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Fight Off the Kryptonite

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Buyer beware — if you have someone in the palm of your hand, they're in a perfect position to break your fingers.
The stronger a hero, the more likely he is to have a Kryptonite Factor to "balance it out" that varies in abundance, lethality, and embarrassment potential. Still, a hero isn't just a set of strengths and handicaps, but a character with substance and grit and not just some jerk with powers. So when authors want to show off just how badass the character is they do so by having him Fight Off The Kryptonite.

The character, usually surrounded by Kryptonite and severely weakened, in a lot of pain, and sometimes already badly injured, uses Heroic Willpower to work through the pain and proceed to save his own or his friends' lives, and kick the ass of the Smug Snake who thought they could just wave a rock in his face and win. This is a tough trope to use correctly: if overdone or used too often then the dramatic purpose of a Kryptonite Factor is lost. Hence, in extreme cases, this precipitates a case of Heroic RRoD and ultimately a Heroic Sacrifice as the punishment his body has endured kills him. Or not.

Compare Brought Down to Normal, where the hero has to fight with no powers, but is not otherwise in pain. Contrast Cross-Melting Aura, where an evil creature can repel holy items that would otherwise weaken it. See also Kryptonite-Proof Suit, for other means of resisting Kryptonite.

To avoid excessive overlap with Heroic Willpower, all examples must be of characters with a potentially deadly or disabling Kryptonite Factor.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass: after his conversion into a cyborg, Jeremiah Gottwald is caught in a "gefjon disturber", knocking out his electronic components. He still slowly struggles towards his target, even when he starts bleeding and his voice takes on an electronic edge. How? Sheer badass loyalty.
  • In Inuyasha, all demons are vulnerable to holy energy. When there is a powerful holy shield around Mount Hakurei, Sesshoumaru ignores it to go in after Rin; originally the protagonists think this is a No-Sell, only to realize he's fighting through the pain and trying to maneuver the bad guys back out.
    • Although the Wind Tunnel in Miroku's hand is powerful to the point of being game breaking in certain situations, it's held back by the fact that poison absorbed by it will be immediately absorbed into his body, immobilizing him and putting him on death's door if he absorbs harsher poisons. Naraku will often either be accompanied by poison insects or flood the area with his own demonic miasma explicitly to counter the Wind Tunnel. More than once, however, Miroku has thrown caution to the wind and kept his Wind Tunnel going despite absorbing large amounts of poison. The end result is messy to say the least...
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Kars, after becoming the Ultimate Life Form takes this to its logical extreme — not only is he immune to sunlight, but he's immune to Hamon and can use it himself, with far more power than any human wielder!
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Antidotes are devices that can disable Mobile Suits that use the GUND Format. However, a Mobile Suit that can push the Permit Score to 4, which is harmful towards the pilot since higher Permit Scores have a detrimental effect on the pilot, can overcome the device.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, most worthy Pokémon are capable of fighting off against types they are weak against on equal ground, to the point that type-effectiveness is practically never relevant.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In the Beach Episode, Inner Moka is submerged in water, which disrupts a vampire's power and essentially electrocutes them on contact. She nonetheless manages to shake it off and take out the Swimming Club mermaids trying to eat Tsukune, with some external help from Kurumu and Yukari.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City:
    • The Confessor's Heroic Sacrifice involves taking on men armed with hologram cross-generators, guns that shoot giant wooden stakes, holy water, etc. and succeeding in revealing the Alien Invasion despite all this. He wears a shirt with a big, shiny cross on it because the constant pain this causes helps him overcome the vampiric bloodlust.
    • In the "Tarnished Angel" arc, once the conflicted Chrome Champion Steeljack finally realizes what he's fighting for and that he's the only one who can save everyone, he's able to overcome the special "vibro-magnetic" weapons that were used to take him down before.
  • Green Lantern: Traditionally Green Lanterns couldn't affect yellow with the power ring. After the Corps was reformed, the yellow weakness only applies until a Green Lantern learns to overcome great fear, making this trope an important rite of passage.
  • While it varies from writer to writer, Martian Manhunter’s weakness to fire is generally considered to be primarily psychosomatic in nature. If he focuses hard enough he can power through it.
