METAPHYSICS FOR METAHUMANS
by John Jones, Manhunter from Marathon, IL
There are so many questions for the thinking, analytical comics fan, and I'm not even talking about the obvious ones, like who would win a honey-glazed ham eating contest between Chris Claremont, Peter David, and Kurt Busiek, or, exactly what sort of stick should Todd McFarlane be smacked in the head with, how often, and how hard? No, I'm talking about questions raised pertaining to the internal physics, and/or lack thereof, in most superhero universes.
How do they SHRINK? The Atom, Doll Man & Doll Girl, two different Ant-Men, and, for good... er... measure >ahem< ...how do some of them (like Hank Pym) grow?
How do they RUN SO DAMN FAST? Three Flashes, Quicksilver, Johnny Quick, and an insane surfeit of other four color superspeedsters... how the hell do they manage to beat their little feet two or three million times a second as they speed like supersonic blurs across entire continents in the blink of an eye?
How do they grab cars with one hand and pick them up over their heads? How do they transform themselves into various bizarre shapes and forms? How do they fly? How do they fire fargin particle beams out of their frickin EYES, for the love of Pete? How do they just romp along, ignoring every known law of physics with the blithe abandon of a Samuel L. Jackson character in a Renny Harlin movie?
There have been fanboys before me, and there will be fanboys after me, I do not doubt, who have tried, and will continue to try, to explain all these things. Many of them have woven byzantine webs of convoluted and arcane particle theorems and quantum obfuscations, speaking loftily of unified fields and distorted gravity wells and channelled space-time slopes and I don't know what the hell all else. They have inscribed equations, worked through formulas, explicated cogent and witty descriptions of the various atomic weights of imaginary radioactive materials and the actual energy signature of Jarella's sub-atomic world, and I do not hesitate to confess that I barely understood one word in ten of any of these brilliant dissertations. I will now try to posit an overall scheme, if you will, of reality distortion that I can not only more or less understand, but which will, as an added bonus, doubtless be completely ignorant of all known laws of physics.
First, I'll annoy many people I know by using, as an underlying foundation, my belief that virtually all superhuman powers derive from one of two basic explanations: psionics, and/or subconscious matter/energy transformations (which, I suppose, could arguably also be psionic) or both.
A lot of the basic stuff can be fairly easily explained away as psionics. John Byrne has already relentlessly applied this explanation to Superman, after first having Reed Richards explain it in some detail as it applied to Gladiator, a pretty straightforward Superman-clone who appeared in quite a few Marvel comics drawn and/or written by Byrne.
All Superman's powers, and apparently, all the Cosmic Uberman type powers manifested by Kryptonians and Daxamites and probably a few others I don't know about, are psionic in nature. Superman flies via autokinesis. He doesn't really have superstrength, what he has is extremely powerful psychokinesis which is limited to only effecting things he can touch, and only then when he thinks he is actually physically affecting them with his muscles. He doesn't have heat vision, he has pyrokinesis; he doesn't have X ray vision, or telescopic vision, or microscopic vision, or super hearing, or any of that stuff; instead, he has very broad based and powerful clairvoyance powers. He's not invulnerable, he has a personal psychokinetic forcefield.
While these explanations are strangely not much fun at all, they all make sense, and in fact, they go a great distance towards explaining various things that otherwise contradict the known laws of physics, such as how Superman (or other superstrong characters) can easily hoist over his head something much more massive than he is, like a car, or, say, the Chrysler Building, and then throw it at the Stilt Man. Under normal physical laws, it really doesn't matter how strong Superman, the Martian Manhunter, Spider-man, Thor, or Prince Namor are. They may have the sheer raw power to pick up a Ford Fairlane and lob it a couple of city blocks, but in actual reality, if they reached out casually and grabbed hold of such a vehicle, the most that would happen is a chunk o'Fairlane would come off in their hands. Assuming they grabbed it someplace that it wouldn't easily tear apart, the thing STILL weighs far more than they do. If they have the strength to pick it up, they still will not do so (unless, like Spider-Man, they can anchor the soles of their feet to the ground with an effort of will). What they will do is yank themselves off their feet and end up doing a full arm and body extension thrusting out from the point on the vehicle they just sank their superstrong fingers into. In other words, the three ton automobile will not move; the 200 lb mesomorph will.
