Created By: RazorSmile on June 30, 2012 Last Edited By: RazorSmile on July 12, 2012

Non-Standard Superpowers

UnStock Superpowers

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Trope
This trope describes settings where a relatively large number of characters have superpowers that are unconventional, rare and/or silly. Like Captain Planet with multiple Heart-bearers.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Banana no Nana's protagonist has the power to ... telekinetically control bananas. Another character can do housework really quickly.
  • Darker Than Black had Contractors who could turn any spherical object into a black hole, make soap bubbles explode like grenades, detonate their own blood once spilled and conjure a PTRD-41 anti-tank sniper rifle (with exactly seven bullets) from nowhere.

Comics
  • Featuring characters with useless or unusual powers is more or less a running joke in the Lanfeust De Troy universe. This is justified by the fact that powers are randomly acquired at birth and in most cases can't be changed later on. There is a character who can fart from the ears, another who can only heal people at night and one with the power to give people heartburn.
    • In the Trolls de Troy spinoff, there even is a girl with a power that does something random each time, usually resulting in some sort of mini Deus ex Machina.

Literature
  • The Rook is chock-full of characters with rare, weird and occasionally downright silly powers.
  • The Xanth books are an excellent example of this trope. They feature multiple characters with "spot-on-the-wall" talents, a reference to one such character with the ability to make -- you guessed it -- a colored spot appear on the wall. Others include the ability to make a wish and get half of what you asked for and the power to have Very Bad Ideas.

Web Originals
  • Worm has all the standard Stock Superpowers but also numerous characters with nigh-unclassifiable abilities. Coil's for one is notably rare in fiction.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • June 30, 2012
    ElCheViva
    Web Original: Not entirely sure if this counts, but, apart from the eponymous character, Burnt Face Man features Slightly Bruised Man, Taps Man, and Anger man, to name a few.
  • June 30, 2012
    Bisected8
    • A Mitchell And Webb sketch featured a man who could control biscuits telepathically. He had no power over jaffa cakes (which resemble and are consumed like biscuits, but are technically cakes).
  • June 30, 2012
    Astaroth
    Edit: nevermind, just realised my example was already here
  • June 30, 2012
    queenbri
    • Tiger And Bunny: Not only can the title duo turn into non-flying bricks for five minutes but there are people with such powers as stretching particular body parts (and only those body parts), sweating, and growing their hair.
  • June 30, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • The title character of Bobobobo Bobobo can control his... nose hairs. And he beats people up with them. Really.
  • June 30, 2012
    animeg3282
    That Syfy how Alphas was like this: one character could see cell phone signals, one had a good sense of smell... It was like the X Men for people with crappy superpowers.
  • June 30, 2012
    CaveCat
    I think this is actually What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway.
  • June 30, 2012
    planswalker
    • Sky High features many examples of non-standard super powers, mostly in the "sidekick" - I mean, "hero support" class. Notable examples include a girl who transforms into a bouncy ball, a kid who glows (only when it's dark), and boy who melts... into an immobile red-orange pile of sludge.

    • In the movie Zoom, one of the gang of kids that are trained as a new generation of super-heroes is a boy who grows enormous... by expanding himself into the fattest man alive.
  • July 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    I don't think this is tropable, certainly not as separate from What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway.
  • July 1, 2012
    RazorSmile
    I was thinking more in terms of settings where many characters have these unusual/crappy abilities. What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway seems to cover individuals.
  • July 1, 2012
    dalek955
    • The Allomantic and Feruchemical powers from Mistborn vary from standard ones like Super Strength and Not Quite Flight, to very esoteric ones like storing connection or identity, or revealing what your future self will be like. There's a complete table here.
  • July 1, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Also What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway is for crappy powers, isn't it? Surely these powers could be esoteric but cool?

    Doom Patrol is based around this. There's a levitating hermaphrodite wrapped in bandages formed when two other beings fused, there's a sentient transvestite street and a stuntman in the body of a robot, to name but a few.

  • July 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    See, how do we define "unusual/crappy"? Beyond a certain point, if a power pops up enough it becomes a Stock Superpower, and then it's not this trope anymore, is it? Or is this just World Of Heart?
  • July 3, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
    This is the entire premise of The Lawof Ueki anime.
  • July 3, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
    This is the entire premise of The Lawof Ueki anime.
  • July 3, 2012
    queenbri
    @ Morgan Wick. I like world of heart.
  • July 4, 2012
    RazorSmile
    @queenbri: I second that motion. World Of Heart sounds good.
  • July 5, 2012
    Arivne
    World Of Heart is a Bad Snowclone because you have to be familiar with our What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway page to understand what it means.
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    ... just like What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway is a bad trope name because you have to be familiar with Captain Planet?
  • July 5, 2012
    ElCheViva
  • July 5, 2012
    PaulA
    ^^ So we've already got problems; we don't need to create more of them.
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    then supply a better name for both tropes.
  • July 6, 2012
    GuesssWho
    We do kinda need a catchall for non-stock powers.

    • I think I remember seeing a book somewhere about a girl who could make eggs spin by wiggling her ears?
  • July 6, 2012
    dalek955
    I'd say Non Stock Superpowers is fine. Clear Concise Witty, remember. What Kind of Lame Power is kind of a bad name too, but by now that name has probably stuck too firmly for us to change.

    • Mr Welch has occasionally been reprimanded for trying to play characters with powers of this sort.
      823. Even if infinitely useful, absolute power over elastics is not an appropriate super power.
  • July 7, 2012
    Otakukun
    Fairly Odd Parents gave us Meat Vision, the abilety to produce meat from eye beams.
  • July 7, 2012
    Blubble
    I think What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway is a great name. Even though I had never heard of Captain Planet before reading the entry, I instinctively knew what the trope would be about simply by reading the title.

    That said I'm a bit confused about what this entry is precisely about. What exactly counts as unusual? There are so many different superheroes, especially in North American comic books, that I have no idea where you're supposed to draw the line.

    There's also the fact that many users seem to assume that unusual automatically means crappy. If that really were the case IMO this entry would be redundant in favor of what kind of lame power. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, and the same applies to superheroes with seemingly crappy or random powers that are in fact quite powerful within the boundaries their universe. Not to mention the This Looks Like A Job For Aquaman effect where the power becomes awesome in a specific scenario.

  • July 7, 2012
    HawkofBattle
    • Whose Line Is It Anyway invoked this many times, by having the audience members suggest unnusual powers for the comedians.
  • July 7, 2012
    CalamityJane
    I don't think the powers should be "crappy" or anything. If they're just weird or not what immediately comes to mind when you think about super-powers, they count. For example, most people think of a Flying Brick when they think of superpowers, but takes them a moment to think of Web-Slinging and super-stickyness. If the series features characters whose powers include turning whatever they touch into hands, stuffing whatever they feel like into a small space, or having the ability to see imaginary friends, those count as Non-Stock Superpowers.

    Of course, the Description does need help, and I'm not entirely sure if this is Up For Grabs or not, so I won't touch it.
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    you might want to pm the YKTTW author to find out.
  • July 8, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ The OP Razor Smile last posted on July 4th, only 4 days ago, so this is definitely not Up For Grabs automatically (as per that page's text) yet.
  • July 11, 2012
    RazorSmile
    I'm here. By all means, feel free to improve on the description. I will do so also. My only excuse is that I was in a hurry to get to bed at the time.
  • July 12, 2012
    MusikMaestro
    One of the asdf movies has a man who can turn into a tree. His attemPt to save a woman being mugged are . . . Less than stellar.

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