Follow TV Tropes

Following

Disability-Negating Superpower

Go To

A character who had previously lost one of their senses, limbs, or the ability to use any of the above gains some Stock Superpowers that, as a side effect, negate their disability while they are active. The drawback being, of course, that once the superpowers deactivate, the character goes right back to being physically handicapped. The character may be a Henshin Hero or have a Superpowered Alter Ego to explain why they are still disabled part-time.

Advertisement:

Contrast Curse That Cures, where it's a negative effect (rather than a beneficial superpower) that also accidentally fixes a disability; Disability Superpower, where the character gains superpowers as a result of and/or in order to compensate for their disability; and Superpower Disability, where the character is actually disabled in some way by gaining superpowers. See also Disability Immunity, where a disability a character suffers actually protects them in some situations. See also Not Disabled In VR, where the disability doesn't exist in a virtual world.

Because characters being permanently crippled, gaining superpowers or being miraculously cured are all usually plot-changing events, expect heavy spoilers.


Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Tetsuo of AKIRA gets his arm destroyed, and uses telekinesis to make and operate an artificial arm made from scrap.
  • In Bleach:
    • Inverted by the Blind Weaponmaster Kaname Tosen. He has the power to remove all light from a region around him, effectively making his opponents as blind as he is, only he has an advantage in being way more experienced at moving around blind than his opponents will ever be.
    • Temporary example: After Uryu Ishida is paralyzed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi's poison, he uses a People Puppets Quincy power to manipulate his disabled limbs telekinetically and hops straight back into the fight.
  • Yuri Kitajishi in Gamma is eventually revealed to be paraplegic as a result of the injuries she sustained during her tenure as a Magical Girl, but since even residual traces of her old power were enough to keep her legs operational, she had never realized that—until she uses up the remainder of her powers completely in the ending.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, some of Gon's and Killua's opponents in the Heavens Arena received Nen powers at the cost of some of their limbs. To compensate, they use their powers to stay fully functional: The man who lost an arm learned to channel his life force into solid constructs and used it to make a substitute arm, the paraplegic boy in a wheelchair learned to emit his life force and uses it as a means of fast propulsion, and the man who outright lost his legs has learned to spin really fast on his single peg leg to stay balanced and move about.
  • Hayate Yagami in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's is paralyzed from the waist down, but regains the use of her feet as long as she is in Unison with Reinforce. Luckily for her, she recovers completely in the ten years' Time Skip to the next season.
  • One Piece:
    • After the Time Skip, it's revealed that Aokiji lost a foot after the battle with Akainu. He uses his ice powers to create a replacement foot.
    • Similarly, Eustass Kid loses an arm during this same time skip and uses his magnetism powers to create a prosthetic arm made out of scrap metal parts.
  • In the anime adaptation of Parasyte, after Migi fuses part of his body with Shinichi's in order to save his life, Shinichi gains a number of superhuman abilities. His first sign of the changes to his body is his discovery that he no longer needs his glasses.
  • In MÄR, whem Ginta arrived at world of Mar Heaven, he noticed he doesn't need his glasses anymore, along with general Super Strength.
  • When Karasuma in Birdmen became one of the eponymous Birdmen, his vision got cured so he doesn't wear his glasses anymore.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Marvel Junior is Freddy Freeman, who has an injured spine and leg, but when he is transformed into Captain Marvel Jr. his legs work just fine. It most pointedly does not permanently cure him, but at least having magic-based powers means his crutch and (where visible) leg brace simply re-materialize where they're needed when he powers down.
    • 52 introduces Freddy's counterpart in the Black Adam Family, Amon Tomaz/Osiris. Tortured by Intergang and rendered wheelchair-bound, Black Adam gave him some of his powers the same way that Billy gave some to Freddy, making him an able-bodied superhero. Unlike Freddy, Amon stayed in this form all the time, but he was rendered disabled again when he renounces his powers. And is killed instantly by his friend Sobek.
  • Flash Thompson lost both his legs in the Iraq War, but regrows them while he is bonded with the Venom symbiote. Since he is the first ever person to actually control Venom, he narrowly averts a Curse That Cures.
  • Iron Man: For a while, Tony Stark was completely paralyzed except when wearing his Iron Man armor.
  • In Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover, Nico Minoru's magically-generated Witch Arm compensates for the loss of one of her actual arms.
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, Constrictor has both of his arms torn off by the villain K.I.A. Afterwards, the Initiative outfits him with new cybernetic arms that improve on his old abilities.
  • The original version of Daredevil by Stan Lee had the same chemicals that blinded him also give him his signature echolocation senses, which let him neatly bypass many of the problems blind people experience in Real Life. Later writers, however, retconned the empowering aspect of the chemicals, instead turning his supersenses into a Disability Superpower—a result of him honing them to perfection following his blindness.
  • In one storyline of Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner is shot in the head while turning into the Hulk. With the Hulk's Healing Factor, he survives (and even manages to remain in control of it) but, since the bullet remains lodged in his brain, has to refrain from turning back into Banner at all costs or die immediately. This continues until the Leader manages to remove the bullet.
  • Deadpool's Healing Factor keeps him alive despite a normally terminal form of cancer. Furthermore, the constant degeneration and regeneration of his brain due to his brain cancer and Healing Factor respectively is why he's out of his mind.
  • Trollhunters: The Secret History of Trollkind: When Bular blinds Deya with reflected sun, she is able to use the magic of the amulet to counteract it.

