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Offscreen Moment Of Awesome / Comic Books

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  • Done quite frequently in Asterix to mix up the slapstick a little:
    • In one story, Obelix is really into collecting Roman helmets as trophies, so we watch him wander away from a fight to stack his helmets up, while the fight rages on.
    • In Asterix in Corsica we cut from the Corsicans versus the Roman Army to watch three old men discussing the impenetrable, boring family trees of the Corsican warriors, such as whose sister married whose nephew.
    • When Asterix sets Obelix loose in a Roman fort because he hasn't had anything to do in the story, we watch the chaos from a decent distance, where we can't make out any detail — only Asterix relaxing on a grassy hillside.
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    • The Roman Agent shows the most epic battle in the history of the village in the style of a history book illustration where it's far too zoomed-out for us to clearly see what's happening. This also happens in-universe when the two Non Action Guys are shown waiting in the middle of the village, one of whom is asking the other what's going on.
  • This is a mainstay trope of many Astro City stories; since the focus is on the emotional or personal growth of the characters, earth-shattering events are often relegated to mere background color.
    • "Everyday Life" has the First Family repeatedly tearing through armies of Mooks in search of their missing daughter, yet each battle is relegated to one or two frames, to better focus on her efforts to learn hopscotch.
    • "Confession" has a worldwide alien invasion with dozens of heroes against an army of shape-shifting extraterrestrials, with a dozen panels devoted to the actual battles themselves.
    • "The Nearness of You" turns a Time Crash Crisis Crossover into a background reference, summarized in a handful of panels across a single Splash Page.
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  • Blue Beetle: In Jaime Reyes's first series, Guy Gardner starts a "really cool bar fight." We see what causes the fight, we are told that it is really cool, but the fight itself happens off panel.
  • From the third Contest of Champions, the fourth issue has Stick somehow managing to knock out a Silver Age version of The Sentry. But it's a subversion. Stick actually convinced him to take a dive as part of their plan.
    • Issue 6 has The Maestro versus The Grandmaster. It manages to last four minutes, but we only see the end result: The big green guy complaining about how it wasn't fun, while the Grandmaster lies on the floor waiting for his bones to knit back together.
  • The overuse of this trope was one of the criticisms of Contest of Champions II. In the later issues, certain fights were only depicted in a single panel with a caption stating who won. While some of these were at least semi-plausible (Spider-Man defeating Beast, Black Panther defeating several of the New Warriors, Gambit defeating Quicksilver), a few got to truly ludicrous levels, with Black Widow beating Wonder Man and then taking down the entirety of X-Force by herself.
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  • In Convergence #8, Superman and his family from the pre-Flashpoint universe, Supergirl and Barry Allen from the Silver Age, and Hal Jordan from the pre-Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! universe travel to the past and prevent the Crisis on Infinite Earths from happening in the first place. Their actions are not shown but their efforts are successful and ensure the rebirth of the multiverse.
  • In an ElfQuest miniseries, Rebels, "The worst pile-up in many years" during a futuristic race happens mostly off panel. We just see the aftermath.
  • Frau Totenkinder and Baba Yaga's duel in Fables. All we saw were lightning strikes, silhouettes of monsters, and King Cole scared shitless, and it still proved to be the best battle yet, and one of the sole reasons for Totenkinder's badass rep.
  • During Chris Claremont's run on Fantastic Four, Susan Richards faces off against Absorbing Man, She-Hulk and Ben Grimm (the latter two being Brainwashed and Crazy at the time) for threatening Valeria, her time-lost, alternate-universe daughter (it's complicated). Reed Richards urges Johnny Storm, Valeria and a visiting Spider-Man to stand back and let Susan deal with the three powerhouses, seeing this fight as "therapy" for her. We never see the resulting fight, we just read a few random sound-effects and see reaction shots of Reed ("An excellent synthesis of form and function."), Johnny ("Oh, that's gotta hurt!"), Valeria ("Hit 'im again, Mom!") and Spider-Man ("I never, never, never want to make her mad at me!").
