Fight Off the Kryptonite

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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 powers 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.

Examples of Fight Off the Kryptonite include:

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 the Pokémon anime most worthy Pokemon are capable of fighting off against types they are weak against on equal ground, to the point it's a wonder why trainers even mention them while battling.

Comic Books

  • Superman, of course.
  • Two good examples from 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.
  • Similarly, in Ultimate X-Men, Colossus manages to overcome Magneto's magnetic abilities, and save the rest of the team.


  • 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.
    • Justified in that most of the splinter had already been removed. Superman went above the clouds for a quick charge of sunlight, then went very deep beneath the Kryptonite and had a large layer of solid rock protecting him until the crystals started to poke through.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • Smallville. In the early seasons in fact Clark never is able to do this trope, to the point its unbelievable he couldn't move even one hand, or crawl slowly away. When he does these things later, it is obvious that he is becoming stronger and more resistant to the effects. By now he has to do this surprisingly often, almost Once an Episode. Major Zod as well. Possibly explained by him being more in tune with his Kryptonian abilities.
    • One episode in the first season, probably the first time this happened, is when a man dying of very violent super epileptic seizures due to having Kryptonite imbedded 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.
  • Jaffa 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.

Western Animation

  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee lampshades this trope intentionally with Boomfist, the title heroic character of a Show Within a Show who has a rather common weakness, ordinary milk. When magic is used to bring the hero to life, trying to fight the villain naturally causes him to succumb to it; Rey-Rey tries to encourage him by bringing up all the times in the comics he overcame it, eventually realizing, "come to think of it, you've overcome your weakness to milk a lot." Fortunately, it does encourage the guy to fight it off.