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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/IronMan3 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/extremis_combo.png]]]]

Super powered individuals are, believe it or not, closely related to nuclear reactors. Oh sure, they don't (usually) [[PhlebotinumMuncher eat uranium]], or even have a [[ILoveNuclearPower nuclear accident]] [[JustForFun/HowToGiveACharacterSuperPowers to credit with their powers]], but when facing critical injuries or mental attacks they run the risk of losing control of their powers and going into a Superpower [[GoingCritical Meltdown]] the likes of which could make Chernobyl look like a radioactive cough by comparison.

This depends on the [[StockSuperPowers power in question]] and its source. [[ILoveNuclearPower Nuclear and radiation]] based heroes have a distressing tendency to [[AngstNuke go nuclear]] under duress, but any super with enough [[PureEnergy raw power]] can have a meltdown, no matter the source: [[PsychicPowers psychic]], mystic, or [[ArtificialLimbs technological]]. Sometimes the power builds up inside the body by themselves; [[PentUpPowerPeril not releasing it regularly may mean disaster.]] Normal people using a ArtifactOfDoom can inadvertently cause it (or their body) to self-destruct. This can also happen to heroes abusing ExplosiveOverclocking, who may enter HeroicRROD and start showing VolcanicVeins. Villains who are DrunkOnTheDarkSide might take OneWingedAngel a level too far and [[ClippedWingAngel peter out humiliatingly]]. A [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke genetically empowered]] hero may discover the hard way [[CastFromLifespan pure humans have a longer lifespan]]. Shapeshifters will usually go lose control of their ShapeShifterMashup and go into a ShapeShifterSwanSong. Common side effect of GoingToGiveItMoreEnergy.

Less lethally, if the hero/villain is only modestly powered or hit with GreenRocks to cause a short circuit, then the meltdown might only take the form of their normal power causing random effects. Like telekinesis mimicking a poltergeist rather than de-atomizing everything, or a pyrokinetic setting nearby objects on fire rather than exploding. Should their power require constant concentration to keep stable, then any effect that destroys their concentration could be potentially fatal for all involved.

A common occurrence is for a hero going into meltdown to be [[IKnowYouAreInThereSomewhereFight coaxed back]] from the brink using HeroicWillpower, or forced to do a HeroicSacrifice and fly away to save those nearby. If a LoveInterest is nearby, a CooldownHug can reliably stop the meltdown. Occasionally, a hero or villain might ''purposefully'' trigger it to try and kill their rival, since the SphereOfDestruction such a meltdown generates tends to be pretty devastating. Whether this works on not depends on if [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou they're the lead.]]

Compare SpontaneousHumanCombustion, LoadBearingBoss, PhlebotinumOverload, UnstoppableRage, SuperPoweredEvilSide, ActionBomb, PowerIncontinence, and TakingYouWithMe. Contrast HeroicRROD, where the meltdown is mostly contained within the hero.

See also PowerDegeneration, CloneDegeneration and FlawedPrototype.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', this is [[spoiler:Father]]'s ultimate downfall. [[spoiler:After he uses the souls of Amestris to suppress "God" within his body, Hohenheim's countermeasure strips him of the energy, leaving him with only the few souls of Xerxes he originally had. He's then forced to use up what's left of his philosopher's stone, allowing "God" to break free and drag him into the Gate.]]
* In the manga of ''Manga/ElfenLied'': [[spoiler: Lucy going in to a literal meltdown due abusing of her telekinetic powers while destroying some planes and then for saving Kouta.]]
* Tetsuo's horrific mutation scene from ''Manga/{{Akira}}'' was the result of him finally losing control of his powers.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** Miroku's power ''is'' a meltdown. More precisely, he has a black hole in the palm of his hand called the Wind Tunnel, held at bay with an enchanted string of prayer beads. While it's potentially the most destructive power anyone on the team has, it ''will'' eventually melt down and eat him like [[HereditaryCurse as it did his father and grandfather before him]]. While he can delay it through by avoiding overuse and occasional repairs to its walls, the Wind Tunnel's collapse is inevitable. [[FromBadToWorse This got worse by the end]] as a result of Miroku absorbing a lot of BigBad Naraku's poison. Though Kikyo purified some of it, the poison that's left cuts deeper into his body every time he uses the Wind Tunnel. Considering that he's continually forced into situations that compel him to use it, his only chance of survival lies in the other characters killing Naraku before his Wind Tunnel swallows him up. [[spoiler:Which they ultimately do.]]
** This also occurs in the first movie, in which Miroku fights a villain who copies his Wind Tunnel ability, presumably without knowing the consequences. In the final battle, she realizes that the larger the hole is, the stronger the wind, so she takes a blade and intentionally makes the hole wider. You can guess [[HoistByHisOwnPetard what happens next]].
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'':
** Chiaotzu, Android 16, and Vegeta each triggered Super Power Meltdowns to try and defeat TheDragon or BigBad of separate arcs as part of a HeroicSacrifice. [[spoiler: It never works.]]
** When Goku delivered the killing blow to Broly in ''Anime/DragonBallZBrolyTheLegendarySuperSaiyan'', he underwent a Superpower Meltdown and exploded.
** When Cell threatened to destroy the planet by triggering his own, Goku [[spoiler: teleported them both away. Ironically, while he was the lead, his HeroicSacrifice was partly in vain since Cell survived and Gohan had to beat him.]]
