Voluntary Shapeshifting, where the subject doesn't just change shape but can turn intangible — in the form of smoke, mist, or gas — while still retaining some coherence and control over the now cloudy body. This power may have various applications. The most common is invulnerability to most physical attacks. It also allows slipping into tiny cracks to invade any place that isn't airtight. In some case, the cloud can gain very fast movement, maybe depending on the wind. The transformation can double as an attack if the gaseous form is also a Deadly Gas. Poison or no, villains with this power are not above forcing themselves down a victim's airway. It will also probably make the creature invisible if within any cloud or bank of similar-looking smoke or mist. Turning into a cloud of mist is a standard power for vampires. Not every vampire story features this, however. It tends to be less prevalent in live-action, maybe due to the difficulty of rendering it well with special effects, or because it is less known than the classic bat or wolf shapes. Not to be confused with Smoke Out, although it can sometimes look like it. For beings whose only form is smoke, see Fog of Doom. A subtrope of Elemental Shapeshifter.
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Anime & Manga
- In One Piece, some of the Logia users can turn into gaseous elements.
- One member of Demon Card around the beginning of Rave Master could do this.
- Bardiel from Neon Genesis Evangelion initially floats around as a storm cloud, infecting Unit 03 when the carrier plane flies through him.
- Kanna from Shaman King uses smoke from her cigarette as her spirit medium.
- In Berserk, Emperor Ganishka is able to turn himself into a giant humanoid cloud of fog with lightning powers. He also (even while in human form) can blanket a city with Ominous Fog that allows him to sense anything that happens in the cloud.
- In Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery there is Enenra, a smoke youkai that can burn down houses if left unnoticed for too long.
- Magic: The Gathering has the Enchant Creature Gaseous Form, which turns a creature into mist so that it could neither deal nor take damage in combat. The Urborg Phantom could activate this ability at will. Also the Turn to Mist card.
- A monster equipped with the Yu-Gi-Oh! card Mist Body cannot be destroyed by battle.
- The "foglets" in Transmetropolitan upload their brains into clouds of Nanomachines smoke, and take any form they like.
- In Flare, this power was a side effect of Marian Press becoming the Blond Bombshell.
- Mass Master of Power Pack could disperse himself as a cloud of his own molecules or condense into a miniature of himself that weighed the same and was more solid. Occasionally victim to an Artistic License – Physics, when comic book writers who only comprehend density alteration as Intangible Man assume that "turn into a cloud" means "turn into a cloud of water vapor" (or in fact, ANY vapor—the power alters the density of the user, not the physical state—i.e., solid, liquid, vapor—of their body's matter).
- In Astro City, it seems like the Confessor is using a standard Smoke Out, but it turns out to be this instead because he's secretly a vampire.
- Marvel Comics villain Nitro becomes sentient vapor for a while each time he explodes.
- Minor Spider-Man villains Knight and Fogg features Fogg, who has this as a superpower. He doesn't become fully intangible though, seeing as he gets taken down by electricity.
- Vincente, a minion of Generation X villain Emplate.
- X-Men: Amelia Voght of Magneto's Acolytes. She can also do this to other objects, including people. At a range, and the means by which she does this isn't visible; no ray to block or avoid or something. It appears that part of the power is that she has to reform her target, whether it's herself or others - she could conceivably turn someone to vapor and never turn them back, a Game Breaker power of long-range instant death that can't be blocked, avoided, or resisted, but she's not the type to do that, thankfully. Again, it has been theorized that she has to bring things back eventually, as evidenced by a darker, alternate version of her killing by transforming the air around a victim into whatever her vapor is made of and waiting for suffocation to take place (instead of just willing that the victim go 'poof' forever, and having it happen.) At any rate, as she uses it, it's essentially a form of Teleportation.
- Incredible Hulk: U-Foes member Vapor.
- One of the Front Line of No Hero has the power to transform into smoke and shoot lightning. Her name is Smoke Lightning or "Smoke".
