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While adding or removing characters' superpowers can be controversial (especially if it's just New Powers as the Plot Demands), the actual mechanics don't need a lot of explanation for the fans to accept it. The logic wonk occurs when, rather than go "up" or "down" with how his power works, the direction goes "cantaloupe", and the character gains an entirely new set of superpowers.

This practice isn't used as much nowadays, because, while changing powers along with a reimagining of a character's personality is artistically nice, it doesn't make sense for a character with an internally-logical origin. Since many characters are largely defined by their powers, it smacks of an inability to be really creative, especially if the reimagining is to make a character Darker and Edgier. If this falls flat (as it often does), the results linger in the Audience-Alienating Era.

This concept is often lampshaded in the free-rein areas of Elseworlds and What Ifs, where the re-power is actually just a creative writer elaborating on a vague and mundane power to its extreme logical end, showing how characters could become very powerful.

Compare with Got the Call on Speed Dial, Discard and Draw, and Skill Point Reset.


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    Comic Books 
  • Amazing Man (not to be confused with 'Mazing Man) of Roy Thomas's All-Star Squadron in The DCU was introduced with the power to transform into whatever substances he touched; later these were changed to magnetic abilities. His grandson later appeared with his original powers, which were cooler anyway.
  • A popular fan idea was "What if Batman became a Green Lantern?", because for some reason giving the Goddamn Batman, who already has Plot Armor like crazy, a weapon based on intelligence, creativity, and willpower is such a good idea. This idea has been featured in multiple Batman-related media:
    • It was done in Elseworld titled Batman: In Darkest Knight as an alternative to his choosing to become a tech- and detective-focused hero, and Geoff Johns answered the question in the canon DCU with "he couldn't handle it" (but did hint he'd be an excellent member of the Sinestro Corps) because a Green Lantern has to deal with his worst fears daily, and Batman has never managed to get past his—that's why he's Batman. He had a Green Lantern Ring in addition to, rather than an alternative to, everything Batman had. Bruce had gone through all the training and made all the preparations he had made before first becoming Batman, but the bat that crashed through his window in the "Batman: Year One" miniseries was scared off by Abin Sur's ship crash landing just outside Wayne Manor.
    • This was lampshaded in an episode of The Batman where he and Green Lantern teamed up to fight Sinestro.
    • Batman: The Brave and the Bold did this too. Although the more lighthearted version of Batman only got green armor that was fueled by Batsy's Willpower, it was still a hell of a combo.
    • Parallax called Batman "A Disciple of Fear" during the Green Lantern: Rebirth series. Later, the Sinestro Corps (or at least a yellow power ring) tried to recruit Batman. And failed.
    • Also featured in All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, where Batman wants to steal the ring. "Think of what I could do with that power."
    • At one point Hal Jordan gave Batman his ring temporary after they got buddy-buddy fighting the second Tattooed Man, and Batman outright admitted that he couldn't ignore his fears because they were what drove him.
  • The Blue Beetle has gone from magic artifact powered hero (Dan Garrett) to a smart as Batman Gadgeteer Genius (Ted Kord) to alien armor-wearing hero (Jaime Reyes), to magical armor-wearing Jaime teaming up with Ted. That's four different power sets and three different characters for one Legacy Hero.
  • Both Blue Devil and his (not)sidekick Kid Devil went from using super powered suits (in Blue Devil's case, having the suit magically fused to him) to being transformed into real devils. In Kid Devil's case, when he became a real devil, he gained fire powers and later portal creation.
  • An example of the 'logical extension of existing powers' variation done in a Canon storyline: during John Byrne's tenure on the Fantastic Four, he took the existing powers of the teammates and sent them in directions no one else had considered. This was especially true of Sue Richards, who had been a basic Damsel in Distress for most of the previous twenty years, able to turn invisible and project force fields and little else; in his hands, she became a genuine Action Girl, using her force fields to create platforms on while she could ride, balls she could roll at opponents, battering rams, and (in one notable moment while being psychologically manipulated) spikes and crushing restraints. While less dramatic, the other team members also began using their powers more creatively, at least as long as Byrne was writing the book.
