Handicapped Badass

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"He knows my every move yet he cannot see. As my mind fights to make sense of the impossible he has turned my advantage into a liability."
Huey, dreaming about a blind black samurai, The Boondocks

How can you possibly make an undeniably Badass character even more badass? Easy; make him lose an eye, or have her get paralyzed from the waist down, or give them some disease from which there is no cure. And... do NOT use the Reset Button. "What?!", you say. "My character must stay injured/handicapped?" Simply, yes.

In Real Life, we know how hard it is to accomplish Badass feats in perfect health and condition, so of course anybody that does it with a handicap instantly earns our respect. Imagine how much more awesome that shoot-out is going to be when the audience finds out The Hero...is blind. Imagine the buzz your character will get when they win the judo competition with just one good leg. If done right, a handicapped character even doing something mundane can become a Crowning Moment of Awesome.

It is important that your character's conquest of their physical challenge make sense; not properly explaining their ability to continue to function, let alone functioning on the badass level, will result in audience confusion, or worse, your character might become a kind of Sympathetic Sue.

For sake of story, a restrained dose of Applied Phlebotinum is allowed to explain or aid the character's ability to overcome the handicap. This technological or otherwise un-standard aid cannot completely cure or nullify the effects of the injury, that would kill the point of the character triumphing over the handicap. Thus, the Six Million Dollar Man wouldn't count. On the other hand, if the device that helps the character has drawbacks to using it that constantly reminds the character of their issue, well that's cool - e.g. a blind character gets a robotic eye that gives him X-Ray vision, but it won't work in broad daylight...

Some writers will go for extra points by showing how an injury actually unlocked the character's true potential by causing them to discover some heretofore unrealized skill or ability or learning a new one. A Training Montage might be in order to show how the character learned to overcome the handicap. If a person has powers because they are disabled, then that's Disability Superpower. The Deaf Composer may go through a similar process regarding their chosen craft.

Mental challenges count as well. Old age doesn't as that's already covered by Badass Grandpa, Never Mess with Granny, Old Master, and similar tropes.

One of the few tropes where you might see it more in Real Life than in any fiction; it's what happens when people don't accept Sorry, Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs as an answer.

Of course, it annoys real-life disabled people often enough, too, when they are expected to follow this trope and be "inspirational" instead of just going about their lives, possibly (God forbid) wanting accommodations. Well, at least it isn't vomit-inducing pity.