* ''Manga/ZettaiKarenChildren'':
** Kaoru is nearly killed when her psychic powers begin to go haywire, slamming a helicopter carrying herself and others into a building and being crushed on the ground by the weight of her power. She's saved when her supervisor shows something similar to ThePowerOfFriendship; she has the guts to then stop her own heart, resulting in the cancellation of the meltdown.
** Later, a lesser case occurs - when Minamoto quits his position as the supervisor of The Children (due to the new head of BABEL being too much of a ManipulativeBastard for him to endure), The Children responds by breaking into tears - and spontaneously calling up a huge whirlwind of mixed ESP that nearly dismantles the BABEL tower.
** In the last episode of ''Anime/TheUnlimitedHyoubuKyousuke'', [[spoiler:Kyousuke's]] powers go out of control [[spoiler:due to overuse of his Unlimited Mode]]. [[spoiler:Fortunately, [[AntiMagic Andy]] manages to shut them off before it was too late]].
* In ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'', the only people effective at finding and killing monstrous youma are the titular Claymores, women with youma flesh implanted in them; this also grants them increased physical abilities, and lets them draw on even more physical abilities if they choose to. If they draw too much, though, they risk 'awakening' and transforming into a murderous, human-eating Awakened Being that, due to its composite origin, is vastly more powerful and dangerous than the monsters they were supposed to be fighting in the first place. In actual practice, by the time the story takes place, the 'serious' threats are all Awakened Beings, and youma are little more than mooks... and yet they keep producing more Claymores to fight the Awakened Beings they produced when the ''previous'' Claymores went insane. [[spoiler:It's eventually revealed that the obviously insane nature of this strategy is deliberate on the part of the organization that creates Claymores, and their real goal was to create and test Awakened Beings from the start.]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'''s Tohno Shiki has the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, which perceive the nature of death in the form of lines and dots on virtually ''everything''. He potentially risks this trope every time he takes off his ability-sealing glasses, and (later on) when his eyes become too strong to be suppressed. It has been stated that [[WalkingWasteland it wouldn't be strange for everything to fall apart around him, just from his being nearby]].
* The ''Manga/{{Guyver}}'' armor does this if its [[RestrainingBolt Control Medal]] is torn out. Among the things that happen is that the armor EATS the user.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', SmugSnake Deidara eats his own explosive clay made by him, in the hopes of [[TakingYouWithMe killing Sasuke as well]], and goes nuclear. [[spoiler:It didn't work, as Sasuke survived...and his partner Tobi escaped too.]]
* In the ''Anime/{{Witchblade}}'' anime, bionical [[EvilKnockoff Cloneblades]] work nice (though not as good as real thing) and do not causes problems (unlike self-willed Witchblade) until some minor damage happens to trigger deterioration. Shortly afterwards, their transforming power's failure ensues and user ends up crystallized (and usually [[LiterallyShatteredLives shattered]]). And ''of course'' it's [[ClingyMacGuffin irremovable]]. Witchblade itself is more perfect, but quickly overloads a human body.
* The bakkoutou in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' cause this in their wielders fairly regularly. The less powerful generally just get devoured by the bakkoutou after excessive use, but a strong enough user might just get to blow up instead.
** The first time Ichigo took on a Gillian also resulted in one of these. The powerful upgrade he had just received was beyond his body's current ability to handle and would have resulted in a nasty death if Ishida hadn't saved him.
** Gremmy tried to defeat Kenpachi by [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower imagining he was physically stronger]]. However, Gremmy had come to believe Kenpachi was an insanely powerful monster and the strain of trying to make his body stronger than that tore him apart.
* Not exactly a superhero, but in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'', Takato's rage and despair forces Guilmon to digivolve to Meggidramon...whose very existence starts to shatter the fabric of the Digital World.
** In ''Anime/DigimonSavers'', Masaru [[spoiler:forces [=ShineGreymon=] into a [[DeadlyUpgrade corrupted Burst Mode]], which then proceeds to go on a rampage until the power consumes it, killing Agumon (he gets better)]].
** This seems to be a habit of dinosaur based digimon and their partners going all the way back to Tai in Digimon Adventure. He purposely puts himself in danger which causes Greymon to turn into his evil corrupt form and promptly pummel everything within reach until his power burns out and he reverts to one of his lowest stages.
* [[spoiler:Isako]] in ''Anime/DennouCoil'' deliberately triggers one of these in order to [[spoiler:close a portal to the Other Side]].
* Subaru's famous berserker scene in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' was apparently her first use of her [[spoiler:cyborg]] abilities as well as using her normal armaments as hard as she possibly could. Afterward, her gear is horribly damaged and she nearly destroyed her intelligent device entirely. Couple that with not bothering to dodge or block attacks and she was pretty seriously injured after that.
* Katsumi in ''Manga/SilentMobius'' [[spoiler: after she finds Robert [=DeVice=] dead, her grief and anger make her magical power leash out, blowing up the apartment building in a PillarOfLight as she screams inside the fire with GlowingEyesOfDoom.]]
* In ''Anime/HeroicAge'', the result of two or more Nodos fighting each other for long enough is "Frenzy", wherein the Nodos succumbs to pure rage, gains greatly amplified powers (considering what they're capable of normally, this is kinda scary), starts mutating in decidedly painful-looking ways, and generally destroys everything in its path (ships, fleets, ''planets'', etc) until eventually releasing an amount of energy comparable to a supernova, which also kills the Nodos.
