The Science of Captain Atom #3

Posted by RazzaTazz (11939 posts) - - Show Bio

Following on last month's analysis of the science of Captain Atom #2 I have decided to follow along again this week with Captain Atom #3.  There was not as much science here but that doesn't matter.   

The first part of this issue was actually a lot better than the rest as it deals with some deeper philosophical issues as Captain Atom tries to save as many people as he can.  In this case he saves a young woman from killing herself by an overdose on pills (with also a nice reference to the "It Gets Better" campaign).  Really though if he pulled the pills out of someone's stomach they wouldn't really look like pills anymore as they would have been at least partially dissolved and ingested.  Of course he can control things on the atomic level, and in this case probably would have to to get all the narcotics out of her blood stream, but there would be no real reason to reconstitute the pills (because then she could try again.) 
Verdict: Comic Science  
This will require some logic, but Captain Atom is telling the Flash his atoms are on fire, to which he gets the answer they are on lightning.  Fair enough claim I guess.  The Flash's molecules have the ability to move through objects and various other comic book like abilities.  Lightning though suggests a presence of electrons, and if something has an excess of electrons it probably more resembles plasma (the state of matter above that of gases) as opposed to solid matter.  Thus while the claim is just comic science the reply could be better considering it comes from a scientist 
Verdict:  Bad Science

Speed of Lightning  

Wait a minute ... same panel.  Well this is a bit out of place as I will pick on the Flash even though this is not his comic.  This ties way back to his origin story.  He gets doused in chemicals and gets hit by lightning and then can run at the speed of light and beyond to do things like travel through time or destroy anti-matter cannons.  Lightning however is not light, lightning still has mass (though it is pretty negligible it still has mass) whereas light  is only energy.  Light therefore travels more than twice as fast as the fastest lightning (and yes lightning would fluctuate in speed while light would not).   
Verdict: Bad Science 
 Conversion of Energy 
I did like this scene where Captain Atrom stops the nuclear blast which has already started by absorbing all the energy being released.  Of course this is completely comic book science, but a  little something which was forgotten was that the while he is wrestling with the energy from across the electromagnetic spectrum, that during the course of a nuclear explosion some energy is transformed from radiation energy to kinetic energy (the shockwave.)  Even though he did think to himself that the Flash would be able to clear the area he didn't seem very interested in dealing with the kinetic energy (which he can apparently do if he can stop a volcano).  Still I liked how this was handled mostly.   
Verdict:  Comic Science
#1 Posted by Daveyo520 (2469 posts) - - Show Bio

Back in the well for a 3rd time I see. I guess there just aren't very many scientific books to look at in the new 52.

#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (11939 posts) - - Show Bio
@Daveyo520: Captain Atom #2, Firestorm #2, Mister Terrific #3, Captain Atom #3 
Back in the well for the fourth time actually (or fifth if you count when I critiqued the magic of Demon Knights in the same format)
#3 Posted by SC (14622 posts) - - Show Bio

Ooh, I really can't wait to catch up on these issues. These are a great blog series, thank you for doing them. I keep a mental checklist when reading comics, its fun seeing them formalized. That first one is nice. I like seeing the lightening part of your blog explained. 

#4 Posted by Static Shock (48366 posts) - - Show Bio

The only other impressive thing in this book, besides Atom absorbing that nuke or whatever he did (I wish the book did a better job at explaining things since the art makes it difficult to understand what's going on), was the fact that Atom was able to keep up with Barry at 1/100 of a second and diffuse that military skirmish without the soldiers knowing of their presence.

#5 Posted by tonis (6561 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish the science channel would get you to make a TV show with this theme regularly :)

I'd so watch it.

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