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Atomic Superpower

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The power of the atom.

"My name is Captain Atom. As in A-bomb... as in nuclear fission... as in... the end of the world."
Nathaniel Adam, Captain Atom: Armageddon #1

When nuclear radiation isn't just the source of your strength, it is your strength. Characters with an Atomic Superpower have their powers themed around various atomic phenomena such as radiation, nuclear energy, or quantum mechanics. Abilities such as these tend to be incredibly powerful and may be wielded recklessly.

Compare Radiation-Induced Superpowers, for when nuclear radiation is simply the source of one's powers— the two can overlap, but often don't. This is not to be confused with a powerful country with nuclear weapons.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Coppelion: Mana's body is constantly leaking radiation, making her an "Instant Death" Radius for non-Coppelion living beings.
  • Darker than Black: Hei's powers appear of electricity manipulation is revealed to just be one manifestation of his abilities. His true power is manipulating matter at a quantum level. When he's in the Gate, he can basically restructure everything around him.
  • Fairy Tail: One of Wall Eehto's attacks is creating an Etherion Blast by utilizing nuclear fusion in a confined magical field to deliver a powerful blast.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: After Father consumes The Godly Being in his quest to become a perfect being, he gains the power of nuclear manipulation, which he demonstrates by creating what he calls a sun in the palm of his hand.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Captain Atom: Captain Atom has powers tied into the Quantum Field, allowing him to control tremendous amounts of radioactive energy.
    • Firestorm: Firestorm can absorb radiation and nuclear fallout, transmute elements at the atomic level and fire nuclear "fusion blasts".
    • Legion of Super-Heroes: Wildfire is composed of antimatter energy. There's also Radiation Roy, who originally auditions for the Legion but is rejected because he can't control the radiation emitting from his body. He ends up becoming a villain and joining both the Legion of Super-Villains and the Justice League of Earth at different points.
    • L.E.G.I.O.N.:
      • Lady Quark can absorb and emit nuclear energy.
      • Volume 2 of R.E.B.E.L.S. has Wildstar, who was transformed into a being of antimatter by Vril Dox. She wears a containment suit which allows her to fly by channeling energy to form wings.
    • The Outsiders: The first issue of Batman and the Outsiders features the Nuclear Family, a supervillain team of androids with powers all based around radiation. They are created by a scientist named Dr. Eric Shanner who wants to bring attention to the dangers of radiation since his family was killed by careless mistakes that he made in his nuclear science experiments.
    • Shazam!: Mr. Atom is a robot who runs on nuclear energy. He can fire nuclear blasts from his hands, and render radioactive materials inert.
    • Supergirl: The villain Reactron can generate radiation from his body which he can use for concussive blasts. He is also equipped with a heart made of a gold Kryptonite variant, allowing him to render a Kryptonian powerless for 15 seconds.
    • The Superman villain Neutron is a being composed of nuclear energy.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Atomia's powers are rather ill defined but following her Brainwashing for the Greater Good she somehow uses atomic radiation to help heal disabled children.
  • Doctor Solar can control atomic and subatomic energy.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Avengers: Chen Lu, a.k.a. the Radioactive Man, can manipulate high levels of radiation for various effects. Reginald Hudlin's run on Black Panther introduces a Russian villain with the same moniker and powers.
    • Avengers Academy has Hazmat, whose power generates radiation from her body. She originally had to wear a containment suit to keep from killing anyone next to her.
    • The Defenders: Sergei Krylov exposes Tania Belinskaya to cobalt radiation and a nuclear explosion, which results in her gaining the ability to generate, store, and release massive amounts of nuclear energy.
    • Fantastic Four: Frankie Raye is infused with energies from Galactus, which allow her to manipulate cosmic energy in the form of stellar fire. Her entire organic carbon-based body is transformed to accommodate the nuclear energies that course through her. These energies make her the humanoid equivalent of a miniature sun.
    • The Incredible Hulk: X-Ray of the U-Foes was transformed into a living field of quasi-solid radiation.
    • X-Men: Jubilee's power is to detonate matter on a subatomic level. Since she is a pacifist, she settles for using her powers in a more harmless manner.
  • PS238: Suzie Finster has the ability to generate nuclear radiation and can use it for Flight.
  • Thorgal: Jolan (and other Atlanteans) have this power, as Jolan's mentor Tanatloc demonstrates by transforming a rose from thin air by rearranging individual atoms with his mind. Jolan, lacking training with it, mostly uses it to disintegrate incoming weapons.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Parahumans:
    • Worm: The Behemoth's main power is control over all types of energy. This includes nuclear energy, which it mostly uses to irradiate the area around it.
    • Ward: Tritium of Advance Guard becomes radioactive whenever she activates her Flying Brick powers, forcing her to be benched most of the time.
  • The Perfect Run: Alphonse "Fallout" Manada is a blackened skeleton contained in a cybernetic combat armor, because that's the only thing that can contain the living nuclear explosion he has become. When he first drank his elixir, he immediately exploded, annihilating the city he was in.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions:
    • Radium from the supplement Enemies II participated in Project Sunburst, in which a nuclear device detonated and bathed him in intense radiation. Among other powers, he received the ability to shoot an 8d6 radiation energy blast.
    • In the supplement Enemies III
      • The supervillain Beamline can fire particle beams from each hand: electrons from his right hand, positrons from his left. When the beams intersect, there is a matter/antimatter explosion.
      • Starseer is a villain who can fire a powerful blast of cosmic rays that render the target unconscious.
  • Promethean: The Created: The Zeka lineage of Prometheans are constructed from the bodies of radiation poisoning victims. They're healed by radiation exposure and can learn nuclear-themed Transmutations, including creating magical tumours, controlling and mutating insects, and setting off miniature nuclear blasts. As they live in constant pain and suffer a Superpower Meltdown if they ever succeed in becoming human, they are very much Blessed with Suck.