Examples of Handicapped Badass include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Sora Takeuchi of Air Gear can run as well as many other AT users in the series, if not better. In a wheelchair. He's just that awesome.
    • Too bad he's later revealed to be one of the BigBads, along with his Evil Twin brother, Nike.
  • Briareos from Appleseed had such extensive cybernetic surgery that he looks more like a robot than a human. He's often worried about become more machine than human, but so far his wife doesn't seem to care.
    • It's hard to think of Briareos as being remotely handicapped in his cyborg body. He's at least seven feet tall, and bulging with synthetic muscle everywhere at Mr.Universe proportions.
    • The body model, Hecatonchire, is named after mythical giants with 100 arms and heads. His significantly advanced hacking capabilities and add-on flight armor with two extra arms make the name fit pretty well.
  • Played with in Basilisk. Hyouma Muroga from the Kouga Manjidani is a mighty swordsman and mentor as well as The Lancer to both his leader Danjou and his nephew/adoptive son Gennosuke - but either due to eyesight problems (original novel) or being Blessed with Suck due to Power Incontinence (anime and manga), he can't use his eyes, linked ot his special powers. He still remains a really powerful fighter and excellent strategist.
    • Played straight, though, with Koushirou Chikuma from the Iga Tsubagakure. Ironically, he is the one who defeats and kills Hyouma, since he was already blinded when they fought... and Hyouma's doujutsu powers do NOT work on a blind opponent.
    • Also, Gennosuke himself spends about half the story as one, thanks to the Seven Days Ointment that forces his eyes sealed
    • Let's not forget Jubei Jimushi, who has no limbs but can still use his extra-long tongue to either handle his pipe or use a small sword. He's the one who kills Tenzen for the first time, after all. Too bad Tenzen's power is coming back from the dead...
  • Berserk: Guts cuts his own arm off, in a desperate attempt to save Casca from being raped by Griffith, but it is later replaced by a metal version (that has a built in cannon).
    • Not long after losing the arm he loses his right eye.
    • Also, besides the attached/built-in weapons and a magnet in the palm for holding his BFS the thing is just a regular prosthetic (fore)arm.
  • Killy from Blame! spends a majority of the manga in peak condition, but by the final chapter, had lost a leg and the sight in his right eye. This forces him to replace his leg with a piece of scrap metal, earning him the affectionate nickname "Pirate Killy". This doesn't slow him down in the least.
  • Bleach:
    • Despite being blind, Tousen was Captain of the 9th Division, has incredible spiritual power, and even managed to give Blood Knight Kenpachi a hard time. His blindness is also one of the causes for his friendship with Sajin Komamura, as he was unable to see Komamura's face, making him the first person to befriend Komamura instead of treating him like an outcast. In a bit of poetic justice: Tousen's eventual defeat came because his Hollow-form could see. Notably, it's never explained how he could function, although it's later implied when Ichigo is temporarily blinded to teach him how to detect reiatsu that being blind allows for an almost sixth "sight" to develop as an alternative.
    • Ukitake, aka Captain Tuberculosis, was afflicted in early childhood with an incurable lung disease (the fandom speculates it's tuberculosis but the manga never clarifies). It's sometimes used as a plot device to ensure he can't function at certain times when other characters need to shine. Despite his condition, which does keep him confined to a sickbed on a frequent basis, he still managed to become powerful enough to become not only a captain but one of the longest-serving captains of them all.
    • Yamamoto. He sacrifices his left arm in an attempt to blow up Aizen. Aizen survives, but only because of the Hougyoku.
    • Kukaku Shiba, the one-armed woman (changed to her wearing a prosthetic in the anime) who constantly beats up her little brother, terrifies the entire main cast, and makes a nice Dynamic Entry in the first confrontation with Aizen!
  • Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade. A generous estimate gives her life expectancy to be no greater than thirty, but god damn if she isn't going to spend those years being as Hot-Blooded as possible.
  • While his primary role in Corsair is that of an extreme woobie, there is still a certain badassness about Canale, perhaps best exemplified by his effortless victory in a duel with another pirate, despite the fact that he's blind.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Most of Father's Sacrifices, since they all gave up part of their bodies when passing through the Gate. (Hohenheim is the exception, as the transmutation he performed was the creation of a Philosopher's Stone, not an attempt to revive someone from the dead.)
    • Ed and Al, of course. Ed is missing a leg and arm, and Al is missing his whole body (he can interact with the physical world because his soul is bonded to a suit of armor).
    • Izumi Curtis. Missing her entire uterus and a portion of her intestine detracts in no way from the sheer aura of asskicking that woman emanates.
    • Roy is something of a Double Subversion. While he's unquestionably one of the series' premier badasses, his loss of eyesight to Truth comes so suddenly that he hasn't gotten a chance to figure out how to work around it, which is a bad thing when it's the Final Battle and one of the heaviest hitters just became The Load. However, he quickly gets around it by having Hawkeye, who had been almost fatally injured a while ago (via a slit throat and heavy blood loss) and couldn't take direct part in the fight, correct and direct his aim.
    • Jean Havoc
    • Subverted with King Bradley; he has an Eyepatch of Power, but it just hides the fact that he has a magic homunculus eye that makes him even more unstoppable.
    • Lan Fan loses her arm, then comes back six months later to kick ass with an automail arm- the shortest recovery time shown in the series. She's so fresh off her rehabilitation that she nearly wrenches the prosthetic out of her socket fighting, but that doesn't stop her from saving most of the cast.
    • Paninya has both legs replaced with automail, but is able to outrun and outmaneuver both Ed and Al, to the point where Ed asks if she's an acrobat. She also packs a knife and gun in her prosthetics and she knows how to use them. Not to mention the mini cannon that's mounted in one of her knees. Yes, an actual cannon that can fire baseball-sized cannonballs.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Roy Mustang becomes handicapped differently than he does in the manga--he loses an eye to Frank Archer in the final battle. In the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, he wears an Eyepatch of Power.
  • Ga-Rei Zero Ayame Jinguuji, with an awesome wheelchair and minigun prosthetic leg.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny. Andrew Waldfeld has a prosthetic leg and arm, and is missing an eye, but doesn't stop him from taking down perfectly healthy Coordinator assassins. Kinda helps his prosthetic hand doubles as a shotgun, though.
    • Not to downgrade Andrew's actions, but Gundam includes other Badass which get a lot more action. G Gundam has Master Asia who is not only of considerable age but also seems to suffer from Incurable Cough of Death and still kicks lots of ass. Mobile Suit Gundam 00's resident stupid, sexy Lockon loses an eye at the end of season one but can still have his Crowning Moment of Awesome. Or rather a whole episode of them.
      • And then you can look at some of the franchises minor characters for bouts of badassness. Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory gives us Kelly Layzner, a one-armed former Zeon pilot who retooled a Val Varo to accommodate his limitations so that he could possibly fight for Zeon again, but Cima Garahau snubbed him and the mobile armor was to go to one of her subordinates. He takes it to fight Kou in the Full Vernian, and we get a sad fight between friends.
      • G Gundam also has Kyral Mekirel, who was blinded 8 years prior to the series yet is a master swordsman and assassin, and easily in the top 10 of the surviving Gundam Fighters.
  • Captain Pip Bernadette/Bernadotte/Vernedead of Hellsing may have lost an eye, but he fights like a demon.
  • Ryuuto Asamiya, a.k.a. Odin from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, is rendered wheelchair-bound after his fight with the titular protagonist, yet is shown to be still capable of an impressive level of combat despite this. Also noteworthy is Takeda Ikki, a boxer whose left arm was unusable in a fight before fighting Kenichi. After the fight, Kenichi's Jujutsu master Akisame is able to repair the damage and give Takeda full use of his arm again.
  • Kinnikuman has Terryman, who took a bullet to the leg for the title character and decides to retire to his ranch in depression, before Kinikkuman manages to get him back in the ring. A few chapters later, however, his false leg is revealed- sending him back into depression as his fans disown him; however, we meet (arguably) another Handicapped Badass- a young kid in a wheelchair, who also uses a false leg and finds inspiration in Terryman. When Terryman's own leg is stolen by Kinkotsuman, the kid grabs onto his hero's leg and holds on, despite being attacked by the evil Choujin. This gives new hope to Terryman, who gets even stronger in future chapters.
    • Also of note is Warsman, who has a mechanical body that frequently malfunctions, especially if a fight begins to drag out for too long.
  • Probably one of the reasons why the fandom ate up the concept of Cinque in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Enemy Little Miss Badass? Nice, but we've seen lots of that in previous seasons. Enemy Little Miss Badass who lost an eye in battle and doesn't let that little problem keep her out of the front lines? Ensemble Darkhorse. Similarities to a certain Metal Gear character has been noted.
  • Monster: Roberto's right arm and hand are crippled after being shot by Tenma. It's strong enough to choke you so hard that your tongue pokes out, but not strong enough to actually kill you. His left, on the other hand...
  • Early in the series, Red-Haired Shanks of One Piece loses an arm to a sea monster. He goes on to become one of the four most dangerous pirates in the world. Outside of the other three, nobody screws with him.
    • It's mentioned that, previous to losing his arm, he'd regularly sparred with the best swordsman in the world, Dracule "Hawkeye" Mihawk, who defeats Zoro literally without trying and nearly kills him.
    • The first chapter of One Piece shows Shanks doing a couple of things of things primarily with his left hand (holding booze, eating.) He also wears his sword on the right hip, which would imply that he was left-handed. Word of God states that losing his left arm hasn't diminished his fighting ability at all. That makes no sense at all, but it's still freaking awesome.
      • According to the Other Wiki, left handed people can develop ambidexterity much more easily then right handed people. When you think about it, it isn't all that unbelievable.
    • While he may not be missing an arm or a leg, or even his eyesight, Whitebeard definitely qualifies, as he manages to wipe the floor with several high-ranking Marines at once, shrugging off any wound on his person, after having been hooked on life support equipment for at least a few years.
    • He single-handedly defeated Blackbeard in one-on-one combat. With half his face. And slowly dying. Blackbeard had to bring his crew to gang up and shoot and stab him until they ran out of bullets to finally kill him. It wasn't even an immediate death. And to top all that, he Died Standing Up.
    • Gold Roger. The Pirate King himself suffered from a painful and terminal illness for four years prior to his death. Note: These were the years in which he made his final journey, conquered the grand-line and become the Pirate King
    • Post Time Skip, we also have Zoro, who has lost an eye.
  • Sara from Samurai Champloo, who despite (or possibly because of) being blind, is easily one of the most powerful warriors in the series, easily capable of defeating the already insanely skilled and Badass protagonists in a one on one duel.
  • Dragon Shiryu, later Cygnus Hyoga and Kraken Isaac in Saint Seiya. Subverted with Virgo Shaka, who like Kenpachi purposely handicaps himself (in his case, by closing his eyes despite not being blind)
  • Kurogane of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is missing his left arm. He cut it off himself to save Fai's life because he's just that much of a badass. He does get a cybernetic replacement, but it's an imperfect fit that causes him pain and falls apart during the final battle.
    • Tsubasa also has Clone Syaoran, who's missing a right eye and still manages to fell demons, misbehaving aristocrats and Mooks by the dozen almost every time he comes up against them. He just kicks them harder to make up for having a blind side, and for the lack of depth perception from his missing eye.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho has King Yomi, who was blinded by an assassin hundreds of years ago sent by his former partner, Yoko Kurama, as punishment for being a Leeroy Jenkins. To counteract this, he grew four extra ears to allow him to "hear" his surroundings. Despite his blindness, he manages to grow in power from A to S Class, take over an entire third of the Makai, curbstomp his cloned son Shura in a fight, and defeat Yusuke during the hero's final fight in the series.
    • The most impressive of all his feats? He manages to force Kurama into an alliance with him, by having one demon threaten to sabotage his parents' honeymoon flight, and having another demon keep track of his beloved stepbrother, all the while flaunting his superior firepower to make sure Kurama doesn't simply try to kill either demon threatening his family or Yomi himself. Magnificent Bastard, indeed.
  • Like his game counterpart, Wally of Pokémon Special probably suffers from a severe case of asthma. That doesn't stop him from riding a bike all the way to the top of Sky Pillar (with its collasping floors) while fending off the powerful wild Pokémon that keep jumping him so that he can battle with Norman at the top and finally wake up Rayquaza. Him having a respirator suit certainly helped, and actually allows him to safely breathe in Rayquaza's ozone-filled room.
  • Until Death Do Us Part has Mamoru. Yes, he has shades that counter his blindness by showing him a wireframe model of what's in front of him, can even give him a 3D map of his surounding and even project bullet paths and such, but those get often neutralised somehow, leaving him, well, blind. It barely affects him, if at all, because he fights by sensing killing intent anyway.
  • Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond has a few of these. Ito who lost three fingers from his right hand leaving only his ring finger and pinky and still manages to floor Musashi with a palm strike (without even drawing his sword!). Kojiro Sasaki who was born deaf and main rival of Musashi. Sasaki's first teacher Kanemaki Jisai lost the ability to use his right arm after getting it injured in a fight and still keeps going. Master Fudo a guy who fought Kojiro was covered in scars and in his fight with Kojiro he lost his right arm and he thought it was "less distracting". Musashi himself qualifies as he fought at one point with only one eye and in another, on one leg.
    • In addition, Inoue's Real is also full of these, being a manga about wheelchair basketball.
  • In Blade of the Immortal, Blood Knight/Determinator Shira lost his right hand. What does he do? Scrapes the flesh from his bones, then sharpens the bones in order to use them as weapons. Later, he loses his other hand and his left eye and still wants more.
  • In the Golden Wind arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Polnareff is confined to a wheelchair. This doesn't actually make him any weaker, in large part because his Stand doesn't need legs. (And if someone knocks the chair over, his Stand helps him right it.]]
    • Later on, Johnny, the Jojo of Part 7, has the same problem, even moreso given the time period it takes place in. This doesn't stop him from kicking ass, as well as participating in a country spanning horse race.
    • Joseph Joestar to a somewhat lesser extent in Part 3, as one of his hands is mechanical.
  • Shuh from Fist of the North Star is the second deadliest master of the Nanto Seiken style next to Souther himself, despite having literally clawed out his own eyes.
    • Falco, the successor of the Gento Kōken style, amputated one of his legs in order to spare his village Raoh's wrath. Ever since then, Falco has fought using a prosthetic leg and even then, he still gives Kenshiro a good fight.
  • Sesshoumaru from Inuyasha is missing one arm for most of the story. This does not make him any less of a Badass. In fact, he actually ends up admitting that losing his arm helped make him stronger than before.
  • Hyakkimaru from Dororo is notable in that his eyes, nose, ears and all of his limbs are prosthetics, and yet he still manages to be a Badass. It helps that he has Psychic Powers which he uses to compensate for his missing parts, and that his prosthetic arms are where he keeps his swords.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index gives usAccelerator, as Awaki learns the hard way.
  • In the Queen's Blade Rebellion battle-books and the 6th OVA, Tomoe qualifies, being blinded by a curse. In her case she was handicapped in a deliberate attempt to curtail her badassery, though it didn't work that well.
  • Psy Kaina of Heroman, possessor of Spike Spiegel's hair on crack. Having an ambiguous but incredibly painful leg injury doesn't stop him from riding a motorized skateboard or whaling away on a weaponized guitar to fight off the aliens.
  • The Goddess Vulcan from The World God Only Knows may be blind, have bad hearing and unable to walk. But her ability to control objects and move them with her mind more than compensates for this.
  • In Rosario + Vampire Season II, Hokuto makes his reappearance in a wheelchair and still manages to curb stomp Tsukune.
  • The martial artist and leader of the Kyosen Ryuu Sakon Daimaru from Gamaran. He's an insanely powerful warrior, capable of killing a man with nothing but his fingers and incredibly fast. Sadly, the horrible Training from Hell planned by his ambitious Jerkass brother destroyed his rationality and made him a sort of mentally retarded kid.
  • Gildarts from Fairy Tail. The man lost an arm, a leg, and a few internal organs to a Black Dragon and he's still one of Fairy Tail's strongest members.
    • Erza at first lost her eye and led a rebellion in order to rescue her friend but she gets a replacement later.
  • In Tsukigasa, Kuroe has no trouble killing a pair of robbers even though he only has one arm.
  • Edelhi Bootsvorz from Future GPX Cyber Formula. Losing his left arm and eye in a crash during a test drive, he gained a mechanical arm and eye in order to continue his racing career and eventually became a seasoned racer. Later in the series, he gains another replacement arm and eye, which are more advanced and natural-looking.
  • Naruto: Nagato nuked a village and he was in a wheelchair. Kimmimaro took Gaara and Rock Lee to the limit despite suffering from Incurable Cough of Death.
    • A, the current Raikage, lost his left (and dominant) arm after attacking an-Amaterasu-shrouded Sasuke, yet hasn't been slightly slowed down by the loss.
  • Ace Pilot Shinomiya Ayase from Guilty Crown.
  • Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi. He lost an eye in a fight with his best friend over a girl...but he's still quite the Badass Kung Fu Wizard, no da!
  • We don't know for certain whether it's a permanent disability yet, but going by the trailer for the third part of Rebuild of Evangelion, being unable to see out of one eye doesn't appear to have seriously inconvenienced Asuka.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: After surviving an assassination attempt that rendered him unable to produce sweat, Shishio must avoid being in any fight for more than fifteen minutes in a row. That he never needed to go beyond these limits against anyone other than Kenshin and that Kenshin needed help to make the fight last this long cements the Badass part.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Bruce Wayne when he was wheelchair-ridden in Knightfall. It's explored further in the Novelization.
  • The Chief in Doom Patrol - specifically Grant Morrison-period - becomes perhaps the ultimate example of this. Whether blasting his way into bad guys' homes with his chair-mounted rocket-launchers, calmly knee-capping opponents to put them on equal terms with himself, or using his knowledge and sheer grit to - even blown out of his chair - take on and kill the Beard Hunter (a Punisher parody), AND deliver a Bond One-Liner afterwards...and, on top of all of that, proving ultimately to have fully recovered from his paralysis some time ago, to have deliberately engineered accidents and disasters that created/destroyed other team members, and ready to re-shape the world using a combination of Chaos Theory and nanotechnology, thus becoming the Morrison run's ultimate Big Bad. What a guy!
  • X-Men Professor X's wheelchair doesn't lessen his badassness.
