4 – Powers Part 2 – Heat Vision, Super Strength, & Invulnerability

coverblackThis is part two of a three part series where we cover those abilities, traits, and powers that set Superman part in the Man of Steel. In this episode, we cover:

  1. Heat Vision
  2. Super Strength
  3. Holding Breath
  4. Invulnerability

While covering our topics, we will discuss and answer the following questions:

  • What’s a use of Heat Vision we saw in Returns which might not come back in the DCCU?
  • Heat vision refractory period?
  • How does Superman shave and why Kryptonians may be particularly susceptible to heat vision.
  • Why didn’t we see more Kryptonians lifting stuff?
  • Does Superman need to breath?
  • When did Clark figure out he was invulnerable?
  • How can Superman avoid getting his neck snapped?

…and more!

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  1. Super necro posting but I just found your podcast and I’m starting from Episode 1 so forgive me if this has been brought up already. But in regards to using heat vision to cut his beard/hair, I think it makes sense when taking into account the relative strength of our hair to the rest of our bodies. Ie. Our hair is weaker and easier to break than say our bones. Likewise, I think the idea behind using heat vision is that Clark’s hair is equally strong relative to the rest of himself. Its too strong for conventional Earth-made shavers but not so strong that Clark and his heat vision’s strength relative to the hair’s strength, can’t easily singe it off. That’s my thinking, anyway. Your point about super asbestos still stands though lol

    • Thanks for listening! Sorry for the quality of the early episodes!

      I get the idea you’re trying to analogize “strength” broadly, but materials different properties. Hair has less tensile strength than bone, but bone is more brittle and less plastic than hair… I can bend a hair 360 degrees or more without issue while a bone bends only a few degrees and breaks. More importantly and more relevant here, hair is more flammable than bone (or skin), so that would support your idea that hair is weak enough to burn before his skin does when exposed to his heat vision.

      However, the problem we run into is while that relative difference in durability makes sense, in terms of absolute durability we have a problem. In the episode, I think I used the example of flying through the sun, surviving explosions, the World Engine, etc. which all might be cooler than his heat vision… but BvS presents us with a problem of Superman’s hair effortless surviving a point-blank nuclear explosion! That means for purely the HEAT of the heat vision to work on Clark’s hair it has to be HOTTER than a point-blank nuclear detonation. That means something THAT HOT is going off inside a normal bathroom… and even if you try to keep it pin-point, heat radiates and very quickly the entire bathroom would go up in flames. So something has to budge. Perhaps Superman has some unique interaction with nukes so he wasn’t “fighting” the heat OR perhaps his heat vision affects him differently?

      We don’t know! Thanks for writing in your thoughts!

      • This might fall into what you’d call “Radomly Related, Slightly Salient”, Doctor, but the thread reminded me of something I thought of since I saw MoS on opening week: Zod’s final feat of heat vision must’ve shot clear through that wall in less than a second (considering how easy it was to cut through ALL those floors’ worth of Wayne Financial, Metropolis) and for streets on end outside, cars and people and more buildings’ ground floors must already be burning up. It was never just about saving that one family, it was about saving all the potential people Zod could go on to kill and maim. I’d reckon in a parallel universe where Superman did not scream immediately, and someone in the crowd had the audacity to say “OMG you killed him,” Cavill’s Superman would probably pull an Ellen Ripley and scream, “Well yeah, so f[bleep]ing sue me!!!” instead.

        Speaking of which, I’m thinking that had they gone for the comics route for Death of Superman and have him and Doomsday kill each other by hitting one another really hard, the resulting Realistic shockwaves might’ve also leveled buildings, and you just know that the cynical f[bleep]ers will pop once again out of the woodwork and call him a murderer.

        Now I’m really interested to know about your Headcanon, Doc. Do you think in between films, Superman made a media apperance and explained to the world what the B.Z. Incident was all about? Especially the fact that what happened in downtown Metropolis was meant to spread all over the globe? Wallace Keefe’s ilk will still be personally affronted*, though that would have gone a long way towards showing the world just what Kal-El sacrificed to save the world.

        * One of the most shocking revelations to me in the Extended Cut (Or as I’d call it, the Original Cut) of Batman v Superman was in fact the extra lines Wallace told to Sen. June Finch: “He made me half a man, MY WIFE WALKED OUT ON ME…” When he placed that photograph at the memorial, in the thratrical cut, I thought, “Oh, his wife and daughter died and he might as well is dead inside.:(” But no, his wife LEFT HIM, and presumably with the daughter (because if she’d died you’d think Wallace would bring that up with the Senator), it’s a sad case of a marriage breaking up despite “For better or for worse”, it’s mostly the woman’s fault for balking when the husband ceases to be the provider, but the man would sooner blame an outside force than accept that his wife wasn’t strong enough.

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