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"He was the only man capable of saving these fools from their wretched existence... And you... You murdered him!!! You shall pay! No...not just you... The whole world shall pay!"

Ramirez, Skies of Arcadia

If the heroes have defeated a Big Bad or Evil Overlord, there is a chance that they have an offspring, or little brother, or maybe just an apprentice, who will come back to menace them in the sequel, next season or what have you.

This isn't a trope that would be used for villains who only care about themselves, and it's pretty rare in one who'd bother becoming the Big Bad, because it shows the villains had loved ones or people they cared about. In most cases, the villain's brother/sister/etc. won't actually care about the deceased villain, and may or may not be out for the hero's blood for other reasons. In fact subversions are more common than straight examples.

Related to You Killed My Father, Overlord, Jr., Cycle of Revenge, Revenge Myopia and some cases of Dragon Their Feet and Dragon Ascendant.

Examples of Avenging the Villain include:

Anime and Manga

  • Piccolo producing his son in Dragon Ball, just seconds before dying, to have him get his revenge on Goku.
    • And then subverted in the Dragon Ball Z saga, where Piccolo Jr and Goku team up in the first few episodes, and becomes an invaluable part of his team for the rest of the show.
      • Perhaps he got revenge out of his system after killing Goku for a year and abducting his son for said duration.
    • Also, one of Babadi's motivations for reviving Majin Buu is avenging his father's death at the hands of the Supreme Kai, while at the same time finishing his father's work.
    • Cooler sought out to kill Goku, whom he blamed for Frieza's death. However, the only reason he cares is that he believes that Frieza's being killed by a lowly Saiyan has brought disgrace upon their clan's name.
  • In Bleach this happens when Zommari comes to avenge Aaroniero's death by Rukia.
  • In Mokuba's first appearance in Yu-Gi-Oh, he had his classmates kidnap Yugi so he could challenge him to a duel, cheat, win, and avenge his brother's loss in Duel Monsters. This was also the premise of Yu-Gi-Oh R, where Pegasus' adopted son/protégé sought revenge against Yugi.
    • Avenging Pegasus's defeat was Duke Devlin's original motivation for challenging Yugi to a high-stakes game of Dungeon Dice Monsters in the anime. In the manga, he's avenging the defeat of his Monster Clown father at the hands of Yugi's grandfather.
  • In Samurai Champloo, Jin killed his master Mariya Enshirou in self-defense. Try telling that to Mariya's other students, who are hunting for Jin throughout the series to avenge him. Particularly notable is Not-So-Harmless Villain Ogura Bunta, who managed to hold his own against Jin when he finally encountered him. The shame of his defeat, however, caused Bunta to be Driven to Suicide, according to Jin's Unknown Rival Yukimaru. For his part, Yukimaru doesn't care about their master, and just wants to kill Jin to absorb the reputation of the thousand man killer.
  • Two of the Big Bads of Slayers were avenging the deaths of their masters. In the first season, Eris went after those who killed Rezo, only to get killed by a clone of Rezo she created for her trouble. The third season TRY had Valgaav, a follower of Gaav who died in the previous season. He was bent on releasing Dark Star into Lina's world in hopes it would destroy those who he believed killed Gaav, namely the remaining Mazoku and Lina Inverse and company. And that's not mention the how's he's the only survivor of the Ancient Dragon clan, slaughtered by the Golden Dragon clan.
  • Brocken Jr., of Kinnikuman infamy, originally sought revenge against Ramenman for the death of his father, Brockenman. This is despite the fact that both Junior and Ramenman were "faces" and Brockenman a "heel." Brocken Jr.'s Image Song even has him acknowledge his father was a cheap fighter who got what he deserved, but he intends vengeance all the same. He changes his mind after Ramenman defeats him.
    • Funnily enough, when Ramenman fought Brockenman he himsef was a monstrously brutal "heel". Not only did he needlessly kil Brockenman, he made him into noodles and ate him, too. You can't blame a guy for wanting to beat the piss out of the man who murdered and ate his father for laughs.
      • In the anime at least. In the manga, Ramenman ripped Brockenman's body in half!
  • Princess Senjyu in Basara tries to murder Tatara to avenge her husband but fails. Tatara's friends advised him to kill her with her unborn child so she can't raise it to avenge his father. She gets spared and only held captive. When Tatara delivers the her baby and her husbands men fight along the rebels she ceases her hatred and names her child not Shido but Motomichi.
  • In Inu Yasha, there is a challenge sent to Shippo by someone wanting to avenge Hiten and Manten of Thunder Brothers. Although Shippo is petrified by the thought of fighting a lightning user, the duel does take place. This someone turns out to be a little female demon. After her battle with Shippo subsides, she falls for him.
  • During the DVD-bonus episodes of Baccano!, Graham Spector arrives in New York to avenge Ladd Russo's defeat from the 1931 story arc.
  • The entirety of the plot of the Peacemaker Kurogane manga has Suzu's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Shinsengumi for Yoshida's death as its driving force.
  • In Naruto, Kabuto swears to do this to Sasuke for "killing" Orochimaru.
    • Though now it would be arguably difficult with both him and Sasuke being on the same side now. (Sort of)
    • Said target revenge is want to destroy Konoha blaming them for the deaths of his family, who were killed for planning a coup against the village.
  • Lucia has an offhand comment early in his role in Rave Master that makes it seem like part of his motivation is to avenge his father. Really, though, it's more that he's just lashing back at the world.
  • In Nurarihyon no Mago, the Hundred Tales Clan remnants seek vengeance for their leaders death by the Second.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny: Rey Za Burrel's older brother, Rau Le Creuset, was a Death Seeker and Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who died while trying to take everyone else with him. Rey—a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to make sure that no one ever lives a life like Rau did—spends much of SEED Destiny trying to off Kira Yamato, the one who killed Rau, typically ranting about how he is Rau while doing so. It would seem that Avenging the Villain plays at least some role in Rey's motivations.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: In the first anime, Wrath attacks Lust in a rage after she helps the Elrics cripple Sloth, who he thinks is his mother. The two fight, and Wrath inevitably kills Lust.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: If you want to consider Tomoe a villain, her brother Enishi fits the trope. Also, two of the other people Kenshin killed at the same night Tomoe died were the reason two of Enishi's allies were out for him. The previous group's leader had an apprentice who wanted to defeat Kenshin. Not for revenge as Sanosuke assumed but because killing the one who killed his master was the only way to prove himself stronger than that master. The second one, a Sissy Villain, played the trope straight. A friend of his, whith whom he liked to compare who killed more people, was killed by Kenshin.
  • Digimon: After Etemon suffered his final defeat (he'd later return as Metal Etemon but people didn't know it back then), two of his followers briefly discussed this trope but agreed they didn't like him to the point of trying to avenge him.

