How could DC/Marvel fans keep up with nearly 80 years of their comic history?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

Only the dedicated (and wealthy) superfans try.

Stately Wayne manor which has an extensive Marvel Comics wing…

Unless you are sitting on top of a very large trust fund, are the CEO of a megacorporation and have enough money to simply burn it as kindling, and have nothing else to do with your time for the next 45 years or so, you will likely never have the time, money or capacity to sit and absorb everything Marvel has had to offer since it first started making comics. Everyone else picks up what they can, when they can, following the stories that interest them most.

Timely's first publication, Marvel Comics #1 (cover dated Oct. 1939), included the first appearance of Carl Burgos' android superhero the Human Torch, and the first appearances of Bill Everett's anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner, among other features.

Marvel started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the early 1950s had generally become known as Atlas Comics. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others.

As I wrote in a previous Quora piece: How can I know everything about DC Comics? I point out the near impossibility of any individual keeping up with every single story, every single character, ever supporting character, event, catastrophe, supervillain that took place across the seventy or so years of the existence of Marvel comics and its associated publications.

In recent years (let's say since the original Secret Wars and DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths circa 1986) Marvel has made money by cross-pollinating books with multiple heroes, divergent stories, parallel universes, multiversal collapses and any number of ways to bring heroes who may have never shared pages, to suddenly have connections they didn't before.

Even if you read a single hero with zeal and gusto, if you wanted every appearance of that hero, you would sooner or later need to purchase books outside of your preference.

I am a huge comic fan, been following them hard for thirty five years, had the blessed opportunity to read Golden Age comics because my neighbor was a collector. Having read tens of thousands of comics and being fortunate enough to have a huge mental comic hard drive, am able to track a variety of the most significant stories in the DC and Marvel archives.

And even with all of that working in my favor, I can safely say, I have forgotten more about comics than I currently know. It's simply impossible to keep up with every aspect, every nuance of each complexly written character over thousands of issues. One of my favorite heroes, whom I have watched pretty much from his beginning has a history that would make the average soap opera blanch from jealousy…

Spider-Man has been:

  • a wrestler, a photographer, a home-schooled super-scientist,
  • in love, out of love, watched his love interest die at the hands of his enemy,
  • discovered his best friend's father has tried to kill him.
  • cloned, mutated to have eight limbs
  • then discovered his best friend has now become his worst enemy,
  • found a symbiotic costume that he loved and it loved him, until he discovered it was trying to BE him and then they broke up violently,
  • which then took over his friend and made him an enemy,
  • He hung out with his previously made clones and makes friends with most of them.
  • meanwhile he discovers his radioactive powers may have been a blessing of a previously unknown spider deity and he was being hunted by a creature named Morlun who was immune to his spider-sense and had the power to kill him,
  • but he escapes and married his true love only to have his marriage undone by a magical demon,
  • where he is believed to have been psychically killed and replaced by his arch-enemy Otto Octavius who pretends to be him for a number of years, screwing up his life
  • to ultimately having, traveled to parallel worlds finding out he's died in more than one of them, finding his long lost girlfriend had gained spiderpowers and is now more interesting than he is,
  • and then we as readers discover, Peter Parker may be replaced by a Spider-Man from the Ultimates Universe, named Miles Morales. Geez, see what I mean about soap operas?

And these are only some of the highlights in Spider-Man's very long career spanning at least half a dozen different comic series he appeared in: The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Sensational Spider-Man, just to name a few.

Now multiply this by the 5000+ heroes, villains and supporting casts of the Marvel Universe and you can see why no one could seriously entertain a complete knowledge of every character who has ever appeared in a Marvel comic.

If you don't know who Miles Morales is, you better get caught up because he is going to be a part of the new Marvel Universe and a member of the newest team of Avengers. Here's an absolutely wonderfully written primer on the newest Spiderman:

How could DC/Marvel fans keep up with nearly 80 years of their comic history?

Is it hypothetically possible to make a sun go nova or supernova?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

Yes. Throw another star at it.

Eta Carinae Supernova

No, I was not being facetious. The scale we are talking about when you are dealing with stars is huge. Almost too large to wrap one's mind around unless you are an astronomer or some other form of science/cosmology type. Watch this video on stars and their sizes first, just so you can get some idea, however limited, of just how large stars can be.

The Physics of Stars

Now that you have seen how large stars can be, understand that making one go supernova is very challenging because it isn't just size you have to contend with, its mass. This is a very simplified explanation of how stars function, so we can get on with trying to blow them up.

A Hertzsprung-Russell diagram showing the types of stars, their sizes, their relative distribution in the universe, their type and designation and their temperature, from lowest in the right corner to highest in the upper left. Blue and blue white stars are the hottest and red stars are the coolest.

The stars which appear above the middle band are stars with greater sizes, and are called giants or super-giants. They usually have greater masses than stars in or below the central band. Stars below it are usually classified as dwarf stars.

It is the high mass stars above the central band we are interested in looking at because they're the most likely candidates for becoming supernovas.

A supernova is a stellar explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy, radiating as much energy as the Sun or any ordinary star is expected to emit over its entire life span, before fading from view over several weeks or months. The extremely luminous burst of radiation expels much or all of a star's material at a velocity of up to 30,000 km/s (10% of the speed of light), driving a shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium. This shock wave sweeps up an expanding shell of gas and dust called a supernova remnant. Supernovae are potentially strong galactic sources of gravitational waves. A great proportion of primary cosmic rays comes from supernovae.

Not every star will go supernova. Only a certain type of star, one whose mass is equal to four or more of our relatively puny and stable star.

When you have a star with the right mass and it is at the right age, you can sit back and watch the show as the stars nuclear engine sputters and dies explosively.

To keep this simple, a star is a giant fusion reactor. Matter is being compressed in the center turning it from hydrogen to helium, with the byproduct of said fusion becoming an explosion of radioactive energy.

Think of a star as a never-ending party of nuclear explosions.

But a star is also a collection of matter. The more matter you pack into a place, the denser it becomes. Hydrogen is a gas, the lightest in the universe, but if pack enough of it in one place, it will begin to have a gravitational effect, and it is the pressure of said gravity pressing all of those hydrogen atoms down which causes the fusion eruption of energy.

Stars are a like a passengers on a Japanese supertrain. Squeezing as many atoms as they can into a very finite space.

It is the interaction of these two forces, the squeezing of atoms and the explosion of fusion which makes the beautiful round shapes of stars. When these forces are in equilibrium, a star is born and will burn as long as there is fuel to convert into energy.

This is a very simplified explanation. I am certain some cosmologist or physicist is having a seizure right now. Please don't flame me…

The problem comes when stars are super-massive. The more massive a star, the faster it converts its fuel. Stars which are super-large and super-massive often glow incredibly brightly and like a V-8 engine use up fuel like its free.

Red stars are slow burners, living for billions of years because they use of their fuel so slowly. Blue-White supergiant stars due to their immense mass may live brief lives as short as 500 million years (for a star, this is the equivalent of living fast, dying young and leaving a messy corpse).

A large blue-giant is likely a candidate for supernova martyrdom. It is from first generation stars like these that second generation stars like our sun are formed. We exist because of first generation stars that go out like this.

Now remember when I said a star exists because of two forces, the explosion which keeps the star glowing and the compression of gravity which keeps the star's gases in one place.

A supernova occurs when a star starts running out of fuel to convert into the next element on the periodic table. Hydrogen becomes Helium, Helium becomes Lithium, and each conversion of elements costs more energy and is less effective. This means the stars output begins to diminish and the crushing forces of gravity become more crushing. Which then causes the star to work harder to convert fuels, which makes the star run out of fuel faster.

A negative feedback loop is now in progress.

When the star can no longer easily convert its remaining fuels and produce energy, the end is near. The crushing gravity is slowly overwhelming the energy output.

Supernovae can be triggered in one of two ways: by the sudden re-ignition of nuclear fusion in a degenerate star; or by the gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star. In the first case, a degenerate white dwarf may accumulate sufficient material from a companion, either through accretion or via a merger, to raise its core temperature, ignite carbon fusion, and trigger runaway nuclear fusion, completely disrupting the star. In the second case, the core of a massive star may undergo sudden gravitational collapse, releasing gravitational potential energy that can create a supernova explosion.

There comes the day when the star is no longer able to convert energy and it collapses, all of its mass into a single space. However this compression of matter restarts the fusion process one more time in an event called runaway nuclear fusion.

