Sunday, December 20, 2015

How Fast Is The Flash? How Fast Should He Be?

How fast is the Flash? Barry himself is wondering that...

Ironic that Barry should mention Mach speed, because his CW show continues to adorably insist that Barry has never run faster than Mach-2. And that running at Mach-2 is sufficient for him to break the time barrier. 1522 miles per hour...which is approximately .00002% of the speed of light.

Of course, if the CW is right, than mankind has already invented several vehicles that should have pilots (and the X-Men!!) traveling through time on a regular basis (click to embiggen):

So the Flash TV show is, in it's own way, as scientifically illiterate as DC's Silver Age. Plus, come on, what's the point of restricting him to Mach-2 if you're still going to let him do crazy things like travel in time and vibrate through walls and throw lightning bolts? (Because the Flash doesn't have enough powers...we've got to have him throwing friggin' lightning bolts now...)

But the comic book? Well, sadly, "Roemers" never caught on as a multiplier for the speed of light, because, well, science sort of mostly says that physical objects cannot exceed the speed of light. So multiple of that would be useless (and please don't go on about tachyons and other hypothetical particles, because they haven't been actually discovered, and most scientists think they couldn't exist). In cases where the effective travel speed, via "hyperspace" or "warp drive" or what have you, appears to be faster than light, we've been stuck with "warp factors" or just mundane measurements like "light years" or "parsecs" or what have you. Sorry, Ole Christensen Rømer (his actual name), your name just didn't stick!

However, this is DC Science, Silver Age style, so the Flash has already traveled seven times the speed of light. Can he do 10?!?!

Gee, you mean in this world, Barry is actually a scientist, and doesn't have to have his entire supporting cast be scientists who gather around consoles and tell him what to do every time he fights a villain (because they apparently can't figure out any other way to keep the cast involved every week)??? What a concept!!

Plus, Barry has invented a device that will measure velocity to 10 times the speed of light?!? Why the hell isn't he winning the Nobel Prize for physics, instead of working in the podunk crime lab in Central City?

So, The Flash reaches 10 times the speed of light (and somehow doesn't destroy himself or the Earth in the process)!!!

Of course, it did (temporarily) give him the power to read minds (what???) and give some thieves he bumped into the power of telekinesis (WHAT?!?!?!)!! DC Science, man...DC Science.

So, the TV show leaves Barry way to slow (but conveniently able to travel through time) whereas the comics make him impossibly fast. The choice is yours....As for me? No way can I live with a Flash who can only achieve Mach-2. Free Barry Allen!!

Comic books portions are from Flash #150 (1965)

1 comment:

Mista Whiskas said...

That whole lightning bolt thing was really stupid. I hoped that they would forget it after that one episode where he's taught it, but then I saw it in the Hawkman episode. Ugh. Why not just have him do the old 'run up to the bad guy and throw a hundred punches in a second' thing to take out bad guys?