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The DCU

  • Batman:
    • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Bruce Wayne (currently retired as Batman) has gone for a walk through Gotham City at night and crosses paths with two Mutants who plan to murder and rob him. They scrap the plan, in part because yes, he's physically intimidating, but also because he's "into it", and "can't do murders when they're into it.."
    • Early in the year long Batman: No Man's Land storyline, there were a series of interludes starring a character called "The Punk". His M.O. was trying to steal supplies by threatening people with an empty gun. The twist was that all his intended victims knew that no one had any supplies, including bullets. The last of the stories was titled "The Punk and The Stranger;" it features the title idiot attempting to rob a strange, pale man in a purple raincoat who seemed inordinately happy with everything. I think you can guess why this is the last "Punk" story.
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    • When Bruce Wayne was arrested during the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive arc, some skinheads decided to teach him a lesson. In a pitch black cell. It ends about as well as could be expected. Though it doesn't help his case as the lawyers try to portray it as Bruce beat these guys up for no reason and as proof he was a killer.
    • Batwoman: During Kate Kane's aimless period of alcohol abuse, she's on the phone with her ex-girlfriend outside a bar when a mugger armed with a pipe tries to take her for an easy mark. Unfortunately for the thug, Kate was fairly recently a top cadet and boxing champion at West Point, with all the unarmed combat training that implies, and is in an extremely foul mood to boot. Kate promptly beats the crap out of him, pointing out that he thought she was just a victim, but that she is a soldier. She is only prevented from really messing the guy up by the timely intervention of Batman, who had presumably intended to sweep in to save the socialite from the thug, only to find himself doing the opposite instead. With the fight essentially over, all that Batman can do is extend his hand to Kate before leaving to answer the Bat Signal.
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    • Robin: Three jerks attack Tim outside a movie theater and he can't really fight back because he is with his girlfriend so he focuses on limiting the damage they do while not looking competent. Later they spot him while he's on his own and he intentionally takes a "short cut" through an alley with no witnesses. This time when they go to attack him they're all left moaning and bleeding, and Tim walks away with a spring in his step.
    • In Batman: Gotham Knights, Batman, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), and Robin (Tim Drake) are shot down in the Bat-Plane by Kobra goons. Batgirl then uses a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to lure out the attacker, claiming the others were killed in the crash. When the goon grabs her and says that he won't show mercy, she simply responds that she will treat him in kind, and beats the crap out of him.
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    • In the first issue of Batgirl (2009), three small-time crooks spot a redheaded woman in a wheelchair riding the subway alone and try to mug her. What follows is a black panel with several screams, followed by an entirely-unruffled Barbara Gordon / Oracle getting off the train.
    • In a twist in Batman Black and White #3 (2013), when a serial child-napper chases his latest victim into a dark alley, they interrupt two women about to break into a bank — one wearing a jester costume and the other wearing an outfit made of foliage. The little girl assumes from the costumes that they're superheroes and pleads for help, the pair place themselves between her and the kidnapper, so he tries to knife them. They give him an instant curb stomping.
  • Birds of Prey: Many are the unfortunate (now dead) bikers who thought Lady Shiva would be an easy target.
  • A more intellectual variation occurs in an issue of JLA when Lex Luthor, highly successful billionaire business tycoon, launches a plan to cripple the JLA using non-criminal techniques from the business world. Unfortunately for Lex, he's completely ignorant that one of his adversaries is really Bruce Wayne, a highly successful billionaire business tycoon in his own right (and one who does it as a sideline). The art highlights this, showing Batman sitting at the computer with his cowl down, making it quite clear which persona is fighting this battle.
  • Darkseid got mugged once when he visited Earth in disguise. He didn't really do anything to resist and just analyzed the whole experience, finding it rather interesting to be on the receiving end of this kind of behaviour for a change.
  • In Doomsday Clock, we see the second Rorschach definitely follows his predecessor’s footsteps in regards to this trope. One unlucky supervillain in Arkham mistakes him for a normal criminal and picks a fight. The next thing we see is Rorschach being dragged to a cell, covered in blood and with a chunk of flesh in his mouth.
  • Guy Gardner in the New 52's Green Lantern Corps. A series of events results in him losing his power ring and landing in jail on Earth, where he's sexually harassed by his cellmate, who means to make Guy his prison bitch. The cellmate thinks Guy will be a pushover without his ring. Guy manages to beat the snot out of him without even looking in his direction.
