Heroes with superspeed

By Björn Carstens
Superheroes and their superpowers: When it comes to acceleration, Superman, Flash & company push the boundaries of human imagination. “tomorrow” shows what high-speed rides and other top performances these heroes are capable of. Limits? Forget it! ​

Superman

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© Brendan Hunter/iStock
Superman

Acceleration factor Classified as “faster than a speeding bullet”  (around 1,600 km/h / 1,000 m/h) by his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s pace keeps picking up over the years. In the first Superman movie from 1978, the iron hero flew around the Earth to turn back time. The speed he needed in order to do that: 1 billion km/h (621 million m/h), according to calculations by physics students in England. Now would it be safe to assume that the makers of the movie took that into account?

Other fortes Actually, anything from X-ray, microscopic and heat vision to extreme lung volume, super hearing and photographic memory to superhuman strength and by-and-large invulnerability.

Weaknesses The mineral kryptonite from his home planet, his girlfriend Lois Lane.

Flash

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© JD Hancock/Flickr
Flash

Acceleration factor Flash achieves the speed of light (300,000 km/s / 186,000 mi/s), which makes him invisible. His races against Superman are legendary. While initially they end in ties, the decision is produced in “Adventures of Superman #463”: a clear stamina-based victory for endurance runner Flash vs. sprinter Superman. An episode of the the “Smallville” series shows a similar scene: Flash nonchalantly turns around, waves at Clark and disappears on the horizon out of reach.

Other fortes Is able to travel through walls and through time.

Weaknesses Water slows him and on ice-covered surfaces he slips.

Thor

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© JD Hancock/Flickr
Thor

Acceleration factor 1.98 meters (6.5 feet) tall and weighing 140 kg (309 lb), Thor is a hulk of a man but fast only when he thrusts his mystical hammer, “Mjolnir,” forward to propel him. In that case, though, it’s enough for speed of light.

Other fortes Nearly invulnerable, quick self-healing powers, retarded aging process, multi-lingual and highly intelligent.

Weaknesses As a warrior tends to have a violent temper.

Iron Man

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© JD Hancock/Flickr
Iron Man

Acceleration factor Unlike other superheroes, Iron Man does not fly with the force of his body but with propulsive force. In his case, the top speed information provided varies as well. Surely, though, he travels faster than Mach 2 because he’s able to follow fighter jets.

Other fortes Iron Man has no superpowers of his own. Instead, his abilities strictly depend on his exoskeleton. With it he’s able to fire energy rays and to generate a force field around himself.

Weaknesses Needs an external, magnetic energy source in his chest to prevent being killed by shrapnel in his body.

Spider-Man

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© Jean-Philippe Delberghe/unsplash.com
Spider-Man

Acceleration factor Even on foot, Spider-Man is clearly faster than a car. He moves around so quickly that the human eye can only catch a blurred view of him. In one comic book, he rushes to a bank robbery – covering two miles in five seconds. That equates to 2,317 km/h (1,440 m/h). And he does so not swinging from a strand of spider silk but, oddly, by leaping like a frog.

Other fortes Superhuman stamina, agile, strong and smart as well. With an IQ of more than 180 any intelligence test is child’s play for Peter Parker.

Weaknesses In his personal life, Peter is regarded as an unlucky sort – like the Donald Duck of superheroes in a way.

Wonder Woman

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© Brendan Hunter/iStock
Wonder Woman

Acceleration factor Superspeed is firmly anchored in the mythology of Wonder Woman.  On one occasion, she’s able to fend of bullets from a rifle that normally travel one kilometer per second. On another, she’s even able to keep pace with Flash. For her fans, Wonder Woman is a “Speed Demon.”

Other fortes Incredible reflexes and the ability to fly.

Weaknesses She loses her powers when a man binds her bracelets together or ties her up.

Silver Surfer

Heroes with superspeed
Heroes with superspeed© JD Hancock/Flickr
Silver Surfer

Acceleration factor Equipped with cosmic powers, he steers his galactic surfboard through space at speeds faster than light and even traverses hyperspace.

Other fortes His silver-metallic skin is nearly impenetrable. Neither heat nor any type of hazardous radiation affect him. He can also heal living creatures.

Weaknesses Actually, only his unfulfilled love for Shalla Bal whom he was forced to leave behind on his home planet.