There are some people no one wants to be around, either due to smarminess or poor hygiene (or both!) they seem to ooze from every pore and make the air around them noxious, and anyone they touch will feel like immediately disinfecting the area. In the case of the Poisonous Person that is exactly the case. They are lethal to touch because their body naturally produces universally lethal toxins, emits radiation or carries a host of dangerous diseases. Of course, they are immune to these hazards, but not so everyone else.
There are a lot of ways this can happen: falling into a vat of chemicals or bio-hazards, becoming Cursed as a Walking Wasteland or with an uncontrollable Touch of Death, or an autonomous deadly defense mechanism power that can't distinguish friend from foe. For extra angst (or yummies) the Poisonous Person kills those they touch because they must feed on their Life Energy.
This is one of those "powers" that are difficult to miss when they first manifest, usually resulting in a Dead Little Sister at the hands of the Poisonous Person. Is it any wonder that they come to embrace Bad Powers, Bad People and become villains? Of course they probably weren't nice to begin with. This kind of villain isn't just difficult to fight, but also very versatile in applying their power. They'll use the sweat from their brow to salt a field, fill darts with their poisonous tears, turn a bloody wound into their enemy's demise by cutting themselves to poison their blade. If their power is disease based, they make an excellent Plaguemaster. Or they might end up as a hapless Typhoid Mary.
If they aren't evil, they'll usually get far, far away from anyone who they might hurt, like a modern day Medusa or King Midas... sans gold. If they're really lucky they'll have enough control of their power/curse to turn it on and off, or at least be able to live in urban areas by wearing full body outfits or hazmat suits.
It's worth noting that there is no "typical" Poisonous Person in terms of appearance. Some are mundane looking, others are astonishingly obvious as poisonous as Hazmat shows above, and a fair number are drop dead gorgeous. Why is it all the pretty things will kill you?
- Pannacotta Fugo from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. His Purple Haze ability spreads a virus that turns anything it infects to a puddle of bubbling goo in 30 seconds. While his teammates make liberal use of their own powers, Fugo uses his once and only once in the series, and for good reason, as he could accidentally kill them if he wasn't careful.
- In Dokuhime (literally, Poison Princess): 'It starts with poisonous herbs under the cradle. Then under the sheets. And inside the clothes. Even mixed in the milk that they feed the newborn. This way the child gradually gets used to poisons and becomes the perfect assassination tool - the "Poison Princess" whose every kiss, tear and even touch bring death. Her only chance of survival is to fulfill her duty as an assassin and find a way to live on in the enemy land she is sent to... if her heart is strong enough.'
- A unique variant in the "Stink Bomb" story of the movie Memories: a hapless employee at a pharmaceutical company accidentally ingests some funny red-and-blue capsules (instead of the blue-and-red ones that would have cured his flu.) As a result, he constantly emits from his sweat glands a HIGHLY toxic gas that can kill any animal instantly and short out electronics. Worse, its range, toxicity and density increase as he gets more stressed out, which is kind of a problem when the Japanese Self Defense Force and the American military send whole fleets to catch him. He doesn't catch on that there's anything wrong with him until literally the final second of the story.
- Kagero the Kunoichi in Ninja Scroll, whose blood was suffused with poison, effectively turning her entire body into an assassination-weapon. Even a touch from her could be lethal, and doing anything beyond that is enough to break down even the Nigh Invulnerable. Tessai, one of the villains, whose body is apparently made entirely from rock, knocks her out and starts frenching with her (obviously intending to rape her when he's got more time), and then gets into a fight with the hero Kibegami Jubei. A few minutes in, the rock-dude basically just starts falling apart, as Kagero's poison catches up with him...
- Basilisk, based on the same Kouga Ninja Scrolls as Ninja Scroll above also has a Kagerou with the same poisonous body. In this version, she is a tragic figure who is desperately in love with a man she can never have because consummating that love would kill him and he's the future clan chief, and she's forced to watch him fall in love with another woman from an enemy clan. She doesn't handle it well. Not well at all.
- Albafica Pisces in Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas. And his mentor, Pisces Rugonis.
- Also, Specter Basilisk Sylphid.
