Show Mobile Navigation
Pop Culture

10 Consequences Of Being A Superhero In Real Life

Jake Vigliotti


It’s natural to say, “I wish we had a superhero here!” when a tragedy strikes. But in reality here on Earth, if one existed, life wouldn’t be all punch and roses. Science dictates that being a superhero has certain effects, and some of them would alter our planet greatly. So the next time a super villain tries to take over the Eastern Seaboard, think of the consequences to a counterattack by your favorite superpowered being.

10 Superman’s Punch Is Like A Bomb


You know Superman is strong; he’s able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, so he doesn’t skip leg day. When you think The Man of Steel, you think of him beating villains up with his incredible strength. He’s taken on some of the toughest folks in the universe and beaten them to a pulp. But if Superman was around in real life, the last place you’d want to be is anywhere near one of his fights.

Superman can lift 200 quintillion tons—with one arm. He’s so strong that he can separate dimensions. If you accept that Superman can’t break the laws of physics, then he can travel at just below the speed of light, as nothing with mass can break that speed. This means that his arm could move at that same speed. His fist would pack 190 quadrillion joules worth of power. That’s 2,800 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Traveling at that speed would be hot, as in just a shade under 80 quadrillion degrees Celsius (144 quadrillion °F). From his hand at his side to your jaw it would take 3.4 nanoseconds to hit you. His punch would be lethal—to everyone within 24 kilometers (15 mi). The force he exerts would leave a 1-kilometer (0.6 mi) crater in the ground and be equal to 1.3 million atomic bombs going off. You would turn into quark-gluon plasma, which is the stuff that was around when the Big Bang happened and led to life. So you would be dead, but on the good side, you’d create a new universe eventually.


9 It Costs More Than A Ton Of Money To Be Batman


You could say that billionaires could get themselves into tip-top shape and, if they’re smart enough, build everything that Batman needs. However, the operating costs would be high, and that’s just part of it.

There’s more than one Batcave. Regardless of the movie or the comics, there’s at the least the traditional Batcave, plus one in Gotham. The Batcaves will run you about $2 million. If you throw in the costume, which includes Kevlar belts, boots, the Grappling Hook, the body suit (Kevlar again—Bruce digs Kevlar), the cape that can fly, his helmet, batarangs, plus the vehicles—the Batmobile and the Batwing (that flying device in Dark Knight Rises)—you’re looking at a ton of loot. And we haven’t even factored in the cost of gas, both for the Batmobile and the Batwing. When you add it all up you’re looking at an out-of-the-box start-up cost of over $79 million. Obviously, as the years go by you wouldn’t need to spend that every year, unless you trash your Batwing yearly.

In 2015, Bill Gates could give $10,000 to every single Gotham citizen and still have $69 billion left. It’s estimated that billionaire Bruce Wayne is worth at least $6.9 billion, so it’s not like he couldn’t pull being Batman off financially. However, the cost on his health is a bird of a different feather, or a bat of a different . . . leather.

If Batman is out every night fighting crime, and he’s not superhuman but rather just in really good shape, he’s still going to break down. If we accept some comic history for Bruce Wayne, he was 188 centimeters (6’2″) and 84 kilograms (185 lb) when he started training, at about 20 percent body fat. After his training, he’s now 95 kilograms (210 lb), with 10 percent body fat. His bones would actually be denser, which would help the fighting. Muay Thai fighters have stronger shins from kicking, as would Batman. But because he’s patrolling at night he’s not getting proper rest, and with all those hits to the head that he takes, he wouldn’t have a long shelf life. The average NFL running back lasts less than three years as a pro. We can assume that Batman will at the least take a pounding similar to a running back, hitting walls and people and exerting his body nightly. Batman would have a tough time lasting much longer than three years doing all that he does.

8 Thor Would Destroy The World


Practically speaking, Thor’s hammer isn’t that heavy. It’s 19.2 kilograms (42.3 lb) according to the comics. But it’s only that weight to those worthy of yielding said hammer. To everyone else, it’s the heaviest thing ever. The hammer was conceived in a dying star, and stars are heavy.

