List of comic book drugs

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This is a list of performance enhancers, serums, trigger chemicals, booster drugs, and mutagenic foods in fictional universes, that were used to give a specific hero or villain their powers. This list also provides a brief summary of heroes who gained their powers from special concoctions like Captain America's Super Soldier Serum, Hourman's Miraclo and the original Blue Beetle's Vitamin 2X.


Ace Periodicals[edit]

Power Elixir[edit]

Developed by a scientist named Dr. Carter, who inoculated his two sons with the serum. It gave them super strength and super-speed, but left a "W" scar on their chest. Stan, the elder son, went on to become the Golden Age hero Lone Warrior, and his younger brother Dicky became his sidekick. It first appears in Banner #3.[1][2]

Antarctic Press[edit]

Ultra Serum[edit]

Ultra Serum is the drug which gives Captain Patriot his powers. The drug was designed and administered by the Enterprise Group. It first appears in Meta-Docs #0.[2][3]

Archie Comics[edit]

Secret Formula F22X[edit]

This formula was developed by Blaine Whitney, better known as Golden Age super hero the Wizard. In order to make his physical prowess match that of his super mental powers, he invented a serum that increased his strength to superhuman levels. It first appears in Top-Notch Comics #1.[2][4]

SHIELD Formula[edit]

The SHIELD formula was designed by scientist Tom Higgins. He was killed by enemy agents before he could complete his research and fully develop the formula. Years later, his son, Joe Higgins, was able to finish the formula. He rubbed it into his body, donned a special suit that allowed the chemical to be absorbed more easily, and then lay under fluoroscopic lamps in order to force the formula into his organs. When he emerged 12 hours later, he had developed the super powers that he used to fight crime as the Golden Age hero the Shield. It first appears in Pep Comics #1.[2]

Avatar press[edit]


A "singularly disturbing, sometimes permanently deranging and occasionally spectacularly fatal" drug used by Carrick Masterson to create the superheroes in his super hero team The Levellers in the 1960s and again in his later group "The Front Line". "It's a less-than-friendly psychedelic whose positive effects include feelings of great strength and energy, intensification of the senses and general unusual stimulation. It also makes you poo yourself and be generally unpleasant to be around." [5]

Big Bang Comics[edit]

Panacea Pills[edit]

The Panacea Pills are a powerful mutagenic stimulant in capsule form. They are separated into three different colored pills from which Vita-Man gets his powers of superstrength (red), constitution (yellow), and speed (blue).[6]

Rocket Pills[edit]

The Rocket Pills are a mutagenic steroid used by Jimmy Travis the Blitz of Earth A (Silver Age), and his sidekick Marty Eastman the Cyclone to gain superhuman speed. Unfortunately, Cyclone became addicted to the pills and was forced to retire until he beat his addiction. Mack Snelling the Blitz of Earth B (Golden Age), also used Rocket Pills.[7]

Charlton Comics[edit]

U-235 Pills[edit]

U-235 pills were developed by Professor Invento, and they gave Atomic Mouse his powers. The active ingredient in these pills was Uranium-235. First appears in Atomic Mouse #1.


Performance Enhancers[edit]

Demon from the Justice Machine took a special performance enhancing super drug, to which he eventually became addicted. The drug granted him limited super speed, as well as enhanced reflexes and strength.[8]

Dark Horse[edit]


Grendel is a recreational drug from the time of Grendel Prime that enhanced human strength. Grendel: War Child #1.[2]


A drug from the comic Empowered, Mayfly grants 1/500 people who use it super-intelligence, at the price of cancer that kills within 24 hours. The other 499/500 end up simply getting cancer. A boy with cancer whom Empowered befriended gained his powers through the use of it, and at present is working to handle the side-effects.

DC Comics[edit]

Anabolus serum[edit]

Dr. Anabolus created an experimental super soldier serum which he tested on a puppy donated by the U.S. Army K-9 corps. The formula transformed the puppy into Rex the Wonder Dog. Rex gained increased speed, strength, stamina, agility, and intelligence. Dr. Anabolus was killed by a Nazi spy shortly after, leaving Rex as the only proof of his formula's existence. The serum first appears in Rex the Wonder Dog #1.

Anti-lead serum[edit]

Invented by Saturn Girl and perfected by Brainiac 5, anti-lead serum protected Daxamites from the effects of lead, which affects them like Kryptonite affects Superman. The serum also allowed Mon-El to keep his powers on worlds with a red sun.[2]


The mutagenic compound called Apocritic was made from Starro DNA by Checkmate scientists. The drug allows special field operatives designated as Rooks to maintain a telepathic link at the risk of summoning Starro to Earth.[9]

Bio-restorative formula[edit]

Bio-restorative formula was developed by Alec Holland to increase the growth of plants. When a bomb exploded in his lab, Holland was doused with the burning fluid and ran dying into the Louisiana bayou. The formula combined the consciousness of Alec Holland and the swamp plants to form Swamp Thing. Before the accident, Holland calculated that 300,000,000 gallons of the Bio-Restorative Formula could have turned a desert the size of California's Mojave into a fertile crop field. The formula appeared in Swamp Thing #1.[2]

Burnt Sienna[edit]

Burnt Sienna is a chemical warfare agent developed during the Vietnam War. An allegory of Agent Orange, it was discontinued because it was felt to be too dangerous. It was later used by a local cult leader in Cambodia who discovered that it left those exposed open to suggestion. It first appears in Captain Atom #47.[2]


Bzrk is a toxic mutagen manufactured on the planet Apokolips. Human users increase in size and strength until they spontaneously combust. It was first seen in Martian Manhunter v.2 #30 (May 2001).[10]


Chuckles is a recreational drug created and distributed by Maxie Zeus in Batman: Cacophony. Its key ingredient is a diluted form of The Joker toxin, another ingredient is ecstasy. Its sale causes a turf war between Zeus and the Joker.