- There's a girl in Samurai Deeper Kyo who releases toxic spores or something around her, dissolving anyone she gets close to. Naturally, this makes her a very sad and quiet girl, leading to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when another character gives her a huge hug, despite being slowly eaten alive by the poison.
- Magellan, the chief warden of Impel Down from One Piece ate the Doku Doku no mi which makes him literally a Poison Man. He can produce everything from a toxin that can melt steel and stone to simple tear gas. He eats poisoned foods because he likes the taste and can still stomach it, though it gives him diarrhea. He's presented as a guardian who only wants to prevent all the worst criminals in the world from terrorizing the public.
- Coco from Toriko.
- Hanzo the Salamander from Naruto. He implanted the gland of a poisonous salamander in himself, making his touch and even his breath toxic to others while giving himself some resistance to poison. He wears a mask partially to protect others from his breath and partially to protect himself in case, by freak chance, he gets hit in the side where the gland is, because rupturing unleashes a cloud of poison so strong even he'd be paralyzed by it. He can also summon a much larger salamander with its own poison breath.
- Bleach has a variation on this. As characters grow stronger, their spiritual pressure becomes just that: It feels as though the air has become stifling and incredibly heavy. Once there is a sufficient difference in characters' power, though, just standing in the presence of their unbridled spiritual pressure is lethal.
- Zen from Nurarihyon no Mago is from a poisonous bird youkai species. The poison is concentrated in the feathers of his wings.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Poison Ivy, when she wants to be.
- Chemo in The DCU.
- Also in The DCU is Mister Bones, whose skin exudes cyanide. Most of his flesh is also invisible, so he looks like a walking skeleton. Actually a lot less villainous than you'd expect.
- Omega Red from Marvel Comics emits "deathspores" that leech the health from anyone and everyone around him (they even effect Wolverine to SOME degree)
- An extremely dark issue of Ultimate X-Men was centered around a boy who woke up with a mutation that caused him to emit a chemical that incinerated anyone around him, causing him to wipe out his entire home-town. Wolverine, as the only one who could survive his presence due to his Healing Factor, was sent by SHIELD to track him down and kill him.
- The X-Men's recurring foe Mojo can wither plants and age humans with his touch. His presence on Earth also causes natural disasters.
- Subverted in Watchmen, where Ozymandius sets up Dr. Manhattan to acquire a reputation as a Poisonous (well, Radioactive) Person. He's not, but so many people he'd associated with are revealed to have come down with cancer that the big blue guy gets crucified by the press, and soon leaves Earth, in part to dodge these allegations.
- A heroic example is Leezle Pon of the Green Lantern Corps, who is a super-evolved and sentient smallpox virus. Due to the deadly disease he can cause, he can't attend many GLC meetings or gatherings, but he played a pivotal role in defeating Despotellis, a similar, evil virus.
- Hazmat from Avengers Academy.
- In a What If issue which Captain Marvel was cured of cancer. Unfortunately, everyone around him starts getting sick with cancer and it's contagious. He caused plagues on Earth, the Skrull, and the Kree before he realized what was going on.
- DiNA: Simmons, the Crimson Plague. She bleeds, you die—horribly and instantly.
- June Covington, aka "Toxie Doxie" of the new Dark Avengers. She can exhale Deadly Gas and has a toxin in her blood which is fatal within seconds, all thanks to a bit of genetic self-experimentation.
Literature[edit | hide]
- "Rappacini's Daughter"—So this is at least Older Than Radio, and, assuming that Hawthorne didn't just make up the story about Alexander the Great himself, Older Than Feudalism.
- In Théophile Gautier's 1856 Jettatura, the protagonist is born with the power of "evil eye" that can kill with a glance, without him wishing it or being aware of it: he takes a long time to find out the cause of all the deaths around him. When he realizes that he's slowly killing the woman he loves, he puts out his own eyes, too late to save her however.
- Pollution in Good Omens seems to fit this. He's one of the Four Horsemen, taking over for Pestilence, who retired in disgust after the invention of penicillin left him feeling useless.
- Also in A Prayer For The Dying, by Steward O'Nan, the sheriff (as well as the pastor and undertaker) of the town discovers that he is the one carrying the deadly plague to everyone. Disturbing for him, but maybe even more so for the reader who slowly learns that he has an uncomfortable obsession with death, and is a necrophile and cannibal.
