Useless Without Powers
Remove his/her powers and he/she is useless.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-06-05 14:59:06 sponsor: FallenLegend edited by: Paradisesnake (last reply: 2013-10-15 09:23:45)

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While some charcters become become a Badass Normal when Brought Down to Normal, that doesn't happen to these characters.

This kind of characters may be very competent and powerful with their superpowers, the drawback of being so powerful is that they become completely dependant on them. So much in fact that they are unable to face any situation without them, becoming useless against any kind of opponent, even the random low-level mooks; or worse they become a Distressed Dude / Distressed Damsel.

When taken to extremes this kind of characters will be unable to do even basic tasks like taking a shower or even walking due to their power loss.

This trope is often used in order to showcase the value of Badass Normals who actually have to train in order to be skilled and risk their lives much more than their powered counterparts. Also, it can often be part of a Magic Feather-type plot: Hero loses superpowers and is initially useless, but eventually realizes that his brain (or his heart) is his real superpower.

Relates to You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum and Disability Superpower. Can be defied through Boxing Lessons for Superman.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Hayate becomes the most powerful human mage in the multiverse. However, outside of Unison with Reinforce, she is just a crippled nine-year-old girl. It is especially evident in the last scene, where she is unable to even reach Reinforce in attempt to prevent her Suicide by Cop. She gets better during Time Skip, however.

Comic Books
  • In an issue of Daredevil crossing over with Secret Wars II the Beyonder gives Matt Murdock his sight back. Murdock assumes that this will make him an even better crimefighter, but he can't adjust (including losing his Hyper Awareness) and gets the Beyonder to take back the "gift."
  • This happens to Storm from the X-Men when she loses her powers.
  • JLA: Act of God depicts all superheroes with powers as being like this.

Film
  • Superman II. While at his Fortress of Solitude, Superman gives up his superpowers so he can be with Lois Lane. When they return to civilization, he runs into a bully who beats him up badly. Watch it here.
    Clark Kent: [To Lois] Maybe you ought to hire a bodyguard.
    Lois: I don't want one. I want the man I fell in love with.
    Clark: I know, Lois. I wish he were here.

Live Action TV
  • Heroes: With her powers, Daphne can run at Super Speed. Without her powers, she is unable to walk unaided due to her cerebral palsy.
  • There's an episode in the first season of Angel where Angel becomes human. He has to push the Reset Button in the end because he believes he's become The Load.

Video Games
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords: Much of the plot revolves around this happening to the Jedi as the potential death of the Force itself looms.
    Kreia: Yes, and what are they without the Force? Take the greatest Jedi Knight, strip away the Force, and what remains? They rely on it, depend on it, more than they know. Watch as one tries to hold a blaster, as they try to hold a lightsaber, and you will see nothing more than a woman or a man. A child.

Western Animation
  • In The Batman: Superman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman had their powers stolen by some androids. After this they became completely useless against the villains and dependant on the local Badass Normals in order to regain their powers.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : This describes Katara in a nutshell. As long as she's able to bend water, she's a force to be reckoned with. Take that away from her, and she's helpless. This is because, unlike Aang and the others, she lacks secondary skills such as martial arts or weapons training. So she's fully reliant on her waterbending.
    • In the Omashu episode, Ty Lee blocked Katara's chi, which robbed her of the ability to bend, leaving her defenseless against Mai. Good thing Sokka was there to cover for her.
    • Toph suffered from a mild case of this where metal was concerned until she learned how to bend that too. Like all earthbenders, she must remain in contact with solid ground or have an ample supply of earth to work with. No doubt, this was the reason the Fire Nation housed them in metal prisons over open water.
  • Avatar The Legend Of Korra: Similar to the The Last Airbender example above, but taken Up to Eleven. Amon's ability to take away a bender's powers leaves everyone he de-bends completely and totally helpless from the very moment they're depowered. This, despite that bending is based on real martial arts.
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