This is simple physics, and Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Dick Dillin, and Curt Swan ignored it on an average of 12.7 billion times per month back in the Silver Age, so we're left with two choices: we either assume that a huge walloping majority of Silver Age comics were drawn wrong, and in fact, when the Sub Mariner picked up a roadster and heaved it at Captain Marvel in one panel, he actually spent about five minutes gingerly settling his hands under the car, finding the axle, picking the back or front of the car up by the axle, carefully walking his hands down the frame of the car as he supported its weight until he got to the midpoint of the vehicle, clean and jerking it up over his head, and THEN doing a double straightarm of the damn thing at the twit with the fin on his head... or we assume that the Submariner is not really, physically, any stronger than anyone else with his build should be, and it's all psychokinetic.
If it's psychokinetic, then he could reach out, grab the car (or anything else), and toss it, for the good and simple reason that that is what he WANTS to do, so that is what's going to happen. He has to touch it because he thinks he has to touch it, because he thinks he's using his muscles to do it. Byrne explained all this in more spectacular and immediately visual terms when he drew Gladiator picking up an entire building by one corner, but it's the same principle at work.
Psychokinetics also explains one of the most common and otherwise nearly incomprehensible super powers, namely, flight. I've never heard any other even remotely coherent explanation for this close to universal super-ability. They project energy away from themselves in such a way as to propel themselves through the air? Er, okay, but they'd better glow and have some pretty impressive energy blast powers, too, and many don't. They somehow 'manipulate gravity'... oh please. I don't even want to think about that, although the tiniest bit of cogitation leads me to believe that any character who flies through 'gravity manipulation' should have an awfully hard time decelerating for a soft landing, much less, hovering, as many super-fliers apparently can do.
Psychokinesis even conveniently explains characters like The Angel, who somehow flies around like a birdie using wings that are far too small to ever actually support an adult male human being in an Earthly gravity field and atmosphere. (This last one we could also explain with the 'artist drew it wrong' theory... kind of... if we posit that Warren Worthington III actually has a 60' wingspan and Kirby just didn't want to pencil it that way. However, we then are forced to the realization that with his wings folded on his back, Warren needs the strength of Spider-man just to stand up straight, and he can't walk through anything remotely approaching a normal sized door, or fit into any room smaller than an auditorium.)
This is also the only feasible explanation for, say, how Storm flies. The concept that she simply whips up, out of a clear sky and often in an enclosed space, a concentrated gale force wind capable of picking up and carrying an adult human body, simply doesn't bear analytical scrutiny... and even if she does, how in the name of GOD does she manage to LAND safely? Call up a hurricane to blow you into the sky...eh, okay, fine. Xavier's mansion is now careening towards Oz and various screaming X-Men are slowly tumbling through the stratosphere fervently wishing you in hell, but, sure, whatever, go for it. Now, explain to me how you make the hurricane set you down again gently.
Psychokinetics of this sort also helps greatly to explain one of the most appealing of all superpowers, and one of the most annoyingly difficult to define: superspeed, by which I mean, the apparent ability to run at hundreds, if not thousands, of miles per hour.
We all love this superpower, and for the most part, we all love the characters who have it. I doubt there's a fanboy in the world who has not, at some point in their life, fantasized about being able to run to school and back at velocities so high as to be practically invisible, to whiz through the halls between people moving so relatively slowly that they seem like statues, picking pockets, performing cruel practical jokes on the bullies we hate the most, undressing the class hotties in a split second, etc, etc. Much of my childhood was spent on three to four hour journeys to visit relatives in distant cities over holiday weekends, and I passed a lot of those trips daydreaming about being able to just run from from my home to my Aunt's house in minutes or seconds, instead of spending most of the day cramped up in a back seat with my two obnoxious little brothers.
The problem is, it's a really ridiculous power. I mean, think about it. First, if you're running at, say, 150 m.p.h., the wind resistance is going to feel like you're shoving yourself eyeballs first into a wall of hot sand.