Comic Books

  • Since Kraven the Hunter was killed in the Spider-Man comics, several previously unknown sons (both legitimate and illegitimate), and more recently a daughter, have shown up seeking revenge.
    • This is especially ironic as Kraven, having nothing else to live for after he defeated his ultimate foe, killed himself! Spider-Man really was innocent.
    • This happens to Spider-Man fairly often. Harry Osborn became the Green Goblin to avenge his father's death at Spider-Man's hands. In the Alternate Future in Spider-Girl, his son does the same, but Spidey's daughter manages to talk him down and break the Cycle of Revenge.
  • Baron Helmut Zemo tried to avenge his father Baron Heinrich Zemo's death by trying to kill Captain America (comics).
  • Nash from James Robinson's Starman vowed she would destroy everything Jack Knight held dear and him after Jack killed Nash's brother Kyle (who in turn had killed Jack's brother David). Nash believed that because she let Jack go, she was an "accomplice" in her brother's murder (while ignoring the fact she did the exact same thing for David Knight's murder). Nash then became the second Mist and went completely Ax Crazy, becoming her father's equal in villainy. But she topped it when she raped Jack, got pregnant with his child and literally told Jack she was going to raise their child to despise Jack utterly.
  • Elizabeth Hawkesmoore in Nikolai Dante joined the Russian army for the chance to kill Dante after he killed her father, Sir Richard Hawkesmoore.
  • Prometheus has a similar backstory to Batman except his criminal parents were shot by the police.

