The stronger a hero, the more likely he is to have a Kryptonite Factor
to "balance it out
" that varies in abundance
, lethality, and embarrassment potential.
Still, a hero isn't just a set of powers and handicaps, but a character with substance and grit and not just some jerk with powers
. So when authors want to show off just how Badass
the character is they do so by having him Fight Off The Kryptonite.
The character, usually surrounded by Kryptonite and severely weakened, in a lot of pain, and sometimes already badly injured, uses Heroic Willpower
to work through the pain and proceed to save his own or his friends' lives, and kick the ass of the Smug Snake
who thought they could just wave a rock in his face and win. This is a tough trope to use correctly: if overdone or used too often then the dramatic purpose of a Kryptonite Factor
is lost. Hence, in extreme cases, this precipitates a case of Heroic RROD
and ultimately a Heroic Sacrifice
as the punishment his body has endured kills him. Or not.
Compare Brought Down to Normal
, where the hero has to fight with no powers, but is not otherwise in pain. Contrast Cross-Melting Aura
, where an evil creature can repel holy items that would otherwise weaken it. See also Kryptonite-Proof Suit
, for other means of resisting Kryptonite.
To avoid excessive overlap with Heroic Willpower
, all examples must be of characters with a potentially deadly or disabling Kryptonite Factor
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Anime and Manga
- Code Geass: after his conversion into a cyborg, Jeremiah Gottwald is caught in a "gefjon disturber", knocking out his electronic components. He still slowly struggles towards his target, even when he starts bleeding and his voice takes on an electronic edge. How? Sheer badass loyalty.
- In the Pokémon anime, most worthy Pokemon are capable of fighting off against types they are weak against on equal ground, to the point it's a wonder why trainers even mention them while battling.
- Rosario + Vampire: In the Pool Episode, Inner Moka is submerged in water, which disrupts a vampire's power and essentially electrocutes them on contact. She nonetheless manages to shake it off and take out the Swimming Club mermaids trying to eat Tsukune, with some external help from Kurumu and Yukari.
- Superman, of course.
- The pain and nausea are the immediate effects, power loss takes longer, Depending on the Writer. So if Superman can steel himself to deal with the pain, he can stay in the fight for a few minutes. It also usually matters how much Kryptonite is present; larger amounts cause more pain and sap his strength faster, so Superman's more likely to pull this off against Luthor's Kryptonite ring than against Metallo's Kryptonite power cell. (Against the latter, a more typical tactic is to keep his distance and use heat vision to damage Metallo's cyborg body.)
- Two good examples from Astro City:
- The Confessor's Heroic Sacrifice involves taking on men armed with hologram cross-generators, guns that shoot giant wooden stakes, holy water, etc. and succeeding in revealing the alien invasion despite all this.
- He wears a shirt with a big, shiny cross on it because the constant pain this causes helps him overcome the vampiric bloodlust.
- In the "Tarnished Angel" arc, once the conflicted Chrome Champion Steeljack finally realizes what he's fighting for and that he's the only one who can save everyone, he's able to overcome the special "vibro-magnetic" weapons that were used to take him down before.
- Similarly, in Ultimate X-Men, Colossus manages to overcome Magneto's magnetic abilities, and save the rest of the team.
- Traditionally Green Lanterns can't affect yellow with the power ring. After the Corps was reformed, the yellow weakness only applies until a Green Lantern learns to overcome great fear, making this trope an important rite of passage.
- Superman Returns has Superman lift a growing kryptonite continent into space while having a shard of it embedded in his torso. It's touch-and-go for a while... He lives.
- Justified in that most of the splinter had already been removed. Superman went above the clouds for a quick charge of sunlight, then went very deep beneath the Kryptonite and had a large layer of solid rock protecting him until the crystals started to poke through.
- Dracula in Van Helsing (and probably a few other incarnations, being the Bad Ass vampire he is) does get burned by Van Helsing's silver crucifix, but just grabs it and melts it anyway.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lothos grabs Buffy's cross, which bursts into flame, but ignores it. He takes a a blast of hair spray ignited by the cross less well.
- In The King Killer Chronicles, it's shown and said that the Fae are weak to iron, and that it hurts incredibly, even if they just brush it, as well as viewing the smell as very distasteful, akin to rotten eggs. However, at the end of book 1, Bast, one of the Fae, grabs and holds an iron medallion while delivering a threat just to show he's serious, cementing how Bad Ass he is for all eternity.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe ysalamir generate a field which somehow disrupts or suppresses the Force around them, evolved as camouflage/defense against the vornskyrs (large predators) which use the Force to hunt. Multiple ysalamiri exponentially increase the size of this area of effect, however even one is enough to render a sentient Force user powerless within a certain range. How, exactly, this is portrayed seems to vary Depending on the Writer:
- In some cases (including their first appearance in Heir to the Empire) this comes as a complete surprise to the affected Force user and merely renders them powerless, while also hiding anything within the area of effect from being detected by an outside observer. There is a noticeable "hole" in the Force, if the observer knows what to look for and actually does so. But overall it's more a case of Brought Down to Normal—Luke and Mara are actually Brought Down to Badass, functioning just fine despite their lack of the Force.
- However other, particularly later, works generally describe the presence of a ysalamir as directly uncomfortable to Force users, to the point where they are outright disoriented and nauseated, and that these "empty" spaces can be felt and identified. In this case the nausea and disorientation requires a bit of willpower (though not exactly to heroic levels) to function. And still leaves the Force user powerless.
- At some point in the New Jedi Order it's mentioned that Luke has been studying ways to access the Force while in the fields generated by ysalamiri, though it's never said if he succeeded at all or not.
- The Fae in The Dresden Files all have the classic weakness to iron. Even Queen Mab flinches away at the very sight of an iron nail. In Cold Days Mother Winter grabs hold of an iron cleaver and it turns to rust.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Master keeps a cross in his lair to practice this. Despite physical burning and mental fear he can stand close enough to grab it.
- Smallville. In the early seasons in fact Clark never is able to do this trope, to the point its unbelievable he couldn't move even one hand, or crawl slowly away. When he does these things later, it is obvious that he is becoming stronger and more resistant to the effects. By now he has to do this surprisingly often, almost Once an Episode. Major Zod as well. Possibly explained by him being more in tune with his Kryptonian abilities.
- One episode in the first season, probably the first time this happened, is when a man dying of very violent super epileptic seizures due to having Kryptonite imbedded into his skin all over his body holds Luthor Corp, and a school trip class, hostage inside the building. In the end, Clark, who's been unable to get near him, manages to pull both him AND Lex Luthor to safety while in terrible pain from being so close. He saved the day.
- Jaffas from Stargate SG-1 occasionally had to deal with the deadly 'kryptonite' factor of being without a symbiote (which acts as their immune system and accounts for their superhuman healing ability) for an extended period. This weakness eventually leads to widespread use of tretonin to replace the dependance, including necessarily by Teal'C and Bra'tac after Teal'C has to keep himself and Bra'tac, both injured and in bad mental shape after the Jaffa army they were leading has been decimated, alive with just one symbiote between them, which eventually gives out due to fatigue after they're both rescued.
- Mike Tyson suffered a lung condition that makes him tire quickly in a fight. He compensated with powerful punches and an aggressive fighting style. You had to survive that onslaught for a few rounds to have a good shot at beating him, and few boxers could.
- In the Transformers Prime episode "Toxicity", Bulkhead carries a lump of Tox-En to a volcano. The Tox-En weakens and poisons him, but he keeps on going, even fighting off Insecticons to reach his destination.