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Anakin: What are you doing?
Anakin: A blood transfusion? What?!
John has one or more Stock Superpowers
of the genetic and/or magical variety. He may have gained them from birth thanks to Superpowerful Genetics
, genetic experimentation
, or after conception thanks to Super Serum
, a Mass Super-Empowering Event
or a Disposable Superhero Maker
. Alternately, he has mystic powers in a setting where The Power of Blood
and Blood Magic
are very real, so his blood contains a measure of his magic. In short, his powers course through his blood in a very real sense.
Suddenly, his friend Jack gets shot by one of his enemies,
and has only minutes to live before even his copious blood supply runs out
! Just by luck, Jack and John are the same blood type, and a quick emergency transfusion ensues... which results in an Emergency Transformation
. Thanks to the blood-borne nature of John's powers, Jack now has those same abilities! They might be temporary and last only as long as John's blood is in his system, or they may trigger a similar reaction in Jack's body and give him permanent (and potentially different) powers.
It bears mentioning that in Real Life
blood transfusions in no way transfer the donor's genes into the recipient's DNA. The red and white blood cells last only a few months before dying without leaving a trace. If John's powers are biological/genetic/chemical in nature, and/or Phlebotinum
is involved, Jack getting these powers is often justified by The Professor
explaining that the donation triggered dormant super-genes in Jack, or actually did
somehow overwrite parts of his genome
. If John's powers are magical in nature, then the reason Jack gets similar powers may have to do with Blood Magic
. In these cases "John" might not even be the same species as Jack, such as dragon or vampire blood note
, endowing the imbiber with power. If John's powers are from a (symbiotic) virus
, then it reasonably would be able to transfer via blood transfusion, though you can probably count characters with these powers on one hand (See the example in the Literature folder).
A subtrope of Super Empowering
. See also How To Give A Character Super Powers
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Anime and Manga
- In the manga Wolf Guy, Akira gives blood to Chiba after Hadou nearly kills him, and Chiba is healed by it and becomes a werewolf—and crazy, with the ability to change at will into some mutated-looking wolf-beast, unlike Akira's transformation. So, not a completely identical transference of abilities, but Akira didn't realize his powers would transfer at all.
- In Futaba-kun Change! Misaki gets the temporary ability to turn into a boy when she's transfused with Futaba's blood. Later justified as her latent Shimeru genes (apparently quite widespread in the Japanese population) being activated by Futaba's active genderbending factor.
- In Rosario + Vampire, Tsukune receives a temporary Emergency Transformation from Moka by injecting her blood into him whenever he injures himself while protecting his friends. Eventually, it becomes permanent... with consequences.
- Getting bitten by a zombie in Sankarea has this effect: the hydrangea that runs through their veins makes other people temporarily impervious to death or pain.
- Coppelion has Aether, an injected medicine derived from the Coppelions' blood that grants temporary radiation immunity and enhanced healing. Direct transfusions may not have the same effect, since the Medical Team called a helicopter carrying more Aether instead of attempting a transfusion when short on time.
- In Hellboy: The Island, Hellboy gets drained of his blood and a prophet of the Ogdru Jahad absorbs it. This causes the prophet to begin transforming into a copy of Anung un Rama, the demon that Hell wanted HB to be. The man is then driven insane.
- Spitfire of The Invaders (Marvel Comics) gained superpowers from a blood transfusion from the first Human Torch. I'm not sure how that worked, given that the first Human Torch was an android.
- This is She-Hulk's origin. She needed a blood transfusion and Bruce was on hand, afterwards she was permanently changed into a hulk, albeit she retained her personality and intellect.
- It later turned out that the Hulk's drastic change in personality is caused by a multiple personality disorder which is exacerbated by his transformation. She-Hulk's personality does change, but instead of HULK SMASH! she just gets sassier and more confident. She also doesn't have the insane number of alternate transformations that Bruce does.
- In a Golden Age Superman story, Lois Lane dreams she gets a blood transfusion from Superman and gains superpowers, becoming Superwoman.
- This actually did happen in Action February 1965. Linda Danvers donates blood (using Red Kryptonite to de-super her arm for this purpose). Classmate Debbie has a head injury and the blood is used in her surgery. However her brain damage makes her EVIL, so now an evil Supergirl flies around freeing crooks and baffling police. Linda catches on when Deb tells her she's read an entire mystery novel in a single night, because altogether human speed readers apparently don't exist. Fortunately super powers gained this way last only 48 hours.
- During the first arc of Young Avengers, Patriot claims that this is how he got his powers: his grandfather, Captain America's supersoldier prototype, gave him a blood transfusion. It turns out be a lie (Patriot was addicted to a drug that gave super-powers), but then he takes a shot from a Kree blaster for Cap. When he gets to the hospital after the battle, Cap is all set for this, except "the other super-soldier beat you to it."
- Inverted early on in Spider-Man when Peter gave blood to save Aunt May. Neither of them got much out of it - Peter was too woozy to fight for much of the issue, and his radioactive blood nearly killed Aunt May later on, sparking another "race to find a cure" story.
- This is Deadpool's backstory; his healing factor was derived from Wolverine's blood.