  • Marvel Comics vampires are vulnerable to holy symbols but resistant to ones that aren't the symbol of the faith they practiced before their conversion. Dracula is vulnerable to the Star of David but not as much as he could be because he was a Christian in life.
    • After breaking free of Dracula's control during a battle with the X-Men, Rachel Van Helsing hurled a spear through his heart and used a crucifix to hold him helpless until it was clear he would stay down despite the holy symbol having the same effect on her as it would any other vampire in direct contact.
      "Someone see to her hands, they're burned to the bone!"
  • Superman:
    • The pain and nausea caused by Kryptonite poisoning are the immediate effects; power loss takes longer, Depending on the Writer. If Superman can steel himself to deal with the pain, he can stay in the fight for a few minutes. It also usually matters how much Kryptonite is present; larger amounts cause more pain and sap his strength faster, so Superman's more likely to pull this off against Luthor's Kryptonite ring than against Metallo's Kryptonite power cell. (Against the latter, a more typical tactic is to keep his distance and use heat vision to damage Metallo's cyborg body.) When sufficiently motivated/pissed-off, he's even been able to pull this off when Lex busts out the Kryptonite-fueled Powered Armor.
    • In Krypton No More, Superman and Supergirl have to fight an invading alien army off even though orange sunlight has rendered them blind and cut their powers in half.
    • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man Superman has to fight off Lex Luthor's red sunlight-powered weapons which weaken him.
    • In War World, Superman and Martian Manhunter are forced to fight. The Martian hero tries to fight off his weakness to fire when Superman ignites the ground around them.
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), Darkseid forces Superman to fight her cousin. In order to gain the upper hand, he has to use a kryptonite ring, although it also hurts him.
    • Red Daughter of Krypton: Earth's atmosphere had been poisoned with Kryptonite when Supergirl fought Worldkiller-1. Supergirl had to rely on her power ring to keep fighting while she tried to overcome the K-radiation killing her cells and making her natural powers fade.
    • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: Kara fights The Joker, who had pumped a Kryptonite-based serum into his blood to increase his muscle mass. Supergirl had to resist the K-poisoning until Joker dropped his guard, and then she mustered her strength and decked him.
    • In Demon Spawn Supergirl loses her powers when she is brought to the Innerverse. However she fights off villain Nightflame magic as hard as she can.
    • In Supergirl (1982) #21, Supergirl and Superman fight the Kryptonite Man, even though they feel pain within six feet of him.
    • In Issue #23, Supergirl tries to overcome a mind-searing telepathic attack. Then she tries the opposite tactic and stops fighting it, focusing on using her other powers.
    • During the H'el on Earth arc in Supergirl Vol. 5, Kara grabbed a Green-K shard and stabbed H'El with it, in spite of the radiation poisoning her.
    • In How Luthor Met Superboy, Luthor sets a Kryptonite trap for Superboy, and to add insult to injury, waves a flask of Kryptonite antidote above Clark's face while he is lying on the ground. Superboy is too weakened and hurting to move a muscle, but he can still use his Super-Breath, so he breathes in a powerful gust of air, causing Lex to drop the flask right on Superboy's face, who hurries to suck in the antidote.
    • In Must There Be a Superman?, Kal-El must stop a massive alien pod from crashing into an inhabited world. Unfortunately, the pod is traveling through a part of the galaxy full of red stars. Superman can feel his strength waning and his powers weakening quickly, but even so he manages to deflect the pod before passing out due to overwhelming physical exertion.
    • Way of the World: Although Supergirl is visibly hurt and weakened when alien overlord Dolok places a Kryptonite collar on her, Kara still manages to keep herself conscious for long enough to smugly tell the villain he has fallen into her trap.
    • The Death of Luthor: As lying on the street beside one piece of Kryptonite, Supergirl notices one nearby fire hydrant. Despite the debilitating, lethal radiation hurting her, she manages to unscrew the cap, and a stream of water sweeps the Kryptonite away.
    • Brainiac's Blitz: As she is lying inside a Kryptonite cage and forced to breath radioactive Kryptonite gas, Supergirl pushes herself to ignore the extreme pain coursing through her body and squeezes through the bars, right before her cage is blown up.
    • It's been established that Kyrptonite only affects Kryptonians from the same Universe and will have little to no effect on Kryptonians who hail from other worlds in The Multiverse. This allows alternate versions of Kryptonians, like Superman or Supergirl, to easily keep fighting if someone tries to use Kryptonite on them from a different reality.
