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What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

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What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:55 pm

I learned in this thread:

the-news-stand/forever-evil-fuck-chap-spoilers-t96882.html

That in Forever Evil #1 Ultraman moved the Moon so that it would permanently eclipse the Sun. The problem is that the Moon orbits around the Earth and the Earth orbits around the Sun, making simply moving the Moon and leaving it to permanently eclipse the Earth an impossibility.

For me, this is a point where my ability to continue my suspension of disbelief stops. This also wouldn't be the first time for me that I couldn't get past something like this. I remember a number of years ago in Thunderbolts, the team got back to Earth from Counter Earth by launching themselves into space and floating out there in Earth and Counter Earth's line of orbit until Earth caught up to them. The problem of course is that they would be defying gravity itself. In reality they wouldn't float while the Earth caught up to them, they would go into orbit around the Sun, moving at the same speed as Earth and Counter Earth and remaining at the same distance from both planets.

It's funny because I can read stories in which ships travel faster than light with no time dilation. I can read stories in which characters wear costumes made out of unstable molecules. I can read pulp based stories featuring mad scientists and mad science that's absolutely impossible. I can read all of this with my suspension of disbelief intact, but throw in a mistake in orbital physics, like in those two stories, and my brain reacts with, "whoa, hold on there, that's too far."

Has anybody else discovered a point where they have a breaking point when it comes to comic book science?
Last edited by Stephen Day on Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Mr. Log » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:14 pm

Yeah, the moon moving lost me. The problem is that exists strictly in a real-world physics context. There's no super-scence or MAD! science or even magic there to try and explain, so we have to turn to real world physics and astronomy, and they are both laughing their asses off at the idea.

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Juan Cena » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:31 pm

Geoff Johns doesn't know his science. I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you.
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:49 pm

Juan Cena wrote:Geoff Johns doesn't know his science. I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you.


I don't think it's so much that he doesn't know science. I think it's more that he thought it would be like one of those "cool" Superman in the Silver Age type things. Of course, if that's the case, he's not considering that this sort of bad storytelling is one of the reasons why Marvel sold so many more copies than DC in the Silver Age.
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby achilles » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:24 pm

God, don't even get me started on this. I mean, sure comics by their nature mean you have to suspend your knowledge of science. Superman simply can't exist, nor can most all the others. But man, this Silver Age stuff.... :lol:
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby GOSD » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:24 pm

I LOL'd at that as well.

If Ultraman was THAT powerful, he'd have a hard time doing anything on Earth. Opening doors, touching people, walking, flying.

The moon has been calculated to weigh 81 billion tons. Yes, he's not picking it up but to move it, you'd have to be unbelievably strong.

Plus, the fact that if you move the moon so quickly, it would destroy the moon's outer core and radically affect the Earth's environment as well.

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby achilles » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:23 pm

GOSD wrote:I LOL'd at that as well.

If Ultraman was THAT powerful, he'd have a hard time doing anything on Earth. Opening doors, touching people, walking, flying.

The moon has been calculated to weigh 81 billion tons. Yes, he's not picking it up but to move it, you'd have to be unbelievably strong.

Plus, the fact that if you move the moon so quickly, it would destroy the moon's outer core and radically affect the Earth's environment as well.


Why even both mentioning that? There are SO many problems with that scene it would take quite a while to list them.

I mean Geoff, it isn't the Silver Age. Most fans, (you guys know, those 45 year old men who are the ones you're aiming for), know a little bit of that shit called "science", it not being the 60s any more. So when you pull something like this, they're going to call "bullshit". Even guys who are willing to accept Superman or the Flash.
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Punchy » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:59 pm

I don't have one.

The crazier and stupider the better!

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Chessack » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:29 pm

I think the science-violation bothers us more when they try to explain things. Saying a costume is made of "unstable molecules" doesn't really explain anything, so you can just go with it. But saying someone moved the moon and caused a permanent eclipse explains it a little too much. By providing too much detail, our mind is able to "fact check" them -- in a way you can't with "unstable molecules" or "warp speed."

Also, molecules are hard to picture and so "unstable" ones are just imaginary things. What would really happen in terms of time dilation with FTL travel is very hard for most people to understand, so we can kind of ignore it. The moon, on the other hand, is something most of us understand very well, and we all can name tons of problems with the moon "staying in one place" like that.

What makes me really laugh about this is, one of DC's excuses for why their universe has changed so much from what many of us love and remember is that they want it to be more "gritty" and "realistic." But then they pull something like this, which is so over the top unrealistic that I'm not sure it would've even been pulled in the silver age. And certainly not since. Well, until now.