- In Stationery Voyagers Liquidon Ethereteel's blood and saliva are Universal Poison to all non-Whiteouts. When his mikloche gets overdeveloped, he becomes a Walking Wasteland at risk of a Superpower Meltdown.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld has Foul Ole Ron.... a homeless beggar so nasty that his smell alone can incapacitate werewolves.
- Harkeness in Hard Magic is a Pale Horse, and can inflict people with disease. He has complete control over his power, but that doesn't stop Stuyvesant from being completely paranoid about him.
- Raptor by Gary Jennings set in the declining Roman empire has a venefica. Veneficas are defined as "girl slaves who are, fed certain poisons, in increasing doses throughout their upbringing. By the time they are grown to maidenhood, their own bodies are accustomed to these substances and are unharmed by them. However, so virulent is the accumulated poison, that a man who beds with a venefica - or anyone who partakes of any of her juices - dies on the instant."
- When under stress, the Chelons from the Star Trek Novel Verse secrete a poison through their skin. Ambassador Jetanien of Star Trek: Vanguard explains this to his Klingon diplomatic counterpart in order to warn him off; another Chelon posthumously kills a Hirogen hunter with his poison in Star Trek: Destiny.
- Polutia from Black Scorpion.
- In 2000s series The Invisible Man an early episode has an escaped government experiment whose skin is poisonous to the touch.
- The 4400 has an episode about a woman who grows toxic spores on her body that explode and kill anyone within a specific radius to her. She becomes convinced that it's God's will that she kill everyone (for some reason) and eventually the characters have to kill her. Why, when people were risking their lives taking drugs that would give them superpowers, the government didn't just publicize her story instead of restricting it, is never mentioned.
- For that matter, Danny is a borderline example. His power was to essentially infect anyone around him with Promicin, which had a 50/50 chance of either giving them new abilities or killing them. Eventually, Shawn has to kill him.
- The Vish Kanya. These mythical Indian women are similar to Kagero from the anime Ninja Scroll, with poisonous bodily fluids gained through Acquired Poison Immunity who killed people through intercourse.
Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]
- There's a Wild Cards character who has this. He is a zombie oozing with toxic waste.
- In Magic: The Gathering many creatures with the Deathtouch ability are like this, as are several things with Wither. The first kills if any damage is dealt, the other makes damage essentially permanent instead of resetting at end of turn.
- Getting 10 Poison Counters will cause a player to automatically lose regardless of their life total. Many creatures in the Scars of Mirrodin set have the Infect ability, which is like Wither when battling other creatures, and inflicts damage in the form of Poison Counters to players.
- Phage, the Untouchable. One hit from her and a player loses the game outright. Not because of her power, that's only a four, barely bigger than an everyday elephant. No, she kills thanks to this trope.
- Ermordenung, a type of Poisonous Person inspired by the Hawthorne story above, are a covert, lethal presence in the Ravenloft setting.
- The Brothers of Ypres, from Vampire: The Requiem. The bloodline's originator, Pvt Owen Thomas Jones, was a solider embraced in the trenches of World War One and took advantage of gas attacks to feed on the dying. The bloodline internalized the toxins allowing them to create poisons from their bodies at the cost of only feeding on the poisoned.
- In Changeling: The Lost, the Blightbent are this. They are elementals of pollution, and can deliberately poison people with a touch. Likewise, the Venombites.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Of all the various poison-type Pokémon, Grimer and Muk fit best, as they are composed entirely of toxic sludge that can apparently kill plants on contact and keep anything from growing in that spot ever again. It can also cause a fever if someone so much as accidentally touches one, though their stench is so strong your nose would have to be broken to even consider that...
- Which would make fighting or training one ridiculously dangerous.
- Koffing's essentially a giant floating bag of extremely poisonous (and extremely flammable!) gases. Its evolved form, Weezing is two of them fused together, as if one wasn't bad enough on its own.
- As for Poison specialists, Gym Leader/Elite Four Koga, and his daughter Janine, use teams of all Poison-type Pokemon.
- Moke from The Reconstruction is a comparatively mild example—the fluid that leaks from his skin doesn't do much more than smell horrible. However, it indicates a natural affinity for poison, as reflected in his style of magic, which contrasts quite much with his personality.