- In the comic continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula cycles through several of his traditional transformations in an attempt to intimidate the Slayers.
Dracula: You're not frightened?
(after failing to scare them with a wolf and a bat)
Dracula: How about now?
Buffy: I'm not even sure what you are.
Dracula: I am fog.
Buffy: Oh. Then no.
- Wildstorm: Backlash a.k.a. Marc Slayton had this power back in the 90s.
- Various genies in Iznogoud use this to enter/exit a bottle. Or a lamp. Or a shoe, in one case.
- Immortal Iron Fist reintroduced classic pulp era character John Aman as the mysterious Prince of Orphans. His most notable ability was turning into a green mist that could still partially solidify and attack people.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of the few cinematographic adaptations faithful enough to have the title vampire turning into mist before slipping into Mina's bedroom or Renfield's cell.
- From The Mummy, Imhotep doesn't exactly turn into smoke, but can become a cloud of dust and sand moving under its own power.
- Son of Dracula has vampires that can travel by turning themselves into a mist.
- Dracula: Dead and Loving It, being surprisingly well-researched for a parody movie, includes Dracula turning into fog.
- The Harry Potter films gave Voldemort and the Death Eaters this power instead of Apparition (teleportation), presumably for Rule of Cool purposes.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula is certainly the most well-known example of a vampire with the power to turn into mist.
- Jack Fleming from The Vampire Files has this as his only alternate form, as opposed to Drac's additional wolf and bat shapes, but with the added perk that his smoke form is invisible — except, oddly, in mirrors. He can still hear when "vanished", but he's blind until he reappears, and while he can move around (like swimming underwater with his eyes shut), he can't touch anything or do anything except brush against people and make them feel really cold. He uses it for evading bad guys and B&E, sometimes simultaneously.
- Saint Dane from The Pendragon Adventure can turn into smoke upon being "killed" (or just at will) and reform elsewhere. So can the other travelers, in the last book. We only see Bobby do it twice, though.
- The Black Court vampire Mavra in The Dresden Files can naturally do this, as Dracula was written to describe their powers and vulnerabilities. When Harry complains that she's late to a meeting she, in a surprisingly human moment for an inhuman character, attributes it to there being a headwind.
- The Shedai from Star Trek: Vanguard.
- Laas the Changeling from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine can transform into mist — so good that O'Brien assumes tampered weather controls. It's implied most changelings can do this, and generally come into any non-hermetic place. (Laas can even creep into a runabout, in space!)
- The Man In Black on Lost, otherwise known as the Smoke Monster. It's not very intangible smoke, though.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula is able to transform into mist which he uses to dodge attacks, which Buffy decides is cheating when she tries to stake him. Also see the comics continuation above.
- One of the supers-of-the-week on No Ordinary Family has this power.
- Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie does this to enter/exit her bottle.
- One episode of The Adventures Of Sinbad has a villain with this power courtesy of the "Sword of Hades", which would turn him into smoke when unsheathed (thus making him practically invulnerable in combat) while remaining quite solid and dangerous to his enemies itself. Notable for also showcasing the weakness of such a form — the villain is ultimately defeated by the heroes using a giant fan they built overnight to create enough wind to disperse his smoke form beyond recovery.
- This is the main form of demons in Supernatural when they're not possessing humans.
Myths & Religion
- This is a standard power for Djinns, Efreets and other Genies. Turning into smoke is often the prerequisite for exiting from (or slipping into) tiny lamps or bottles. This led to the common representation of Genies lacking legs, the lower body being still vaporous while the upper body is solid.
- One of the traits of the Yuki-Onna from Japanese Mythology is the ability to turn into a cloud of mist when they feel threatened.
- Classical Mythology: Zeus is said to have entered the locked, windowless room of one of his many conquests through the airholes as a shower of gold.
- Done by the evil genie and the player's benevolent jinn in Williams Electronics' pinball Tales of the Arabian Nights.
