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Power Parasite

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"With this kiss[...]Rogue temporarily absorbs that person's psyche and powers."

"You don't have your powers anymore, Peter... because I have them now."
Arthur Petrelli, Heroes

Meet the unholy spawn of Power Copying and Power NullifierPower Stealing.

Contrary to popular belief, certain villains don't have the same sort of powers, stamina or durability that the heroes do. Maybe they were hit with The Worf Effect in the backstory, maybe they lost their abilities sometime earlier, maybe they recognize that they genuinely cannot fight without an upgrade, or maybe they're literally power-hungry.

Whatever the case, these villains are smart enough to know that, if they can't beat 'em, be them. In direct defiance of the Superpower Lottery, and through manipulating the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, these villains outright steal someone else's abilities as their own, giving them a better chance at fighting their enemies. Said new abilities may or may not have an effect on the overall health or mental condition to the villain in question. In terms of Playing with a Trope, when your whole ability is to steal other abilities think of it as a Power Sponge, especially if it ends up like a black hole, but such examples are rare. Sometimes, gaining these new powers will have the disadvantage of gaining new weaknesses, giving the heroes a way to defeat the villains.

Why do we start with "villains"? Because actually stealing powers is often a villainous power. Stealing by itself is bad, stealing powers would logically be worse - and dramatic. It's rare for a hero to have this; they usually have Power Copying instead. Provided we get to see them successively aquire more and more abilities, they also would constitute a Snowballing Threat.

Contrast Power Copying, where you learn an ability by seeing it done, Puppeteer Parasite, where the parasite gains powers from the host by simply controlling them, and compare Cannibalism Superpower, where eating someone allows access to their abilities. If the Power Parasite can do this to more than one person at a time, it's All Your Powers Combined, which might give way to a reverse-Final-Exam Boss scenario. When combined with Shapeshifting, this results in a Transferred Transformation. Whether or not they actually succeed in defeating anyone (or maintaining their sanity) is up to the author. Subtrope of Liquid Assets and Powers as Programs. A subtrope of Meta Power.