    • An issue of Fantastic Four during John Byrne's run starts with the team returning from a cosmic adventure, which we never actually see. When She-Hulk (who was subbing for the Thing at the time) comments that their adventure would provide some entertaining stories for their comic book, the Human Torch comments, "I dunno, Jen. Last I heard there's a theory among the publishing companies that 'Cosmic Doesn't Sell'." This leads to a brief Author Filibuster where Johnny Storm, speaking for John Byrne, advises the readers to contact Marvel Comics and tell them that they want Cosmic stories.
  • Hellblazer: Seen in the Hard Times story arc. During John Constantine's days incarcerated in a penitentiary, a gang of inmates decided to rape the Englishman while he was taking a shower. Unfortunately John wasn't too keen in getting butt-plugged. Although readers never saw what was going on inside the shower room, John seemingly saved his ass by cursing the would be rapists with catatonia. Apparently it was too awesome to be seen.
  • Justice League: Cry for Justice has Green Lantern and Green Arrow defeating an army of super-villains single-handed and off-panel. The comic jumps from them leaping into battle to another scene, then back to them after the battle is over. And in the final issue, Green Arrow brags about how he and the Jack Bauer League were able to shut down a notorious Somali pirate who is never seen or mentioned before that moment. Sure would've been nice to actually see them doing those things...
  • Grant Morrison has some issues with endings, but the way the "World War III" arc of his JLA run ended really takes the cake. Every person on Earth gets powers (including Oracle, who, you'll remember, has been paralyzed from the waist down for years.) They join the angelic choir in an assault on a horrifying Eldritch Abomination-style-thing. We see the Earth's population and the angels going into space for one two-page thread... and then we never see any of the fight. Okay, so thematically it was supposed to be about Superman's fight against Mageddon, but how can you tease such a gigantic fight and not show it?!
    • He'd done it before at the start of his run. When the JLA escapes and goes on the attack against the (disguised as superhumans) White Martians, we see at least part of the one-on-one battles most of them have. Except for Batman, who shows up dragging three unconscious White Martians behind him.
  • In Life and Times series Volume VIII, Slick gave Scrooge the lamest insult ever. There was no battle; Scrooge was so full of pure wrath that it couldn't be called a fight. Shame that we saw only what the people outside the casino saw.
    • Don Rosa deliberately did this as example of how American legends are exaggerated over time. A later tie-in story has Scrooge telling Casey Coot that the whole incident wasn't nearly as awesome as stated, and that the townspeople make it more ridiculous every time they tell it.
  • In the first issue of Magekiller, Marius defeats an arcane horror and two rage demons by himself offpanel.
  • Marvel Adventures: The Avengers: In Issue #33, The Hulk is seen riding an ankylosaurus (New York is currently facing an ongoing revived dinosaur situation in its streets), and a cop reports to Spider-Man that The Hulk appears to have it under control. But when the dinosaur bites him, the Hulk gets mad. We see the cop's reaction to the ensuing Curb-Stomp Battle, but not the fight itself.
    Cop: Oh... wow. This fight is OVER!
  • The Wolverine/Lobo fight in Marvel Versus DC took place entirely behind a bar. Most likely because there was no plausible way the writers could think of to have Wolverine (who, at the time, had been stripped of his adamantium skeleton and claws) beat a Superman-class powerhouse like Lobo. (It's later revealed that Professor Xavier paid him to take a dive; Every Man Has His Price, even Lobo.)
  • Mini Marvels: World War Hulk has The Incredible Hulk and Black Bolt of The Inhumans engage in 'the most devastating Haiku contest this universe has ever seen', off-panel, after which Hulk holds up Bolt's beaten body to a television screen for The Avengers to see. Keep in mind that Black Bolt saying even one word is enough to level a large city, and to compose a haiku he would have to utter twelve. And the Hulk lived through that. And made a better haiku while he was at it.
