Sunday, October 30, 2005

You know, that word that means about your eyes

The title is an optical allusion, by the way...hehe.

Anyhow, two questions I would like to know:

1. If Cyclops sees something without his visor on, doesn't that mean that the object is blasted? So since it goes as fast as the speed of sight, then people shouldn't be able to DUCK it, right?

2. Is Superman's heat vision a blast of heat from his eyes, or does it just make stuff hot by looking at it? Basically, the question is, "Do people see red blasts emitted from Superman's eyes?"

I appreciate your answers, thank you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cyclops - The physics of his power are pretty dubious all around (like, if it's an impact beam, why doesn't the recoil yank his head off his shoulders?), so it's hard to figure out what "rules" apply. It looks like his full-strength, unfiltered-by-visor blast is a pretty wide "cone", possibly equal to his angle of vision. So yeah, that would be hard to dodge (I don't know whether the beam moves at the speed of light, but it does seem to be pretty darn fast). But Cyke rarely goes full-out like that -- he's generally extremely cautious about things like collateral damage, plus it apparently is possible for him to "run out of juice" (or at least exhaust himself physically) if he overdoes it. Most times, he uses the visor to narrow his blast into a fairly narrow beam, which would be a little easier to duck.

Superman - His heat vision was definitely a beam, at least pre-Crisis. Clark had to make his glasses out of Kryptonian plastic to keep them from melting when he used it. I don't know if this has come up post-Crisis, though. Whethere it's a *visible* beam is another question -- he's used it surreptitiously enough times that I suspect it's invisible.

11/03/2005 8:17 PM  
Blogger Sean Whitmore said...

John Byrne gave us the best of both for Post-Crisis.

Usually, Clark's pupils would just turn red, and the object he was looking at would heat up. No beam.

Then one issue, Luthor created a machine that caused Superman's powers to overload. The beams came out of his eyes this time, and Clark thought: "My heat vision is firing at such power that its become visible!" or somesuch.

11/03/2005 9:05 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Crap! I remember that now, Sean!

I wonder what the current status is...

11/03/2005 9:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

On Superman: at low intensity, his heat vision is invisible (the pupils turning red normally only occurs for the benefit of the reader, which explains how he could use it while talking to normal people as Clark Kent). Things just heat up. At higher intensities, the red beams are visible, and presumably so is the red-glow effect of his eyes. He's shown the ability to use high luminosity with low heat intensity (while training post-Crisis Krypto), so that would explain the "angry red eyes". This was mostly discussed in an early issue of "Superman," where Lex took control of Superman's powers with a satellite. He does apparently shoot photons from his eyes (something that was discussed in "The Science of Superman" and alluded-to in the "Critical Condition" storyline, where Steel and Superboy ride his heat vision organelles out of his eyes).

As far as Cyclops, I'd go with "movie laser rules," and say that, if it does move at the speed of light, people dodge because they see him reaching for his visor and have a feeling what that means. They just move away from where he's looking, just as people in sci-fi movies dodge laser blasts by anticipating where the laser will hit by referencing how the gun is aimed and guessing when the shooter will pull the trigger.

11/03/2005 9:37 PM  
Blogger David C said...

In the early Byrne/Wolfman days, it was definitely *intended* that his heat vision was invisible (and one of those things one could point to alongside "Superman's cape gets ripped up sometimes" as stuff that's different from the old Superman.) But the new rule got relaxed and/or forgotten with time.

11/04/2005 3:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

I don't think it really has been forgotten, since Clark still, in those rare cases where we actually see him with glasses, uses heat vision in front of others with impunity. Action #775 had him using invisible heat vision, and I distinctly remember a recent issue where guns or something just melt in people's hands, without the use of drawn-in beams. I think it still stands that low-intensity beams are invisible, high-intensity beams aren't.

11/04/2005 7:29 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

Alright, ever since Superman was portrayed as having heat vision, be it Pre-Crisis or Post-Crisis, it is invisible at low intensity and visible at high intensity. The proof of the matter, aside from dialogue and captions within multiple stories, is that Clark uses the power in front of people in his secret identity but not in a way that would tip them off, such as energy visibly radiating from the eyes. It's the same on Smallville, actually.

The manifestation of the superpower, for the sake of the readers, depends on the artist. Most artists have just used ray beams emitting from Superman's eyes regardless of how visible the power is supposed to be in the story. Most Pre-Crisis tales with heat vision usually have invisible heat vision and the reader sees the beams. John Byrne and a few others just draw Superman's eyes as red when the powers are activated but again that is just a visual cue for readers and not a visible manifestation within the story for the characters.

Beyond that there is speculation at times, mostly ignored, that the heat vision is really pyrokinesis but stories make it pretty clear that Superman is shooting energy from his eyes.

Pre-Crisis his X-Ray vision emitted a radiation and for some period of time Heat vision was deliberately intensifying the X-Ray vision to melt stuff. That idea was dropped long before Crisis.

Post-Crisis X-Ray Vision didn't involve any radiation. His vision was just so darn good. Perhaps a combination of microscopic than telescopic vision.

Cyclops fires death beams from his eyes. It's an impact concussion ray, a force blast, yet the negative impact/momentum/energy/force that would/should tear his head off his shoulders simply goes straight into that wierd alternate dimension that also happens to contain all the mass that Marvel Universe size changers shed and gain whenever their powers activate. The reason that Bruce Banner can become bigger when he transforms into the Hulk is that he absorbs mass from that dimension, and sheds it the same way when he de-Hulks. In violation of the laws of physics it doesn't burn things.

11/08/2005 2:41 AM  

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