Saturday, July 26, 2008

Side Note on The Black Flag

I was recently talking with a friend of mine about Flag over on Facebook. He wanted to know how powerful the Black Flag was in comparison to other superheroes. He is roughly in the same power category as Captain America. But who he can beat depends on each character he faces. For example, it would be tough for him to beat Cap. But he could take the Hulk in one punch. Why? Because the Hulk can't fight. He's a rampaging monster, exactly the type of big muscled goon Flag has fought all his life.

The problem with guys like the Hulk is that they can't fight. They have no real ability to inflict pain, only damage and destruction. A good straight punch to the jaw on a creature the size of the Hulk will put him down for the count.

Moving onto the issue of KO. This is a much more elusive commodity than people think and ensuring that you achieve one is not always easy. The aim as you may know is to achieve "brain shake" whereby the brain, which is suspended in fluid in the skull is made to collide with the interior of the skull. This causes neural overload and KO results. The best way to bring about this state of affairs is to strike as near to the point of the jaw as possible without expending your power by sliding off. It should be noted that strikes from the side (hooks etc), to the jaw tend to make the opponent fall in the same direction as that from which the hit came. This may result in a head connecting nastily with a hard object such as the pavement. A harder but more skilled strike is over the top and down onto the jaw which can cause the opponent to virualy sit down, thus lestening the chance of subsidiary head injury.

Not my words, but I've studied this stuff and trust me, the guys in comics have relied on their powers so long, they've forgotten what real fighting is all about.


Volt said...

Fascinating discussion! I LOVE the idea that Flag could beat the HULK. I'm not sure I agree based on fighting skills alone. Why? B/c the comic book genre' is based upon a whole host of physical improbabilities. Read Dr. James Kakalios' wonderful book, The Physics of Superheroes opened my eyes to much of that: If you've read it, you know what I mean. In the book Kakalios discuss the feasability of the powers of such iconic heroes as Superman, Antman, the Flash, the X-Men etc. And Kakalios actually is a fanboy himself and gives heroes a really fair shake. For example, he asserts that Spiderman could in fact swing on a spider silk line as spider silk is actually many times stronger than steel and yet far more flexible. But he also asserts that most super strength, based on mere muscle power is essentially impossible due to leverage problems. So, the Hulk shouldn't be nearly as strong as he is in the comics. Soooooooooooo...I guess in that sense, it's very possible for Flag to KO the Hulk. But I think in the way that Marvel has statted him out....probably not. Well, that's just my spare change worth. And in fairness, I'm not a physicist or such thing.

Btw, I do seem to recall that Cap was able to use a jiujitsu type throw on a the Hulk one time using the Hulk's own momentum and strength against him. And in that sense, I can DEFINITELY see fighting skills working against a monster like the Hulk. B/c when a combatant commits him/herself to a move, it's very hard to uncommit. And if the other combatant can predict this committing, they can really use that prediction against them. And, as you say, the Hulk is pretty unskilled. Monstrous in power...but unskilled. That's why, for example, that Batman can be a really effective member of the JL. Even with his gadgets, he should be no match for Gorilla Grodd, Luther, and company. And yet, he is a match b/c of his skills, intimidation/mystery, and yes, equipment.

Fascinating! Keep up the good work. Can't wait for #1 to come out!

Anonymous said...

As you're an Empowered fan, Raven, you just reminded me of Ninjette's comment from the first volume when she flips Major Havoc on his arse:

'No offense, but you superstrong guys fight like third-graders. Make that mentally retarded third- graders.'

And, while the Hulk may only be able to cause 'damage and destruction', that's not exactly insignificant. Of course, The Black Flag would know damn well he can't block direct blows from the Hulk; otherwise he'd get pulped. But even an indirect blow from the Hulk could cause serious damage.

But there's another thing you didn't bring up at all: conditioning. The average sloppy 'one punch' fighter that relies on his muscle tends not to have much in the way of endurance, which is another way he can be beaten.

As he's written, the Hulk is not exactly lacking in the stamina department. Unless I'm far more ignorant of that character than I realize, in which case I apologize.
The question would be: can the Black Flag outlast the Hulk's swings long enough, and inflict enough damage to put him out?

Anyway, to bring this full circle to your original hypothesis, there's one other clear advantage the Black Flag has.

It's a truism in both traditional and MMA circles that keeping your temper is necessary for victory. Hulk gets stronger the angrier he gets -- and angry fighters make fight-losing mistakes far more readily.

Really, someone like the original Abomination, who maintains his intelligence even when powered up, should convincingly whup the Hulk 10 times out of 10 if he has that capacity to fight smart.

And *then* when you consider Cap and Black Flag have an equivalent level of intelligence to Blonsky when it comes to the science of fighting...

I'm going on too long here.

It's an interesting exercise, but I'm glad that for the moment, such questions are going to remain academic. I can only take so much 'X can beat Y or vice-versa' discussion. Beyond a certain point, they become as incomprehensible and unanswerable as religious arguments.

I just want to see how effectively Black Flag and his fellow Legion members deal with the threats in their own universe.

Any more information about an ETA?

Bring it ON!

Looking forward to it.