Cortexin is a drug created by Dr. Michael Grant, that when spilled into the water supply, gave human intelligence to the animals who drank it. This intelligence was passed down to their descendants, resulting in the talking animals of Kamandi's time. It was first mentioned in Kamandi #16.[2]

Cosmic Carrots[edit]

When eaten by Roger Rodney Rabbit (Captain Carrot), the Cosmic Carrots dramatically enhance his physical characteristics for roughly 24 hours, depending on his physical exertion. They grew in soil contaminated by a radioactive meteor fragment (Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #1)


Delirium is a mystical hallucinogen from India in powder form, which, when inhaled, "unleashes the demon that resides inside every man". Prolonged use results in insanity. It first appears in Hawkman #39.[2]


DMN is an addictive mutagen that transforms its users into pseudo-demons, the users becoming increasingly violent as they approach the end of their 'high'. It was created by Lord Satanus in Adventures of Superman #534.[2]A modified airborne viral version of this mutagen, also created by Lord Satanus, can turn demons into soulless humans.[11]


Eucharist is an addictive enhancer drug made from the blood of the hero Endymion handed out by arch-villain Golgoth to his favored lieutenants. It is from Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's Empire #3.


The Exo-gene (also exogene) is a toxic gene therapy treatment created by Lexcorp for the Everyman Project. Unlike the genetically inherited Metagene, the Exo-gene can grant superhuman powers to anyone tested and found compatible, but it can potentially cause massive organ failure six months later. The exo-gene can be disrupted by an electromagnetic pulse or deactivated completely by mechanical means. It first appears in 52 #4, first announcement of the Everyman Project in 52 #8.

Fear gas[edit]

The fear gas, also known as fear toxin, is a gaseous toxin invented by an unstable psychologist named Jonathan Crane (alias the Scarecrow). The toxin causes its victims to experience their greatest fears and assorted phobias, and if taken in large enough doses it may have prolonged mutagenic properties. According to comments made by the Signalman in Justice League of America #1 (2006) it has also become a recreational drug for teenagers.


Gingold is a special formula made from a rare tropical fruit called Gingo, that grants the Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), and Stretch from Hero Hotline their unique stretching abilities; Gingo is also used in Gingold brand cola. It was revealed in Invasion! #3 that it is a metagene reaction to Gingold that grants Ralph Dibny his stretching powers, and ordinary humans will not develop stretching powers after using Gingold. (Although, in the pages of 52, Ralph successfully used it on an unconscious demon, tying up its then-rubbery body.) Normal humans are supposedly highly allergic to the concentrated form of Gingo used by Dibny. Gingold is also used in the Pseudoderm material from which the Question's mask is made.[2]


Introduced in the pages of Hawkworld, Hairballs is a drug that slowly transforms its users into feral werebeasts. The more they use, the more feral and out of control they become, as demonstrated by FerAlyse and other denizens of Chicago's Netherworld. It was introduced in Hawkworld #30.[2]

Ilium 349[edit]

Ilium 349 is a special rare-earth element like Kryptonite, which was found only in the Pre-Crisis version of the bottle city of Kandor. Ilium 349 was discovered by renegade Kandorian scientist Zak-Kul who used it to create a device which could be used to either shrink or enlarge a person or city.[12]

Ivo's immortality serum[edit]

The unstable Professor Ivo perfected an immortality serum that made him immortal, and indestructible, but horribly disfigured his body and made him even more mentally unstable.[13]

Joker venom[edit]

Joker venom is an liquid or gaseous toxin which sends its targets into fits of uncontrollable laughter; higher doses can lead to paralysis, coma or death, leaving its victim with a ghoulish, painful rictus grin. The Joker has used this venom since his debut; only he knows the formula and he can manufacture the toxin from ordinary household chemicals. Another version of the venom (used in Joker's Last Laugh) makes its victims resemble the Joker, susceptible to his orders.

KT-28s (Katies)[edit]

KT-28s, or Katies, are a fictional psychoactive drug in Watchmen. Later in the novel, Dr Manhattan states that he can synthesize limitless amounts of lithium which would lead to advances in technology. Lithium is also used as a drug in psychiatric treatment and the term KT-28, which sounds more like an official pharmaceutical name, implying a legitimate drug which has somehow found its way onto the streets.[14]


Krotan is a drug from Thanagar that allows a person to shapeshift. It only works once on a human, but a Thanagarian can change shape an unlimited amount of times. It is highly addictive and prolonged users become incapable of retaining a cohesive shape if not given the drug regularly. It is used and trafficked to Earth by the Thanagarian criminal Byth. It is introduced in the pages of Hawkworld.[2] Pre-Crisis, Krotan was the name of a scientist who invented a similar drug called the Changeling Pill.

Lazarus Pit[edit]

The various chemicals native to Lazarus Pits have demonstrated the ability to resurrect the dead. Upon resurrection, the subjects exhibit temporary dementia. The substance that fills each pit was originally a chemical blend of unknown composition, until Kobra recreated their unique chemical composition. Ra's al Ghul and Kobra each had their own secret network of Lazarus Pits, and because of their necessity to the Earth's survival, Batman also created a Lazarus Pit in the Batcave.