- The Wicked Witch of the West uses this to appear and disappear in Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz.
- In Jinni Zeala, the genie Zeala uses this to appear and disappear.
- In Gottlieb's Genie, the genie's lower torso is shown as a swirl of magic smoke.
- The green jinn of Magic Girl have magic smoke where their legs should be.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Several spells and magical items allow this, notably the "potion of Gaseous Form", the "Wind Walk" spell, etc.
- Also, several creatures have this power, including the aforementioned Genies and Vampires. Some fiends, like the Yochlol or Alkilith, can likewise turn into poisonous gas.
- In the Fast Play adventure Crypt of the Smoke Dragon, the title monster turns into smoke when it attacks.
- In the Ravenloft setting, in addition to many vampires' gaseous forms, the wererat Jacqueline Renier is able to turn into a cloud of horrible-smelling vapor as one of her Darklord powers.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade, the "Protean" discipline includes the ability to turn into mist. Unlike most examples of this trope, the game explicitly says that vampires can't see or fight like this, and that's it's mostly used for escape or hiding. This also exists as the final level of Protean in its New World of Darkness counterpart, Vampire: The Requiem, where it receives quite a power-up in comparison; as of the second edition, vampires can even use mist form to feed.
- The Diffuse advantage in GURPS.
- In Shadowrun, a spell allows you to turn into smoke. It makes you invulnerable to almost every attack, but you can't fight back. Gust spells are one of the only ways to harm a person in this form.
- The "Desolidification" power in Hero System.
- Zaktan, being made of millions of small creatures called protodites, can act in this manner.
- The Makuta are armour-wearing smoke. In addition, the Makuta Teridax spends 2006 without the armour.
- Damned Queen Chesspiece of Devil May Cry 3 can turn into a cloud of mist that's untouchable until she recollects herself.
- One power that Kain earns in Blood Omen and keeps throughout the Legacy of Kain games is the ability to turn into mist to pass through portcullis and grates.
- World of Warcraft has the Shadow Priest ability Dispersion which turns them into a cloud of purple shadow, rendering them almost invulnerable, unable to attack, and restores mana very quickly.
- Being the son of Dracula, Alucard in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night can gain this ability, at first for a split second to go through bars and quick dodging, but can eventually retain this form for as long as he has magic and then become poisonous as well.
- In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, Alucard has a more complicated version of the same ability... He can turn his entire body solid-yet-gaseous, which turns his dodge into the more standard complete intangibility that allows him to pass through enemies and drain some of their health while doing so.
- Mortal Kombat:
- Smoke. This extends even to his robotic form, strangely enough. Later installments decided to explain this as "nanomachines".
- Since the reboot, Smoke is apparently an amnesiac youkai called an enenra, a Japanese smoke monster that lives in bonfires. This is because he was a cult's Human Sacrifice as a child, burned alive to summon a demon. They got one all right. They probably didn't count on it being the spirit of the child they'd just murdered coming back to kill them all right back in revenge, except they don't get to become smoke monsters in human form.
- In a Starcraft II cinematic, it is shown that Dark Templar Zeratul's invisibility manifests like this.
- In the Touhou series, this is one of the abilities available to Suika Ibuki, due to her power to control density.
- Champions Online:
- The Ice-set power "Vapor Form" is a sort of panic-button defensive power that can turn the player intangible for a brief period, enhancing defense and IIRC boosting elemental damage dealt.
- In addition, in the Vibora Bay expansion, the vampire Immortals of the New Shadows faction aren't really killed, unlike other members of the faction. Yes, their body crumbles to dust, but a cloud of mist with a 1/3 full health bar (and utterly invulnerable) flies around for a few moments later before fading; it is implied that they will reform elsewhere later.
- In Baldur's Gate II, vampires slain in combat turn to a small cloud of mist and fly away at speed. Non-random encounter vampires will fly back to their coffin to reform, where they can be staked and permanently put down.