    • Power Girl by virtue of being a Supergirl from a different universe living on the main Earth, is immune to any Kryptonite that might be used against her. Unless it is Kryptonite that was somehow brought over from her alternate Earth. note 
    • Part of what makes Superboy-Prime such a powerful threat is because in addition to retaining the insane power levels of Pre-Crisis Superman, he is immune to Kryptonite due to being from Earth-Prime. He is also immune to magic for some unexplained reason.
  • In Ultimate X Men, Colossus manages to overcome Magneto's magnetic abilities, and save the rest of the team.
  • The Venom symbiote has managed to resist its weaknesses to fire and sonics, although it usually comes out severely pissed off.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, one version of Bakugou bonded with the Venom symbiote, gaining a weakness to fire and intense sound as a result. But Bakugou's Required Secondary Powers has dulled these weaknesses, allowing him to shrug off lower frequency noise as well as short bursts of flame. This proves essential when they're being stared down by Endeavor, who would have torched them if not for Bakugou's willpower and resistance to heat.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl lends a piece of Kryptonite to her friends to kill Zol-Am with; but she warns that he'll try to fight it off.
    Buffy: Kryptonite? You’re serious?
    Kara: What do you think? If even the Zone projector fails, you have to use this against Zol-Am. It must be in close proximity to him for several minutes to kill him. If it gets knocked too far away, or he manages to fly off, or lead gets between it and him... he can recover. Also, don’t expect him to be too pleased.
  • In Kimberly T's Gargoyles fic "Deadly Moon", after Owen Burnett and Anne Marsden- the Xanatos family nanny- are briefly freed from the captivity of the ruthless Thailog, Owen makes it clear to Anne that he was willing to at least attempt this if Thailog came to get him and Anne after Alexander Xanatos and Anne's daughter Bethany were taken to safety by another gargoyle. Although Owen was bound by iron shackles, now that he had concluded that Thailog’s plans would endanger Alexander, he estimated that he could withstand the agony of turning into Puck long enough to destroy Thailog if the gargoyle tried to attack them before help arrived.
  • The Omnitrix Hero: When Flash and his friends fight Zs'Skayr, Azmuth builds a special UV Cage specifically designed to trap him even when he's intangible, due to his weakness against direct sunlight. It seems to work and Zs'Skayr is successfully trapped. However, refusing to be defeated, Zs'Skayr forces his claws through the energy field, even as they are burned in the process, and destroys one of the cage's projectors, forcing the others to shut down and allowing him to escape.
  • Several trainers do this in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, especially Gym Leaders who specialize in a single type and thus have to deal with this on a regular basis.
    • Recurring Character A.J is shown doing this with his Sandslash by Meditating Under a Waterfall. He explains to Jeanette Fisher that this training not only works on the physical level, but also psychological, as the Pokémon won't panic when faced with a supereffective attack.
  • In With this Ring... (Green Lantern), The Zamaronian soldiers are armed with yellow weaponry to fight Green Lanterns, but Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Katma Tui have developed all kind of strategies and tricks to fight around their power rings' weakness.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while Batman is clearly a better fighter and ultimately wins their fight after weakening Superman with kryptonite, Superman fights past the pain and weakness and gets some good hits in, and even catches Batman's kick and throws him across the room. Superman kills Doomsday with a kryptonite spear, fighting past the pain to fly and use super speed while holding it.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lothos grabs Buffy's cross, which bursts into flame, but ignores it. He takes a a blast of hair spray ignited by the cross less well.
  • Superman Returns has Superman lift a growing kryptonite continent into space while having a shard of it embedded in his torso. It's touch-and-go for a while... He lives.
  • David Dunn's one weakness in Unbreakable is water, and in one of his last fights he overcomes a near-drowning.
  • Dracula in Van Helsing (and probably a few other incarnations, being the badass vampire he is) does get burned by Van Helsing's silver crucifix, but just grabs it and melts it anyway.
    • Dracula Untold has Dracula do this a few times by the end. Most notably, his final fight with Sultan Mehmed II is in a room full of Silver Coins, which Mehmed arranged specifically to weaken him after hearing of his demonic abilities. The effect leaves him in crippling pain and casts a blinding light, but despite this he's able to outfight the Sultan and save himself from being staked. Later, he resists the burning sunlight long enough to have a final goodbye with his son.