  • Parodied in the Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys miniseries, where one of Harley Sinn's Psycho for Hire minions comes across a group of homeless people in an alley and pretends to think that they're going to attack him so that he can kill them for fun. Harlem Quinn turns up and rescues them.
  • Mister Miracle:
    • In a issue, a mook tries to kidnap Big Barda in order to force Scott Free (Mr. Miracle's alter ego) to sign an insurance policy for his Mob Boss. After his wife tells him what happened, Scott asks her if the mook is OK. The mook is OK, but very afraid of the possibility of seeing Barda again.
    • In a crossover with Superman (in his book), Mister Miracle goes missing while trying to help the titular character. Barda goes to look for her husband and her search leads her under the sea. There, a shark tries to bite Barda's butt. She sends the shark flying.
  • Power Girl: A pervert gropes a very tall and busty blonde in a subway. Bad idea...
  • In Secret Six:
    • Deadshot and Catman are discussing the potential Heel–Face Turn that Catman underwent in Africa when they enter a convenience store that is in the process of being robbed. They completely ignore the brandished weapons and pick up some cigarettes and ice-cream and even go to pay for their items, all the while being screamed at by the skinheads who are doing the robbing. After a little while, Deadshot takes a break from the conversation to easily disarm the skinhead behind him and then berates him for his amateurishness. As he explains, it is fine if the skinhead does not respect him, but he will damn well respect the gun. Deadshot gives the thug a few pointers (start the robbery by placing the gun against the victims head in order to give him a primal fear reaction, but then speak slowly and calmly in order to keep anybody from panicking and reacting, etc.) and then shoves his head through a glass case, taking out one of his eyes, as punishment. Of course, Deadshot then finishes the robbery, taking the cash from the register, to punish the store for "lax security precautions." After Catman and Deadshot leave they resume their previous conversation, but Deadshot immediately points out that Catman, despite what he may think, has not become a good guy. When Catman asks why, Deadshot points out that he just left several defenseless witnesses in the same room as a group of bloody and angry thugs who will be looking for vengeance and to cover their tracks after their humiliating fiasco of a robbery. Catman pauses for a moment, sighs, and walks back into the store.
    • At another point in the series, a particularly stupid mercenary decides it would be a good idea to try to rape Cheshire. Cheshire, who is considered the second most deadly assassin on the planet. Cheshire, who is internationally infamous for committing genocide For the Evulz. And he knew who she was! Needless to say, when she starts chowing down on his face, it's impossible to feel any sympathy.
  • Shazam: A guy groped Mary Marvel, and it took Supergirl to stop her from tearing him limb from limb.
  • It happens to Supergirl several times:
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton, a naked Kara wanders confused into an alley, having just woken up from her rocket, and is spotted by three workers. One of them mistakes her for a prostitute and decides to play Lothario only to have his hand crushed and be slammed through a wall. The second tries to help his friend. The third wisely proclaims he's not with the other two and offers her his coat.
    • In Supergirl Vol. 2 issue #19 two crooks stalking a park at night spot a woman sitting alone on a bench. They approach her from behind and bludgeon her with a pipe... which gets bent. Then they notice her Supergirl costume... and her pissed off expression.
      Supergirl: I take it this [pipe] is yours, guys?
      Crook 1: H-Holy...! It... It's... Oh, man, it sure is! Hey... We're awfully sorry, lady... Honest! We didn't know it was you!
      Supergirl: I'm kind of glad it was! My head's made to take this kind of abuse!— Is yours?
      Crook 1: Oh... Momma...
      Crook 2: P-Please... Don't do it!
    • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, the Stanhope School students spend weeks mocking and bullying the new transfer student , Linda Lee (who happens to be the Girl of Steel).
  • Superman
    • Superman had gone into a dark alley and a guy jumped on him ("Hmmph! What are you, a bodybuilder or something?"). Guy gets thrown into the sacks of garbage, tries shooting at the shadowy figure, and then nearly pees his pants when the bullets bounce off the big red "S" and a big Kryptonian fist starts hurtling towards his face. Fortunately for him the fist was catching a ricochet.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Steve Lombard bullies Clark Kent right after Clark has decided to drop his "mild-mannered pushover" act for one week, and gets quickly knocked to the floor.