  • Green Lantern:
    • The obviously human Guy Gardner, an artifact-user Super Hero in the Green Lantern Corps, suffered from this, when he was revealed to have an alien heritage with Voluntary Shapeshifting powers, mainly to give him the ability to use BFGs.
    • This eventually went both ways, with Guy having his alien DNA rewritten so that he lost the shapeshifting powers. At the same time, the brain damage that kept him from using the Green Lantern ring was cured, so he went back to being another Green Lantern.
  • A "Get our powers back after M-Day" tactic was to use Terrigen Mist with The Inhumans. It usually gave you your original power, but in a warped (and usually temporary) manner. Former Super-Speed user Quicksilver could vibrate his molecules faster than the speed of light, becoming able to travel through time. He also had a few Me's a Crowd moments by going through the same fight multiple times. His old powers eventually returned (Apparently, when Epiphany Therapy makes you go from your new Anti-Villain self to your old Knight in Sour Armor self, you also snap back to the powers had in the old days.)
  • An example of the second kind appears in Kingdom Come in the form of the godlike Flash, who is so fast that he pulls the narrator into the story.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Lightning Lass changed to Light Lass with antigravity powers. To enforce Cast Speciation. And changed back.
    • Kinetix also changes her powers (and appearance to go with them). In her case, seeking power was her M.O.
  • Ms. Marvel may be the queen of this trope. She lost her original powers to Rogue of the X-Men, then gained energy-based powers for a while and now has a completely new set of powers which are mostly the same as her original set.
  • New Warriors: All of the former mutants who lost their powers on M-Day and joined the latest iteration of the New Warriors got new technology to give them powers, usually unrelated to their original.
    • Some of their powers were connected to their original ones, though- for example, Beak was a non-superhero X-student with all the drawbacks to birdlike physiology (hollow bones + supervillain No-Holds-Barred Beatdown = ouch) with none of the benefits (he still can't fly). He gets depowered, but as a New Warrior has a flight pack that makes him the poor man's Falcon.
    • Jubilee, who originally had the power to produce explosive balls of light, gained super strength through advanced technology. After her stint as a New Warrior, Jubilee became a vampire and has now gained superstrength and other vampire powers.
    • Chamber got a double dose of this trope. Prior to joining the New Warriors, he received a blood transfusion from his ancestor Apocalypse. The blood of Apocalypse fixed the damage to his body that his original powers caused. It also had the side effect of making him look like Apocalypse too. And possibly giving him latent Omega-level mutant power. Once he joined the New Warriors, he ended up gaining sonic manipulation.
  • Mutator of The New Universe and DP7 gets new powers every twelve hours.
  • Marvel's Power Pack, a team of four children and then teenage heroes with four different superpowers, have swapped them all around, at least twice. The eldest, Alex, even used to swipe his siblings' powers for jaunts with the New Warriors.
  • In PS238, Flying Brick Ron is apparently Brought Down to Normal, but later gets some sort of probability manipulation. Unusual for this trope, he's explicitly stated to have always had both sets of powers, he just never used the latter ones before because he didn't realize he could. It was only after he lost the powers he inherited from his dad that he started trying to utilize the powers he'd gotten from his mom.
  • Speedball, a happy-go-lucky character who once had the power to bounce around invulnerably, turned into "Penance", an angsty, masochistic energy blaster who needs to torture himself to get his powers to work. This then went the other way, as "Penance" started using his Speedball powers again, and "Penance" was explained as a psychological block he placed on himself after the Stamford incident. It eventually stops being an example, as he returns to being Speedball with both powers.
  • For a time, Spider-Man was upgraded in The Other storyline with Wolverine-like stingers on his wrists. Yes, stingers. Lampshaded, as Peter notes Spiders don't have stingers! Another character tries to Hand Wave this by saying one day spiders might evolve stingers. Ironically, this probably would have been less stupid if they'd just gone with the obvious explanation; that they're not stingers, they're fangs, part of the same tinkering with his ratio of spider DNA to human DNA that caused him to develop organic web-shooting glands.