Fan Works



Simon Gruber: There's a difference, you know, between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window!

    • Unfortunately, that sliver of annoyance turns out to be his downfall - he should have realized that if McClane could figure out his brother's plan, his own were no safer. And he taunted him with that stupid aspirin bottle.
    • Similarly, in the first film, one of Hans' own henchmen, Karl, spends most of the film trying to kill McClane after the latter kills another of Hans' henchmen, Karl's brother Tony.
  • In a similar vein to the Die Hard films, Jet Li's character, Wah Sing Ku, at the end of Lethal Weapon 4 is attempting to flee Riggs and Murtaugh with his brother, all the other villains having been killed. When Murtaugh shoots Ku's brother while aiming for Ku himself, Ku sticks around and tries to kill Riggs and Murtaugh in revenge. Riggs then shoots Ku underwater after they fall off a pier while fighting.
  • Implied as a Sequel Hook in Kill Bill.
  • In the film The Godfather Part II and the novel The Godfather, averting this trope is the reason the Sicilian mobster Don Ciccio gives to the wife of Antonio Andolini, whom he has had killed for not paying tribute to him, for ordering the death both of her older, healthy son Paolo, who has played this trope straight, and also of her young, sickly son Vito. It doesn't work. In the movie, Signora Andolini is killed in front of her son Vito for trying to defend his life, but Vito manages to escape. Decades later, Vito Andolini returns to Sicily as Vito Corleone and kills the now senile Don Ciccio in exactly the sort of scenario he was trying to avoid.
  • The Wizard of Oz: This is another way of looking at the Wicked Witch of the West. If somebody smashed your sister with a house, wouldn't you want to kill them and their little dog too?
  • A hallucination of Norman Osborn rather strongly insisted upon this in Spider-Man 2.
  • Part of a Sequel Hook for Kick Ass, when Red Mist seems to imply he's going to become a super-villain for all the new superheroes to fight.
  • In Stardust, Lamia averts this trope. When Tristan kills both of her sisters to rescue Yvaine she is beside herself with grief at having lost the only family she had, making eating Yvaine's heart to become immortal unbearable, so she lets them both go. Of course, it's all an act, she never cared for her sisters and proceeds to explode every mirror in their faces just for fun.
  • In The Karate Kid Part III Terry Silver actually mostly abandons his job for the time being and goes to absurd lengths to ruin Daniel and Miyagi for what they did to his war buddy John Kreese.