Unless you manage to streamline yourself, you're not going anywhere, and even if you do, you'd better not move an arm or a leg outside your airstream, much less hold out a flattened palm, or the offending limb is going to get ripped off your body like an old ragged sleeve by the wind shear. Well, we can deal with this by giving the Flash a convenient 'frictionless aura', and by just ignoring it with Quicksilver, I guess. But now let's consider exactly what you're doing when you run at several hundred miles per hour, which is to say, you are driving the bottoms of your feet into the ground at hundreds of miles per hour hundreds of time per second. Even if we posit, somehow, that our high velocity hero is tough enough to take it (and very few superspeedsters have any sort of enhanced toughness abilities) how the ground holds up under this kind of punishment is a major mystery.
Both the Flash and Quicksilver should dig glowing, smoking trenches in the Earth everywhere they run.
One ingenious theory that has been suggested is that the Flash is actually a master of time, not speed, and that when he zips along at superspeed, he is actually hugely accelerating his own particular entropic rate, rather than really running at any sort of enhanced speed. Thus, for Barry Allen, time is moving by much faster than for the world around him, creating the perceptual illusion that he is moving at blinding speed.
This brilliant hypothesis even posits that the Flash's 'frictionless aura' is actually a sort of bubble of accelerated or decelerated entropy that the Flash carries around with him, and, this bubble of entropy is what allows him to smack his little footsies into the tarmac a million times a minute without digging a trench, and cut through the atmosphere like a monofilament edge. I don't see how, but I'm not a physicist.
There is one major problem with this rather singular and interesting explanation, though. Our fine Flashy fella, if he is actually manipulating his own entropic rate, still perceives his own timeline as flowing by in a normal fashion. We have seen the Flash, for example, run around the Earth's equator six times in one second. I grant you, this happened in extreme circumstances and was long thought to be his upper exertion limit. (However, the Flash often does things at speeds where bullets appear to be standing still, and he just as often has run across continents and oceans in less than the blink of an eye, so this isn't exactly a wild extreme.)
Now, if the Flash has to run from Central City, in the middle of North America, to Gorilla City, somewhere in Africa, in the time between heartbeats (as he probably has, most likely more than once, in his career), let's just consider what this means to The Man Inside The Entropic Bubble: Yes, to Great Ape Solivar, old meanie Grodd, and Our Pal Hal Jordan, it appears as if Flash has just vanished here and reappeared there, in a blur of red and yellow.
However, to poor old Barry, well, he's just jogged, let's call it for convenience's sake, 10,000 miles in between those eyeblinks... and, as I say, to old Wingfoot himself, inside his entropic bubble, the perceived rate of time passage has been normal. How long does it take to run 10,000 miles, at, say, a steady jogging pace of 8 MPH? Long enough that his toenails are gouging the inside of his socks, his beard is positively shaggy, and that stylish blond crew cut he sports is long grown out into an incipient Kamandi look. Fastest Man Alive? How about, The Man Most Prodigiously Sick And Tired Of Jogging Across The Face Of The Earth, after two months or so of hard slogging across a jagged, rubbery ocean surface and through super dense tropical foliage... and exactly how, entropic bubble or no, did he manage to jog steadily through those thousands of miles of dense African jungle?
Now, the time acceleration thing works just fine for short range feats of superspeed, like catching a full clip of just fired machine gun bullets in a glass beaker, or stripping the Mirror Master naked and tossing him in jail before he can so much as point his anti matter mirror (not that the Flash was ever quite that sensible, mind). But when he has to do something that requires him to cover long distances in short periods, we run into severe problems with the scenario. And he often did... so I'm afraid it Just Won't Do.
Psychokinesis, combined with some sort of metabolic energy transformation, however, will do. How does the Flash move that fast? Perhaps, like many superhumans, he has the subconscious ability to transform his physical body into a duplicate form of some sort of living energy. Marvel Comics' Wonder Man is a walking, humanoid power pile of 'ionic energy', and recently, he has gained the capacity to transform himself into a seething bipedal mass of barely coherent reddish purple blastie-stuff, wherein he apparently retains his human solidity, enormous strength, and near indestructibility, and because he is now living energy, he can also fly without his formerly ubiquitous belt jets, as well. I myself think many superhumans have a similar ability. (To transform themselves into a bio energy duplicate of themselves, not, you know, fly around and smack Count Nefaria with fists that hit like Thor's hammer.)
The Flash was once thought and even more or less explained, during Bill Loeb's run on the book, to be some sort of 'living lightning'. This was a transformation he could apparently undergo at will, and in such an energy form, his potential velocity would be limited only by relativity.