  • Barbara Gordon - the second (but better known) Batgirl - gets shot through the spine and paralyzed. Instead of retiring, she becomes an information broker under the name Oracle, pictured above, and becomes the greatest source of info in the DCU, leader of the Birds of Prey, member of the JLA, the hero who can pick up hundreds of millions from a supervillain's secret account and employ them somewhere else, the one who can break the Internet should she so wish. When a number of the Titans were once discussing who actually ran the JLA, and are suggesting a variety of names from Superman to Batman, Arsenal's four year old daughter immediately responded "Owacle." While she mostly does non-action work as befitting of her position, she has proved to be a capable fighter even in a wheelchair. She also beat the shit out of Spy Smasher when the latter threatens to take over her operation from her wheelchair. The fact that after Flashpoint she regained her ability to walk (though was still paralyzed for three years) has caused a Broken Base within the fandom.
  • Tony Stark. The chest injury he suffers leads to the creation of the arc reactor. Also, in the comics, Stark becomes paralyzed and has to rely on a armor suit powered by his thoughts alone.
  • Hawkeye of The Avengers handicapped himself by putting a sonic arrow in his mouth to counter an attack. He used hearing aids after that. Eventually another writer cured him of his deafness altogether, but it deserves the mention for the time he was deaf.
  • There's also Rose and Thorn, whose handicap is that she has a split personality. Rose is mild-mannered and sweet. Thorn is a bit of a vamp and very much a Badass.
  • New Avenger Echo was born deaf, but makes up for it with photographic reflexes.
  • The Condor Knight, from The 7 Lives Of The Sparrowhawk ("Les 7 Vies de L'épervier" in French) is a hell of a kind. Despite losing an entire arm, an eye and being like, fifty years old, he is certainly the most dangerous swordsman of the entire world. With his handicaps, he has defeated more than 125 people in single combat and be said to have wiped out entire indians tribes and we don't even talk about before his accidents.
  • In Dark Knight Returns, Green Arrow turns up missing an arm. He says it hurts when the weather turns cold. Later in the story he hangs upside down from a fire escape to shoot Superman with a kryptonite arrow, pulling the string with his teeth.
  • Every Cobra Warrior of Peng Lai in Immortal Iron Fist is handicapped in one way or another, and freaking insanely hardcore. While the only one we've ever directly seen is the gargantuanly obese and unerringly awesome Fat Cobra, we hear of such luminaries as the ancient Old Cobra, One-Armed Cobra, and Blind Cobra.
  • Master Wolf from Star Wars Legacy. Wolf lost his right arm in a fight with Darth Nihil and didn't replace it with a prosthetic, instead just training his left arm to use a lightsaber.
    • He has recently accepted a prosthetic, though not because of any lack of skill or badassery - just that a one armed Zabrak stands out in the crowd, and when you're a Jedi going places where there are going to be plenty of Sith, better not to stand out.
  • Despite its horrific imagery, Marvel Zombies gives us its interpretation of Black Panther: after being held captive and drugged by Zombie Giant Man as a food source, when Zombie Wasp finds out she and her husband argue, while Black Panther, without half of his right arm and left leg, takes advantage of this and escapes. Then, while confronted by some of Magneto's comrades, he SINGLEHANDEDLY kicks their asses. FUCK YEAH.
  • Captain Storm in The DCU. One eye, a woden leg and the toughest naval officer in World War Two. He had 18 issues of his own title and then served as commander of The Losers.
  • Daredevil, lawyer by day, ass-kicking vigilante by night - rendered blind after an accident in his youth, but was trained to utilize his hearing to make up for it.
  • Batman featured—briefly—the Armless Master, a master martial artist with no arms. His seven able-bodied students were each capable of giving Batman himself a serious fight. It was later retconned that he also trained Catwoman.
    • Tim Drake/Robin at one point trains with his counterpart, the Legless Master. He manages to give Lady Shiva, acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best martial artist in the DCU, a decent fight before she kills him.
  • John F. Walker aka US Agent after the villian Nuke severed his left limbs. The lack of advanced prostheses (he does not want end up as a cyborg like Nuke) does not stop him from beating some escaped prisoners back into their cells.
  • In the Wolverine arc Old Man Logan, aged Avenger Hawkeye is blind. However, his archery skills aren't diminished in the least, such as when his captive daughter merely gives angles for him to hit the right target dead on.
  • New Warriors member Silhouette's leg are crippled, but that's never prevented her from beating ass. She even had her boyfriend Night Thrasher build a bunch of weapons into her braces.
  • Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead gets his dominant hand chopped off about midway through the series. The other survivors force him to admit that he's much more vulnerable with the handicap, but necessity forces him to get out of a number of scrapes using his off-hand, and his tenacity makes him pretty badass.
  • Zato-Ino the "blind swordspig" in Usagi Yojimbo is an obvious Shout-Out to Zatoichi, the famous blind swordsman.
  • Security guard Aaron Cash in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell gets his hand eaten by Killer Croc before the story even begins. He understandably angsts about this for while until he finds a better reason to angst. Doesn't stop him from saving the rest of Arkham's staff from demons. He also rips off a piece of demonized Killer Croc's hide and makes a wallet out of it.
  • Armless Tigerman. He's armless BUT HE'S A TIGER MAN.
  • Josie Beller, a.k.a. Circuit-Breaker, from the Generation One |The Transformers comic published by Marvel, is a partial example. Partial because after she was almost completely paralyzed by an attack by Decepticon Shockwave, she built herself a suit of Stripperiffic cybernetic armor that enabled her to move and fight against the Transformers. She was still almost completely paralyzed without the suit, however, and it seems unlikely that the suit could have restored her sense of touch. How badass was she, by the way? She fought and, for all intents and purposes, defeated Unicron. Sadly, the price of this victory was what remained of her sanity.
  • The Horsewoman of Demon Knights is a paraplegic woman who is a deadly horse archer.
  • The Finnish humor and comic magazine Pahkasika featured a one-off character Teräsinva (Supercripple) as a parody of Superman. His civilian job is a reporter for a Braille newspaper, his heroic deeds revolve around helping the handicapped and his Kryptonite Factor is polio vaccine.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • Reading all the INCREDIBLE exploits of Rukth 'Kilkar, it's almost easy to forget that he's effortlessly slaughtering hundreds of Brutes with only one eye. Later, his compatriot Zerat 'Omdolo loses his left eye as well, though as Zerat is a sniper instead of a close-combat specialist like Rukth, this is a bigger deal.
  • Cassandra Cain in "Settling Accounts". Despite a spinal cord injury that leaves her totally paralyzed from the neck down, she manages to face down her psychotic father alone and defeat him thanks to a spring-loaded, poison-tipped dagger she had someone tape to her paralyzed arm. A subversion of Disabled Means Helpless. Her injury leaves her unable to even feed herself, but she remains anything but helpless.
  • In a once-popular and now-dead Sailor Moon epic, Sailor Orion was blind in her civilian life but was still pretty awesome.
    • In fact, "handicapped" otaku senshi were all the rage in the early O Os.
  • DC Nation has Oracle as a major player, of course. But the Original Character Green Shield was terminally ill when she played Professor Guinea Pig on herself. While it arrested her illness and gave her enhanced durability, she's in constant pain as a result of the damage the disease already did. There's also Green Lantern Travis Grey, who is not only blind but has a specific kind of brain damage that short-circuited his fear response. He relies on his ring for a form of radar, and his inability to process fear normally makes him immune to some of the usual tricks used against Green Lanterns. On the down side, that inability also makes it hard to relate to his teammates.
  • Zuko in the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic Scarlet and Black. The idea is that he was blinded in the Agni Kai against his father, and now gets around using firebender-style Toph-O-Vision to the extent that no one on his ship besides Iroh even knows that he's blind.
  • Nick in Two Step was blinded in his left eye before the start of the fic, when he saved Coach from a Witch while they were fleeing across the bridge. Though this handicap is handled quite realistically, it does nothing to impair his ability to kick ass and take names.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Zatoichi, the blind swordsman, who travels from town to town as a common masseur but keeps a sword hidden in his cane just in case. He slashes through hundreds of victims (including the wings off of flies) in 26 films and a TV series.
  • Blind Fury is an American remake of film 17 of the Zatoichi series. It stars Rutger Hauer as an American soldier who gets blinded by an explosion during the Vietnam War. With the help of some friendly locals (shown via Training Montage) he learns to kick all kinds of ass while blind, then returns to America as a traveling swordsman.
  • Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump remains a rough and tumble guy even after getting his legs blown off.
  • Men of Honor, in which the real life Carl Brashear, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., not only becomes the Navy's first Black Master Diver; he does it after he loses his leg in an accident at sea. In that climactic scene he has to walk 12 steps in Standard Diving Dress. The badassness takes on new levels when you realize that the suit weighed 200 lbs on land.
  • Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman can drive, tango, and choke people who piss him off... blind.
  • John J. Macready, played by Spencer Tracy, who could've been the trope namer. Featured in Bad Day At Black Rock.
  • The Terminator reached maximum badassability when he had to rip off his own arm.
  • In Star Wars:
    • Darth Vader, who manages to be an almost invincible Big Bad despite missing both hands, one entire arm, and both legs, the entire remainder of his body covered in horrible burns, and having to wear a life support suit at all times. Episode III implies that, had he not been so injured, his Force abilities would have surpassed even the Emperor's; as it is, he's still strong enough to defeat him after getting his ass kicked by his own son.
    • Luke himself qualifies: it's after being defeated by Vader in their first duel and losing a hand that he takes a level in badass and becomes the awesome Jedi we know.
    • General Grievous uses his cyborg body to fight several Jedi at the same time. After getting his chest crushed by Mace Windu just before the start of the third film, however, he's more of a genuine handicapped badass and puts up only a moderate fight against Obi-Wan.
    • Han Solo gets his moment at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Shooting a tentacle? Big deal. Shooting a tentacle while blind? Awesome.
    • Yoda, especially in the prequel series. One moment he's hobbling around on a cane and looks like a harmless old little creature, while his fighting style involves jumping around his enemy like a monkey.
  • The character in the Chop Socky movie who undertakes the titular Iron Fist Treatment kicks ass using Kung Fu with only one arm.
  • Lord Blakeney from Master and Commander. One-armed and commanding a ship during an epic sea-battle... and his voice hasn't even broken.
  • Chinese films seem to have a thing for martial arts masters with disabilities.
    • The eponymous heroes from the kung fu movies One-Armed Swordsman and One-Armed Boxer are all about this trope. In One-Armed Boxer vs. Flying Guillotine, the Master of the Flying Guillotine is a blind man who uses his exceptional hearing. He goes on a killing spree hunting down one-armed men, several of whom are martial artists.
    • Crippled Avengers features a blind man with super-hearing, a deaf-mute with incredible eyesight, an armless man with deadly steel prosthetic arms, a legless man with iron legs and a severly mentally handicapped fighter who is nearly invincible.
    • Not really a handicap, though Your Mileage May Vary: chinese folklore and literature and film feature many eunuchs who achieve nearly-superhuman powers. Most notable is Pai Mei from Executioners from Shaolin, Clan of the White Lotus, and Kill Bill Volume 2
  • In Kill Bill, Elle Driver is an excellent swordswoman despite having only one eye.
  • Ash from the Evil Dead movies becomes a Badass when he cut off his own demon-possessed hand with a chainsaw, then mounts the chainsaw to the stump and uses it to saw off a shotgun for his other hand.
  • Used in the 70's Kung Fu flick The Crippled Masters. Lee Ho has no arms, Tang has no legs, together They Fight Crime.
  • John Creasy, played by Denzel Washington in Man On Fire will simply not let a few bullet holes and massive internal bleeding stop him from opening a holy can of whoop-ass on a slew of corrupt Mexican officials who have killed a little girl he was guarding.
  • The grandfather in the Spy Kids trilogy. He was played by Ricardo Montalbán, who really was confined to a wheelchair in his latter years.
  • In Darkman, the eponymous character is also a burn victim, who's lost his sense of touch as a result of the operation that keeps him from living in agony. His nemesis, Durant, has henchman with a wooden leg that hides a machinegun.
  • In The Book of Eli it is revealed at the end of the movie that the title character was blind.
  • Snake Plissken may have but one eye, but in no way does that impair his status as a legendary Badass. Also, in both movies,he winds up limping due to an injured leg, but not even that slows him down.
  • Code of the Dragon: Badass fighting cripple. He doesn't even need the wheelchair. Why talk about it when you can witness it?
    • It's better than that. The fighting Black cripple is Henry Smalls. He isn't crippled, he has NO legs. He is a kendo master, fourth-degree black belt, and a skilled practitioner of over 20 martial arts. I'd love to see somebody try to rob him in real life, the ass-kicking would be EPIC.
  • Jake Sully in Avatar still manages to be his own subtle kind of badass even though he is paraplegic and thus needs a wheelchair. Sure, he has a fully mobile Na'vi body and he changes to this body permanently at the end of the film, killing his old one, but his human body is never cured of its condition.
  • The real Jerome Eugene in Gattaca is paraplegic and thus bound to a chair, but he's full of so much cocky jerk that he may as well be considered badass. When he has to pose as an able-bodied person, the man drags himself up an extremely tall spiral staircase in a matter of minutes, arranges himself in a chair, and then casually greets the detectives who call on his house-without even appearing out of breath.
  • Gobber from How to Train Your Dragon only has one leg and one arm. As a Viking, he is very badass. Toothless only has half a tail but is still badass and at the end, Hiccup becomes one.
  • The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who after each arm and leg is hacked off keeps coming back more determined than before. Even after all his limbs are gone and he's basically a head and torso on the ground, he still wants to fight, claiming, "I'll bite your legs off!"
  • Sparky from Steel is crippled in a training accident, but makes up for it by loading her wheelchair with projectile weapons that she can fire while spinning the chair. As Nostalgia Critic put it, "Holy shit, that kicks ass! Okay, clearly this chick should have been the superhero."
  • Bumblebee from the Transformers film series is The Speechless, due to Megatron ripping out his vocal processors prior to the film. But that doesn't stop him from protecting and coming to Sam and Mikaela's rescue on many instances, killing Ravage and Rampage in the second movie and probably having the most fighting scenes next to Optimus Prime.
  • In the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie Captain Barbossa has a peg leg, but is just as badass as ever.
  • Viper in the Kung Fu Panda franchise was, according to Secrets of the Furious Five, born without fangs and learned kung fu to make up for it. She also lacks limbs, but this doesn't really count as a handicap, what with her being a snake.
  • Vriess in Alien Resurrection: Strapped into his wheelchair, gets caught alone with his weapon not ready by a Xenomorph directly above him (and notices it only because it drips corrosive saliva on his leg) and STILL manages to kill it and get away with only a few minor chemical burns.
  • Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer.
  • Bane has been reimagined as this for The Dark Knight Rises, wearing a mask which constantly provides him anesthetic gas to overcome the pain from a bad injury obtained during his backstory. The gas itself also qualifies as a major handicap, as it is knockout gas.
  • Mad Max has his leg crippled at the end of the first film, and he wears a medical brace in The Road Warrior. It doesn't stop him from being the most badass survivor of the post-apocalypse... Not to mention the fact that he is called "The Lone Wanderer", of all things.
  • Murderball: most of the main characters, since it's about quadriplegic rugby players.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Epic novel Aztec included an Aztec warrior who kills four other men in gladiatorial combat, despite the fact that his feet were cut off. Mixtli is also handicapped, but he always wins through cunning rather than awesomeness.
  • Sniper Nessa Borough of Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series is one of the best snipers in the Tanith regiment, despite being completely deaf. A couple of other characters also retain their badassery after being handicapped, such as "Shoggy" Domor, who is blinded, and Sergeant Varl, who lost an arm - through it got replaced with a bionic augmetic limb that can punch people's heads off.
  • Another Warhammer40k book, Redemption Corps, seems to love this trope: Major Zane Mortensen suffered burns to every part of his body crippling his nervous system so he can't feel anything who leads a squad of implied sues. Inquisitor Herrenvolk is a weak old man who has to be carried everywhere... and can impose psychic control on anyone within the star system. The Lord Commissar is so crippled that he has to live in an oxygen tent... and shouts down a captain on his own starship to hold them in a deadly, guided meteor shower. Cadet-Commissar Krieg has his most badass moments shortly after having his right arm surgically re-attached, making it useless.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold has written at least two
    • Miles Vorkosigan, whose brittle bones and stunted growth arguably enhance his badassitude.
      • His mother implies that if he had grown up normally and been treated like anyone else, he would have been an intelligent and valued military officer. Due to his diabilities and his society's extreme phobia of mutations, he has to work harder to overcome their expectations and ends up overshooting them by miles.
    • Dag from The Sharing Knife was a competent monster-hunter. Then he lost his left hand (among other things), got a prothesis, went back to monster-hunting while not caring much if he survived, with successes leading to a close-to-legendary reputation, at least among monster-hunters. (Then he breaks his right arm, which leads to a spurt of his magic abilities that's unheard of for someone his age.)
  • From John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming there is Peter "One-Man Army" Waylock, who is wheelchair bound.
  • In Doris Egan's Gate of Ivory, Eln Cormallon, who was born without sorcerous abilities in a family whose business is sorcery, then was left unable to walk as a youngster. He compensated by studying sorcery more deeply and learning more about the theory of it than any of its practitioners have done, to the point of being supremely dangerous when involved in a sorcerer's duel.
  • In Mary Gentle's The Golden Witchbreed, Ruric amari is a one-armed warrior in a society where warriors fight with two swords, one in either hand. She is the T'An Commander of the army of the Southland.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: Susannah Dean. Her legs were hit by a train as a child, but she still went on to join Roland's ka-tet and be awesome.
    • Roland is a lesser example, remaining a badass gunslinger after getting three fingers on his dominant hand chewed off, and later on having to deal with arthritis.
  • In Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series, Mildmay the Fox has near crippling self-esteem issues and one of his legs is literally crippled at the end of the first book, leaving him in near constant pain when he walks and unable to get around without a cane. He still manages to be the biggest Badass in the book and accomplishes a few feats that most able-bodied people would probably have died attempting.
  • Bobby Clark in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series of detective novels. Epitomises this trope by having no legs yet still being a very Scary Black Man when occasionally necessary.
  • In the final showdown of Matthew Stover's Heroes Die, Caine/Hari Michaelson suffers injuries that render him semi-crippled for the rest of his life. This only serves to increase his awesomeness in the sequels, as he now has to pull off all his impossible stunts and insane schemes without the use of his legs. And he does.