  • The villain of the Flashman novel Royal Flash is an Expy of Rupert of Henzau. One of the novellas in Flashman and the Tiger which is set decades later has that character's son who has an identical appearance and personality and uses an Older Hero vs. Younger Villain scenario.
  • Rupert of Hentzau ends with Rupert's servant Bauer shooting Rudolf to avenge his master.
  • Older Than Radio: In the story of "Aladdin", the villainous African magician had a younger brother attempting to avenge his brother's death.
  • In the James Bond novel For Special Services by John Gardner, Ernst Stavro Blofeld's daughter shows up to take revenge on her father's nemesis.
  • Beowulf has to take on the mother of the monster Grendel immediately after killing him.
  • A purely villainous example occurs in Mariel of Redwall. Saltar the searat swears revenge on his leader Gabool because Gabool killed his brother. "There was never any love lost between me and Bludrigg, but he was my brother, and blood must be repaid with blood."
    • This is fairly common—the villains of Marlfox scale things up in response to one of their number being killed, Slitfang of Triss challenges Kurda in no small part from the perception she was partly responsible for Plugg Firetail's death, Antigra and Gruven, and possibly Ripfang and Doomeye would be the more obvious examples. While the Marlfoxes have no particular issue with killing their own, the other sets did actually seem to have at least loyalty when not outright love.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles series, after the primary antagonist Zemenar is killed, his son Antorell works to avenge him—although, actually, Antorell had already been among the antagonists, so Zemenar's death just made him angrier and very slightly more effectual.
  • The sole motivation of evil vampire Victoria during the second and third books of the Twilight series is to avenge the death of her boyfriend, James. Victoria believes that since Edward killed the person she most cared about (James), she should get even with Edward by killing the person he most cares about (Bella).
    • Ironically, it wasn't actually Edward who killed James in either the book or the film adaptation. It was some of the other members of the Cullen coven.
  • Warrior Cats gives a couple examples in Darkstripe and Hawkfrost, whose motivation for attempting to kill Firestar is mainly vengeance for Tigerstar's death.
  • In Death: Liam Calhoun and his mother Mary Patricia Calhoun from Vengeance In Death were willing to stop at nothing to avenge John Calhoun's death. What is rather creepy is how John Calhoun was a Complete Monster who raped and torture murdered an innocent young girl and these two wanted to avenge him. Ugh!

Live Action TV

  • Thrax, of the Power Rangers 15th anniversary, wants to destroy the current Rangers because it was a group of Rangers who purified his parents back in season six, "killing" the people that they were as villains (since there's little to no resemblance now, physically or mentally).
  • Averted in Tomica Hero Rescue Force, because when the Big Bad Daen did a Heel Face Turn, and thought that Redemption Equals Death, his 'daughter' Maen (really a sentient computer program who resembles him) awakes. But in reality his daughter was a millions years old super advanced Nanocomputer capable of shapeshifting. It was actually the one who turned Daen evil in the first place, wanting to use him to eradicate humanity, because it calculated that humanity would be a threat to earth.
  • At the end of NCIS Season 7, Gibbs' back-story comes back to haunt him: A Mexican druglord had killed his wife and daughter many years ago, whom Gibbs avenged by killing him with a sniper rifle. Now the boss's daughter, who has taken over the cartel, abducts Gibbs in order to exact her vengeance. She is aided by her brother, the Mexican government official fighting the drug war.
  • Oz has quite many of these. Prison makes bad guys care for each other.
  • Breaking Bad has The Cousins come up to Albuquerque to kill Walter in revenge for killing Tuco.

Tabletop Games

  • Many Role-Playing Games have rules that if your character has an enemy at character generation, there is a cost to lose the flaw and simply killing your enemy without paying the cost will result in someone taking his place in this manner.
  • In GURPS Cabal, the Cabal in question has a tradition of vengeance. Every member has two other members that he is assigned to avenge should they die, and every member has two other members who will avenge him upon his death. So if anyone kills one Cabalist, he will have two others avenging that one. Killing those two will being four avengers, etc. (And since the Cabal is formed of mystics, sorcerers, monsters, etc., this can get scary real quick.)