    • In Superman: Brainiac, Lombard bullies Clark several times. Clark tolerates his antics until Steve makes a pass at Lois Lane, fully knowing they're married, and stealthily -and literally- knocks Steve on his butt.
    • In Last Daughter Of Krypton, Simon Tycho sends his private troops to retrieve a space rocket which has crashed in Siberia. When they arrive at the place and come upon a girl stumbling dazedly out of the pod, they attempt to capture her. The black ops squad barely have time to catch a glimpse of her S-shield before she throws all of them away.
  • Wonder Woman Volume 1: The fact that Etta Candy regularly fights supervillains, invading aliens and Nazi spies is not publicized so when a trio of gangsters think she's overheard them plotting Insurance Fraud in "Etta Candy and Her Holliday Girls: The Toothache" they decide to attempt to kidnap and off her. This does not work out well for them and when she hands them over to the police they've all been beaten unconscious.
  • Watchmen:
    • While Dr. Manhattan is giving the interview, Laurie and Daniel fight off a group of muggers. Not a word of dialogue is written for this event, and instead it is overlaid with the aforementioned interview.
    • A flashback to a bit of Rorschach's back story also involved this: the two older boys who accosted little Walter had just been about to "pants" him when he swiped the cigarette one of them was smoking and jammed the lit end into his eye. Then, while the first boy was screaming, Walter launched himself into the terrified other bully and started savagely chewing on his face. In addition to having been a major turning point in his life, this incident makes a neat Call-Forward to the grown-up Rorschach's methods as a highly unpredictable Improbable Weapon User in the rest of the series. Also to the fact that he often gets blamed for brutally attacking enemies in self-defense that others don't know about and never clearing up his name.

Marvel Universe

  • In The Avengers, two thugs once tried to mug someone walking in Central Park at night. Someone wearing a trenchcoat and hat. It was The Vision.
  • There is a comic where a gang of thugs try to mug a blind man wearing a suit. It was Daredevil.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • In one issue of The Thing, the titular hero has just announced his plans to build a youth center in Yancy Street. Just as he's leaving the press conference, he's approached by members of a local mob that he'd better "Grease a few wheels". The next panel is of the mugs lying all over the alley, with Ben chuckling at their sheer stupidity.
    • During Jonathan Hickman's run, a bunch of white collar thugs (of all things) try mugging Ben and Johnny Storm. Not recognizing Ben was understandable, since he was in human form at the time, but Johnny's famous. Ben and Johnny, naturally, beat the crap out of them.
  • Ghost Rider
    • One issue features a bunch of bikers harassing a piggish-looking good ol' boy while he is cruising down the open road. The good ol' boy turns out to be a demonic bounty hunter from Hell named Hoss, who promptly lights the bikers' heads on fire and forces their leader to crash and break his neck. When the leader agrees to serve Hoss in exchange for his life, Hoss takes the liberty of "altering" his body to suit his new position in life.
      Hoss: Oh, and by the way, your new name's Buttview.
    • Similarly, when local police put the Scarecrow and Madcap in the drunk tank with a bunch of rowdy relatives in town for a wedding with the intention of scaring them straight... there were no survivors.
    • For that matter, there has been at least one instance of someone attempting to start something with a big guy in motorcycle leathers and a full-face helmet. Then he takes off the helmet.
    • In an issue from the 1970s series, Johnny Blaze is on a picnic date and the pair get accosted by a biker gang who earlier harassed him in the aftermath of his losing his title. They demanded his leather jacket and his motorcycle and his date pleaded with him to let them have the items, not wanting trouble. Already seething, he reluctantly gave in and they left. Just as his date was soothing his ego, the gang came back intent on now taking her. Big. Mistake.
  • Incredible Hulk
    • Naturally, this has happened to Bruce Banner a few times.
    • In one instance the Grey Hulk was nearly mugged, which is odd considering he's taller than most people and almost as wide.
    • The moment where Bruce Banner is nearly raped by two men in the shower of the YMCA takes the cake. It's an aversion, though, as when Banner threatens to turn into the Hulk, they doubt him but decide not to risk it.
  • Iron Man
    • Averted in Issue 173. A gang mugged Tony who didn't have his armor. If it weren't for the fact that he was drunk, he could have taken them down since he was trained by Captain America.
    • Played straight in a few other instances where people have tried to beat him up, whether because he's just some rich playboy who needs a bodyguardnote , or because he's helpless without his armor. You'd think they'd learn.