  • It seems that Captain/Admiral Honor Harrington only gets badder with every major injury and amputation she suffers.
  • In the Animorphs book "The Ultimate", Jake (the leader, who's been toughening up the last 2–3 years to fight Yeerks) gets flipped by James (a paralyzed kid in a wheelchair). A Crowning Moment of Awesome for a relatively minor character. Perhaps even better is the line James follows up with: "You don't want to know what Kelly (another kid in a wheelchair) can do to you if she gets mad enough."
    • Tobias became a nothlit red-tailed hawk and was unable to morph for a large majority of the series. This did not stop him from being a one-man Air Force and master of Recon. He was also the main one to attack Visser Three in the majority of their battles.
  • In The Belgariad, King Cho-Hag of Algaria can barely walk, due to a childhood illness. That doesn't stop him from being able to outride, outfight and outthink anyone or anything that threatens him or his people. As one character notes, when your society is based around horses, not being able to walk stops being such a problem.
  • Maedhros from The Silmarillion was a strong elf warrior who was captured by Morgoth and hung by his right hand halfway up a cliff. He was only rescued by having his right hand cut off—and when he'd recovered from his imprisonment, he went on to be a more badass warrior with his left hand than he was with his right, despite being right-handed.
    • Beren Erchamion's right hand was bitten off by a giant wolf...after he'd accomplished most, but not all, of the deeds for which he became famous. ("Erchamion" means "one-handed.")
  • In The Sword of Truth there is a blind sorceress named Adie. When twenty soldiers came to arrest her, they never had time to flinch. Somewhat subverted, though, when she runs into the Pristinely Ungifted; since she uses her magic to make up for her lack of sight, she can't even detect them unless they make some noise.
  • In Charles Bukowski's Ham on Rye, little Henry Chinaski meets a kid called Red, who has a prosthetic arm. When some bullies come and start hitting them, Red beats them senseless with his fake arm.
  • Moby Dick: Captain Ahab.
  • Harry Potter's Mad-Eye Moody. Over the course of his career as an Auror, he loses an eye and a leg (not to mention a chunk of his nose). He remains a badass, using a wooden leg and a magically-enhanced prosthetic eye that can see in all directions and through solid objects. You'd think that magical technology capable of coming out with something like that eye could do better than a peg leg.
  • Yang Guo in Return Of The Condor Heroes. His right arm got chopped-off, but he still manage to master on wielding a BFS with his remaining left arm and develop a very powerful Ki Attack .
  • Bionicle's Vezon, although never actually fighting, manages to remain a main character, not dead, unbelievably unscathed after being captured by the worst torture master in the MU (with the building collapsing), and unmutated by Pit Mutagen. So what makes him better than Badass Normal? He doesn't have powers, and considering how almost every breathing thing in the MU has some power or other, that's pretty crippling. He also doesn't have much of a mind, so the mental handicap comes into play. This powerless nature doesn't apply to him anymore, since ever since he got fused to the Mask of Dimensional Gates, he became a living portal into other worlds, and was reduced to a mere, yet very powerful and handy plot device.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing has been lame of leg since he was born and requires a staff to hobble about...And this has not at all stopped him from kicking a great deal of ass. Especially impressive considering that he doesn't want to kick ass.
  • The First Law: Captain Sand dan Glokta was badass once. He was a handsome, dashing war hero, a decorated warrior who distinguished himself in battle...And was captured by the Gurkish, and spent the next two years somewhat less pleasantly than he was accustomed to. This left him crippled, disfigured, incontinent, and in constant pain. At this point, most people would have been happy to live out their days in comfort, resting and being brought meals in bed. Glokta decided to screw that, promptly became an Inquisitor, and spends the series making readers cheer as he unwinds conspiracies, conquers stairs, and reveals that he hasn't entirely lost the ability to fence.
  • Several cases in A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Qhorin Half-Hand, a ranger of the Night's Watch, lost a large chunk of his right hand fighting wildlings and is still one of the best fighters in the Night's Watch.
    • Bran Stark gets pushed out of a tower window, shattering his legs and spine; while he will never walk again, his long convalescence gave him a lot of time to hone his ability to mind jack animals while dreaming.
    • Averted painfully with Jaime Lannister; he loses his sword hand, which more or less breaks him. He's suicidal for some time afterward, and while he does pick up a bundle of Guile Hero tendencies later on. He becomes obsessed with recovering his combat prowess and terrified of someone finding out that he can't fight any more.
    • Tyrion Lannister, who doesn't let being born a dwarf stop him from personally leading charges in ill fitting armor and chopping down men twice his size. In one case he forces his reluctant men to attack becasue they would look like total whimps if they were out manned by someone they usually mock.
  • Gateman from Andrew Vachss's Burke books is confined to a wheelchair, but enough of a crack shot that other cons respect him.
  • Gen from Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief fits this after he loses his right hand. Even with that severe handicap, he's still more than a match for the entire Attolian Guard in one-on-one sparring matches. Of course, he complains about it all the time, but given this is Gen we're talking about, it's anyone's guess how much is genuine Wangst.
  • Mad Hamish is 105, wheelchair-bound, and hard of hearing. But never forget that he's a very old HERO.
  • James Patterson's Maximum Ride has Iggy, a guy who's completely lost his sight. Does he let it slow him down? Nope! In fact, despite not being able to see, his hobby is building bombs. Which he then hides on his person and throws at people he doesn't like. Disabled badass indeed.
  • Two examples in The Heritage of Shannara. Wren's Mentor is a Rover named Garth. He's a Badass Mighty Glacier who taught Wren everything she needs to know about how to survive in an incredibly hostile world. He's one of the few humans in series capable of fighting The Shadowen without the use of magic. He's also deaf. Then there's Walker Boh, who's probably the poster boy for this trope: a Determinator of a Druid who overpowers Shadowen and monsters alike, takes on The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and finally kills the series' Big Bad, all while having only one arm.
  • The main character Tavi of Codex Alera straddles this trope and Badass Normal ( for the first few books). He is Badass Normal in terms of what he can do, but because he is an Un-Sorcerer (the only Aleran not to have any furycrafting), his interactions with his world is that of a Handicapped Badass.
  • In Spellbent, Jessie Shimmer loses an arm and an eye in the first chapters. She kicks a great deal of ass over the rest of the novel.
  • The protagonist of The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is Robin, the son of a knight who longs to become a great warrior like his father. The story taking place in the Middle Ages, the black plague is running rampant. Robin survives his bout with it, thanks to the care of a monk, but is left a lifelong cripple with misshapen legs. This does not in the least stop him from helping to save his people from invaders; in fact, it aids him, because he's able to slip past enemy lines without arousing suspicion thanks to his crutches, and then he's able to get reinforcements and defeat the invasion, being knighted for his noble spirit.
  • Colonel Lomax in the Matthew Hawkwood novels. Pinned under a dead horse and caught in a grass fire, the left side of Lomax's was badly burned; crippling his left arm and destroying his left eye. Still badass enough that he is the first person Hawkwood approaches when he needs allies to storm a Bad Guy Bar.
  • Long John Silver from Treasure Island may have lost one of his legs, but that does not stop him from being leader of the pirates and kill people standing in his way.
  • It seems likely Mat Cauthon from the Wheel of Time books will become this now he's lost an eye.
    • And before him, Rand al'Thor lost a hand.
  • Cap'n Bill, best known from the Oz books is an old sailor who had to retire from the sea after he lost his leg. Neither his advanced age nor his wooden leg stops him from going along on all sorts of magical adventures—even though the books, particularly the non-Oz book Sky Island, do show that the wooden leg gives him trouble from time to time (he can't run very fast and is liable to lose his balance if he tries), they also show that he's still got it when it counts and is someone you're glad to have on your side in a crisis.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry himself after he got his hand roasted by a Mook with a flamethrower.
    • Also, Michael after a confrontation with Nicodemus goes south. He ends up having to give up his post as a Knight of the Cross because of it.
  • Jayfeather from Warrior Cats, despite being completely blind, has his ass-kicking moments, despite being a medicine cat (Eclipse, anyone?).
  • Benedict from the Amber novels. He lacks one arm, and he is still the strongest and most feared of all the Amberites. Corwin, a badass in his own right, says that he fears him, and would not even dare try to confront him.
  • Darling from The Black Company is deaf and mute, and for this reason nobody believes she could be The Chosen One. They are, of course, hideously wrong, since she grows up to be a natural leader and military genius, even without her Anti-Magic powers.
  • From Snow Crash, Ng, a quadruple amputee who, instead of settling for a wheelchair, builds a gigantic van that can shoot missiles and deploy robots that can break the speed of sound. He also builds a BFG.
  • Waxahachie Smith, hero of a series of novels from J. T. Edson, is a gunslinger who had his trigger fingers amputated by vengeful foes. He had to work out to wield guns without being able to physically pull a trigger.
  • In Redwall, one of the longest lasting characters was Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. She was a Badger Lord who became blind during a battle and was sidelined to being the babysitter of the Dibbuns. However, threaten the Dibbuns or her Abbey, and she'll still beat some ass. With the help of a young otter, she even managed to fire a longbow from one of the top levels of the abbey and nailed a vermin who was dressed in the leader's armor who was shown to be extremely far away.
  • Viking warlord Ivar the Boneless of Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons has no bones in his legs and is thus unable to walk, but nevertheless is carried onto the battlefield on a shield, commands the army and fights with bow and arrow.
    • Inspired by the real Ivar the Boneless, though there is debate about what his nickname meant.
  • The titular character of Edgar Allan Poe's "Hop-Frog", as well as his female ally Trippetta. Both are dwarfs, and Hop-Frog's legs are deformed so he can't walk normally (which led to his nickname). They were taken from their homelands and are forced to "serve" (read: be constantly mocked and humiliated) in a royal court. Eventually, Hop-Frog and Trippetta decide they've had enough. They organize a royal masquerade in which the king and his ministers frighten the guests while disguised as chained orangutans, wearing costumes made of tar and flax. Hop-Frog catches the "orangutans" by hooking their chains to another chain dangling from the ceiling. Then he holds a torch to their face to "examine" them and sets their costumes on fire, burning them to death in front of the guests. After killing the king, Hop-Frog and Trippetta disappear and presumably escape to their homelands.
  • Burrich in the Tawny Man Trilogy and the Farseer Trilogy before that was always a badass. He just happens to be losing his sight and by his Crowning Moment of Awesome he is almost completely blind.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Ironside (Raymond Burr in a wheelchair, 1967-1975)
  • Ironside was a piker. Mike Longstreet was blind. And studied martial arts. With Bruce Lee. Bruce friggin' Lee.
  • More famously, Captain Picard. It is revealed in Tapestry that a hot-headed Picard got into a bar fight and got stabbed in the chest, requiring an artificial heart to be put in. It worked reasonably well until he was shot during a riot. It takes on greater significance because the audience learns the fight, as well as Picard losing his original heart, is what ultimately led to him becoming a galaxy-class Badass.
    • General Martok of Deep Space Nine is the classic example of a Handicapped Badass. He loses an eye from several successive no-holds-barred fights with Jem'Haddar, then carries on the war and eventually heads the Klingon Empire with only ONE EYE because "I DO NOT WANT AN OCULAR IMPLANT!"
      • Mr. Spock was this temporarily when he was accidentally blinded. Oh, and the time he, y'know,..died. He got better though....
    • Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge, "a man with unique vision".
    • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was devoted to a Starfleet officer named Melora Pazlar who, although not disabled as such, was from a low-gravity world and used a wheelchair and braces because the gravity on the station was too high for her. The treatment that Dr. Bashir developed for her didn't solve the problem, but they did make her partially phaser-proof, and she went on to turn down the gravity at a crucial moment and whip the bad guy's ass.
    • The often well-received Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Twilight" gives us Captain Archer who after contracting a disease that prevents him from forming any new memories, is removed from command. He manages to kill a Xindi that tries to storm his ship and at one point several years later is able to, with help from T'Pol and Phlox, blow up his ship in a bid to reset the entire timeline.
  • Dr. Gregory House.
  • Wesley Windham-Price in Angel was temporarily confined to a wheelchair at one point. It's a good thing he was handy with a shotgun.
    • In a vision of an alternate reality, Wesley was badass despite the loss of an arm.
  • Inverted and played with on Lost. The Bald of Awesome is revealed to have been paralyzed in the past, then revealed that his paralyzed self was weak and sad, then revealed that he was a sad little creature even before he was paralyzed. then reveled that he was using the Idiot Ball all through the seasons even after he was healed.
  • In Breaking Bad, the protagonist's Reign of Badass began with his diagnosis of terminal cancer.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 movie Continuum Daniel Jackson loses his leg. Still doesn't stop him from busting caps in the Go'auld.
    • Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell shattered his leg in the battle against Anubis. He still has pins holding his leg together. He is also a Colonel Badass.
  • Little known fact about Michael Knight. In the pilot, Detective Michael Long is shot in the face by a traitorous bitch. The only thing that saves him is a metal plate in his cranium from a war injury suffered ostensibly in Vietnam. The reconstructive surgery results in him becoming the Knight Rider.
  • During the intro to the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron suffers damage to her leg that limits her to a slow, unsteady limp. Naturally, while she is limping, Cameron becomes an order of magnitude more terrifying as she hunts the Connors.
  • Col. Tigh in the 2000s Battlestar Galactica Reimagined has his eye plucked out between the second and third seasons, and if anything becomes more badass as a result.
    • There's also Samuel Anders, who takes a bullet to the brain and survives and is then hooked up directly to the Galactica's central computer, essentially becoming Galactica itself for the final few episodes of the show.
    • Not to mention Lt. Felix Gaeta, who loses a leg and shortly thereafter starts a full-scale, devastating mutiny against his CO.
  • Doctor Who has Davros, an Omnicidal Maniac who only has one eye and the use of one hand. Despite this, he and his Daleks are two of the most feared monsters in the show. Think Stephen Hawking aged several hundred years.
    • Davros only has a working eye because it's prosthetic. Later on, he gets the one working hand shot off...and replaces it with a prosthetic that SHOOTS FRICKIN' LIGHTNING BOLTS.
    • The First Doctor had to walk with a cane, and was just as badass as any of his future regenerations.
    • Orcini in Revelation of the Daleks.
  • In Firefly, the Alliance's brutal and unethical mental enhancement and training exercises leave River Tam with a case of borderline psychosis. It's unclear if she's a stone cold badass because of this or in spite of it.
  • Jack Bauer has chronic (often torture-induced) heart problems throughout 24, and continues to kick ass in spite of having been clinically dead twice as a result.
  • After Omar breaks his leg jumping from a window in The Wire, he proceeds to kick five kinds of ass all over Baltimore. On one leg.
  • In a Crowning Moment of Awesome, Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle becomes a true avatar of this trope in the episode wherein Reese deliberately picks a fight with him as an easy opponent, only for Stevie to show up for the brawl in a FREAKIN' HOMEMADE EXOSKELETON and pound the tar out of him...
  • An episode of Hawaii Five-O called "Hookman" featured a deadly sniper with hooks for hands.
    • The guy who played the sniper is a Real Life Handicapped Badass, private investigator J.J. Armes.
  • Highlander's Joe Dawson has no legs and can kick your ass all day long. His cane is made to stand up to swordstrokes.
  • Auggie Anderson. Went blind on a special ops mission, learned Braille in two years, is head of tech ops at the CIA, and kicked the collective asses of two members of the Russian mob on a moving train, while shirtless.
  • Billy Baxter, blinded during the war in Bosnia and still faster round the Top Gear test track than two of the fully sighted celebs. He also holds the blind solo motorbike land speed record.
  • Space: Above and Beyond: Lieutenant Colonel TC McQueen. He's not crippled in the sense that he lacks full control of his body, but because due to injuries in the opening days of the Chig War, he has an electronic implant in his brain that acts as his Inner Ear. If it is exposed to High-G maneuvers, it will explode, inducing a stroke. So when an alien fighter ace shows up in his nigh-invincible prototype fighter and starts tearing entire squadrons apart, McQueen has the implant removed, and learns to walk, run, do pushups and chinups, and fly a high-performance space fighter... all without a sense of balance. He fights the Chig ace one-on-one, and kicks his ass after a lengthy and pitched battle.
  • Llud the Silver-Handed from Arthur of the Britons. A one-handed warlord and Arthur's adoptive father, the 'Silver-Handed' epithet comes from his (non-functional) silver prothesis.
  • Richard Harrow from Boardwalk Empire, who suffered a horrific facial injury in World War I that cost him an eye and damaged his nerves so that eating and drinking is very difficult. But he's still a very skilled sniper.
  • Lex Luthor in Season 8 of Smallville. Left crippled after the previous season's finale, he is quadrapalegic, and forced to breathe via a respirator. He still has Clark, Oliver, and all their friends quaking in their boots at the mention of his name, even though he's the one on life support. Appearing for only one episode, he uses his Chessmaster abilities to do more damage in that one than most villains do in a season.
  • CSI has Doc Robbins. He has two prosthetic legs and walks with the aid of a crutch, but if he catches you in his morgue and you don't have a right to be there, he will attack you, usually with his crutch and anything else that comes to hand. And if the odds are fair, he'll probably win.
  • In an episode of Dark Angel, Logan struggles with an assailant and hauls them both to the ground. Logan then declares, "The thing about wheelchairs: they build upper-body strength" before beating the guy.
  • Scorpius from Farscape. The jury-rigged hybrid product of a cruel Mars Needs Women project that used two species which were almost completely incompatible, he's in constant pain and almost constantly on the point of dying from heatstroke, depending on a Clingy Costume cooling system that includes a heat sink running through his skull into his cranial cavity. But as long as his endothermic heat-absorbing rods get changed regularly he's a Genius Bruiser who can both beat the crap out of people and outplot just about anyone in the universe.
  • Alex Krycek from The X-Files. Gets his arm sawed off after escaping a Russian gulag, but it doesn't slow him down much. It does eventually get him killed, though, as he can't hold a gun with his prosthesis.
  • In My Name Is Earl, the one-legged girl's boyfriend, despite missing both legs and an arm, brutally kicks Earl's ass.
  • Shaun Murphy in The Good Doctor is a brilliant surgeon who is incompetent at communicating, and goes into occasional shock spells for odd reasons.