Assuming he can turn himself into 'living lightning' and back again in a fraction of a nanosecond, or even do this selectively for certain parts of his body, it makes it much easier for us to accept that he can 'run' at near light speed without burning up the top soil, whipping up a monsoon, or pulverizing his own churning legs into hamburger... because he's not really 'solid' or 'human' when he does it. He transforms his normal human body into some sort of energy (electricity), then psychokinetically moves himself.
Because he does this subconsciously, and actually thinks of himself as 'running', he only does this along various surfaces that he can convince himself he could actually run on. However, it's not hard for him to visualize himself running up sheer walls and across bodies of water... so he does.
Oddly, this doesn't help us a whole lot with Marvel's rather slower and, at least seemingly, more 'realistic' superspeedster Quicksilver, though. Quicksilver should also dig trenches in the ground, break his legs, and find it virtually impossible to even move against 150 m.p.h. headwinds without at the very least tearing his hair out by the roots and his hand off at the wrist whenever he reaches out and grabs Hawkeye's quiver of arrows or Cap's shield out of those hapless heroes' goggling grasp.
I suppose he could transform himself into some sort of energy body too, but in the case of our high velocity (but positively tortoiselike in comparison with DC's Flashes) mutant, that seems rather too much water to carry to the well. Given that at one time in his career, (while drawn by John Buscema) he briefly employed a battle tactic of hurling himself at an enemy at high speed, rolling up into a compact mass, and bouncing around like a superball, and, well, he didn't DIE like a hamster in NASCAR pile up, I'd suggest that Pietro's mutant bone structure, as well as his muscles, are far tougher than those of a normal human.
Given that he is a 'mutant' in the Marvel Universe, born with some sort of altered gene structure that apparently optimizes the human body to the service of one particular superhuman ability, this is quite plausible. It's also plausible (if kind of ickie) that when he runs, he sweats a superlubricator that effectively makes his body all but frictionless.
This STILL doesn't explain why he doesn't leave a couple of red glowing trenches in the ground behind him when he sprints, though, which brings me back to psychokinesis. Quicksilver actually has the ability to autokinetically move his body at close to the speed of thought, or at least, at the greatly enhanced speed of an electrical impulse moving through a mutant, superhuman nervous system.
When he 'runs', he is actually pumping his legs along a fraction of an inch above the ground, propelling himself psychokinetically. He can't do it unless he thinks he can, though, and he doesn't think he can unless he's running. He could still have the superlubricating sweat (ickie though it is) and the biorubber bones and muscles, although when we take things to that extent, I have to start wondering if the whole Marvel mutant deal isn't the product of some deranged supergenius genetics engineer who has been operating in secret in there for generations. The coincidence of crucial metabolic enhancements seems utterly incredible, otherwise.
Marvel's other superspeedsters, such as the Golden Age Whizzer, etc, probably function in a somewhat similar fashion, although how Bob Frank managed to get superhumanly flexible connective tissues, India rubber bones, fiberglass muscles and autokinesis out of radioactive mongoose blood is way beyond the scope of this article.
Shapeshifting is just another energy transformation, and in fact, that explanation rather handily explains why, for example, Changeling only transforms himself into GREEN animals... because he isn't shifting into real animal forms at all. He's transforming his normal human body into energy, and patterning that energy into a tigerish shape, and because he, himself, is somehow green, he makes the tiger shape green, too. It's all subconscious, of course.
Please don't ask me why he's green. I'd ask Marv Wolfman, but I'm terrified he'll say it's something to do with gamma rays.
Rather more difficult to explain, on the other hand, is the Legion of Superheroes' Luornu Corggu Taine... various known as Triplicate Girl, Duo Damsel, and doubtless other sobriquets by now, as well.
How the hell we make sense out of this one I have NO idea, but let's dive in, holding our two superhuman touchstones - psionics, and bodily energy transformations - firmly in front of us, and see if we arrive anywhere.
Luornu, we are told, is from some goofy planet with a triple sun, and because it has a triple sun, everybody there has the ability to somehow split themselves into three separate identical bodies, with apparently three separate yet identical minds (one in each body, now, don't make this MORE confusing). This is bad enough, but to make matters worse, they all also have the ability to meld back together again into ONE body. (One wonders if just one could be reabsorbed, leaving two bodies, and if so, if the reabsorbed one would somehow be 'split' between the two bodies left, or if there is a 'primary' body that does the actual splitting and reabsorbing... but one doesn't wonder too much if one doesn't want a massive migraine.)
