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There were times I thought that Marvel used a more scientific basis for comic books - and they might, in some fashion. And one of the times I thought about that most strongly was the decision that the Flash tapped into a "speed force" to drive his powers, and I thought that was stupid.

My mind has been changed in both directions. First, I saw some early Marvel super-hero comics, where the Invisible Girl (now Invisible Woman) developed a new super-power. You see, she could already turn invisible, but now, she could focus that power to create force fields - INVISIBLE force fields, see? Because she has INVISIBILITY powers!

Okay, that kind of wipes out much of DC's comparative sins. Sure, DC still has "power rings" (of multiple colors, reflecting multiple energies) and such, but Marvel really isn't all that pure either, with cosmic cubes, infinity gems and gauntlets, etc.. I mean, at least the Marvel magic is likely to have some Jack Kirby-inspired artwork, but that's not as much of an advantage in logic, science, and realism, as you might think.

(At least I hope not, or soon we might face the Trump administration, Now With Jack Kirby Inspired Artwork!)

But, come on, the "speed force"?

Well... it actually makes more sense.

(This reminds me of when I said I preferred the movie version of Snape's relationship with Lily, because it was more realistic for a master wizard to be able to move on, if he'd actually broken things as conclusively as he had in the books. This also reminds me that some folks have opined that there are expensive drugs consumed in an attempt to reach this particular state of mind.)

No, really, it makes more sense. The normal human body uses chemical sources of energy, and receive them in a *hideously* inefficient manner. A human being being able to "run" at 30 or 40 or 50 miles an hour can be reasonably considered, but as speeds go higher, the energy expenditure goes up extremely fast.

Next: critical velocity. Once the Flash is moving more than roughly 120 miles an hour, it takes more than 1g forward, but that means his feet have to be able to push the ground with more than 1g. That could happen if he was pushing forward from starting blocks used in sprints, but not from running forward normally.

Plus: a back of the envelope estimate says that in one mile, you can expect the curvature of the earth to drop by over one foot per mile. (1 mile forward in a straight line, drop a perpendicular there, estimate the sine of an angle is roughly equal to 1/x for small x, assume the earth drops 6250 miles (1/4th of 25000) in 4000 miles (radius of the earth - 1 mile is roughly the hypotenuse, and the opposite/hypotenuse is 1/4000 = roughly 1 mile/4000 drop.)

If he ran one mile in one second, 3600 mph, his feet would be leaving the ground. This is no problem for some of the newer speedsters who were limited to the speed of sound, but the original Flash could run the speed of light. At 36000mph, he's seeing ten feet drop in a second, and at 54000 mph, there's no way he can maintain his footing - a person doesn't fall that fast.

Except before he hits 54000 miles an hour, he's reached escape velocity, which, alas, is incorrectly named. Escape velocity is a *scalar*. If you are traveling at escape speed, and you are not pointing *at* the earth, you are now going to break free of earth's orbit (in a vacuum).

Put all these together, and the idea of a speed force that makes the changes required so he can actually do these things makes far more sense than "there's Something Special that makes him able to run that fast."

Of course, this breaks all reality, but then, so does a man from the planet Krypton having superhuman abilities because he came from a planet with higher gravity and a red sun.
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