Miraclo is the drug that gave Hourman (Rex Tyler) his powers which include superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability, as well as night vision and the ability to survive underwater. These powers lasted only a single hour. Furthermore, the drug also proved to be addictive, requiring Hourman to limit himself to one pill a day to protect himself from the negative side-effects.[2]

The drug is featured in Arrow, where its effects are permanent and cause mental instability in those subjected to the formula. These effects are counteracted in the series if a sedative is applied along with the drug. Slade Wilson is portrayed as the first and most prominent person subjected to it. It is portrayed as a serum developed by the Japanese supersoldier project, and takes the name Mirakuru.


Profen is a powerful mutagen used by Sean Erin to induce a sex change, changing him from male to the female Shvaugn Erin, for the express purposes of attracting Element Lad. It first appears in Legion of Super Heroes #31.[2]


Sauncha is the spinach-like foodstuff from which Captain Strong gained his powers.[15][16]

Serum X[edit]

Serum X is an injectable mutagen that transformed water-breathing Atlanteans into air breathers. The serum is from Aquaman #35.[2]


Sharp is a drug that apparently regulates and slows down the accelerated metabolism of super-speedsters in the DC Universe. Unlike most speedsters, Eliza Harmon (Trajectory of Infinity Inc.) was unable to slow her highly accelerated perceptions of the world around her and so turned to the drug. The drug was first used in the pages of 52 #17.


Soul is a street drug from Gotham City created by "Doctor Death". It has one of two effects on a person, it either enhances their best qualities or brings out their worst qualities. It is apparently produced from rendered corpses.[2]

Speed Juice[edit]

Unlike the Flash's natural connection to the Speed Force, Johnny Quick from the Crime Syndicate of Amerika receives his powers by injecting himself with an enhancer drug called "Speed Juice". Whether or not Speed Juice has any relationship to Velocity 9 is unknown at this time.

Steroid A39[edit]

Steroid A39 is a medication originally developed to treat the rare medical condition xenoderma pigmentosum. It later surfaces as an addictive street drug that turns its habitual users into mindless super-strong zombies. This drug, mixed with alcohol and adrenaline was responsible for Dr. Pieter Cross gaining the ability to see in the dark. He used this ability to become the new Doctor Mid-Nite. The drug is from the Doctor Mid-Nite miniseries.[2]

Super-plastic liquid[edit]

After being accidentally drunk, the super-plastic mutagen granted Chuck Taine "super bouncing powers" as Bouncing Boy, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. It is from Action Comics #301.


Tar is an addictive and illegal street drug that causes rapid physical mutation and grants the user limited super strength. Those who use tar are called "tar freaks". An insidious side effect causes the user seek out battles. There is another version of tar called s-tar or (super-tar) which causes an even greater increase in strength and is even more addicting, also once a person had used s-tar 3 times it would build up in their system which would become fatal.[2]


Thrill is a recreational drug manufactured by Scarecrow for the Black Mask. It is from Batgirl (Vol. 3) #1-7.

Velocity 9[edit]

Velocity 9 was a drug developed by Vandal Savage. It granted its user with a high that included the ability to travel at superspeed. But these highs came at a severe cost to the user, causing premature aging, exhaustion, red eyes, staring, salivating, and eventually death. It was especially appealing to highly successful young men.


Venom is a potently addictive strength-enhancing super-steroid. According to JSA Classified #17 (November 2006), Venom is a potent variant based on the Miraclo formula developed at Bannerman Pharmaceuticals, the drug company formerly owned by Rex Tyler, the original Hourman, although it does not have the same 60 minute limitation as Miraclo. The drug, usually injected in a constant supply into the base of the neck would instantly transform someone into a hulking mass of unbridled physical strength. Bane's apparatus included a special "boost" button to give him a jolt of Venom when needed. However, as the drug wore off or when the user was cut off from its constant supply, their body would rapidly return to its original state or sometimes even weaker, at which point the user would suffer from massive, debilitating withdrawal, usually accompanied by terrible, frightening hallucinations. The first appearance of the drug was a five-part story arc, Batman: Venom,[17] in Legends of the Dark Knight issues 16-20. Venom was created by psychotic Doctor Randolph Porter in his attempt to prove himself superior to other scientists working on similar, but less extreme, strength-enhancing chemicals. Porter created and used on himself an intelligence-enhancing drug that functioned similarly to Venom and caused his emotional responses to numb, demonstrated when he orchestrated his own young daughter's death as part of the scheme to entrap Batman; this possible mental variant of Venom has not been seen or heard of since the original storyline. Batman became addicted to the drug while searching for a way to cope for his physical limitations and imperfections. When his suppliers ordered him to kill Commissioner Gordon to halt Gordon's investigation into their activities and he actually contemplated doing so, he realized how dependant on the drug he had become, prompting him to lock himself in the Batcave for a month with only the essential food and water he would need for that time frame to "detox" himself. During that same time frame, the scientist and a general he was working with for funding used Venom and various surgeries and psychological training to turn the general's intellectual, sensitive son into a thuggish brute dependent on the drug and programmed to accept any order given to him by his father, forcing Batman to use a recording of the general's voice to make his foe stop. Later, it resurfaced as the power source for Bane, who used it to overpower and cripple Batman by breaking his back over his knee in the Knightfall story arc, although Bane has since forsaken the drug and built himself up to a Venom-like muscular state through rigorous training to remove his dependency on it. A version of it, spiked with a metabolizing form of Kryptonite was used by President Lex Luthor in the first "Superman/Batman" story arc, prompting Batman to speculate that Luthor's use of Venom may be responsible for his recent, more "outlandish" schemes, such as attempting to accuse Superman of being responsible for a Kryptonite meteorite the size of Texas heading for Earth.