Now, it's worth noting that virtually EVERYONE in the Legion, at least, the Silver Age Legion, had some sort of origin where everyone on their native planet had some strange ability because of specific and unique conditions found on that planet and that planet only. There were exceptions - Invisible Kid invented a serum that gave him his powers (and for some reason we will never understand, chose to fight crime and eventually be crushed to death by Validus, rather than become fabulously wealthy marketing the thing) and Karate Kid learned a skill that everyone thought was so cool (or they were all so afraid of) that they all tacitly agreed to call it a power - but for the most part, Legionnaires were simply heroic individuals from worlds where all the natives had some sort of racial superhuman ability.
Now, no matter WHAT the original Legion writers say, all these cheerfully Caucasian, demonstrably interfertile humanoids did NOT independently evolve on these planets and thus, get these powers as survival traits acquired through selective breeding within those unique environments, as the early Legion issues actually state. It's far more likely that each original pool of colonists was somehow augmented to enhance their survival capacities in these otherwise fatal environments. Presumably, the same technology would be used to do this in each case, so the various different overt racial abilities would have the same underlying explanation or explanations. And, in fact, many of the Legion's powers can be explained psionically (Saturn Girl, like all natives of Titan, is actually telepathic). Thus, it doesn't seem too strange to theorize that those that aren't obviously psionic would have to do with biological energy transformations.
So, then, we have these freaks who live under this triple sun, who can all split into three different bodies. Why would they need to split into three different bodies? Well, existing under three different suns, their Earthlike world most likely receives three times the solar radiation an Earth human would be evolved to withstand.
Now, we could just whip these guys DNA around to make them more resistant to radiation, (or, like, give them lead underwear) but where's the fun in that? (Work with me here.) No, better to suffuse them all with a form of transformation energy that allows them to, at will, duplicate their own bodies on a cellular level, harnessing the excess energy levels in their new environment as bio-energy that the extra two bodies will be made of.
This way, if they 'split' regularly, the build up of excess radiation that would begin to poison a normal human can be bled off into the energy bodies, where it will be metabolized and radiated back to the environment. Once this happens the energy bodies would probably dissolve by themselves, but if the native really wants to, they can reintegrate the energy body before this happens.
The apparent duplication of personality would be only apparent, a necessary social skill that these folks would learn for dealing with non native tourists (and if you don't think tourists would flock to a world where you can have a holiday romance with three beautiful identical girls or guys at once, you need to check your pulse, because you might be dead).
In point of fact, the primary, biological body houses the central intellect, which is linked to the remote, bio energy bodies (bear in mind, these bio energy duplicate bodies, to all intents, purposes, surface appearances, social interactions, and practical uses, are completely natural and normal) and controls them as easily as it controls the primary body.
Thus, Triplicate Girl could have all three of her bodies speak every sentence in unison, or every sentence half a beat off each other giving a weird echo effect, or each mouth could alternate speaking words in sequence... but that would freak people out, and Luornu is much too nice to do that. (Hopefully, she's not much too nice to give her swell fella of a boyfriend and eventual husband Chuck Taine several Penthouse letters worth of fulfilled harem fantasies -- and it serves Superboy RIGHT for never even noticing her, the jerk -- but I won't go into detail on that, however much the slavering fanboys in the audience, or within the darker depths of my own depraved mind, for that matter, want me to.)
Now, I know, various Legion adventures have seemed to clearly establish that Duo Damsel's separate bodies have separate but equal personalities when split apart. I suggest that the explanation for this is a sort of healthy schizoid psychosis that all natives of this planet develop, creepy though it would be to anyone not native who knew what was really going on. In effect, they all start 'talking to themselves' while they're split up. It doesn't mean anything; the central mind is still in control for all practical purposes... but it's just something they do. Hey, at least you could always find someone to play Scrabble with.
Furthermore, if Triplicate Girl, or even Duo Damsel, is basically one mind in multiple bodies, it helps to explain exactly why the Legion let her in. Let's face it, however sweet and lovely and adorable little Luornu actually is, and however enjoyable the uncensored videotape of her Legion tryout, in which she most likely demonstrated the advantages of having three bodies on a lonely Saturday night without a date, may be... nonetheless, the capacity to split into three separate bodies is not one to make the Fatal Five stagger back in terror whimpering 'no, no, not... HER!'