* In ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'', Tsukune's [[SuperhumanTransfusion vampire blood injections]] power him up immensely, but they slowly eat away at both his [[BodyHorror body]] and his [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity humanity]]. He's gained some measure of control over those powers at this point, but he still occasionally [[SuperpoweredEvilSide loses control]]
* In ''Anime/TurnAGundam'', when the Turn A and Turn X are fighting one another at the end, both begin releasing the Moonlight Butterfly against the pilots' wishes. The last time that happened, humanity was knocked back into the Stone Age and Earth's ecosystem was shattered, and it's taken over 2,000 years to repair the damage. It's hinted that the two machines were programmed to destroy one another at any cost, so were utilizing the greatest power they possessed in order to do so. [[spoiler:This ends with the Moonlight Butterfly malfunctioning and sealing the two machines inside a solid cocoon of nanomachines, locking them in an eternal stalemate. Loran barely makes it out in time. Ghingnham isn't so lucky.]]
* {{Lampshaded}} {{Subversion}} in ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'', when Megatron upgrades himself to Galvatron. He [[SpamAttack spams his signature lightning attack everywhere, including towards his allies,]] and seems to lose control of it, but stops it straight away when he wants to.
-->'''Galvatron''': *brief EvilLaugh* I am all-powerful! *Shoots lightning in all directions*\\
'''Thunderblast''': I think he's gonna blow! *He doesn't.*
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', a magical girl's soul gem becomes somewhat dark and tainted after they use magic. This can be undone with grief seeds, but if they neglect to do this and their gem turns completely black, they lose control and [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination turn into witches]]]]. This happens to [[spoiler:Sayaka, and Madoka in previous timelines. Every other witch in the series was created by an unnamed magical girl's power meltdown.]]
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' and ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'', RSPK Syndrome is a term used for when an esper becomes severely traumatized or stressed, causing their powers to go completely out of control and rampage through the city. It can also happen if espers with similar AIM (psychic energy) fields resonate together. Normally, this is very mild, as most espers aren't that powerful, but enough of them suffering all at once can cause poltergeist activity and earthquakes.
* In ''Anime/{{K}}'' when a King uses a considerable amount of power their abilities start to get more and more out of hand, until eventually their Swords of Damocles begin falling apart and eventually crash to the ground, causing catastrophic damages. In the backstory, this already happened to the previous Red King Genji Kagutsu. The result of his Democles Down resulted in a ''100 km'' wide radius of Japan getting a bite chewed out of it that is known as the Kagutsu Crater. Twice this becomes a possibility of happening again. First in season one, Mikoto Suoh (then current Red King) is pushing his limits [[spoiler: and ultimately breaks them, resulting in Reisi Munakata, the Blue King, having to [[KillTheOnesYouLove kill him]] before a new crater incident.]] And then in season two [[spoiler: ''Reisi'', suffering from the backlash mentally, emotionally, and power wise from the previous incident, starts to risk having that happen.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}},'' the giant squid [[spoiler: Ozymandias]] plans to drop on New York is [[BatmanGambit expected to die in transit,]] causing a psychic wave killing millions, driving millions more insane, and scaring the hell out of the rest of the planet. [[spoiler: It works.]]
* ComicBook/CaptainAtom in the [[Creator/DCComics DC comic]] ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'', inadvertently causes the U.S. Midwest to become a radioactive wasteland when the Parasite ruptures his containment suit. This has almost happened to him a few other times in mainstream DC continuity, since unlike other EnergyBeings he's made of nuclear radiation.
** Captain Atom, or a [[EvilTwin quantum duplicate]] anyway, went on to become the insane villain Monarch. After some building up including absorbing all the other versions of Captain Atom, he has his suit ripped open by {{Superman}}-Prime. The explosion [[ApocalypseHow wipes out all life in an entire universe]].
* In the Italian Disney comic ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'', ''DonaldDuck'' has a superhero identity and one of his allies is the sole survivor of a destroyed planet who has literally absorbed the power of her star (yeah, it's a bit of a [[ShoutOut Superman shout-out]]) gaining control over matter and energy. The energy she has at disposal is immense, and if she were to release it fully it would cause her to '''''go nova.''''' ''Really.''
** After she finds out that a few hundreds of her people, including her lover, survived the destruction of their planet, but are doomed to die anyway sooner or later because the new planet they colonized has no sun, [[TearJerker she ends up sacrificing herself to become a sun.]]
** We later see a straight example of this from [[spoiler:Evron scientist Zoster, who just acquired Xadhoom's powers [[KneelBeforeZod and]] [[DrunkWithPower went]] [[EvilIsHammy bombastic]] with his newfound powers]]. He lasts five seconds before his FamilyUnfriendlyDeath.
* ComicBook/TheAtom (the original [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] one with an "atomic punch," not the shrinking [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] one) was once used by a time-traveling villain who plotted to turn him into a human atom bomb, destroying Washington, killing President Truman and ensuring that superheroes would be hated and feared forever. (He failed.)
** More recently, the Atom's [[LegacyCharacter son]], Damage, almost destroyed Atlanta when he built up all his explosive power in a rage to take out a villain who had disfigured him. (They stopped him.)
** Damage actually does have one of those at the end of ''ComicBook/ZeroHour'' when he's fighting Parallax. Just as well, since [[spoiler:they were the only creatures in the DCU by then; Damage created a Big Bang that [[CosmicRetcon recreated the DCU]] as something ''mostly'' resembling pre-ComicBook/ZeroHour continuity.]]