- In The Lost Crown, the ghostly Ager brothers sometimes manifest as black-clad glowering figures, and other times as billowing ink-black columns of malevolent vapor.
- Delsin Rowe, the protagonist inFAMOUS: Second Son has smoke as the first power he absorbs. With it, he can fire off projectiles (including a shotgun-like blast), turn into smoke when he dashes and travel through vents. Hank Daughtry, the Conduit he absorbed it from can do the same thing.
- In the Legend Entertainment game Death Gate, at one point during the climactic final battle, Sang-Drax becomes smoke. If you don't figure out how to beat him, the next turn he will surround you, cutting off access to air. To beat him in this form, you have to use the air storm from the Air Seal, quite literally blowing him away. This is merely a way to delay the inevitable though: eventually, he WILL reappear in his dragon form, and if by that time you don't figure out the final puzzle, you're dead meat.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Elizabeth from Blip has this power, as she's a vampire.
- In The Kingfisher, this seems to be a power of the Kellgren lineage. Patricia is shown using it to move quickly in Theodore's backstory (form of a mist), and Theodore himself uses it in front of Jack. Sombretas can also become a shadowy dustdevil for a short time.
- In Homestuck, John Egbert demonstrates this ability during Act 6 Intermission 3, while duelling Jack Noir.
- In El Goonish Shive, Chaos can assume the shape of a monstrous "cloud" form with many heads and wispy tendrils that are constantly shifting and changing.
- In The Gamers Alliance, many Faerfolc can shapeshift and often turn into smoke or mist to disappear and appear in different locations.
- Erzebet of the Whateley Universe can do this. It's one of several shapes she can shift into. Unfortunately, she loses her clothing when she does it. And because of the shapes she can take, her family cast her out, thinking she was a vampire. She's not, she's just a limited Shifter.
- Fog, white supremacist supervillain from Worm, can (as his name suggests) turn into a thick cloud of fog. The fog can damage living tissue (don't inhale any!) and also provides cover for his wife Night, who gains extra powers when unseen.
- In The Zombie Knight, Xuan Sebolt's pan-rozum form is a cloud of phosphorus-oxide smoke that also wields fire and acid powers. Presumably other servants with gaseous elements could do the same, although Xuan gets extra credit for achieving the effect with a compound of his normally-solid element.
- Code Lyoko:
- The Polymorphic Specters can turn into smoke in the real world, and one even uses this shape to clog Jérémie's airways and try suffocating him in episode "Franz Hopper".
- The Trope Namer: William gains the "Super Smoke" power along with his Evil Costume Switch. This allows him to move very quickly on Lyoko, on par with Ulrich's Super Speed, to fly and to escape many attacks. His avatar keeps this power in Code Lyoko: Evolution, even though he's back among the good guys.
- Misty in My Life as a Teenage Robot has the power of turning into purple smoke to become intangible and Mind Control opponents.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Among many other tricks, Nightmare Moon can turn into a star-filled dark smoke. Her mane has this appearance constantly and can manipulate things.
- In the two-parter Season 3 episode "The Crystal Empire", King Sombra the evil unicorn appears as black smoke with eyes being his only visible feature. Though, all the way in the end he can get out of the smoke and in his physical form. However, this isn't a superpower so much as having been stripped of his physical form and buried under the ice in punishment for his past badness. He almost got the power to fully restore himself before his flank got kicked.
- Puff, the bounty hunter from Static Shock, is able to turn herself (or just her lower half) into a purple cloud, doubling as Deadly Gas.
- Zan of the Wonder Twins, originally from the Superfriends, can take the form of water in any state, including steam or mist. Notably, his Smallville incarnation once takes the shape of a bank of fog.
- Scorcher from Adventure Time has this power, and can even sink into your throat to make you choke.
- In The Little Prince, the Snake can turn into black smoke at will. This means he's completely impossible to confront physically; the Little Prince's efforts are entirely toward thwarting his plans, not fighting him.