  • In Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1, Abin Sur of Earth-20 defeats Count Sinestro of Earth-40 completely off-panel.
  • Spoofed in the What... Huh? issue "Mutant Summer Beach Party", when the various X-Characters get into a fight with some villains, and Captain Britain crows about how it was a series of epic battle royales, and the readers will naturally want to buy the miniseries showing it.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) Celestia (aided by Spike) has an epic fight defending Canterlot against a horde of giant Cocktrices. The bonus story shows that it's a really, really hard battle, and Spike's aid is invaluable against the giant foes.
  • In New Krypton's final arc "War of the Supermen", Supergirl defeats her old enemy Superwoman for good. It's a brutal, one-sided beatdown... which happens completely off panel.
  • At the end of Preacher, the Saint of Killers takes on the entire Heavenly Host when they get in his way. All we see of it is him standing there surrounded by angel corpses awaiting God's return. So that he can shoot him. Yeah. And even that happens off panel!
  • Maddie of Rat Queens gets a big one when the Once and Future King arrests the other Queens for a show trial and execution. Maddie is kicked offscreen early, but reappears by the end of the issue having slaughtered the army outside town single-handedly.
  • Runaways doesn't show Karolina and Xavin's wedding, or the Skrulls and Majesdanians blowing up each other's planets shortly after. Instead of extraterrestrial lesbian weddings, intergalactic war and explosions, we get the rest of the Runaways fighting with each other and falling to pieces.
    • This was probably intentional, as the entire point of Xavin's introduction was to create a pretense to remove Karolina from the series because Marvel dreaded the wrath of the Moral Guardians who might object to having a open lesbian character in a series that was ostensibly aimed at teenagers. Actually showing Xavin and Karolina's courtship and nuptials would have defeated the purpose.
    • Similarly, we don't see exactly how Nico escaped from the Witchbreaker during "Dead End Kids", presumably because Marvel was eager to hurry up and close that arc so that the kids could be used for a Secret Invasion crossover with the Young Avengers.
  • A beautifully understated one from The Sandman, in which Lucien, Dream's mild-mannered, polite, and determinedly non-threatening librarian, mentions that Dream's prisoners — all the dark monsters too horrific or dangerous to serve as nightmares — have escaped, then adds:
    "A couple of them took refuge in the library. I... dealt with them."
  • Parodied in one issue of The Simpsons comic, when Krusty is pitching his own spy TV show. In the climax of the pilot episode, Krusty's character tells his secretary all of the things he did to stop the Big Bad. (Krusty tells the irate studio heads that he couldn't actually show the action on-screen because he blew the show's budget on one scene involving helicopter shoes.)
  • This is how Spider-Man defeated Firelord, someone way above his power class, shocking the Avengers and likely the fans. How it happened, nobody knows, so everyone just has to take their word for it... well technically it was likely a combination of using his hax Spider-Sense and Super Speed to overwhelm the former Herald of Galctus attacking him with a barrage of blows all while avoiding Firelord's fatal attacks until Firelord passed out. Making it more of Victory by Endurance.
  • In Spider-Verse, the massive battle between Leopardon and The Inheritor known as Solus is never seen after the initial blows and we only see Takuya joining the other Spiders in defeat, telling them that Leopardon gave him a chance to escape. This ended up leading to some fans believing that Leopardon got Worfed without realizing that the first tokusatsu giant robot battled a Physical God to a standstill and forced him to lose that power just to win.
  • Squirrel Girl does this all the time. In New Avengers, for example, she takes down a Nazi mech. She then runs into three more. She charges them as they open fire. We next see her at Avengers Mansion, battered and bleeding.
    • This is a running gag with Squirrel Girl, where she defeats someone like Thanos and Galactus off-screen while her team is dealing with a considerably smaller threat.
