Ability absorption

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Ability absorption
Dad steals powers.jpg
Arthur steals Peter's abilities.
Held by: Arthur Petrelli (deceased),
Tommy Clark
Ability to: Steal other abilities through physical contact

Ability absorption is the ability to steal the abilities of other evolved humans through physical contact, rendering them powerless.



Arthur Petrelli

With this ability, Arthur can remove the ability of another evolved human by touching them. Arthur seems to gain immediate use of the stolen ability such as when he stole Adam's regeneration power and regenerated the damage to his nervous system and the hole in his throat from the tube placed there. Arthur can take multiple abilities at once from someone who has acquired multiple abilities. (Dying of the Light)

Firm physical contact seems to be necessary for this ability to work. Arthur hugged Peter to steal his abilities, and Knox forced Adam to place his hand in Arthur's grasp. However, skin-to-skin contact is apparently not required, as he absorbed Maya's ability through her hospital gown and Hiro's ability through his shirt.

When Arthur stole Adam's ability, Adam rapidly died and decomposed due to the loss of the aging-suppression aspect of his ability--his 400 years of age caught up with him in seconds. Peter suffered no obvious ill effects upon losing his abilities, although the process appeared to cause intense pain.

Arthur's use of this ability requires active concentration. He can choose to not steal abilities from an evolved human. Knox's hand brushed against Arthur's, yet no abilities were lost or gained. (Dying of the Light)

According to Arthur, the removal of abilities from a targeted evolved human is permanent (Eris Quod Sum), but they can, in fact, be at least partially restored. Matt Parkman, Jr. partially restored Hiro's ability, allowing him to stop time but not teleport (Cold Snap), and Peter Petrelli restored part of his ability with the formula. Hiro's powers all eventually returned, but due to a brain tumor Hiro developed, he didn't have full control until his tumor was removed, showing that powers stolen can be fully returned.

All of the abilities Arthur stole made him so powerful that even the Haitian was only able to block him for a few minutes before he began to manifest his abilities again. Despite all of the abilities he has at his disposal, however, Arthur's stolen abilities otherwise still have their normal limitations. For example, a bullet through the back of his brain was able to kill him like it would anyone with regeneration.

Arthur seemingly uses his ability to take the catalyst from Hiro Nakamura. He later transfers the catalyst into the formula.

Tommy Clark

Arthur's great-grandson Tommy Clark inherited a version of this ability though his version is similar to ability replication in that he can only keep one absorbed ability at a time.

Tommy possessed this ability from birth, absorbing his mother's regenerative abilities as she gave birth to him and his twin sister, resulting in her dying in childbirth. He later absorbed Hiro Nakamura's space-time manipulation simply by being held by him, resulting in Hiro and Angela Petrelli separating the twins to allow Malina to keep her powers.

While he absorbed Hiro's power, Tommy showed a slightly different version of it, showing both the time travel and teleportation aspects, but only by touching the person or object he wishes to send, including himself and then the destination. (June 13th, Part Two)


Memorable Quotes

"Ah, it feels good to breathe again."

- Arthur (Dying of the Light)

"You don't have your powers anymore, Peter... Because I have them now."

- Arthur to Peter (Dying of the Light)

"You're telling me all traces of Maya's ability have been removed from her system?"

"I take it all, and leave nothing behind."

- Mohinder, Arthur (Eris Quod Sum)

"I don't have my powers anymore, Nathan. Dad took 'em."

- Peter (Eris Quod Sum)

"You took my abilities."

"You gave me no choice, son."

"Are they gone forever?"


- Peter, Arthur (Eris Quod Sum)


  • In special feature "The Writers Forum" found on the Season 3 DVD, writers Tim Kring, Adam Armus, and Aron Eli Coleite reveal that Arthur's ability is a more developed form of Peter's empathic mimicry and they are actually different versions of the same ability.
  • It is possible that Peter absorbed this ability when he came into contact with his father (Dying of the Light). However, since he never used the ability, and since there have been other abilities that he was near and never absorbed, there is no conclusive evidence that Peter actually absorbed this ability.

See Also

Fan Theories

Please refer to Theory:Ability absorption for fan-created theories and other speculation.

Evolved Human Abilities edit

Ability absorptionAbility replicationActivation and deactivationAdoptive muscle memoryAlchemyAlejandro's abilityAquatic breathingBody insertionClairsentienceClairvoyanceCloakingCloningCyberpathyDisintegrationDream manipulationElectric manipulationElemental controlEmpathic mimicryEmpathyEnhanced hearingEnhanced memoryEnhanced strengthEnhanced strength and sensesEnhanced synesthesiaFire breathingFlightFreezingGravitational manipulationHachiro's abilityHealingHealing touchHeat generationIllusionImage projectionImpenetrable skinInduced radioactivityIntuitive aptitudeInvisibilityLie detectionLuke's abilityMagnetismMeltingMemory manipulationMemory storageMental manipulationMetal mimicryMicrowave emissionMiko's abilityMist mimicryPersuasionPhasingPlant growthPoison emissionPrecognitionPrecognitive dreamingPuppet masterPyrokinesisRapid cell regenerationSedationSeismic burstShape shiftingShatteringSound manipulationSpace-time manipulationSpontaneous combustionSuper speedSuperchargingTechnopathyTelekinesisTelepathyTerrakinesisUmbrakinesisWeather control

Evolutions Abilities

Accelerated probabilityAcidic bloodAge transferalAnimal controlBelief inductionCarbon isolation and formationConstrictionDanger sensingDavid's abilityDimension hoppingDimensional storageEmpathic manipulationEnhanced teleportingExtraskeletal manipulationHealth optimizingInflammationLight absorptionLight manipulationNerve manipulationNon-biological duplicationPhoenix mimicryPrimal rageProbability computationShiftingTeleportationTemporal rewindWater generationWater mimicry

Graphic Novel Abilities

Ability augmentationAcid secretionAge shiftingAppearance alterationAura absorptionBliss and horrorBone spike protrusionChlorine gas exudationCrumplingDehydrationDisintegration touchElasticityElectrical absorptionEnergy absorption, transference, and redirectionForcefieldsFuture terrorist's abilityGold mimicryGranulationGreen energy blastImprintingLaser emissionLevitationLuminescenceLung adaptationMass manipulationMediumshipNerve gas emissionNeurocognitive deficitOil secretionOmnilingualismPlant manipulationSound absorptionSpider mimicryTelescopic visionWall crawling

See Also: Ability developmentAbility extensionAbility heredityAbility immunityAbility lossAbility theftBrain examinationBrain penetrationUnnamed abilitiesExamples of simultaneous ability useEye alterationList of abilitiesList of abilities with multiple usersParadoxProphecyRiftPower