  • In The Dresden Files:
    • The Fae all have the classic weakness to iron: even Queen Mab flinches at the very sight of an iron nail. In Cold Days, Mother Winter grabs hold of an iron cleaver and turns it to rust.
    • Symbols of faith like Michael's cross and Harry's pentacle can repel creatures of darkness — but they're only as strong as the wielder's faith in them. When a Red Court vampire sees a man dressed as a Knight of the Cross at a costume ball, he mockingly grabs the man's crucifix, then promptly subverts the trope by bursting into white flames. Turns out the man was a Knight of the Cross.
  • In The Kingkiller Chronicle, it's shown and said that the Fae are weak to iron, and that it hurts incredibly, even if they just brush it, as well as viewing the smell as very distasteful, akin to rotten eggs. However, at the end of book 1, Bast, one of the Fae, grabs and holds an iron medallion while delivering a threat just to show he's serious, cementing how badass he is for all eternity.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe ysalamir generate a field which somehow disrupts or suppresses the Force around them, evolved as camouflage/defense against the vornskrs (large predators) which use the Force to hunt. Multiple ysalamiri exponentially increase the size of this area of effect, however even one is enough to render a sentient Force user powerless within a certain range. How, exactly, this is portrayed seems to vary Depending on the Writer:
    • In some cases (including their first appearance in Heir to the Empire ) this comes as a complete surprise to the affected Force user and merely renders them powerless, while also hiding anything within the area of effect from being detected by an outside observer. There is a noticeable "hole" in the Force, if the observer knows what to look for and actually does so. But overall it's more a case of Brought Down to Normal — Luke and Mara are actually Brought Down to Badass, functioning just fine despite their lack of the Force. It is heavily implied that the vornskrs evolved the ability to use the Force despite this ability, implying that Jedi could possibly also push through it with enough willpower.
    • However other, particularly later, works generally describe the presence of a ysalamir as directly uncomfortable to Force users, to the point where they are outright disoriented and nauseated, and that these "empty" spaces can be felt and identified. In this case the nausea and disorientation requires a bit of willpower (though not exactly to heroic levels) to function. And still leaves the Force user powerless.
    • At some point in the New Jedi Order it's mentioned that Luke has been studying ways to access the Force while in the fields generated by ysalamiri, though it's never said if he succeeded at all or not.
  • The Vampire Chronicles: The oldest and most powerful vampires develop some resistance to fire and sunlight, ordinarily a vampire's most dire vulnerability. The 500-year-old Armand survives the sun with debilitating burns, whereas the blood of the first vampire lets Lestat spend a day in the Gobi desert with only a tan to show for it.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Master keeps a cross in his lair to practice this. Despite physical burning and mental fear he can stand close enough to grab it.
  • The Flash, the Reverse-Flash, and Zoom have all used their Super-Speed to fight off the effects of a substance meant to subdue them.
    • In Barry's case, he is hit by Oliver with an arrow that injects him with horse tranquilizer. It might have worked, but Barry rapidly shakes and sweats off the tranq.
    • Later, when Barry, Firestorm, and Oliver tag-team the Reverse-Flash, Oliver hits Thawne with an arrow that injects Ray Palmer's nanobots that temporarily rob him of his Super-Speed. He then repeats Barry's trick to get the nanites out of his system, even though he shouldn't be able to vibrate so fast.
    • In Season 2, Zoom is hit with a speed-suppressing dart but still manages to zoom away. Later, Barry traps his leg with a collar that is supposed to keep him from moving. After a few minutes, Zoom speeds up and breaks the collar with his vibrating hand.
    • Averted with the real Jay Garrick, who has spent years in a special mask designed by Zoom that suppressed his powers.
    • Also averted with another version of the Reverse-Flash, who is kept by Barry in a special speed-suppressing cell in the Flashpoint timeline for several months.
    • Played straight with Savitar, who is hit with Killer Frost's ice blast and appears to be frozen solid. After a second or two, he manages to break free and runs away. Possibly justified given how incredibly fast he is. He is one of Barry's Time Remnants, after all.
  • In the two-part LazyTown episode "The Purple Panther," Sportacus is able to awaken and get an apple on his own, fighting off the effects of a sugar meltdown, though it takes quite a lot of effort and he's barely conscious.
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: Clark/Superman tends to do this, and does it in the first episode to feature kryptonite, "The Green, Green Glow of Home". The villain, Trask, reveals a huge chunk of kryptonite to bring Clark to his knees. When Trask says he will kill Clark's parents, Clark crawls towards the rock, picks it up despite it burning his hands, then hurls it into a lake. He then beats Trask into submission despite still being exhausted.
  • Smallville: As a Superman prequel show, this happens many times during its season run. Amusingly, it was less of a big deal in the early seasons, where Kryptonite had less of an effect on Clark; though it did give him crippling nausea and pain, and of course weakened his powers to the point of powerlessness. In later seasons (likely as a result of him coming into his powers) it had a much worse effect, to the point only a small amount of it would leave him unable to move, and as a result, him overcoming it became a much bigger deal.
    • One episode in the first season, "Jitters", probably the first time this happened, is when a man dying of very violent super epileptic seizures due to having Kryptonite embedded into his skin all over his body holds Luthor Corp, and a school trip class, hostage inside the building. In the end, Clark, who's been unable to get near him, manages to pull both him AND Lex Luthor to safety while in terrible pain from being so close. He saved the day.
    • At the end of the eighth season episode, "Requiem", Clark pushed himself through Lana Lang's kryptonite radiation so that he could hug and kiss her one last time after Lana was forced to permanently absorb kryptonite with her alien power skin to stop a kryptonite bomb from destroying Metropolis.
    • The final fight of Season 9 against Major Zod has them both doing this; armed with a Blue Kryptonite knife which disables their powers (and prevented the Book of Rao from sending them to Kandor with the other Kryptonians), the two wrestle around, each briefly overcoming it to super-toss the other into walls and through the building. Eventually, Clark wins by allowing himself to be stabbed, thus using his body to block the Kryptonite Factor and allowing the Book of Rao to send Zod up with the others.
  • During Superman & Lois, Clark gets exposed to Kryptonite gas and gets shot by a Kryptonite shard gun on multiple occasions. He usually manages to power through, but he's still weakened for a time after heavy exposure. In one instance, he was in such bad shape that Lana Lang had to pull shards of Kryptonite from his body until his Healing Factor could kick in.
  • Jaffas from Stargate SG-1 occasionally had to deal with the deadly "kryptonite" factor of being without a symbiote (which acts as their immune system and accounts for their superhuman healing ability) for an extended period. This weakness eventually leads to widespread use of tretonin to replace the dependance, including necessarily by Teal'C and Bra'tac after Teal'C has to keep himself and Bra'tac, both injured and in bad mental shape after the Jaffa army they were leading has been decimated, alive with just one symbiote between them, which eventually gives out due to fatigue after they're both rescued.

