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Post By
Reverend Meteor

In Reply To
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
Subj: Re: Pseudoscience nonsense away: why Pym Particles won't give you Shrunken Bones
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 03:21:35 pm EDT (Viewed 16 times)
Reply Subj: Pseudoscience nonsense away: why Pym Particles won't give you Shrunken Bones
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 07:35:39 am EDT (Viewed 302 times)

    Morgan's gas has been described in Defenders as a cellular compression gas; the very same panel you're discussing in Defenders #21 calls it "cellular compression," which isn't how Pym particles work. Pym Particles don't compress matter, they provide a dimensional interface that enables one to send and retrieve mass across dimensional borders. Similarly, the original Handbook offers nothing except "cellular compression" in describing Morgan's gas.

Was the Pym particles providing a dimensional interface the original explanation for Pym particles or were Pym's powers originally implied to work on molecular compression? I'm willing to bet the latter and the former was a retcon. If so then presumably every shrink ray/shrink particles or what have you are covered by the very same retcon (which ties into Byrne's explanation in the Fantastic Four that when you shrink things they get shunted to the microverse). So again Morgan research was first. Morgan's research wasn't as polished as Pym's and he got hit with a nasty side effect but they were working on the same idea and Morgan hit upon it first.

    The Headmen had an entry in the TPB version of the Deluxe Edition, but not in the original DE issues; I don't have my trades with me, and my paper copies are therefore no help here. The '89 version of the Handbook does remark that Morgan's gas "presumably" worked like Pym's stuff, but offers no definitive statement. It also refers to Morgan as "a genius in the organic sciences;" in contrast, Pym is both a biochemist and physicist, and Pym Particles combine Pym's two areas of expertise.

    I don't think the '89 Handbook's presumption holds, though. Based on its use in the comics, Morgan's gas, unlike Pym Particles, don't allow a subject to retain their full human strength in a shrunken state, something we can infer from the times it's been used to render people helpless. Again, this shows that the mechanism is different, since Pym's gas usually allowed him to use his full-grown strength. If we go all the way back to the story that introduced him in World of Fantasy #11, we see that Morgan's gas temporarily shrinks only organic matter, which then quickly returns to its normal size. Pym Particles work on both organic and inorganic matter.

    Finally, note that Morgan has never been able to master growth, just partially reversible shrinking. This is because his gas compresses cells, but he has not worked out how to add borrowed mass the way Pym Particles do. This also suggests that his shrinking gas and its antidote do not exchange mass across dimensional boundaries, or at least not the same dimensional interface that Pym Particles employ.

I see all of that as a flaw in Morgan's method as opposed to a different method than Pym's all together. Pym accounted for something Morgan didn't and Morgan paid the price for it.

If there is something that explicitly states in the comics Morgan and Pym's methods are different then I concede the point but I have yet to see it explicitly spelled out that Morgan stumbled upon a different method.

    Morgan seems to have discovered a different mechanism for size change, one that's much less versatile and much less safe for use than Pym Particles. That's sort of the point of the three Headmen from the 1950s comics; they were the guys whose work was unsafe and a little off-brand, the guys who didn't become Pym, or Richards, or Strange, or even Doom because they went all in on defective processes or inferior methods.