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  1. #16
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    If you think about it, the "physics" of how his powers work keeps changing and has never been fully understood. In some versions, he's flying out of the rocket. In others, it takes so long to absorb yellow solar radiation, he doesn't develop any until puberty. I'd like to think the "realistic" solution lies somewhere in the middle. He'd start to develop powers at least within his first couple years on Earth but certainly not right out of the rocket. His heat vision seems to be stored up radiation. Which suggests he has to absorb a certain amount first before he can use it. I think Byrne kind of had the right idea with a telekinetic field around his body (remember Superman #1 after the reboot where he lifts an entire building into orbit? He explains a lot of it there). Maybe the Snyder version does that and they just don't come right out and say it. I think realism is important but I also think you can get too bogged down in that sort of thing. One of the things they did that I liked was having the Kryptonians having trouble breathing when they first come to Earth. That makes sense to me. In terms of the physics of how his powers work, I think the most realistic was probably Kingdom Come. After so many years on Earth he had absorbed enough solar radiation that he was immune to both Kryptonite and nuclear blasts. And he could hear all the way from Metropolis to Gotham and the entire JSA couldn't hold him down.
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  2. #17
    Mighty Member adkal's Avatar
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    I don't mind certain elements of realism - highlighting the general difficulties (not necessarily 'absurdities') of what Superman can do - but dragging him down does no one any favours.

    Batman and the other street-level characters are all supposedly 'realistic' but they have done things 'beyond human', especially their insane recovery levels.

  3. #18
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    I am in favor of making the physics surrounding Superman more realistic while not sacrificing any of Superman's powers. It's the ultimate compromise of not weakening Superman (I hate that) while also reaching out to Superman doubters that he literally can't solve everything with his powers. You can do things like make him run as fast as Flash in a vacuum (assuming you could set this up at all...), but Superman loses a footrace on Earth because Speed Force doesn't have to fight against friction and air resistance. Superman can lift a mountain, but the mountain would crumble under its own weight, so to handle the same task Superman would have to recruit the help of someone like Green Lantern. Superman could swoop in and evacuate people at light speed, but they'd die anyway because they can't handle the G's. Etc. And who knows, if you had a smart writer accomplish all of this scientific know-how into a Superman story, maybe the audience would get a little smarter, too.

  4. #19
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    Stories where they try to explain the physics are the worst. Because these writer only have a rudimentary understanding of physics, so when they try to use real world physical laws, they're bound to make stupid errors. And someone in the real world is going to expose the stupidity.

    That's why it's better to use generalizations and metaphors that can't be held to real world standards. It's better to say that Superman's cells are like solar batteries than it is to say Superman's cells are solar batteries. We can understand by the metaphor that there's some similar function between Superman's cells and a solar battery. But if we're asked to believe they are solar batteries then that brings in the physics of solar batteries (which probably most writers don't understand).

    Time travel doesn't exist, yet we have stories about time travel. What we want from a time travel story is internal consistency. You can make up any rules you want for time travel--nobody can say you're wrong because it's not a thing that exists--but once you make those rules, you have to live and die by them. If you break the rules of your own fictional universe, it becomes impossible to suspend disbelief for the duration of the story. Every time something happens that breaks one of the laws of that world that yanks us out of the story, because it doesn't make sense within the fiction.
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  5. #20
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    I don't think writers need to be pitch-perfect with the science, but they definitely could strive to be less blatantly unrealistic.

  6. #21
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    Like others have said, it seems as if people are more than willing to accept some pretty dopey science from other super-heroes where it's blatantly unrealistic, yet with Superman they decide to hold him to a different standard and use "unrealistic" as a stick to beat him over the head.

  7. #22
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    It bugs me that most comics writers today are not science fiction writers and only have a passing knowledge of real science. Yet the writers of yesteryear, who supposedly wrote comics that weren't realistic, also made a living writing science fiction (Otto Binder, Edmond Hamilton, John Broome, David V. Reed, et al)--while Mort Weisinger and Julius Schwartz started out as literary agents for some of the great science fiction writers, Weisinger going on to be a science fiction editor before coming to DC.

    I'll give Peter David a pass--because he has done some science fiction writing. But guys like Geoff Johns and Mark Waid make up stupid stuff that has no scientific basis like the emotional spectrum or the Speed Force. This is just gobbledygook that uses some sciencie sounding verbiage to promote total idiocy.

    These wordsmiths might have a limited understanding of Newtonian physics, but they don't know anything about electro-magnetism, quantum mechanics, relativity and the like. They just make stuff sound realistic to the lay person, but really their science is much worse than the fanciful stuff that Otto Binder might have come up with.
    I really think comics can do without explanations as long as they stay within their own logic, but even then that doesn't matter for comedic purposes. And I also don't love western "force" type explanations versus say, Japanese ones, where they trace to very old concepts and are employed by the original writers so it's not an ugly graft.

    The other part, though, I don't follow. So Broome and those others had scientific credibility? Because that's different than the scifi umbrella that covers "just about anything unlikely " in pop culture. Is it better to have that knowledge then and not even try?Binder had Supergirl put into a glass capsule and pitched to another planet . How does that make more sense than Waid going by Kakalios and Tyson to explain the properties of mjolnir? The former isn't obligated to make sense but it is lazy by comparison.