This time sudden gravitational collapse can release this potential in a cataclysm of energy, thousands of times as great as anything the star may have done in its entire existence. Converting matter across the periodic table, indeed it is this explosion of energy, which is responsible for the heavier elements on the periodic table which make up life as we know it.

What we are as living beings, our chemical makeup, is the result of the violent supernova death of stars. Every element heavier than iron which is inside of us came from a star which died in an explosion whose energies are nearly immeasurable and able to be seen across vast distances.

A few were so bright they could be seen during the day!

The magnificent Crab Nebula, seen in 1054 on Earth and recorded by Chinese astronomers.

In 1913, when Vesto Slipher registered his spectroscopy study of the sky, the Crab nebula was again one of the first objects to be studied. In the early twentieth century, the analysis of early photographs of the nebula taken several years apart revealed that it was expanding. Tracing the expansion back revealed that the nebula must have become visible on Earth about 900 years ago. Historical records revealed that a new star bright enough to be seen in the daytime had been recorded in the same part of the sky by Chinese astronomers in 1054.

Supernova generate a variety of energies in different wavelengths, each giving information about the former star and its makeup.

Could you make a star explode artificially?

Having explained the physics of supernovas we can address the question. Would it be possible to artificially induce a star to supernova?

Here are my possible scenarios:

  1. Stars with masses greater than four or more solar masses have any shot at becoming a supernova. If I was able to move a smaller star and have it directed toward a star with the right mass, I could force the larger star into supernova by making its mass exceed its ability to fuse properly. This would probably only work on stars which were already nearing a point in their lifespan where they were already unstable anyway.
  2. Someone suggested a dumping a massive planetary gas giant into a star, but most gas giants, even the ones whose mass makes them almost able to become stars themselves are generally still not massive enough to make a difference in tipping a nearly nova-ready star into overdrive. You would need hundreds of said gas giants to do the deed.
  3. Or I could take a small star whose mass is right but for some reason has not quite made the leap to supernova and introduce it to another star whose mass is less and draw mass from the larger star to the smaller degenerate white dwarf and may accumulate sufficient material from a companion, either through accretion or via a merger, to raise its core temperature, ignite carbon fusion, and trigger runaway nuclear fusion, completely disrupting the star.

How about artificial supergravity?

  • If someone were able to increase the gravitation constant of the star, it might cause the star to burn its fuel faster and thus expediting the collapse of a suitably massive star.
  • This might be a viable alternative but the gravity required and the technology necessary to do this would be better served by pointing it at an enemy planet or approaching fleet and making them crash into each other or collapsing the tectonic plates of a geologically-active planet causing earthquakes, tidal waves and other forms of crust-related destruction.
  • If you could move stars or create significant artificial gravity enough to weaponize it, then you are probably capable of creating black holes in which case, people should have the good sense enough to stay on your species good side, assuming you have one.

As for Andromeda's Nova bomb or other forms of matter (or gravity manipulation) causing a star to go nova, we would have to be talking about really exotic forms of matter or energy, so different from anything we know today, they would fall into the realm of science fiction. Stargate's Zero-point energy as well as their interplanetary wormhole gate network certainly qualify. Stellar Explosion – Science Documentary 2015 HD

Interactive: Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram Explorer – Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram – NAAP

Is it hypothetically possible to make a sun go nova or supernova?

Is Marvel’s Antman ripped off from DC’s Atom?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

There's more to it than just the publication date…

It would be so easy to just say, look at their publication dates and say Ant-Man is a ripoff of The Atom and be done with it. Rather we should look at the characters and see how each evolved considering how they began.

Both characters are born of the Silver Age, when the comic industry was struggling to reinvent itself. DC and Marvel were experiencing an explosion of new ideas and were trying to capitalize on what was becoming a renewed interest in superhero-related comics.

Both heroes were "science heroes." A class of heroes of that era, replacing the grim and gritty Westerns which saved the comic industry during their doldrums but now needed to fall by the wayside, allowing heroes who used science and technology to usher in a new age.

With the World's Fair coming to New York in 1964, these canny businessmen wanted to be take advantage of everyone's renewed interest in science. Note the number of scientifically based famous heroes from that same era.

Marvel Science Heroes and Villains

  • Fantastic Four, Reed Richards
  • Iron Man, Tony Stark,
  • Black Panther, Prince Tchalla,
  • The Hulk, Bruce Banner,
  • Spider-Man,  Peter Parker
  • Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius
  • The Eternals – an entire race of scientific supermen

DC Science Heroes and Villains

  • Atom as Ray Palmer,
  • the Flash's police forensic scientist, Barry Allen,
  • Bruce Wayne's everyman's scientist Batman,
  • The Chief from the Doom Patrol,
  • Dr. Magnus from the Metal Men,
  • Lex Luthor, supergenius, businessman, criminal
  • Metron and the New Gods – another entire race of scientific supermen

There was an explosion of science, technology and ideas revolving around how science could change the world. Unfortunately, most of the writers of Marvel and DC were NOT scientists, so their science left much to be desired.

Of all the "science heroes" both Henry Pym (Ant-Man) and Ray Palmer (Atom) have had some of the longest running and most challenging careers of the science hero in their respective universes, partially because they were both brilliant and troubled individuals.

The Atom: Legacy hero of the Golden Age

A character called the Atom began his career in comics in the 1940s as a member of the Justice Society. This Atom, Al Pratt, had no powers other than his fighting prowess and take no prisoner's attitude in a fight. A "tough guy" he was a self-made man, trained to pugilistic excellence by retired boxer, Joe Morgan, the same man who would train another fighting "tough guy"known as Wildcat.  Pratt would at the end of his career briefly gain superhuman powers through a "radiation accident" fighting a villain named Cyclotron.

When the Golden Age ended, DC Comics decided they wanted a new Atom but not based on the ideas of the old one. They decided to try creating a superpower rarely seen in comics; shrinking.

The Silver Age Atom is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Atom was created by editor and co-plotter Julius Schwartz, writer Gardner Fox and penciler Gil Kane. He was one of the first superheroes of the Silver Age of comic books and debuted in Showcase # 34 (Oct. 1961).

Enter Ray Palmer, physicist; he would explore the nature of a white dwarf star and its intense molecular density. He would create a technology that would let him reduce his molecular density while controlling his weight. He would have the ability to deliver a full strength, full mass punch while being at what would be his nominal size of about six inches tall. Against normal humans, this would have the force of a bullet.

The fun started when the writers decided there could be adventures to be had if the Atom could shrink even further. What if he could shrink to the size of a insect, a dust particle, a cell, or dare we say it — an atom. He would do all of these things and more.

His signature means of getting around was making a prosaic phone call but then shrinking to an atomic size and riding the electron connection to the receiving end!

Here was a hero whose like had never been seen before! The Atom would go on to become a member of the Justice League though most of the time he was content to provide scientific support rather than go on field missions. He felt his power had a limited use and only participated in certain kinds of missions.

To be fair to the character, the Atom's molecular control made it possible for him to be the most dangerous member of the Justice League if you didn't mind the Atom manipulating atoms, molecules, cells, organs or simply expanding to his full size inside your body…as his enemy, Dwarfstar does with similar size control powers. Ugh.

Despite his minuscule size the Atom has enjoyed a long career since his debut, granted with doldrums where the character languished in limbo or in strange stories which are sometimes best forgotten. His adventures in Brazil for instance (from the Sword of the Atom series):

From Sword of the Atom Special #2 (1985)

And that’s how Ray Palmer became a jungle barbarian, a counter-espionage agent, a teenager, a concerned ex-husband, and a border guard of the multiverse (don't ask, retconned away…)

Even a hero as tiny as the Atom gets a crowning moment of awesome.

  • In the alternate future story, "Rock of Ages", Darkseid has found the Anti-Life Equation and rules Earth, although he is killed when Connor Hawke and the Atom manage to bypass his protective force-field when Atom shrinks down to the size of a speck of light (reasoning that light must penetrate the force-field, otherwise Darkseid could not see) and detonates a bomb inside Darkseid's head.

Dr. Henry Pym: Scientist Supreme

Ant-Man is the name of several fictional characters appearing in books published byMarvel Comics. Ant-Man was originally the superhero persona of Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist who invented a substance that allowed him to change his size. Hank Pym was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Tales to Astonish#27 (Jan. 1962); his first appearance as Ant-Man was in Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962).
After Pym retired his Ant-Man identity, successors Scott Lang and Eric O'Grady have used Pym's technology to take on the role of Ant-Man.