In the Batman Beyond universe, steroid patches known as "slappers" contained small doses of impact-release Venom. They were mainly used as performance enhancers in competitive sports, although the use of multiple patches at once could produce Bane-like combat abilities. However, if extensively used, the slappers would eventually cripple the user as a side effect, pushing them to the point where they would have trouble coping without it. This was shown in Bane's fate at the time, with Bane having become so reliant on Venom after years of addiction that he became a weak, frail figure who needed Venom just to keep breathing, strapped to an oxygen tank and confined to a chair. Before he was completely debilitated, he was forced to teach his male nurse how to make Venom so he could continue to supply Bane with it. However, the nurse decides to profit from it as a drug dealer, resulting in him creating the slapper patches to sell to athletes which leads the new Batman (Terry McGinnis) to investigate when they start showing up in Gotham. After discovering the nurse is leading the drug operation, he confronts the nurse, who uses the patches to bulk himself up, though he ends up getting knocked into a crate of patches which turn him into a hulking brute, after which he eventually overdoses and becomes debilitated, leading to his arrest along with his drug trafficking ring.

In the Burton/Schumacher film series, Venom is engineered by Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) to be injected into plants for the power to defend themselves like animals. Her Wayne Enterprises coworker Dr. Woodrue steals samples of base Venom and reengineers it with steroids and toxins in order to create a super-soldier army of which Bane is the prototype. Venom appears to have the same physical reaction after injection, but leaves the user mindless and insensate. Venom is also part of Isley's transformation into Poison Ivy, with Isley transforming into her new state after she is thrown into a vat of chemicals that included Venom, although she never demonstrates any enhanced strength, relying on Bane to do most of her fighting and being swiftly defeated by Batgirl in her debut. Woodrue calls Venom his "super-soldier serum", invoking the name of the formula used to create Captain America in a similar fashion in the Marvel Universe.

In the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dr. Penelope Young, an Arkham doctor, manufactures a more powerful form of Venom codenamed "Titan", under the orders of Jack White, also known as the Joker, believing that Titan's strength-enhancing properties could be used to help patients better cope with the physical treatment they would have to endure during their therapy. Bane is later unwillingly reinjected with Venom (since at this point he had beaten his addiction to the drug and considered it to be a crutch and a handicap only used by the weak) by Joker to kill Batman, although Batman defeats him by disconnecting him from his tank. The Joker later reveals that he plans to use the upgraded "Titan" drug to help his army conquer Gotham City. After Batman defeats Joker's thugs and his Titan-fueled lackeys, Joker tries to shoot Commissioner Gordon with a Titan dart, but Batman takes the dart, using a Titan antidote he had developed earlier on himself even after Joker injects himself with Titan, preferring to fight his own way rather than allowing the Joker to provoke him into using his methods. Titan-Joker nearly kills Batman in his advanced form, but is later electric-shocked and returns to normal. The final cutscene shows Bane, Killer Croc, or Scarecrow gaining possession of a crate full of Titan.

Titan resurfaces in the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, where it is again used by Bane. Additionally, samples of Titan are discovered in various locations in the city, requiring Batman to work with Bane to recover and destroy them, although its most significant role is through the toll it has already exacted on the Joker's body from his overdose back at the asylum. The consequences of his overdose provide the Joker's motivation for his various actions in the sequel, the Joker seeking to escape his imminent death due to the blood poisoning caused by the serum, going so far as to infect Batman with the serum and send his blood to other hospitals in Gotham so that Batman will be forced to help him develop a cure to save the innocents infected with the disease.

In the prequel, Batman: Arkham Origins, Bane is the leader of a gang, providing some of his chief lieutenants with Venom tanks that they can use in their fights with Batman, albeit with a comparatively limited physical effect; none of the henchmen shown using the Venom demonstrate anything more than a conventionally muscular physique. Bane is originally shown as a very well-built, sumo-wrestler-esque figure, but develops into the mutated state depicted in earlier games when he gives himself a large dosage of a Titan prototype, the drugs subsequently damaging his mind and apparently erasing his memory of Batman's secret identity.

While Venom does not feature in Batman: Arkham Knight, its use plays a part in the game's storyline. While the Joker was unable to distribute his blood en masse, four people were infected with the blood after it was sent to various hospitals before Batman could stop his plan, each one demonstrating some aspect of the Joker's personality, ranging from his intellect to his showmanship or his obsession with Batman. Batman himself is also tainted by Joker's blood, causing him to experience hallucinations of the Joker after exposure to Scarecrow's fear toxin causes him to begin to develop a split personality that may take control of him, but he is eventually able to suppress the Joker persona after a second dose of toxin causes the Joker personality to experience his own fear of being forgotten. In the Batgirl DLC, Batgirl can find tape recordings made by a rich father who was duped in the past by Joker (whom the father knows under his Jack White alias) and Dr. Penny Young into testing the Titan formula on his ill daughter in hopes of curing her. The father builds the amusement park Joker uses as a hideout in the present for his daughter, who ultimately dies as a result of the testing, leading her father to kill himself and allowing Joker to take control of the abandoned park, while at the same time help Doctor Young perfect the formula.

In Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2, Venom is used by Bane much like in the comics granting him strength, but at the same time his greatest weakness which is exploited in both games' story modes by his enemies.