How heavy? If a neutron star went supernova, the mass created would be two times greater all the mass on Earth but would only have the volume of a sugar cube. So if you size a sugar cube to the dimensions of Thor’s hammer, you end up with a hammer that weighs 4.5 quadrillion kilograms (10 quadrillion lb)! Just dropping said hammer would pretty much end all life on Earth. The Russian Tzar Bomba created the biggest nuclear explosion ever with clouds that rose 64 kilometers (40 mi) high. Thor’s hammer would be 1.3 million times that. That’s at least as strong as the asteroid that hit Earth and killed the dinosaurs. And this is just dropping it, not actually hitting anything on purpose.

Also, once the hammer hits the ground, it’s not going to stop. Given its denseness, it would go all the way to the Earth’s core. But unfortunately, Thor wouldn’t have to drop it for it to kill you. Newton’s Law of Gravity states that mass attracts mass. And you would be drawn to Thor’s Hammer at 1,200 kilometers per hour (750 mph)—at 30 meters (100 ft) away. That’s so fast that if you were facing the hammer, your front would pull away from the back of your body. So it would hurt.



7 The Hulk’s Jump Would Be Jarring

Start at 1:51.

The Hulk is pretty big. He’s also pretty strong, but he’s not strong enough to lift a star, and now you understand why. One of his feats is his ability to leap very far. He can do that because he’s so big and strong, but in reality he’s too big and strong to not ruin everything while jumping.

As Hulk jumps, he would exert force on the ground as he bends his knees to take off. Everything does that, from humans to fleas. Hulk is about 40 percent taller than the average human, but much stronger proportionally and bulkier. If a human has a mass of 70 kilograms (154 lb), then Hulk would be around 293 kilograms (625 lb) of muscle. According to the movies, the Hulk can jump roughly 122 meters (400 ft) from a standstill. Given that his feet are proportional to his size, the mathematical formula would be: (4.08 x 105 Newtons)/0.14 m2 = 2.9 x 106N/m2 = 2.9 megapascals. In human terms, that means his force would be greater than any concrete could stand. So everything he jumped from would crack from his exerted force. And if he was on dirt, he’d leave a giant crevasse. The point is that you’d know where Hulk had been, because he’d leave utter destruction from his jumping alone.

6 Flash Is Fast


There may not be a more appropriately named hero than the Flash. He can do things lickety-split. In the comics, Flash has raced Superman and both beaten and tied him, but according to one revealing conversation, Flash might have been holding back a bit in those races.

Flash says he can perceive things that happen in less than an attosecond. That’s a zero, a decimal point, 17 more zeros, and a one. It takes light 7.5 seconds to go around Earth, so in an attosecond, light couldn’t move from one side of a particle to the other. What that means is that to Flash, light would appear frozen because he’s infinitely faster than it. An attosecond is to a second what an atom is to the size of Earth.

It seems that Flash doesn’t always max out his speed. On the television series The Flash, he surpassed 1,347 kilometers per hour (837 mph) and was gaining speed. Of course, if the Flash did hit his full speed, there’s a good chance his clothes couldn’t even keep up with him; he’d be too fast to wear anything. But, according to the comics, the Flash projects an aura that keeps his clothes on. If he didn’t, he’d be the Streaker, not the Flash.

5 Magneto Is A Cold, Walking MRI Machine


If you want to get technical, Magneto is a bad guy, but he could be classified as an antihero at best. What he definitely is, however, is a very powerful guy. With his ability to manipulate metal, he can pretty much destroy anything he wants to with his mind.

Given Magneto’s magnetic powers, he’d basically be like an MRI machine. They are commonly used in medical procedures to look at “slices” of human muscle and tissue within the body using magnets. If you’re not familiar with the power of an MRI, they attract pretty much anything metal that’s close to them. So besides doing a fine side business diagnosing herniated discs, Magneto would have a bit of a problem every time he turned on his powers. The most powerful magnet in the world has a magnetic field of 45 teslas. The strongest magnet known is the neutron star Soft Gamma Repeater, which could slow down a train on Earth, from the Moon. Given that Magneto could move the Golden Gate Bridge, his power would be approaching the Soft Gamma Repeater. That means he would be attracting everything as he activated his mutant gift.

