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"Captain Cold... Captain Boomerang... they probably would have gone for it if I was a captain."


There is a definite prejudice in Superhero comics towards using force rather than reason to sort things out. As a result, a fighting man with a military-sounding background gets more respect than a thinking man with a doctorate or a medical qualification. This is probably an inheritance from the early days of comics, where the patriotic World War II setting made military good guys obvious. The rank of "Captain" probably became common as, in the Army, it is low-ranking enough to be approachable and avoid the inevitable moral ambiguity of the most senior ranks, but high enough to deserve some respect.

The upshot of this is that characters whose names begin with "Captain" are almost always good, unless explicitly subverting this or a Nazi. (In the case of a Nazi, or in the case of German officers from other periods, the correct title Hauptmann could occur. If the Nazi Captain is referred to as Kapitän we might have a case of Did Not Do the Research, since Kapitän exclusively refers to the marine. Another trap for the unwary is referring to an SS officer of this rank as Hauptmann when he would in fact be a Hauptsturmführer.)

"Commander" carries similar connotations to "Captain." As a naval rank, it's a likely designation for commanding officers in Space Navies.

Not necessarily The Captain.

Examples of The Good Captain include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Captain America (comics): Good. Was briefly "Nomad" and later "The Captain" before Nextwave's version, but went back to America. Still good.
  • Captain Atom: Good, but occasionally falls into Knight Templar; led to the accidental destruction of Kansas in Kingdom Come. Note that he originally actually had the rank of Captain in the Air Force, but was later promoted to Major.
  • Captain Britain: Good.
  • Captain Canuck: Satirical but good.
  • Captain Cold: Enemy of The Flash, Evil. (they "got mutual respect", however)
    • Captain Boomerang: Enemy of The Flash, Evil.
    • The above two led to a Lampshade Hanging in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance," where they teamed up, and the Trickster laments that they never bought into his ideas, saying, "Maybe if I were a captain they'd listen to me."
  • Captain Comet: Good.
  • Captain Dynamo: Good.
  • Captain Liberty (New England Comics): Employed as a hero by the US government. Purposely given a name that would make people assume she's a man.
  • Captain Marvel (The DCU): Good.
  • Captain Mar-Vell (Marvel Universe, more than one incarnation): Good, although the Genis-Vell incarnation was a Knight Templar and completely off his rocker.
  • Captain Metropolis (Watchmen): Good... but bigoted.
    • There's also Captain Carnage, who is not so much evil as a totally fucked up Combat Masochist.
    • And a Captain Axis, who the first Nite Owl once beat up.
  • Captain Nazi: A hero of his nation, but as his nation was Nazi Germany, evil.
  • The Captain of Nextwave: Grand mockery of this trope.
  • Captain Rectitude was not actually a made-up example. Bad. Also badly dressed.


  • Captain Chaos: Good but goofy in The Cannonball Run; evil but goofy in the Scottish Amicable adverts.
    • And Captain USA at the very end of the movie. Dom Deluise blooped "Captain America" as can be seen in the end credits.
  • Mystery Men's Captain Amazing: Strictly commercial. Vanquishes baddies, but also occasionally gets them released from prison for selfish publicity-seeking reasons.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow: Good (?), though often drunk/crazy. Or is he? Occasionally sells out his friends as part of a Batman Gambit. It's okay, they frequently return the favor, and unlike them, Jack usually has a Plan B to get them out of it...
  • Captain Zoom - Initially reluctant, but heroic in the end.
  • In Godzilla, Captain Gordon: Good, and a incredibly huge Badass. The man defeated Godzilla by burying him in ice, successfully lead a resistance against the massively powerful alien force with just his crew and Godzilla and killed aliens with a katana and his bare hands, and even at the end of the movie when Godzilla brought down he still is prepared to fight him with just a sword.
  • Star Wars's Captain Han Solo: Good.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Commander Lyle Rourke is a subversion of this, and a good one too. There are a couple hints in his dialogue that he's not what he seems, but overall he does a good job faking the audience out and setting up the reveal.
  • In |M*A*S*H, Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, "Duke" Forrest, and "Trapper" John McIntyre are all Captains. They're not quite as good as their television counterparts, but they're much better than their counterparts in the novel.


Live-Action TV


Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Red vs. Blue's Captain Butch Flowers: Good, and disturbingly nice towards his men.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog‍'‍s Captain Hammer: Subverts and Lampshades this trope. Despite being a superhero and beloved by the whole city, he's also a tremendous jerk and far less sympathetic than villainous Dr. Horrible.
  • Whateley Universe's The other Captain Bravo: good. Well, he thinks he's good, but he's a pinhead. And he's not allowed to use the 'captain' part of his codename until he graduates from Whateley Academy and earns the title in the military. Titles from the military, nobility are academic titles must be earned the hard way before they can be used in a codename.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Capitao Batalha ("Captain Battle") is the premiere hero of Brazil. There's also Captain Australia, Captain Speedy, Captain California, and Captain Hammer. In the 50s and 60s, there was Captain Amazing, but he's dead now.

Western Animation