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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.

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.

While a person doing this is highly implausible if the explosive is larger than a grenade, the basic premise is Truth in Television — the two easiest ways to neutralize a bomb are to either move it someplace where there is nothing to damage when it does go off, or surround it with material capable of containing the blast to minimize the damage when it explodes in place.

A Sub-Trope of Bomb Disposal and Super-Trope of Eat the Bomb and Jumping on a Grenade (where there's no expectation of survival).


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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.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: While not exactly an explosion, Nanoha and Fate accidentally activate a Jewel Seed while fighting over it. With her staff injured in the clash, Fate attempts to seal the artifact with her bare hands as it's outpouring an enormous amount of magical energy. While she is ultimately successful, she badly injures her hands in the process and passes out from exhaustion less than a minute later. In this case, it's less to show how powerful she is and more to show how insanely reckless her desperation for fulfilling her mission has made her.
  • 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 
  • ClanDestine: The teenage hero Rory Destine (aka "the Crimson Crusader") uses his Gravity Master powers for a variant of this. It looks much the same, but the blast is actually being contained in a tightly-controlled gravity well. This also lets Rory use it in scenarios that wouldn’t work so well for the usual version — e.g removing an Explosive Leash from someone's neck.
  • DC One Million: The newbie Green Lantern Kyle Rayner — a rookie to the superhero field and only part of the JLA (1997) 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 moon's surface and received medical aid quickly enough, she would have likely died from her injuries.

    Film — Animated 
  • 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.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.


    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: In "Pyramids of Mars", 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 Equipment Launcher) 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 series finale of Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben does this to a big bang to prevent Maltruant from creating a universe in his image. The Omnitrix activates an emergency mechanism, shifting through every single alien form until it finds Feedback who is capable of handling that much energy.
  • 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.
  • In the climax of The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, Jorgen contained Professor Calamitous' Doomsday Device explosion in the palm of his hand.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Woody Woodpecker cartoon "Under the Counter Spy", Woody has taken a secret formula that gives him super strength. 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.


Video Example(s):


Holding back a Big Bang

Ben catches the explosion of the dwarf star-enhanced Annihilarg, cycling through all his aliens until Feedback manages to contain it and use it against Maltruant.

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