In order to create the type of magnetic abilities that Magneto would have in real life (superconductive), things have to be cold. How cold, you ask? How about –135 degrees Celsius (–211 °F)! But Magneto doesn’t exactly follow the laws of physics; he can seemingly move objects heavier than he is which is impossible. So if Magneto were walking around, he’d be freezing and every time he turned on his powers he’d get stuck to a car.



4 Wolverine Still Gets Concussions

Wolverine

Wolverine is one of the most popular comic characters. His fame pushed him to the de facto starring role in X-Men: Days of Future Past, even though it wasn’t comic book canon. Wolverine is unstoppable and seemingly immortal, so what’s not to like about having Wolverine on your side?

Part of that seeming immortality is his healing powers. It is his ability to instantly heal from injury that leads to the fictitious adamantium being fused to his bones. As the brain moves around in its protective shell, it can become bruised when a blunt force strikes the skull. That’s a concussion. Having metal around the skull would not decrease his likelihood of concussing; he would still concuss just like everyone else does. If anything, the adamantium would increase his concussion potential because he is more prone to battle given his healing ability and unbreakable body.

You could even make the case that the adamantium would increase his potential for severe concussions because his skull wouldn’t be as soft a landing spot when his brain hits it. It would more be like a car accident without a seat belt; you’re still going to get thrown around in the strongest of vehicles. In the comics and movies, Wolverine has been knocked out with blows to the head, so he undoubtedly would receive brain trauma that would require healing.

The part people don’t realize is that Wolverine is not immortal; he can indeed die if the trauma is strong enough. So let’s just say Wolverine is in a fight, like the ones he gets into in every comic and movie. The first time someone flings him or hits him in the head he’s going to be woozy for a bit or knocked out completely until his healing factor repairs his brain. It’s best to aim for the head if Wolverine takes a run at you.

3 Aquaman Would Be Awfully Tired Of Seafood

Aquaman

Photo credit: DC Comics, Inc.

Aquaman has a bit of a bad rap lately. With his seemingly limited powers, he appears to be an easy target to pick on or make a buffoon out of. The reality is that the water-bound one actually has one of the toughest jobs out there; he swims everywhere and exerts a ton of energy.

Arthur Curry is not a full-blooded Atlantean; he’s half-human in the original story, and by default that would make him half-limited to what humans can do. The biggest problem is the ocean; it’s cold. Aquaman doesn’t have a layer of blubber like other ocean mammals, so in order to keep his body warm he’d burn through 48,000 calories per day! That’s like going to Long John Silver’s and ordering 208 pieces of their fried fish. The only way he could get around this is if he was like a tuna. They use a counter-current heat exchange to regulate their temperature and not turn into frozen tuna in the deeper parts of the ocean.

Of course, the other problem is decompression. When humans go deep, they need to decompress the gas bubbles that form in their body. Failure to decompress can be fatal. Fish have a swim bladder, which facilitates the release of the gasses that build up from diving deep. If he did have the swim bladder, he’d have to get the gasses out of his body somehow. That means Aquaman would just be swimming around the ocean, farting everywhere. And Long John Silver’s farts are bad.

2 Spiderman’s Taint Would Spin Silk

Spiderman

Everyone is familiar with the origins of Peter Parker. He was bitten by a radioactive spider and then got the most aesthetically pleasing parts of a spider, if you’re a human. Peter is able to retain his human looks, which are good enough to date some girls seemingly out of his pay grade considering that he’s a nerdy, timid, high schooler. But if he truly took on spider parts, he wouldn’t be able to score Mary Jane Watson’s phone number.