  • Supergirl: A non-Kryptonian version of the character created in the nineties was prone to change powers constantly. For a while she got fire powers, then she lost them and got telekinesis.
  • Superman:
    • He was temporarily reimagined in the 1990s as an energy being made of living lightning. This is actually a shoutout to a much older, non-canon alternate universe story from the Silver Age (Superman Vol 1 #162), in which he was accidentally split into two versions of himself, one of which developed electrical powers and became Superman Blue.
    • Some fanboys have wanted to see Superman with a Green Lantern ring because it's just that much more power, which has been addressed in canon a few times:
      • Clark did try out a ring during his year being powerless after Infinite Crisis, but he was powerless in the first place because he wasn't ready to return to his superhero career so, while he could use the ring just fine, it didn't create a costume.
      • He took Guy Gardner's ring in an Armageddon 2001 alternate future, but then he gave it back to Hal Jordan because he already had too much power, and absolute power corrupts.
      • Alan Moore gave us Sodam Yat, a Daxamite Green Lantern, back in 1986, who possessed all of Superman's powers, and all of Green Lantern's as well. Granted he only appeared in a single panel, but he was a major figure in Moore's proposed Twilight Of The Superheroes mini-series.
  • In the Ultimate Fantastic Four storyline Ultimate Mystery, Ben Grimm's rocky form was revealed to be a cocoon, and he eventually "hatched" into a new form, with his normal human appearance, Thing-level strength, and a nifty purple glow — which has fuelled Fanon that he's now the Ultimate Wonder Man.
  • Venom: Eddie Brock became Anti-Venom after contact with the supervillain Mister Negative caused the remnants of the Venom symbiote still in Brock's system to combine with his white blood cells. As Anti-Venom he retains some of his old Venom abilities but also gained the power to remove foreign elements and contaminants in people. Including the radiation in Spider-Man's body that empowers him. Fortunately Brock still sincerely wants to be a hero and so tries his best to avoid doing this to Spidey. Eventually, by way of some complicated circumstances, Eddie loses the Anti-Venom powers and becomes Venom again when the symbiote returns to him.
  • In a What If? storyline, Spider-Man's spider-sense has expanded into full blown clairvoyance, detecting threats before the cause of the threat can even think about it. This coupled with his new found non reluctance to kill makes him very dangerous. It is even stated that his powers are still growing, "sometimes, now, he just knows things".
  • Wild Cards: John Fortune loses his healing powers after his body is purged of the wild card virus. In the latest book, John enters into a symbiotic relationship with Sekhmet of the Living Gods, and gains the ability to... change into a fire-breathing lioness. Yup, that's quite a change.
  • X-Men:
    • Rogue a while back lost the powers she had derived from Ms. Marvel for so long in favor of Sunfire's flame-based powers, although that set has since also taken a back seat as her primary writers have just gotten around it by writing her with much better control of her Power Copying ability.
    • Emma Frost, a traditional telepath, developed the ability to transform into "living diamond". While she's in her diamond form, she is naturally incredibly hard to kill (at one point, she was shattered, but came back to life when Phoenix found every piece of her and telekinetically fused her back together), and loses her telepathic powers until she switches back.
    • Many Marvel Mutant characters have gotten what was called in-universe a "Secondary Mutation", and pretty much all of them qualify. Though this actually started out as making deliberate use of Required Secondary Powers (this is what makes many former What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? cases considerably more badass than they used to be) but eventually bled over into being purely this trope, as powers having nothing to do with the character's original power would just... show up. However, Emma Frost's diamond skin thing proved not to be one; Professor X's Evil Twin Cassandra Nova had altered her as part of a scheme.
    • Due to some complicated circumstances, Polaris once had the power of siphoning super-strength from emotions. She also had disease powers when she was a Horseman of Apocalypse, Pestilence.