    • This is a general trope for armor-wearing superheroes. People tend to think the armor does all the work. While the current Iron Man armor is lightweight, Tony had to spend years working in heavy armor, and he still performs the equivalent of Olympic gymnastic routines every time he fights a serious villain. Which is at least once a week. Not to mention that he was a soldier in the U.S. Army before he was Iron Man in the first place. (That's what caused the injury that made the first version of the armor necessary.) A great subversion of Clothes Make the Superman.
  • More than one unlucky thug has tried to mug what looks to be just a normal, if well-built, black man. It's only when the knife breaks on his shirt or his bullets bounce off that he realizes it's Luke Cage.
    • Once, Luke and Danny Rand are in civvies and in a bad mood after some friends of theirs have been attacked. A gang come up and it's only when they see the brand of the Iron Fist on Danny's chest that they realize who they're facing. Cue Luke and Danny trashing the gang to within an inch of their lives.
  • In Garth Ennis's "Welcome Back, Frank", the world's unluckiest thug tries to mug The Punisher. Frank kills him. This actually happens multiple times. Frank does have a habit of walking alone, in the worst parts of town. It's almost like he's looking for trouble.
  • A guy once tried to rape Karolina Dean of the Runaways when she was walking around alone at night. She literally lit his sorry ass up.
  • She-Hulk: A rather humorous example happened to Jennifer Walters after the Stamford disaster. An angry mob of anti-superhero protestors had formed outside of the courthouse where she — as Jennifer — was defending two surviving members of the New Warriors. One guy recognized her and grabbed her, shouting "I've got She-Hulk!" Then she hulked out and dryly asked, "Okay, you've got She-Hulk. Now what?" The response? "I. . . Uh. . . Guess I Didn't Think This Through."
  • Subverted in an early Silver Surfer comic, where the titular alien was assaulted by a Mexican gang. Since he had no desire to fight them and knew that they couldn't actually hurt him, he figured the easiest thing to do was to simply play dead.
  • Spider-Man
    • In an issue, Spidey saw several gang-bangers with knives surrounding a short man in a trenchcoat and swung down to the rescue, his thought balloon going "I have to save that guy from being killed by those muggers!" When the man in question popped his adamantium claws, Spidey (in mid-swing) immediately shifted his internal monologue to "I have to save those muggers from being killed by Wolverine!"
    • Similarly, Wolverine and Spider-Man were both in a bar, in costume, having an intense argument. Just as they were about to start trading punches instead of words, a group of thugs burst through the door with weapons drawn, noticing the angry superheroes only after they're inside. Cue the thug in the back "Next time, I choose the place we rob."
    • In another memorable issue, Spidey was in the midst of a fight with Morbius the Living Vampire, on the ESU grounds, when a gang of Friends of Humanity mistook Morbius for a mutant and attacked him. The insults from them stopped when they realized the blows from their bats weren't hurting him at all, and Morbius likely would have killed them if Spidey hadn't stopped him. (Of course, this tends to happen to those guys a lot...)
    • You'd think a well-dressed businessman with a custom-made Italian suit and a Rolex would be a complete idiot to be alone in Central Park in the middle of the night, and that's exactly what a bunch of punks thought when they saw Thomas Fireheart there in another Spider-Man story. Little did they know, Fireheart was not only the CEO of Fireheart industries, he was the Puma, the mystical protector of his tribe. Still, he didn't even need to turn into the Puma to give them a good thrashing (and he did give them a fair warning first). Even worse, the reason he was there was to meet with Spidey to discuss a crisis, who showed up two minutes after the fight started; the punks had the sense to run for it then.
    • One example that didn't actually involve Spidey: His friend (more or less) Flash Thompson was on a date with Felicia Hardy in the park in one issue when three goons accosted them. At first, Flash didn't want any trouble, and gave them Felicia's purse (leading her - who was actually the Black Cat and dating him in order to get back at Peter for marrying Mary Jane - to think he was a coward for a brief moment). Then, however, one of the thugs tried to get fresh with Felicia, and that crossed the line for Flash; being an amateur boxer at the time, he beat them within an inch of their lives.
    • One unique example was a story where The Punisher was a guest star. After he parked his Battle Van in a rather bad neighborhood, a punk (who said to himself that you'd "have to be nuts" to park a custom van there) tried to rip the wheels off. Of course, its owner and Spidey were inside it, but they didn't even notice him; the van's security system gave him the shock of his life and sent him running, convinced that the van's owner was nuts.
