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Old 10-08-2019, 12:33 PM
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Does Reed Richards have super strength?


Not just Reed Richards. This applies to any superhero character with stretching powers; Ralph Dibny, Eel O'Brian, Helen Parr, Jake the Dog. (If you don't recognize any of these names, this probably isn't a thread for you.)

So we see these characters can stretch out a limb to great lengths. Let's say a hundred feet away from their body. But when they do something like this, they can still hold their arm up off the ground and use it like a normal arm.

Leverage should be an issue. If you or I took a hundred foot long pole and tried to hold it straight out, we'd never be able to hold it up. Our muscles aren't strong enough. But these characters all do it with ease.

Of course, super-strength is no problem. Lots of characters have super-strength in the genre. But if these stretching characters all have the super-strength needed to use their stretching powers the way they do, why don't they ever use that super-strength in a way that's not related to stretching? Why don't we ever see them lifting up a car or punching through a wall?

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Old 10-08-2019, 12:59 PM
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It'd be a stretch to say they do.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:04 PM
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https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Reed_Richards_(Earth-616)

Quote:
Strength level
Mister Fantastic possesses the normal human strength and build of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in moderate exercise, but thanks to his malleable body, he can mold himself into stronger, more attack-based forms.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:04 PM
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Well, DC can just introduce a 'Stretch Force' and handwave away any problems.

But the way you lay it out in the OP, I'd have to say yes there is a degree of super strength. Now, I suppose you could say that as the arm elongates its proportional strength increases, but if that the case the shoulder would be massive as would the tendons holding everything in place. So yeah, super strength.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:15 PM
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Plasticman seems to have unlimited ability to stretch his body, as if he could extend his arm all the way around the earth and pat his own back. Since his revival I don't know how much of this has been explained.

Reed Richards has been portrayed inconsistently in the past, maybe some of this has been cleared up in the last 30 years. For instance he can coil his arms around some bad guy immobilizing him, no one was able to break out as far as I remember, but he doesn't seem to be able to constrict his arms to apply any pressure. It isn't clear if he will stretch or break under force, or if his mass increases as he grows larger, it's not even clear that his volume actually increases as he stretches.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:16 PM
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Nm

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Old 10-08-2019, 01:20 PM
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In the recent Avengers: Secret Wars cartoon they have Ms. Marvel wrestling with the Hulk and not having her butt handed to her. I personally thought that was a little too OP for the character but I have no idea what her official power level is.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:30 PM
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This falls under the category of Required Secondary Power https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...econdaryPowers (the powers that make it possible to survive or use the marquee powers) - he's superstrong, otherwise he wouldn't be able to move his arm when it was stretched out a several dozen feet, but not super-strong compared to someone who's marquee power strength.

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Old 10-08-2019, 01:40 PM
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This falls under the category of Required Secondary Power https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...econdaryPowers (the powers that make it possible to survive or use the marquee powers) - he's superstrong, otherwise he wouldn't be able to move his arm when it was stretched out a several dozen feet, but not super-strong compared to someone who's marquee power strength.
This issue of strength and leverage is problematic. We don't know what the density of his stretched arm is or how it changes. For instance, can he stretch his arm out so that it is of minimal density, lighter than tissue paper, maybe no heavier than air, and then once stretched throw a punch and have his hand and arm increase in density just before connecting with the bad guy's chin? Can he change the volume of his arm as it stretches or does it just become flat or even hollow? That's difficult to tell in 2D comic book art.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:40 PM
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I know Stretch Armstrong can manage it; it's right in the name.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
This issue of strength and leverage is problematic. We don't know what the density of his stretched arm is or how it changes. For instance, can he stretch his arm out so that it is of minimal density, lighter than tissue paper, maybe no heavier than air, and then once stretched throw a punch and have his hand and arm increase in density just before connecting with the bad guy's chin? Can he change the volume of his arm as it stretches or does it just become flat or even hollow? That's difficult to tell in 2D comic book art.
Science has so much to learn about Mr. Fantastic...
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:51 PM
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I remember a Justice League comic where Elongated Man manages to stop a frictionless (for reasons I forget) runaway train by essentially pulling it to a stop. That certainly takes some strength.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:26 PM
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Well, strength is largely a component of muscle mass and the rigidity/elasticity of the muscles pulling against bone/tendon.

