How Does Quicksilver Safely Carry People?

x-men-apocalypse-poster-quicksilverI had the pleasure of watching X-Men: Apocalypse today. Reviewers haven’t been high on it, but I thought it was a fun, entertaining popcorn flick. And yes, there was actual popcorn involved–I can’t not get popcorn at the Hi-Pointe Theater.

My favorite superpower to see on the big screen is super-speed. That’s why I love Dash, the Flash, and, in X-Men, Quicksilver.

One of the best uses of super-speed is moving people around. The Flash does this all the time on the CW show, and Quicksilver does it in X-Men. But how is that possible, even in the world of comic-book physics? Consider the following:

  1. Have you ever tried to carry someone while running? It’s extremely difficult to do, especially if you’re holding them in your arms. It really slows you down. Perhaps Quicksilver normally moves so quickly that even a slower version of him is still quite fast.
  2. Super-speed does not equate to super-strength. Sometimes Quicksilver leverages his speed to throw people or fight. But people are heavy. Just because you can run quickly doesn’t mean you can pick up a 200-lb person, much less move them.
  3. Quicksilver moves people at an incredible velocity. At the very least, people would have terrible whiplash and get all sorts of things in their open eyes. At worst, their bodies might hemorrhage from the force. I did notice that Quicksilver tends to grab people at the neck–maybe that’s to reduce whiplash.

Despite the questionable physics, I have a lot of fun watching Quicksilver do his thing.

What do you think? Can you explain how he can safely carry people? Please keep comments spoiler free.

3 thoughts on “How Does Quicksilver Safely Carry People?”

  1. This is kind of a generic answer, but speedsters in general don’t get damaged as much as they “should” from the speeds they go. So Quicksilver (and Flash, etc.) create a sort of (pseudoscientific) slipstream (or “speed force bubble”) around themselves so that air resistance, dust particles, bugs, etc., just don’t run into them. (This was made pretty explicit for Cannonball in the New Mutants.)

    When they pick someone (or something) up, they end up inside the slipstream, so they don’t get damaged either.

    Effectively, within a small range of a speedster, everything is going along with the speedster and has no relative motion/momentum issues. This can be extended to say that when a speedster hits somebody, what’s really happening is the interface between the speedster frame of reference and the outside world is impacting them; the speedster’s actual fist is largely cushioned from this (or else the bones in their hand and wrist would break, for example.)

      • (sorry this is so late-never saw the WordPress follow-up email asking for confirmation to see replies.)

        I agree- carrying someone is tough, and usually the speedsters aren’t shown carrying much more than two smallish people. I guess the presumption is that Quicksilver, Flash, etc. keep in pretty good shape, enough to hert a person and at least trot.

        Then the question of whether carrying someone slows them down is rarely detailed. If their speed cones from their physical exertion (they literally run really fast), then it should. But if they’re fast because they’re warping time around themselves, or something like that, and it just _looks_ like they’re moving their legs with faster muscles, then it might not.

        (There was some indication in the late eighties that Superman’s flight had a similar effect: he was able to lift greater weight, with less effort, when he was flying, possibly because whatever he used to fly in the first place was affecting the rock or bus or whatever.)


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