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2024 Reader Question 62

2024 Reader Question 62 published on 18 Comments on 2024 Reader Question 62

Nemean lions have skin that can’t be pierced by any weapon except their own claws and teeth. That has gotten turned into “invulnerability” but you can still push them around. They’ll just push you back. And being invulnerable doesn’t mean that you should push your luck, as Dr. Hobbes will tell you.

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There are holes in people’s skin. Mouths, eyes, etc.

There there is the question of whether incinerating skin is penetrating it. Or whether forces like sufficient kinetic force (say, from falling on something hard with terminal velocity) just transfer through the skin into the not-so-invulnerable innards.

So, the important words here are that the *skin* cannot be *pierced* by ordinary things.

So there’s no reason to believe that the bones can’t be broken, that the organs can’t be damaged. After all, in the myth, Heracles knocks the Nemean Lion out with a club and then strangles it to death, so we can assume that they aren’t immune to concussion or strangulation. And while the Nemean Lion that Heracles faced was immune to Bronze Age arrows and knives, the myth would probably have looked different if Heracles has had access to a 30mm autocannon.

Also one has to wonder about what piercing really means. What about X-rays? Or nerve agents that go through the skin?

Why are people so gyng-ho about hurting Nemeans? :(

It’s like the ONE THING they’re really known for. Same reason someone might focus on Lightsabers when it comes to Star Wars. There’s more to it than just lightsabers, but it is a thing folks focus on.

Okay but like… in context of this story and world, Nemean lions have human-level sentience. They aren’t just indestructible lions, they’re people. The conversation going on here is about how you’d be able to shatter the bones and pulp the organs of another person. Like hah hah, okay, their skin is impenetrable but I could probably run them over with a truck! I could use modern weapons to gun them down! How about massive brain trauma?!

And still in context of the comic, I think, this is why the unicorns (and who knows what other creatures) were driven to extinction. This is why the dragons were so afraid. This is why the sphinxes were so evil in their complacency. THIS is what humans do when confronted with a ‘challenge’. “Oh, you say I can’t hurt you? Watch me.”

dude, thinking about what is possible and wanting to know how things in the world work doesn’t mean anyone wants to actually hurt anyone else. this comic might not be for you if you can’t separate fiction from reality and idle curiosity from intent to harm.

Thanks for insulting me, appreciate it.

You notice I specified the context.. if we were talking about Nemean lions in context of Hercules it would be different. If the conversation stopped at ‘how invulnerable? Okay that’s cool’ it’s another. People are talking about this on a panel where a Nemean lion is directly explaining how they can be hurt and getting REALLY specific about all the brutal ways they could kill one.

I’m not accusing real people of doing real harm, or even wanting to do harm, but it’s unstlettling that first response is going into great detail about crushing and maiming characters as a ‘fun’ hypothetical.

Hey there, Chaos. I totally understand what it’s like to get so invested in a story and its characters that they become emotionally *immediate* – that’s a perfectly normal and fine experience! It’s one I’ve experienced quite a number of times myself. I’ll step across the fourth wall, and I’ll think about things as if I myself was part of that world. It’s pretty intense!

But it *is* still fiction at the end of the day, and it’s also normal and fine for people to engage with fiction in morbid ways. This is kind of like people debating about how you would hurt Superman. It doesn’t mean that they think Superman is subhuman and deserves to be pushed around for laughs – it’s just that when you’re on this side of the fourth wall, these things are amusing puzzle boxes instead of conversations about real people.

You did clarify that you weren’t intending to attack anyone with your comments, and I do appreciate that! But I think they still came off as… judgemental? It still came off as saying morbid curiosity about fiction leads to actual murder and cruelty. Which it doesn’t! (I happen to be old enough to remember the “video games cause violence!” panic, btw. Ahaha.) I don’t think it justifies casual rudeness in response, but the botherment is understandable!

In any case, I wanted to present this for your consideration, as an explanation for why people might be getting snippy with you. It’s okay if you still find these conversations off-putting – you are allowed to dislike things even if they aren’t wrong – but in the future, it might be better to just leave people to their fun instead of implying that there’s something wrong with it.

yeah that’s what i’m thinking. plenty of ways to kill someone/something without cutting their skin. even mundane things like stubbing yer toe doesn’t require skin piercing, so it would still hurt. in fact, i imagine things would be a bit extra scary cuz you could say get hit by a car and LOOK totally fine cuz you’re not bleeding, but actually everything inside is ruptured.

A Nemean lion wouldn’t last long in the open on a modern battlefield. Bullets couldn’t penetrate Nemean hide, but smaller bullets would still bruise the tissue underneath, and rifle bullets could cause potentially fatal hydrostatic shock damage and break bones. Going up to anti-armour kinetic rounds, they still couldn’t break a Nemeans skin, but they’d break pretty much everything inside. Explosive anti-armour ordnance (RPGs, LAWs, TOW missiles, HEAT rounds) typically employs a shock lens, generating an explosive shockwave that would pass through the undamagable skin unaffected, and reach a focus a short distance inside… which would be as catastrophic as it sounds.

Lorne: *wince* Please… do you have keep talking about this?

Nuala: *busily writes down notes* Interesting. *looks up* Now, what about antipersonnel mines?


How resistant to radiation are Nemean lions? One could theoretically build a Mars colony out of Nemean skin.

Are there tools made out of Nemean claws specifically to perform surgery on Nemean lions? Like how humans can donate parts of their bodies when they die? If a Nemean had to receive a heart transplant or something, surely they must have developed tools for such a life saving surgery by now?

Considering the level of medicine Wes practices in the LA, and how he’s renowned to be far above what other Avalons have available, I don’t think that heart surgery would be an option even if they had clawterizing tools …

Something on the level or running a small blood bank, however … needs Nemean-specific tools, too, but sounds otherwise doable IMHO.

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