Ant-Man may have made his first appearance in Tales to Astonish but he really didn't hit the big time until he became a charter member of the World's Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers. Yes, that's right, for all of you Marvel Cinematic Universe types, Ant-Man and his wife-to-be Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp) were founding members of the Avengers.

Yes, over there in the corner on the left surfing two ants is Ant-Man. And here-in would become the dilemma of the character over his long career.

You see, Ant-Man's powers were the ability to reduce himself in size using a molecular material he dubbed Pym Particles (no scientific ego problems, right?) These particles would let him change his size from a normal human to the size of a large ant. He did maintain his normal size strength and this could make him able to pack quite a punch.

Using a cybernetic helmet of his own design, he could also summon and control ants and they would follow his commands. He could use them as spies or as attackers. Most often he used them as flying transport.

However, in a group boasting its own superhumanly strong monster, a man in a suit of powered armor and a self-declared god, being able to shrink to the size of an ant had limited applications. This inferiority complex along with a growing psychosis due to his changing his size would eventually lead to him taking on a new identity: Giant Man. The Avengers roster would grow and Pym wanted to be considered a heavy hitter.

Pym would be the Avenger's go to scientist for his entire time in their roster, constantly fighting feelings of inferiority as the Avengers lineup grew more diverse and more powerful. While he loved his wife, it seemed their relationship grew more strained as his issues with being a heavy hitter became more problematic.

Hank would go on to create Ultron, the Avenger's greatest, nigh indestructible menace whose threat would resurface again and again over the decades.

Ultron never stopped improving himself though his greatest threat to the Avengers may have been when he was Ultron-5 and brought the Avengers to the brink. Pym was never able to forgive himself for creating Ultron. He would also change his name and costume to Goliath during this period. It didn't help his issues. If anything he became more violent and dangerous during battles.

Pym's instability would continue as he used his size-changing powers and would eventually be unable to change size. This would force him to take on a new identity: Yellowjacket. For Pym, this identity would herald a number of life-altering changes.

Determined to try to show the team he was worthy of being an Avenger, Hank was actually on trial and about to get kicked out for excessive force during a battle. The team was fighting a mysterious woman and Cap had convinced her to stop fighting. Hank came along and zapped her in the back. This could have caused her to re-ignite the fight and defeat the team. In an effort to prove to the team he was still worthy of being an Avenger, Pym concocted a plan to create a robot only he could stop (ala Syndrome from the Incredibles).

Hank sneaks off to his lab to create his super-robot and is discovered by Jan. What follows is the character's ultimate defining moment. He never recovers from this event socially, as an Avenger or as a character in the Marvel Universe.

One of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe with the social acumen of a angry child.  In a rage, Hank strikes her, gaining an undeserved reputation as a wife-beater. They divorce soon after.

Hank's decent into madness continues until he realizes he isn't cut out to be a superhero and returns to his lab.

He takes on the identity of Dr. Pym, a science hero/adventurer who uses science to make the world a better place. Since he can no longer use his size changing powers on himself, he instead shrinks objects and tools and resizes them as he needs to.

His relationship with Jan improves during this time because he has for the first time accepted he is not defined by his superpowers. Pym develops as a character in a far different way than the Atom does. There is a whole lot of history we can't even cover.

Janet dies, Hank takes on a new identity in tribute to her, becoming the Wasp. Hank trains new Avengers, he creates a new mansion in a pocket dimension. You have years to catch up on what may be one of the most interesting and human characters in the Avenger's lineup.

Eventually, Pym too will have a moment of awesome as he discovers he is the Scientist Supreme.

The Pym Particles are a fundamental sub-atomic particle that allows Hank Pym to shrink down and pass into a sub-atomic realm called Underspace, and to grow to an abstract level called the Overspace.

Abstract entities like Eternity reside on other planes of existence such as Overspace. The exact polar opposite of that would be Underspace – a plane of reality that lies below the dimension called the Microverse. Underspace is the realm Henry Pym placed his headquarters, the Infinite Avengers Mansion, for his team of Avengers because he discovered his former teammate Thor sent Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, there. Underspace entry on the Marvel Wikia

Pym has visited the abstract realm and met Eternity when he went into Overspace.

Never forget this, Hank Pym. You are my champion. You are my avenger! More than a founding Avenger of old, you are the founder of Avengers yet to come. A new Age of Heroes is upon us…more than any being, I put my trust in you. To you I entrust more than myself. To you I entrust the future. But for now, here is what you must do… — Eternity

When Henry Pym grew beyond the macroverse into Overspace, he met Eternity, who thanked him for saving reality from Chthon. He gave the title "Scientist Supreme" to Pym because of his desire to take science to the point of studying magic. He sent Pym back to Earth, telling him that he was the founder of the Avengers to come and promised a new age of Heroes was coming. Eternity entry on the Marvel Wikia

Hank Pym is a genius, one of the founding members of the Avengers, the creator of Pym Particles and Ultron, a sufferer of Bipolar disorder and a modern-day superhero. He has acted under many memorable identities such as Ant-Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and the Wasp. He is also the Earth's Scientist Supreme, as decreed by Eternity.

Two shrinking heroes separated by a year and 50 years of creativity have ended up in very different places. One may have been a copy of the other but by no means were these two scientists merely standing in the shadows of giants or gods. They were both expressions of the human desire to expand their knowledge to the limits of their respective universes. Not bad for two guys whose power was just shrinking…

See Also: How does Ant-Man stack up against other Marvel heroes?

Is Marvel's Antman ripped off from DC's Atom?

Is Bruce Banner a mutant?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

Officially, No. But it's more complicated than that.

the Celestials by ZurdoM

I already know what you're thinking. Your first question is: What do the Celestials have to do with the Bruce Banner/Hulk? Patience, young grasshopper, you need a primer on the untold history of the Marvel Universe.

Who you calling 'mutate'?

Back in a more innocent time, Marvel Comics early creators were fond of what has been dubbed in comic literature as 'the radiation accident'.

  • Many early superheroes were created or transformed when they were exposed to radioactivity in one form or another.
  • Since science literacy was at a low during that period and most people had no real idea of what radiation was beyond what they saw in 1950 era science fiction films such as 'Attack of the Crab Monsters' or 'Them' where exposure to radiation made fantastic mutations impossible to be found in nature.
  • Since comics were trying to reinvent themselves, they decided to create superheroes with the same basic formula. Insert ordinary man (a common Marvel theme) + mysterious and unknown radiation and poof, a new and fantastic hero would be created.

Some of Marvel's greatest creations utilize this origin including:

The Fantastic Four: Exposed to cosmic rays on an early spaceflight in a poorly shielded ship, the four explorers develop superhuman abilities due to the interaction with said radiation. The radiation mysteriously transforms each one of them into a different elemental expression of nature and makes three of them really hot and sexy and one of them appealing only to stonemasons and sculptors. First Appearance: The Fantastic Four #1 (cover dated Nov. 1961)

The Amazing Spider-Man: On a science excursion to a poorly-run and scientifically inept laboratory, hapless Peter Parker, chew toy and science geek is bitten by a spider which had been exposed to radiation (without immediately dying) and bites Parker, transferring its 'spidery essence' and powers requiring great responsibility to utilize (as we are reminded in every film). First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962)

Daredevil: Young Matt Murdock was unfortunate enough to be on a street corner when a truck bearing, unshielded, improperly stored, unmarked radioactive waste. In an effort to save a man about to be killed Matt somehow avoids being run over and instead is splashed in the face with said toxic waste. Instead of dying a slow cancer-riddled death, he is blinded and then gifted by having his other senses become superhuman compared to a normal man's. He also gains a 360 degree awareness he calls his radar sense. Instead of retiring to the life of a gentle scholar, he emuates his failed father's boxing career and heads out to the gym, bulks up and becomes the Devil of Hell's Kitchen fighting criminals by night and helping people 'lawyer up' during the day in his secret identity as Matt Murdock, attorney at law. First Appearance: Daredevil #1 (April 1964)

The Incredible Hulk: The most powerful human/menace/hero in the Marvel Universe, the Hulk gained his powers by being at ground zero of the text of an experimental nuclear device called the 'gamma bomb'. Supposedly the next evolution in nuclear warfare, the test center was poorly policed and a young protester, Rick Jones found himself at ground zero. Intrepid Bruce Banner rushes to save Jones and instead is exposed to the terrible radiation of the bomb. (Jones is pushed into some kind of ditch by Banner which protects him from the blast.) First appearance, The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)

In those early days, such superheroes were dubbed 'mutates' meaning they were altered in some way by an outside influence, whether it be radiation (see above), mutagen (Captain America), or alien super-science (Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers).