In the series Young Justice, Santa Prisca, the birthplace of Venom, is depicted as the single largest manufacturer of the drug, but suddenly it began hoarding it; Batman sent the Young Justice team in to find out why. Eventually it is revealed that the Cult of Kobra has begun hoarding the Venom in order to develop a Venom/Blockbuster-hybrid drug, later dubbed "Kobra venom"; the resulting combination creates a permanent transformation combining the strength of both transformations and successfully transformed a meek teenager into Mammoth. By the end of the episode, the Venom manufacturing plant is destroyed along with the hybrid formula. Sportsmaster, however, is able to deliver a single vial of the formula to the Light, a shadow organization, from which they will be able to reverse engineer more.

In the film The Dark Knight Rises, Bane's addiction to Venom is replaced by an unnamed pain killer administered through his mask to treat injuries sustained while he was in prison. Despite helping increase his strength and endurance, the drug does not spontaneously enhance his muscle density, with Bane's physique portrayed as merely that of a very well-built individual, but his dependence on it, due to the aforementioned injuries, is used against him in his second fight with Batman when the Caped Crusader manages to damage the tubes on his mask which provide him with the drug.

In episode 5 of the television series Gotham, an early version of Venom, called Viper, is being circulated on the streets to some members of the lower class by a man named Stan Potolsky, who used to work for WellZyn Laboratories, a division of Wayne Enterprises. Viper is shown to give its users super-strength through a process which redistributes an individual's calcium sources throughout the body to the user's muscles. For this reason, users of Viper are frequently consuming large quantities of calcium-rich foods, such as gallons of milk and cheese, to replace their depleted sources of calcium. When unable to consume the required calcium, the user's body begins to undergo rapid atrophy until every bone in the user's skeletal system seems to have wasted away, resulting in death. When confronting Potolsky on the rooftop of the building in which the meeting is taking place, Gordon shoots a canister of Viper, releasing the substance in Potolsky's face and exposing him to a very high dosage of Viper, causing him to stagger toward the rooftop ledge. Before falling, Potolsky mentions a warehouse, which upon later investigation, the two detectives find empty.

Vitamin 2X[edit]

Vitamin 2X was created by pharmacist Dr. Franz. This experimental vitamin is what gave the original Blue Beetle his powers.[2]


Roy Lincoln swallowed an experimental explosive capsule which contained X-24, rather than letting it fall into the hands of enemy agents. This caused a transformation that led to him becoming the Human Bomb.[2]


Xium is a mutagenic rare-earth element discovered by the Silver Age Lex Luthor which can transform any normal animal or person into a superhuman. The element was first seen in Action Comics v.1 #257, Nov 1959.[18]

Yatz Serum[edit]

Developed by defecting Soviet scientist Prof. Emil Yatz, Yatz Serum grants the recipient a superhuman healing factor, along with enhanced strength, stamina, and agility. Yatz injected Jack Ryder with his only sample, saving the latter's life from a gunshot wound and playing a part in his becoming The Creeper. Yatz subsequently destroyed his notes and equipment before being shot and killed himself. The serum appears in Showcase #73 (Mar./Apr., 1968).

Z Formula[edit]

Z Formula is used by the villain Mr. Who to increase in size and gain "the strength of ten gorillas" in order to fight Doctor Fate. It is from More Fun Comics #73[19]

Marvel Comics[edit]

Acetovaxidol (AVX)[edit]

Acetovaxidol is the drug that gave the Anti-Captain his enhanced abilities. It is from Captain America and the Falcon #4.[2]

Compound X07[edit]

Compound X07 is a mysterious chemical created by the scientists of A.I.M.. When a tanker carrying Compound X07 was involved in an accident with a church bus, the lone survivor, who had been thoroughly drenched in the compound, gained lightning-fast healing and became insensitive to pain. He eventually became the costumed individual known as Madcap. The chemical may or may not have contributed to his mental instability. It first appears in Captain America #307.[2]


Extremis is a techno-organic virus created in an attempt to recreate the Super-Soldier Serum that gave Captain America his powers. The Extremis storyline explained it as the following: "[Extremis] hacks the body's repair center-- The part of the brain that keeps a full blueprint of the human body. Extremis rewrites the repair center. The entire body becomes an open wound. The normal blueprint is being replaced with the Extremis blueprint. For the next two or three days, the subject remains unconscious in cocoon of scabs. Extremis uses any spare nutrients to build new, better organs." Only two people have taken Extremis and survived; Mallen and Tony Stark (also known as Iron Man). Mallen gained electrokinesis, enhanced speed and strength, and the ability to breathe fire, while Iron Man was completely healed from his earlier fight with Mallen, and got the ability to control his armor through thought, as well as interfacing with external electronic systems. The crucial undersheath of the Iron Man armor is now stored inside Stark's bones.

Goblin Formula[edit]

The Goblin Formula (sometimes known as the OZ formula) is a biogenic chemical compound made to augment the human body. After Norman Osborn had his business partner Mendel Stromm arrested for embezzlement, he found in his notes a formula which could apparently augment a person's body to superhuman levels. Norman began research on the formula, hoping to eventually sell it. Unknown to him his son had tampered with it to spite him. Consequentially, the completed formula was unstable and exploded in Norman's face. He spent the next week in the hospital recovering. After finally regaining consciousness he found his mental and physical functions have been greatly enhanced. It was later learned that exposure also causes severe insanity which was the primary motivation for Norman taking the identity of the Green Goblin.[20] After Peter Parker injected Norman Osborn with the goblin cure devised by Otto Octavius while he was in Spider-Man's body, Norman's body has become incapable of being transformed via the goblin formula. He attempted to modify the formula so that it would transform those 'infected' with it into goblin-level soldiers without the intellectual capacity to defy orders, but when he attempted to release it on the nation of Symarkia, his planned coup was thwarted by Spider-Man and Silver Sable, leaving him resolved to find another way to restore his powers.


