Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fast Talk: Black Energy Beams

Black Energy Beams:
I will admit, the Rainbow Raider is an easy target for a weekly column intended to affectionately mock the scientific fast talk that is so integral to the sort of stories presented in The Flash. Come to think of it, I don't know how I've resisted featuring poor Roy G. Bivolo and his ridiculous pigmentary feats for so long. At last, then, here is an exercise in chromatics from the supervillain's first appearance in The Flash #286. I can be led to believe that the Rainbow Raider is capable of altering moods with his multi-colored light beams, as when a squad of hapless security guards doused in blue light become "victims of color-wave induced grief!" There's a certain logic to it. You would have to cook up some pretty persuasive technobabble, however, to convince me that the Raider's "black energy-beams" had "drained every glimmer of color right out of [the Flash's] body!" All together now: color does not work that way! At the very least, we are forced to presume that Barry Allen has uncharacteristically chosen entirely the wrong approach in scientifically describing his predicament to us. Surely this black-and-white effect could only be prompted by a change in the physical composition of the surfaces of his body and costume, not by the "draining" of some inherent capacity for color. (This is to say nothing of the physiological drain in energy that the once-scarlet speedster is experiencing as a result of his chromatic deficiency! We'll save that little bit of silliness for next week.) Of course, the real absurdity here is the implication that our hero has "badly underestimated this criminal." This from an astonishingly powerful superhero who has challenged the DC Universe's most menacing monsters! Honestly, there's a reason that the Rainbow Raider was left off of our recent Quick Quiz poll identifying everyone's favorite Rogues, folks.

Issue: The Flash #286 (June 1980)


Anonymous said...

Hey, no picking on Raider! He's awesome!

Dixon said...

I'm not sure that I'd ever describe the Rainbow Raider as "awesome," in the truest sense of the word. I will admit, however, that he can be very entertaining and his outright outrageous characteristics cast him as one unforgettable supervillain!

As for the nature of a dark energy beam, Kelson, it's relatively easy to realize in a comic book illustration, but it's one of those concepts that's darn difficult to accept logically--especially as an extension of the Rainbow Raider's colored goggles!

Anonymous said...

My good sir, anyone who would throw a marker at Mammoth and shriek "!" is officially awesome!

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