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Death by Depower

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This is when a character is killed by being de-powered. It can have multiple forms.

  1. A character is killed because their power is necessary to stay alive. For example, Wolverine needs his healing factor, to prevent the Adamantium in his bones from poisoning him.
  2. A character is killed while doing something that they need their power to do. For example, someone with the power of Flight losing their powers in mid-air, or someone with the power to breathe underwater drowning.
  3. A character is killed when another character attacks them while they're depowered.
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See also Kryptonite Factor, when the thing doing the depowering is dangerous by itself. Supertrope to No Immortal Inertia where their power is Immortality. Compare Injured Vulnerability and Mortality Ensues. Also related is Malfunction Malady. Contrast Exploited Immunity, where a character deliberately exposes both themselves and an enemy to a danger which they're immune to. Useless Without Powers is a less severe Sister Trope to the first variation (though it can easily lead to the other two).

As a Death Trope, expect unmarked spoilers.


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In All Fall Down, several superheroes die after a Mass depower. The comic starts with a superhero falling out of the sky.
  • DC Comics
    • In 52, Lex Luthor gives several normal people superpowers, and then takes them away while they are flying, to test if Superman would save them.
    • Teen Titans: Kid Eternity's third post-Crisis death comes when he is stripped of his powers.
    • Zero Hour!: Extant removes the Justice Society of America's slowed-down aging that they acquired in the 1940s, causing them to age rapidly. This results in a number of members immediately dying from age-related illnesses.
    • This is how Black Adam was defeated in his very first appearance: the heroes trick Adam into saying "Shazam", causing him to revert to his mortal form—at which point, the 5000 year old Adam rapidly ages away until he's nothing, but a skeleton.
  • Lanfeust: In the Trolls de Troy spinoff, one of the sages has the power to become likeable to anyone in short range, including trolls. While he survives in the troll village and nearly succeeds in getting the Big Bad's plan to enslave them to succeed, the other sage relaying his magic power is moved out of range, leaving the first one surrounded by suddenly very angry trolls.
  • In PS238 Guardian Angel's powers protect her from all harm. After Harold temporarily turns off her powers, she quickly catches and dies from a common cold because her immune system was undeveloped, having never had to protect her from any diseases.
  • Scott Pilgrim: Todd Ingram has powers due to his devotion to being vegan. However, the moment he breaks his veganism by eating gelato since he believed he could get away with for being a rock star, the Vegan Police take his powers away, allowing Scott to defeat him.
  • In The Order, Heavy dies almost immediately after Ezekial Stane deactivates the team's powers, because his own powers were the only thing keeping his previously-damaged lungs functional.

    Fanfiction 
  • In the fanfic Ladder the exposure of all three of the The Powerpuff Girls to Antidote Z causes them to die of injuries they normally would have healed from.
  • In Out of the Dark, it is mentioned that an Endbringer Titan once used its harvester weapon to drain the WAAAGH energy of a Super Gargant. Without it, the construct promptly collapsed into its component junk.
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    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, astronaut Dave Bowman is alone in space with the supercomputer HAL, who is trying to kill him. Dave, after fighting his way back aboard the ship, "kills" HAL - by pulling out the chips in the computer's CPU, one by one. HAL's power and intelligence dimishes with every one he detaches, until on the last few it reverts to its AI childhood and sings a nursery rhyme... then dies.
  • Referenced in Deadpool 2: When Wade is temporarily affected by a Power Nullifier, he quickly starts to succumb to the metastatic brain cancer that his Healing Factor was keeping in check. Fortunately, the nullifier is disabled before it progresses beyond wooziness and vomiting. This is played straight near the end when Deadpool puts the nullifier back on to convince Russell to not go down the dark path. When Cable fires a bullet, Deadpool takes the bullet and dies from it... until Cable rewinds time and secretly gives him something to stop the bullet.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: When Voldemort's last Horcrux, his snake Nagini, is killed, he loses control over his wand and gets disarmed by Harry. Shortly afterwards, he turns into ash.
  • In The Mummy, Evelyn reads a spell from the Book of the Dead which strips Imhotep of his power and renders him mortal, allowing Rick to finish him off by simply stabbing him in the chest.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Barbossa dies when Will breaks the curse that turned him and the rest of the Black Pearl's crew into immortal undead, causing him to bleed out from a bullet wound Jack inflicted on him mere moments before. He takes a moment to gloat that Jack wasted the Marked Bullet he's been saving for Barbossa ever since the mutiny, only to look down and see the expanding bloodstain on his shirt.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Just like in the comics, Todd Ingram has his powers taken away by the Vegan Police for breaking his veganism. However, The difference is that Scott tricks him into drinking Half-and-half instead of soy milk rather than him breaking it deliberately, and he thought chicken was vegan.