Radiation, the stuff heroes are made of…or not.

On our Earth, if you are exposed to radiation in any of its primary forms, alpha particles, beta particles or more energetic radiations such as X-rays or gamma rays, if your exposure is significant, you will DIE from radiation poisoning or acute radiation syndrome.

The radiation one typically encounters is one of four types: alpha radiation, beta radiation, gamma radiation, and x radiation. Neutron radiation is also encountered in nuclear power plants and high-altitude flight and emitted from some industrial radioactive sources.

  1. Alpha Radiation: Alpha radiation is a heavy, very short-range particle and is actually an ejected helium nucleus. Some characteristics of alpha radiation are:
    • Most alpha radiation is not able to penetrate human skin.
    • Alpha-emitting materials can be harmful to humans if the materials are inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through open wounds.
    • Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate clothing.

    Examples of some alpha emitters: radium, radon, uranium, thorium.

  2. Beta Radiation: Beta radiation is a light, short-range particle and is actually an ejected electron. Some characteristics of beta radiation are:
    • Beta radiation may travel several feet in air and is moderately penetrating.
    • Beta radiation can penetrate human skin to the "germinal layer," where new skin cells are produced. If high levels of beta-emitting contaminants are allowed to remain on the skin for a prolonged period of time, they may cause skin injury.
    • Beta-emitting contaminants may be harmful if deposited internally.
    • Clothing provides some protection against beta radiation.

    Examples of some pure beta emitters: strontium-90, carbon-14, tritium, and sulfur-35.

  3. Gamma and X Radiation: Gamma radiation and x rays are highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation. Some characteristics of these radiations are:
    • Gamma radiation or x rays are able to travel many feet in air and many inches in human tissue. They readily penetrate most materials and are sometimes called "penetrating" radiation.
    • X rays are like gamma rays. X rays, too, are penetrating radiation. Sealed radioactive sources and machines that emit gamma radiation and x rays respectively constitute mainly an external hazard to humans.
    • Gamma radiation and x rays are electromagnetic radiation like visible light, radiowaves, and ultraviolet light. These electromagnetic radiations differ only in the amount of energy they have. Gamma rays and x rays are the most energetic of these.
    • Dense materials are needed for shielding from gamma radiation. Clothing provides little shielding from penetrating radiation, but will prevent contamination of the skin by gamma-emitting radioactive materials.

    Examples of some gamma emitters: iodine-131, cesium-137, cobalt-60, radium-226, and technetium-99m.

Baes, Fred. "What Types of Radiation Are There?." N.p. Web. 22 Jul. 2015. <>

In the Marvel Universe, if you are exposed to radiation (or other mutagens) there is the spontaneous possibility you will gain superpowers! How is that possible? The staggering revelation is this:

  • The power to have metahuman capacity is not innately human. It does not exist normally in the Human genome. This capacity is due to the genetic manipulation and alterations made by the Celestials.
  • Humans without the genetic tampering would die when exposed to radiation in all its many forms, simple as that.

The Eternals (homo immortalis): a subgroup of Humanity with distinctive, consistently inherited, genetically-derived superhuman capabilities. Despite their vast power and superhuman capability, they are considered a failure by the Celestials.

In the Marvel Universe, all metahuman potential is the result of scientific manipulations of the Celestials upon the Human genome. Experiments which have led to the development of a variety of superhuman groups on the Marvel Earth including:

  • The Deviants and the Eternals: The first such "successful" genetic experiments upon Humanity and its subspecies. Each group developed a variety of capacities seen in subsequent metahumans on Marvel Earth today. Deemed a failure by the Celestials due to the consistency of their metahuman abilities (Eternals) or the staggering variability and power levels (Deviants).
  • The Inhumans: The second major genetic experiment on Humans carried out by the alien militarists, the Kree, in order to extract said metahuman potential and weaponize it for their miltary uses against their shape-shifting enemies, the Skrulls. Their experiments required the use of the mutagen called the Terrigen Mists.
  • Mutants (homo superior): A randomly occurring genetic event where when genetic markers dubbed the X-gene come together in an as-yet-undefined manner, metahuman potential is released, usually in puberty. The underlying nature of most mutant powers is psionic, giving them the ability to manipulate environmental conditions or change some aspect of their physical body. In the rare case, both. See: Proteus: Kevin MacTaggert (Earth-616).
  • Mutates: Beings whose genetic capacity would not have lent itself to the formation of the X-gene but somehow has sufficient metahuman potential that with an external mutagen e.g. radiation, a human being will spontaneously develop superhuman potential. Mutates can (and often do) give birth to mutants.

Franklin Richards is the mutant son of Reed Richards and Susan Richards. His mutant ability has been deemed the greatest expression of such abilities to have ever existed on Marvel Earth. His powers of energy manipulation and reality alteration have no equals. His powers make him a contemporary to the mighty Galactus and may be the desired result of the Celestial experiments millions of years ago.

VERDICT: The Hulk is NOT a mutant.

He would be considered a mutate. His powers, or to be specific, his ability to have metahuman capacity, released by exposure to radiation, is inherent in all Human DNA in the Marvel Universe. He is an unhappy accident at best.

See Also:

Outside the Marvel Universe:

The word 'mutant' is a loaded term in the comic universe, but not just for the reasons you might think. The Hulk would never be classified a mutant for various reasons, the most important being financial ones:

  • Marvel has trademarked the word 'mutant'. This word has such a distinction, it is the primary reason you don't see any 'mutants' in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Understand, when you say the word 'mutant' it stands for money in the comic industry.
  • This was such an issue that when Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were slated to be in the Avengers: Age of Ultron, their origins were changed both in the comics and in the movies removing them from their previous mutant origins.
  • Mutants are part of the film contract for the 20th Century Fox which produces the never-ending line of questionable quality X-men movies.  That last statement is only my opinion, not necessarily a fact. The X-Men film series is the 13th highest grossing movie franchise in history.

With seven films released, the X-Men film series is the 13th highest-grossing film franchise of all-time, having grossed over US$3 billion worldwide. It is set to continue in 2016 with two spin-off films, Deadpool and Gambit, and a sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past entitled X-Men: Apocalypse, with a third Wolverine film following in 2017.

Is Bruce Banner a mutant?

Who would win in a fight between Superman and the Flash?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

It'd be over in a blur of motion.

Disclaimer: Superhero battles within the same universes between different characters is generally a waste of time because the winner of said battle depends entirely on the plot. If one hero is needed to defeat the other, the writer will see a way to win and the hero who should win, won't. It's that simple.

The Tale of the Tape
With that said: We will take the current versions of the Sultan of Speed, the Master of Motion, without a doubt the Fastest Man Alive and pit him in a titanic struggle against, Earth's most powerful hero, dubbed the Man of Tomorrow, the Man of Steel or by his most distinctive sobriquet, Superman!

Introducing the Fastest Man Alive — The Flash

The Flash's powers, since the reboot of the new DC Universe, revolve around Barry Allen's return and his perfect connection to the Speed Force. It has been implied Barry is the Speed Force, personified making him the most powerful speedster on DC's Earth.

  • The Speed Force is a energy field which permeates all of space-time in the DC Universe and allows many of DCs most well known speedsters to defy the laws of physics.
  • Depending on the quality of a speedster's connection, each will be able to manifest a variety of superhuman abilities related to hyper-accelerated activity.
  • Almost all speedsters who can connect to the Speed Force can move at what is commonly called super-speed which includes, faster ground movement, heightened reflexes, heightened temporal perception and increased reaction time.
  • They also have increased prioperception – an awareness of their body's physical position, movement and a perfect awareness of what is around them. This is necessary for speedsters to prevent accidents and bumping into things at high speeds.
  • Barry's return from the Speed Force has altered his perception of his powers and his view of the real world. He can, focus on a series of events and determine the least amount of effort required to make those events happen.
  • It's a new and different way of depicting how the Flash controls his perception of time, space and his relationship to the world at large. Being as fast as he is, he appears to violate causality appearing to be everywhere at once. He isn't, but his speed can give him the illusion of simultaneity.
  • Depending on the writer, how the Flash handles relative simultaneity (how things appear to happen simultaneously in relationship to the viewer) varies widely.
  • In The Flash #2, the Flash (as Barry Allen) is standing outside of a storefront where a robbery is about to/has/will happen. He is shown experiencing a moment where he is able to perceive a series of events that will/has happened and then decides to make minor changes to the series of events so different results ensue.