Video Games

  • The Cyclops in Castle Crashers attempts to avenge the groom of the kidnapped princess, until the player just frags him too. Twice.
  • Franziska Von Karma in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, the daughter of Manfred Von Karma, who in the previous game Phoenix defeated and sent to jail. She first appears making it clear that she has it out for Phoenix, while he tries to convince her that it's not such a big deal. It turns out to be a subversion; she wasn't trying to avenge her father... she was trying to surpass her big-brother figure and childhood rival, Miles Edgeworth.
  • Bowser Jr. in New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Sunshine.
  • Ultima II and III are built around this. In The Revenge of the Enchantress, the current Big Bad is a disciple and lover of the Big Bad from the first game. In Exodus, the titular Big Bad is a child of both Big Bads from the previous two games.
  • The Big Bad of the John Woo game Stranglehold, Mr. James Wong, was the father of the original Big Bad from the movie Hard Boiled, Johnny Wong. He's none too happy with Tequila on that score, even without his daughter falling in love with the Cowboy Cop.
  • Piastol from Skies of Arcadia; she thinks Vyse killed her father and sister and tries to kill him in return. The party luckily manages to explain the real events to her, but since her arc was added to the remake, she never joins you to go defeat the real killer, who is the final boss.
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder has the Royal Family kidnapped by Mordak due to the fact Alexander turned Mordak's brother into a cat in King's Quest III and Mordak wants to force Alex to turn him back.
  • Subverted (or at least played with) in Super Robot Wars 3 and Original Generation when Lune Zoldark, daughter of the Divine Crusaders' leader (who you killed in the previous game/arc), attacks your group to avenge her father's death. The twist comes in that she knows exactly what the situation regarding her father was about, and after losing promptly drops the grudge and joins your side, having fulfilled her familial duty in engaging you.
  • One of the eight Bosses in Mega Man Zero 4, is Tech Kraken, a pupil of the late Phantom of the Four Guardians, joining Dr. Weil's army to fight Zero for this reason. Interesting to note that neither Phantom nor Kraken are actual villains. And once Zero defeats him for the second time, Kraken no longer holds a grudge, and even encourages Zero to go on and defeat Dr. Weil!
  • Dr. Regal in Mega Man Battle Network 4 and 5 is the son of Dr. Wily.
    • However, this was subverted in Cybeast Gregar with the character of Ann Zap, the wife of Count Zap, who Lan defeated way back in the first game. She doesn't know who Lan is when she meets him, but when she figures it out, she actually thanks Lan for sending him to jail to pay for his crimes. Also, in Team Proto Man, Mr Gauss' daughter Tesla starts off overjoyed at the fact that she can avenge her father, but quickly forgets about it and even joins the protagonists.
  • Played straight, then subverted in Robopon 2, Dr. Zeke is the previously unseen brother of the Big Bad, Dr. Zero, from the first game. But rather than vowing to avenge his death, he goes back in time to save Zero so they can both destroy the hero.
  • Parodied and Deconstructed in No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, the villains that are being avenged were either nameless NPCs or so incredibly incidental they got killed in the trailer for the first game.
  • In the World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm, Vanessa Vancleef replaces her father Edwin Vancleef as the leader of the Defias Brotherhood, as well as the final boss of the Dead Mines. Revenge for her father's death is one of her primary goals.
    • And while Deathwing didn't need much of an excuse to ravage the world, the fact that his daughter's head hung from the gates of Stormwind did draw that city his special attention.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, this is how you'll get to fight one of the Eight Generals of Valpha-Valaharian, Rinanore of the Ice and Fire : she's in love with fellow general Borankio the Unshakable, and if you manage to kill him during the second war battle, one month later, she'll defect from Valpha-Valaharian just to challenge you in a duel to death and try to avenge his death.
  • In Dragon Age, you kill Arl Howe. In the expansion Awakening, his son Nathaniel sneaks into your castle to assassinate your Player Character. This doesn't go well for him, and he can be recruited into your party himself if you wish when you visit him in jail.
  • Seen repeatedly in the latter half of Fire Emblem 4 where many good people fight your army only because you killed their parents earlier in the game.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, this is Karst's motivation for wanting to kill Isaac, who'd fought her Cool Big Sis Menardi to the latter's death. This goes a long way toward making Karst one of the most sympathetic antagonists in the series.
  • Woolman has a special intro in Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight where he mourns the loss of his comrades on the true Kinnikuman Soldier's team. If Woolman wins with low health, he brutalizes Ashuraman, Brocken Jr., Buffaloman, The Ninja, and the fake Kinnikuman Soldier. As the bell rings, signifying the end of the round, images of Woolman's comrades appear behind him as he kneels in sadness.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, when a minor villain named Dorecia is killed, her lover Ferron promises to hunt down her killer who turns out to be Refan. Belial wants to avenge the death of his brother Antigonus who opposed various heroes in the past, and this later gets reversed when Antigonus comes back to life and finds out Belial has been assassinated, so he swears to punish the ones responsible for Belial's death.
  • Near the start of the third series of Lonelygirl15, the protagonists are pursued by the Shadow of Bill Porter, the Big Bad of the previous series. Subverted when the Shadow is abruptly run down by a car in "In the Bedroom".
    • Similarly, in Kate Modern, Michelle Clore's Shadow came after the main characters after the death of his Elder left him furious.
  • In Comic Fury Werewolf the Werewolves kill someone who led a lynch on one of their own.
    • However, a more specific example is when the werewolves decided to do a cross-generation example: Ice defeating Ranger in Game 10.