If Reed can control muscle mass, as well as the rigidity/elasticity, then yes, he would be able to have significantly more strength than a normal human. There's a limit, there, someplace, but basically, it boils down to the Superman or Hulk rule - He's precisely as strong as the storyline calls for
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:08 PM
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What about the Super-Skrull that had the powers of all four Fantastics, only better? He could stretch himself out one hundred miles. Imagine a cantilever that could hold a 100 mile beam straight? Wouldn't that require more strength than the Hulk?

Not that we should argue physics about a character (Reed) whose brother-in-law could turn himself into fire, still have a human brain, and then revert himself into normal human form, even after reaching nova temperatures.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:42 AM
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What about the Super-Skrull that had the powers of all four Fantastics, only better? He could stretch himself out one hundred miles. Imagine a cantilever that could hold a 100 mile beam straight?
At some point, the loads at the shoulder joint are going to exceed the strength of the molecular bonds. Ya kanna deny the laws of physics!*




*oh, who am I kidding. of course you can!
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:45 AM
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*oh, who am I kidding. of course you can!
Well maybe, or maybe it's just that physics doesn't work the same way in comic book universes. Imagine the consternation of superheroes visiting our universe who find their superpowers no longer work, or worse Stretchyman can't hold up his arm if he extends it more than a few feet from his shoulder.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:51 AM
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*oh, who am I kidding. of course you can!
Didn't Spider-Man say that flat out in Civil War? "Your shield doesn't obey the laws of physics at all!"
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:02 AM
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It's fun to play around with The Physics of Superheroes, but at some point you have to step back and say, "Well, Jack Cole invented the super-stretchy superhero when he came up with Plastic Man*, because it made for interesting drawings and concepts", and realize that the ability didn't stand up to a moment's serious scrutiny. What allows him to extend his "plastic" arm? What keeps it in shape (let alone rigid?) How can he keep up those cantilevered limbs? How can his distorted muscles cause those stretched limbs to work?

It makes no real sense, but it let Cole draw his hero not only stretching outrageously (in some panels, he's folding his face!) but also to form himself into object like a car or a blimp (which can actually roll along and fly, respectively).

What's interesting is that while Ralph Dibny/The Elongated Lad (and other DC innovations, like Jimmy Olsen/Elastic Lad and Lois Lane/Elastic Lass) and Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards could also stretch, they almost never made themselves into shapes like Plastic Man. (One bity that I loved in Frank Miller's second Dark Knight series was the confrontation between Plastic Man and the Elongated Man -- "You're so boring! You never do any shapes!")**










*After trying out the basic concept with his Chinese detective, Wun Kloo. And maybe others. See the book Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to their Limits by Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd
https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Cole-Pla.../dp/0811831795

**To his credit, though, Jack Kirby still found interesting things for Reed to do with his stretchines, and he conveyed the feel that Reed was sort of made of rubber better than anyone else did. And Reed did sometimes do shapes -- he made himself look like a manta ray to escape from Namor once, and another time made himself look like one of the Mole Man's minions. Helen Parr of The Incredibles did shapes, too -- a practical water raft, a practical parachute.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:52 AM
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Originally, he was portrayed as stretchy, but otherwise normal. At some point, they started saying regular bullets could not penetrate his stretchy form. I'm not sure if he's super strong or just able to get great leverage on heavy objects, but I'm inclined to go with "both." Seems to me he's lifted cars on occasion. If he lost his powers and was just the smartest man in the world, that would be a considerable power set.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
It's fun to play around with The Physics of Superheroes, but at some point you have to step back and say, "Well, Jack Cole invented the super-stretchy superhero when he came up with Plastic Man*, because it made for interesting drawings and concepts", and realize that the ability didn't stand up to a moment's serious scrutiny.
He's most famous for it, but he didn't invent it. Plastic Man didn't appear until 1941. Wun Cloo (spelled that way in the comics, even though some databases list him as Wun Kloo) was created by Gill Fox in 1939 but didn't stretch until Cole took over the strip more than a year later.