  • Does the Flash predict the future? No, the Flash lives at the edge of relative time, so he can tell the most liable future from a series of events based on his position in the decisions being made.
  • He is able to parse this information to make the right decision at the right time and from the perspective of someone on the outside of the event, he has dealt with every event apparently at the same time.

  • Looking at the final image, it does not resemble every permutation he conceived of, just the ones he decided would be the most effective at solving the problem without appearing to be doing anything untoward.

  • This extension of his temporal sense is not a new power, but a different way of showing how he controls his view of time in relationship to himself. Judging from his surprise, he may have never looked at his powers this way before and is experiencing his speed powers differently since his rebirth.

Manipulating the Speed Force for a variety of effects allows the Flash to:

  • Alter his molecular integrity and vibrate through normal matter. It has not been revealed if Barry can cause objects to explode by transferring some aspect of his speed energy, after passing through them in a fashion similar to Wally West. Wally couldn't control this power and thus refrained from phasing through matter if he could help it.
  • Violate the laws of conservation of motion and inertia. He can add or subtract energy, inertial or momentum to an object, removing it from its framework. He once used this power to effective remove a target from the Earth's natural rotation for ten seconds causing them to reappear over a hundred miles away.
  • Easily move faster than the speed of sound and with effort reach the speed of light in atmosphere without causing environmental catastrophe on a planet. Under controlled circumstances, he can move at multiples of the speed of light for brief periods.
  • Control his personal mass and energy relationship increasing his resistance to injury and ability to deliver damage to a target. The faster he moves, the more damage he is able to deliver.
  • Deliver his most powerful attack, dubbed the "Infinite Mass Punch" he is capable of dealing blows capable of damaging beings whose superhuman resistance would normally be beyond his ability to affect. The first use of the Infinite Mass Punch was by Wally West against the White Martian, Zum. Barry has shown he can also use this power.

  • Wally West was the most powerful version of the Flash to ever exist, until Barry Allen returned from the Speed Force.
  • West's feats of speed have rarely been equaled and this first use of the Infinite Mass Punch was simply inspired. Note both of these combatants creative use of superspeed.

Weaknesses: Despite his amazing abilities due to his connection to the Speed Force, Barry Allen is still, in many ways, very human. It is only when he is in motion does his defensive abilities come into play. If caught off guard or by surprise, he can be harmed though his powers will mitigate some degree of the damage.

Since Barry's return from the Speed Force, his powers and abilities have equaled or eclipsed most of the feats performed by Wally West. He is once again, the Fastest Man Alive. While he and Superman have tangled once with Barry getting the short end of it, he won't be as cocky again. Superman is fast, but no one is as fast as the Flash!

Introducing the Earth's Greatest Hero — Superman

Arguably, Superman is one of the most powerful metahumans in the recently rewritten DC Universe. There are some rumblings among the fanboys the Martian Manhunter is more powerful, but I think this is about the Manhunter having a more diverse power set including mental powers, phasing and mass-alteration abilities.

Superman is the flagship hero of DC and most of the DC staff have repeatedly indicated Superman has no equals. It is only his unconscious restraint which makes it look like he does. The latest version of Superman in the New 52 has shown all of the powers of his previous versions but not approaching his Silver Age level of superhuman ability.

He appears stronger than his previous Post-Crisis iteration, however. His abilities depicted thus far include:

  • Superhuman strength, sufficient to lift a weight equal to that of the entire planet. However, he must ramp up his strength to such prodigious levels because of the fragility of human environments.
  • Normally, his strength is sufficient to easily lift a 747. With a few seconds of concentration, he can move an aircraft carrier. With a few minutes, he can move the an object as massive and physically complex as a pyramid. When sufficiently motivated, he has moved entire worlds.
  • Superhuman stamina, capable of holding up the weight of the Earth for five days without rest. He has proven to be able to utilize superhuman strength, invulnerability and traveling at faster than light for sixty days without any additional solar energy.

  • He can resist the force of gravity and generate directional flight at speeds up to ten times the speed of sound with limited adverse effect on the environment. He can move even faster in atmosphere but only with a correspondingly increasing circle of destruction of which he is reluctant to do.
  • Outside of a planetary atmosphere he has proven to be able to achieve speeds faster than light, traveling from Pluto to Earth in a matter of minutes. Whether this is due to him achieving superluminal speeds or by warping space around him has not been discerned or disclosed. His current top speed is estimated by this travel time at 16 to 20 times the speed of light!
  • He has increased cognitive abilities, the ability to increase his reflexes and reaction time, comparable to his ability to move at light speeds. His training allows him to scan, analyse and deduce his opponent's operational capacity in seconds and devise an effective plan for neutralizing them.
  • Superman is highly aware that most of his opponents are often far less durable and usually less physically powerful than he is. When in doubt he uses the least amount of force required to handle his opponents. To understand his actions, they have to be seen in context.

  • In a confrontation with Batman, Superman uses his super-senses to detect that Batman's utility belt is empty. This means he is always scanning his opponents. Something prudent when you aren't sure of the capabilities of your opponents. He does this to everyone he fights.
  • He uses a bevy of super-senses whose mechanics are not fully understood. He can study objects as if he were using a powerful microscope or enhance his visual acuity greater than that of the most powerful telescope. At the same time, he can exist in environments millions of times brighter than any light on Earth (like the surface of the sun) without harm. He appears to be able to look through most earthly substances with the curious exception of lead.
  • His hearing is acute enough to hear and distinguish a single voice in an entire city. He can hear both in the infrasonic and ultrasonic ranges. He can isolate and intercept radio and other low frequency electromagnetic signals, giving him the ability to track radio triggered bombs and the like.
  • The addition of a new destructive power called the super-flare, is an explosion of all of the Man of Steel's stored solar energy in one cataclysmic burst. The output appears similar to a nuclear explosion without the consequence of fallout.

  • Recent data in the DCnU/New 52 indicates his new superpower – "Solar Flare" uses all of his power in a catastrophic explosion of energy, leaving him temporarily without use of his solar-derived Kryptonian abilities. Some degree of superhuman strength has returned first and as his energy stores return, his more energy-intensive powers will as well.
  • A high degree of damage resistance and nigh-invulnerability. High energy attacks, strong electrical attacks or powerful brute force blows can temporarily stun him but do little long-term damage. He has withstood the force of a nuclear explosion with no long-term damage. (Yes, Wonder Woman's sword CAN split an atom…)


  • Superman has only a few weaknesses, including leeching or reducing his powers by exposing him to red sun radiation. Under red sun radiation, his stores of yellow sun radiation are temporarily depleted and replaced. His powers can be drained in this fashion making him appear as an ordinary human. Normally such an event would take days.
  • Technology which utilizes red sun radiation attempts to cause damage at the point of impact where his defensive powers are reduced, he is more vulnerable in those spots.
  • Green Kryptonite (which is in short supply) can destroy his capacity to process yellow sun radiation for any feats of superhuman ability. He is immediately weakened, barely able to uses his powers and is in excruciating pain. Exposure over an hour to a pure source of Kryptonite can kill him.
  • He can be affected more easily by truly magical phenomena and is far less invulnerable to psychic attack.
  • However, his highly ordered mind is rarely held in thrall for long and he has some degree of training in resisting mind control and other forms of psychic compulsion.

Superman in the DC Universe is considered nearly power incarnate. What makes him extraordinary is his compassion and concern for the Humans of his adopted world. As such, despite his incredible capacity for destruction, he does everything in his power to mitigate such damage whenever possible, even if it means he has to get hurt to protect innocents.

The Battle:

The first time these two mixed it up, the Flash assumed his superspeed would be enough to keep Superman from even laying a hand on him.

  • While the Flash's initial interactions befuddle Superman (he likely has fought few opponents as fast as he is) once the Man of Steel realizes he can match his opponent's speed, he restrains himself.

