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The Adjectival Superhero

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Much better than the regular Thor.

"Of all the descriptive names of all the things people say when they hear a hero in action, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Invincible Iron Man, the only descriptive word for this guy is 'The God-damn Batman!"

A Comic Book Naming Convention - sort of - with roots in the Silver Age. The superhero's name is preceded by some sort of silly, over-the-top adjective such as "The Egregious Trope-Man". Usually in the actual book's title even if rarely used in the story.

Keep in mind that not just any descriptors qualify for the trope — "New Trope-Man" is too simple, but "All-New, All-Different Trope-Man" can be sufficiently over-the-top. Now mostly used in the modern day either due to the Grandfather Clause or as a deliberate homage to the Silver Age. If the superhero gets a movie, expect the descriptor to be used at least once.

Comes from the same era as Something Person names and Superhero Sobriquets, and often is an Alliterative Name. Replace a team's name with the number of members, and you have The Notable Numeral. Also compare other name and title tropes involving adjectives, Adjective Noun Fred and The Magnificent. Contrast the Dark Age of Supernames. See also The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles.

Not to be confused with The Adjectival Man, where the adjective is the main part of the character's "name". In this trope, the adjective is just thrown in for the heck of it.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
DC Comics
  • The Atom: Back in 2006, DC busted out The All-New Atom! Sadly, they brought back the original Atom not long after, and the all-new one got left by the roadside.
  • Batman: Thanks to All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder and Memetic Mutation, DC finally has one: "the Goddamn Batman". And Barbara Gordon is "the Fucking Batgirl".
  • Hawkman: DC's New 52 reboot includes The Savage Hawkman.
  • Huntress: The original, pre-Crisis Huntress (Helena Wayne) was often billed as "The Hard-Hitting Huntress".
  • The Multiversity: Earth-8's Spider-Man expy is the Battlin' Bug.
  • Robin: Tim introduced himself as "The Spectacular Sunbird" when he needed to distance himself from Robin for secret identity purposes and was dressed in most but not all of the Robin costume. He evidently came up with it on the spot, or had been reading Astro City where the local Robin expy is called Sunbird.
  • Static: Parodied, where the local Girl Posse all had My Nayme Is names (Bryttyni, Tyffyni, and Krystyn) and were therefore dubbed "The Insufferable Y-Wymyn" (with "Y-Women" additionally being a play on "X-Men").
  • The Terrific Whatzit, DC's first Funny Animal superhero (named "Whatzit" since he was a turtle who didn't wear his shell in his superhero identity, making it harder to tell what species he was), a turtle with the powers/costume of the Golden Age Flash (and Johnny Quick's flying abilities).