Both, therefore, are preceded by Flexo the Rubber Man, script by Will Harr, art by Jack Binder, who first appeared in Mystic Comics #1, March 1940. He's shown stretching his body and stopping a car with it.

Flexo is a robot, BTW.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:03 PM
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Stretchy superheroes are my favorites, especially Cole’s (and Kyle Baker’s) Plastic Man.

My assumption was that the stretched body part didn’t get any heavier than it was originally. Why would it?
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
He's most famous for it, but he didn't invent it. Plastic Man didn't appear until 1941. Wun Cloo (spelled that way in the comics, even though some databases list him as Wun Kloo) was created by Gill Fox in 1939 but didn't stretch until Cole took over the strip more than a year later.

Both, therefore, are preceded by Flexo the Rubber Man, script by Will Harr, art by Jack Binder, who first appeared in Mystic Comics #1, March 1940. He's shown stretching his body and stopping a car with it.

Flexo is a robot, BTW.
Interesting -- I hadn't encountered Flexo before, although, from the examples you give, Flexo doesn't seem to stretch to the extremes of Plastic Man or his successors.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:19 PM
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Maybe, at some point, he can't support cantilevered arms. Maybe to grab something a hundred feet away, he has to snake his arm along the floor. It seems to me that in most instances of extreme stretching, you either have limbs supported on both ends (holding onto a lamppost on one end and a speeding vehicle on the other, say), or you've got a dynamic situation that doesn't need to be statically stable (like brachiating off of skyscrapers).
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:32 PM
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Along the extended arm, he drops millimeter-thin vertical struts made of his own elastified flesh as supports. You can't see them almost all the time.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:38 PM
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Maybe, at some point, he can't support cantilevered arms. Maybe to grab something a hundred feet away, he has to snake his arm along the floor. It seems to me that in most instances of extreme stretching, you either have limbs supported on both ends (holding onto a lamppost on one end and a speeding vehicle on the other, say), or you've got a dynamic situation that doesn't need to be statically stable (like brachiating off of skyscrapers).
Well, hell. I wasn’t thinking about LIFTING something a hundred feet away, except maybe a villain. A thin, small villain.

Is this something along the lines of Doc Ock anchoring himself with two of his steel arms in Spider-Man II?
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:42 PM
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Maybe, at some point, he can't support cantilevered arms. Maybe to grab something a hundred feet away, he has to snake his arm along the floor. It seems to me that in most instances of extreme stretching, you either have limbs supported on both ends (holding onto a lamppost on one end and a speeding vehicle on the other, say), or you've got a dynamic situation that doesn't need to be statically stable (like brachiating off of skyscrapers).
We should remember that comic books show us second hand accounts of the actual events. Comic book artists are likely to show us an arm extending ridiculous distances without support while in reality Reed Richards has to snake his arm out like that until he can grab something. It just looks better that way in a still frame. This is probably done by comic book artists in the comic book universe as well as ours.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
It makes no real sense, but it let Cole draw his hero not only stretching outrageously (in some panels, he's folding his face!) but also to form himself into object like a car or a blimp (which can actually roll along and fly, respectively).

What's interesting is that while Ralph Dibny/The Elongated Lad (and other DC innovations, like Jimmy Olsen/Elastic Lad and Lois Lane/Elastic Lass) and Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards could also stretch, they almost never made themselves into shapes like Plastic Man. (One bity that I loved in Frank Miller's second Dark Knight series was the confrontation between Plastic Man and the Elongated Man -- "You're so boring! You never do any shapes!")**
You guys are close but not quite spot on about Plastic Man. Sure, he started out as a regular stretchy hero but he's a lot more than that. Plastic Man doesn't always stretch nor make shapes...he becomes things.