Spiders have an exoskeleton, though having your bones on the outside of your body wouldn’t be the bad part for old Mr. Parker. Spiders can regenerate their exoskeleton, and when they do, they split the old skeleton, wiggle around until it falls, and boom: new exoskeleton. Spiderman can leap just like a spider does, so we can assume that Peter is built like a spider. That means he has an open circulation system. A spider sends blood into its legs, building up hydraulic pressure. When the pressure goes off, the spider jumps. That means Peter’s legs would fill with blood right before he leaps.

But Peter’s worst lock would be would be with his webbing. In the comic, Peter built his own web-shooters for his Spiderman costume to launch them from his wrists. That’s a good thing because that’s not where spiders shoot their webs. A spider can produce silk from the bottom of its abdomen; right between its anus and sexual organ. Obviously, if Peter Parker did this as Spiderman, a lot more criminals would give themselves up before he got a chance to launch a web from “there.” Remember that the next time you walk through a web.

1 Superman Would Kill Lois During Intimacy

Superman

Photo credit: DC Comics, Inc.

You now know you don’t want to be anywhere near Superman when he busts someone up, but you also don’t want to be near Kal-El when he busts something else. As you likely know, Superman is from Krypton, a planet that is similar to Earth. He looks human, and he fits in with humans to the point where none expect the mild-mannered Clark Kent to be the Man of Steel. In the movie Superman Returns, Superman and his longtime girlfriend Lois Lane get together romantically and produce a child. But that’s simply impossible.

Superman has strength that is practically immeasurable. He can bend steel with his fingers, and you already know what his punch can do. So if Superman and Lois Lane would become intimate, she would be in for a whole heap of trouble. During human sex, electroencephalograms show that humans actually lose control of their muscles. When you’re as strong as Superman that can be an issue for your partner; in the natural course of sex there is a drive for thrusting. If Superman grabbed Lois’s arms, he’d likely rip them off. When Superman reached climax, his sperm would be super-strong and would leave his body with the force of a bullet. It would blast through Lois and likely take her head off.

But let’s say Superman decided to artificially inseminate Lois. The other problem is the half-Kryptonian child growing in Lois. If one sperm did fertilize an egg, there would still be millions inside her body. And since Superman is super strong, so is his semen. They wouldn’t just dry up; they’d stay inside Lois, likely causing her serious health issues. So Superman would be stuck in a life of celibacy, unless he resorted to risking his own life for sex by using a Kryptonite condom.

+ Bruce Banner Would Have Died

Bruce Banner

You really don’t have to worry too much about The Hulk ruining sidewalks. If Bruce Banner got hit with gamma radiation from a nuclear blast, he would not have survived. We know that because Louis Slotin didn’t survive.

In 1946, Dr. Louis Alexander Slotin (PhD, physical chemistry) was working on a fission reaction with a few colleagues. Dr. Slotin held the upper hemisphere of a beryllium sphere in his left hand while using a screwdriver to separate the sphere with his right hand. This was not protocol on how to perform the separation. The screwdriver slipped away, and he accidentally dropped the upper hemisphere. That caused a reaction and hard radiation release. His lab partners reported seeing a blue glow and felt a wave of heat as the air ionized. Slotin received about the same amount of radiation that you’d get if you were a little under 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) away from a nuclear blast. That’s roughly as far as Bruce Banner was away from the blast that made him Hulk. Unfortunately, that’s enough to kill a human, and nine days later, Dr. Slotin became the second person to perish as the result of a criticality accident.

None of the other doctors in the room with Slotin died from radiation exposure, and just getting some gamma radiation isn’t enough to turn someone into Hulk. We know this because Charlemagne wasn’t the Hulk. In 774, when Charlemagne was around 20 years old, a gamma blast hit Earth. We know this from carbon 14 data on tree rings from around this time. So if the famous king and everyone else alive back then didn’t turn into Hulks from that gamma blast, and the scientists in the room with Dr. Slotin didn’t either, then you don’t have to worry about Bruce Banner getting mad.

Jake wrote a trivia e-book filled with crazy stuff like the kind you just read in this list. You can follow him on twitter for more useless facts.