Answering the Unanswerable Question… with SCIENCE

It’s one of those paradoxical statements that comic writers love to fall back on: What happens when the unstoppable force encounters the immovable object? I most recently saw it as part of the unanswerable riddle in All-Star Superman. But it’s often portrayed in terms of the Juggernaut vs. the Blob. I can’t recall in my own reading experience a time when these two have battled and it has stood out in my mind enough to have formed an opinion about, so I am honest when I claim to be pondering this subject anew.

It’s said that once the Juggernaut begins moving nothing can stop him. It’s also said that once the Blob decides to stay in one spot he cannot be moved. So I think it’s clear which character is each half of the equation. And I’m here to provide the solution. What happens when the unstoppable force encounters the immovable object? Nothing. Not a damn thing. The very question itself is logically flawed and therefore invalid and can never exist. I’d love this to be one of those moments when I say, “But wait! Here’s a crazy quantum/extra-dimensional work around!” but not today.

The idea of unstoppable forces and immovable objects are both from Aristotilian mechanics, and from a modern scientific viewpoint, they're both nonsense. You see, logically, the existence of an unstoppable force presumes that there are no immovable objects. Whereas conversely, the presence of an immovable object can only mean that there are no unstoppable forces. So if you have one you can’t have the other, let alone both colliding. So either comics are all fake, OR, one of them is lying about their powers! GASP! CONSPIRACY!

Fortunately, they’re both villains (at least some of the time) and likely prone to lying all too often, so how can we know who’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes? My gut reaction is to say Juggernaut, because his powers are magical and in the real world when someone claims to be magical they’re usually full of it or delusional. Just ask Houdini (who never claimed powers but loved to debunk frauds). However, this is the 616, and comics get to turn the tables on reality meaning magicks really do exist. Not only do they exist but they routinely break the rules of physics. As Tom Katers is oft willing to remind us “Superman is vulnerable to magic, which doesn’t count because EVERYONE is vulnerable to magic.”

The Blob claims no magic abilities, just the scientific ability to control his mono-directional gravity field (whatever the hell that means). Gravity doesn’t work in one direction, it works in all directions (sort of, but we're keeping it Newtonian for simplicity's sake). It’s the same error as saying heat rises. Heat does not rise folks, heat radiates outwards in all directions equally. Hotter fluids have the tendency to rise above cooler fluids (think lava lamp) so when you’re in an atmosphere hot air does tend to rise above cooler air, hence weather. I hope it’s at least starting to become clear that up and down, rise and fall, all start to lose meaning outside the bounds of earth. And speaking of the bounds of earth, my original point: gravity.

Newtonian gravity, like heat, works in all directions. Every piece of matter with mass in the universe indents space-time in all 4 dimensions and those indents are gravity. So you can’t increase that force in any one direction, especially without the addition of mass. I get what the statement is driving at though. It’s attempting to explain why he can’t be moved off the surface of the earth, since that’s the biggest gravity well most humans have ever experienced. If Blob really could selectively increase gravity in specific directions he’d be monumentally more powerful, Magneto status even, because he’d be able to bend one of the four fundamental forces of the universe to his will. Maybe Dukes just doesn’t know what he’s capable of.
 
 
Even with this reality bending might the Blob has been on occasion been moved against his will by the Hulk, Strong Guy and even Colossus (who kind of cheated). Oh yeah, and the Juggernaut. Dammit. Well I guess that really solves that question in a neat little package, don’t it? The Blob is full of it (har dee har har) and the Juggernaut is the real deal (bitches).
 
What happens when the unstoppable forces encounters the immovable object? The immovable object realizes it’s all a farce and falls over like a jerk. 
 
At the end of the day it’s important to remember, “Hulk is strongest there is.” Which pretty much says it all.
 

Ryan Haupt has been logically invalid for over a year now, hasn't seemed to slow him down much, which you can hear for yourself on his podcast Science… sort of.

Comments

  1. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    Great piece, Ryan.

    If Blob really could selectively increase gravity in specific directions he’d be monumentally more powerful, Magneto status even, because he’d be able to bend one of the four fundamental forces of the universe to his will.”

    What an amazing idea. I smell a character revamp.

  2. RoiVampire RoiVampire says:

    “Nothing can stop the Juggernaut!” is still one of my favorite repeated lines in all of comics

  3. GeenL1996 GeenL1996 says:

    Josh can stop the juggernaut i have seen this 

  4. Finally! This has (honest-to-God) been plaging me for years!

  5. WeaklyRoll WeaklyRoll says:

    If the Blob could increase gracity in specific directions, would that mean that he can’t be moved, but that he would essentially be able to change space/time?

  6. genelaw9 genelaw9 says:

    I smell ‘Compound Hulk’-ish potential.

    Blobbernaut.  Copyright – Me.

  7. JRScherer JRScherer says:

    Sweetness.

  8. Jeff Reid JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    This article made me happy. I love when silly things are looked at with grave seriousness.

  9. RaceMcCloud RaceMcCloud says:

    You quoted the College Humor “Dark Knight” video in the title, didn’t you?

  10. kennyg kennyg says:

    And Wertham thought you couldn’t learn anything from comics. Hmph!

  11. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    oh my science! Great article!

  12. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    comment above was mine, sorry wheelhands (we share a work computer)

  13. Great analysis.  I remember this question being answered by a physics professor in the letters column of one of the first Wizard magazines I bought.  His answer was that if the blob truly was immovable and the juggernaut was unstoppable, then juggernaut would ricochet off of the blob depending on the angle of collision, so both would still have their qualities.  I never really thought about what being immovable would actually mean, so thanks for blowing my mind.

  14. powerdad powerdad says:

    But can the Beyonder, who can do anything, make a rock heavier than he can lift?!  We need more SCIENCE answers, please!

    If we can put a man on the moon,
    why can’t we put metal in the microwave?
                           – Frasier Crane
                             “Cheers”
                           http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083399/quotes?qt0461764

  15. Diabhol Diabhol says:

    Apparently, the Blob’s powers have to do with increasing his mass. That and being a fatass are why The Vision can’t give him a heart attack. See Acts of Vengeance for details.

    The Juggernaut’s powers are magical, but he’s had his ass moved by Onslaught, so…whatever.

    And “everyone’s vulnerable to magic” isn’t necessarily true.

    Thanks for the article!

  16. Ceniza Ceniza says:

    I think science tell us that every single object in the universe moving all of the time, on diferent frecuencies, rates and depths, and If a single atom stops, it either implodes or explodes (depending on it’s mass, one figures). Theres not one immovable object, yet objects in the unverse are always moving (expending their own energies, or pushed by object surrounding them), some more egg-headed and related to a certain Charles Xavier than others.

    Yup, i’d give it to jugs.

  17. Juggs666 says:

    In my opinion at with the full power from Cyttoraks blessing the Juggernaut would KILL the Hulk!

  18. powerdad powerdad says:

    @Juggs666  That’s a good point.  I suspect though with the blessing of the Pillsbury Doughboy I’m pretty sure the Blob could completely eat the Juggernaut. Mind you, this would be the Ultimate Blob, I don’t know if the regular universe Blob has this superpower. (I believe it’s referred to as the “Poppin’ Fresh” ultra-power.)