* In ComicBook/TheAuthority story, ''The Authority: Revolution'', during a fight on the White House lawn, a superhuman with radioactive powers ends up losing control of his abilities, and the resulting explosion levels the city.
* The original appearance of Wildfire in the ''Comicbook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}'' had him do a meltdown as a HeroicSacrifice (he was an EnergyBeing in a containment suit, who [[WaveMotionGun released his whole self as an attack]] that was exponentially more powerful than his 'normal' energy blasts.) [[DeathIsCheap He got better]] a few issues later.
** Wildfire set up a special chamber in the basement of Legion HQ with a series of spare containment suits, in case he ever had to use his not-as-permanent-as-you'd-think HeroicSacrifice stunt.
* In the original ''ComicBook/SquadronSupreme'' limited series, Nuke has a meltdown which ends up [[spoiler:killing him, as he burns up all the oxygen inside the force field that's keeping him from incinerating the countryside.]]
* In the MarvelUniverse, some powers have had serious meltdowns. ComicBook/CaptainMarVell was given the Nega-bands, but it should be noted that they were turned into an apocalyptic Nuclear Option in ''Operation: Galactic Storm'' and used to ''blow up the Kree Galaxy'' and effectively mutate what little life made it through (it was just as rough on the life in the Negative Zone, as it turns out). Also, such matters as Nova Flares from [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Johnny Storm]] (one destroyed the Empire State University campus, I believe) have long been a staple in Marvel.
** The Nega-bomb is ironic in that it [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]] on the best-played example of SuperPowerMeltdown ever, and the least over-the-top, one ironically also caused by Nitro. Captain Mar-Vell actually died of cancer caused by Nitro blasting a toxic storage and leaving Mar-Vell to suffer catastrophic radiation poisoning, but by the time his own powers let it be detected, they were all that was keeping him alive, AND prevented anyone trying to operate or magic-spell out the carcinoma. That death remains the best Permanent Exit in comics history.
** A fairly common problem for [[ComicBook/XMen mutants]], especially when their powers first manifest since most of them have no idea that they even ''are'' mutants, much less any advance warning of what powers they have. Can also occur if physical or psychological trauma causes an individual to lose control of their powers.
*** This was also the means by which the Legacy Virus (usually) killed mutant victims. The degree of damage produced depended on exactly what the powers of the mutant in question did.
*** This could be weaponized by Fabian Cortez, one-time second-in-command for ComicBook/{{Magneto}}. His mutant ability focused around modifying the powers of other mutants, which could cause cellular damage if ramped up too high. In fact, he attempted to kill [[spoiler: Magneto himself]] by causing all of his victim's powers to flare out as much as possible.
* The original ComicBook/{{Quasar}} got his [[GreenLanternRing Power Bands]] because the previous two users incinerated themselves by trying too hard to control them, while Wendell Vaughn's more laid back go-with-the-flow attitude allowed him to "calm them down", so to speak.
* Examined in the Image comic-miniseries titled ''Meltdown'' (fittingly enough). The protagonist, Caliente (aka. "The Flare"), is slowly being overcome by his fire-based powers. [[TearJerker Many tears are jerked as he lives his last days]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'': Liz Sherman already suffers from some PowerIncontinence, but when she was eleven, she lost control of her [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetic]] powers, and destroyed an entire block, with thirty-two casualties (among them her parents and brother).
* Things work differently in the ''ComicBook/{{Negation}}'' universe (as opposed to our "bright" universe), so superpowered individuals from the "bright" universe tend to go meltdown. [[spoiler: Atlanteans turn out to be immune to this, and other empowered individuals can eventually acclimate themselves.]]
* In ''RomVsTransformersShiningArmor'', its discovered that [[TheAssimilator Dire Wraiths]] possessing [[AmbiguousRobots Transformers]] ends ''horribly'' for both parties; the biomechanics of a Transformer wrecks havoc with Wraith magic, resulting in a deranged mutant who's powers are wildly out of control. This eventually leads to the Wraith overloading its new body and exploding into flames. [[spoiler:Vekktral manages to figure out a safe method that avoids the meltdown, but that technique has its own problem; the victim retains their individuality and is able to fight back against the possession.]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* A major plot point in the Justice League/Naruto crossover ''FanFic/ConnectingTheDots''. Ino, having [[spoiler: accidentally gained telepathic powers from J'onn J'onnz]] slowly begins to go insane as she struggles to control her new abilities. [[spoiler: She almost drives everyone else insane too.]]
* During the FinalBattle of the third ''FanFic/MyHostageNotYours'' story, Gaz loses control of her [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetic]] powers and nearly kills everyone. Fortunately, Zim is able to [[CooldownHug calm her down]] [[spoiler: though she [[BroughtDownToNormal loses her power completely]] afterwards.]]
* ''FanFic/ShadowsAwakening'': During the FinalBattle, Uncle and Tohru use a spell to invoke one of these in [[spoiler: [[EnemyWithout The]] [[FinalBoss Queen]]]], causing the target to lose control of their chi, which was destabilized when they went OneWingedAngel.
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]''[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, this is subverted. It ''could'' have happened if [[SuperDoc Mordin Solis]] wasn't around, but thankfully the salarian proved able to defuse over-charged Eezo nodules.