Oz is a drug developed by Osborn Industries in the Ultimate Marvel universe that indirectly granted that universe's Peter Parker his powers when he was bitten by an Oz-injected spider. It also gave the Green Goblin and Hobgoblin their abilities as well.[2] Similarly, based on the Goblin Formula of main continuity; it has the superpower effect coupled with risk of insanity. Likewise to the Infinity Formula, it gives the user an immortality, yet has an unlimited time than the formula's serum.

Growth pills[edit]

The Pym Particle delivery system is what allowed Giant Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp to grow or return to their normal size. It is also referred to as shrinking capsules.[2]


Heat's origin is unknown but it is an encapsulated drug that is mainly distributed to L.A's mostly young, and powerful elite. Not only is it highly addictive and a potent hallucinogen, but it is also able to temporarily suppress advanced healing factors like that of Daken. Side effects include blackouts and memory loss.


Hook is a narcotic described as "ultra-addictive" that originated in Atlantis and made its way to the surface. Treated as a narcotic by Atlanteans, when used on humans it makes them aggressive. Hook-addicted humans secrete an enzyme that, if harvested, can be turned into a separate narcotic.[21]

Hyde Formula[edit]

The Hyde Formula is a hormonal treatment created by Calvin Zabo where it enhances the human body by adding pounds to the muscle and bones. It can grant the person who ingests it super-strength, stamina, durability, and an enhanced healing factor. The side effect of the Hyde Formula is that induces violent rages while impairing their proper judgement.[22]

Infinity Formula[edit]

The powerful serum that keeps Nick Fury youthful (a.k.a. an immortality drug). He needs to receive an annual injection of the formula or he will rapidly age 60 years. It was developed by a French scientist, Dr. Berthold Sternberg, and initially given to Fury in an attempt to save his life near the end of World War II when he was injured by a land mine. The last known samples of the Infinity Formula are then expended by Nick Fury to save Mockingbird,[23] and Bucky Barnes's lives,[24] although Fury claimed that he had enough of the formula in his system that its loss would merely cause him to age normally from now on. It is introduced in Marvel Spotlight #31.[2]

As of Original Sin #6, it is revealed that the Infinity Formula that was within Nick Fury has been shown not to be permanent and was "used up",[25] and Fury begins aging rapidly. It is not stated if this is due to some specific condition to Fury only (as Fury had access to more doses of the Formula), or if other recipients of the Infinity Formula will also lose their artificial immortality as Fury did.


A highly addictive drug dispensed via inhalant, that enhances special abilities in mutants. Later discovered to be an aerosol compound for distributing a primordial microorganism known only as Sublime. Used by Xorn, Jumbo Carnation, Quentin Quire, and Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos; it was used by Beast in an alternate future, allowing him to be possessed by Sublime until the timeline is undone by Jean Grey. The active ingredient is Hypercortisone-D.[2]

Lizard Formula[edit]

The Lizard Formula is a serum that had reptile DNA in it, as they are known for regrowing lost limbs. It was developed by Curt Connors where it was used on different animals that lost their limbs. When he used it on himself, he regrew his arm. The side effect transformed him into Lizard.

The Lizard Formula was also used in the creation of Iguana, Komodo, and Lizard Jr.

The Lizard Formula was among the components that were used to turn Todd Ziller into the American Kaiju.[26]

Mutant Growth Hormone[edit]

Abbreviated MGH, this is a drug extracted from the genetic material of superpowered individuals, that grants temporary powers to whoever takes it. Sometimes used as a party drug, MGH often results in increased strength and aggression.[2] Also, when given to an already super-powered individual, it enhances their abilities further. The name is a reference to the actual drug human growth hormone (HGH), which has been controversially used by athletes in sports since the 1970s and is banned under numerous international competitions.

MGH was among the components that were used to turn Todd Ziller into the American Kaiju.[26]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate version of the Mutant Growth Hormone (a.k.a. Banshee) has appeared, and is engineered by Charles Xavier in the Savage Land with Magneto and his group. The drug, much like the Mainstream MGH, boosts mutant's power (evident in Colossus and Alpha Flight's cases). Later on Moira MacTaggert reveals it gives normal people sonic scream abilities, and that it is derived from Wolverine's blood.[27]

Project: Mothervine[edit]

Project: Mothervine is a weaponized pharmaceutical program based on artificial mutation in the Ultimate Comics universe. It involves the birthing of living weapons whose mutant abilities could be triggered remotely, after which their abilities will not deactivate until they have completed their mission or are killed.[28] When Miss Sinister found and experimented with Mothervine, she found that it could be used to control and generate mutations in both mutants and humans.[29] It can trigger secondary and tertiary mutations in baseline Homo Superior,[30] turn average humans into mutants, or even restore primary mutations nullified by M-Day.[31] Mothervine's mutations are unstable and often lethal to the recipient, causing their powers to surge out of control if left unchecked.[32]


A deadly, highly addictive drug produced by Alchemax that bonds to the user's DNA. Used to keep Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, working for the mega-corporation when he attempted to quit; he attempted to cure himself by replacing his DNA with scans of his earlier, pre-Rapture DNA, but sabotage by a jealous colleague resulted in him receiving his powers instead.[2]


Rave is a highly addictive street drug that temporarily boosts a mutant's power.[2]

Red, White & Blue[edit]

This is a trio of placebos used to control and manipulate the alpha conditioned moods of Nuke, a deranged super soldier.[2]

Serum SO-2[edit]

Serum SO-2 was a mutagen developed as part of Project Sulfur to provide immunity for soldiers against biological warfare; the experiment was abandoned when it was noted that the serum had the unfortunate side effect of horribly mutating its recipients into monstrous freaks. Later Ted Sallis injects the serum into his own body in an attempt to keep it out of the hands of A.I.M. agents; the serum then transforms Sallis into Man-Thing. First appears in Savage Tales #1.[2][33]


A gaseous form of the Super Soldier Serum that grants increased speed, strength, and endurance. It is from the Underworld mini-series.

