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The power of a creature to turn into smoke. This is a form of Voluntary Shapeshifting, where the subject doesn't just change shape but can turn intangible -- in the form of smoke, mist, or gas -- while still retaining some coherence and control over the now cloudy body.
This power may have various applications. The most common is invulnerability to most physical attacks. It also allows slipping into tiny cracks to invade any place that isn't airtight. In some case, the cloud can gain very fast movement, maybe depending on the wind. The transformation can double as an attack if the gaseous form is also a Deadly Gas. Poison or no, villains with this power are not above forcing themselves down a victim's airway. It will also probably make the creature invisible if within any cloud or bank of similar-looking smoke or mist.
A subtrope of Elemental Shapeshifter.
- Turning into a cloud of mist is a standard power for vampires. Not every vampire story features this, however. It tends to be less prevalent in live action, maybe due to the difficulty of rendering it well with special effects, or because it is less known than the classic bat or wolf shapes.
Anime & Manga
- In One Piece, some of the Logia users can turn into gaseous elements. Smoker actually turns parts of his body into smoke.
- Punk Hazard's master, Ceasar Clown, possesses a Devil Fruit specifically allowing him to become gas.
- One member of Demon Card around the beginning of Rave Master could do this.
- Bardiel from Neon Genesis Evangelion initially floats around as a storm cloud, infecting Unit 03 when the carrier plane flies through him.
- Kanna from Shaman King uses smoke from her cigarette as her spirit medium.
- IN Berserk, Emperor Ganishka is able to turn himself into a giant humanoid cloud of fog with lightning powers. He also (even while in human form) can blanket a city with Ominous Fog that allows him to sense anything that happens in the cloud.
- Magic the Gathering has the Enchant Creature Gaseous Form, which turns a creature into mist so that it could neither deal nor take damage in combat. The Urborg Phantom could activate this ability at will. Also the Turn to Mist card.
- A monster equipped with the Yu-Gi-Oh! card Mist Body cannot be destroyed by battle.
- The "foglets" in Transmetropolitan upload their brains into clouds of Nanomachines smoke, and take any form they like.
- In Flare, this power was a side effect of Marian Press becoming the Blond Bombshell.
- Mass Master of the Power Pack could disperse himself as smoke or condense into a miniature of himself that weighed the same and was more solid.
- In Astro City, it seems like the Confessor is using a standard Smoke Out, but it turns out to be this instead because he's secretly a vampire.
- Marvel Comics villain Nitro becomes sentient vapor for a while each time he explodes.
- Vincente, a minion of Generation X villain Emplate.
- Amelia Voght of Magneto's Acolytes.
- U-Foes member Vapor.
- One of the Front Line of No Hero has the power to transform into smoke and shoot lightning. Her name is Smoke Lightning or "Smoke".
- In the comic continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula cycles through several of his traditional transformations in an attempt to intimidate the Slayers.
Dracula: You're not frightened?
(after failing to scare them with a wolf and a bat)
Dracula: How about now?
Buffy: I'm not even sure what you are.
Dracula: I am fog.
Buffy: Oh. Then no.
- Wildstorm: Backlash a.k.a. Marc Slayton had this power back in the 90s.
- Various genies in Iznogoud use this to enter/exit a bottle. Or a lamp. Or a shoe, in one case.
Films -- Animation
- The Phantasm from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm seems to do this trick. He doesn't literally turn to smoke, but is still virtually untouchable. Note that technically The Phantasm is a woman.
- One of Dark Heart's forms in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation.
Films -- Live-Action
- Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stokers Dracula is one of the few cinematographic adaptations faithful enough to have the title vampire turning into mist before slipping into Mina's bedroom or Renfield's cell.
- From The Mummy Trilogy, Imhotep doesn't exactly turn into smoke, but can become a cloud of dust and sand moving under its own power.
- Son of Dracula has vampires that can travel by turning themselves into a mist.
- Dracula: Dead and Loving It, being surprisingly well-researched for a parody movie, includes Dracula turning into fog.
- The Harry Potter films gave the Death Eaters this power instead of Apparition (teleportation), presumably for Rule of Cool purposes.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula is certainly the most well-known example of a vampire with the power to turn into mist.
- Jack Fleming from The Vampire Files has this as his only alternate form, as opposed to Drac's additional wolf and bat shapes, but with the added perk that his smoke form is invisible -- except, oddly, in mirrors. He can still hear when "vanished", but he's blind until he reappears, and while he can move around (like swimming underwater with his eyes shut), he can't touch anything or do anything except brush against people and make them feel really cold. He uses it for evading bad guys and B&E, sometimes simultaneously.
- Saint Dane from The Pendragon Adventure can turn into smoke upon being "killed" (or just at will) and reform elsewhere. So can the other travelers, in the last book. We only see Bobby do it twice, though.
- The Black Court vampire Mavra in The Dresden Files can naturally do this, as Dracula was written to describe their powers and vulnerabilities. When Harry complains that she's late to a meeting she, in a surprisingly human moment for a totally inhuman character, attributes it to there being a headwind.
- Laas the Changeling from Star Trek Deep Space Nine can transform into mist -- so good that O'Brien assumes tampered weather controls. It's implied most changelings can do this, and generally come into any non-hermetic place. (Laas can even creep into a runabout, in space!)
- The Man In Black on Lost, otherwise known as the Smoke Monster. It's not very intangible smoke, though.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula can do most of his traditional transformations. See the comics continuation above.
- One of the supers-of-the-week on No Ordinary Family has this power.
- Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie does this to enter/exit her bottle.
- One episode of The Adventures of Sinbad has a villain with this power courtesy of the "Sword of Hades", which would turn him into smoke when unsheathed (thus making him practically invulnerable in combat) while remaining quite solid and dangerous to his enemies itself. Notable for also showcasing the weakness of such a form -- the villain is ultimately defeated by the heroes using a giant fan they built overnight to create enough wind to disperse his smoke form beyond recovery.
- This is the main form of Demons in Supernatural when they're not possessing humans.
Myths & Religion
- This is a standard power for Djinns, Efreets and other Genies. Turning into smoke is often the prerequisite for exiting from (or slipping into) tiny lamps or bottles. This led to the common representation of Genies lacking legs, the lower body being still vaporous while the upper body is solid.
- One of the traits of the Yuki-Onna from Japanese Mythology is the ability to turn into a cloud of mist when they feel threatened.
- Classical Mythology: Zeus is said to have entered the locked, windowless room of one of his many conquests through the airholes as a shower of gold.
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Several spells and magical items allow this, notably the "potion of Gaseous Form", the "Wind Walk" spell, etc.
- Also, several creatures have this power, including the aforementioned Genies and Vampires. Some fiends, like the Yochlol or Alkilith, can likewise turn into poisonous gas.
- In the Fast Play adventure Crypt of the Smoke Dragon, the title monster turns into smoke when it attacks.
- In the Ravenloft setting, in addition to many vampires' gaseous forms, the wererat Jacqueline Renier is able to turn into a cloud of horrible-smelling vapor as one of her Darklord powers.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade, the "Protean" discipline includes the ability to turn into mist. Unlike most examples of this trope, the game explicitly says that vampires can't see or fight like this, and that's it's mostly used for escape or hiding.
- The Diffuse advantage in GURPS.
- In Shadowrun, a spell allows you to turn into smoke. It makes you invulnerable to almost every attack, but you can't fight back. Gust spells are one of the only ways to harm a person in this form.
- The "Desolidification" power in Hero System.
- Zaktan, being made of millions of small creatures called protodites, can act in this manner.
- The Makuta are armour-wearing smoke. In addition, the Makuta Teridax spends 2006 without the armour.
- Damned Queen Chesspiece of Devil May Cry 3 can turn into a cloud of mist that's untouchable until she recollects herself.
- One power that Kain earns in Blood Omen and keeps throughout the Legacy of Kain games is the ability to turn into mist to pass through portcullis and grates.
- World of Warcraft has the shadow priest move "Dispersion" which turns them into a cloud of purple shadow, rendering them almost invulnerable, unable to attack, and restores Mana very quickly.
- Being the son of Dracula, Alucard in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the ability to turn into mist, and later, poison gas.
- Smoke from Mortal Kombat, natch. This extends even to his robotic form, strangely enough. Later installments decided to explain this as "nanomachines".
- In a Starcraft II cinematic, it is shown that Dark Templar Zeratul's invisibility manifests like this.
- In the Touhou Project, this is one of the abilities available to Suika Ibuki, due to her power to control density.
- Champions Online
- The Ice-set power "Vapor Form" is a sort of panic-button defensive power that can turn the player intangible for a brief period, enhancing defense and IIRC boosting elemental damage dealt.
- In addition, in the Vibora Bay expansion, the vampire Immortals of the New Shadows faction aren't really killed, unlike other members of the faction. Yes, their body crumbles to dust, but a cloud of mist with a 1/3 full health bar (and utterly invulnerable) flies around for a few moments later before fading; it is implied that they will reform elsewhere later.
- In Baldurs Gate II, vampires slain in combat turn to a small cloud of mist and fly away at speed. Non-random encounter vampires will fly back to their coffin to reform, where they can be staked and permanently put down.
- In The Lost Crown, the ghostly Ager brothers sometimes manifest as black-clad glowering figures, and other times as billowing ink-black columns of malevolent vapor.
- In this strip of The Order of the Stick, Elan finds "Wind Walk" to be the best cleric spell ever. Durkon isn't so enthusiastic.
- Elizabeth from Blip has this power, as she's a vampire.
- In The Kingfisher, this seems to be a power of the Kellgren lineage. Patricia is shown using it to move quickly in Theodore's backstory (form of a mist), and Theodore himself uses it in front of Jack. Sombretas can also become a shadowy dustdevil for a short time.
- Erzebet of the Whateley Universe can do this. It's one of several shapes she can shift into. Unfortunately, she loses her clothing when she does it. And because of the shapes she can take, her family cast her out, thinking she was a vampire. She's not, she's just a limited Shifter.
- Code Lyoko
- The Trope Namer: William gains the "Super Smoke" power along with his Evil Costume Switch. This allows him to move very quickly on Lyoko, on par with Ulrich's Super Speed, to fly and to escape many attacks.
- The Polymorphic Specters can likewise turn into smoke in the real world, and one even uses this shape to clog Jérémie's airways and try suffocating him in episode "Franz Hopper".
- Misty in My Life as a Teenage Robot has the power of turning into purple smoke to become intangible and Mind Control opponents.
- Nightmare Moon from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic could do this, among many other tricks.
- Puff, the bounty hunter from Static Shock, is able to turn herself (or just her lower half) into a purple cloud, doubling as Deadly Gas.