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Contain the Kaboom

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There are many ways a character can display strength or power. Some have Super Strength and can lift massive structures for the crowds. Some have Super Speed and can move faster than the eye can see. Some are practically invulnerable and can take whatever you throw at them.
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But if you really want a character to show how impregnable they are, how about having them compress a bomb explosion with their bare hands or shrink a blast with a thought?

That's when this trope comes into play. The trope details a situation where a character shows how obscenely powerful they are by containing an explosive force through sheer physical might or force of will.

A Sub-Trope of Bomb Disposal and Super-Trope of Eat the Bomb and Jumping on a Grenade.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Just before the beginning of the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super, Goku and Frieza are attacked by assassin agents of a rival universe, who have been gifted with some of their universe's God of Destruction Hakai energy. In a last bid attempt to get rid of Frieza, and preemptively eliminate Universe 7 from the tournament, the destructive power is used. Frieza displays his newfound might by catching the energy and compressing it, taking control of it much to the shock of all watching. Subverted when he attempts to repeat the trick again against Toppo, only to have it backfire on him.
  • One Piece: In a variant, Kin'emon is a skilled enough samurai to be able to cut through an explosion; this happens in the Punk Hazard arc where he does it to protect himself and the heroes.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman often does this in comics with his bare hands when it comes to holding a bomb or explosive a villain happens to throw at him due to Nigh-Invulnerability. A humorous example is in an issue of the animated series tie-in The Superman Adventures, where Superman grabs a grenade thrown by a criminal and puts it in his mouth. The ensuing explosion only makes him cough a little.
    Superman: [narrating] Now I was angry.
  • During the DC One Million event, newbie Green Lantern Kyle Rayner- a rookie to the superhero field and only part of the JLA for about a year -has to hold in an exploding sun. It nearly rips apart his mind to do so, but he does. Afterwards, his fellow heroes are giving him kudos for such an extraordinary act:
    Flash: Did you hear what Wonder Woman said? Your supernova stunt is now on record as a "feat", hotshot.
    Green Lantern: Great. I made "feat" status. What comes next, miracles?
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): When Diana finds a bomb hidden at Etta's brother's wedding she doesn't have enough time to dispose of it and instead faces away from the other revelers, hugs it to her chest and curls around it as it goes off. It makes a mess of her dress and does enough structural damage to the building that they need to evacuate in a hurry but the only one harmed is Etta by a small piece of shrapnel Diana didn't manage to contain.

    Fan Works 
  • In Innocence Once Lost spinoff After the War Princess Luna is forced to contain an Antimatter Bomb explosion to foil a terrorist attack. She gets maimed for life and had she not been on the moons surface and recieved medical aid quickly enough she would have likely died from her injuries.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sebastian Shaw does this with a grenade explosion to highlight his Energy Absorption powers in X-Men: First Class, then gives the energy back to the guy who brought the grenade in the first place, incinerating him immediately.
  • In The Mask, Stanley operates on Cartoon Physics while wearing the Mask, so he disposes of the Big Bad's bomb in the climax by swallowing it whole and containing the explosion with his stomach.
    Stanley: [burps fire] Now, that's a spicy meatball!
  • Subverted in Captain America: Civil War. Wanda's failure to properly contain an explosion with her powers, resulting in the destruction of a building and the deaths of several people inside, is the catalyst for the Sokovia Accords.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in Community; In the second season finale, Dean Spreck has a paint bomb tied to a drone roll in, set to explode and rule out all the Greendale students in a game of Paintball. Magnitude dramatically throws himself over it and covers the front of his purple shirt in pink paint.
  • Luke Cage does this in Luke Cage in front of the Jamaican Yardie Gang when he contains a grenade explosion and the shrapnel in his palms after tanking their previous attacks to show they have no chance beating him.
  • Exaggerated in Andromeda. Dylan Hunt launches a nova bomb at the star at the center of the Magog Worldship, detonating it in an attempt to destroy the vessel before it can reach inhabited space. However, the Spirit of the Abyss that rules over the Magog is able to contain and reverse the star's explosion before the Worldship is completely destroyed.
  • In The Flash episode "The Elongated Knight Rises", Ralph deals with one of Trickster’s bombs by wrapping his torso around it, having his elastic body completely insulate the explosion from everyone else.
  • An episode of Night Court has someone handcuff a briefcase with a bomb in it to Dan with the intention of killing him. The briefcase is later un-handcuffed from Dan, but the bomb expert can't defuse it, so they evacuate the courtroom. Unfortunately, Bull is never informed of the situation. He enters the empty courtroom, sits on the bomb, and contains the blast with only some damage to his uniform.
  • Doctor Who: Sutekh has to contain an explosion sparked by a box of blasting gelignite which the Doctor had placed on a missile that was supposed to go to Mars. Despite his near-omnipotence, it puts an immense strain on his powers.

    Video Games 
  • Tyreen Calypso does this to a grenade explosion set off as a Mutual Kill by her father in Borderlands 3 to highlight her A God Am I status by that point in the game.
  • In Doom Eternal, Cacodemons can literally eat a grenade (from either the Combat Shotgun or Shoulder Gun) and keep going, although it does stun them.
  • In Golden Sun, at the beginning of the first game, the Wise One contains a volcano's eruption long enough for Isaac and Garett to escape. But even he can't hold it for long, although fortunately the lava flow happens on the other side of the mountain so their village isn't destroyed.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode War is the H-Word, Bender does this with an exploding ball, the resulting explosion turning him into a Jiffy-Pop-like puffball.
  • Superman does this in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox when he decides to hold his hands over one of the city-destroying bombs set off by Professor Zoom attached to one of his minion's belts. Heatwave, who is still wearing the belt, is not amused.
    Superman: Waiting is the worst part.
  • In the climax of The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, Jorgen contained Professor Calamitous' Doomsday Device explosion in the palm of his hand.
  • Daemon in ReBoot does this to an explosion caused by an incendiary round shot by Matrix to show how little chance any weaponry had against her.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin uses the Force to hold back an explosion while everyone else gets behind a blast door. He holds it back long enough that, when his stamina fails him, he's badly wounded but not killed.
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Kanan's final moments before his death involve holding back a massive explosion at the fuel refinery using the Force.
  • Occurred in 1960's Filmation's The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, Justice League of America segment "Between Two Armies". During a battle between Green Lantern and the inhabitants of the planet Mercury, the Nuclear Core of Mercury (a powerful machine) is damaged and is about to explode. To prevent the destruction of the entire solar system, Green Lantern uses his power ring to contain the explosion.
  • The Mask: The Mask one-ups what he did in the film by swallowing an entire nuclear missile and containing the explosion in him, even taking time to mock the one that launched it afterwards.
  • In the Woody Woodpecker cartoon "Under the Counter Spy", Woody has taken a secret formula that gives him super strenght. The villain throws a Cartoon Bomb at him and Woody pushes the explosion back with his bare hands, then tosses the bomb back, where it explodes on the villain's face.

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