    Fan Works 
  • In Incarnation of Legends, the Servants do not have the same strength and speed they once did with their spiritual bodies as incarnated humans. Because of this, Kojiro initially struggles against a Level 2 Adventurer he could have easily trounced as a Servant. However, Servants who join a familia grow unusually quickly once they're given falna. Ryoma and Oryou are able to reach Level 4 and Level 6 respectively within a decade, regaining their lost strength in the process. Compare this to the average adventurer who can spend their entire career without a level up.

  • The Main Character, of the The Beginning After the End Arthur Leywin survives from a losing battle against Nico and Cadell thanks to Sylvie pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save him from a Heroic RRoD keeping his body intact. He ends up in the relictombs in Alacrya though his core damaged beyond recognition his body become part dragon asura having affinity for Aether through this element he becomes a straight case of Came Back Strong as he become more exponetially powerful than ever thanks to gaining knowledge regarding Aether excceding other Asuras from the relictombs.
  • The titular character, of A. Lee Martinez's Monster narrowly survived a basilisk's poison some time ago, and a side effect of the antidote causes him to gain a different unusual ability and turn a corresponding color each time he wakes up from a night's sleep. The exact powers vary from the useless (purple and no sense of smell) to the formidable (blue and invulnerable to violent harm). He's turned so many colors by now that he needs a notebook to keep track of what color goes with which power.
  • Worm has second triggers, instances where parahumans undergo enough stress (often similar to the Traumatic Superpower Awakening that gave them their powers) to strengthen existing powers or give them entirely new ones. For example, Grue's ability suddenly allowed him to copy the powers of any parahuman it was touching.
  • At the end of series 1 of Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie loses her Elemental Powers and Necromancy and gains Shock and Awe powers. Naturally at first, she has no idea how to them properly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed: Phoebe was initially shown, in a vision, to have future powers of levitation and throwing electricity (sometimes called "electrokinesis"). She developed the levitation power but gained the power of Empathy instead of the electricity power. In the later seasons this is most likely due to budget concerns but Leo just stated "the future changes" as an explanation for any changes made throughout the show.
  • Heroes: Peter went from the uber powerful empathic mimicry (able to use the powers of anyone he'd met freely) to ability replication (gains abilities by touching somebody and can only have one at once); Mohinder went from undefined insect powers to simple super strength.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Destiny's power was originally the ability to control dolls. Then another character left the thread, and she inherited his ability to turn into monsters. Since her original power was never revealed in-thread, this doesn't cause much of a problem.
    • Devin is a minor example. His original ability to manipulate acid was considered too narrow within the context of the story to be interesting to play. Thus, he was upgraded so that his blood itself was acidic, giving him an easily accessible weapon.
    • After a different NPC was cut from the story, their power was melded with Kev's, boosting him from 'summoning magical guns' to 'summoning magical weapons'.
    • Marko's power was supposed to be that he could teleport small objects. This was later changed to the more diverse ability to create teleporting portals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is called "having a radiation accident" in Champions. It is suggested that if a player is dissatisfied with their character somehow, or bored with it, or even perhaps they just want to try something new, that the Game Master allow them to completely rewrite it after roleplaying a suitably bizarre reason for the change.
  • Cosmic Encounter has several cards and effects that can completely change your alien power, such as the Sorcerer and Reincarnator wild flares (the latter of which does it for everyone.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: The Paladin class is required to maintain a Lawful Good alignment. Failing to do so, or voluntarily committing an evil act, causes the paladin to lose all of their class abilities. However, there are two prestige classes that are made specifically for ex-paladins. First there's the Blackguard or Antipaladin, which is what happens when a paladin makes a Faceā€“Heel Turn and becomes evil. Second is the Holy Liberator, which is Chaotic Good instead of Lawful Good. While non-paladin characters can qualify for both prestige classes, ex-paladins gain extra bonuses based on their levels, up to the point of being able to swap out paladin levels for extra levels in the prestige class.
  • In The World of Darkness it is possible to be transformed from one type of supernatural creature to another (e.g. mage to vampire). If this happens, you lose access to your previous powers and have to learn the powers of your new "species".

    Video Games 
  • Champions Online has the Retcon feature, either by using the in-game money (Resources) or buying a Retcon token from the cash shop. The token resets your whole character, allowing you to pick all your powers/super stats/talents/advantages from the start. And because your appearance can be fully changed, and even your name changed with an appropriate token, this allows you to completely re-imagine your character, sans gender.
  • This is quite limited in the "character respecification" feature in City of Heroes. While you can reselect your character's powers and change which auxiliary pools you chose from, you cannot change your primary and secondary pools or your archetype. That means no changing from swinging a sword to growing spines out of your body, or changing from a Tank into a Blaster and such.
  • In Evolve this is the lore reason for the existence of things like the Elder Kraken and Blizzard Behemoth. When monsters are exposed to large amounts of Minkowski radiation they undergo mutations that alter their powers. Sometimes it's just an addition to existing abilities but usually it completely replaces them with something new.
  • In inFAMOUS: Second Son, protagonist Delsin Rowe has this in tandem with Power Copying: he can only use one set of powers at a time, meaning he constantly has to do this to himself to switch between their movesets.
  • Each cycle of the Eternal Recurrence that drives Nexus Clash returns everyone to level one and allows them to choose a new class if they want.