- The Darkspawn of Dragon Age. Their very blood is poisonous and those who survive infection by its taint become thralls of the Darkspawn and the Old Gods that call to them. The Grey Wardens' Joining inoculates the survivors against the more immediate and nasty effects of the Taint; however, their version of the Taint still allows other Darkspawn to sense their presence, and in thirty or so years the Taint will overwhelm them anyway. The disease they spread affects wildlife and the environment as well leaving wastelands populated by blighted horrors in their wake. In Awakening, should you choose to spare a Darkspawn Messenger and give him a chance to prove his good intentions, he will end up accidentally infecting people with the blight while acting as a Good Samaritan.
- Medicine Melancholy, a (minor) character in the Touhou series, basically draws her power from this. She has the ability to manipulate poison in any form, and it's implied that she herself is poisonous, placing her well within this trope.
- Cynder from the Legend of Spyro trilogy has poison as one of her powers in the third game... and she's Spyro's girlfriend.
- In Defense of the Ancients, the hero Lesale Deathbringer, the Venomancer. According to his Backstory, he experimented with toxins on himself.
- Cloe Walsh in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
- This is one of the perks in Crimsonland. It also has a radioactive variety.
- White Pikmin from Pikmin 2 are able to absorb poison and can poison animals who eat them.
- In League of Legends, Singed is a chemist of the Mad Scientist variety with a number of dangerous chemicals at his disposal, including a stream of poison that he can trail behind him. His body is so heavily scarred and hardened from his tests that he serves as a tank champion.
- Dungeon Fighter Online: Brawlers become this after they awaken as a Hellcat and obtain a passive skill which poisons enemies who hit her, the chance being greater if the Hellcat is bleeding. This is a result of building up immunity to poison, yet letting it build up in her system at the same time.
- "This poison does not exist to strengthen you. It uses you to become stronger. It is at your expense that its embrace becomes more formidable." -Luise, the first Hellcat
- Gravelord Nito, First of the Dead from Dark Souls. During the war against the ancient dragons, Nito unleashed a wave of miasma and death powerful enough to poison the immortal dragons. During the boss fight against Nito, the attacks from his sword can inflict the deadly "Toxic" status effect (which is basically "Poison" on steroids) on the player.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- Viper, a member of the Serpent Syndicate in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has a "poison touch". Her teammate King Cobra not only has a poisonous bite, but he can spit his venom as a ranged weapon.
- Sekhmet is an Egyptian supervillain whose powers allow him to infect others with fast-acting diseases. And fast-acting can be read as "initial infection to full blown presentation" in a matter of seconds) diseases.
- Puppet of the Whateley Universe. Her blood and lymph are so poisonous she isn't allowed out of her room and visitors have to wear biohazard gear. She looks like a normal pretty teen except that her green blood gives her skin a green tint.
- Back in 1994 very specific circumstances led to what appears to be a woman's body essentially becoming toxic causing illness in several people in the emergency room she was at before she died. The real cause is unknown but this is discussed in this article.
- Some anti-flea medicines can effectively make a dog who takes these regularly be a walking flea poison trap. The evidence of this is finding dead fleas on the dog—presumably, they tried to bite and then died upon contact.
- Number 2 on this list describes a professor who, after undergoing experimental radioactive treatments for a thyroid condition, wound up with dangerously radioactive bodily fluids. Oh, and he was wanted by the police for escaping arrest when accused of pedophilia. Which means, at some point, a police radio SOMEWHERE was heard saying "The subject is considered radioactive and dangerous."
- It's even better than that, at the time some newspaper headlines warned people that a "radioactive paedophile" was on the loose.
- According to the show the Romans used to create "catevaris" by feeding small amounts of poison to a child over time until they developed an immunity to poison and deadly body fluids. Probably fictional. (Though at least one individual from Roman times seems to have pulled it off.)
- There was a scientist (who ended up with the nickname "The Atomic Man") who worked on nuclear weapons technology who was injured in an Americium explosion. His body registered on Geiger counters for the rest of his life - and presumably long after.
- Many Amphibians such as Fire Salamanders and Poison Dart Frogs.
- Asymptomatic disease carriers, such as the (in)famous Tyhpoid Mary, can at the very least be said to invoke this trope in the minds of others.