Radiation Immune Mutants
Upside of radiation mutations? Radiation can't hurt you any more.


(permanent link) added: 2012-11-27 14:25:47 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2013-02-04 18:09:27)

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Say you have a character hosed with enough radiation to turn a sperm whale into a carbon smear on a wall. This being a Comic Book, odds are it turned them into a Mutant, Zombie, mutant-zombie or just plain gave them superpowers. The other upside? Radiation is now nearly harmless to them.

Much like (a highly accelerated) version of how some alcoholics slowly build up tolerance and eventually never get drunk, characters who survive exposure to deadly amounts of radiation usually also adapt a resistance to it... heck, they may even start absorbing it and using it as their Power Source. It may also result in Feed It with Fire and trigger a Healing Factor, Hyperactive Metabolism, or the like.

Sometimes they develop a dependence on the radiation, and need to live in (or make trips to) radioactive places or die. Alternately, they may start to generate the radiation themselves [[/note]](or more likely leak through Power Incontinence)[[note]] as a kind of organic atomic reactor, and they might not be able to contain it. Occasionally there's an upper limit to just how much radiation their new form can take, after which even their mutant resistance won't protect them.

Compare Curse That Cures, when a supernatural condition that is Blessed with Suck has a silver lining. Also compare Sheep in Wolf's Clothing.

Comic Books
  • The Incredible Hulk and his gamma radiation empowered Rogues Gallery have a higher resistance to radiation because of their mutations. In fact, The Hulk even emits gamma radiation as part of his transformation.
  • Captain Atom's origin story has him worse than mutated -- his body is vaporized by an atomic blast while inside an alien space ship. His soul/mind somehow manages to bond itself to an alien metal alloy, turning him into an Energy Being inside a Chrome Champion metallic shell. This transformation renders him effectively immune to radiation and able to manipulate energy. In a bit of a reversal, while the metal skin is tough and does protect him from radiation, it also protects everyone else from him suffering a Superpower Meltdown or generally irradiating everything.
  • Played with and taken to further extremes than Captain Atom in Watchmen, where Dr. Manhattan is blasted into his component particles in a Freak Lab Accident, after which his disembodied consciousness gains a sort of Enlightenment Superpowers and forms a new body through reality warping. This is played for drama when his ex wife reveals she got cancer from him. Which is a lie by the Big Bad of the comic, Ozymandias, who caused the cancer himself. On top of general resistance to radiation, he is can survive his body being destroyed by reforming it.

Fan Fiction
  • In Fallout: Equestria, ghouls and other creatures that survived the original nuclear fallout, such as phoenixes are resistant and even heal in the presence of radiation. By the end, [[spoiler: Little Pip gets the same benefit, even though she can still get radiation sickness.

Literature
  • In the Noon Universe, the Golovans (sentient canine species) evolved from common dogs on the irradiated post-nuclear war wastelands of Saraksh and are largely immune to radiation. But then again, so are humans from Earth (though not the Human Aliens of Saraksh itself).

Live-Action TV
  • In the original, ORIGINAL debut of the Daleks in Doctor Who, they were the mutated descendants of a people exposed to too much radiation (hiding inside pepper-shaker shaped travel machines). Turns out, they didn't need to worry about the radiation and would actually die if the rads were turned off. This dependence on radiation was retconned or ignored entirely in every subsequent appearance by them.
  • In The 4400, those who've gained superpowers from exposure to Promycin become immune to it. Normally though, exposure has a 50% chance of death.

Tabletop RPG
  • Mostly averted in Gamma World. A mutant could have a power that protected against radiation (e.g. Physical Reflection-Radiation), but most mutants had no more resistance against radiation than non-mutants.
  • Champions, Adventurer's Club magazine #2 adventure "What Rough Beast!". A GENOCIDE laboratory mutates a bear into a monster that needs a continuous supply of radiation to maintain its special abilities. It is, of course, immune to damage from radiation. The PCs can most easily defeat it by shutting down the laboratory's malfunctioning nuclear reactor, which is releasing a high level of radioactivity.

Video Games
  • Ghouls in the Fallout series are both immune to and heal from radiation. Bright Ones, an especially rare kind of ghoul, are walking fallout zones that can create "bursts" of radiation that harm the player and heal nearby ghouls.
    • Though the east coast Supermutants in Fallout 3 were made with the Forced Evolution Virus rather than pure exposure to radiation, they are also immune to radiation.

Western Animation
  • In Captain Planet and the Planeteers, the eco-villian Duke Nukem (not that one) loves radiation so much that he turned himself into a mutant. He even bathed in nuclear radiation as a mutant in one episode without ill side effects.
  • Mutants in Futurama are immune to the effects of the mutagenic lake that spawned them. Leela is revealed to be a mutant when she is dropped in the lake and comes out unaltered.
  • Mighty Max had an episode where a scientist tried to irradiate the entire Earth, because after an accident, he couldn't live without high radiation levels.
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