* ''FanFic/SburbGlitchFAQ'' has something it calls berserk triggers: at least once a playthrough, you'll be channeling your Aspect so much that you'll instinctively cast an endgame ability with no regard for your co-players' (or your own) safety. A notable example is the Aspect of Law, of which the berserk trigger generally involves continuously MinMaxing for one battle, starting out with things like "I'm going to punch hard, but I can't cast other abilities" and ending with things like "I'm going to punch that guy THROUGH SKAIA and then MY HEART WILL EXPLODE like an OVERCOOKED POTATO". Or the Aspect of Rhyme, which is the only one where players actually target their own teammates when on a berserk trigger.

* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries''
** ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'' features this in the form of Phoenix. Sure, she had total control of her powers, but she was still going completely batshit. [[spoiler:At least until she asked Wolverine to kill her and end it.]]
** ''Film/{{Logan}}'' sees nonagenarian Professor X suffering from a unknown neurodegenerative disease (speculated in the film to be Alzheimer's or ALS), and shows what happens when the world's most powerful psychic's brain starts deteriorating. Xavier needs to be heavily medicated to keep him from having seizures that induce paralysis on everyone in the area. [[spoiler:One such seizure years before the film caused hundreds of casualties, including most of the X-Men.]]
* ''Film/IronMan3'' has the Extremis characters. Control of the power? Raising your body heat to plus 3,400 degrees [[spoiler: and that's enough to cut through ''Iron Man armor''!]]. Loss of control of the power, or high-temperature attack? An ''explosion'' at plus 3,400 degrees.
* Franchise/{{Godzilla}} is going through one of these in ''Film/GodzillaVsDestoroyah'', causing him to glow red and be perpetually angry. Also, there's a fear that his literal [[ILoveNuclearPower meltdown]] will probably [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt blow up the atmosphere]]. Luckily, all this radiation is absorbed by Godzilla Junior, mutating him into [[LegacyCharacter the next Godzilla]], so that's okay. The Super-X3 thankfully also kept the now dead Godzilla's energy from rising high enough to burn the atmosphere, which if it had then Godzilla Junior's body would have burned up before it could save the city from the fallout. So man saves the world, and unwittingly a dead body, and the dead body saves Tokyo from the radiation and is brought back to life.
* ''Film/Carrie2002'' implies that the title character's telekinetic rampage is a case of this, with her seemingly going into a trance after being humiliated at the prom. (Other versions of the story, including the original novel, paint it as a straight RoaringRampageOfRevenge, with Carrie remaining in full command of [[MindOverMatter her powers]] and knowing exactly what she's doing throughout.)

* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', Rachel loses control of her shapeshifting ability and starts randomly changing in things like elephants at inopportune moments. Like the middle of a scouting mission.
* The going theory in ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' is that Little Pete caused the FAYZ by having a panic attack... in the middle of the catastrophic meltdown of the Perdido Beach Nuclear Power Plant. Later confirmed.
* Flinx, of Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' series, is a powerful [[TheEmpath Empath]] with a slight [[PowerIncontinence control problem]]. One of the more notable symptoms is his tendency to emit blasts of near-absolute telekinetic destruction when stressed to extreme levels. When this first happens, it's a complete surprise to him, but later in the series, Flinx learns to (more or less) [[ActionBomb intentionally trigger it]].
* Pyrogenes do this all the time in the ''Literature/EvilGeniusTrilogy,'' usually before they even learn how to properly harness their pyrokinetic powers. However, Cadel never witnesses these events himself, though he often ends up soaked by the sprinklers that activate whenever a pyrogene self-combusts.
* In [[Creator/DaveDuncan Dave Duncan's]] series ''A Man of His Word'' and its sequel series ''A Handful of Men'', learning "words of power" gives you magical abilities. The more words you know, the more power you have; knowing four words makes you a sorcerer with full-blown RealityWarper powers. Learning a ''fifth'' word, however, gives you so much power that it will quickly cause you to burst into flames and die.
* In the Creator/DaleBrown novel ''Wings of Fire'', one of the AL-52 Dragons is mounted with a new laser that uses a contained plasma field as a power source. This generates immense heat and radiation that damages the components maintaining the containment, and when the plasma field gets free it will vaporize stuff in a large area.
* An unnerving example in ''Literature/IfOnAWintersNightATraveler'', where the (nameless) character doesn't even realize he's ''having'' a superpower meltdown (superpower being erasing things temporarily from existence) until he's erased everything in his city (and maybe even the world), and realizes [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone he can't bring them back.]]
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':A major risk with [[FunctionalMagic channeling]], though it's rarely shown. Every channeler has a certain "strength," corresponding to how much of the Power they can draw safely. Go further than that and they might [[{{Depower}} sever]] themselves. Or render themselves brain-dead. Or kill themselves. Or disintegrate themselves in a PillarOfLight that results in a volcano and a brand-new mountain, called "Dragonmount" because that's where The Dragon killed himself, if there's enough strength. More likely to happen to people who have The Gift but no training. The series does a good job of making The One Power sound dangerous. Lews Therin Telamon, Aginor's first body, and eventually [[spoiler: Egwene al'Vere]] fall victim to this.