     Fan Works 
  • In Waiting is worth it Izuku is paralyzed from the waist down and had to grow through years of physical to be able to stand on his own. With his leg braces and telekinesis, Izuku is able to walk and function independently.
Advertisement:

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In the Spider-Man Trilogy, when Peter Parker wakes up the next day after he gets bitten by the genetically enhanced spider, the first thing he noticed is that he no longer needs his glasses to see clearly. Played in the second movie, where his internal conflicts make him lose control of his powers and turns his bad eyesight back. It's only when he has talked to Mary Jane and Doc Ock subsequently kidnapped her that his resolve, along with his eyesight, turn back for the better.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Dr. Connors developed the cell-growing Lizard serum to regrow his missing hand, but it has a side effect of turning him into a lizard monster with Super Strength.
  • In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, the magic meteor that gives her superpowers also corrects her eyesight, changes her breast size and makes her more conventionally attractive in general.
  • Played with in The Mummy (1999): The recently awoken mummy, in order to regenerate himself, needs to harvest various organs from the people who opened the chest containing his original, mummified organs. As it happens, the guy whose eyes he takes had very poor vision, and the mummy consequently has very poor vision until he is able to regenerate completely to his original body.
  • Inverted in X-Men: Days of Future Past: the serum that keeps Xavier ambulatory suppresses his mutation. It's only when he stops taking it that his powers return and his ability to walk leaves.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Zig-zagged by Iron Man doesn't use the same arc reactor to power his suit and keep the shrapnel from invading his heart, but it's nonetheless an integral part of being Iron Man. That is, until Iron Man 3, when he has the shrapnel and arc reactor removed. By the time he gets a new chest-mounted arc reactor in Avengers: Infinity War, it's not a medical implement (which is pointed out by Pepper) but housing for the nanobots that form his newest suit.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger has scrawny little Steve Rogers, an army wannabe with a list of medical conditions as long as he is tall. That is, until he takes the super-soldier serum and becomes Captain America, an extremely strong and fit superhero.
    • Although he underwent a similar super-soldier program, part of what makes the Winter Soldier so iconic and effective is his metal arm, given to him when he lost his previous one falling off a train.
    • As of Captain America: Civil War, Rhodes uses similar technology to the Iron Man/War Machine suits to allow him to walk after he was crippled while fighting Team Cap.
    • In Doctor Strange, Stephen Strange is tipped off about the existence of the wizard monastery by a man who is revealed to use magic to overcome nerve damage that left him quadriplegic. Strange himself sought out the Sanctum in order to heal the severe damage done to his hands following a car accident.