This is the opposite trope of Super-Empowering, though there can be overlap if you have the ability to "give" and "take" powers at will. More often than not, such an ability and who gets their powers stolen by it is a secret twist in the story, so these are Unmarked Spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: This is the nature of Nomi's, aka Dusk Taker, power Demonic Comandeer. It allows him to completely and permanently take the special ability of his target, though he still has to practice to become as good as the original owner. This is actually quite traumatic for his victims, which, given Nomi's sadistic personality, only adds to his enjoyment. Like all burst powers, Demonic Comandeer is derived from Nomi's personal trauma of feeling worthlessness. Dusk Taker's sole native power is the ability to steal other people's powers because he himself is too weak to be of any value.
  • Bleach:
    • Aaroniero Arruruerie, unlike most Arrancar can evolve further by obtaining the abilities of the Hollows he absorbs into him, like Metastacia. Since Metastacia was an experimental Hollow who possessed Kaien Shiba at the time, Aaroniero also absorbed Kaien. He used Kaien's face and his Zanpakuto to fight against Rukia.
    • Kugo Ginjo personally trained Ichigo to achieve a power (Fullbring) suitable for absorption to use as an upgrade. Upon accomplishing this, Ginjo gained a skeletal set of armor similar to Ichigo's Fullbring as well as access to similar techniques, including Getsuga Tensho, and he even granted pieces of it in the form of upgrades to his fellow Fullbringers by slashing them with his sword.
    • The Wandenreich have a few parasitic powers. They possess special medallions as tools to do the job of stealing Bankai. However, they apparently cannot use the stolen Bankai as well as the original owner. Having a Bankai also prevents them from activating their own Super Mode, Vollständing. They actually thank the Soul Reapers when they manage to get their Bankai back via exploiting the Quincy's vulnerability to Hollowification to temporarily Hollowify the Soul Reapers and Bankai. They're unable to steal Ichigo's Bankai due to its unique dual nature as both a naturally Hollowified Zanpakuto Spirit as well as the presence of Ichigo's Quincy powers.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Fiamma of the Right severed Touma's hand and absorbed it to gain the power of Imagine Breaker, purifying his Holy Right and unlocking its full potential. Unfortunately for him, Touma's willpower was enough to get his hand back.
  • This is the true nature of Yuu Otosaka‘s ability, “plunder”, in Charlotte.
  • In Claymore, Roxanne of Love and Hate became the number one of her generation by copying the powers of every higher-number warrior she's been paired with, then letting them die in an accidental fashion.
  • In Date A Live, most Spirits have dangerous, out of control powers, so Shido can seal the powers within himself by kissing them (though the Spirit has to be truly in love with him for it to work). Afterwards, the Spirit becomes a normal girl, though she can access a weakened form of her powers if she is in a state of emotional distress. At the beginning of the series, the only sealed power Shido can access himself is a Healing Factor, but he's eventually able to use the others.
  • In EDENS ZERO, the main villain Demon King Ziggy has an Ether Gear specifically Satan Gravity with applications beyond the more obvious Gravity Master powers. One of these applications is the ability to drain another Ether Gear and taking its power for himself. In chapter 164, he uses this on Poseidon Nero's Wormhole Ether Gear.
  • Takeover Magic in Fairy Tail allows its caster to absorb certain creatures or beings and assume their powers and forms. It's not exclusively a villainous technique, though, as its most notable practitioners are the heroic Strauss siblings: Mirajane's "Satan Soul" works on demons and devils; Elfman's "Beast Soul" for monsters; and Lisanna's "Animal Soul" for ordinary animals. The villainous Dimaria takes the cake, though, with her "God Soul" ability allowing her to absorb gods, though there are hints with the only god she's shown using, Chronos, that there's some mutual allowance on the part of the deity.
  • In The Familiar of Zero, King Joseph of Gallia used a magic mirror to drain Louise's magic into himself.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Chrollo Lucilfer is a Power Sponge - his only ability is to steal the personalized nen abilities of another person, and store them in a book. Chrollo has a tougher time than most to obtain these powers, as he needs to meet the person whose powers he's going to steal, needs to hear the name and explanation of the power from said person and see it performed, needs to summon the book and put the right hand of the victim on it, and needs to perform the above within 24 hours. In addition, he needs to hold the book out in order to use these powers. And to top it all off, he can only keep the power as long as the person he stole it from is still alive, so he can't just kill the victims after stealing their power. However, since Nen can last even beyond death and it can get stronger through death, it is possible for Chrollo to keep the ability if he's lucky enough.
    • Leol has a less extreme power with a simpler set of rules: In order to borrow someone's power, he has to perform a favor for the victim and then tell them that they owe him and the victim has to hear and understand that statement and agree, plus he also needs to know the name of the power. Once Leol fulfills those conditions, the name of the owner, the name of the ability, and the number of times it can be used (once per favor done for the owner) are all automatically recorded in his iPod-like device, upon which he can then select the power from a playlist and borrow it for one hour, after which the power returns to its original owner.
    • Kurapika has a syringe-like ability, which steals the power of whoever it pierces after which Kurapika can either use the power or lend it to someone else. If he does the latter, then Kurapika is free to steal another ability. The downsides to this are that Kurapika must stay in Emperor Time mode, which is Cast from Lifespan at 1 hour per second, and can't stop it until he activates the stolen power, which can be complicated if he stole an ability with hard conditions. After that, the power is released.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Big Bad Enrico Pucci has the power to steal people's memories and Stand abilities using his Stand Whitesnake by converting them into discs that he can then use as he pleases.
  • In Kuroko's Basketball, Haizaki can use any basketball technique after being shown it once, but he slightly alters the timing and rhythm when he uses it. When the original user sees a version of his technique that is almost but not quite like his own, his own movements get out of sync, causing his techniques to fail.
  • My Hero Academia: The most powerful villain in the series, All For One, has this thanks to his Quirk, also named All For One, which grants him the power to forcibly steal other Quirks, giving him the unique ability to utilize multiple Quirks at once and even forcibly transfer Quirks to others. This is as devastating as it sounds, and the only ones in the entire series who can stand up to him are the users of the Quirk, One For All, the good counterpart of All For One that has the unique attribute of being impossible to steal, since the quirk can be passed from one person to another, but only if the current user wills it.
  • Naruto:
    • Tobi, so very much. He has acquired masses of Sharingans, Hashirama Senju's and Uchiha DNA, giving access to Izanagi, Nagato's Rinnegan and altered his body somehow to increase his resilience. Through the Rinnegan, he replaced the Six Paths of Pain with the six deceased Jinchuriki, mastered Edo Tensei and controls the Demonic Statue of the Outer Pain, currently along with 7 of the current Bijuu.
    • Kabuto Yakushi may be an even worse offender. The "Edo Tensei" summoning involves acquiring the DNA of a corpse that you intend to revive, so virtually anyone can use it, as did Tobirama and Orochimaru. Kabuto perfected it, by reviving every single deceased high-profile shinobi in the series, from the top dogs like Jinchuriki, Kages and Akatsuki members, to the Seven Swordsman of the Mist, well-known Jonin like Dan (Tsunade's dead boyfriend), criminals like Ginkaku and Kinkaku, side villains like Hanzo and Kimimaro, and finally, Madara Uchiha himself. In essence, Kabuto's "stolen" their corpses (and their corresponding abilities), and forced them to act as Tobi's reinforcements, without even having to steal anything personally.
      • On the more "normal" power-stealing scale, he also took in the DNA of Orochimaru, the Sound Five, Karin, Jugo, and Suigetsu for himself, giving him the ability to use their powers at a whim. He fully intended to add Sasuke's Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan to the list in a bid to gain the Rinnegan by combining it with the Senju cells within a White Zetsu.
    • A lesser-level example is Danzo Shimura, who embedded several Sharingans from the victims of the Uchiha massacre on his arm and used pieces of Hashirama's DNA to get Izanagi.
  • One Piece: Marshall D. Teach is one of the stand-out cases, since he absorbed Whitebeard's Devil Fruit powers. It's uncertain how he was able to do this, and especially notable since he's the first to ever achieve the feat of having two Devil Fruits in the entire series, and it's treated very seriously. Worse still, he and his crew have spent the last two years collecting Devil Fruit powers, trying to get themselves as many powers as possible.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Ban can steal anything, including other people's strength, speed, and stamina. Unlike most examples of this trope, his theft happens passively over time in battle, but his combat skills and Complete Immortality make him more than capable of dragging out fights until he drains enough strength from his opponent to win.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s: Savior Star Dragon is a heroic version of this trope, as it is capable of negating the effects of one of the opponent's monsters and copy them, which is basically stealing their effects.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Charybdis, the villain who caused Aquaman to lose his hand, has this ability. In fact, that's how Aquaman lost his hand: Charybdis stole Aquaman's ability to communicate with aquatic life and used it to sic piranhas on Arthur's hand.
  • Birds of Prey: Black Alice can temporarily steal the powers of any one magical being at a time, even beings as powerful as The Spectre. While she has them, the victim is completely normal. It even works if her target is on the other side of the world or in deep space. She later managed to do it with two victims at a time. She's not unstoppable because she can't keep the power forever and she doesn't automatically know how to use said powers.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The latest threat that Buffy faces in the Season 9 comics is a Humanoid Abomination called "The Siphon" who can absorb the power of any supernatural being — including the Slayers.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom does this a lot. Most famously, he briefly stole the Silver Surfer's power back in the 1960s, but on later occasions, he's also stolen energy from the Beyonder in Secret Wars (1984), and from Aron the Rogue Watcher and the Marquis of Doom in Fantastic Four.
  • Iron Man: Depending on the Writer, minor villain the Controller can sometimes steal powers with his Mind Control technology; even then, it only works on psychic powers.
  • Jupiter's Legacy: Repro, a flamboyant Arabic super-criminal, can steal one superhuman's powers at a time. This makes him one of the few individuals who can defeat Raikou.
  • Spider-Man: During the '90s, the Vulture had donned a special suit that could absorb a person's vitality. It also had the side effect of taking powers, too.
  • Superman:
    • Parasite has this as his shtick. It comes with a time limit, so he has to continuously drain a person's power to have it. In keeping with the "doesn't necessarily make them winners" aspect of this trope, he's not that dangerous (being defeatable by simply staying away from him does that) unless paired with other villains to back him up, and he'll betray them if they suggest killing Superman. Moreover, in most of his incarnations he not only gains Superman's powers, but also his weaknesses.
      • Unfortunately for the DC Multiverse, in the wake of Superman's resurrection after the Mutual Kill with Doomsday, when Superman suffers Power Incontinence and needs someone to bleed off the excess power. Parasite happily volunteers, and it works, but Parasite stays at that level of power permanently, and spends every waking moment literally starving as his body tries to maintain this new state, and even if Parasite is forcibly drained, and captured, he bulks right back up again the moment he comes into contact with any energy source including the laws of physics, like inertia.
    • In a two-part Superman/Supergirl crossover story (told in Action Comics #555 and Supergirl (1982) #20), the original Parasite and a clone attack both cousins simultaneously; the clone drains Kara's powers first and transmits them to the true Parasite who was fighting Kal.
  • Ultimate X Men: Apocalypse had the power to take any other Mutant's abilities, though the only person he was seen using this power on was Wolverine.
  • Wanted: This is Sucker's primary superpower (he's an Expy of the above Parasite), but it's limited to a 24 hour timeframe. After he defects to Mr. Rictus camp and betrays the protagonists he absorbs the Bizarro expy's Flying Brick abilities, and boasts of his new powers. He's defeated when he forgets the time limit, and falls to his death just as the clock runs out.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): During "The Witch and the Warrior" Touch'N'Go steals Jessie Quick's speed and uses it to take down Rose Wilson, Anima and Grace.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Circe temporarily steals Diana, Donna, and Cassie's power and runs about as a rather brutal Wonder Woman for a while after Diana leaves the title to Donna.
  • X-Men: Rogue has this as her superpower; depending on how long she touches a victim, it lasts from minutes to forever. In her first appearance, she got her Flying Brick ability by permanently absorbing it from Carol Danvers. Since Rogue's power also absorbs memories and personality traits, it took Carol years to recover. The accumulation of so many different conflicting memories and personalities eventually proved too much for Rogue, leading to her performing a Heel–Face Turn and joining the X-Men in exchange for Professor X's help repairing the damage it was doing to her mind.

    Fan Works 
  • Ascendant: One of the core abilities of Izuku's original Quirk. His main use of it is accepting donations from people with Quirks that are incompatible with their bodies or otherwise ruining their lives. He has used it a few times to depower villains, most notably the USJ Nomu and Stain. It comes in especially handy when Izuku accepts One For All, allowing him to skip the adjustment period and jump right back into action.
  • Child of the Storm
    • It eventually turns out that Voldemort has been using his Psychic Link with Harry to siphon some of the latter's newfound powers for himself, ultimately letting him regain a body a full year ahead of canon. He later refines this ability under Selene's tutelage, applying it to more or less everyone but Harry (who's a bit hot to hold by now).
    • In the sequel, it transpires in chapter 55 that Clark Kent is having his powers, his life-force, steadily fed upon by an unknown petty sorcerer. Harry's personal hatred of this combines with his Big Brother Instinct, leaving him downright furious.
  • Crimson and Emerald: Izuku is a rare heroic and downplayed example. His original Quirk, Copy All allows him to copy Quirks from their original owners, keep the copy and then make use of them in the same fashion with training. As a result he lacks the moral dilemma of stealing a Quirk because he needs it, unlike his father Midoriya Hisashi, All for One.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Starlight Glimmer's Zanpakuto allows her to steal any released Soul Reaper Zanpakuto being used against her and she can store them away and even "lend" them to others, all with full knowledge of how to use them and their release phrases. However, she can only steal a Zanpakuto that is both released and its power being directed at her, even by accident. It's the reason why she set up Celestia and Luna's executions, as it's only ever at that time the Sokyoku is released. While not confirmed, it's also heavily implied that due to the connection between Soul Reaper and Zanpakuto, she can't actually kill the original owner if she wants to keep using it. Once she's stolen them, her own Zanpakuto acts as The Jailer and they negotiate a "sentence" with how many "days" each use of the prisoner ticks off their imprisonment. Once their time is up, the Zanpakuto is freed from her control and returns to their original owner. Starlight cannot "extend" the initial sentence and her prisoners technically have the option to refuse being used by her, but since most Zanpakuto have Undying Loyalty to their original owners, they accept the terms to get it over with.
  • From Muddy Waters: Izuku has the Quirk of his father, All For One, implying that he's able to do this as well. Luckily, he's The Fettered. But his father has been giving him since Izuku was three years old by feeding him food made with bits of blood and hair of heroes that All For One has murdered.
  • Hybrid Hive: Eat Shard: Since Hive is capable of operating in More than Three Dimensions, she's able to consume and repurpose the shards of nearby parahumans. She typically doesn't use that capability, but it's helpful in extreme cases such as neutralising Bakuda. The direct shard capabilities are largely too dangerous to use — Bakuda was able to produce some ridiculously powerful effects — but the raw materials are used to enhance Taylor's linker core.
  • Parasite from Kara of Rokyn. Lex Luthor exploits his ability to drain Superman's power and transfer it to his minions, Starfire -nothing to do with the member of the Teen Titans- and Cyber.
  • Manager: Taylor ends up with this as the Trump aspect of the Queen Administrator shard instead of the Master aspect she got in canon. As such she can take the shards of other parahumans for herself, as well as assign shards she's collected to new hosts. She doesn't end up with the exact same power as the original host she takes a shard from; for example Othala's "Gift" shard allowed originally her to give one of many temporary superpowers to other people, when Taylor took it she could only give out one ability with it, a Stranger ability that turned people into a Ridiculously Average Guy, and once the shard was given to Danny he became a living Amplifier Artifact for existing capes.
  • Maris Stella: Prince of Darkness can steal certain powers from people or objects by touching their shadow with his own. The magic defines "powers" quite broadly, including such things as the guns from police officers' holsters.
  • Nine Knackered Souls: (A crossover fic between Red vs. Blue and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) it's revealed that The Meta can drain the magical power of unicorns to restore himself and possibly even the life force of other ponies. As if he wasn't hard enough to take down already.
  • Past & Future: This Encanto fic exaggerates the trope with Victoria having stolen the power that Mirabel was supposed to receive during her gift ceremony. In other words, she stole Mirabel's gift before she even had it. In a twist, since the gifts are a reflection of a person's nature, Mirabel wouldn't necessarily have gotten a Power Nullifier like Victoria did.
  • Pony POV Series: During the Dark World Arc, it turns out that Rarity's Element of Desire permits her to absorb the Elements of Chaos and their special abilities. Given most the Bearers are her friends, she only outright steals Fluttercruel's, but snags the Element of Magic Angry Pie stole from Twilight (since Twilight found a replacement) after Angry Pie is redeemed and throws it away. She also takes Pinkamena's Element of Rage after her death. Rainbow Dash and Applejack merely give her copies of the Element of Free Will and the Element of Deceit to absorb, resulting in her having all six for the Final Battle.
  • A Prize for Three Empires: Rogue completely drains Carol Danvers' powers, as well as her memories. She just intended to steal them temporarily, but the transfer was permanent.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Voldemort possessing a vampire is physically powerful, but lacks magic, so he decides to steal Harry's unusually large reserves. It's too bad that the ritual he uses is sensitive to blood status, and he doesn't realise she's a half-blood.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: One of the North Korean supers steals the powers of both friend and foe. Post battle, the SRI team discusses how he could do that, as even Terawatt doesn't see how "power leach" makes sense as a power.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In this Superman crossover Asuka and Rei fought the Parasite, a mutated human stole their powers and memories when he touched them, leaving them weakened and powerless. He intended to kidnap them and keep them locked forever, serving him as an endless power supply, but they managed to find a way to fight him without touching him.
  • Ultimate Video Rumble: In the third installment, Amakusa puts together a ritual to redirect the elemental connections of the other fire-throwing fighters into Iori, making his flames that much more powerful. Since the multiverse of Fighting Games is full of fireball-chuckers, they have a lot to work with.
  • Worm - Justice For All: The first villain featured, Hamelin, can trap parahumans in a Pocket Dimension. If they naturally fall asleep in said dimension, he gains a limited copy of their powers. If he can knock them out, however, he literally takes their full power from them so he can use it as his own, although after Taylor kills him, the powers return to their original owners.