  • Superman always engages in restraint during combat. Always. With strength as great as his, it is important for him to exercise control because he is morally opposed to killing his opponents. Despite the Flash's speed, Superman's mind has already shifted into high gear, predicting the path of the Flash.

  • In this fight he applies the force necessary to damage his opponent, nothing more. Check out his eyes, he is predicting where the Flash will be and times his blow to make sure he is where he needed to be. Once he was sure he could hit him, he just flicks him. That tiny blow knocks the Flash back down the street. Only his Speed Force aura and Superman's restraint protected him from serious injury.


In a rematch, these two would need a place where they could cut loose and fight on equal terms. Let's say someplace deserted, like the surface of Planet X. Why do they need a deserted environment to fight in?

Because for the Flash to hit Superman hard enough for him to notice, he needs space to wind up. He will have to reach light speed and set up a point in the battle for him to alter his mass for an Infinite Mass Punch. Otherwise, Superman barely notices his efforts. Having fought enemies as strong as himself, Barry Allen can't do enough damage to truly harm Superman in any meaningful way.

Without a Speed Force aura, Superman will never be able to move fast enough, except in close quarters to ever hit the Flash without causing devastating environmental effects from using his powers full out on a planetary surface.

Hence, Planet X.

The two arrive on the surface of Planet X in a borrowed spaceship. Traveling to another continent to protect the ship, the two are separated by five miles. Planet X resembles Earth in all other ways except for the lack of cities, people and significant life; same gravity, air density and water distribution.

Both are aware of each other but neither appears to move for ten, maybe fifteen minutes. Barry checks his calculations for the speeds he will need to affect Superman at all.

He sees the possible permutations required to get Superman into the right position to execute his attacks and sees Superman already countering more than half of them in less than a nanosecond. Thousands of choices, all failures.

How fast is Superman truly capable of being? One thousandth of a second, one ten thousandth? One millionth? Then he sees a possibility. Something Superman can't possibly know yet. The Speed Force crackles and the Flash disappears.

Superman's keen intellect has already spun up his mental capacity to sense the Flash. He knows the Flash will need to move so fast, even his superior senses will never detect him in time. He closes his eyes and waits. His every nerve tingling in anticipation. He feels the electromagnetic field of the planet flickering all around him. He won't look for him, he will feel his disturbance in the planet's magnetic and gravimetric field.

The Flash vanishes. The electromagnetic aura of the planet reverberates with his powers. The Flash believes himself to be invisible, but he affects the world the same way Superman does. At the fundamental level.

Feeling no immediate impact, Superman realizes the Flash needs running room, time to build up speed.

Superman can feel the buildup of energy approaching his position just ahead of the Flash. It took him three seconds to circle the planet. He's still way under lightspeed. He has to keep this battle just under the speed of light to take advantage of his IMP.

The first pass doesn't even draw near Superman. The Man of Steel marks the mental path and waits. Three seconds again. Why so slow? The Flash whizzes by again.

Why won't he attack, Barry wonders. This plan only works if he engages first. Maybe if I increase the threat level. Barry disappears in the distance and takes ten seconds to return.

Superman surprised at the length opens his eyes to a barrage of boulders crashing into him at near relativistic speeds. The shockwaves caused by their sonic booms split the sky, creating plumes of blinding dust. Swinging into action, the Man of Tomorrow deflects the smaller and faster particles of debris and dodges the slower, larger ones.

His motions have to be fast. Faster than he normally move on Earth, because if he misses, each hunk of granite explodes with the force of a small bomb. Turning the ground into near light-speed projectiles is clever. But Superman's reactions are equal to the task and each snap of his fist creates ground-splitting explosions of force. Each deflected hunk of granite becomes a fine cloud filling the air around him. His fists are a blur as the cloud of missiles continue unabated.

There's a pattern here. This isn't random. I can't figure it out. The cloud of debris soon envelops Superman.

The hail of missiles stops and the Flash appears, for just a second, striking Superman on the chest. Before Superman can react, the Flash is gone. I can't move, he thinks. What did he do to me? Where did he go? With the cloud of dust all around him, Superman tries his X-ray vision only to realize what has happened.

The dust is filled with lead. He never sees the Flash as he circles the world five times in the next second. Realizing the danger, Superman vibrates his own molecular structure trying to overload whatever effect was holding him in place. He's all around me, setting up for his attack.

Superman stops struggling and braces himself. The Flash takes his one shot, igniting the atmosphere around his fist as he reaches ninety nine percent the speed of light. He can see the cloud, he has already mapped the position and knows exactly where Superman is. To the inch.

The world vanishes from sight only his mental map of everything remains. The ground beneath his feet explodes as he passes over it once, twice, three times, four, five, crossing the oceans, he vaporizes tons of water behind him, creating clouds of steam that span the world.

His mass is increasing, he weighs as much as a truck on his first pass, an aircraft carrier on his next, a pyramid on his third, a moon on his fourth and a planet on his fifth. Earthquakes with every step.

Superman knows he's coming. It has only been a few seconds since he was immobilized. While he can't move, he can see. He has five nanoseconds before the Flash makes his final approach. More than enough time. His eyes glow a fiery red. He waits until the Flash has passed for the last time. He breathes in deeply, sucking in as much of the dust and debris in the air as possible.

Three nanoseconds. Even this tiny movement is taking all of his strength. He can feel the paralyzing effect faltering. Straining against it, he holds his breath as the granite dust sears even his invulnerable lungs.

One nanosecond. The Flash is faster than my heat vision. When he's running away from it. Superman expels the granite dust into a cloud directly in front of him.

The Flash arrived right on time, his Infinite Mass Punch delivered with perfection. The blow drove Superman into orbit. In that same moment, an explosion erupted at point blank range right as Superman achieved escape velocity. The Speed Force transferred the accumulated energy directly to the Man of Steel, shockwave and all. For the Flash, his blow, despite it's incredible payload is silent as the grave.

Superman's heat vision, ignites the rapidly expanding dust cloud with a temperature equal to the surface of the sun. An explosion fills the air around the Flash.

The Flash never saw it coming.

A dust explosion coupled with his tangible state meant he caught the full brunt of the blast and landed several hundred feet away unconscious and battered. The Speed Force absorbed a great deal of the explosion but the Flash would not regain consciousness for hours.

Superman had been struck with the force of a million megaton bomb.

Barry had pushed his powers to the limit. 99.8% the speed of light gave him an incredible punch, a degree of superhuman durability and no chance to dodge the dust explosion. Any other normal man would have been torn to shreds.

The Man of Steel woke up, battered and in orbit, impressed by the ingenuity of the Fastest Man Alive.

An hour later, Barry Allen wakes with a splint on his arm and Superman watching him with a smile.

Barry scratches his head before remarking, "Dust explosion, huh? How'd you come up with that? I didn't think you knew much exotic science."

"You're right, I was inspired by my experiences as a farmer. Grain silos and dust explosions go together. I have to hand it to you. You are more powerful than I ever imagined. How did you do the trick with the rocks?"

"The same way I made you stand still, I imparted momentum onto them the same way I stole your speed, until you couldn't move at all."

"And the lead hidden in the dust cloud?"

"I stopped to mine. You didn't notice the five second gap in there?"

"I did. I thought you changed your mind about the fight. How did you know it would vaporize?"

"At those speeds it wouldn't be able to do anything but. I needed a cover you couldn't penetrate. Change my mind? Not a chance. Batman would never let me hear the end of it. I have to tell him his idea worked."

"I knew he had to be involved."

"No, the plan was mine. He just helped with the calculations. I needed to know how much force to use so I didn't accidentally kill you."

"And he knows how much force that is?"

"Never doubt it for a second. The man sometimes gives me the creeps."

"Me too. Race you back to the ship."

"You're on. You know you can't win, right?"

"Even Superman's gotta have a dream."

Knockout goes to the Flash.

  • Even though he's taken down by Superman's improvised dust explosion, the Flash's tactical use of his diverse speed powers distracted, blinded and immobilized the Man of Tomorrow long enough for his Infinite Mass Punch to get put into play. Granted, Superman isn't down for long, but in this case, it is long enough.
  • Superman woke up in orbit and the Flash gets one for the scoreboard. This battle could have gone either way but Superman knew he was at a distinct advantage in a running game. The Flash's superior speed and lack of environmental disturbance gave him far greater mobility.
  • He could have tried for a scorched-earth victory by trying to deny the Flash mobility, but with the Flash's ability to phase through matter, any trap made by Superman would have to take the Flash's phasing into account.
  • He could have also tried to think like the Flash's Rogues Gallery and used trickery and deception to distract the Flash, and then catch him in a mistake but utilizing distraction techniques isn't in Superman's wheelhouse normally, so he would be forced to use himself as bait and hope the Flash could get close enough for him to put the squeeze on him.