    • In part one of "The Death of Jean DeWolff", Matt Murdock is confronted in a judge's chambers by the serial killer known as the Sin Eater. Being a mutate with enhanced senses and martial arts training, Matt is able to defend himself from the killer but fails to save the judge's life.
  • A group of muggers saw a depowered Thor and Enchantress and attacked them. They quickly defeated them while talking about how helpless they are. It should be noted that although Thor technically was depowered, he still was a six-foot-six five-hundred-pound mountain of muscle who had never been sick a day in his life. And he could still use his hammer. Not the kind of guy any sane mugger should mess with in the first place.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimates: Early on in vol 2, a bunch of thugs try to mug Captain America and the Wasp (not in costume, of course) on their way back from a date. The next panel simply pans away as the thugs scream.
    • Done on the cosmic scale in the series "The Hunger". When 616 Galactus enters the Ultimate verse through a dimensional tear, Gah Lak Tus tries to consume him. The moment the swarm touches him, they immediately realize he is just as ravenous as they are and far more powerful. The swarm merges with Galactus and serves him as his new Heralds.
  • A Wolverine solo adventure has a variation of this. A young woman was on a subway train with no-one else around besides a sleeping homeless man with a newspaper over his face. Two muggers approach her and attempt a routine mugging, then the homeless man wakes up, and you'll never guess who he turned out to be!
    • Another Wolverine comic had a street gang try to mug Sabretooth, who told them that they were hyenas. Then when one of them asked what that made him, Sabretooth ripped his arm off and stated that he was a lion, who ate hyenas.
  • The above mentioned Sabretooth himself falls victim to a variation of this in an X-Men Unlimited issue. Spotting Jean Grey in the town he was in, he attacks. When she telekinetically hurls a van onto Sabretooth, he flies through a wall, knocking unconscious a teen hiding behind it. Sabretooth tries to take the kid hostage to get Jean to surrender, but Jean calmly informs him that the very kid Sabes was holding is a powerful mutant and the reason she came to the town. The kid then wakes up and proceeds to fry Victor's entire brain and nervous system beyond what his Healing Factor can immediately recover from.
  • X-23 is a teenage girl smaller than Wolverine. She turns up under the thumb of an abusive and controlling pimp named Zebra Daddy, who puts a hit out on her when one of her johns commits suicide in the hotel room during a session and she flees the scene with Kiden Nixon. Laura is Logan's Opposite-Sex Clone/Daughter with all the same powers, and was raised from birth to be a Professional Killer. Guess what happens when she finally has enough and stands up to Zebra Daddy and his thugs.
    • Played for a degree of comedy in All-New Wolverine, when some armed burglars break into a Bronx apartment when a petite young woman, an even smaller girl barely in her teens, and a grey-haired old man are all in residence. The nominal victims find the whole thing hilarious... until one of the intruders shoots Gabby's pet wolverine.
  • Domino: In the Gail Simone run, Domino and Amadeus Cho are jogging in Central Park. A trio of skinheads with machetes want their money and to gangbang Domino. Now one of the would-be victims is a Hulk and the other is a mutant Supersoldier. Without using any powers, the skinheads get curbstomped and one guy gets his thumb cut off when Domino redirects another guy's machete. At the end of the fight, the thugs are so scared they run off and leave the thumb while Cho and Domino are laughing.
  • In one issue of Marvel's short-lived Godzilla comic, the Big Guy has been shrunk down to human size by the use of Pym Particles. The annoying kid who is Godzilla's friend hides him in a trenchcoat and hat to sneak him out of town. Note that even with this 'disguise' it's obvious there's something very weird about this guy. They run into some adventuresome muggers who decide to take a crack at Mr. Trenchcoat's head. Guess what happens next and win a No-Prize!
  • In issue #3 of The Mighty Thor volume 3, Iron Man tracks down Thor to try and order him to register with the US government as an official superhero, as Thor (alongside the rest of Asgard) had been dead through the events of Civil War. This is a bad idea, since Thor is not only dealing with the trauma of dying and returning to life, but is currently standing in the midst of a devastated New Orleansnote , and he's heard about how Iron Man created a cyborg clone of Thor to try and add legitimacy to his position. Thor calls Iron Man out on these abuses of his trust and friendship, and then proceeds to show Iron Man the difference between a human genius in Powered Armor and a Physical God, pounding Iron Man into the dirt before threatening to scour Washington D.C from the map with a super-storm. Iron Man is left struggling to come up with a "compromise" that will let the US government at least pretend they didn't just get completely dominated. This is a variant of the normal use of this trope, in that Iron Man does know that Thor is a superhuman... he just failed to realize how super Thor really was.
