It has been a while since I have done a science breakdown of a particular issue, and in this case I am more than a month behind as I took a long break from here over the holidays. I am working through the issues I missed chronologically though, so while Mister Terrific #5 is already out I will have a look at issue #4. There was not a lot of science here, but that may have been a good thing after the last issue (as usual there will be a lot of spoilers here.)
The Universal Translator
Those following my various projects here on this site know that I am slowly working my way through all the Mystery in Space issues from the 1950s and 1960s. In these issues one of the most common plot devices is an invasion by aliens. In order to communicate with aliens some form of universal translator usually shows up, and in a nod to how a universal translator would actually work is usually based on telepathy. In the case of this issue there is a bit of a disconnect. The main aliens (who are the antagonists) can speak English which Michael Holt can understand, but then he cannot communicate with the other aliens he comes into contact with. He even goes so far as to quote the famous line from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” – Klaatu Barada Nikto. Still, the bad aliens might know English from some other way, and the fact that the others cannot communicate with him except through gestures is pretty well handled.
Verdict: Good Science
So in order to break the force field near the end he modifies the electronics of his mask (using an alien quill as a needle) to modify the infinite fractal mechanics of the device to create a nullifying field and … voila! no more force field. And then he … hold on a second, that is all just a bunch of scientific gobbledeegook. There is indeed such a thing as quantum optics (dealing with how quantum mechanics interacts with light and the subsequent interaction with matter) and fractals do exist of course but this is complete soft science for the necessary plot device of “Michael breaks out of space jail.” I liked how it was handled by the science was just a bunch of words added together to sound intelligent, when in fact it really meant pretty much nothing.
Verdict: Bad Science