* In Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Series/{{Valdemar}}'' books we have 'final strike' in which a magic-user channels all the magical energy in the area through his/her body. This generally creates an explosion that destroys the one invoking it and everything around him/her. How large the zone of destruction is depends on the invoker's power. In the first book in the timeline, a would-be GodEmperor and his good opponent ended up doing this (unintentionally in the villain's case, as a failsafe in the good mage's) which ended up creating an enormous lake a quarter of the size of a country and a crater so large it takes ''weeks'' to cross to the other side and qualifies ''as'' a country.
* In the ''Literature/ZacharyNixonJohnson'' novel ''The Radioactive Redhead'', Zach's psychic secretary Carol nearly suffers from one when an attempt to amplify her powers causes her to almost lose control of them.
* [[BigBad Galbatorix]] from the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'' deliberately melts down his powers to both [[TakingYouWithMe destroy Eragon and his allies]] and [[DrivenToSuicide end the suffering]] caused by a curse they put on him. He used the spell "Waíse neiat", or "Be not", to effectively turn himself into a [[FantasticNuke magical antimatter bomb]], converting his entire body's mass into energy.
* In ''Literature/SuperPowereds'', this is a problem for any Powered (Supers with PowerIncontinence) with a strong enough ability. Some are only an inconvenience to themselves (e.g. a girl who levitates when experiencing a strong emotion or a guy who randomly teleports when sneezing), while others can threaten a large group of people (e.g. a guy who can accidentally cause a state-wide blackout by absorbing all that electricity, necessitating that he be kept in total isolation in order to slowly bleed off that energy or a guy who unintentionally causes the laws of probability to be in flux around him).

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* One of the crises of the first season of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' was the fear that Ted Sprague would use his literal nuclear powers to level New York. In the end, [[spoiler: it wasn't Ted they had to worry about.]]
** Ted did have a SuperPowerMeltdown earlier in the series. It just wasn't as big as they thought. Instead of blowing up New York City, he burned down a house in Odessa, Texas. Still caused quite a bit of damage, and made quite a crispy Claire. It probably would have been as big as they thought, but fortunately Claire was on hand with a tranquilizer gun.
** In Season 3, [[spoiler: Future Sylar loses control and vaporizes Costa Verde after his son is killed.]]
** [[spoiler:Also Elle went all electric explosiony when Sylar starts to skullcap her, [[Main/CardboardPrison shorting out the circuits of Level 5 releasing its inmates.]]]]
** In the volume 3 finale, Meredith, the pyrokinetic, is injected with a syringe full of adrenaline by Sylar. She goes into SuperPowerMeltdown mode, which [[spoiler: sadly ends quite tragically for her and anyone else who might not have escaped the Company building.]]
* In ''Series/H2OJustAddWater'', the girls who are mermaids lose complete control of their powers ''every time'' it's a full moon, and in one such instance, Cleo ''became a siren''.
* [[spoiler: Tess]] in ''{{Roswell}}'' does this, deliberately, to [[spoiler: take out a military base and protect her baby and the other alien teenagers]]. She doesn't survive.
* Willow arguably had one at the end of Season 6 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** And Illyria came within moments of having one (or rather did have one, until it caused time to cycle back) in Season 5 of ''Series/{{Angel}}''. It would've taken out, at minimum, all of UsefulNotes/LosAngeles. Possibly the whole state.
* Untrained telepaths in ''[[Series/BabylonFive Babylon 5]]'' tend to have these frequently, one of the primary reasons behind the [[SuperRegistrationAct Psi]] [[TheCorpsIsMother Corps]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': [[TheNthDoctor The Tenth Doctor's]] regeneration was a mild case of this; previous regenerations weren't nearly as explosive. This may be due to him absorbing all the nuclear radiation he did. Plus suppressing the incoming regeneration so he could say goodbye didn't help either.
* Gabriel Ashlocke (AKA Patient Zero) in ''Series/MutantX''. The first person to be experimented on by Adam Kane and the first known [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual new mutant]]. Unlike all other new mutants, which are separated into categories (elementals, ferals, moleculars, and [[PsychicPowers psionics]]), Ashcroft has powers from all four categories (although not all possible powers). He's also a murderous psychopath. However, so many powers cause his cells to slowly destabilize. Ashlocke's first attempt to save himself involves awakening an ancient sorceress, then he tries to MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight, then he tries to bully Adam into helping... ultimately, he explodes, taking half the team's base with him.
* An episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' had a story, "Nightcrawlers" (adapted from the short story by Creator/RobertRMcCammon) about a traumatized Vietnam War veteran with the power to make his thoughts come to life. It worked best when he was dreaming, but all his dreams were about horrific battles. It got messy.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Charmed}}''. Prue comes dangerously close to having one of these when she accidentally becomes an Empath in season 3 but following a pep talk from Leo promptly gets her shit together.
* Scorch is defeated in this manner in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. Melinda May injects him with a serum that boosts his [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetic abilities]], but as a result they become too powerful for him to control, and he explodes.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Extremely common in psykers in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', and one reason why psykers are [[BewareTheSuperman feared by normal humans]]. The omnipresent risk of daemonic possession being another.
** The Orks have (or at least had) psykers of their own, called Weirdboyz. Being an ''extremely'' psychic race to begin with, Ork Psykers tended to cause other nearby Orks [[YourHeadAsplode heads to explode]]. It got worse when Weirdboyz got near each other. Of course Orks think this is funny as hell.
** The Eversor Assassin, whose body is so laden with strength and reflex-enhancing combat drugs that upon death they react violently and cause his corpse to explode.
