a Wizard.
  • Yamauchi-sensei from Greek Ninja is a retired ninja.
  • The cover image of the fanmade Jet Set Radio-inspired album, Memories of Tokyo-To, seems to imply this was the ultimate fate of Gum. We see her in a borderline depressed state as all she can do is listen to music that reminds her of the glory days while she lays slumped against the wall without her iconic helmet and face paint. One can only wonder what happened between her and the rest of the GGs...
  • The original Uncle Sam in the LessThanThree-Verse.
  • The Plumber Knight Returns: Mario has been retired for twenty years, having been living under the assumed name of Michael Camborelli. The series depicts him coming back out of retirement to fight off a street gang known as the Goombas.
  • The end of Red vs. Blue Season 10 reveals that Butch Flowers, the Blues' deceased captain, was once Agent Florida and fought alongside the other Freelancers. It's not technically retirement, since he still answered to the Director, but his new job was much less intense.
  • Hal Monroe of Roll to Breathe, Epoch's mentor, used to be Dr. Watt, a powerful Bronze Age hero with nanomachines for blood. A death among his team turned him cynical and paranoid and caused him to retire. However, when he does fight he's shown to still be as strong and capable as ever.
    • Diamond Joe, the mayor, is a Silver Age hero-turned-politician. When the team bodyguards him he is an endless source of support, and while he doesn't have as much endurance as he used to, he is still incredibly strong and his skin can still turn to diamond.
  • RWBY: Maria Calavera was once the Living Legend known as the Grimm Reaper — an unstoppable Huntress who wandered the wilderness slaying Grimm, but concealing her identity behind an ornate mask. She was such a Badass, Qrow reveals he based Harbinger off her weapons (meaning she indirectly inspired Ruby to create Crescent Rose). She mysteriously vanished decades ago after losing her Silver-Eyes.
  • Burt from We're Alive. He's a former Marine gunnery sergeant who owns a gun shop with enough weaponry to equip a small army, carries a silver-plated Desert Eagle named Shirley, and kills zombies while singing "Mary Had A Little Lamb".
  • A lot of the teachers and staff of Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe.
    • The seventy-something headmistress Elizabeth Carson. When Syndicate dropships and the unstoppable cyborg Assassin Deathlist invade her school, the gloves come off. Oh, she turns out to be Lady Astarte, possibly the greatest superheroine still around.
    • Also Dr. Yablonsky, one of the Powers Lab teachers, who has a cybernetic arm and leg. One of the characters thinks he teaches the way Batman faces down thugs.

    Real Life 
  • In general, most veterans are these as long as they're not Shell Shocked Veterans.
    • And sometimes even then. Ask Audie Murphy.
  • John L. Burns was a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. At the ripe old age of 68, he was constable of Gettysburg PA. The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began a few months shy of his 70th birthday, and Burns snagged his old flintlock and walked out to the battle lines. His ass-kicking abilities undiminished by age, he joined the Union soldiers (who were mostly a third or a quarter of his age) and showed them how it was done, even shooting a Confederate officer off his horse. Burns ended up receiving multiple gunshot wounds himself, but amazingly survived the battle and the war, living on until 1872.
  • While "The Father Of Lucha Libre" and EMLL founder Salvador Lutteroth did not participate in matches, he had fought in the Mexican revolution prior to becoming a promoter.
  • Buzz Aldrin — former NASA astronaut, decorated Air Force fighter pilot, second man to walk on the moon, MIT doctoral degree holder, and well... you get the idea — had enough of conspiracy theorist crackpot Bart Sibrel's heckling in front of his daughter and punched him right in the kisser on video when he was 72-years-old.
  • Cinncinatus, the retired Roman general, came out of retirement and saved Rome from invaders. Then he retired back to his farm rather than submitting to the temptation to use his fame to make himself an Evil Overlord. In doing so he was held up to Roman Schoolboys for ages after as an example of faithful public service.
  • General, later Field Marshal and even later President, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, born 1867. He made his lifetime career in the Czarist Russian army, retiring as a fully serving General of Cavalry of the Lifeguards in 1917, having participated in both Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905 and WWI 1914-1917. After the declaration of Independence of Finland in December 1917, he was pleased to become the commander-in-chief of the White Army. After the Finnish Civil War, he retired. Little did he know that his Moment of Awesome was yet to come. His happy pensioneer's days were over in 1939 when the Winter War began. Again he was called to service, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army. He was promoted to Field Marshal in 1940, and he served as the Supreme Commander of the Finnish Armed Forces until the end of the Continuation War. After theArmisticee with the USSR in 1944 and resignation of President Risto Ryti, he was nominated as the President of Finland. Why? Because he was the only person both Finns and Soviets could trust. He passed away in 1951.
  • The Tower Guards "Beefeaters" in London. Everyone is an Old Soldier who was given the position as a reward for service in the British Army.
  • Hermann Goering. His later reputation as The Caligula of Nazi Germany does little to hint that he used to be one of Germany's best fighter pilots in WW1, with 22 recorded kills.
  • George Washington. As if he hasn't done enough badassery in his life already, the former president was asked out of retirement by John Adams to take over the command of the US Army during the Quasi-War with France.
    • On account of his many heroic deeds for the United States, President Washington was posthumously promoted to General of the Armies of the United States, and the same statute that enacted this promotion decreed that no American can ever hold a military rank greater than George Washington.
      • That said, there was one person who held the rank as well — John J Pershing, in WWI.
  • Most former Gurkhas are this, but one honorable mention should go to Bishnu Shresthra who single-handedly subdued FORTY fully-armed train robbers with only a notorious traditional knife.
  • Christopher Lee before becoming one of the world's best actors, playing badass roles like Dracula and Saruman among others, and singing metal, he was a Nazi hunter during World War II. Yes... he killed Nazis for a living!
  • Mohamed Rafiq, a 65-year-old Pakistani air force veteran living in Norway. In 2019, a right-wing terrorist planned a shooting at Rafiq's local mosque. Rafiq managed to wrestle the far younger shooter while the other retirees present called the police. By the time the police arrived, Rafiq and his fellow worshippers had already subdued and tied up the terrorist.
  • During the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel, journalist Amir Tinon and his family were hiding at their home Kibbutz as it was attacked. Amir called his father, 62 year old retired IDF General Noam Tibon, who had specialized in counter terrorism operations. Tibon told his son “Trust me. I will come. This is my profession. Nobody can stop me.” He then proceeded to jump in his car in Tel Aviv with a handgun and drive down. On the way, he rescued survivors of a music festival, saved wounded Israeli soldiers, fought off terrorists with IDF forces and linked up with another retired general and some Israeli soldiers to fight his way into his son’s kibbutz and rescue his family and their neighbors.


Video Example(s):


Fred's Dad

The Post Credits scene of Big Hero 6 has Fred discover that his millionaire father, played by the Legendary Stan Lee, was actually a superhero and embracing him upon discovery.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheStinger

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