  • X-Factor (2006): In the Madrox miniseries that serves as a prequel, it begins with Rahne Sinclair walking on her own through Mutant Town, when some guys start hassling her. Rahne shifts halfway into her wolf form and growls at them. They wisely run away, very fast.

Vertigo Comics

  • In an early issue of Hellblazer, a bunch of racist skinheads get ready to beat up a hunched-over bald guy in a trenchcoat, thinking he was a homosexual. He turned out to be the demon Nergal, the first real Big Bad of the series. He brutally dismembers them before turning their remains into a singular monster, enslaved to his will.
  • In Garth Ennis's Preacher, Sheriff Root and his squad of heavily armed men, backed up by a helicopter, threaten the Saint of Killers, an invincible, immortal, merciless killing machine with a pair of revolvers that never run dry, never miss, and always kill. Needless to say, it ends badly for them.
  • Lampshaded in an early issue of The Invisibles, when a gang of homophobic rednecks are about to assault the group:
    King Mob: I'm telling you that you're in the wrong film, fatboy. You're not in the cowboy film you thought you were in. This is a different kind of movie. And you're in the scene where the redneck shitkicker picks on the stranger in town, only it turns out to be big Arnie or a gang of vampires. I'll bet you've seen that a million times, cowboy.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Sandman
    • A couple of unfortunate criminals try to mug the Corinthian. Oh shit. Whoops. It would be a great establishing scene for what his character is like, if his very first scene had not been so... memorable. (It helps that they mistook his sexual interest in young men as a good reason to target him, when it's really a very good reason to avoid him.)
    • In related news, you probably shouldn't try to give the Anthropomorphic Personification of insanity a traffic ticket — unless you enjoy the idea of spending the rest of your life feeling invisible insects on your skin.
    • Nor is it a good idea to try to steal a large ruby from a certain tall pale stranger: the King of Dreams might decide to haunt your every night with dreams of the gallows until death comes as a relief.
    • In "The Hunt", Vasily stays at an Inn of No Return where the innkeeper murders guests for their valuables. Since Vasily slept on the floor instead of the bed, the innkeeper's surprise attack fails. Since Vasily is a werewolf it doesn't end well for the innkeeper and it's heavily implied that Vasily ate him.

Other

  • On several occasions in 100 Bullets, people have tried to mug Lono. He either kills them on the spot or tracks them down later for some graphic on-panel fun.
  • Asterix
    • A Running Gag with the poor pirates who always end up attacking the ship the Gauls are on. They most often end up punched a bit and their ship sinking. After a while, they'd rather sink the ship themselves to avoid the punches.
    • Before the pirates even made an appearance, in Asterix and the Golden Sickle, Asterix and Obelix are traveling toward Lutetia and are attacked a few times by brigands or barbarians. The two Gauls don't even deign making a pause in their conversation and keep walking while they casually slap around the first group of muggers.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Wishmerhill visits a powerful mage who claims to know where to find the oracle. The mage drugs him and straps him to a device intending to drain his lifeforce. He didn't know that Wismerhill possessed powers far beyond an ordinary half-elf.
  • In an early chapter of Bone, Phoney Bone, lost in the Valley, decides to ask directions from the Great Red Dragon, a powerful being who is also the only thing that strikes fear in the hearts of the sinister rat creatures who are after him. He proceeds to ask for information in the most condescending way possible, insulting the dragon with every syllable, as the dragon gets more and more visibly irritated, with ever greater amounts of smoke rising from his nostrils. Luckily, Ted comes along and steers Phoney away before he's burnt to a cinder.
  • In the first issue of Cerebus the Aardvark, someone makes the mistake of grabbing Cerebus's tail. He was bleeding pretty badly from the stump where Cerebus cut off his hand.
  • All the way back from 1953, the cover of Crime Mysteries #10 gives a pretty literal and straightforward instance of this trope. A masked gangster tells a couple "Okay, folks - this is a stick-up!" What he can't see is that the couple are a werewolf and a vampire.
    Werewolf: HAW! Watch that punk's face when we turn around!