It's just so ridiculous to keep having this over the top destruction. A standing eclipse even for a short while would devastate the entire surface of the earth in a long-term and irreversible way. Are they really going to throw the entire DC universe, for years from now, into the equivalent of a nuclear winter? If not, then why even do it? I guess they think it is more dramatic, but when this thing that should devastate the earth ends up being reversed in a couple of months because it would disrupt too many storylines to leave it like that, it just ends up making the whole thing seem silly. Not to mention it destroys the dramatic impact of the next mega-disaster. Like death, the readers come to discount this kind of thing because they know it won't stick.

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:58 pm

Would it be possible to move the moon to a certain spot and kick off it's orbit again in such a way that it would constantly be blocking the sun? Maybe that's what he did.
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Chessack » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:07 pm

I haven't read the comic (and won't, since I am no longer getting "event" books from DC - I hate events), so I'm not sure exactly what is portrayed. Ordinarily, eclipses only affect a small part of the earth. That's why astronomers will fly to a particular spot to see the eclipse. So did Ultraman move it so that Metropolis is permanently dark? Or are they portraying it that the entire planet has gone dark? If it's the latter, then your explanation doesn't save them, because it still violates the rules of science rather badly.

Also, even if they did it correctly (saying that the eclipse only blocks out Metropolis and that he shifted the orbit "just so" rather than stopping it completely), we'd still have the problem that the tides would be royally screwed up and you'd have massive coastal flooding in some places. For days on end. Additionally, lunar gravity influences the earth's crust and screwing with the moon's orbit could induce earthquakes as well.

No matter how you slice it, doing what he did would devastate the earth's surface, and much of its human population. Depending on how extreme this is portrayed as being, it could just be floods and earthquakes, or if they are pretending it turned the whole earth dark, then you're talking an ice age in a matter of a very short while (days, maybe a week or two) and total devastation of the food chain in not much longer (maybe, perhaps, a month -- probably far less).

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Amoebas » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:13 am

Accelerated aging for me.

I know it's done because time moves so slowly in a comic book world when compared to ours but it just bugs me when babies are suddenly so much older.

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And then there's the inconsistent aging processes like the difference between Franklin and (ugh) Valeria. Franklin was born in 1968 (45 years ago) yet is still only about 10 years old (or roughly 0.22 MU years to one of our years). Valeria was born in 2002 (9 years) and is probably 5 (that's 0.55 MU years). At this rate Valeria should become older than Franklin in our 2025.

And yes this is being nitpicky - but isn't that what this thread is about?

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Lord Simian » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:35 am

S.F. Jude Terror wrote:Would it be possible to move the moon to a certain spot and kick off it's orbit again in such a way that it would constantly be blocking the sun? Maybe that's what he did.


Not without doing extreme amounts of damage to the moon, and possibly the Earth as well...
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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Chessack » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:28 am

Amoebas wrote:Accelerated aging for me.

I know it's done because time moves so slowly in a comic book world when compared to ours but it just bugs me when babies are suddenly so much older.


This bugs me as well, but I think it's more than that... it's that aging is not just accelerated but inconsistent. Some characters stay the same age (apparently) forever. Others age. Yet they share the same timeline (supposedly). DC got into trouble in the 1980s when Supergirl's writers over in Superman Family were aging her but Superman was not aging. Originally Supergirl was 10 years younger than Superman (15 vs. 25). By 1982, she was only 4 years younger (25 vs. 29). So then DC had to de-age her back to 19 to make it consistent (because Superman is the standard against which all characters are measured, so everything is referenced to him).

Personally I think time moves too fast in comic books. Most issues depict only a few hours or days in the life of a hero. Even 100 issues in, it's only been about a "year" for them. Many comics, however, would depict it as being many years gone by. Then they get into problems where their characters like "Saturn Girl" are now adults and should have different names, but they can't change them because of how registered trademarks work.

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Re: What is Your Comic Book Science Breaking Point?

Postby Amoebas » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:41 am

Chessack wrote:
This bugs me as well, but I think it's more than that... it's that aging is not just accelerated but inconsistent. Some characters stay the same age (apparently) forever. Others age. Yet they share the same timeline (supposedly). DC got into trouble in the 1980s when Supergirl's writers over in Superman Family were aging her but Superman was not aging. Originally Supergirl was 10 years younger than Superman (15 vs. 25). By 1982, she was only 4 years younger (25 vs. 29). So then DC had to de-age her back to 19 to make it consistent (because Superman is the standard against which all characters are measured, so everything is referenced to him).

Personally I think time moves too fast in comic books. Most issues depict only a few hours or days in the life of a hero. Even 100 issues in, it's only been about a "year" for them. Many comics, however, would depict it as being many years gone by. Then they get into problems where their characters like "Saturn Girl" are now adults and should have different names, but they can't change them because of how registered trademarks work.

Or how the Fantastic Four are currently on a one year vacation and when they return, the kids will still be the same as when they left. :lol:

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