Western Animation

  • The son of Frank Grimes on The Simpsons, who came to get revenge on Homer after his dad died. (Also, Goliath Jr. in the Bible Stories episode.)

Bart/King David: You killed my best friend!
Nelson/Goliath Jr.: You killed my father, who was like a best friend!

  • Variation: Drago of Jackie Chan Adventures is Shendu's son, but he didn't come into play until the final season. In fact, he has a battle with his father in the finale, which leads to both of them getting sealed away.
  • Occurs quite a bit in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the original comic books, the Foot Clan's vendetta against the Turtles begins after they kill the Shredder in the first issue. The same occurs twice in the 2003 animated series, first when the Shredder is believed to be dead in the second season, and later after the same character is exiled in the fourth season, leaving his adopted daughter in control of the Foot Clan.
  • The premise of The Lion King II.
  • The premise of The Little Mermaid II (Yes, Disney's direct-to-video sequels are original..)
  • The purpose of the appropriately-named Knights of Vengeance in the early second season of WITCH was to avenge the previous season's Big Bad, Evil Overlord Phobos. Of course, this was all just part of Nerissa's schemes.
  • Part of Prince Charming's motivation in Shrek The Third.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Avatar Day", Aang was arrested and put on trial because in a past life (Avatar Kyoshi), he killed the village's founder, Emperor Chin. This is a partial subversion of the trope, as the villagers believed Chin to be a benevolent ruler, but Kyoshi revealed he was a horrible tyrant expanding his empire.
  • Gargoyles uses this trope in "City of Stone" to hammer home the pointlessness of revenge: Canmore wanted to kill Macbeth to avenge Duncan's "murder," even though Duncan had been a treacherous villain who had brought his fate upon himself.
  • Transformers Prime: Dreadwing comes to Earth primarily to avenge his brother Skyquake's death at the hands of the Autobots. However, Megatron refuses to have any agendas conflicting with his own, and orders Dreadwing to give up his revenge quest (so that he'll only fight the Autobots when Megatron orders it). Since Dreadwing is undyingly loyal, he reluctantly complies.

Real Life

  • Part of the Viking people's code of honour was that if a family member is killed, you should avenge him, even if the killing was sorely provoked. There were exceptions to this, but not many. Troublemakers could be a serious problem for their more sensible relatives because of this. Not surprisingly, there was many a blood feud due to the Cycle of Revenge that would inevitably arise.
    • The Vikings eventually figured out the concept of weregild, blood money because of this. The families could either go avenging each other for generations, or pay a large sum of money to the family of the deceased and be done with it.
    • This was true of more peoples than just the Vikings. The Japanese, the Arabs, the Sicilians, many Native American cultures, the Celts, several African peoples... it'd be easier to think of a culture that didn't accept and venerate the idea of blood vengeance.
      • Malcom Gladwell theorizes that the culture of honor that persists in the American south is directly descended from the area's ancestry in the Scottish highlands. To this day, insulting a southerner is a good way to get yourself beaten.