  • In the Strontium Dog story "The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha", Middenface and Precious have to break Feral out of a high-security prison where, for the past three months, he has been force-fed in order to be fat enough for a ritual sacrifice. This certainly sounds like an awesome action scene, and indeed the cover implies that this is what the strip focuses on... but instead, as soon as Feral is loose, he passes out, and we cut to a spaceship where Middenface is injured, and remarks that the escape wasn't easy. It's unclear if the sequence was skipped in order to keep the plot going or if Wagner and Ezquerra just couldn't figure out how to show it, but either way it went down poorly.
  • The Thanos Imperative uses this for effect. When the Cancerverse unleashes their Galactus Engine on the normal universe, it is shown to simply sit there doing nothing. Silver Surfer explains that the battle the Engine is involved with exists at a conceptual level (literally different abstract concepts trying to kill each other) so the fighting is impossible for mortals to see, only the consequences. Just as Nova is complaining about not being able to tell what is going on, one of the abstracts on their side explodes.
  • In Tintin in the Land of Black Gold Tintin is cornered by the villainous Dr. Müller's henchmen, when his friend Captain Haddock, who has been absent through most of the story, pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment and saves him. We never see how Haddock found out where Tintin was or his battle with Müller and his men.[[note]] This was done due to that particular story's Troubled Production History. Herge had already published about a third of Black Gold, when the newspaper he was working for was closed down by the Germans in 1940. He then started publishing a new Tintin story in another newspaper, where he introduced the character of Captain Haddock. When he took up Black Gold again after the war, Haddock had become such an established part of the series that it would be impossible not to include him in the story. Herge lampshades this by never even explaining why Haddock suddenly shows up: Haddock is always interrupted, when he tries to tell his story and only manages to say that it is "simple and complicated at the same time"
  • Done deliberately in Too Much Coffee Man. After studiously avoiding any even vaguely superheroic content in a superhero comic, we finally get an alien coming to Earth and begging the hero for help. The two of them make small talk as they get ready for the adventure ... then the story jumps ahead to show them coming home, since the small talk was the real point.
  • Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper: When the Decepticons kill a humanoid female Cliff befriended, he picks up his guns and kills all seven of them. It isn't shown how he did it, but Cliff hammers his friend's tombstone with one of the Cons' heads.
  • The Ultimates
    • During Ultimates 2, the European Union Super Soldier Initiative sneak into Liberator-occupied territory and bust out the other heroes, all on their own. And almost entirely off-page.
    • Monica Chang, aka Black Widow II, taking on a Giant-Man squad after getting pinned underneath one's hand, next time we see her she is standing on on of them before leaping into the battle with the remaining troops sent against her by SHIELD.
  • In Watchmen, all of the plot, flashbacks aside, is set after the Super Registration Act, so a lot of the crime-fighting of the Minutemen (and the individual characters, after the Minutemen disbanded) is actually depicted offscreen. Some of the fights and acts are talked about by lots of characters, various events are retold from various points of view, and others are just mentioned briefly. Most of the flashbacks flesh out those events.
    • This was partially remedied by Before Watchmen, which fleshed out many of the events that were only alluded to in the original.
  • Fantomex gets one in the X-Men story arc "Nation X". A group of vicious mutant-hunting monsters known as Predator X attack the X-Men island of Utopia, each one requiring an entire team to narrowly defeat. One of them escapes to New York, and the X-Men track it down...only to find that Fantomex has already killed it single-handedly. Without a scratch on him. In a sewer, without even getting his nice white costume dirty.
  • In the 1980s, most of the X-Men faked their deaths during the "Fall Of The Mutants" storyline. The survivors formed a new team, Excalibur. The "dead" X-Men went around doing good in secret, until it eventually became clear to the world that they weren't dead. We never saw the moment when the members of Excalibur learned their old friends weren't dead, and instead learned, in the letter column, that they had found out and been in contact over the phone. Given that Chris Claremont was writing both titles (he quit Excalibur after the point that the New Mutants, X-Factor, and others all knew the X-Men were alive), one wonders what happened that such an emotional moment was left off-screen.


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