** In the spin-off game ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}'', rogue psykers known as Wyrds are prone to this, usually of the YourHeadAsplode or [[SpontaneousHumanCombustion spontaneously combust]].
* Mega-[[PsychoSerum Juicers]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'' start to become consumed by their power when they near the end of their lives. First their eyes start to glow, then their whole bodies, and eventually they just burst into flame. If/when they die at any point during this period, they ''explode''.
* ''TabletopGame/CthulhuTech'''s parapsychics have a non-zero chance of going into "Burn" every time they use their powers.
* ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'' has the phenomenon known as The False Awakening, wherein a [[BadassNormal Sleepwalker]] who's studied under a mage believes that not only have they Awakened, they've discovered a magical path that no one else has before. In reality, they've become infected with a strange form of magical energy that pretty much allows them to go from initiate to godhood in the space of a week... before they pretty much explode from all the power and take out a city block.

* ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'':
** The Bohrok-Kal were defeated simply by the Toa Nuva overloading them with power, causing each one to be destroyed by their own powers.
** Gorast's mask, the Mask of Disruption, has a similar effect. And is complete NightmareFuel. Brrr, Icarax and Krika...

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Manbot in ''VideoGames/FreedomForce'' had this as his FatalFlaw: his power made him prone to causing violent explosions, one of which killed his brother after making him a containment suit.
* Ultima, the BigBad of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', tries to once again go OneWingedAngel on Ramza's team after having its prior seraphim and skeleton-angel forms trashed. Too bad large explosions aren't exactly EnergyBeings.
* A mild version happens to Iris in the first ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'', although she ''only'' blows the roof off a movie theater.
* In the MMORPG ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', a sector of Paragon City, known as Siren's Call, was sealed off for several years due to a hero with radioactive powers supposedly going 'boom' there, conveniently allowing the villainous EvilOverlord Lord Recluse to establish a beachhead there. [[note]] The trope itself is averted, however, in that the ''real'' reason for the explosion is either an android replica of the hero specifically made to explode by the EvilOverlord, or (according to the canonically-dubious StrategyGuide) a major villain disguising himself as a small-time crook to lure the hero into the area, before detonating a specially-made bomb and using the hero as a scapegoat. [[/note]]
** With an added Cyborg Booster Pack, players gained access to a Self Destruct power, causing them to explode violently after a ten second countdown, doing immense damage to anything unlucky enough to be in range. It will usually wipe out anything below boss level. The down side? You just died. And it took an hour to recharge.
** In the game's backstory, Overbrook (now called "Faultline") was [[spoiler: supposedly]] leveled by the earthquake machines of an archvillain known as Faultine. [[spoiler: In truth, though, Faultline was a mutant hero who wouldn't have needed them; a villain named [=PsyCurse=] used a gadget known as the [=PsychoChronoMetron=] to rewrite Faultline into a villain. Unfortunately, feedback from the [=PsychoChronoMetron=] caused Faultline to lose control of his powers, resulting in the earthquake that leveled Overbrook. .]]
* In the ''VideoGame/SoulCalibur III'' start-up trailer, Nightmare seems to have one of these because he consumed the souls of a whole army, ''all at once''. It didn't seem to hurt him though.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' opens with Fei as a peaceful painter in a quiet village helping his best friend to get ready for a wedding. Unfortunately, after [[spoiler:Grahf repeatedly Hits the Berserk Button]], he goes on a frenzy of UnstoppableRage in his newly-acquired Gear and destroys his home village.
** This happens several times throughout the game, due to the fact that [[spoiler:Fei has a super-powered hidden personality called Id with a penchant for wanton destruction.]]
* ''VideoGame/IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis'' ends with [[spoiler:the Nazi scientist being tricked into getting into a god-making machine and putting far too much fuel in it, transforming him into a glowing, horned [[EnergyBeings Energy Being]]. [[ExplosiveOverclocking Then he explodes.]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Galerians}}'', if Rion uses the drugs that fuel his powers too much, he will suffer from "shorting" which is instant death to all nonbosses within the radius but does damage to him over time. It can be stopped by using a specific drug. Notably there's another drug which can trigger this instantly.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/MegaManZero 4''. The BigBad Dr. Weil tries to crash his KillSat into Earth, destroying the only naturally habitable place left on the planet. When Zero tries to stop him, he merges with the kill-sat's computer core for the final boss fight. [[spoiler: This trope forms the ''premise'' of the last stage of the fight (the boss's second form); if Zero destroys him, the resulting superpower meltdown will destroy the kill sat, averting the crisis.]] The fact that [[spoiler: Zero would (and does) also get blown to smithereens in the process]] is a mere trifling technicality.
* A plot point in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime 3: Corruption''. After getting infected with Phazon, Samus has the ability to go into Hyper Mode and use Phazon powered attacks, which is powerful, but causes the Corruption to spread, and if the PED Suit malfunctions, the process can be irreversible, leading to devastating consequences to those around them, [[spoiler: as seen with other hunters like Ghor, whose own corruption devastated Elysia]].
* Every human who has tried a direct human/demon [[FusionDance fusion]] in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' has ended up like this. EvilIsNotAToy, after all.
** ''Almost'' every human. [[spoiler:''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'''s Jiminez fuses directly with Bugaboo successfully, though he did go crazy afterwards.]]
** SMTIV [[spoiler:mostly averts it, with about half of the population of Infernal Tokyo becoming "demonoids" through demon fusion. A few unlucky ones do suffer from a version of this, though.]]