Music[edit | hide]

"That old deaf dumb and blind kid, sure plays a mean pinball."

  • In Marty Robbins' "Ballad Of Bill Thaxton" the titular character is revealed to have a handicap which actually assists him in defeating his opponent.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Norse Mythology:
    • Odin has one eye—and sees everything. He traded away the other one, and the recipient can now see everything too.
    • Tyr's right hand was bitten off by a wolf (and yes, he's right-handed). He's still the deadliest swordsman in Norse mythology.
  • Osiris from Egyptian Mythology is dead and his penis has been eaten by a crocodile. This doesn't stop him from being one of the strongest gods, or from siring a son.
  • And there is the blind Samson, too.
  • In Welsh legends about King Arthur (possibly the oldest stratum of the Arthurian legend) Bedwyr, better known as Sir Bedivere, is one-handed, but wields a spear to great effect.
  • Nuada, king of the tuatha de daanan in Celtic Mythology was a major badass before and after losing his arm (which also meant losing his right as king, since no handicapped man may rule the tuatha). He later got it replaced by an arm of lifelike silver by Dian Cecht.
    • And then there were the Fomorians, some of which only had one arm, one leg, and one eye.
  • Hephaestus, god of the forge from Classical Mythology, was crippled when Zeus or Hera (Depending on the Writer) hurled him off Olympus as a child (again, the reason for this varies depending the writer). He is also a mechanical genius, and he's created super-gadgets and Ridiculously-Human Robots.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Scientists have discovered cures for just about everything and doctors are out of a job - but everyone finds this universal perfect health rather boring. Then they realise that "nothing turned, say, a slightly talented composer into a towering genius faster than the problem of approaching deafness". So the medical profession is resurrected to provide artificial injuries, diseases and disabilities to boost people's performance - "you always overcompensate for your disabilities."


