Friday, March 18, 2011

The Elongated Man's power control

When it comes to the Elongated man's powers, there's a lot of limitations to set a lot of details that were in specific stories and a lot that are implied. For instance, we know 100 yards is his limit (Detective Comics #344), because of an editor's note; and we know his stretching is super fast, because of a caption box specification (Flash #119). Those were specifications, but other capabilities are just shown:  we know he is super resistant to friction, because the Flash used him as a treadmill (Justice League of America #150); and we know he has some super strength, because he's able to lift and even juggle with 4 men by making his hands big. There are other abilities that can be inferred, for instance, if he can make a blanket out of himself , he can probably ride the winds; and if he can mold his face, he can probably tune his voice and senses and create voids to reproduce sounds with his body. Flash got a lot of secondary powers that way.

I'll dedicate this post to define Ralph's capabilities and limitations according to the stories, specifying the sources. You might want to check it every now and then, because I'll be updating it as I re-enjoy all the Elongated Man's stories.

  • Ralph is capable of lifting 2 men with each arm (Detective Comics #358). In Detective Comics #361 he also juggled a big man.
  • In Detective Comics #361 he holds seats with children in different parts of his body first as a human ferris wheel, and then as a human roller-coaster.
  • She can lift a person and carry him vertically (Flash #115) or horizontally while stretching without collapsing.

  • In Detective Comics #344, a caption box establishes that 100 yards is Ralph's stretching limit.
  • Detective Comics #331 showed that he can squeeze to pass through a keyhole and issue #337 that he can pass through the valve of a tire as well.

  • In Flash #252 Ralph demonstrated the never before seen capability of molding his face to look like other people. This power has rarely been displayed again; however, in Europe '92, he molded his hand to look like the head of a bulldog.
  • Ralph can resist Flash using him as a treadmill to run at light speed (Justice League of America #150).
  • Ralph is highly resistant to sonic attacks. In Justice League of America #258 he takes Vibe's "best" without trouble and in Europe '92 he grounds a sonic weapon attack.
  • While some stories have him getting knocked out (Detective Comics #572) or breaking an arm from stretching it too long (Justice League of America #211), both of which at least to me, sounds unreasonable, Justice League of America, vol. 2, #6, has Amazo using Ralph's powers to resist Hawkgirl slamming her mace halfway through his head. Which makes, since since Ralph has been able to stretch during all of his hero career without getting wrinkles or striae.
  • Detective Comics #337 showed that he can get inside a tire and survive a car ride there. Which implies that he can survive high temperatures.
Shrinking and expanding
  • In Batman #177, he grew twice his size evenly to look like a giant Batman. 
  • In Detective Comics #337 he shrank to fit inside a tire.


    1. As you indicate elsewhere, there are a lot of implications to the powers that Ralph does display.

      As with many of DC's classic heroes, there's just a lot more power he has to have in order to do the things he does.

      Some DC heroes got a reevaluation--like Aquaman in the 70s. Writers took a look at the Sea King and realized he had to be able to withstand intense pressures in the depths of the ocean.

      But Ralph has never really been subjected to this kind of reevaluation in the comics.

      Of course, you can only carry this kind of thing so far. If you really start to look at what Ralph does there must be so many processes going on with him that it makes him virtually inhuman.

      =>India Ink, aka "An Ear In The Fireplace"

    2. There wasn't much reevaluation for E-man in the 70s, but that's when he started molding. I think his body has to be highly resistant to breaking point momentum, but it's still impossible to lean forward as much as he does without leverage. Lifting men with his arms requires even more superstrength when his arms are stretched. I have no doubt, the gingo elixir has to give him super strenght and super speed (as well as super resistance).

      Although uncharacteristic of him, I suspect that his death was part suicide. Given his powers, I'm not sure he can die from a perforation. I'm not even sure that he can be perforated.

    3. Wait... are you Daniel Taylor, the guy with an Elongated Man themed blog titled ""An Ear -- In The Fireplace"?

    4. Nope--not the same guy. I saw his blog site, but I figured the name was up for grabs and I took it when I registered on the Marvel Masterworks message board. Hopefully he doesn't mind and there's no confusion.

    5. For some reason, this post is the second with most views. So I'll be working on it this week. Then I'll move on to make a 52 review and then "Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man".

      By the way, the blog has been getting visits from USA, Canada, Mexico (mostly me), UK, France, Romania, Germany, Ecuador, Peru, Ireland, and Austria. Thanks for your support, visitors! Coincidentally, after US, the first 4 of those countries are also the first 4 that Ralph visited in the silver age. He visited Germany along with Italy in "Europe '92" and I think Romania in a JLE adventure. Remind me later to make a post about that.

    6. Well, besides Russia and Denmark, we now have a visitor from Italy, which almost covers all the known visits of the Dibnys: Mexico, Canada, France, England, Germany and Italy. They also visited an unspecified South American country along the Andes, but we have our Peruvian and Ecuadorian friends to cover that. Likewise, Romania covers for the Teasdale Imperative. The only missing link I can recall is a country from Africa from the adventure with Adam Strange.

    7. Page views have increased significantly. Now we have visitors from Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Sweden, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Cambodia, Egypt (first African country!), South Korea, Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, India, Greece and Vietnam. US keeps leading, UK visits increased a lot and Google is now the main source.

    8. And now New Zealand, Guatemala, Japan, Puerto Rico, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Switzerland, Israel, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Singapore, Estonia, Belgium, Panama, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Turkey. It's official, this blog has reached global notability.

      Some countries clearly have recurring visitors. There are a lot of US and Canada people, but I feel like the guys from Philippines, Spain, Peru, Colombia, France, Germany and UK are the same guys. I wish they were a bit more communicative. I could sure use suggestions.