    Video Games 
  • Copy Kitty:
    • Several of the Magitek Constructs have access to nuclear-based weaponry, such as the Vopilla-Gamma (which is a tank crab that launches miniature warheads) and the mighty Atomic Maszylg (essentially a nuclear reactor with a mean temper). This game's protagonist being what she is, Boki can copy some of these powers, in particular the combination of Bounce + Explode + Tornado, which creates Atomic Flare.
    • The True Final Boss on Hard Mode, Isotope, is an enemy Cyber whose powers revolve around atomic reactions. She can summon electron-based bullets, fire magical atom shots that react explosively when they collide, and can even induce nuclear fusion to create and throw miniature suns. Boki can copy all of these powers, and when hers and Isotope's collide, the danger magnifies dramatically.
  • Player characters in DC Universe Online can have atomic powers.
  • Fallout:
    • Glowing Ones are Ghouls who, thanks to being exposed to an extreme amount of radiation, have gained the power to launch waves of radioactive energy in order to irradiate their enemies and heal other Ghouls.
    • The "Nuclear Anomaly" perk in Fallout 3 makes you explode like a mini-nuke every time your health reaches <20, while you regenerate Hit Points and get purged of radiation. It's widely considered an Awesome, but Impractical perk.
  • Persona has a Nuclear element, which is represented by the Frei line of spells.
    • Persona mixed Nuclear and Almighty together, as the typically Almighty Megido line was turned to Nuclear. While they're not unblockable, Nuclear spells tend to deal more damage than average. The resident specialist is Yukino Mayuzumi.
    • In Persona 2, Nuclear skills are almost always used in tandem with Fire skills. Unlike most spells that only target one enemy (unless they have the Ma- prefix), these ones target multiple enemies by default. The specialists, other than the returning Yukino, are brothers Tatsuya and Katsuya Suou, who are also Fire users.
    • The Frei line returns in Persona 5, now independent from any other elements. While they now lack their high-damage, multiple target properties (now they need the Ma- prefix for the latter), they have the ability to deal Technical damage to any target suffering from a status effect, once again setting them apart from other element types. The party's specialist is Makoto Nijima.
    • Averted with Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne's Freikugel (which is not part of Persona). While it has Frei in its name, that spell is Almighty and there no Nuclear element in the game.
  • Touhou Project: Utsuho Reiuji can control nuclear fusion. To really drive the theme home, she has a device on her right arm which resembles a nuclear control rod (and doubles as an Arm Cannon), a concrete boot on one foot and "electrons" orbiting the other.
  • Warframe: Radiation is a secondary element normally obtained through the Elemental Fusion of Heat and Electricity, which has the property of inflicting confusion on enemies, causing them to fight each other. While Oberon is the first Warframe to specialize in Radiation abilities, he has more of a Light 'em Up and Green Thumb theme; the first Warframe to really revolve around radioactivity is Qorvex, whose theme is based on a nuclear reactor. He can plant a pillar that creates radioactive pulses, or shoot a deadly Crucible Blast that causes a chain reaction explosion when striking irradiated foes.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: The supervillain Blight, Terry's Arch-Enemy and the alter ego of Derek Powers, possesses powers that are clearly radation-based. In the pilot episode he's accidentally exposed to one of his own bioweapons, which was treated with radiation by his doctors, but as a side effect turned his flesh a fluorescent green with a black skeleton visible underneath. He can shoot balls of energy and radiates extreme heat, to the point where he's nearly immune to Mr. Freeze's powers.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: NRG is a new alien form Ben gains who is a being of living radioactive energy. He wears a lead containment suit and can fire blasts of energy at will. NRG is also very hot himself, and not a form Ben can use for very long without exposing his friends to dangerous levels of radiation.
    • Atomix, a robot alien introduced in Ben 10: Omniverse, can create or manipulate atomic or nuclear energy using his hands and is highly powerful to the point of being a Story-Breaker Power. Incidentally, he fused with Reality Warper Alien X in a Fusion Dance to create Atomic-X, which was Awesome, but Impractical and had the disadvantages of both Atomix and Alien X.
  • The Captain Planet and the Planeteers villain Duke Nukem has these powers, making him the only truly superpowered villain in the show (aside from Gaia's Evil Counterpart Zarm).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Atomic Superpowers, Nuclear Superpower


Retired Atomic Flounder

While driving around town, SpongeBob and his heroes Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy encounter the fish who used to be called the Atomic Flounder, who proves that even though he's retired, he's still got some villainy in him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / RetiredMonster

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