  8. #23
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Like others have said, it seems as if people are more than willing to accept some pretty dopey science from other super-heroes where it's blatantly unrealistic, yet with Superman they decide to hold him to a different standard and use "unrealistic" as a stick to beat him over the head.
    Oh yeah, there are a lot of stupid double-standards with Superman. That I can't deny. I look no further than the response to Man of Steel.

  9. #24
    Mighty Member adkal's Avatar
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    I remember when they revealed that, for all the rage and destruction, Hulk's attacks were directed and targeted so precisely by Bruce Banner as his subconscious, that no one was ever killed.

    People were totally fine with Banner being able to use Hulk's strength to such precision, but Superman calculating dozens of variables as he flew in to save people was 'unrealistic' or made him 'too OP'.

    Que?


    With regard to the mountain example above - I reckon Kal would have done something (maybe heat vision, maybe sonics or ice-breath) to maintain the integrity of the areas where most of the pressure was going to be applied, and so buy himself some time to do what needed to be done. The clock is still ticking and the pressure is still on but it's not a 'dumb' grunt-and-lift. Part of me wants to say that 'you don't have to show that every time' but then another part of me understands that 'every comic has the potential to be someone's first', so as repetitive as it might seem, just a 'throwaway' line of what he may have done before lifting 'the-object-that-should-not-be-lifted-because-it-would-crumble-under-its-own-weight' should suffice.


    (separately, (and I've said this elsewhere) I don't think something like the Star Trek transporter should work on Superman)

  10. #25
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I donít think so. Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Punisher and Luke Cage also use that take and are well received. And I fail to see how the other direction is any less dated given itís been around for far longer.
    Truth is, the superhero medium canít be expected to be like what it was in the 70s..
    People have different expectations for what they want out of a Daredevil or Punisher story than what they want out of a Superman story. Or at least they should. I have no idea why anyone would go into a story for any of the characters, and expect the same things. I don't want Superman level craziness when I'm in the mood to sit down to watch Daredevil, nor do I expect it.

    As for things being like in the 70s-as has been said, Supergirl and the Flash are at the opposite end of the spectrum as the Marvel Netflix shows and are doing fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    From what I see, many Superman fans, particularly the ones that hated Man of Steel, see the power fantasy aspect as most essential above all else. Case in point, I remember a lot of people liking him beating up the Justice League despite all the bitching and moaning over the idea of Superman and Batman fighting in the last movie. Suddenly, Superman fighting other superheroes is fine when heís winning. Snyder at least had the fight be treated like a bad thing and not a chance to show off the winnerís power. This is also how you get masturbatory puff pieces like Action Comics 775, where the writer is more interested in showing Supermanís dominance over expies of other characters rather than writing him as an altruistic person. If getting rid of the power fantasy aspect means stories like that are avoided in future, I can only see it as a good thing.
    Superman fans who embrace the power fantasy do not want that as the only aspect or consider it the only important one. I think that's a dismissive attitude to have towards it, to be honest. Every superhero has a power fantasy component, and they vary from character to character. Superman's specific type is different than others. We just don't want him to be a superhero of average strength who does his best and is a good man, which is about as generic as it gets and we can get that anywhere. And Superman fans are not the only ones who bitch and moan when he loses a fight. That JL fight had bitching and moaning from several different fandoms, despite the fact that is little to no precedent for half the character present to be able to challenge him seriously. If Wonder Woman had beaten the crap out of him, her fans would hail it as "empowering" or something. She loses one fight against a character who has canonically been more powerful than her for the majority of their shared history, and its suddenly the most sexist thing ever put to screen. It's gotten so that it appears Superman fans need to shut up and deal with it whenever he loses or becomes a punching bag for other characters, but when they try to reaffirm his status as the goddamn Superman, suddenly it's not acceptable for the other fans.

  11. #26
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adkal View Post
    I remember when they revealed that, for all the rage and destruction, Hulk's attacks were directed and targeted so precisely by Bruce Banner as his subconscious, that no one was ever killed.

    People were totally fine with Banner being able to use Hulk's strength to such precision, but Superman calculating dozens of variables as he flew in to save people was 'unrealistic' or made him 'too OP'.

    Que?


    With regard to the mountain example above - I reckon Kal would have done something (maybe heat vision, maybe sonics or ice-breath) to maintain the integrity of the areas where most of the pressure was going to be applied, and so buy himself some time to do what needed to be done. The clock is still ticking and the pressure is still on but it's not a 'dumb' grunt-and-lift. Part of me wants to say that 'you don't have to show that every time' but then another part of me understands that 'every comic has the potential to be someone's first', so as repetitive as it might seem, just a 'throwaway' line of what he may have done before lifting 'the-object-that-should-not-be-lifted-because-it-would-crumble-under-its-own-weight' should suffice.


    (separately, (and I've said this elsewhere) I don't think something like the Star Trek transporter should work on Superman)
    I remember complaints about the Hulk thing. I'm still a little mixed myself because it was such a titanic thing to casually throw out. It's almost crushed to powder by decades of other story implications. But it fits the point . We can't love Hulk if he goes around killing people, even one person really, so therefore he somehow isn't responsible for any deaths.