    Vampire: Tee-hee!
  • The Darkness: In an interesting variation, Jackie Estacado's sidekick Wenders is threatened on two separate occasions for being openly gay. Wenders himself has no powers, but he is saved each time, first by the surprising ability of Darklings to leap out of his Cell phone and devour the muggers and the second time by everyone in the diner he was in spontaneously catching on fire.
  • Once in a while Diabolik or Eva are mugged by someone who doesn't know who they are. If Diabolik and Eva have no need to keep cover, the muggers will get summarily beat up or, if they're in a hurry, drugged up, assuming Diabolik won't draw out his knives and kill them on the spot. Then there were two guys desperate for money who had been hired to assassinate someone Diabolik had replaced and had a few encounters with him before finding out who they were dealing with...
    "Blow me down! We were trying to kill Diabolik!"*drinks some whiskey*
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: A Running Gag in the classic Paperinik New Adventures stories: whoever is Paperinik's current enemy enters some place thinking it will be an easy victory, only to find out Paperinik got him to attack someone far beyond their ability to take. Examples include two cops trying to arrest Paperinik only to barge in the bedroom of the chief of the police and the Beagle Boys barging in what they believe is Paperinik's house to try and catch him unarmed only to find out it's the home of a member of the national American Football team who has some fellow national team players as guests. Then there are bandits from out of city who take on Paperinik expecting him to be just a buffoon with a ridiculous costume instead of Donald Duck armed with superhero gadgets and looking to vent some frustration on bandits...
  • The setup of FreakAngels is somewhere between this and Bullying a Dragon. The government obviously knows that the children are dangerous. That's why they are going after them, they're concerned they are a national security risk. But no-one, including the Freak Angels themselves, realize just how world-wreckingly dangerous they are.
  • In one issue of Gen¹³, as Fairchild is walking along by the street, a group of guys decide to "invite her into their car", and when she turns them down they make it clear that they're not asking. Cue their shock as she drags the car behind her to the police station while they're trying to gun it in reverse.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters had this happen when the big G was temporarily shrunk by Hank Pym's Applied Phlebotinum. The Tagalong Kid had "disguised" the lizard in a trenchcoat and hat, then lost Godzilla in New York City. Godzilla wanders down the wrong back alley, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Grendel:
    • Hunter Rose was mugged once when he went out for a stroll in an effort to cure his writer's block. Brutally killing the muggers was exactly what he needed.
    • In a Shout-Out to Terminator, Batman/Grendel II has Grendel Prime mugged by a biker gang as soon as he materialises in Gotham City. This meant he didn't have to go looking for transport and weapons. Of course, the fact that the biker gang were willing to mug an eight-foot-tall, powerfully-built man dressed from head to foot in black leather, including a full-face mask, probably says something about Gotham.
  • The Dutch cartoon Humor in Beroepen: Politie ("Humor in Jobs: Police") contains a number of "unlucky crook" tales. But the best one is about a crook whom first tries to rob an elderly lady and gets beaten into submission with an umbrella, then tries some car-jacking while the (very large) owner is standing behind him, and finally tries to rob a young lady only to be sent flying with a karate kick. In the last panel he is at the police station complaining that his neighborhood has gotten too dangerous.
  • In I Feel Sick, the same Sickness that controlled Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, and gave him his freedom from being caught for his murders, tries to strike a similar deal to enslave Devi. Devi instead seals Sickness inside of herself and informs it that if it wants to be a part of her it has to be as much of a slave to her art as her and leaves its eyes in a mason jar on her desks forcing it to watch her art. Then again she also beat the snot out of Johnny when he tried to kill her so perhaps it wasn't the best to try and claim her mind.
  • In John Wick a rude and abrasive hitman is waiting for his steak as he discusses an assassination with a colleague. When he sees someone got a pie before him he starts berating the waitress and then turns his sights on the man and starts aggravating and goading him. As you can guess that man is John Wick, and as you can also guess the next time they meet, it isn't pretty.
  • In one Knights of the Dinner Table story, Bob takes the Untouchable Trio's tendency to mistreat hirelings to a new low, declaring his intent to slap them around until they are psychologically broken and desperate for their master's approval. B.A. sets him up with an NPC hireling named "Skinny Stiltskin". When Bob pushes Skinny to the point of fighting back, B.A. describes him as a hulking brute who easily beats the tar out of Bob's character. When Bob protests, B.A. points out that Bob never asked for a description but merely assumed that Skinny's physique fit his name — in fact, he was exactly the opposite, like Little John from the Robin Hood stories.