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Werewolf: The Forsaken splatbook Tribes of the Moon talks about the legend of a Blood Talon called Boneless Harald, who was born with deformed legs. After his first change, he bulked up his arms, got a huge sword, and rode into battle on a litter. Whenever the guys carrying it got killed, he wolfed out and dragged himself around by his arms, ripping chunks out with his teeth.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Richard (the one who would become Richard III), in Henry VI part 3. He's got a humpback, a weak arm, and one leg's shorter than the other, but he is frankly amazing in battle, and he matches Young Clifford blow for blow when they duel.
  • The old man in Cirque Du Soleil's Varekai, in a moment of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, manages to fight off multiple assailants. With his crutches. In the entire fight sequence, his crippled feet never even touch the ground.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Garradores in Resident Evil 4 have their eyes sewed shut. And can nevertheless always know where Leon is by following his footsteps or his smell. Add to that sets of 2-feet long steel claws and a homicidal parasite dwelling in their bodies and you have quite the badass.
  • Baiken from Guilty Gear is a Badass one-armed, one-eyed swordswoman. Zato-1 is an obvious reference to Zatoichi. "One" in Japanese is "ichi."
  • Kat in Halo: Reach has lost her left arm, but her robotic replacement arm works so well that she's still in active service in an elite unit and the teams expert on fixing broken electronic equipment, even though she's right handed. It does look pretty ghastly though, but nobody ever comments on it. Maybe they are too scared to risk it.
  • Big Boss lost an eye, but never lost a trace of his badassness. He becomes even cooler as an old man.
    • His son(s) aren't far behind, though Old Snake cheats his old age and disease-ridden body with a nano machine enhanced power suit.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Raiden is more artificial than organic, to the point that he runs completely on synthetic white android blood. This does not slow him down at all, but his real Handicapped Badass moment comes, when he has to come to Snakes rescue after having lost both of his arms. Again, with hand-like cyborg feet, this doesn't slow him down at all.
  • Wheelchair-bound Acro from Ace Attorney. Badass enough to nearly get away with murder.
    • And Godot, who, despite having to spend, it seems, half his life getting medical checks and being blind without his visor (even with it, he can't see the color red on a white background) still manages to retrain as a prosecutor mere weeks after getting out of a nearly-lethal coma, then form an elaborate plan to defeat a murder attempt partially carried out by the dead. Then, despite the fact that he should be too much of an emotional wreck to do so after taking a sword-slash to the face before killing his dead lover's mother and spending an entire night on a snowy mountain top, manages to comfort his victim's terrified young niece, then prosecute the subsequent murder case and, well... generally be Godot.
  • Xiahou Dun from Dynasty Warriors would also count: after being shot in the eye with an arrow, he plucked it out (arrow and eye) and proceeded to eat his own eyeball in plain view of enemy soldiers. Badass.
    • He is actually a real historical figure who did have only one eye, though the story of the loss of his eye was most likely made more dramatic for the novel on which the game is based. Not that he wasn't a total badass.
    • To further this trope, Dun, minus one eye, tracked down the poor sod who had fired the arrow and killed him.
  • Kenshi from Mortal Kombat is a swordsman who was blinded, thanks to an evil trick by the sorceror, Shang Tsung. However, this hasn't stopped him unleashing many fatalities on his opponents.
  • Oro, the one-armed Badass Grandpa from Street Fighter III.
    • The one-armed thing is deliberate - his other arm is hidden behind the knot in his shirt. He's never met anyone who deserves both arms.
    • Equally, Cody fights handcuffed and therefore with a handicap. But that doesn't mean he can't take them off if he wanted to.
    • Screw depth perception and peripheral vision! Sagat only needs ONE EYE!
  • Pox from the first Destroy All Humans!!, and in the sequels after he gets destroyed and gets his consciousness stored in a HoloPox Unit.
  • Bentley of Sly Cooper mixes this with Genius Cripple, becoming a better fighter than before after he became wheelchair-bound by building a bunch of stuff onto his wheelchair.
  • A slightly less extreme variation, Duster from Mother 3 has a leg injury that gives him a limp when he walks. Oddly enough, he can run, scale walls, and even use kicks as a primary attack through the entire game.
  • Kenny Kawaguchi can, in a wheelchair, kick a football farther than most NFL players.
  • Date Masamune and Chousokabe Motochika from Sengoku Basara are both missing an eye, but it doesn't stop them kicking copious amounts of ass.
  • The Demoman from Team Fortress 2. He's a one-eyed black Scotsman and despite his lack of a functioning liver and depth perception, he still rocks.
    • The Demoman, it should be noted, comes from a Badass Family of mercenary explosives experts. All of his ancestors with his job, according to his mother, have been entirely blind by age 30. His missing eye is Fridge Brilliance as well, since one of the Demoman's assets is his ability to attack outside his field of vision.
    • The Demoman's family seal bears the following motto: In Regionem Caecorum Rex Est Luscus. It means In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • Birdie, the leader of the Turnbull AC's skinhead gang in the video-game adaptation of The Warriors. He's confined to a wheelchair and can only defend himself by using a gun - and his followers are STILL intimidated by him. ("Why don't you use your goddamn good legs of yours and FETCH ME A FUCKING SIX-PACK!")
  • Malik from Assassin's Creed. He loses an entire arm early on and yet later leads only four fellow assassins against a small army. Successfully. With him fighting in the front.
    • The small army was composed of fellow assassins who were Brainwashed and Crazy at the time. So basically, Malik takes on a small army of men who have received the exact same training that he has, and he still kicks their asses. And considering that he preceded the asskicking of said army with a Big Damn Heroes moment by saving Altaïr, that entire part of the game serves as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Malik.
  • Jeff "Joker" Moreau, the pilot of Mass Effect's Cool Starship Normandy, makes a point of how all his flight awards and commendations were not charity for his suffering from Vrolik's Syndrome, which basically makes his bones so brittle that he cannot walk without assistance. Good thing he doesn't need to walk for his job, then, and he lives up to his boast that he is "the best damn helmsman in the Alliance fleet", piloting the Normandy as swiftly and easily as if she were an X-Wing fighter. He ends up firing the shot that takes out Eldritch Abomination Sovereign in the first game's finale.
    • As if his badass-ness wasn't already established in the first game despite his brittle bones: When Shepard and the Squad are evacuating from the final mission back to the Normandy, who should we see at the ship's door unloading a machine gun on the enemies following them?
  • Louis in The Passing for Left 4 Dead 2. His legs are injured, so he can't run and gun to give cover like Zoey and Francis can. So what does he do? He mans the Heavy Machine Gun
  • After accidentally killing his wife in a magically induced rage, Greil of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance cut the tendons in his dominant hand to ensure he'd never wield a sword again. Well even with his skills hampered, he's still a total badass with his humongous axe, with one villain even stating that "he fights like a demon!"
  • Kiling Meehilbis "of the Ghosts" in Mitsumete Knight is not only an Handicapped Badass due to his blindness, he's also a Badass Grandpa ; yet he's the Number Two of the enemy mercenary brigade Valpha-Valaharian, a master strategist, and a powerful foe in battle using a Sinister Scythe. Badass indeed!
  • Farseer Nobundo is not a draenei shaman; as a former vindicator who narrowly survived a Self-Sacrifice Scheme and went through several sorts of hell after the fact, he is the draenei shaman. That said, he's also a gimpy, arthritic Krokul.
  • Harman Smith of Killer7. A wheelchair bound old man who can still hold his own in a fight with a huge sniper rifle. Con Smith as well, he's a skilled gunfighter despite being completely blind.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has Snake. Although blind, his other senses are so good that you wouldn't even notice this unless he told you. He even mentions that if you tried to attack him, it would be unlikely that you would win. He manages to hold back Ace after being shot 6 times in the "Safe" ending.
  • Wu Zi Mu (aka "Woozie") from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a Triad boss who doesn't hesitate to go in guns blazing against gangs that try to muscle in on his turf and also loves to race cars. He's also blind.
    • Revealed to be a subversion: his Triad subordinates like to rig the casino games he plays with them, and he thinks CJ must be very lucky to be able to beat him at things like blackjack. But he does have instances where his "incredible luck", as the Triads call it, allows him to beat CJ at video games and drive a sports car in an illegal rural-road street race without wrecking. He's also the best shot in the game, next to CJ himself.
  • Hobyrim from Tactics Ogre kills 2 ninjas in his first scene. He is also blind. Katanas Are Just Better indeed.
  • Iji's Asha only has one arm. This doesn't stop him from being a good fighter at all. Being able to teleport like crazy helps.
  • This is the reason Patchouli Knowledge of Touhou is both an Ill Girl and a Badass Bookworm. She suffers from asthma and anemia, not at all helped by spending more than a century in her library, and is so frail it is much easier for her to float everywhere instead of walking, but that won't stop her from unleashing Beam Spams that are impressive even by Gensoukyou standards.
  • Voldo from the Soul Calibur series. After spending years taking care of his dead master Vercci's treasures in a cave, his eyesight is irreparably damaged, but he's still one of the most infamous characters in the game.
  • Quite a few people from Final Fantasy VII. Red XIII is missing an eye. Barret is missing an arm (as is Dyne). And pretty much everyone else is mentally unstable.
  • Zaird from Gungnir is paraplegic. He is also the final boss, and deserves the status.
  • GSD from Dungeon Fighter Online is a blind, retired swordsman, but an insanely capable one. You get one Escort Mission with him, but his level is so far above all of the enemies in the tower you have to travel through that you'll feel like the one who's being escorted.
  • Shinobu in the No More Heroes series, after losing her hand to Travis post-ranking fight.
  • Morrighan in the MMORPG Mabinogi is in fact, blind... This does not stop her from fufilling her job as the Goddess of War and Vengeance at all.
  • T.K. in Borderlands. He's blind and missing a leg, yet he's able to sit around outside his house and enjoy the fresh air despite the Skags, Raks and Bandits around him. Unfortunately, he's not very good against Psychos, which is where the poor bastard meets his end.
  • Dunban in Xenoblade Chronicles lost the use of his right arm in a battle that took place a year before the game's story began. Regardless, he springs right back into action for the purpose of protecting his hometown and friends when the need arises, and does a really good job at it. He also doesn't have any issues climbing up cliffs with only his left arm.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Dream Catcher has a blind ninja/assassin.
  • Victor Vasko in Lackadaisy lost an eye in a labor dispute and was kneecapped by his ex-partner, leaving him with one knee that bends a little bit. Victor is still about 250 pounds of Slavic badass, and took out a squad of well-armed gunmen before taking a load of Double-Ought buckshot in the side. He survived.
  • Last Res0rt has Daisy Archanis with a robotic leg. There's plenty of nifty stuff to do with it... assuming she can keep her balance.
  • As in the original mythology, mentioned above, the Arthur, King of Time and Space incarnation(s) of Sir Bedevere lost a hand during the Roman War. In the Space Arc his prosthetic enables him to jack directly into the Excalibur communications console. Largely for the sake of a pun about hand signals.
  • As far as badass nerds go, Adam's pretty awesome to the max.
  • Terezi of Homestuck is blind, but more than makes up for it with her skill at both manipulating other characters and beating up Imps in the Medium with her cane.
    • Vriska Serket is half blind and has a robotic replacement arm for a good part of the story. She was the one responsible for blinding the aforementioned Terezi, and she did so with her psychic powers in the immediate aftermath of the explosion that handicapped her, while she was still bleeding from her eye and stump.
    • Tavros, who is wheelchair-ridden, not only gets a rocket chair but can also commune with animals and underlings.
    • Lord English has a peg leg.
  • Marilyn from Spinnerette, who can barely even speak, much less move, without her Mecha-Maid power armor.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Venom, member of the rival guild Axis of Anarchy in The Guild. Total badass.
  • Cortez from The Leet World is the best shooter in the house, despite being near-blind. Instead, he uses his acute hearing to track targets, and was the only housemate able to land a hit when a HAXed-up Ahmad went into Flash Step mode.
  • Blind inventor Jericho of the Whateley Universe. He once stopped two power armor-clad mercenary assassins. When he was without his armor.
    • Kludge is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. It hasn't stopped her from being on a super-team at Whateley Academy. And she's a front-liner.
  • Stephen Hawking and, in a way, Darth Vader, in Epic Rap Battles of History. Which makes it rather fitting that they wind up working together.
  • Among Jorden Weir's 5 People Whose Major Disabilities Only Made Them Stronger are a legless mountain climber and a blind pilot.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond is about 80 years old, needs meds for his ailing heart, and has to walk with a cane. Which doesn't stop him from beating information out of one of the Jokerz with said cane. Not to mention his incredible mind and intellect are still as sharp as ever.
  • From earlier down the DCAU timeline, Aquaman cuts off his own hand to save his son. He then has a hook welded to his wrist. That's right, Aquaman is more Badass with a hand cut off in the Diniverse.
    • That was based on the comic book Aquaman, who lost his hand in a different way, but also had a hook (that could change into various other tools) to replace it. He was really presented as more of a cyborg than "handicapped" though. (And later he had the metal hand replaced with a "living water" one that could create shapes out of solid water (and no, I don't mean ice - water that was hard as metal at above freezing temperature).
  • Hoss Delgado from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is missing both an eye and a hand. (The former is a reference to Snake Plissken from Escape from New York; the latter, a reference to Ash from the Evil Dead films, see above.)
  • Joe Swanson of Family Guy is paralyzed from the waist down, but can still kick some major ass.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph Bei Fong is small, blind, and innocent-looking. She is also perhaps the best Earthbender the world has ever known and the most badass character in the whole series. Born blind, she learned to sense her surrounding with echolocation using earthbending at a very young age. Other earthbenders may train their bending several hours per day for many years, but Toph is constantly using her abilities all the time, pushing her skill completely outside the commonly believed limits.
    • Nowhere near as badass as Toph, but still awesome: Minor character Teo has a flying wheelchair. His Gadgeteer Genius father may have built the thing, but only his own kickassery could have allowed him to rival Aang in stunt flying.
  • Inverted in a The Boondocks episode, in which Granddad gets tripped by a mean old blind and black man. Huey seems convinced that the man must be one of those Samurai, so sensitive to movement around them that they are somehow superior fighters in battle compared to those with sight. Granddad spends a lot of time getting in shape preparing to get him back; but it turns out he was just a blind man who had gotten lucky, and ends up getting killed by Granddad. Oops.
  • Cotton Hill from King of the Hill. Dude has no shins but is still able to take on a group of able-bodied orderlies. A feat made even more badass by the fact that he was pushing 80.
  • Armond from Mummies Alive has only one arm but you'd never notice the way he pulls off that Egypt-su. The awesome is slightly diminshed when he gets a mechanical arm to replace the missing limb when he gets his power-up armor.
  • Garrett Miller from Extreme Ghostbusters. He was born a paraplegic but still manages to be the 'jock' of the group. The only times his disability really impairs him is when there's steps involved. A ramp was built into the Ecto-1.
    • Apart from steps, Garrett's only notable instance of being impaired was in the early episode "The True Face of a Monster", where he is tipped out of his wheelchair and mocked by some racist jerks he had thought were his friends. There isn't much he can do (though he clearly tries) until he can get back in. Most times when knocked out of his wheelchair, it is near enough for him to climb back into.
    • In fact in the episode 'Grease', when handcuffed by the CIA, he uses his disability as leverage to get them to take the handcuffs off so he will sign a full confession, snivelling, "What am I going to do; run away?" Then he kicks their butts (metaphorically speaking).
      • While he's snivelling, his team-mates actually look at each other, as if they know what he's going to pull.
  • Felix Renton from Kim Possible is basically The Ace in a wheelchair.
    • Note that both Garrett and Felix are voiced by Jason Marsden. He's not handicapped but he is awesome.
  • Garrett (another one?) from Quest for Camelot. He's blind like Toph up there, but he "makes Daredevil look like an eight-year-old gymnast."
  • Leela from Futurama counts, as she flies an intergalatic spaceship and kicks much ass despite no depth perception.
  • Halcyon Renard from Gargoyles is an old, reclusive billionaire in a wheelchair. A fully-grown male gargoyle just broke out of a steel cage right in front of him? "I'm shaking in my chair." Said chair has a laser gun built in. He also later takes part in the battle against Oberon, who is basically a Physical God.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, being temporarily confined to a wheelchair did not stop Sierra from wheeling herself into the ocean and beating up a shark to rescue her more-than-a-friend Cody.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo near the end of the film.
  • South Park has Timmy, who is astonishingly capable for being a retarded kid in a motorized wheelchair. He can accompany the main four cast on almost any escapade, including recreations of famous fight scenes. He can even use Photoshop, of all crazy things.
    • Ascended Extra Jimmy Valmer takes this even further, doing all kinds of crazy stunts on crutches, from fighting in car chases to being an Olympic athlete (with a a little help, of course).