    To answer the OP, anything smaller than that I roll with. How does he lift mountains? He has a secondary power that negates the force. How does he fly super fast with passengers? He wraps them in his cape and holds them close. That's it, that's fine, keep it moving and tell the rest of the story.

  12. #27
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    People have different expectations for what they want out of a Daredevil or Punisher story than what they want out of a Superman story. Or at least they should. I have no idea why anyone would go into a story for any of the characters, and expect the same things. I don't want Superman level craziness when I'm in the mood to sit down to watch Daredevil, nor do I expect it.

    As for things being like in the 70s-as has been said, Supergirl and the Flash are at the opposite end of the spectrum as the Marvel Netflix shows and are doing fine.




    Superman fans who embrace the power fantasy do not want that as the only aspect or consider it the only important one. I think that's a dismissive attitude to have towards it, to be honest. Every superhero has a power fantasy component, and they vary from character to character. Superman's specific type is different than others. We just don't want him to be a superhero of average strength who does his best and is a good man, which is about as generic as it gets and we can get that anywhere. And Superman fans are not the only ones who bitch and moan when he loses a fight. That JL fight had bitching and moaning from several different fandoms, despite the fact that is little to no precedent for half the character present to be able to challenge him seriously. If Wonder Woman had beaten the crap out of him, her fans would hail it as "empowering" or something. She loses one fight against a character who has canonically been more powerful than her for the majority of their shared history, and its suddenly the most sexist thing ever put to screen. It's gotten so that it appears Superman fans need to shut up and deal with it whenever he loses or becomes a punching bag for other characters, but when they try to reaffirm his status as the goddamn Superman, suddenly it's not acceptable for the other fans.
    I honestly loved it when they gave him some respect and showed him more powerful than the others put together. I winced when he headbutted Wonder Woman but- and this either sounds sexist to you or it doesn't- I'm not sure if it was because he was portrayed as more powerful or if it was because he was hitting a woman, any woman, and that felt kind of not very much like Superman. But when he grabbed Batman and said, "Do you bleed?", I was thinking, "Wow, a scene where he actually gets the better of Batman. You don't see that very often in the last few decades".

    But agreed that the double standard seems to exist regarding everything Superman. Had WW or any of the others individually stomped him, that would have been "cool" and nobody would say that the other character was portrayed as too powerful. For a while in the comics, the Flash was massively faster than Superman plus the Speed Steal and the Infinite Mass Punch and, except jokingly, nobody uses him as the poster child for the overpowered hero. Green Lantern can do about anything and he isn't the example either.

    Although JL only superficially gave fans the Superman that Warners thought people wanted, it was great in terms of his power level to see him clearly presented as what he traditionally was throughout the vast majority of his history, especially Pre-Crisis, as THE Superman, more powerful than all the others. In fairness, I think all of the Kryptonians should be presented as more powerful than the others with the exception of Cosmic entities like the Spectre, etc.
    Power with Girl is better.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerboy View Post
    "Wow, a scene where he actually gets the better of Batman. You don't see that very often in the last few decades".
    I'd argue it happens pretty frequently. It just doesn't get a lot of hype. And sorry to Batman fans, but if the two ever tussled, Batman's going to win only by the flukiest flukes that ever fluked.

  14. #29
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    The double standard is real,and imo BS.

    Superman should be the most powerful,non cosmic being,BUT his powers are tempered by the fact that he would destroy everything and kill everyone if he didn't control himself perfectly.

    BTW I love tactile telekinesis

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    As for things being like in the 70s-as has been said, Supergirl and the Flash are at the opposite end of the spectrum as the Marvel Netflix shows and are doing fine.
    Are they? Reviews past the first seasons are mixed at best.




    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Superman fans who embrace the power fantasy do not want that as the only aspect or consider it the only important one.
    Then why is it so important he be the most powerful hero and regularly steamroll over other characters with little effort?

    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    .And Superman fans are not the only ones who bitch and moan when he loses a fight. That JL fight had bitching and moaning from several different fandoms, despite the fact that is little to no precedent for half the character present to be able to challenge him seriously.
    Which means that the other half can still win. Yet he’s portrayed as being more powerful than all of them combined.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    If Wonder Woman had beaten the crap out of him, her fans would hail it as "empowering" or something.
    If she’d defeated the entire League all by herself, even her fans would call bullshit.


    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    She loses one fight against a character who has canonically been more powerful than her for the majority of their shared history, and its suddenly the most sexist thing ever put to screen.
    Given how the movie treated women in general, the fight scene itself was merely a symptom of a larger issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    It's gotten so that it appears Superman fans need to shut up and deal with it whenever he loses or becomes a punching bag for other characters, but when they try to reaffirm his status as the goddamn Superman, suddenly it's not acceptable for the other fans.
    Superman doesn’t lose any more than any other character and is far less likely to be beaten or killed to show how dangerous the villain is.
    Last edited by Agent Z; 02-24-2018 at 12:07 AM.

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