However, if those three bodies are controlled by one mind, then we are left with a rather more effective heroine entirely. For one thing, she has the actually quite mindboggling ability to literally be in more than one place at one time. Given a course of intensive training in various armed and unarmed martial arts, a skilled warrior from Luornu's native planet, gifted with the ability to perceive and attack from three separate locations, with the sort of integrated coordination normally enjoyed only by, say, three fingers on the same hand of an inordinately skilled banjo player... well, I just bet she'd kick Wolverine's scraggly ass, anyway.
Naturally, we never saw Duo Damsel demonstrate any such capacities, but hey, we never saw Superboy or Mon-El use their powers to full intelligent potential, either.
Of course, my glib and facile explanation leaves some questions unanswered, such as, if splitting into one primary and two energy bodies is a survival mechanism meant to remove excess solar radiation from the primary body, why do they still do it outside their native environment? Hell, if they need the excess solar radiation to build the energy bodies out of, how do they do it outside their native environment at all? Most likely they can do it any time they've built up any sort of solar charge; it's just, in a more normal environment, they don't need to.
However, if they do, the bodies are more 'stable', and don't dissolve on their own, making them actually more pragmatically useful outside their native, triple sunned world, than on it. And if that doesn't make sense, fine, YOU explain it. And while you're at it, explain how, after one of Triplicate Girl's bodies got fried by Computo, she lost her ability to split into three bodies, and had to become Duo Damsel instead. I'm not even going to try.
Although... say the body Computo killed was actually her primary, biological body, and the two surviving bodies were the bio-energy duplicates. Somehow strengthened and solidified by the energy blast that killed their primary, originating pattern, the two surviving energy bodies found that they had to occasionally merge into one form again in order to remain integrated.... Hmmmm... well, I don't know where it gets me, but it at least explains SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES #200, where one Duo-self got teleported away by a villain, and the other one had a mental breakdown, forgot the incident had ever happened, and then slowly, began to die.
Moving on: size change, which I started all this nonsense out with well above, obviously also works the same way. The size changer transforms his normal physical body into an exact duplicate composed of some sort of living bio energy, and as living bio energy, if he wants to be much smaller or much larger, well, he (or she, let's not forget the Wasp, or Doll Girl) can be.
As to specifics, i.e., the physical problems with size change such as, how do people BREATHE when they're only an inch tall, and how does their blood flow, and how do they eat, and how do their teeny tiny brain cells function... like the old joke says, it's turtles all the way down. If a bio energy body can duplicate the effects of a normal body, it really doesn't matter what SIZE it is when it does it. Bio energy bodies most likely don't need to eat, drink, or breathe anyway, and chances are, the shrunken or grown adventurer doesn't even notice the lack of said needs unless someone points it out. Certainly, they're all grateful they don't have to squirm out of those tights to make bathroom calls. (And, for that matter, so are we.)
So, there we have it... superstrength, shapeshifting, flight, size change... all neatly explained, without needing any advanced degrees in nuclear engineering or quantum physics. Sometimes I think I'm a genius. Then I realize that if I were a genius, I'd most likely have understood the quantum physics explanations in the first place...
In our next installment of Metaphysics for Metahumans, we will take a general look at Items Of Power, and an in depth look at a few of them. Power rings, uru hammers, cosmic rods, Nth metal, and Pym particles are just a few of the wild and crazy gizmos we'll be looking hard at in Chapter 2 - Things That Make You Go Zoom.
John Jones, the Manhunter from Marathon, IL, no longer dwells in Marathon, IL. He is also aware that he did not exactly explain anywhere above how Cyclops can fire fargin particle beams out of his fargin eyes (and not blast himself off the surface of the planet when he does it), or how ruby quartz, god save us all, somehow keeps this from happening. However, he is sure it has something to do with psionics or metabolic energy transformations. Either that, or Cyclops is actually the Golden Age Human Torch, rebuilt by Immortus into a modern day mutant hero who fires particle beams out of his eyes, in a third, completely separate, yet strangely looped timeline. Or something like that. And please, don't even think about asking me to explain Iceman.