It's one thing to stretch. That's fine. But in at least one occasion he became a jet engine. Not the shape of one, but an actual jet engine capable of producing thrust. He can become a car and be driven. It's scary when you think about it.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:31 PM
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You guys are close but not quite spot on about Plastic Man. Sure, he started out as a regular stretchy hero but he's a lot more than that. Plastic Man doesn't always stretch nor make shapes...he becomes things.

It's one thing to stretch. That's fine. But in at least one occasion he became a jet engine. Not the shape of one, but an actual jet engine capable of producing thrust. He can become a car and be driven. It's scary when you think about it.
I noted that above -- when he shaped himself into a car or a blimp, he functioned as a car or blimp.

Still bothers me that he didn't twist his hands off when he rolled along, since his hands were the "wheels".
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:50 PM
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You guys are close but not quite spot on about Plastic Man. Sure, he started out as a regular stretchy hero but he's a lot more than that. Plastic Man doesn't always stretch nor make shapes...he becomes things.

It's one thing to stretch. That's fine. But in at least one occasion he became a jet engine. Not the shape of one, but an actual jet engine capable of producing thrust. He can become a car and be driven. It's scary when you think about it.
He also got blowed apart under the ocean and spent years putting his pieces back together. He's a little bit more than just a stretchy guy.

I'm not sure how he could become a jet engine though. What's the fuel source? How does the propulsion work? Maybe I should remember that it's just a comic and I should really just relax.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:02 PM
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Wiki has some interesting info on Plastic Man. His powers are remarkable even in the comic book universe. He can change density and create additional muscle to increase his strength.

Quote:
Malleable Physiology: Plastic Man's powers are derived from an accident in which his body was bathed in an unknown industrial chemical mixture that also entered into his bloodstream through a gunshot wound. This caused a body-wide mutagenic process that transformed his physiology. Eel [Patrick "Eel" O'Brian] exists in a fluid state, neither entirely liquid nor solid. Plastic Man has complete control over his structure.
Throw in immortality and invulnerability, and not really being physiologically human anymore either:

Quote:
Rubber-Organs: As stated by Black Lantern Vibe, Plastic Man's internal organs (such as his heart when Black Lantern Vibe tried to rip it out) couldn't be removed, unlike many of the Black Lanterns' victims. This perhaps implies that Plastic Man is himself more like one giant, living organ than he is a "whole" made of component parts and organs, etc.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:57 PM
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In the original FF origin story Reed immobilized The Thing by wrapping his stretchy arms around him. Maybe it just slowed Ben down long enough for him to calm down, though.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:41 AM
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I noted that above -- when he shaped himself into a car or a blimp, he functioned as a car or blimp.

Still bothers me that he didn't twist his hands off when he rolled along, since his hands were the "wheels".
That's exactly the thing, Cal. When he becomes a car he BECOMES a car. There's no way for his hands to twist off as he doesn't really have hands at that point, he has wheels and axles and a drive train and such.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:47 AM
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That's exactly the thing, Cal. When he becomes a car he BECOMES a car. There's no way for his hands to twist off as he doesn't really have hands at that point, he has wheels and axles and a drive train and such.
He doesn't have to keep his body intact. As noted above, he was once blown to smithereens but eventually was able to put his body back together again. There is no explanation for how such a car is fueled, but I suppose ordinary gasoline would work if he formed himself into an engine, which seems to be feasible with his powers.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:52 AM
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No mention of Plastic man? Why not? I see others have..
https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=h...jpg&f=1&nofb=1

Last edited by Marion Morrison; 10-10-2019 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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No mention of Plastic man?
There are numerous mentions of Plastic Man in this thread, starting with the opening sentence of the first post.

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Why not?
Because you don't bother to learn the facts about a situation before you start spouting off your opinions about the situation.

Bye, Marion, time for you to ride off into the sunset.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:56 AM
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I noted that above -- when he shaped himself into a car or a blimp, he functioned as a car or blimp...
When Plas turned into a blimp in the Kyle Baker story, he required the Incendiary Monk to fill him up with hot air. He didn’t provide his own lifting gas.

I suppose when he becomes a car he needs to fuel up before he can drive anywhere.

OTOH, when he changed into a fan to blow smoke out of a room, he didn’t plug himself in first.
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