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to climb Mount Everest.
  • Former Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott. That man is a true badass.
    • Very similarly, Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky.
    • Pete Gray. Pitching with one hand? Do-able. Batting with one hand? Playing the outfield with one hand? Not possible. He did it. And it was his good hand he lost as a child.
  • General Moshe Dayan of the Israeli Defense Forces and his Eyepatch of Power.
  • A wheelchair from a crippling case of polio couldn't stop the inherent awesomeness of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    • By all accounts, the qualities of leadership and courage for which he's so renowned were developed as an unexpected side-effect of his condition. For instance, he developed his social conscience thanks to the warm welcome he received from impoverished locals after he set up a rehab clinic for himself in Georgia.
    • JFK, too, may have acquired some of those qualities from coping with Addison's disease.
      • And having a crippling back injury.
  • Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, of the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Uber-Evil Bastard Adolf Hitler. He had lost his left eye, his right hand and two fingers of the other hand.
    • Unfortunately, the fact that he only had three fingers was the reason he was unable to arm the second bomb, resulting in the explosion only wounding Hitler.
      • The one bomb would have been perfectly adequate...if by sheer chance it hadn't been pushed under the table on the opposite side of the thick, solid hard-wood table support from where Hitler was when it went off. The thick hardwood planking protected Hitler from the worst of the blast. Plenty of other people in the room weren't as lucky.
  • Emperor Claudius of Rome. As he points out in I, Claudius, he survived the treachery of the Roman ruling family with his disabilities (stutter, limp, drooling, difficulty standing up), when so many others got killed. He grew up to become Emperor, a well-regarded historian (whose work sadly has not survived), and developed his own form of public speaking to accommodate his disability. In an age where you stood to speak, and held the floor until you sat down...Claudius could silence an entire room from his chair.
  • Blas de Lezo, a Spanish admiral who lacked one eye, one arm, and had a wooden leg. He was able to defend Cartagena de Indias (a spanish city in America) from an English armada of 30,000 soldiers and 51 warships, having under his command 8,000 soldiers and 8 ships.
  • Richard "Rick" Allen, drummer for Def Leppard. He still plays with the band despite having lost his left arm in an accident, as he developed a custom drum kit that allows him to use his feet to play the parts he'd otherwise play with his left hand.
  • Similarly, Django Reinhart became famous as a guitar player after losing the use of two fingers on one hand in a fire.
  • Tony Iommi, guitarist of Black Sabbath, lost the tips of two fingers on his fretting hand in a welding accident. Inspired by Reinhardt's example, he made himself a pair of prosthetic fingertips and continued to play.
    • In fact, Iommi's injury led to him downtuning his guitar in order to allow his self-made prosthetic fingertips to grip the strings better. That's right, his injury was partially behind the creation of heavy metal, something nobody else aside from his bandmates can hold a claim to.
  • Beethoven, who composed some of his most beloved works while he was mostly deaf.
    • Not to mention he was alleged to have suffered from bipolar disorder and (later in life) a crippling case of lead poisoning that may or may not have led to his death (scholars disagree on that point).
  • The late Irish poet Christy Brown (portrayed, with an Oscar-winning performance by Daniel Day Lewis, in the film My Left Foot). Brown had severe cerebral palsy, to the point that the only body part he could control was his left leg and foot. He used that foot to write (holding a pencil with his toes) nine books of poetry, kick footballs, and beat the crap out of rude drunks Brown encountered at his favorite pub.
  • Aaron Fotheringham, for both his accomplishment as an athlete and his self-awareness as a role model (already, in his mid-teens).
  • Zach Gowen, former WWE wrestler and current indy-circuit regular. He specializes in flips and aerial maneuvers, which is dime-a-dozen in the American indies... except he only has one leg. He really is the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, and always represents himself quite well in said contests.
    • Also Kerry von Erich, who managed to hide his amputated right foot from the whole WWE rooster while still wrestling.
    • Similarly to these guys, independent wrestler Gregory Iron. He suffers from Cerebral Palsy, and has very limited use of his right arm and leg. Regardless of that, he's busted his ass to become a pretty damn good professional wrestler.
  • Similarly Bert Trautmann, a former German soldier taken Po W who stayed in England when the war ended, played in goal for Manchester City FC and won an FA Cup medal in 1956 despite breaking his neck during the game.
  • Sir Douglas Bader. World War 2 fighter ace - despite needing two artificial legs. Was captured by the Germans, made a POW, sent to Stalag Luft III (as made famous by the film The Great Escape,) escaped, was recaptured and sent to Castle Colditz. Ended the war with 22 aerial victories to his name. Apparently, the only way the Germans could keep him in check was to take his legs every night.
    • Besides, it says enough of his character that this guy was dead set to fly combat aircraft in service to his country despite having no legs to earn my respect. Especially when you consider the fact that self-inflicted injuries to avoid going to war are not unheard of.
    • Shortly after receiving his prosthetic legs Bader was told that he would never walk without crutches. His response? "I'll never walk with the bloody crutches.
      • According to his autobiography, he was told he'd never walk without a cane (as it was through that a double-leg amputee wouldn't be able to 'push off' without ankles). He didn't accept that any more than he accepted being grounded. He got flight status back for every type of fighter EXCEPT the one he had to do his flight test in. The only reason he couldn't get that one back is it had foot-only wheel brakes. (He could FLY it perfectly well, he just couldn't STOP the damn thing on his own after after landing. The tester didn't consider that important.) He was the highest paid pilot of his grade in the RAF: He got full combat pay PLUS full disability pay (being considered 100% disabled). Isn't military logic wonderful at times?
    • Pekka Kokko, 13-victory Finnish Air Force ace. He lost his leg due to wounds in air combat, and was deemed unfit for frontline service. What did the Finn AF do? They made him a test pilot!
  • Vice Admiral of the White Horatio Nelson lost most of one arm and the sight in one eye, yet was still a badass naval tactician.
    • Nelson used his handicaps to increase his badassitude. At the battle of Copenhagen he chose to ignore a signal to retreat. The order was sent by signal flags; Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and said, "I really do not see the signal."
    • Notably, Nelson did not wear an Eyepatch of Power. Why? Because, well, like he needed more awesomeness power...
  • Saburo Sakai, Japanese fighter ace (64 kills). He lost an eye in air combat. He returned back to air combat despåite being one-eyed, and shot five more Americans down.
  • As noted above, Naval Master Chief Carl Brashear and his one good leg.
  • Jean-Pierre Hallet, Belgian ethnologist and author of books like Congo Kitabu. While trying to get food for a starving Congo tribe, he got his right hand blown off, his wrist bones and his bracelet were blasted into his face and body, and he was blown out of his canoe into crocodile-infested waters. He then made it to shore, hiked out to his jeep, and drove about a hundred miles through mountain roads to get to a hospital. Top that! And he continued to work in the Belgian Congo for years afterward, winning over a hundred awards, becoming known as the Abe Lincoln of the Congo for his work with pygmy tribes, and even getting a Nobel Peace prize nomination.
  • Jessica Cox was born without arms but learned to fly a plane with her feet.
  • Alexey Maresyev was a WWII pilot that shot down 4 enemy planes. After that he got shot down himself, behind enemy lines, and evaded capture with injured legs. By the time he had access to proper medical attention, his legs were so deteriorated, they had to be amputed below the knee. Inspired by reading a Russian pilot, Prokofyev-Seversky, who went back into combat after basically losing one leg, Alexey Maresyev spent a year learning how to use his prosthetics, even learning how to dance. Few people at first were able to realize he was a double amputee. Recognizing his prowess with his prosthetics and his bravery, the USSR military commission approved his return to flying. It took a couple more months before his commander allowed him to return to combat. In total, by the end of the war, he went on 86 combat flights and shot down 11 enemy planes.
  • Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was left with only the use of his left eyelid following a stroke. By having someone repeatedly recite the alphabet to him and blinking when the correct letter was reached, he was able to write an entire book about his experience, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which he had to compose and edit entirely within his head.
  • Terry Fox. The guy was diagnosed with cancer when he was 18 which, being an athlete, was just horrible since his leg had to be amputated. Then he ran across Canada, the second biggest country in the world asking every Canadian citizen he saw for one dollar for the cancer foundation. Terry Fox didn't walk but ran, more than 25 miles a day, and died at the age of 22 having raised millions. He is a national hero in Canada, and the Terry Fox Foundation holds a yearly Terry Fox Run to raise money for cancer research in his honour.
    • Don't forget Steve Fonyo, another amputee who decided to retrace Terry's path for his own and made it all the way! to the Pacific Coast. He then spent the rest of his life acquiring a criminal record for things like assault. The trope is "handicapped badass," not "handicapped saint."
    • Rick Hansen, another Canadian and personal friend of Terry, was paraplegic who toured the world in a wheelchair and returned a world-famous hero.
  • King John I of Bohemia. He lost his eyesight while on Crusade with the Teutonic Knights, but still went to fight for the French in the Hundred Years' War at Crecy. When he learned that the battle was lost and his son was nowhere to be found, he ordered his knights to help him charge forward so he could swing his sword in battle one last time, and made such an impression on the English that when it was all over and he was dead, the Black Prince himself added a part of John's crest to his arms, where it's still a part of the arms of the Prince of Wales to this day.
  • A couple years ago on America's Got Talent, there was a crippled guy who had crutches...and he performed one of the most awesome breakdance routines I have ever seen.
    • That would be the dancer known as Crazy Legs. He has to be seen to be believed!
  • Audie Murphy. He had malaria through almost all of World War 2, and he was still able to do everything he did. If you don't know him and you live in the USA, you're not a true American.
  • To the everlasting glory of the infantry, shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young. Spindly, geeky, half-blind, half-deaf badass.
  • King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. Suffered from leprosy, but still managed to give Saladin, who was a badass in his own right, one hell of a ass-whipping. Keep in mind, he did this when he was just 16. You can read more about him here.
  • David Draiman, lead singer of the band Disturbed suffered from a deviated septum caused by a number of broken noses early in life, causing him to breathe exclusively through his mouth on stage, and an acid reflux problem damaging his throat and stomach. Despite this, he's been often recognized as one of the better singers in rock music. This has all been surgically corrected in recent years, making Indestructible his first album in which he sings at full ability.
  • Max Runham, one armed traceur. Genuinely more skilled than most two-armed practitioners.
  • Art Tatum. Nearly completely blind (he could barely see with one eye), and he could play the piano like this.
  • It was generally agreed that Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates could "dance better on one leg than most men could on two." He was a tap dancer who used his peg leg to create a third, distinct sound. Examples: This one as well as this one
  • Adrian Carton de Wiart.Lost an eye and a left hand by 1915. Victoria Cross by 1916. Continued to enthusiastically participate in warfare clear up through the end of the Second World War.
  • Amy Palmiero-Winters. She lost her left leg below the knee in a car accident at age 21. At age 37, she finished first overall in the 24-hour "Run To The Future" race. Against able-bodied women and men. That meant that she became the first amputee ever to qualify for a place on a U. S. National track and field team. She will compete in the 24-hour world championships this May in Brive, France. How badass is this woman? She ran in the Badwater Ultramarathon (which goes through Death Valley in June) until heat from the road built up in her prosthesis and gave her third degree burns on her residual limb.
    • She was awarded the 2010 Sullivan Award as the finest amateur athlete in the entire country.
  • For those of you who look at Dance Dance Revolution and think that it's hard on it's own, ask tips from this guy; that is, after you pick up your jaw from the floor.
  • Hirotada Ototake of Japan, author of "No One's Perfect", was born without any limbs due to a disease known as tetra-amelia. As of 2007, he's an elementary school teacher. Some of the photos in his memoir shows him doing things that people with normal limbs take for granted.
  • German knight Götz von Berlichingen, who had lost the right hand, which was replaced by an iron prosthetic (not perfectly working, but he could still fight with a sword!).
  • Willie O'Ree is 95% blind in his right eye and went on to be the first black player in the NHL while playing right forward. Recently inducted into the Order of Canada.
  • In a story eerily reminiscent of Men of Honor, Captain Jim Bonney of the Royal Marines permanently injured his leg in a climbing accident. He chose to have it amputated and replaced with a prosthetic and has since become the first amputee to return to full active service with the Royal Marines. Story here.
  • One word: Galvarino. Granted, he was not handicapped at start, but still - did the Spanish think they could stop him by cutting both his hands? (And yes, he offered his other hand to be chopped as well.) Nope, his people, the Mapuche, just attached two blades to his stumps and he just got on kicking Spaniard asses in the later battle, even though he and his warriors were still defeated. Galvarino was such a tough motherf*cker that when the conquistadores caught him, they had to get him hanged on the spot to definitely stop him.
  • Comedian Mat Fraser, born with short arms, has taught a form of dynamic self defense using styles adapted to each student's disabilities. He himself tends towards kicks.
  • Another Bohemian to make the list, Jan Zizka (One-eyed) lead a section of Hussites against enemies many times their numbers, using fortified farm wagons and flails, and never lost once. He lost the use of his remaining eye in 1421 and went on to continue kicking ass, e.g. executing the first mobile artillery maneuver in modern history to escape being sieged, and died of plague in the 1424. Some years after his death the Hussite Reformation fell to infighting.
    • The infighting already started during his lifetime, Zizka being one of the leaders of the more radical Taborite faction. Before the Hussite revolution, Zizka also fought in the army of the Teutonic Knights at the battle of Tannenberg or Grunwald (1410) and in the English army at Azincourt (1415).
  • This 66 years old wheelchair bound man punched out two robbers. Yes, they got his wallet and his chain, but they sure as hell had to fight for it.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, manliest US president in history, was asthmatic and blind in one eye. This did nothing to stop his incredible athleticism, blackbelt in judo, amazing skill at boxing, ability to kill anything on the planet, service in the Spanish-American War or ability to give a ninety minute speech after being shot in the chest. This is what is technically known as "going overboard in compensating for health issues".
    • To be fair, it barely drew blood. His glasses case and a copy of the speech slowed the bullet down.
    • Which made the speech unreadable, so he recited it from memory.
  • Every person with a disability that dares to walk completely alone in Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities on earth (also very filthy and pretty much full of irregularities in the ground). And not only that, but also taking the subway (of course, the video is just an extreme case, everything depends on the hour, the day of the week and if the trains are late or not).
  • Survivor contestant Kelly Bruno, triathalon runner and US Open ball girl after losing half a leg to a congenital deformity at six months. Currently the record holder of the Ironman Kona Triatholon Hawaii course, and only the second amputee to ever finish it.
  • One real life example of mentally handicapped has to be the Swedish theatre group Glada Hudik teatern (the Happy Hudik theatre)which is consisting mostly of people who are to some degree mentally handicapped or like they would say consisting of people who are mentally handicapped and normally handicapped (i.e. those without any handicap). Since 1996 they have played theatre and gone from a small theatre in it's hometown Hudiksvall to a extremely famous group which for a long time acted in Globen (Stockholm) instead of Mamma Mia and recently played in New York to the Swedish people there. Let's just say they are awesome.
  • Silent film star Harold Lloyd, who became well known for his "comedy of thrills" style, performing many spectacular stunts after losing the thumb and index finger of his right hand.
  • Archduke Charles, commander of Austrian forces in the Napoleonic Wars and the first person to defeat Napoleon, also happened to be a lifelong epileptic.
  • The first blind contestant on Jeopardy!, Eddie Timanus, went on to become an undefeated five-time champion, a hefty winner in the Tournament of Champions, and overall one of the show's most memorable contestants.
  • Jeff Becerra, lead singer of the pioneering Death Metal band Possessed, has been paralyzed from the chest down since being shot in a robbery in 1990, shortly after Possessed disbanded. That didn't stop him from reforming Possessed in 2007-and they continue to tour today, wheelchair and all.
  • Timurlane. He was wounded in a battle early in his life, and couldn't walk properly for the rest of it. He was also one of the greatest conquerors after his ancestor, Genghis Khan, and his progeny maintained rule of India until 1857. Also noted for his ability to plan military campaigns years ahead of actually putting them in to action.
  • Senator Daniel Inouye earned this status just seconds after becoming handicapped. Near the end of World War II, he was in a battle where he was about to throw a grenade at a German bunker. Before he could make the throw, his hand holding the grenade was almost completely severed by gunfire. Completely unfazed, he used his remaining hand to pry it out, and this time successfully made the throw and blew up the bunker. And he didn't stop there, taking several other serious wounds before passing out from blood loss. In the hospital later, he even kept insisting he be allowed to go back to his unit to fight again. He's still alive, by the way, as the senior Senator from Hawaii and the longest-serving current member (and thus President pro tempore) of the Senate.
  • Aron Ralston, who got his armed trapped under a boulder while hiking and hacked his arm off to escape. After recovering, he continued hiking and climbing mountains. Danny Boyle later made an Academy Award nominated films out of his story.
  • Jose Feliciano. Completely blind due to congenital glaucoma. Virtuoso guitarist, singer and composer with almost 50 years of career.
  • Nick Vujicic, another sufferer of Tetra Amelia Syndrome with no arms and one very atrophied leg and motivational speaker par excellence. Released a DVD for kids entitled No Arms, No Legs, No Worries See him in action here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjb X 6 m Dn Mw M
  • Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost an arm to a shark. That didn't stop her from getting 1st place in the NSSA National Championship and 2nd in a competition against the world's best women surfers. Hell. Yes.
    • She lost 60% of the blood in her body before she was stabilized. She had multiple surgeries. She was back on a surfboard in less than a month.
    • There's a movie about her: Soul Surfer. Good movie.
  • One of the contestants in "China's Got Talent" is Liu Wei, a man whose arms were chopped off in a childhood accident. He wows the entire audience when playing Richard Clayderman's "Mariage D'amour" on the piano with his feet.
  • Russian officer Mihail I. Kutuzov (1745-1813) got a bullet in his right temple (a wound normally considered fatal at the time) which cost him the sight of his right eye, but he continued to serve, rising to army command and becoming one of the most famous Russian generals of his era.
  • Julius Caesar, one of the great all-round badasses of all times, was most likely epileptic.
  • When U.S. general Oliver Otis Howard lost his right arm in the battle of Seven Pines in 1862, he was visited in hospital by his fellow general Phil Kearny, who had lost his left arm in the war against Mexico.

