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The Good Captain

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"Captain Cold... Captain Boomerang... they probably would have gone for it if I was a captain."

There is a definite prejudice in Superhero comics towards using force rather than reason to sort things out. As a result, a fighting man with a military-sounding background gets more respect than a thinking man with a doctorate or a medical qualification. This is probably an inheritance from the early days of comics, where the patriotic World War II setting made military good guys obvious. The rank of "Captain" probably became common as, in the Army, it is low-ranking enough to be approachable and avoid the inevitable moral ambiguity of the most senior ranks, but high enough to deserve some respect.


The upshot of this is that characters whose names begin with "Captain" are almost always good, unless explicitly subverting this or a Nazi. (In the case of a Nazi, or in the case of German officers from many other periods, the correct title Hauptmann could occur.note  If the Nazi Captain is referred to as Kapitän we might have a research mistake, since Kapitän exclusively refers to the navy (Kriegsmarine) and merchant marine. Another trap for the unwary is referring to an SS officer of this rank as Hauptmann when he would in fact be a Hauptsturmführer.)


"Commander" carries similar connotations to "Captain." As a naval rank, it's a likely designation for commanding officers in Space Navies.

Not necessarily The Captain; in fact, The Good Captain is rarely seen leading anyone, despite his rank.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America: Good. Was briefly "Nomad" and later "The Captain" before Nextwave's version, but went back to America. Still good. Was actually a Captain in the US Army before getting frozen and being listed as MIA.
  • Captain Atom: Good, but occasionally falls into Knight Templar; led to the accidental destruction of Kansas in Kingdom Come. Note that he originally actually had the rank of Captain in the Air Force, but was later promoted to Major.
  • Captain Britain: Good.
  • Captain Canuck: Satirical but good.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! — Captain Carrot: Also good.
  • Captain Comet: Good.
  • Captain Marvel (Marvel Universe. Multiple Incarnations): Good, although the Genis-Vell incarnation was a Knight Templar and completely off his rocker.
    • Currently Carol Danvers: Good. Was actually a Major in the US Air Force, meaning she outranks Captain America.
  • Captain Nazi: A hero of his nation, but as his nation was Nazi Germany, evil.
  • Captain Rectitude was not actually a made-up example. Bad. Also badly dressed.
  • Dynamo5: The titular Captain Dynamo — Good.
  • Empowered: Capitan Rivet: Good, and one of the few Superhomies who at least tries to avoid openly laughing at Empowered.
  • Enemies of The Flash:
    • Captain Cold: Evil.
    • Captain Boomerang: Evil.
    • The above two led to a Lampshade Hanging in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance," where they teamed up, and the Trickster laments that they never bought into his ideas, saying, "Maybe if I were a captain they'd listen to me."
  • Jack Staff: Kapitan Krieg is a Third Reich Super Soldier, but more of a German patriot than a Nazi and hence a Noble Demon / Worthy Opponent.
  • New England Comics: Captain Liberty — Employed as a hero by the US government. Purposely given a name that would make people assume she's a man.
  • The Captain of Nextwave: Grand mockery of this trope.
  • Hauptmann Deutschland, Marvel Comics' German equivalent to Captain America. Good. Despite this name directly translating to "Captain Germany," when issues featuring him were licensed and translated in Germany, they changed his name to Freiheitskämpfer ("freedom fighter") to avoid any implications of Nazism. Later on he was renamed Vormund ("legal guardian") in America.
  • Captain Jan Haring from Jommeke: Good.
  • Captain Oliepul from Nero: Good.
  • Captain Skæg from Rasmus Klump: Kindhearted.
  • Shazam: Captain Marvel (The DCU. Currently known as Shazam): Good.
  • Captain Haddock from Tintin: Good.
  • Captain Wal Rus from Tom Poes: Good, but grouchy.
  • Watchmen: Captain Metropolis — Good... but bigoted.
  • Mad Magazine's Captain Klutz (a Don Martin creation), who is good but goofy and got his name and position purely by accident.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Commander Lyle Rourke is a subversion of this, and a good one too. There are a couple hints in his dialogue that he's not what he seems, but overall he does a good job faking the audience out and setting up the reveal.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Captain Phoebus — the one from the Disney adaptation. The original was kind of a jerk.

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue's Captain Butch Flowers: Good, and disturbingly nice towards his men- until it turns out he was actually Evil All Along and his kindness was an act. (No word on whether his captaincy was faked too.)

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


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