    Literature 
  • The Fifth Season: The Guardians are all made The Ageless by the implanted shard of the Evil Earth that grants them their Mage Killer powers, and age to death in months if it's removed. The Evil Earth itself does this to Schaffa, trying to force Nassun to abandon her plans in order to save him; its gambit fails and Schaffa spends a few weeks with Nassun before dying peacefully.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: The Lord Ruler, a thousand-year-old God-Emperor with an unbeatable Healing Factor, dies in seconds when Vin tears off his bracelets, which house the magic that sustains his youth.
  • In the Thieves' World series, any Blue Star Adept worth the name will quickly accumulate enemies and wind up being followed around by at least one death curse that he must constantly ward off with his own power. Any time in the series that a Blue Star Adept is shown being stripped of his powers, death follows immediately.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flash (2014), this is practically The Thinker's M.O. He tracks down metahumans with the power he desires, then they get snagged by Combat Tentacles from his Cool Chair before their powers get drained and given to the Thinker leaving nothing but a corpse behind.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Using Level X gashat requires specific circumstances that took Kuroto Dan quite some time and effort to set up. One of the circumstances was a special kind of immunity to the Bugster Virus. It payed off as it allowed him to completely curbstomp the Doctor riders and start a zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, that immunity was removed by Emu in the process of trying to stop his rampage without killing him. Come Death by Irony as this allowed Parado to step in and use the gashat to kill the bastard.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, the centaur Chiron was immortal, but was accidentally poisoned by one of Herakles's hydra blood-tipped arrows. In utter agony, he gave up his immortality to Prometheus so he could stop suffering.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Netheril Empire from Forgotten Realms used to be a powerful Magocracy some thousands of years ago. Then, one of the archmages created a spell that made him a god... Cue a minute long hiccup in all worldly magic. Enough for anyone using life extending spells to turn into dust and all the flying cities to crash.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The card of Slifer the Sky Dragon has the special ability that whenever a new face-up monster appears on the opponents field, it reduces its attack power in 2000, and if the monsters ends with 0 atk due to this effect, it is immediately destroyed.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the basic rule that a creature with 0 toughness is destroyed. This gives rise to various indirect ways of getting rid of tough creatures, a simple one being reducing its power to 0, then using an effect that swaps power and toughness.
  • Ghouls in both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem get all their powers, including being The Ageless, from regularly drinking vampire blood. If they stop drinking it, they will immediately lose their powers and rapidly revert to their natural age... which for Ghouls who lived beyond a human lifespan means instant death.
  • In Princess: The Hopeful, this is a unfortunate but possible result when trying to cure Darkened; as side effect of their slow transformation into Darkspawns is that their body gets more and more warped by the Darkness as they sink into depravity, resulting in nasty mutations known as Umbrae. When you manage to cure them, all the Umbrae disappear to revert them back to human, and the trauma cause 1 lethal damage per Umbrae lost, so Darkened with low Health and/or a high number of Umbrae can die on the spot as a result.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man ZX: Done voluntarily by Girouette in the end of the intro stage. After being heavily injured after the boss fight with him and Big Bad Serpent injuring them further, Giro decided to separate himself with his Biometal, Model Z, so that he can accompany and help Vent/Aile. Model Z warned him that he'll die if he de-merges with him, but Giro insisted. After de-merging, Giro Disappears into Light, becoming a Cyber-Elf, leaving Vent/Aile with Model Z to help them.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer who has two characters who are being kept alive by the Golden Lute. Melody plays it to keep herself alive occupying her weapon slot; if she changes weapons, she keels over. Aria is being kept on this mortal coil by a tenuous link to the instrument's magic, so if she drops the beat, she dies on the spot.

    Web Original 
  • The Red Panda Adventures has Mr. Amazing, a Superman Expy with powers derived from experiments in Applied Phlebotinum. In his case, the phlebotinum only gave him a finite amount of power and, if that was all used up, he would die. Mr. Amazing knowingly does just that, using the last of his powers to defeat the Nazi ubermensch Tevas.

    Western Animation 
  • The red wizard Ommadon from Rankin/Bass Productions' The Flight of Dragons is determined to use his terrible powers to keep humanity in the thrall of wizardry. However, he is confronted by The Chosen One, who firmly believes in science. Every attempt by Ommadon to terrify and cow The Hero meets with debunking, until Ommadon expends himself entirely trying to sunder this Implacable Man. There is nothing left of him except his red crown.
  • After The Magic Goes Away in the finale of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, mages and the magically-enchanted lose their powers, but Pure Magic Beings cease to exist. In the case of the Magic High Commission, all that's left are the inanimate objects and non-sapient animals they were made from.
  • The title character of Steven Universe is a half-human, half-Gem hybrid. While the bodies of full Gems are ephemeral projections surrounding their gemstone, Steven has a gemstone in a material, organic body. Despite this, it's eventually shown Steven is dependent on his gem not just for his powers, but his very life. After White Diamond forcibly separates Steven's gemstone from his human body, he quickly becomes deathly pale and sickly looking, is so weak that he collapses after trying to take a step, and it's all but said that he will die soon if he doesn't reunite with his gem. Fortunately that reunion is able to happen within a few minutes.
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