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Deathwing]], the former Dragon Aspect of the Earth, had stolen power from the other four Dragon Aspects. However, this much power nearly rips apart his body, forcing him to have goblins weld [[{{Unobtainium}} adamantium]] plates to his body in order to keep it intact. Much later on, after marinating in the corruptive power of the [[EldritchAbomination Old Gods]], even adamantium proves to not be enough, and he has the plates replaced with the even stronger "elementium".
* In the ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' DLC "Trespasser", the Inquisitor's Mark begins flaring up occasionally, building power at an accelerated rate and causing ever increasing amounts of pain. By the end, [[spoiler: the mark goes into a full meltdown, building power extremely quickly. If not deliberately discharged before it reaches maximum strength, it will detonate and cause massive damage to everyone nearby, the party included. Without Solas' intervention, the Inquisitor would have been killed]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* At the end of the Heavens Feel route in VisualNovel/FateStayNight [[spoiler:Sakura]] loses the ability to control the Grail's energy, resulting in a potentially world destroying... thingy... requiring first the use of Rule Breaker to separate [[spoiler:Sakura]] from the Grail and then [[spoiler:either Shirou or Ilya's HeroicSacrifice to keep from getting worse]].
** Also in Heavens Feel, there's [[spoiler:Archer's arm]]. Once the seal is removed so [[spoiler:Shirou]] can use its power, his body and mind begin to break down because he can't withstand its innate magic.

* Near the end of ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', Bob attempts to detonate himself to kill the Author once and for all. He makes a ShoutOut to ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' as he does so.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the supervillain Damien triggers his own SuperpowerMeltdown when his [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-05-07 failure to defeat]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-04-20 Fallen Grace]] makes him realize that he may not [[AGodAmI be a god]] after all.
* In ''Webcomic/KidRadd'', this is why [[spoiler:Radd]] is the [[GameBreaker most powerful being in cyberspace]]. Given a long enough charge time, [[spoiler:he could wipe out every computer connected to the internet]]. Best of all, [[spoiler:[[GoodBadBugs it's all the result of a very minor bug in his programming]]]].
* When Sollux from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' gets all BrainwashedAndCrazy as a result of Vriska's MindManipulation, he's forced to [[spoiler:brutally murder Aradia, his girlfriend, and raze her home to the ground]] by causing a major, explosive SuperpowerMeltdown with a drug that changes his regular EyeBeams into WaveMotionGun-EyeBeams. What happens when he [[spoiler: wakes up from his... uh, misadventure,]] is never explicitly shown, but he struggles with major depressing and self-loathing, as well as never really smiling for almost the rest of the series.
* A story line in ''Webcomic/{{Spinnerette}}'' involves [[spoiler:the titular heroine going into one after an altercation with two supervillains stealing a [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke "Genetic Infusion Chamber" powered by a "Cherenkov]][[Creator/JackKirby -Kirby]] [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke Reactor"]].]]
** Note that in this case the trope is completely literal - with the way superpowers work in Spinnerette-verse, a super can go into an actual meltdown, causing a local nuclear disaster.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Lightning Lad in ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' - the episode 'Lightning Storm' where his powers [[spoiler:leaked out of the hole previously occupied by one of his arms.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'':
** Terra overextends her [[DishingOutDirt Earth-control powers]] stopping a volcanic eruption, which [[TakenForGranite petrifies her]].
** Red Star's [[ILoveNuclearPower nuclear power]] is highly unstable, requiring him to regularly vent his excess energy with a machine. Then he discovers a leak in the storage [[CreateYourOwnVillain created]] [[NuclearNasty the monster terrorizing his village]], and pulls a with HeroicSacrifice destroying it. ([[UnexplainedRecovery He got better.]])
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'', Blight, described as a walking meltdown, meets his end when his son's betrayal throws him into rage. He was heavily implied to have survived, but didn't have appearances for the rest of the series.
** He does reappear in the comics, having apparently lost his mind due to the degrading effects of his powers.
** Also, there's [[spoiler: Ace]] in "Epilogue," who might suffer a major aneurysm, causing a psychic backlash capable of killing thousands. [[spoiler: While the aneurysm does happen, killing her, there's thankfully no backlash.]]
* Firefly in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' gained super fire powers that went beyond his control to the point that if he kept on going, he will become a living embodiment of a meltdown and melt down to the Earth's core and [[CaptainObvious destroy Gotham City in the process.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', the Omnitrix has been involved in a few of these.
** [[BodyHorror Problems]] when Ben removed the faceplate.
** The whole "Omni Energy" outbursts thing and the self-destruct mechanism that threatened to take the ''whole universe'' along with it when it went in ''[[MadeForTVMovie The Secret Of The Omnitrix]]''
** And let's not forget [[OneWingedAngel what it did to Kevin when he tried to absorb its energy.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'', Bob removes Hexadecimal's mask in an effort to get her to stop. As it turns out, doing that causes an explosion of energy from the hole in her face, which threatens to overload and destroy everything. Oops.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' sees Wasp talked into using a transwarp generator by Blackarachnia to gain incredible power, turning him into the technorganic Waspinator. His transwarp mutation goes critical soon after.
** [[spoiler: Blackarachnia cocoons herself and Waspinator in webbing before he goes off. Both of them survive, albeit heavily damaged. Waspinator was pulling himself together because he still has plans.]]