Super Soldier Serum[edit]

The drug from which Captain America, Isaiah Bradley, Patriot, Protocide and Josiah X get their enhanced abilities. It was developed by Dr. Abraham Erskine to enhance all the physical and mental abilities to the pinnacle of human perfection, working in conjunction with 'Vita-Rays' to trigger the effects on the subject's body chemistry. However, Erskine was killed after the serum was first tested on Rogers, with the result that the serum was lost forever as vital parts of the serum's formula had never been written down or shared with anyone else aside from Erskine. Any attempts to duplicate the serum have since met with failure, either not having any noticeable result, horribly mutating the subject, or twisting their minds to turn them against their former allies. The serum has since been established as a genetically engineered virus rather than a 'drug' that would have eventually metabolised itself out of Rogers's body, although attempts to duplicate the serum by analyzing Rogers' blood have proven equally fruitless.[34]

The FLAG, or Full Latent Ability Gain, serum which, in the made-for-television films Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon, both of which starred Reb Brown, is described as giving Steve Rogers the abilities he uses as Captain America, can be likened to the Super Soldier Serum, even though its development is not credited, even partially, to Dr. Abraham Erskine in either film.

In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, when scientists have planned to recreate the serum, they ended up creating the giants that are seen in the Omega Base. These giants are later used by the Masters of Evil to attack Asgard, the army's value being limited as a long-term weapon but useful for a single massive assault as they burned out afterwards.

In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the serum was used on Felicia Hardy which eventually turned her into the Black Cat, while in Ultimate Spider-Man it is responsible for the creation of Power Man.

In the film Captain America: The First Avenger, it was also responsible for turning Johann Schmidt into the Red Skull when he forced Erskine to use him as the first test subject for the serum. Due to a combination of the serum not being perfected during that time as well as Schmidt's dark inner nature, Erskine states that the serum amplifies everything about the user and therefore brought out Schmidt's flaws, turning him into the Red Skull. Having defected to America, Erskine chose Steve Rogers for the program because he recognized Rogers's good heart and high moral code, his last act being to remind Steve to be a good man whatever else the serum does to him. After Steve is transformed by the serum, all but one of the vials containing the formula are destroyed by a spy, and the last vial is accidentally shattered when Steve pursues the intruder, leaving them with no way to recreate the serum. However, a prototype version of the serum was apparently used on Emil Blonsky in The Incredible Hulk, the formula giving him enhanced speed and healing but affecting his mental state, later being combined with samples of Bruce Banner's blood to turn Blonsky into the Abomination.

The Serum was mentioned in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot episode.

It was revealed in Captain America: Civil War that the Winter Soldier assassinated Howard and Maria Stark to recover five packets of Super Soldier serum for HYDRA who used the serum in an attempt at creating five more Winter Soldier operatives.

Terrigen Mists[edit]

A dangerous mutagen used by the Inhumans to induce random mutations in their youth during a rite of passage ceremony. Humans exposed to the mist temporarily gain superpowers, but eventually suffer from degenerative mutations followed by death. Depowered mutants experience a temporary return of their powers but with uncontrollable and unpredictable side effects. The mists themselves are a by-product of Terrigen crystals. First used on mutants in the Son of M miniseries.[2]


A purified form of Zap. It grants the user an incredible euphoria, heightened strength, increased endurance and an inability to feel pain. It also causes death in one hour. Thunderbolt was developed by a Dr. Malheur and marketed by the Yakuza. The act of taking the drug was known as "riding the thunderbolt". As shown in Wolverine #31.[2]

Toad Juice[edit]

This hallucinogen, produced by a mutant called Toad Boy, causes fatal mutations in humans.[2]


Zap was a highly addictive drug made from the "hypothalmic fluid" of the extinct Madripoorian Spider monkey. The systematic IUPAC name for Zap was Zootoxic Acid Psychogalvanide.[2]

Nedor Comics[edit]


A distillate made from the "atoms of the sun" that granted Doc Strange his super-strength, invulnerability and flight.[2]

Formic Ether[edit]

Inhaling this gas granted pharmacist Bob Benton enhanced strength and invulnerability. He used it to become a Golden Age hero named the Black Terror. From Exciting Comics #9.[2]

Lamesis Formula[edit]

Lamesis was a supposedly long lost formula from Ancient Egypt that granted its drinker superstrength. It was used by Nelson Drew to become a Golden Age hero known as the Liberator. From Exciting Comics #15.[2]

Shonen Jump[edit]

Devil Fruit[edit]

The Devil Fruits are a class of fruits that permanently grant supernatural powers in the manga One Piece. Main character Monkey D. Luffy's body gained the properties of rubber after he ate one; numerous other characters have been given unique powers of their own from other Devil Fruits. While each Devil Fruit grants a different power, they share a common weakness: the user can no longer swim, and in fact loses all strength when immersed in sea water.