    Films — Animation 
  • The nerdlucks from Space Jam transform into the Monstars via this tactic; specifically, by stealing the talent from professional NBA players.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In A Practical Guide to Evil, the Take aspect can be used to steal magical or Fate-related power. While the exact limits are unknown, it can apparently be used to steal healing power from Good and steal Aspects from other Named.
  • In Birthright (2017), practitioners of magic are able to link their individual magic powers. The villain, a dragon, uses this, and her superior magic strength, to steal the protagonists ability to use 'human' magic—effectively a one-sided game of magical tug-of-war.
  • In the Mistborn series this is what Hemalurgy does. By killing a person with a metal spike and implanting that spike in your own body, you can steal one Allomantic or Feruchemic power from them, or even their personal attributes. Some Hemalurgists, like the Steel Inquisitors, might have up to twenty spikes. But that's only the beginning. Anybody can use hemalurgy, provided they know what to do. Not to mention, using hemalurgy literally tears your soul apart. One spike at a time.
  • In The Lightbringer Series magic is divided into colors, each with their own power portfolio. The first book covers the seven commonly accepted colors, while the sequels dig into the four "heretical" colors. This trope is part of black's portfolio (along with other delights, such as Laser-Guided Amnesia and inducing madness). The trouble is, the stolen powers will eventually run out, and it's heavily implied that stealing someone's powers this way is lethal.
  • Mostly heroic example. Harry Keogh in the last of the original Necroscope books, "Deadspawn". Spends the entire book taking other people's powers (to be fair most of them weren't needing them since they were dead at the time) for the final confrontation with the Big Bad in the alternate universe. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • In an example of this type of parasitism similar to the example below, the Yeerks from Animorphs will use other creatures as hosts for their specific abilities.
  • In Fate/strange Fake, True Archer has a Noble Phantasm called Reincarnation Pandora. It allows him to steal the Noble Phantasms of other Servants, even if they are something conceptual like False Berserker's From Hell, which allows him to transform into a demon.
  • The Divine Drag-Ride Azi Dahaka in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle has the Divine Raiment (a special ability unique to Divine Drag-Rides) Avesta, which steals the Divine Raiments of other Divine Drag-Rides upon contact. Barzeride, Azi Dahaka's user, is able to steal multiple Divine Raiments at once and immediately use them effectively. Mishis, the original user of Azi Dahaka, is even more skilled, capable of using the stolen Divine Raiments in ways that the original possessors never did. For example, she steals Suppressor (gravity manipulation, usually used to pin down an opponent by increasing gravity) and uses it to increase her speed by reducing her own gravity.
  • In Renegades, one of the characters has the ability to gradually absorb powers of others, gaining them while his victim's ability decreases. Making matters worse, just being in his proximity makes people pass out, making it harder for them to leave his area of effect. Captain Chromium is apparently the only one immune to this.
  • In The Witchlands, it seems that Cleaving someone grants the Weaverwitch who did it some measure of their victim's powers (while killing the victim), albeit with a major case of Power Incontinence and some stray personality traits mixed in.
  • A variant in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story "Potential Energy" by Jacqueline Rayner, in the collection The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who: the Potentiator travels through time finding people with an innate talent for something that hasn't been invented yet, and drains the skill to pass on to someone from a time where it has been invented but who lacks the ability to do it. Contrary to the Doctor's suspicions, she insists the process is completely harmless.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: The villain in book 1 is this, stealing magic from other witches (along with magical tools) by killing them, all to increase their own power and lifespan.
  • Pale: This is the Musser family practice; by defeating magical practitioners and branding them with the family seal, they can forcibly "adopt" them into the family and then make them transfer control of their demesne, familiar, or magical implement. Normal practitioners can only have one of each, but Abraham Musser, the family patriarch, has seven familiars and dozens of implements and demesnes that each grant him unique abilities.
  • Third Time Lucky: And Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World: In "The Last Lesson" Adar tries to take Magdelene's magic using a spell. However, it proves too strong for him, with the spell rebounding, killing him, and she gets his magic afterward instead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flash, DeVoe can do it with his Cool Chair. The chair's Combat Tentacles grasp the other meta's head and drain them of their power (killing them in the process). DeVoe also retains these abilities after Body Surfing.
  • In Haven, Ian Haskell can steal a person's Trouble by making skin contact with their blood (the blood absorbs into his skin). He can only keep one Trouble at a time (when he stole Nathan Wuornos' Feel No Pain ability, Jackie Clark's I Know What You Fear ability returned to her).
  • Gabriel Gray/Sylar is the archetypical Heroes example of this process, as most of the people he stole from wound up dead, as a result (since he has to examine their brains to do it, and is a psychopath without any neurosurgical skills). Arthur Petrelli could do this by touch without killing the person (except for Adam Munroe, who's power was keeping him alive), although he was still evil.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider OOO is a somewhat unusual example in that he steals the powers of his enemies the Greeed by literally ripping out chunks of their coin-based homunculus bodies to use in his Transformation Trinket. The Greeed in turn try to steal their Medals right back from him, and some Medals that aren't theirs for good measure, making the entire series a back and forth of the two sides parasitizing one another.
    • Kamen Rider Drive: Tenjuro Banno made his rise to power on the back of stealing his more talented colleague Krim's research and using it for evil, so appropriately when he becomes an Evil Knockoff of the title character, Banno's primary power as Kamen Rider Gold Drive is to steal control of the real Drive's equipment and use it for himself. Banno's more heroic son Gou has the same issue, to his shame: all of Gou's upgrades as Kamen Rider Mach are based on taking Drive and Chaser's powers for himself, with the difference being that they willingly let him use their abilities instead of him taking them by force.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O is collectively this to the entire rest of the Kamen Rider franchise, with his Ridewatches distilling the powers and history of other Riders into a format that he can use, while also erasing the original stories and turning the past Riders into ordinary people. Although the Riders gave Zi-O their powers willingly to deal with the show's threats, in the end he realizes they were only his to borrow and not to keep, and gives them all back.
    • Kamen Rider Outsiders follows this example like Zi-O, where the Big Bad tricks all the active heroes into surrendering their powers to eradicate everything that's evil. Only for said villain to go a step too far in its crusade against malice, that it actually plans to use every Rider power to Take Over the World.
  • The Blue Globbor in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, as well as his counterpart in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger.
  • Played with on Misfits, Seth can steal people's powers, but he can't use them, he can only give them to other people.
  • In Powers Wolfe can absorb the abilities of other Powers. He later gains the ability to drain them at a distance when Johnny Royale uses his brain matter to make Sway and distributes it to a huge number of Powers.
  • The Goa'uld from Stargate SG-1 could be considered a strange example of this, as while they can't steal powers directly, they can possess people who do have those powers. One villain, Ba'al, tried to do this with season ten villain Adria, who had god-like powers. Unfortunately, those same god-like powers prevented her from being taken as a host. This is also the reason why Goa'uld sometimes take hosts that aren't human- when they take Unas as hosts, they do so because the Unas are far tougher than humans, but their bodies are more difficult to control and repair. A number of Goa'uld, including Nirrti and Anubis, have attempted to create human hosts with powers, either via genetic manipulation of a living human or by creating one from scratch. This type of human is called "hok'tar" ("hok" - advanced, "tar" - derogatory shortening of "Tau'ri" - human from Earth). Notably, Anubis's hok'tar Khalek considered Anubis his father.
  • In WandaVision, this is the main ability of Agatha Harkness, who can absorb and repurpose magical energy to the point attacking her with it directly is almost useless.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VIII introduced the Draw system which lets players draw spells from enemies and add them to their own stock.
    • The Steal: Ability skill in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance does exactly what it says it does. You can completely cripple enemies by stealing their skills and adding them to your own without having to waste time grinding AP to learn the same abilities. While the skill does have an extremely low success rate, you can boost it to 100% if the target is affected by Sleep or Stop. The ability does not work on monsters.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, this turns out to be The Exile's power. After being cut off from the Force at Malachor V, he/she became a 'wound' in the Force that unconsciously drains the life, will and abilities from others through Force bonds. In gameplay terms, this explains why killing things makes you stronger and why your party members obey you blindly. And also why almost your entire party are Force Sensitives. However, if the player is attuned to the Light Side this symbiosis with your party members is mutualistic rather than parasitic.
  • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance: This is a significant plot point. The game's Big Bad, Void Dark, has this trope as his Overload Skill, Brigante Eclipse. Both before and throughout the story, Void has been using his Overload to steal other people's Overload skills, ranging from Killia's initial Alma Ice Sculpture to Devouring Kris and even Broken Faith Magia. In fact, during the battle against him (and later his disembodied malice taking his form), he will outright use these Overloads against you, in something of an All Your Powers Combined Final Exam Boss Battle. Void Dark also needed these three specific Overloads for his true goal of reviving his sister Liezerota. Alma Ice Sculpture froze her body in time to prevent decomposition. Broken Faith Magia is able to revive the dead, but only if a truly massive amount of energy was used. Devouring Kris is able to provide that energy by draining entire Netherworlds.
  • Tokyo Afterschool Summoners has Oniwaka, whose rule of Appropriation allows him to steal others' powers. However, when he tries this on Kengo's rule of Infinity, it proves to be a bit more than he can handle.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Azul's unique magic, in which the victim signs away a part of their powers in exchange for something cool. The contract is really a Power Limiter; this magic is so powerful Azul will end up robbing all of a victim's powers without it. This magic isn't all bad in that it also allows him to borrow another person's powers with permission.
  • In the Puyo Puyo games (and by extension, Madou Monogatari), Schezo Wegey has this as one of his abilities, allowing him to steal magic from his opponents and add it to his. Indeed, his first appearance in Madou Monogatari II has him capture Arle so that he could drain her magic and use it to face the Dark Prince. Since then, he's often been trying to claim her power for his own... or so he would if he didn't keep mangling his words to sound like innuendos and if Arle didn't keep beating him time and time again.
  • Card City Nights 2, talking about a PsyCard character with Flavor Text:
    Hedvig: Invades peoples' minds to steal their powers. Hopes to one day surpass her brother.
  • In Metroid Dread, Samus Aran regains many of her suit abilities by absorbing them from the E.M.M.I.s that she defeats over the course of the game. This initially appears to simply be a function of her biomechanical Powered Armor, but it is likely thanks to her growing Metroid powers instead.
  • At the start of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Samus is ambushed by a horde of Ing and they steal the majority of her suit's weaponry. When she encounters the thieves later on, they use her own weapons against her in ways she couldn't do herself such as the Bomb Guardian throwing out a ton of bombs and the Jump Guardian creating a Shockwave Stomp whenever it lands from a jump.

    Visual Novels 
  • Gods, demi-gods, and godly monsters in Astoria: Fate's Kiss get their powers from their Auras, with each Aura linked to its own unique artifact that the owner keeps on their person. Someone who overpowers the Aura can steal it for themselves by taking the artifact; this sort of theft is taboo in supernatural circles. At the beginning of Hydra's route, Hydra has been arrested under accusation of stealing an Aura from Hercules. In actuality, Hercules is the one who's been stealing Auras from various godly monsters, including the Crow Aura that Hydra is accused of stealing and a failed attempt at stealing Hydra's own Aura that nearly killed Hydra. He's collected five of them by the time Hydra and the protagonist confront and manage to defeat him.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Meta steals the AIs and armor modifications of his fellow Freelancers, which provide the corresponding abilities to their Freelancers.
  • RWBY: Cinder absorbed the Fall Maiden's power from Amber by using some form of parasitic Grimm creature that appears from a portal conjured in her Tricked-Out Glove. When she attempts to steal the Spring Maiden's power at the entrance to the chamber containing the Relic of Knowledge, she uses her left arm, which has been hidden since she was injured during the Battle of Beacon. The arm is now a Grimm arm which can extend out and, like the parasitic Grimm, can absorb a Maiden's power for Cinder's use.
  • The antagonist of Glitchtale Season 2, Betty Noire has this as her strongest attack, Rhabdophobia, a move which allows her to steal the magic attacks of others, which she uses on Gaster's Duality and Sans' Gaster Blastermination special attacks though it doesn't help with Undyne the Undying's spears.

  • Yuuki from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki is able to steal power from Otsana and Shebi
  • In Widdershins Dominik is possessed by the spirit of Envy, and gains the ability to steal people's skills by looking them in the eye. He uses this to become rich and immensely talented, so he can go meet the person who made him so envious in the first place and show him how it feels. A plan which fails immediately because Wolfe is genuinely pleased to see him and happy to learn he's doing so well.
  • Academic Sigils (or Seals) in Blindsprings. The sigils absorb too much magic to keep themselves functioning, and the lack of well maintained Blindsprings to keep the magic flowing means a decline of magical source. The worse is that Academic sigils aren't bound to any specific magic, meaning that once Aberwelle's magic runs out, the sigils will start absorbing magic from nearby foreign countries.
  • In Soil That Binds Us, the Raven Queen is said to have this power. She apparently steals powers by throwing projectiles with her emblem on them.

    Web Original  
  • Worm:
    • Victor, a white supremacist supervillain, has a variant on this that lets him steal skills as opposed to powers. His victims correspondingly lose the ability in question while he gets to be a Renaissance Man the easy way.
    • Grue's second trigger allows him to duplicate the powers of any parahuman inside the range of his main ability. He can't use as much of the power as the original parahuman while the original will have their power reduced until outside of his range.
    • In a manner similar to Apocalypse, the supervillain Butcher possesses whoever killed him/her, with said person gaining all the powers of the previous Butchers. Unfortunately for them, they also get the Butchers' minds as well, resulting in a slightly less than sane A-class threat.
    • And then there's the ultimate example of this in Worm: Glaistig Uaine, aka the Faerie Queen. Not only does she have a Touch of Death for other parahumans, those killed by her in this way manifest as a ghost under her command that can still use their powers. She can also claim a ghost even from those she didn't kill herself as long as she gets to the body quickly enough. Her only limitation is that she can only manifest three ghosts at a time, but even that was enough to make her unstoppable.
  • In A Practical Guide to Evil, Catherine Foundling is shown to Take an aspect from another Named.
  • Whateley Universe: The Marquis, an Unfettered sadist who not only steals powers, but also kidnaps both heroes and villains so he can do so over and over again - and also so he can slowly torture them to death for his amusement. We are told that the only reason Champion was able to stop him previously was because he'd killed most of his current victims and had too few active powers to fight back.

    Western Animation 
  • Van Kleiss from Generator Rex after being DePowered by Rex, steals his Nanites, temporarily turning Rex into a normal boy. He gets a power opposite to Rex's - creating EVO.
  • Despite being the former Trope Namer for Power Copying (back when it was called "Mega Manning"), the Ruby-Spears adaptation of Mega Man showed the Blue Bomber stealing the weapons of Robot Masters by touch, usually leaving them temporarily unable to use the same. This was a divergence from the games, where he copied their powers after defeating them.
    Mega Man: Now I've got your power!
  • Evil Counterpart Kevin 11 from Ben 10 had this as his special ability, but never really took full advantage of it (except in an alternate future where he used it to become a combination of Sylar and Naraku) and even stopped using it entirely after his Heel–Face Turn. Kevin's own evil counterpart, Aggregor, has the same ability and no qualms about using it.
    • Vilgax from Alien Force and onwards gave up his cybernetics in favor of using the weapons and powers of champions he defeated when he took advantage of Combat by Champion laws to quickly establish an empire of multiple worlds. In Ultimate Alien he becomes obsessed with claiming the power of Diagon when he becomes aware of its existence. He succeeds, only to lose it all to Ben thanks to his ego.
  • Static Shock:
    • Leech, who drained the powers of both Static and several members of the Rogues Gallery.
    • Starburst used a device he planted on Static to siphon some of Static's power into himself. Once Static found the device and crushed it, Starburst soon lost his stolen power.
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series had the Crystal of Ix, which allowed Evil Sorcerer Mozenrath to steal the Genie's powers.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Tirek can drain the magic of others to power himself. He starts out barely capable of draining a unicorn, but the more magic he absorbs, the more people he is capable of draining. He eventually gets to the point that he can drain Discord with no ill affects.
  • Absorbo Lad from Atomic Puppet is able to steal superpowers with a single touch, being able to use several at once and gaining the victims' physical traits as well. Interestingly, he can also absorb other types of "power", which he uses to absorb electricity from wires to gain Shock and Awe powers at one point.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Back when Shadow Weaver was called Light Spinner, she used the Spell of Obtainment to try to make herself more powerful. Instead the spell disfigured her and turned her into a magical parasite. While she has powerful spells, her internal reserves of power get used up really fast and she has to drain magic from people or magical items or else she becomes helpless.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In an episode where Timmy wishes his life was an action movie, Jorgen kidnaps all the other fairies to steal their magic and transfer it to himself.
  • PJ Masks: Pharaoh Boy can take away the other characters powers for himself with his Staff of Ra. They always end up being returned to the proper owner by the end of the episode.


Video Example(s):


And Then Samus Was a Metroid

After years of hunting down Metroids, Samus ends up becoming one herself, with the energy-draining powers that goes with it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.79 (38 votes)

Example of:

Main / AndThenJohnWasAZombie

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