Kearny: General, I am sorry for it, but you must not mind it: the ladies will not think the less of you.
Howard: There is one thing we can do, General; we can buy our gloves together.

  • Joaquin Rodrigo, Marquis of Aranjuez. Virtuoso piano player and composer of the famous Concert of Aranjuez. Blind since age three due to illness, he actually was a Child Prodigy in regards to music. Rodrigo would also write his music pieces in braille and then get them transcribed to normal partitures.
  • This guy, a blind judo champion who beat up a mugger.
  • Narses the Eunech who was a great Byzantine Four-Star Badass.
  • This was painted by a Turkish man named Esref Armagan. He was born without eyes.
  • Lou Ferrigno lost most of his hearing to an infection at age three, and then had to deal with his father mocking him for being a weakling who'd never accomplish anything because of it. He became one of the world's most famous bodybuilders, as well as the face (and voice) of The Incredible Hulk.
  • This adorable little girl was born with no hands and won an award for excellent penmanship. And that's not all she can do. Read it!
  • Chinese Lawyer Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest in China. What makes this even MORE badass is, he's BLIND.
  • Guitar virtuoso Jason Becker, a teen prodigy, was acclaimed for his "shredding" guitar skills, inventivenes and melodicism. He replaced Steve Vai in David Lee Roth's band for Roth's 1992 A Little Ain't Enough album. Diagnosed in 1989 of Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), by the late 1990's he was unable to move, walk, talk or play guitar, but developed a technique with computer software, MIDI and eye movements enough to compose again, recording three new tracks for a recent compilation album with the help of musician friends such as Joe Satriani, Steve Hunter and Michael Lee Firkins. He has also lived far longer than he was expected to given his diagnosis, and as of June 2012 (when he appears on that month's cover of Guitar Player magazine) is recording new material, starring in a documentary on his illness and recovery, having a signature guitar in his honor, and is preparing to release early demo material in the near future.
  • Dergin Tokmak, a German dancer, is well-known on the internet for his ability despite being left partially paralyzed thanks to a bout with polio when he was a toddler that left him to walk with crutches.
  • A treasured relic of the French Foreign Legion is the wooden left hand of Capitaine Jean Danjou, who commanded an understrength company in the legendary Last Stand at Camerone (alternative spelling Camarón) farmhouse, 30 April 1863. On every anniversary of the battle, this hand is paraded in front of Legionnaires at the headquarters near Marseilles.