Marvel Comics

  • In general, when a franchise has multiple books, some of them will have adjectives in their titles and one won't. This was mostly seen in the 90s, with the Spider-Man series joining The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, and X-Men Vol. 2 joining The Uncanny X-Men (originally X-Men Vol. 1).
  • Ant-Man: The Astonishing Ant-Man. This adjective serves as a reference to the fact the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, made his first appearance in the anthology comic Tales To Astonish.
    • One Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady, was a complete Jerkass, so his series was titled The Irredeemable Ant-Man. "Irredeemable" is still used to differentiate him from the other Ant-Men, Pym and Scott Lang.
    • There's also his partner, "The Wondrous Wasp". "The Winsome Wasp" has also been used once or twice. Her successor is The Unstoppable Wasp.
  • The Avengers: The Mighty Avengers. (There have been other "_____ Avengers" teams, but all their titles (New, Secret, Young, Dark, Pet) are pretty matter-of-fact and don't quite fit the trope.)
    • For a team made up of both Avengers and X-Men members, they titled it Uncanny Avengers ("Uncanny" being associated with the X-Men).
    • The All-New, All-Different Avengers. Running at the same time as New Avengers, no less. And when that New Avengers got split from A.I.M. (long story) they named themself the All-New New Avengers for some issues.
    • This was spoofed in the humorous Marvel Now What?! one-shot, where a supercomputer powered by nuclear fission created adjectives for team names. How's "Avenging Avengers" sound?
  • The Awesome Slapstick: The Awesome Slapstick.
  • Captain Marvel: The Mighty Captain Marvel.
  • The Craptacular B Sides: The Craptacular B-Sides, a lesser-known Marvel team.
  • Deadpool: The Despicable Deadpool, christened as such when he decides to give up on trying to be a hero.
  • The Defenders: The Fearless Defenders, a short-lived Amazon Brigade team. The name comes from a Fear Itself spinoff, The Fearless; and is likely doomed to be shorthand for "not that Defenders team, the all-girl one".
  • Doctor Strange: Averted with Doctor Strange, who uses Superhero Sobriquets instead, but his enemies often fit this trope (the Dread Dormammu, the Unrelenting Umar).
  • Fantastic Four: The Fantastic Four(itself a Notable Numeral) has the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing.
    • This one is almost exclusively used by the Editor/Narrator, or by Ben himself in a self-deprecating way. It may be worth pointing out that "Ever-Lovin'" is a euphemism/bowdlerization of another, vaguely similar sounding phrase that begins "mother".
    • Though not as prevalent as most examples, the team itself has occasionally been called "the Fabled Fantastic Four", and at least once as "The Fabulous Fantastic Four" (which was also suggested by Linkara.
  • Ghost Rider: The second villain to use the monikor of the Orb insists on being known as the All-New Orb.
  • Hellcat: The Happy-Go-Lucky Hellcat.
  • The Incredible Hercules: When Hercules took over Hulk's book, it was retitled from The Incredible Hulk to the Incredible Hercules.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Incredible Hulk. This one has been used as the title of three television shows and a movie.
    • Lampshaded by Peter David (who else?) in a story where the Hulk meets Rick Jones' mother-in-law. When she exclaims "Green skin! Amazing!" he replies "No, Spider-Man is amazing. I'm incredible!"
    • The most well-known incarnation of the Hulk, the green, childlike one who (typically) speaks Hulk Speak, is known as the Savage Hulk, which has been used as a title for a series at least once.
    • The Hulk has flirted with a few other descriptors, Rampaging and Indestructible, but neither lasted very long.
    • There's also the Totally Awesome Hulk, who is Amadeus Cho, not Bruce Banner; and the descriptor reflects how Amadeus is an immature teenager who enjoys his powers rather than angsting about them as Bruce does.
    • The Immortal Hulk, referring to a tweak to Banner's powerset and a genre shift towards horror.
  • Iron Fist: The Immortal Iron Fist. (Ironically, unlike Immortal Hulk, Immortal X-Men, and Immortal Thor that came later, Iron Fist does not involve literal immortality.)
  • Iron Man: The Invincible Iron Man. It briefly ran alongside an International Iron Man book in 2015.
    • He briefly became the Superior Iron Man shortly after Spider-Man ended its own Superior run. There was no direct connection between the two, but both books involved their protagonists dropping their usual principles - Spidey due to a body-swap, Tony due to having his morals magically inverted.
    • The Infamous Iron Man is Doctor Doom trying to lay claim to the name while Tony Stark is taking a break from heroics. (Lucky for everyone, Ironheart picked up the slack and acted as an actual heroic Iron (Wo)Man in the Invincible book.)
  • The Mighty Thor: The Mighty Thor.
    • During The New '10s, Comic Book/Jane Foster took over as the new Thor, along with the "Mighty" title, after the original lost his faith in the gods and could no longer lift his hammer. When the original Thor got a series of his own again to complement Jane's, it was titled The Unworthy Thor.
    • In The New '20s, The Immortal Thor was published by the same team behind Immortal Hulk.
  • Ms. Marvel: The Magnificent Ms. Marvel.
  • Not Brand Echh: Marvel made fun of themselves for this trope back in the '60s with this comic. For example, their muscular green guy in ripped pants was the Inedible Bulk. You whippersnappers might have seen him in Nextwave.
  • Omega the Unknown: The character is an Inversion, having the name first followed by the adjective, as opposed to being called "The Unknowable Omega" or something.
  • Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos: Marvel is also responsible for the ultimate defied version of this trope. After Stan Lee made a bet with his publisher that he could get a book with the absolute worst title to sell well because of the "Marvel style", the comic was born!
  • She-Hulk: The Savage/Sensational She-Hulk.
    • At one point, at least, the titles were used to differentiate between multiple She-Hulks: The "Sensational" She-Hulk is Banner's cousin Jennifer Walters; while the "Savage" She-Hulk is Lyra, the Hulk's daughter from an alternate future.
  • Spider-Man: The Amazing/Spectacular/Sensational Spider-Man, although Spidey himself prefers to use "Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" (which was eventually used as a book title itself). He may well have been the Trope Codifier for this, as his first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy, which was soon after canceled, and replaced on the newsstands with Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Star-Lord: The Legendary Star-Lord.
  • Sub-Mariner: The Savage Sub-Mariner, though this name didn't really stick.
  • Ultimate Marvel: Any character's counterpart from the ultimate universe is invariably referred to as "the Ultimate [X]" when put beside their normal-universe counterparts; though the books themselves have technically dropped this kind of title system for a while in favor of Ultimate Comics: [X].
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl..
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool: The Unbelievable Gwenpool.
  • Wolverine: The Savage Wolverine (a reference to the story's setting, the Savage Land).
  • X-Men: The Uncanny, Astonishing, X-Treme, and Extraordinary X-Men.
    • Special notice goes to the All-New X-Men, who are actually the team's founding members in their teenage years, flung forward in time into the present. It's an ironic thing, obviously.
    • The Immortal X-Men came during The Krakoan Age when the X-Men had unlocked the secret to Resurrective Immortality — and the book features that political time bomb starting to explode in their faces.
    • Cain Marko is often proclaimed to be the Unstoppable Juggernaut.