    Tabletop Games 
  • For the most part, the vampires of Vampire: The Masquerade lack the traditional weaknesses of vampires, with the exception of frying in the sun. The vagabond elder vampire known as Beckett won considerable fame for surviving a 100-meter dash for cover in direct sunlight.

    Web Comics 
  • Used in Dragon Mango. A specific school of elf martial arts EXPLICITLY trains this. They have the elf wear iron armor, which cause intense pain. When they can fight in it? They are ready.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Super Hero Girls (2019): When General Zod and his minions attack, the heroes steal some kryptonite from LexCorp to use against them. While Ursa and Non go down easily, Zod himself powers through the effects and destroys the piece they threw at him.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In the episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core", Supergirl manages to fight off Metallo's kryptonite power long enough to cut it out of his body, disabling him and nearly killing herself in the process.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In the episode "Stolen Memories", Brainiac zaps Superman with a kryptonite ray, but Supes still manages to punch a hole through him.
  • In the Transformers: Prime episode "Toxicity", Bulkhead carries a lump of Tox-En (a Cybertronian-specific bio/chemical weapon) to a volcano in order to dispose of it. The Tox-En weakens and poisons him, but he keeps on going, even fighting off Insecticons to reach his destination.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • In the episode "Intervention", Green Beetle is trapped in a circle of flames by Batgirl and Impulse but is able to resist his Martian weakness to fire long enough to phase through the ground and escape.
    • In the finale of Season 4, Zatanna manages to trap Ma'alefa'ak in a circle of magic fire, weakening him so that Kalder could rescue Danny Chase/Kaizer-Thrall from his control and close the Boom Tube to the Phantom Zone. Immediately after that, Ma'alefa'ak was able to resist the fire long enough to attack Zatanna psionically and disrupt her concentration, which caused the magic fire to disappear.

    Real Life 
  • Mike Tyson suffered a lung condition that makes him tire quickly in a fight. He compensated with powerful punches and an aggressive fighting style (hence the vast majority of his wins being by knockout). You had to survive that onslaught for a few rounds to have a good shot at beating him, and few boxers could. And even in the handful of his fights that went 7+ rounds, he forced himself to stay up and fight despite exhaustion and usually still won. This was critical to Buster Douglas’ win- he managed to not only survive that long against Tyson, but also managed to subject him to eye swelling that his overconfident corner was unprepared for. This was given a nod in Punch-Out!! for the Wii where the Title Defense version of Mr. Sandman has his haircut in a similar style to Tyson and also uses similar fighting styles where he throws nonstop punches at the player until he is too tired to fight back anymore.


Video Example(s):


General Zod

Zod powers through kryptonite radiation long enough to destroy the chunk Wonder Woman threw at him with his bare hands, then boasts to the heroes about it.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FightOffTheKryptonite

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