    Literature 
  • Mantles of power in The Dresden Files generally have this effect. Harry Dresden breaks his back in Changes and has to make a deal with a powerful Fae, trading his service for such a mantle, which seemingly cures him. When the Fae temporarily takes the mantle away, however, he discovers that his back is still very much broken, and the mantle only negates it while he wears it.
  • Animorphs: The auxiliary Animorphs are recruited among permanently disabled teens. Since morphing is based on DNA, this means that they can turn into completely healthy animals (or people), and if their disabilities aren't congenital, then they're healed once they resume their normal forms. Most of their disabilities actually are congenital, but their leader, James (who was hit by a car) is perfectly able-bodied after his first morphing.
    • Also, one of the Auxiliaries, Timmy, struggles to gasp out the simplest sentences. In morph, you have Telepathy. He loves this.
    <You want to know what hell on Earth is? [...] Having a large vocabulary, an encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater, and a speech impediment.>
  • Guardians of the Flame: Although not a superpower per se, this is why James Michael loves This Side, where he's his character, who's an able-bodied dwarf, whereas on Earth he has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair.
  • In The Lost Years of Merlin, the title character is blinded in a fire early in the first book, but later develops "second sight." It's basically the same thing, except that sometimes he can also see things that are invisible to others.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The short-lived series M.A.N.T.I.S. is about a wheelchair-bound man who creates an exoskeleton suit that gives him super-strength as well as the ability to walk.
  • Heroes had a girl called "Daphne", who had the ability of Super Speed. We later learn after her powers get disabled in one episode that before she had her powers, she needed crutches to walk, and the superpower allowed her to walk normally.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): Experimental medical nanomachines fix a test patient's health problems, including his poor eyesight, and begin adding additional capabilities (like gills). Of course, this being The Outer Limits, things don't exactly stop there.
  • Daredevil: the same accident that blinded Matt Murdock also gave him heightened senses (including sight).
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Nate's hemophilia was "cured" an episode after he was introduced by getting injected with Super-Nazi syrum

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games which use Point Build System character generation generally assign negative points to disabilities, effectively providing additional points to buy enhanced powers. The rules in such games generally note that the Game Master should not allow players to use this trope to abuse the system by gaining negative points for a disability and then buying a power that renders the disability moot (e.g. you don't get points for being unable to walk if your powers let you fly and levitate instead).

    Web Original 
  • This trope is parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Daredevil, when a joke character named Angst first claims that he's deaf... and then immediately adds that his superpowers have given him superhearing. The Critic promptly lampshades this.

    Western Animation 
  • Earthbending in Avatar: The Last Airbender can be used to sense tremors and vibrations across solid objects, including the earth. Toph Beifong, blind since birth, discovered that she could "see" through this vibrations when she learned to earthbend. This crosses over with Disability Superpower, as anyone can be taught how to do this, but Toph's blindness was what led her to discover it herself.
  • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, villainess Ming-Hua, who was born without arms, uses her waterbending to create prostheses. And she's not limited to just two, either.
  • Played for Laughs in American Dad! with the in-universe spin-off Mind Quad, which is about a man without limbs with psychokinetic powers. (His limbs weren't blown off, they were blown in—into his mind!) He is capable of riding a quad bike and his sidekick is a paraplegic boy in a wheelchair with a speech-generating device.
  • Inverted by the Hal Seeger cartoon series Fearless Fly, in that the near-sighted housefly Hiram attained Super Strength when he donned a pair of square glasses. The opening narration explains that these glasses "magnify the thousands of tiny muscles in his head." Hollywood Science at its finest.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback