Jul 10 2012

Real-Life Superpowers: Immunity to Poisons

Published by at 6:56 pm under Real-Life Superpowers,Superpowers

The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins (a delightful concept for a scholarly publication, by the way) reported that American opossums produce a protein which leaves them immune to normally-lethal venoms, from sources such as:

  • Cobras, taipans and rattlesnakes, including species they have not encountered in the wild.
  • Ricin
  • Congress
  • Botulinum toxin

Since protein production is directed by genes, a capability like this might be interesting if you’re writing a genetically-engineered superhero or villain.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Real-Life Superpowers: Immunity to Poisons”

  1. deadmanshandon 10 Jul 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I call dibs on the Might Opossum!

  2. Goronon 10 Jul 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Possum Man has the uncanny ability to play dead, and not be killed by snakes.

  3. deadmanshandon 10 Jul 2012 at 9:15 pm

    It’s an unconventional superhero, I admit.

  4. B. McKenzieon 10 Jul 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I’m envisioning a scientist giving a super-soldier a highly-experimental DNA supplement* to help the soldier deal with a bio-themed terrorist.
    SOLDIER: Side-effects?
    SCIENTIST: Umm, yeah, about that. Please report any cases of coma or sudden onset death.
    *Soldier gapes.*
    SCIENTIST: They might be temporary!

    *Probably on top of superpowers the character has already received. Immunity to toxins would be pretty niche by itself (unless the premise involved toxins in some way–for example, perhaps the setting is a post-apocalyptic Earth or alien planet with toxic air). Or perhaps the protagonist has been already injected with a lethal toxin of some sort and the genetic-engineering is part of a miracle operation to save him.

  5. Beccaon 11 Jul 2012 at 12:25 am

    What about immunity to iocane powder? 🙂

  6. deadmanshandon 11 Jul 2012 at 12:59 am

    That has to be built up over time.

  7. aharrison 11 Jul 2012 at 9:27 am

    Immunity to toxins might be pretty key if your premise is surviving the zombie apocalypse!

    So would the ability to play dead if you’re the Mighty Opossum.

  8. Linebylineon 11 Jul 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I think we have our next hit superhero.

    Would the costume have a built-in prehensile tail, or would the possum-serum cause our hero to grow one?

    Fun fact: Opossums are known for being immune to rabies. Thery’re not really immune, but they are highly resistant. Hmm…Possible raccoon nemesis?

    (Did I mention I’m not a writer? Now you know why.)

  9. B. McKenzieon 11 Jul 2012 at 8:43 pm

    “Would the costume have a built-in prehensile tail, or would the possum-serum cause our hero to grow one?” I think either might be too 1990s. Personally, I’d recommend approaching it more like Spider-Man or Batman (e.g. the character has some possum-themed capabilities but does not physically resemble the animal except for perhaps minor touches to the costume like the logo or the ears on Batman’s suit).

  10. Aj of Earthon 12 Jul 2012 at 6:26 am

    Congress, ha!

  11. Linebylineon 14 Jul 2012 at 10:58 am

    That my jocular question received a serious and even helpful answer just shows how awesome this blog is. Thanks, B, McKenzie!

  12. Mynaon 22 Jul 2012 at 9:48 am

    This is an awesome idea for a superpower! Although it doesn’t have many offensive capabilities that I can think of right off the bat, it could set up a story pretty fast considering every mad scientist in the country would be after this poor venom-immune superhero.

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