Maybe next time, Big Blue.

Who would win in a fight between Superman and the Flash?

How can an aspiring young writer make a name for himself?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

Stop aspiring. Write.

You want to make a name for yourself? Write something worth reading.
It's really that simple. The challenges of being a new writer are many and the rewards are few.

No one can walk this road for you. The greatest challenge of writing is you will be self-made. No one can choose your words, no one can harness your craft, no one can define what writing means to you.

Writing is like any other artistic endeavor. Others may watch you, cheer your efforts, laud your determination, but no one can pick up those words but you. No one will string together those sentences, create such pithy prose, designed to weaken the knees, boil the blood, or inspire the heart.

No one will sit with you in the wee hours of the morning as you communicate with the Akashic records, divine the murmuring of your drunken muse, or strip mine the realm of Logos for the stories being retold for the hundredth time, yet there you are trying to create something new, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and maybe just maybe just the tiniest bit of talent, a minutia of personal wisdom, a seed of something only you could draw down from the Universe's bounty.

Writing is like working in a coal mine. You descend into the darkness of your personal soul, prepared to open a vein upon the page, to mine the darkness of your greatest fears, your unrealized ambitions, your most utter failings. For this, this expression of your innermost thoughts is what people seek. This revelation their experiences are not unique, their failures and tribulations are not singular, they are the stuff of humanity.

In this coal mine of the soul, blind but for a tiny light, you seek to find the combustible fuel capable of igniting the mind of your reader, convincing them your efforts, your coal, your fervently dug bitumen is the real thing, something to ignite their passions, to remind them to feel again, to strive for something beyond their world, hoping for dreams they forgot they had.

This is the real goal of a writer. To connect people with the person they were, the person they abandoned when they took on their life as they knew it. The writer's true art is to find a place where all men and women hope to recall their dreams, their ambitions and for a moment engage in the life they have never known, for good or ill, for you have no idea what people seek, is it the darkness you create for them, or the light they seek?

It doesn't matter. Done well, they will embrace either, consuming the flesh of men, or battling the forces of evil at the doors of Heaven.

To reach your readers, you must know your craft. You must feel the language, you must love it. You must be willing to shape it, create it, make new words if that's what it takes to tell the story that reaches the souls of the brave who believe you are their storyteller.

To be someone's storyteller is a great power; and an even greater responsibility. For you shall absorb from them, the one thing they can never get again. They can search the world for it. Beg for it, and in the last moments of their life they will ask for more of it, knowing full well they have used all they have been allotted as best they were able: their time.

It's like will never come this way again. So if you would be a writer, if you would wear the title of storyteller, then I say to you, study your craft like you would any other, for you will be stealing the lives of men, beguiling them as the Fae of old, trading time for your illusions.

Slave in the word mines, gather vocabulary, each new word should be pressed within the pages of your personal library like flowers stolen from a field.

Read the masters, expend your precious time understanding how great writers worked their magic. Emulate their alchemy for a time, because such is the making of our enchantment, it is best done by watching a master. Understand one day, you will create you own Arts, weave your own spells, and they will be built upon the scaffolds of your teachers.

But you must still write. Write daily. Set the page ablaze with the zeal of your efforts.

Never stop writing. Find a reason to write about everything. Journal your life, imagine yourself the wind moving through a valley, shatter time and space, seek out madness and make it your own. Every day your efforts must eclipse the day before. Write until no experience is too mundane, no revelation too ethereal to escape your locution.

There will come a day when you are ready. You have plumbed the wells of the master craftsmen before you. You have discovered your personal muse and understand the nature of the outline, the planned structure, the inspired rant filled with zeal and enthusiasm and madness.

Your work is not done.

You will have to submit your work to review; to editors for the refinement of  your craft, to sharpen your focus, their guidance shall help you stir the souls of men (and women). There is no work without the edit, no success can be measured without the editor.

Skip not this particular step for anything you wish others to buy. They must find your work, crisp, clean without significant challenge in the understanding, clarity in the illusion you are presenting.

The final step in your climb must be the submission. And its accompanying rejection.

Rejection IS the stuff of submission. You will absorb more rejection than acceptance so this must be the greatest effort you will make as a writer. To not stop. To persevere, to turn the stuff of rejection into rejectomancy, the magic of acceptance.

Know your markets, speak to your readers, divine as best you can, those who will crave your work and submit to them until they know you as they know their own kin. In this familiarity, in your diligence, they will take comfort and eventually seek you out.

Once you have refined your jewel, consorted with your editor and his or her dark sorcery of refinement, submit your work until it finds a home. If you have followed this oracle, you will find a place for your work because you are not depending on random fate.

You are not depending on the vagaries of those three witches, you have studied your craft, you have sat at the feet of the masters, you have filled your share of pages, thousands of words, nay millions of words have passed between your mind and your keyboard or page.

Only this way can you understand the efforts required. You are every improving your abilities, never resting on your laurels, maintaining fitness in your body and mind, for only in health can wisdom bloom. You have built the mental acumen, the acuity, the sagacity needed to be a writer and there is no room for chance.

Now go, young writer. Aspire no longer. Your path to mastery and lo mastery is required, no amateurish rambling, hoping to strike a chord in the reader, you must treat this endeavor as any worthwhile craft such as the hardworking smith, the diligent mechanic, the powerful gymnast, you must dedicate that same industry to your new creations.

Writing, good writing is no accident. It is willful. It is done with purpose. Yet it defies definition. It challenges the status quo. It breaks with convention while redefining such for itself.

Write, dammit, as if your very soul was at risk, in a bargain with a devil sharpening a dagger eager for his pound of flesh. Strike the page with the enthusiasm of a person for whom no future is assured, no greatness awaits, strike as if every blow will be your very last, every word, a tantamount creation.

Write like this and you will not have to worry for your name. Your efforts will draw them to you like the moth to the flame and they shall burn screaming your name in ecstasy.

Aspire no more, now Write.

How can an aspiring young writer make a name for himself?

Who is better, Vision or the Hulk?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

HULK SMASH! And that's okay…but

The Hulk is as much as asset as he is a hindrance. Ask the Avengers. Time and time again, the Hulk's mindless rage has forced him from the roster, threatened humanity, and even brought the World's Mightiest Heroes to their knees.

And while the common perspective is the Hulk's power makes him far more useful than most metahumans, his abilities and uses are…limited. It is his destructive nature and combative stance which makes he bulk of his comic career mostly fights (and often against his allies…)

The Hulk is EXCELLENT at smashing things. It is his trademark ability whether he is as dumb as a stump or capable of crunching algorithms like a supercomputer.

The Hulk is an EXCELLENT defensive asset. When you need someone who can take a beating as well as giving one, the Hulk has few if any equals. No one can take a beat-down like the Hulk can.

The Hulk has AMAZING longevity as well. As far as we can tell, he ages incredibly slowly and is difficult if not nearly impossible to kill. As long as he stays on Earth, he is near the top of the bad-ass metahuman food chain, almost without question.


The Hulk is not delicate. He is the nuclear option to metahuman level problem-solving. You have to be prepared to destroy whatever it is you are trying to save when you utilize his abilities, especially if he is handicapped with the lack of Banner's considerable intellect.

The Hulk holds a grudge. Smart or not, the Hulk and Banner's baser nature can hold a grudge for a long time. And if you wrong him…be prepared to pay the piper.

Need something other than smashing? Call the Vision

  • The Vision is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. A synthetic humanoid built from the remains of the android Human Torch, the Vision made his debut in The Avengers #57 (October, 1968) as a creation of the super-villain Ultron.
  • The Vision is convinced to rebel against his creator after encountering The Avengers, who invite him to join the team. Named by The Wasp, who described him as an "unearthly, inhuman vision", the Vision becomes one of Avengers' longest-serving members until his death during Avengers Disassembled.
  • This went to the point in the 1970s whenThe Avengers standard cover masthead picture in the left hand corner was just him. He came Back from the Dead a few years later and once again features in Avengers books.