  • Lucky Luke sometimes defeats random bandits. In one case, he travels through a mountain pass, casually disarming Indians and bandits while monologuing to his Cool Horse. When he arrives at his destination, he expresses surprise at being told there were bandits in that pass, and can't explain where the arrow in his hat came from. But then again, he is an Invincible Hero...
  • Near the end of Alan Moore's run on Miracleman, some kids bully Jonathan Bates at an orphanage until he can't take it anymore and unleashes his murderously psychotic superpowered alter-ego Kid Miracleman.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón's comic El Bacilón has the title character (a gigantic, anthropomorphic green monster) walk around the seedy parts of the city; a mugger targets him, but since he is waiting behind a corner, he only hears it walking. He becomes a Running Gag along the episode and eventually turns mad due to both the monster and Mortadelo disguised as a big animal.
  • In Red Sonja: Blue the main character and her companion are attacked by a gang of robbers while traversing through a forest. Since she is not wearing her signature Chainmail Bikini, the bandits don't believe her claim that she is Red Sonja, a mistake that costs them their lives.
  • In Shaman's Tears, a street gang attempts to mug Joshua Brand while he is meditating in Central Park. As Joshua has the power to call on the abilities of any animal, this ends badly for them.
  • Street Fighter:
    • In one of the comics by UDON, this happens to some thugs and Chun Li.
    • At one point during his travels across the world, Ryu is challenged by a cocky Kushti wrestler. The fight isn't seen, but implicitly it doesn't end well for the wrestler.
  • Happens from time to time in Usagi Yojimbo, as you'd expect of a Samurai genre epic.
    • In the Grasscutter arc, Gen finds the remains of a bandit gang who apparently tried to rob the demonic entity Jei. He comes upon a multitude of corpses strewn like so many broken dolls, their faces frozen in abject terror, their eyes wide and staring out into nothing in horror that is plain and striking even (or especially) with Stan Sakai's deceptively simplistic art style. Adding blood to the scene would have arguably detracted from it by, ironically, making it far more cartoonish.
    • When Usagi was still a student and traveling with his mentor Katsuichi, they were menaced by four thugs who demanded the food the two samurai were carrying. However, Katsuichi averts the trope by offering them the food. Still looking for trouble, the thugs take Usagi hostage and bring a Single-Stroke Battle on themselves.
    • In another aversion, Usagi once peaceably handed a bag he was carrying to a thief. He contented himself with a very easily-misunderstood Badass Boast:
      Usagi: Nothing in here is worth a person's life. Here, take it.
  • Vampirella
    • In one story, a serial rapist/slasher was on the loose and Vampirella wandered through the park playing the easy victim. No bets how this ended for him.
    • The first issue of Vampirella Lives by Warren Ellis combines this trope with Mistaken for Prostitute. Vampirella and her guide are accosted by a group of ravenous vampires who assume she is a prostitute because of her attire. She proceeds to slaughter them all with the help of her ally.
  • In Volume 2, Issue 1 of Witch Girls Adventures, a group of gang members try to mug a group of the eponymous witch girls. Most of the girls respond by using flashy but harmless magic to scare or force them into submission, but Princess Lucinda — the team's Heroic Comedic Sociopath — responds by turning one of them into a bug and another into a frog, with the expected results; the one that got turned into a bug was especially Too Dumb to Live because he actively charged Lucinda after all his other friends save one were summarily dispatched by the girls' magic and he knew just how dangerous they actually were. Then, just to seal the deal, he taunted his friend who had been turned into a frog.
  • Judge Dredd: Towards the end of the Dark Judges story "The Torture Garden", the survivors of Dominion lure them into pursuing them down a cave containing "Stink Bugs", pheral humanoid aliens which primarily feed on rotting meat. The four zombies are initially startled when they get jumped, but dispose of the creatures pretty quickly.
  • Benoit Brisefer: The various villains in the series frequently underestimate Benoit because he looks like an ordinary young boy, and find out the hard way he is anything but.
  • In Silverblade #2, two muggers decide they want Silverblade's cape and pull knives and force him into an alley. They immediately regret this as Jonathan transforms first into a mummy and then a prize fighter to deal with them. The cop he leaves them with remarks that one of them has had his jaw broken.

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