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Playing With / Anti-Hero Substitute

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Basic Trope: A heroic character is replaced by a Darker and Edgier Anti-Hero replacement who adopts the hero's mantle.

  • Straight: Alice Ashley — the superhero Amazing Girl — is severely injured in the line of duty and must retire. Her identity as Amazing Girl is adopted by Angela Anderson, who dismisses Alice's values as 'childish' and 'outdated', and begins to operate in a more ruthless, brutal fashion.
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  • Exaggerated: Angela is a vicious borderline sociopath who, once she's Amazing Girl, performs the role in a psychotic Knight Templar fashion.
  • Downplayed: Angela is more willing to use lethal force against her enemies, but doesn't actively try to kill anyone and stays within Alice's values most of the time.
  • Justified:
    • Angela suffered through a more difficult upbringing than Alice, punctuated with violence, poverty and abuse, and has as a result developed a more cynical, hard-edged and ruthless view of the world than Alice.
    • Angela is a friend of Alice and is aware of her secret. So she makes a promise to take up her job as Amazing Girl while she was injured. Unfortunately for Alice, they have different ideas of what constitutes good. Alice believes it is better to avoid killing enemies because Even Evil Has Loved Ones and she thinks that If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him. While Angela believes it is more moral to kill some villains because it will prevent them from killing/raping more innocents.
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    • Alice is able to keep the city at peace using nonlethal methods and a good public image. Angela wants to keep the city peaceful too, but she's not quite as skilled at fighting crime as Alice and has to resort to killing, blackmail, and other dirty ways of fighting to keep pace with pre-retirement Alice.
  • Inverted: Angela Anderson, the Anti-Hero Dark Blood, is severely injured in the line of duty and replaced by Alice Ashley, an optimistic young woman who transforms the identity into The Cape.
  • Subverted:
    • Although she disagrees with Alice's views on the world, Angela deeply admires her predecessor's courage and ability and pledges to uphold her views while acting as Amazing Girl as a mark of respect.
    • Angela dresses in black and is generally rough around the edges, but turns out to be just as idealistic as Alice, if not more so.
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  • Double Subverted: Angela is unable to live up to Alice's standards and eventually starts acting in a darker, more ruthless fashion.
  • Parodied: Angela changes nothing except some rather trivial and petty things about how Alice operates, under the mistaken belief that she is somehow being 'edgier'.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice suspects that Angela is having difficulty adjusting to the role of Amazing Girl, which she does not, but decides to spy on her when she is fighting crime. Angela finds out that Alice is watching her, which causes her to become nervous and makes some mistakes, that leads to Villian of the Week to die. Alice yells at Angela, which causes her to become stressful, and leads to her to become an Anti-Hero.
  • Averted:
    • Alice does not need to surrender the role of Amazing Girl.
    • Angela does not become Amazing Girl, the writer instead creating a whole new superheroic identity for her.
  • Enforced: The story is written at a time when Darker and Edgier Anti Heroes are popular, and the producers want to replace an old-fashioned hero with a newer, more ruthless model in order to get a piece of the action.
  • Lampshaded: "I'm your newer, darker replacement, Alice!"
  • Invoked:
    • Angela challenges Alice to trial by combat in an attempt to steal her identity.
    • Angela cripples Alice in order to take her place with the belief that her brutal view of justice is more pragmatic and effective.
  • Exploited: The local Magnificent Bastard has a policy of severely injuring a local hero, waiting until their replacement slides a few inches down the slippery slope, and then seducing them to the Dark Side by presenting himself as someone who just wants to make "real" change with much more brutal methods than the incapacitated original hero would ever allow. If it works, it's an easy source of dragons and other lieutenants; if it doesn't, he's at least replaced a highly experienced hero with a relative amateur.
  • Defied: Alice ensures that her replacement is Amanda, who is closer to Alice's ideals.
  • Discussed: "It doesn't matter what you call yourself, Angela; as long as you murder your enemies you aren't Amazing Girl, you never will be, and we both know it."
  • Conversed: "Oh look, they've replaced Amazing Girl with a Darker and Edgier version. Guess I'm not gonna be reading this comic for a while."
  • Deconstructed: Angela finds that when she tries dispensing her brand of justice, the media and citizenry turn on her, something Alice always managed to avoid by adhering to a code of conduct, observing similar procedures as those of mundane law enforcement, not seeing herself as above the law, and not being an asshole to everyone.
  • Reconstructed: Alice decides to retire and pass on her mantle to Angela, and stick around long enough to make sure she's made the right choice. Angela's methods are more brutal or direct than Alice's ever were, but are kept from being unnecessarily so by Alice's instruction.
  • Played For Laughs: Angela is laughably incompetent and out of her depth in the role, but her massive ego and formidable capacity for self-delusion make her incapable of acknowledging this.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Angela, in her arrogance and zeal, eventually takes things too far, eventually becoming no better than the villains Amazing Girl is supposed to fight. This means that Alice must overcome the difficulties which forced her to give up the role (including death, if necessary) to reclaim her mantle from Angela, who now that she has it is not willing to let it go without a fight...
    • Angela's arrogance and ruthlessness antagonizes Alice's former allies, who make it clear that Angela is not Amazing Girl to them. Her arrogance leads to overconfidence, meaning that she is soon outmatched.

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