The resurrected Vision, now without color, meets the android who supposedly provided his body, the Original Human Torch…It's complicated and requires an explanation of time travel. A conversation for another day.

While most comic fans will tell you the Hulk is the better hero, I compare the Hulk to the Vision quite favorably and if I had to have a super team, I would choose the Vision over the Hulk, nine times out of ten, and here's why:

The Vision is a scalpel to the Hulk's megaton nuke. The Vision may lack the Hulk's pulse-pounding power but makes up for this with a variety of diverse talents.

  • He can fly and hover. He can move silently and with a very low electromagnetic signature.
  • The Vision can emit electromagnetic energy from his body, usually through his eyes or his solar gem upon his forehead. This energy can be precise enough to heat a teapot, or powerful enough to reach 6,000 degrees. He can emit a light bright enough to blind Thor.
  • He can phase through almost any density of matter. By altering his density, he can phase through all but the densest of materials. Electromagnetic fields can disrupt his phasing ability if they are sophisticated enough.
  • He can take out opponents without raising an alarm. Called "physical disruption", the Vision can stun opponents by solidifying part of his intangible form inside their bodies to produce a sudden shock to the nervous system and excruciating pain.
  • He can disable or commandeer electronic defense systems, and computerized technologies, making him a great fellow to have around when technological threats rear their head.
  • While he is no Hulk in the weightlifting department, he does possess the ability to lift 75 – 90+ tons and can become as tough as diamond when he increases his density to its maximum. He can also weigh 90 tons at his maximum weight.

Vision maxes out his weight and drops like a bomb on Super Count Nefaria administering the knockout blow. The Vision hasn't looked as cool since.

  • The Vision is quite intelligent in his own right and has an understanding of his own synthetic systems as well as other robots and machine intelligences.
  • The Vision is an excellent tactician and trainer and has mentored younger heroes.
  • The Vision, while lacking the Hulk's near invulnerability, even if he is damaged or destroyed, can be rebuilt, and has been many times since his first introduction as an enemy of the Avengers.

The reason the Vision has languished as a character is the quality of writing for the character has varied widely over the decades since his creation in Avengers #57.

The character has plenty of potential but is rarely permitted to show it. The Vision has rarely been allowed to take his space in the spotlight and when he has, it has always been with the lazy trope-ridden storylines revolving around him wanting to be a Human and dealing with the issues of not being a real boy (ala Pinocchio).

Love & Fully Functional Robots. A storyline which haunts us to this day.

Later writers also handicapped him by killing him off every five to seven years or having him become defective in one fashion or another. Not the fault of the character but the writers who simply can't manage to get the character to be more interesting than tree moss.

He dead again. Think of him like the writers do, as a synthezoid chew toy.

A damn shame because he has such a great range of talents and abilities. I can see why the fans prefer the Hulk to the Vision.

When has cool intellect ever seemed better than smashing something in a comic? Almost never. More the pity.

Who is better, Vision or the Hulk?

What is the saddest truth about life?

Answer by Thaddeus Howze:

You can't know Life's value when you're young.

​It's not your fault. Being young,  the most valuable thing you gain by getting older, can only be gained, by getting older and trading your youth in for experience. "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted," goes the gentle wisdom reminding you getting older is it's own reward.

When you're young, you are too intoxicated with the stuff of life. No matter where you live, no matter the hardship of your life, you are filled with the efforts of making life what you want it to be. Making it whatever you think it's supposed to be for you.

If you're a fisherman, you fish. If there aren't fish, you struggle to find work that will support you until the fish come back. If they come back. The race to keep food on your table, a beautiful woman to share your life and  eventually children to carry on your name will consume your youth.

You are focused on the chase, partying the nights away, struggling if the world isn't kind, luxuriating, if your family is blessed with wealth and has better connections.

The chemical soup that is life courses through your veins, filling you with a sense of invulnerability, with the enthusiasm that life is never-ending, there are no consequences worth worrying about and that ultimately, no matter what decisions you make they will work out somehow.

​Or they won't. And that is Life, too.

You will march, inexorably toward old age. If you're lucky.

That irrepressible vigor of youth, if not rigorously maintained, even if blessed with the good genes of beautiful ancestors, will note the twinge on the tennis court, the creak in your back in the morning after dancing the night away, the struggle to read your favorite book about conspiracies in the Vatican, the discord when you hear the music coming from your daughter's room, wondering what the hell she's listening to.

Then and only then do you note the seconds. Your awareness of time becomes more acute. You suddenly realize you don't have enough time in a day. The same 86,400 seconds you had every day when you were younger, now seem to run in short supply as you age.

It's a perceptual thing. The more time that has passed, the greater awareness you have of the time in front of you. You begin to feel those seconds. You're  aware of their dwindling supply.

Suddenly you stop tracking the days, reluctant to remember exactly what year it is. Or maybe it isn't reluctance. It's awareness.

That you have more time behind you than you do in front of you.

Have you done everything you wanted? That bucket list you laughed at when you were twenty-five, is mostly still empty at forty-five.

Except now you realize you have a job to maintain, cable bills, gas bills, water bills, tuition, mortgage, bracers for the kids who seem to have too many teeth and too many cavities, clothes for the new job which doesn't pay nearly enough, longer commutes, more stress at work because you have more responsibilities you didn't ask for and reluctant employees who complain no matter what decisions you make with them, for them, about them, and a boss who never tells you he makes twice as much money as you do and does a fraction of your workload. And yet you know this.

Now your life is so full you don't have the time to fill that bucket because it's already full. Of things you have to do, things you are obligated to finish, to manage, to lead, to coordinate, to tolerate, to deal with, to put up with. Things which use up your precious time.

Suddenly your time has a real value to you. Now the race begins in earnest.

Only now are you wise enough in your middle years, if you're lucky, to begin to take advantage of your dwindling energies and your vanishing time, to begin prioritizing what is best in life.

No, not just the crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women, unless you happen to be a fifth century barbarian, then have at.

You begin to throw away the things you no longer need, you help your children find their best way with the talents they possess. Handling your own sense of mortality as you lay your parents to rest. Managing their assets, reminds you again of your impending passage. If you're like most people you double down on living, trying to do more, get more out of life.

You look at your own children and don't want them to make the same mistakes you have. You hope to bring unto them wisdom, hard won, hard earned and bestow it upon them, to bypass the side-effects of wisdom; the time lost recovering from unnecessary errors in judgement.

If you're lucky, they listen. If you're like most parents, they won't. Not until they turn thirty or so, and if you're still around they come back to you and pretend they were listening and just need to you to remind them of what you told them when they weren't.

And you will do it. Because you now know the secret, the thing we are all reluctant to admit, fear facing and know we always learn too late.

Life is short.

Let me rephrase that. Stars can live for billions of years, sizzling in the dark, sharing their light with the universe. But all stars aren't created equal. Some burn with the light of a thousand suns, lighting the darkness across all of time and space, their brightness unequaled in the heavens. But those same super-large stars have lives which are far shorter than those sleepy stars no one can see.

Each of us is like a star. Some burn brightly, visible from everywhere. The price tag for them is that their potential may be limited in different ways. They may have money but no time of their own. They may have opportunity, but never quite the one they were looking for. They may live life fully, but remain completely uneducated about the world.

There is a cost and value to every life, no matter how affluent, no matter how indigent. Each person pays what they are able, bears what they can, shares what they learn. Many never manage to learn this lesson.

No matter what we do with our lives, it will only be a sliver of the potential available to us as a species.

Each of us is living a brief musical note on the ledger lines of life. A single note, a single sound, a single frequency which we and only we can make.

The quality of that note is ours. We decide how we play it, what we do with it, and where it falls based on our efforts. We can't always affect the music of the spheres, the path of the cosmos, the ultimate fate of all that is.

But we can play in harmony with others. We can see how our notes can shape the song of the lives of people near us and by proxy, people six degrees or more away from us.

We have the power, the individual capacity to make music with the entire world. To draw upon the skein, the ledger, the web of life, playing our note with love, with the belief in something better, with the idea we and nature are one.

The greatest and saddest truth about life: We believe we are alone in the Universe and that we don't live long enough to make a difference in anyone's lives but our own.

It's only truth if you let it be. You can opt to expand your music until it is a music heard by everyone.

And that too is a choice.

What is the saddest truth about life?