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A character is addicted to a substance, drugs, Alcohol, Caffeine... For most people, it would only cause lots of trouble. Not for this guy. He earns superpowers from an over-consumption, and/or each time he consumes the substance.
Usually, nobody else will get this kind of powers from this substance. Not some kind of Super Serum. Related to Drunken Master (when the character is indeed an alcoholic and much stronger after a drink) and Must Have Caffeine.
Anime & Manga
- In One Piece, Franky's case is a bit different: He's a cyborg who uses cola as an energy source, mostly because he loves cola. (He can use other carbonated drinks, juices or even tea, with...mixed results)
- Inverted with April in Darker Than Black: the remuneration for her powers is to drink. She does like alcohol a lot.
- In Wolf's Rain, Quent Yaden gains the ability to see through the wolves' humanoid disguises after consuming alcohol. On the downside, it impairs his aiming skills.
- Chu from Yu Yu Hakusho in the Dark Tournament arc.
- Inverted with Fujusawa-sensei from El Hazard. He gains Super Strength as a result of coming to El Hazard, but only when he stops drinking. He's not happy about this.
- The Elongated Man drinks a lot of Gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. Evidently, it works only on him.
- Semi-Averted: Gingold can increase flexibility in most people who drink it, but you have to go to serious overdose levels to get actual stretching abilities, which can then be maintained by regular drinking of the normal product. A significant section of the human population is allergic to gingold extract, and thus unable to take advantage of the herb's special properties.
- The New Guardians villain Snowflame is the poster boy for this trope (he's the page image!), having actual observable supernatural abilities powered by cocaine, which he worships as a god.
- Tintin: Give a few drops of alcohol to a tired Captain Haddock, and he'll be good as new.
- Inverted in Empire, where supervillain tyrant Golgoth keeps his minions under control by feeding them a highly addictive power-boosting drug called "Eucharist". It's so addictive that anyone who stops using has a good chance of being driven permanently insane during withdrawal. The inversion becomes apparent with the discovery that derived from the blood of the defeated superhero Endymion. In other words, Endymion's superhuman biology powers everyone else's addictions.
- In Grant Morrison's X-Men, the drug Kick is a highly addictive power-booster that only works on mutants. It's actually the sentient bacteria Sublime, making it an inversion as well -- Sublime's power is to be an addictive power source.
- In one incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, Johnny Quick derives his powers from an addictive substance made from the blood of his predecessor in the role. It's never shown to work for anyone else.
- In Scarface, Tony's cocaine allowed him to take a lot of punishment before going down.
- The Legend Of Drunken Master
- Subverted with Sherlock Holmes: He used cocaine because he believed cocaine stimulated his mind between cases.
"Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere, I can dispense then with artificial stimulants."
- In Lawrence Watt Evans' Ethshar books, the magical power that warlocks have was given by something, possibly a meteorite. It suddenly awoke power in thousands of people. The more that warlocks use their power, the more powerful they get, the more they want to use it, but when they use too much of it, they are compelled to fly to the source and are never heard from again. It's portrayed as an addiction.
- The One Ring of Lord of the Rings is a strange example. It gives its user power, but at the same time creates an addiction to it, to the point where the user couldn't give it to anyone else, thus making him the only one powered by it.
- In the Dune novels, Guild Navigators fit. Breathing great quantities of melange/spice gives them limited powers of prescience, enough to find safe passage when their ship is traveling faster than light. The general population doesn't gain this benefit.
Live Action TV
- Caleb from Flanders Company earned short-range teleportation after spending some time drinking an average of 8 liters of coffee a day. Consuming more coffee also makes him more powerful, allowing him to teleport a whole building at one point.
- On WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny and Venus get drunk and then have their reflexes measured live on-air as a PSA against drunk driving. For some reason, the more Johnny drinks, the better his reflexes are.
- Isaac Mendez on Heroes discovers an ability to paint the future. Unfortunately, Isaac is also a heroin addict who finds he can paint only when high. This effectively means that Isaac's ability is dependent on drug use, creating some awkward issues for him. Eventually, he gets himself clean and discovers that he can paint the future even when sober.
- Happy Endings: One episode has Penny getting drunk, which gives her the power to speak and understand Italian. This isn't just a couple of drinks, either; she has to get wasted to get to the point where she can do this. (Side option: Alex starts lavishly eating ribs when smashed. Not as impressive.)
- My Name Is Earl: Randy is an adept liar, con man and all-around competent at doing stuff, but only after he's had four beers. No more, no fewer.
- There was a Forever Knight episode where Natalie found that a drug called Lidobuterine (sp?) seemed to cure Nick's vampirism. However, it turned into the drug being addictive, and in order to remain 'human', Nick had to keep taking it and get more and more of the drug at once.
- Punch Out's Soda Popinsky. He drinks huge amounts of soda, even in the ring. The drink restores his stamina and increases his punching power, albeit for a short time.
- Dragon Age: Unlike the mages, who simply get a power boost from Lyrium, the Templars' abilities are powered solely by it. However, it is also addictive as hell, and the Chantry monopolizes Lyrium trade to keep its Templar junkies on a short leash.
- In Alpha Protocol, the 1980s-themed villain, Konstantin Brayko, ingests enormous amounts of cocaine to power up and fight Mike Thorton, allowing Brayko to do things like run incredibly fast and be temporarily bulletproof. You can thwart this by having Steven Heck sabotage his supply.
- The insane crime boss Jack Lupino in the original Max Payne overdoses on Valkyr and takes an ungodly amount of lead into the body before he bites the dust. Justified much later by The Reveal that Valkyr was originally developed by US military to create Super Soldiers: in other word, the drugs worked on Lupino as designed, never mind that it also proved addictive as hell.