Flying is like breathing.

Who would win in a footrace: Superman or the Flash? 

Look who's in the lead
This has been said to be one of the greatest questions in the comic book world.  Of course we know that it's been answered.  Barry Allen is faster than Superman.  As a result of a freak accident, Allen became the source of power to an energy known as the Speed Force, allowing him and several others the ability to ignore the rules of normal physics and move at speeds even faster than time (wrap your head around that one.)
 
But what about other super speedsters?  Surely Superman doesn't tap his speed from this mysterious force.  His powers are explained in a much different way: a biology different from human beings.  With an energy source as infinite as the sun itself, Superman's physiology converts electromagnetic radiation into chemical and physical energy in his cells and uses it to power his extraordinary feats.  Put simply, Superman's power RELIES on normal physics instead of defying it.
 
But then, what is the source of Superman's super speed?  Could the extraordinary force that his muscles provide propel him fast enough to keep up with a man that can ignore atmospheric friction?  Probably not.  That force would give him the ability to, say, leap the tallest building and would definitely give him a bit of a speed boost but it wouldn't give him the ability to run as fast as he's shown to without greatly increasing his stride distance.  In a footrace, Superman would appear to be bounding or even skipping instead of running.
 
How then does Superman achieve great ground speeds without moving like a kangaroo?  The answer might be simple, at least to a super man.  Flight.  The ability to propel oneself in any direction would definitely benefit a speedster.  
 
So Superman's been cheating...and still losing?  Well, kind of.  Although it isn't necessarily fair that he uses a force other than his leg muscles in a foot race, he might not be aware of it.  Flight is probably as much a part of running for Superman as breathing is of speaking for you and I.  He's probably never known another way.  Flight might be a small and unconscious part of everything movement that he makes.  Imagine mild mannered Clark Kent eating his morning bowl of Wheaties and defying gravity in order to lift the spoon to his mouth.  
 
Flight could be a natural part of every day and every movement and likely a considerable portion of Superman's strength.
8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Norusdog

What I want to know is how they explain how a human, or hell even superman, has a brain that can PROCESS the information and REACT fast enough.
 
Sure Flash/Superman can run that fast..but how do you explain their brains being able to think and react at that speed?

Posted by Feliciano2040
@norusdog said:
What I want to know is how they explain how a human, or hell even superman, has a brain that can PROCESS the information and REACT fast enough.  Sure Flash/Superman can run that fast..but how do you explain their brains being able to think and react at that speed?
 
It's very difficult to explain, let alone speculate.
 
When it comes to Flash, it's a little easier, according to Geoff Johns, The Flash's entire organism works faster due to the speed force, so it wouldn't be crazy to assume that his senses, and therefore his brain, react at sound-breaking speeds, for Superman, one would just have to say his organism also becomes more efficient with sunlight, and therefore just..........works faster.
 
I'm trying very hard to not say "Comic Book Logic".
Posted by Kal'smahboi
@norusdog: Well, as far as Flash goes, the answer is always "The Speed Force."  In regards to Superman, people for some reason assume that cognitive speeds are limited by the speed of electricity. It happens that they aren't. Just by knowing that, it's possible to imagine someone with super fast reactions (not thoughts, reactions) in a fictional world.
Posted by SC

Interesting look at an age old question.  
 
I always feel that speed is the most misrepresented and least consistent power applied most commonly in comics. Then applied with flying... well...  
 
Anyway, cool blog! *smile*

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Posted by fodigg

I thought the flash kind of phased through stuff. So he didn't have to really react in time at high speeds.

Posted by MrDirector786

Interesting...

Posted by YoungThriller

This is not true on so many levels,I'm a superman fan boy sure,and i'm going to defend supes when I know he can win a certain thing.Now sure supes isn't fast on foot but that's only because he's used to flying all the time,I've read that supes can beat flash in a race,but it all comes down to how much solar energy he has in his body to use,Since running burns his power up the most.He doesn't bound he runs,His muscles are super strong enough to keep itself intact while he exerts the speed needed to move them.Superman's body is biologically more efficient than a human,he's an evolved human.And supes has shown to be faster than jay,and has beat bart and barry in races,and came a second behind wally in their race,which was cheating since wally couldn't run around the world without help from people feeding him along the way,You can't say someone can win a race if they don't have the physical stamina to preform it in the first place.Supes can beat a foot race with any flash if he conditioned his body for the race and had a large amount of solar energy.

Posted by Primmaster64

wow