- The Savage Dragon once let his blood be used in an attempt to cure a friend's AIDS. It seemed to work at first— restoring him to full health, making him stronger, even giving him green skin and a fin— but within minutes, he exploded. Years later, after The Vicious Circle steals a supply of his blood from the hospital, their Evil Geniuses figure out a way to keep people alive much longer after being injected. But it turns out that regular doses are necessary in order to keep delaying the explosion, so when Dragon-blood-enhanced supercriminals get arrested, they end up exploding while in custody.
- In PS238 Tyler is cured of an alien virus via a blood transfusion from Julie to briefly give him her super-health, but it has to be removed before the cells started attacking his own.
- Infamously, Golden Age hero The Whizzer gained his Super Speed powers from a blood transfusion from a mongoose.
- In Clan of the Mewtwo, a human who receives a transfusion of Mewtwo blood will be transformed into a Mewtwo.
- In David Weber's The Apocalypse Troll, Ludmilla is infected with a parasitic disease that kills 95% of humans who contract it, but gives super-healing and longevity to the few survivors. When Richard is mortally wounded, she gives him a blood transfusion out of desperation. It works.
- In The Saga of Darren Shan the vampires/vampaneze are recruiting new members to their clans this way. This is usually achived by both donor and recipient cutting their fingertips on both hands, and keeping their wounds pressed to one another's until the transfused blood has run a full circle between their bodies. While this is the traditional method, injection with syringes also works. A few days later the recipient will turn into a dhampyr or a full vampire depending on the amount of blood transfused.
Live Action TV
- The 4400 had an inversion. Isabel, the first child born to two returnees, produces pure Promycin. When all the other returnees are suffering from an anti-promycin drug, her blood cures Shawn who went on to use his own healing powers on everyone else.
- In Dark Angel, when Max gives an emergency transfusion to Logan, her stem-cell-laden blood starts to repair his spine. Unfortunately, it doesn't last, but he eventually gets a hold of a mechanical exoskeleton that lets him walk again. Later, a transfusion from another transgenic has longer-lasting effects, which when added to the support from the exoskeleton let him be stronger and faster.
- In Heroes Claire's blood can be used to heal other people through transfusion.
- The tv movie Deep Red. It has a girl whose blood rejuvenates the recipient and grants Voluntary Shape Shifting. In a twist, the power only lasts for a limited time, and regular transfusions are needed for people to sustain them. It's because of this that the bad guy, who has some of her blood in his system, is after her.
- In Stargate Universe, Chloe Armstrong was able to cure lieutenant Scott with blood transfusion in episode "Cloverdale".
- In Misfits, Nikki inadvertently gains the ability to teleport by a heart transplant from Ollie. She never learned to control it though.
- In the final episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day: Rex has a transfusion of Jack's blood in order to sneak some into the Blessing site. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that doing so has granted him Jack's immortality.
- In an episode Charmed, a doctor is experimenting with the Charmed Ones' blood (long story, but he believes it could be the key to a "universal antibody") and unintentionally gives himself and his test subjects (three monkeys) their collective powers (he injected the monkeys with a mix of their blood, and they injected him). Unfortunately, mortals can't properly handle that kind of power, and it starts warping his body and mind; he "does good and saves innocents" by killing criminals and harvesting their organs for those that need them.
- This is what the 1969-71 series The Immortal was all about. The hero (Chris George)'s is a race car driver whose blood makes him immune to all diseases. An ailing bazillionaire wants him for transfusions. This quickly turned into a replay of The Fugitive, but did have its moments.
- In Operation Darkness, a Werewolf giving his blood to someone changes them and gives them some kind of power. If they survive.
- In Freedom Force, this is how Liberty Lad got his powers, Minuteman gave him a blood transfusion after his Reckless Sidekick behavior got him shot.
- In Mega Man ZX, a "Mega Man" is a Maverick Raid survivor who harnesses the blood of the Big Bad Master Albert via donation. His blood (or rather, the contained DNA) is the key to unlocking the Biometal's power and allowing them to Megamerge with it.
- This may not be a straight example: it's implied that Albert used his influence to get trace amounts of his DNA into everyone through the upgrades that make Reploids and Humans essentially the same. The DNA lets them megamerge, but they still need the biometal to have superpowers. Not to mention the DNA may just be stored as data in both cases (since Reploids and Humans both have machine parts) and is simply submitted as a confirmation code when the person says "megamerge!"
- In the ''Metroid series, Samus Aran, as a child, was given a transfusion of Chozo blood in order to save her life. This has given her enhanced strength and reflexes (and, presumably, the ability to fit into a ball a third her height).
- There is an episode of Krypto the Superdog where the cat gets his powers this way.
- Tex Avery plays it for laughs (natch) in the Walter Lantz cartoon "Crazy Mixed-up Pup". A man and his dog are run over and the paramedics give them transfusions, only the man gets canine plasma and the dog gets human plasma, resulting in a man acting like a dog and vice versa.
- In Young Justice, this is apparently how they're handling Beast Boy's origin, instead of the Super Serum from the comics. He had a life-saving blood transfusion from Miss Martian.