Other Comics

  • The Astounding Wolf-Man: The Astounding Wolf-Man.
  • The Atomic Thunderbolt: The Atomic Thunderbolt.
  • Hyper the Phenomenal: The Golden Age hero plays with the format, being "Name the Adjective" instead of "The Adjective Name."
  • The Incredible Popeman. Not as serious as the other examples, obviously.
  • The Masked Marvel: The Masked Marvel.
  • Mightily Murdered Power Ringers: The one-shot comic parodied the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as the Mightily Murdered Power Ringers ("Teenagers with ineptitude!"). When the entire team dies, the Zordon Captain Ersatz keeps sending in replacement groups. First comes the "Mighty Methane Power Ranges" ("Giving the villains a raw deal! Heroes that really cook!"), then the "Mighty Morphine-Powered Addicts" ("Taking a shot at evil! They aren't just hyped, they're hypo!"), then the "Naughty Nighty Powder Puffers" ("In the ready and in their teddies! It's Victoria's Secret Squadron!"), and finally, the non-specific "Something Something Something Somethings" ("The greatest whatevers there ever was! There's nothing like them!").
  • normalman: As a superhero parody, normalman has been called the Unconvinceable normalman and the Excruciatingly Average normalman.
  • The Pitiful Human Lizard: The Pitiful Human Lizard''.
  • Project Superpowers: The comics version of the Golden Age, public domain Daredevil had a comic called "The Death-Defying 'Devil".
  • The Savage Dragon. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Officer Dragon lacks a first name and does not go by "Savage" in-story.
  • Skullkickers: Parodied in the comic, which had "Uncanny Skullkickers #1", "Savage Skullkickers #1", and "Mighty Skullkickers #1", and so forth, as individual entries in an ongoing story. Yes, instead of one title and sequential numbers.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: The spinoff team the Mighty Mutanimals.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • The Magical Monarch of Mo
  • In-universe in Captain Underpants. The title character's full name is "The Amazing Captain Underpants". George and Harold also created another hero called "The Amazing Cow Lady".
  • Moongobble and Me: Less a hero, but the titular character of book 2 is "The Weeping Werewolf"... so named because he cries a lot. It turns out he cries a lot because he's been separated from his family and misses them terribly.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • An S Club 7 song refers to the band as "The One and Only Wonderful S Club"
  • The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Their earliest compilation appearances credited them as just The Bosstones (which is still something fans call them for short), but it turned out there had already been a group called The Bosstones in the 50's.
  • James Brown's back-up band was once called "The Famous Flames".
  • The Fabulous Thunderbirds

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When Hulk Hogan became WWF World Champion in 1984, he was called "The Incredible Hulk Hogan" - until Marvel Comics sued them. Later, in 1991, he was called "The Immortal Hulk Hogan".
    • His heel persona was "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, but it never really "took"; this may have been at least partly because a substantial portion of his fanbase was too young to really understand the concept of a Face–Heel Turn and continued to assume Hogan was "the good guy" regardless of what he was actually doing.
  • The Hurricane had a couple of sidekicks who had this: Molly Holly (Mighty Molly) and Stacy Keibler (Super Stacy).
  • The Outlandish Rich Swann.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse a few of the heroes or their variants have epithets, such as the Indestructible Bunker, the Savage Haka, and the Super-Scientific Tachyon.

    Theater 
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
  • Cats gives us the "Magical" Mr. Mistoffelees.
    Rum Tum Tugger: I give you, the Magical, the Marvelous, Mr Mistoffelees!"

    Video Games 
  • In City of Heroes, starting at level 15, you can choose an adjective title for your character. At 25, you can add a second adjective (or just choose from a separate list). The complete list of titles is here.
  • Hollow Knight: The Five Great Knights of Hallownest each had their epithet: Mighty Hegemol, Kindly Isma, Fierce Dryya, Mysterious Ze'mer, Loyal Ogrim.
  • The Wonderful 101
  • NOBY NOBY BOY in Japanese. "Nobinobi" is an adjective that means "to grow quickly", something the extremely elastic BOY does very well.
  • There have been several Spider-Man games that borrow the comics' "the Amazing Spider-Man" as their title. Some of which were because they were tie-ins to the movies with that title.

    Web Comics 
  • From Girl Genius: The Unstoppable Airman Higgs. He may not be Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but so far he's pretty much Made of Iron and seems to be fully capable of going toe-to-toe with jaegermonsters, the elite soldiers and barbarian pillagers altered by mad scientists to form the armies of the Heterodynes. It is later revealed that he is in fact the Jaeger Spymaster, whose human appearance allows him to infiltrate various other factions.
  • Parodied with "The Mundane Spider-Man" in this Savage Chickens.
  • Heroes Unite/Heroes Alliance: The Impractical Mr Imp.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Other 

Alternative Title(s): The Egregious Trope Man

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