Hyorogan are a form of nutritional supplement pellets used in the manga Naruto. By taking a single pellet, a ninja's chakra can be replenished or boosted drastically. They are said to allow a ninja "to fight for three days and three nights without rest". In Japanese history, hyōrōgan (兵糧丸) were a sort of military ration pills for ninjas.

Nuclear cigarettes[edit]

The manga hero 8 Man smoked radium enriched cigarettes in order to recharge his powers.[35]


The villain Mr. Calder in the manga series Zombie Powder took the drug Phenixamin to sustain his young appearance. However, because he used the drug so often he had to take higher doses, which is what led him to seek the Zombie Powder.

Senzu Beans[edit]

In various episodes/chapters of the manga and anime Dragon Ball, many of the fighters take Senzu Beans to restore their health. They have the added effect of keeping the user full and energetic for ten days. They also allow the user to overcome certain illnesses.

Rumble Ball[edit]

A medicine developed by the character Tony Tony Chopper in One Piece, the Rumble Ball interacts with his Devil Fruit powers to allow him to transform into several additional forms. However, overdoses may cause him to lose control of his transformations, or even turn him into a giant, mindless monster.


Red Eye[edit]

A powerful and addictive narcotic from the manga series Cowboy Bebop. The drug is administered via an aerosol solution sprayed directly into the user's eyes. It grants the user periodic surges of superhuman strength, and limited super speed and reflexes sufficient to dodge bullets. Popular belief is that parts of the drug functioned like a cholinergic nootropic in that they temporarily increased the brain's supply of neurotransmitters, allowing users to process environmental and spatial information so quickly that all normal human movement and action appears to be in slow motion.[36]

Vertigo Comics[edit]

Dream Sand[edit]

The sand from Morpheus's pouch. Originally stolen when Morpheus was captured by the Order of Ancient Mysteries, the sand eventually ended up in the hands of John Constantine. His ex-girlfriend stole the pouch and had spent the past several years using the sand to give herself constant dreams, to the detriment of her overall health. From the pages of Sandman #3.[2]

Heavy Liquid[edit]

This is the strange material of uncertain, perhaps extraterrestrial, perhaps secret government origin that the former police-officer detective known as "S" steals to sell at a very high price to a mysterious art collector in Paul Pope's 5-issue mini-series Heavy Liquid. In its natural state, Heavy Liquid is something of a liquid metallic explosive, but when the volatile substance is heated it turns into a milky, black ooze that has a narcotic/psychedelic effect when 'ingested' through the ear.


Amazo Pills[edit]

Illegal drug from Neopolis that granted a variety of superhuman abilities. A reference to Amazo. As seen in the pages of Top 10.[2]

Compound V[edit]

This unknown blue mutagen, when introduced via syringe, transforms humans into superhumans. It first appears in The Boys #4.


This extremely potent, illegal drug for robots, made from dark energy, allows computers to become "one with the multiverse". Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #2.[2]

Goloka Root[edit]

This bitter-tasting root from the mysterious island Attabar Teru magnifies the average human's life span and intellect. It is used by Tom Strong, his wife Dhalua Strong and his daughter Tesla Strong. See Tom Strong #1.[2]

Goose Juice[edit]

This is the "street name" for Mongoose Blood. Use of the drug grants temporary superspeed. It is popular at raves. It is a reference to the Golden Age Whizzer. It is used by recreational drug users in Top 10.[2]


An illegal drug that apparently causes the users to experience hallucinations so vivid that they are visible to others as animated translucent holograms. As seen in Top 10.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lone Warrior". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at "Comic Book Drug Reference". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  3. ^ "Antarctic Press Art Gallery". 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  4. ^ "The Mighty Crusaders Handbook". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Leveling the Playing Field: Ellis talks "No Hero"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  6. ^ "Vita-Man". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Big Bang's Cyclone". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  8. ^ "Demon of the Justice Machine". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  9. ^ As seen in Checkmate #25 June 2008
  10. ^ "The Unofficial Bzrk Biography". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  11. ^ Reign in Hell #1-8 (September 2008-April 2009)
  12. ^ "Illium-349 - Supermanica". 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  13. ^ "The Unofficial Professor Ivo Biography". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  14. ^ "Watchmen - Bookmarks". Book Drum. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  15. ^ "Columns". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  16. ^ "Who's Who in the Superman Comics". Superman Homepage. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  17. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2005-06-07). "Batman: Venom Review - IGN". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  18. ^ "Xium - Supermanica". 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  19. ^ Archived from the original on 16 August 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #37
  21. ^ Abnett, Dan, Lanning, Andy (w), Walker, Brad (p), Hennessy, Andrew (i). "Are You For Hire?" Heroes for Hire v3, 1 (December 2010), Marvel Comics
  22. ^ Journey into Mystery #99-100
  23. ^ New Avengers vol. 2 #13
  24. ^ Fear Itself #7.1
  25. ^ Original Sin #6
  26. ^ a b New Avengers Vol. 4 #9
  27. ^ Ultimate X-Men #94. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ Ultimate Comics: Wolverine #1-4
  29. ^ X-Men: Blue Vol 1 #5
  30. ^ X-Men: Blue Vol 1 #7
  31. ^ X-Men: Blue Vol 1 #26-27
  32. ^ X-Men: Blue Vol 1 #24
  33. ^ "Man-Thing - Marvel Universe Wiki: The definitive online source for Marvel super hero bios". 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  34. ^ "Abraham Erskine (World War II, Operation: Rebirth)". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2006. 
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 August 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2006. 

External links[edit]