By Wyldsong 32 Comments
Now, this whole idea popped into my head after reading some of the Battle Forum arguments over Dr. Manhattan, so to get this out of the way right now: I am not picking on nor making fun of Dr. Manhattan. I call it the Manhattan Effect, because this is the most recent example in my mind, and it sounded like a catchy title. So, basically, I am going to rehash and repost something I posted earlier, and expand upon some the ideas in the hopes of opening some eyes, and maybe squashing some future problems before they start.
What is the Manhattan Effect? In short: When someone is arguing a case for their character to win, and they begin to expand upon and theorize about the characters abilities, usually to levels far beyond what has been shown in their comic appearances, and begin to use the theories and expanded abilities in battle threads as a basis for said character to win.
Or, for an even simpler explanation: It is using a lot of "ifs" and "buts" with no real "feats" to back up their argument.
Let's take me for example. In a battle thread between a comic book character and myself, I would probably have a poor showing. But, let's say one day I make a lucky guess about what someone was going to do or say. Now, you don't know if I can read minds (I am fairly certain I can't), but in the battle thread, you take that bit of information and run with it:
"What if Wyldsong has telepathy or can read minds? Just because he hasn't done it before doesn't mean he can't do it. He may not have the feats to back it up, "but" what "if" he really can? It's possible, I mean, he did state what so and so was going to say before they said it."
And we see where this train of thought starts run it's course to, and eventually I end up beating Galactus in some battle thread in the future...
You see, good arguments aren't won with "if". You need facts to back up your case, and of course the feats or the characters showings in the comics are what we have to go on, in other words, those are our facts. This is what justifies losses and wins in these theoretical debates, because if not, then the "ifs" go on forever:
"Well just because you haven't seen Mr. Y do so and so, doesn't mean he can't."
"Well just because Mr. Y might be able to do so and so, then Mr. Z might be able to do so and so, disabling Mr. Ys so and so."
"But just because you haven't seen Mr. Y do so and so, and Mr. Z might be able to do so and so, doesn't mean Mr. Y couldn't do so and so, beating Mr. Z."
Etc., etc., so forth and so on.
This is why people work hardcore with feats, because those are the actual benchmarks, it is your proof for your argument. Regardless of whether or not the character was in 2 or 200 issues, those issues are what we have to work with. It might not be fair for those characters that haven't been in a lot of issues, but that is a problem you need to take up with the publishers and writers, because its not a factor that should excuse the use of "ifs" and "buts". Like any good scientist, you need proof to prove your theories.
The proof doesn't lie in "ifs" and "buts".