Follow TV Tropes


Miles Gloriosus / Comic Books

Go To

  • In Astro City, Crackerjack subverts this trope. He is a skilled brawler, excellent acrobat and master of disguise, as well as a true hero in every sense, but hearing him talk, the resident Superman analogue is a poseur next to him. An alien assumes his arrogance and bragging indicate his true character, and even when seeing his heroism wrestles with the idea that he might really be The Hero.
    • When he's badly injured and may never walk again, Quarrel notes that "he may not have been the best or the brightest but there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who owe their lives to him."
  • Volstagg the Voluminous, of Marvel Comics' Warriors Three. A blowhard who called himself "The Lion of Asgard" and lays claim to several improbable feats of strength, cunning, and bravery, he proves ineffectual and cowardly in actual combat, his only excuse being that he supposedly did them when he was younger. He started showing Hidden Depths under Walt Simonson's pen, transforming into a Cowardly Lion and Papa Wolf, whose particular Berserk Button was children being hurt or threatened. More recently in the comics, he has been retooled into a Boisterous Bruiser, fond of food, drink, and women and given to much merriment, in more equal contrast with his friends Fandral the Dashing and Hogun the Grim. He's still a braggart—such as considering himself the equal of any three or four human Avengers—but not for no reason.
    • Even early on, he had his moments of badassery, typically when his back is against the wall, when his friends are in danger, or simply due to his own clumsiness. He has also been mind controlled into fighting Thor before and proven himself a good challenge to the God of Thunder.
    • Advertisement:
    • Played for laughs at times such as when he sees a child attacked by a demon and charges into the fray to the shock of Fandral and Hogun.
    Fandral: Hogun...mine eyes did deceive me there, correct?
    • More recently, he's still a comical figure, he's consistently a genuine badass, even if he does still brag - and his old bragging habits actually make him a surprisingly capable politician, having mastered the art of the Filibuster. He just doesn't usually show it unless he has to. Or unless there are children in danger. Then his wrath is something spectacular to behold. During the War of Realms, a bunch of Light Elf children, refugees, he was trying to protect - and likely would have adopted - were burned to ash in his arms by fire-demons from Muspelheim. He then descends into nihilistic despair, takes up the Ultimate Thor's hammer (which amplifies rage, among other things), becoming the War Thor, and makes a very creditable effort at wiping out every fire-demon in Muspelheim - and is so lost in his Berserker Rage that he nearly slaughters innocent fire-demon children in the process. Thankfully, Jane!Thor manages to get him away from Muspelheim, gets in a brutal fight with him, then finally tries Talking the Monster to Death as herself, which persuades him to put down the hammer and grieve.
    • Advertisement:
    • In the movie although he still has a hefty appetite, Volstagg is more of a case of Stout Strength, and is able to carry himself in a fight as well as any of Thor's companions (it takes a veritable dog pile of Asgardian soldiers to subdue him when covering Thor's escape with Loki), averting the trope (but subverting the character as written in some of the comics).
  • Several of the members of the new Infinity, Inc. in 52 were very fearless when they were Lex Luthor's media darlings beloved by the public and taking down minor thugs to widespread acclaim, even going so far as to smugly lecture members of the Justice Society that they were the new generation replacing them and that there was nothing they could do about it. Then, when Black Adam declared war on the world and a real crisis ensued, they were last seen cowering in some rubble before running away.
  • Advertisement:
  • The dashing and charming warrior Arcadio from Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer. Despite the quests that Arcadio embarks on, he is almost never the one to actually complete them. Yet will both take the credit and believe that he completed them on his own regardless. (Unlike many examples, Arcadio is not depicted as cowardly so much as narcissistic and having rather too much faith in his own press releases; he's been shown multiple times to be willing to take on an army by himself, only to have Groo beat him to it, defeat the army, and leave before Arcadio arrives, leading Arcadio to conclude the army "must have heard I was coming and slaughtered each other in their fear and despair at having to face me.")
  • The Rival Herminus in Swordquest frequently boasts about his expert thieving skills and cutthroat nature, but never demonstrates anything out of the ordinary.
  • Raznuts, Uzgob's scheming sekond-in-kommand in Deff Skwadron. 156 klaimed kills. 4 konfirmed.
  • De Argonautjes: Jason, the leader of the heroes. He always presents himself as a hero, but when faced with actual danger he is usually the first one to turn and run (if he doesn’t faint before he gets the chance).
  • Shazam had Uncle Marvel, an elderly, balding, overweight man who dressed up in a costume similar to that of Captain Marvel and claimed to have similar powers. When it came time to actually fight, though, Uncle Marvel would generally invent some excuse to delay coming to grips with the foe until they had already been defeated by Captain Marvel (and/or Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, and the three Lieutenants Marvel, all of whom actually did have superpowers). In stories where he was forced to fight, he typically did so with one or more of the other Marvels (none of whom were fooled by his claims) using the "speed of Mercury" to help him too quickly to be seen.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: