What is a futuristic melee weapon? Wikipedia offers the following definition:
“A melee weapon (from French, mixed, referring to groups of fighters interlocked in close combat) is any weapon that does not involve a projectile — that is, both the user and target of the weapon are in contact with it simultaneously in normal use. A weapon that fires a projectile, or is a projectile itself, is a ranged weapon.”
Futuristic means in this context weapons in the possible future or high tech. This essay will look at several science fiction universes and focus on high tech weapons rather than fantasy weapons.
An exception to this rule will be made for comic books. In comic books the line between science fiction and fantasy is blurred. In Marvel comics, Thor, a fantasy hero, regularly fights side by side with Iron Man, very much a high tech hero, in the Avengers. Fantasy characters and their weapons exist side by side with science fiction characters and their weapons in comic books. Separating futuristic and magic weapons would be artificial and contrary to the spirit of the comic book art form. The comic book superhero is often considered a subgenre of science fiction. I agreed with this definition for many years. However, nowadays, I think superheroes are a form of speculative fiction with strong science fiction roots.
The science fiction universes surveyed include Dungeons and Dragons (D20 system), Comic Book Universes (DC, Marvel and Indies), Halo 3 (the video game), Star Trek, Star Wars, and Warhammer 40K. The Dungeons and Dragons weapons are from the publication One Thousand and One Science Fiction Weapons. Dungeons and Dragons has a rich fantasy world with many magical melee weapons and there are entire books about the fantasy weapons of D&D. The D&D publication I used is an obvious attempt to focus on the SF elements of the D20 system and this will be the exclusive focus of this essay when dealing with this company.
Warhammer Fantasy needs to be distinguished from Warhammer 40K that is science fiction. The company itself has gone to great lengths to make the distinction between these two universe greater over time. For example, the Squats, a Warhammer 40K version of the Warhammer Fantasy dwarfs have been eliminated altogether. The Eldar of Warhammer 40k resemble the Elves of Warhammer Fantasy but are actually a distinct group. Halo 3 and Star Wars are strictly science fiction universes and do not have fantasy counterparts.
The taxonomy system created for this article is a “how it works” system. More specifically, the taxonomy is a “how a type of technology enhances killing” system. For example, an electric sword will be classified not under swords but under (2.1) electric, a subcategory of the category (2) Energy Weapons. Electrical technology makes the weapon deadlier. The sections of this essay included (1) Advanced Materials Weapons, (2) Energy Weapons, (3) Enhanced Movement Weapons, (4) Disintegration Weapons and the (5) Conclusion.
1.0) ADVANCED MATERIALS WEAPONS
What is the composition of the weapon? This is the defining characteristic of the weapons in this section. Because of exotic materials available in science fiction, you can make weapons that are stronger, sharper, heavier, etc. The weapon may be made of (1.1) biological materials, a material of (1.2) Super Material Strength, a material that is (1.3) super heavy, a material that is (1.4) Super Sharp, a material with strange (1.5) Dimensional properties, be made of a material that is (1.6) Polymorphic or other (1.7) exotic material.
1.1) Biological Material
Weapons in this subsection are constructed of biological tissue. The weapon may be alive and/or is made of a material with biological properties. In the case of a living weapon, the living weapon may possess simple sentience or higher levels of intelligence and this can be a plot device.
Biological – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has quite a long list of biological weapons that are named organic weapons in this universe. These include the disposable organic blade, disposable organic blade venomous, wriggleblade, plague blade, plague sword, plague wand, tanglevine, venomous bio-sword, venomous bio-stabbing stick, flesheater spike, flesheater blade, biological claws, venomous claws, infectious claws, biological katar, infected biological katar, psychoactive spike, death thorn, paralysis thorn, pain-thorn, rage thorn, thorns of madness, debilitation thorn, brain-rot thorn, motor function disruption thorn, the black stinger, nerve-rot thorn, demon eel, electric eel, and constrictor eel. Many of the weapons are treated as constructs rather than as simple objects.
Biological – Comic Books
Marvel comic books has a very famous living weapon. Venom’s suit, an enemy of Spider-Man, is a living being and is referred to as a symbiote. This being can assume any shape imaginable. For example, Venom can create spikes on his hand to create the equivalent of living brass knuckles. Spider-Man originally wore the symbiote. The symbiote made Spider-Man more aggressive than he wanted to be. Spider-Man wanted to get rid of the symbiote despite the fact that the suit enhanced his powers. The symbiote was driven from Spider-Man’s body via sonic energy. The symbiote hated Spider-Man for his rejection. Apparently the symbiote has a primitive consciousness. The symbiote found a new willing host that shared its hatred of Spider-Man. Venom is the new host and symbiote united in their hatred of Spider-Man Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous enemies. The symbiote had children and one of the children united with a psychopath host creating Carnage who is far more dangereous and deadly than Venom. The moral of the story is Beware of living weapons! Their agenda and your agenda may not be the same.
Image comics has a character called Spawn whose suit is similar to that of Venom’s. The symbiotic suit is named Leetha of the seventh house of K aka K7 Leetha. The source of energy for the suit is the necroplasma that makes up Spawn’s body. The suit is referred to as a symbiote but I wonder if parasite is a more accurate description. Spawn can alter the shape of the suit to create spikes, chains, etc.
The Valiant universe had a super advanced armor from an alien race that was in fact alive and could grow and adapt and over the centuries became a much more powerful suit of armor.
Spider Aliens discovered a semisentient silicon based life form that was capable of acting as a living transducer that absorbed energy (and/or matter) and converted it into new forms. Seeking to harness this creature’s abilities, they set about combining its genetic code with other desirable traits from a diverse field of genetic material gathered from dozens of worlds, like bacterium capable of digesting and recycling biological wastes. When the Spider Aliens had taken the new organism as far as it could go biologically, they began to tinker with it technologically. Using nano-technology, they added self-repair features and computational abilities. The most famous version of this armor was X-O Manowar.
Materials can also have biological properties even if not alive. The Marvel universe has characters with synthetic tissue so they can permanently wear. The armor is grafted to their skin. The Rhino is an example of this type of character. The Rhino is not too happy about this state of affairs. The Rhino would prefer to have an armor he could take on and off like Iron Man. Spider-Man’s foe the Scorpion is another character with synthetic tissue. A minor character Death Adder also has synthetic tissue. Both the Scorpion and Death Adder have tails made up a combination of synthetic tissue and motorized elements.
Biological – Star Wars
Biological weapons are very important in the latter history of the Star Wars universe that is part of the expanded universe but has not yet reached the screen. In events that take place after the defeat of Darth Vader and the ascension of Luke Skywalker, a new threat arises to attack the Star Wars galaxy. The Yuuzhan Vong come from another galaxy. They used biological weapons almost exclusively. Even the space ships of the Yuuzhan Vong are biologically based. The amphistaff was a living being that acted as a staff that could move around and attack, spit venom, and emit electrical impulses. The Scepter of Power was a specially bred amphistaff used by the Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong. The Scepter of Power was longer and was the king of the amphistaffs so the other amphistaffs refused to fight the Scepter of Power. A Yuuzhan Vong with an amphistaff was more or less the equal of a Jedi with a lightsaber.
The Fighting Claws were parasites embedded into the bone of a warrior. The claw could retract into the bone of the warrior. The claws could cut through steel and energy fields. Finger-spears also known as whip-sting were small whip-like cephalopods that were barely thicker than a straw. The Finger-spear could jump out of the hand of the wielder and kill an opponent even 4 meters away.
The Sith Training Saber was a practice weapon with a durasteel blade with blunt edges that was covered with millions of microscopic toxin-filled barbs taken from peiko bugs. The toxin caused burns and temporary localized paralysis on contact. This means the blade could mimic the effect of losing a limb.
1.2) Super Material Strength
In the future there will presumably metals and other materials that are stronger and more durable than anything we have now and make better weapons due to this quality.
Super Material Strength – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has a wide array of weapons of superior strength and durability due to advances in metallurgy including the advanced alloy blade, advanced alloy sword, advanced alloy rapier, advanced alloy throwing axe, hyperalloy claws, advanced materials punch dagger, advanced materials ribbon, advanced materials whip, advanced materials pick, small advanced materials pick, hook and chain hyperalloy, and advanced materials scythe.
Super Material Strength – Comic Books
Adamantium is a metal in the Marvel universe that has the highest material strength of any material in the Marvel universe that can be replicated. Adamantium is practically indestructible. Wolverine’s claws are made up of adamantium and his skeleton has been injected with adamantium. Wolverine has super healing as a power and therefore was able to survive the process.
The following items have adamantium as a key component:
Agent Zero’s combat knife
The outer skin of some of Alkhema’s robotic bodies
Bulleye’s spinal column and some strips coating several of his bones.
Constrictor’s original wrist-mounted, prehensile metal coils
Cyber’s claws and skin
A unique set of Doctor Octopus’s arms
The outer layer of Citizen V’s rapier hi
Lady Deathstrike’s skeleton and talons
One of Mister Fantastic’s labs for extremely dangerous experiments
Moon Knight’s crescent blades
A unique suit of armor once used by the villain Stilt-Man
The outer skin of TESS-One
The outer skin of some of Ultron’s robotic bodies
One of several layers of containment at the superhuman incarceration facility known as the Vault
The outer coating on the Swordman’s blades.
A special brand of bullet in the Iron Man suit’s ballistic weapons.
Underworld uses adamantium bullets
Doom 2099 Suit
Captain America’s shield is made up of an exotic blend of adamantium and vibranium due to an accident. No one has been able to replicate the results of this accident. The metal of Captain America’s shield is even stronger than adamantium. Vibranium is another exotic metal of the Marvel universe that deflects energy but is not as strong as adamantium. This means Captain America’s shield is probably one of the most indestructible melee weapons in the Marvel universe.
Vibranium absorbs mechanical energy making it much stronger than normal metal but there is a limit to how much the metal can absorb and when this limit is reached then the metal explodes releasing the energy absorbed. You are better of with a melee weapon made out of adamantium than vibranium. Walker, a right wing copy of Captain America, carried a shield made of vibranium called the Eagle Shield. Walker also used another shield that was probably made out of vibranium called the Star Shield. This shield had bladed points at the edge so when thrown could be more deadly on impact.
The Silver Surfer rides through space on a board, that resembles a surfing board, but this board can also act as a weapon and the Silver Surfer has been known to mentally command the board to slam into an opponent often from behind when he is stunned and in front of the opponent. The board is also fairly indestructible but was snapped in half in one episode of Thor. The Silver Surfer was able to fix the board with the power cosmic.
Super Material Strength – Star Wars
Mandalorian ore creates a metal that cannot be cut by a lightsabre. This means Mandalorian armor made of this metal protects the wielder from a lightsabre. There is regular armor, Mandalorian neo-crusader battle armor, that is heavier than regular armor and Mandalorian Neo-Crusader Assault Armor that includes ablative armor. The Mandalorians use the calcified bones of an extinct monster to create the Mythosaur Axe that is of exceptional durability. The axe can be fitted with an energy cell so that the axe can emit energy.
1.3) Super Heavy
Super Heavy – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has many weapons made up of ultra-dense collapsed matter that includes the quantum mass sword, superheavy truncheon, superheavy nunchaku, superheavy hammer, superheavy axe, superheavy flail, superheavy pick and small superheavy pick. You need gravity manipulation technology to wield these weapons.
Super Heavy – Comic Books
Thor’s hammer cannot be lifted by any being that is not worthy. Worthy is defined in ethical terms. The Hulk cannot lift Thor’s hammer. Thor’s hammer seems to be super heavy to the Hulk but this is an enchantment. Captain America who is nowhere near as strong as the Hulk was able to lift the hammer easily.
1.4) Super Sharp
Generally a monofilament wire is used to make weapons that are incredibly sharp. In one case a super sharp weapon is also be fragile. In the non-science fiction world there is often a choice made in making bladed weapons between sharpness and durability. For example, Samurai swords are often thought to be sharper but less durable than their equivalent Western counterparts.
Super Sharp – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has the razorwire yo-yo. This universe also has a whole category of hypersharp weapons that include the hypersharp blade, hypersharp dagger, hypersharp claws, hypersharp sword, hypersharp rapier, hypersharp axe, hypersharp scythe, hypersharp glaive, hypersharp double axe, hypersharp double-bladed sword, hypersharp punch dagger, hypersharp sickle, hypersharp spear, hypersharp trident, rigid hyperwire “bladeless” blade, hypersharp whip, monofilament whip, discombobulator rod, deck of many wounds, and giant hypersharp scissors.
Super Sharp – Comic Books
The Black Knight’s Ebony Blade appears to be super sharp due to being forged of a meteorite with special material properties and not due to enchantment. Merlin forged the sword. Merlin also made an Ebony Dagger that can be used to attack someone who is unworthy of the Ebony Blade. The sword can cut through any material except perhaps metals like uru, adamantium and adamantine. The sword can cut through mystical barriers, and deflect magical attacks. The blade and wielder are linked. The wielder can be injured but not killed, except by the Ebony Dagger. The sword can be tainted by evil acts. In this case, the sword will crave blood. You can clean the sword of taint by casting it into the brazier of truth. The Valkyrie briefly used the ebony sword when the Black Knight was turned into stone.
The Valkyrie received the Dragonfang, a sword, from Doctor Strange when the Black Knight recovered and wanted his sword back. The Dragonfang was made up of the tooth of a Dragon and super strong and super sharp but not in the same league as the Ebony Blade. I place these swords in this subsection rather than the “Magic – Comic Books” subsection because their exotic material origin is a big part of the plot behind these weapons. Other swords associated with magic without much of an advanced materials story line have been placed in the “Magic – Comic Books” section of this essay.
Super Sharp – Star Wars
I guess when you have lightsabres there is not much need for monofilament weapons but this universe does have garottes made of spun durasteel of exceptional strength and sharpness. This universe also has the molecular stiletto also known as the monomolecular stiletto with a super sharp, near invisible but fragile blade.
Dimensional materials are materials that have strange dimensional properties.
Dimensional – Dungeons and Dragons
The two-dimensional blade can be hidden via sleight of hand since it has no thickness. The Tesseract is a four dimensional weapon changes shape and size as you look at the weapon. The weapon ignores armor and the wounds have strange spatial properties.
Dimensional – Warhammer 40K
The C’tan Phase Sword can phase in and out of realspace.
Dimensional – Comic Books
Mjolnir, the Ebony Blade, the Bloodaxe, and the Psi-Scimatar can open dimensional portals due mostly to enchantment rather than the materials used to make the weapons.
A material that can take on different shapes.
Polymorphic - Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has a variable metal punch dagger that can alter its shape. The variable metal spear and variable metal glaive are made of the same material.
Polymorphic – Comic Books Universe
The Marvel universe makes great use of unstable molecules, invented by Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic and the uniforms of the Fantastic Four are made up of these molecules. This means their costumes can adapt to their super powers. If the Human Torch flames on then his costume doesn’t get destroyed. If the invisible Girl turns invisible then her costume does as well unlike normal clothes. The Thinker’s Awesome Android is made up of unstable molecules and DNA and can alter his shape and mimic powers due to his material construction.
There is no melee weapon made of unstable molecules but I think it’s just a matter of time. In theory, you could make a weapon that could absorb and mimic super powers as well as assume different shapes. The Awesome Android became Awesome Andy and rebelled against his master the Thinker. I suggest making the melee weapon have a lot less sentience than Awesome Andy.
The Taskmaster has stolen a weapon from Shield that can turn into practically any type of melee weapon. The weapon is wrist mounted and uses solid energy. The Taskmaster’s super power is an ability to learn body movements at a super human level. He can learn how to throw a shield like Captain America or a Billy club like Daredevil just by watching a tape of their actions once. This means he can learn to use any melee weapon with expert skill and a melee weapon that can turn into any melee weapon fits his super power perfectly. DC and Marvel dominant the comic book world but one of the most popular melee weapons in comic books is the product of an indie company and is called the Witchblade.
The Witchblade, of Top Cow, is a mystical armor that can create swords, shields and even wings from its matter. The metal is also indestructible. The Witchblade can advise you based on the experience of previous wielders, heal fatal wounds, reanimate the dead and allow limited telepathy. The armor can only be worn by a woman and appears to like to make the woman look good. There is a fairly good film out there of the same name based on the comic book.
1.7) Other Exotic Materials
Other Exotic Materials – Dungeons and Dragons
In this universe weapons can be made out of hyper-ice. The weapons disappear when they melt. Weapons made out of hyper-ice include the hyperice blade, hyperice katar, and hyperice throwing hatchet. I prefer to spell this category as hyper-ice. I think the D&D spelling is too much like “hype” in front of “rice” and is misleading. This universe also has a xammitrice glaive that is made up of a material that can become partially immaterial so it can pass through armor and materialize on the other side of the armor. This universe has two weapons that use water to cut things including the water blade and liquid sword. This universe has several weapons made out of ceramic including the ceramic blade, and ceramic stiletoo, ceramic shorsword. The ceramic weapons and low-end plastic sword don’t show up on metal detectors.
2.0) ENERGY WEAPONS
These weapons are defined by the energy they emit upon contact or in some cases the weapons are made of a particular energy. If the melee weapon projects energy then arguably this is a ranged weapon and not a melee weapon. The types of energy surveyed include (2.1) Electric, (2.2) Energy Drain, (2.3) Explosive/Kinetic, (2.4) Force Projection, (2.5) Gravity, (2.6) Magic, (2.7) Plasma, (2.8) Psionic, (2.8) Radioactive, (2.9) Sonic, (2.10) Thermal, and (2.11) Other Energy.
Electric – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has several electric weapons including the shock gauntlet, shockstick, shockstick nunchaku, shockstick staff, robot disruptor wand, electroshock claws, electrified sword, electrified rapier, electrified whip, and motorized hook and chain (electroshock model). This universe includes a non-lethal electrified lariat, electrified net and hand tazer.
Electric – Comic Books
In the DC universe, Hawkman sometimes uses a Protonic Lance that generates an electro-static discharge. In the Marvel comics universe a few characters use electricity in their melee weapons. The Wizards power gloves can generate electricity. Both Iron Man and Doctor Doom can shock anyone who touches their armor.
Electric – Star Wars
Star Wars has an electropole that is an electricfied pole used by the Gungan soldiers of Nabook as well as the Swokes of Makem Te. Star Wars also has an electrostaff. The static pike also known as the picador’s spear is similar to the the electropole except for being longer and used by Geoosian picadors to herd animals in gladiatorial arenas. There are several other electrical stun weapons of less importance including the Bothan stun stick, a chukka, CS-12 stun master and Merr-Sonn stun baton. There are also energy batons. Some particular types of energy batons were the exchange negotiator and Gand silencer. A force pike was a staff that emitted electricity. The Great Force pike was a longer and more powerful than a standard force pike. The Shockstaff was another type of staff that emitted electricity. The neuronic whip is a whip that emits electricity. The stun gauntlets are gauntlets that emit electricity. The electroshock net was a net that emitted electricity and used to capture opponents. The energy bola was, also used to capture opponents.
2.2) Energy Drain
Energy Drain – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has an energy drain rod and an energy drain gauntlet. The objects drain energy when they touch an opponent.
Energy Drain – Comic Books
The Soultaker Sword of the DC universe drains souls. The Marvel universe makes regular use of inhibitor bands that are like handcuffs except that they inhibit superpowers. Nullifier bands interfere with high tech power suits.
Shaped charges release kinetic energy or in layman’s terms they explode.
Explosive/Kinetic – Dungeons and Dragons
Several weapons in this universe have a shaped charge at the end including the bang stick, multi-use bang stick (three shaped charges), bang stick with flechette, bang stick with toxic flechettes, and bang stick with boreworm head.
Explosive/Kinetic – Comic Books
In the DC universe, John Henry Irons invented the kinetic hammer. The hammer gathers kinetic energy as it travels. The energy gathered is released upon striking a target or via command. The hammer uses programmed flight patterns and responds to John’s commands. The hammer can also produce an EM field. In the Marvel universe, Dr. Doom uses a deflection staff to absorb kinetic energy. The staff can survive the most punishing blow.
Explosive/Kinetic – Warhammer 40K
The hunting lance of the Rough Riders of the Imperial Guard has a shaped charge at the end.
2.4) Force Projection
A melee weapon is good but a melee weapon with a force field is even better!
Force Projection – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe includes force-katar, force gauntlet, power rod, force lance, force staff, force field sword, force field halberd, force-field axe, and double-bladed force field sword.
Gravity – Comic Books
The power gloves of the Wizard can manipulate gravity in order to give him super strength. The Wizard also has gravity disks that can be stuck on an opponent and make her or him fly away uncontrollably.
Gravity – Halo 3
This universe has the gravity hammer that can emit an anti-gravity pulse. The hammer can allow a normal person to knock back projectiles or vehicles out of the way.
Is magic a type of energy? I think so. Magic is present in comic books and magic behaves like a type of energy. The power cosmic of Marvel comics is not considered magic but in many ways behaves like magic. The line between magic energy and non-magic energy in terms of effects almost doesn’t exist in comic books. I would add that Star Wars has the force that in many ways is a type of pseudo scientific magic. Arthur C. Clarke, one of the great science fiction writers of all time, did state that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic”.
Magic – Comic Books
In the DC Universe, Wonder Woman has the Lasso of Truth. This lasso can compel the person bound to tell the truth. The lasso is mystical but the effect is psionic. The lasso is indestructible and infinitely elastic. The Lasso of Lighting was given to Cassandra Sandsmark by her brother Ares. The wielder’ s anger fuels the lightning emitted. This weapon was given by Ares to make her stronger when fighting Wonder Woman with her Lasso of Truth. Nightmaster has the magical Sword of Night. The Sword can warn him of danger. The sword can compel someone to speak the truth. The wielder of the sword does not age. King Arthur’s Excalibur does exist in the DC and Marvel universes and is indestructible and super sharp but is not as famous as other magic melee weapons.
The Spear of Destiny was the spear used to pierce the side of Christ. Hitler used the spear to create a sphere of influence that would cause any heroes invading Europe to come under his sway, effectively preventing heroes of the Allies from invading Nazi-controlled Europe. In addition to mind control of super powered individuals, the spear had massive reality warping powers. There has been speculation that the spear is the only weapon that could kill the Spectre. The Spectre is one of the most powerful entities in the DC universe, much more powerful than for example Superman. Any weapon that can kill the Spectre is incredibly powerful. Another magical spear is the Spear of Lona that is Polynesian in origin and capable of granting magical powers to whoever possesses the spear.
DC has a special fetish for magical tridents that Marvel does not share. The tridents of Neptune and Poseidon, they are different characters in the DC universe, have the same powers and can cleave a spatial aperture in the middle of the ocean. The son of Poseidon, Triton also has a trident of unknown capability. Blue Devil is the current possessor of the Trident of Lucifer that sends forth blasts of Hellfire. The blasts have the power to send demons back to hell. Marvel has a similar devilish trident.
Hellstorm, the Son of Satan, Hellstrom wielded a trident made of netharanium, a “psychosensitive” metal found only in “Satan’s” extra-dimensional realm. The trident was a medium through which magical energies, such as Hellstrom’s soulfire, could be amplified and projected. By projecting the soulfire through the trident, Hellstrom could gain enough thrust to levitate and to fly for short periods of time.
One of the most powerful melee magical weapons in the Marvel universe is Thor’s hammer. This hammer is named Mjolnir. Mjolnir is made of uru metal. Is uru metal more or less strong than adamantium? This is one of the mysteries of the Marvel universe. Uru metal does hold enchantment especially well. This property of uru metal is what makes Thor’s hammer so powerful. Odin has given the hammer a huge array of enchantments. Mjolnir can control weather, open dimensional portals, and acts like a boomerang when thrown. Thor is an Asgardian.
The Executioner is also an Asgardian and had an axe made of uru metal called the Blood Axe. The Blood Axe has several enchantments. The strongest troll of Asgard, Ulik has a pair of pounders that resemble brass knuckles that are probably made out of uru metal. The Wrecker has a crowbar that was transformed through Asgardian magic and made indestructible. The same thing happened to the ball and chain of the Absorbing man. The Destroyer is made up of an enchanted armor of uru metal.
All Asgardian materials are three times denser than their Earth equivalent. This means a sword from Asgard will be three times denser than a similar sword on Earth. Asgardian weapons are not necessarily enchanted and actually this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. However, this higher density of even a non-uru Asgardian metal will make the sword from Asgard heavier and more durable. Fortunately the Asgardians have super strength. Odin, Thor’s father has a power scepter called Thrudstok that appears to be a conduit for his own power.
Hercules has a golden mace that is not made of gold but adamantine with a gold finish. Is admantine the same as adamantium. Sources differ on this point. Adamantine is another super metal of the Marvel universe found in Olympus. The golden mace of Hercules has no enchantments and this means his weapon is far inferior to Mjolnir as Hercules mused in his first battle with Thor. Hippolyta used the Gauntlets of Ares against Hercules. These gauntlets enhanced her strength.
Ghost Rider’s chain is also made up of some sort of super metal and has several enchantments. The chain obeys the commands of the Ghost Rider. The chain can separate its links into shuriken-like blades. The chain can be stiffened and act like a staff. The chain can extend itself to greater lengths. Last but not least, the Ghost rider can whirl the chain at great speeds and the chain acts like a saw cutting through any material.
The good Black Knight, the one with the Ebony Sword, has good luck when getting weapons. The Lady of the Lake gave him the Shield of Night and Sword of Light. The Shield of Night absorbs energy and then the Sword of Light emits the energy absorbed.
There are a few more mystical swords with some importance in the Marvel universe. The Twilight Sword is Surtur’s fiery sword. The Sword of Ultimate Shadow can attack a person’s astral form. The Sword of Frey can fight on its own. The Marvel universe is filled with magical swords that are not well known and these include the Grasscutter Sword, Streamsword, Sword of Bone, Sword of Fangs, Sword of Kamuu, Sword of Might, Sword of Night, and Torunn’s Sword.
Plasma – Dungeons and Dragons
In this universe plasma weapons are called fusion blades and include the fusion sword, energy claws, double-bladed fusion sword, fusion glaive, plasma-blade fingering, and remote control double-bladed fusion sword.
Plasma – Star Wars
The lightsaber of Star Wars has a blade of pure plasma. The lightsaber is often refered to as a laser sword due to its appearance but is a plasma based weapon despite the name. Other plasma based weapons in the Star Wars universe include the lightwhip, lightclub, the smaller lightfoil, and a light saber with a point that is called a darksaber. There is also the double-bladed lightsaber which is also called a saberstaff, lightsaber lance, double saber, lightstaff and Sith Lightsaber. Other types of lighsabers include the training lightsaber, dual-phase light sabre, and shoto. Many casual fans may not realize that the lightsaber does not cut through all materials including cortorsis, Phrik, darkswords, armor weave, metals augmented via Sith alchemy, Mandalorian iron, weapons augmented by the force and water. There are special lightsabres that have been created that can operate underwater. The planet Velmor developed their own plasma swords that are called energy swords or flame swords but they are not as well built or powerful as lightsaber’s. The laser knife is effectively a miniature light sabre but uses laser energy rather than plasma.
Plasma – Comic Books
Marvel has the Energy Shield. The Energy Shield is yet another attempt to make something like Captain America’s shield. The original Energy Shield emitted photons into a round shape. A more advanced energy shield used cooled plasma. Even later, the plasma shield had a flexible containment matrix that allowed the shield to morph into different forms such as a staff or rope. One version of Deathlok carried a plasma pistol and plasma rifle. An earlier version of Deathlok used, a less powerful, helium-neon laser pistol.
Is there such a thing as psionic energy? Who knows but there is plenty of psionic stuff in science fiction.
Psionic – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has the mind sword. The mind sword is a created by a crystal that allows the creation of a sword of psionic energy. This universe also has the non-lethal insanity rod that also uses a crystal to cause you to go insane.
Psionic – Comic Books
The DC universe has the Psi-Scimitar that is a quasi-sentinent. The scimitar has super slashing and stabbing capability. The Psi-Scimitar can open up a dimensional gateway for travel to any destination.
Psionic – Warhammer 40K
In the Warhammer 40K universe force weapons are weapons designed to channel the psychic energies of the wielder and as a general rule are used to push the target into the Immaterium or Warp. Force weapons generally take the form of swords or staves and are used mostly by the Space Marine Librarians, Grey Knights and Imperial Inquisitors against demons.
Radioactive – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has several radioactive weapons including the radiation projector wand, radioactive wand, radioactive sword, and radioactive mace.
Sonic- Dungeons and Dragons
This universe includes the sonic disrupter wand that uses sonic energy. I assume the weapon must make contact with the opponent but this is not made clear in the description. If the weapon projects sonic energy then the weapon should be classified as a ranged weapon. The non-lethal stunstick also uses sonic energy.
Thermal – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has several hot weapons including the hot blade, hot sword, hot axe, hot gauntlet, red hot claws, hot katar, red hot pick, red-hot scythe, motorized hook and chain (superheated model). On the other side of the temperature range are cold weapons that include the superchilled blade, superchilled sword, superchilled gauntlet, supercold pick, and super chilled scythe. The freeze wand uses and induced molecular stasis field to suck out thermal energy from the opponent.
Thermal – Comic Books
In the DC universe, Azrael had a flame sword. Azrael also had retractable daggers hidden in the gauntlets of his costume. The original Black Knight, the bad guy and uncle of the Ebony Blade Black Knight, had a lance with a thermal beam. The lance also emitted an electrical blast and force blast. The lance could shoot out bolo cables, a lasso, buzz discs and sappers that drained electrical energy. At least once, the lance was rigged with a .45 caliber machine gun. Using my taxonomy, this lance would be all over the place but the thermal section was a bit thin and needed the help more than the other sections.
Thermal – Star Wars
The Fire blade was originally used to cauterize the claws of captured domesticated Kwi. The Fire blade then evolved into a cutting tool and finally a weapon.
Thermal – Warhammer 40K
This universe has small hand held flamers. The flamers are miniature flame throwers for close range combat.
2.11) Other Energy
Many times science fiction universes do not name the source of energy their weapon uses or use a type of energy that is not used very often and not deserving a separate category.
Other Energy – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe also has the brain-scrambler rod that emits microwaves. The coagulator uses ion-bonding induction to disrupt the innards of an opponent. The protoplasmic disruptor wand emits weird energy that only affects living tissue.
Other Energy – Star Wars
This universe has several melee weapons that use energy of an indeterminate nature. The Arkanian baton emits an energy of an unknown nature. The Atlatl is a throwing stick used by the Gungam Grand Army to throw energy balls. The concussion stick can generate shock waves that can shatter rocks.
Other Energy – Comic Books
The sharpest weapon in the DC universe is the atomic axe of the Persuader. The atomic axe can cut through anything including Superboy. The Persuader was a member of the Fatal Five in the 30th century and fought with them against the Legion of Superheroes. However, the ability of this weapon to cut through things is due to a visible energy field around the cutting edge of the axe. The type of energy is unknown. Another futuristic weapon of the DC universe is the Mega-Rod.
Big Barda’s Mega-Rod is a product of Apokoliptian technology. The mega-rod can fire energy blasts of an unknown nature. Big Barda does use to weapon to hit opponents as well and is skilled in the use of this weapon. The Mega-Rod is used by the armies of Darkseid. In one issue of the Justice League International, a teen punk got a hold of Big Barda’s Mega-Rod and the Mega-Rod caused him to spout Apokoliptian propaganda and drained his life force. Big Barda can resist the subliminal programming of the Mega-Rod. Apparently, Big Barda has enough life force to handle the Mega-Rods life force energy drain effect. The Mega-Rod is about the only futuristic melee weapon is comic books that is mass produced for an armed force. This is in marked contrast to none comic book universe were most futuristic melee weapons are mass-produced for an armed force. I would say army but the Jedi are not an army but certainly are an armed force.
In the Marvel universe, Doctor Doom possesses an ionic blade housed in his armor that uses ionic energy to slice through objects. Ronan the Accuser, of the Kree empire, has a staff called the Universal weapon that emits energy blasts, creates forcefields and can change the structure of matter. Despite all these nifty powers, Ronan has been known to just brain someone with the staff that is apparently made up a super hard material. The Swordman’s sword was outfitted by the Mandarin with Makluan technology and could project gas, flame, an electric beam, a force beam and a disintegration beam.
In the Valiant Universe, the Armorines had a retractable Ion-charged blade. Rai of the same universe could draw on some sort of energy to make multiple types of solid energy weapons. The Geomancer’s axe transferred the history of the prior Geomancers to the successor perhaps this was due to psionic energy transfer.
Other Energy – Halo 3
Halo soldiers can use an energy sword that has a battery. The energy emitted is of an unknown nature.
Other Energy – Star Trek
The Ferengi used an energy whip in one episode of TNG (ENT: Acquisition). The type of energy is not stated. Star Trek is not much of a melee universe period especially among humans. Almost all melee weapons in the Star Trek universe are of Vulcan or Klingon origin and both these tradition bound cultures are not going to destroy tradition by making their melee weapons high tech.
Other Energy – Warhammer 40K
Warhammer has a whole series of power weapons that utilize an unknown type of energy. These include the lightning claw, neuro-guantlet, powerfist, power maul, power sword, and thunder hammer. This universe also has weapons that generate shockwaves including the shock gauntlet and shock maul.
3.0) ENHANCED MOVEMENT WEAPONS
These are weapons that use motors, injection mechanisms or even simpler mechanisms to enhance movement by making destructive movement faster, stronger and/or deadlier. The types of enhanced movement surveyed include (3.1) Chainsaw, (3.2) Vibronic, and (3.3) Other Enhanced Movement.
Remember the Texas Chain Saw Massacre? Well what if futuristic alloys and power cells allowed you to make chain saw weapons that were lighter and didn’t have to spew gasoline fumes? That’s the idea behind chainsaw type weapons of the future.
Chainsaw – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe possesses the Buzzsaw Bladed Yo-Yo. This universe also possesses a chainsaw that runs on energy cells. This universe possesses a chainsword, chainsword double edged, buzz-saw blade, buzz-saw blade on a stick, and electro demolisher.
Chainsaw – Comic Books
The Gladiator, an enemy of Daredevil, had buzz-saws mounted on his wrists that he used offensively. The Whirl Wind is another super-villain that whirls around like a living Whirl Wind and he too added some buzz saws to his wrists later in his career to make himself deadlier. The Grim Reaper’s scythe can rotate the blade like a buzzsaw. The scythe can also fire concussive plasma blasts, stun opponents with an encephalo-stunner with a touch, and spray anaesthetic gas. Futuristic melee weapons of comic books are much more likely to have an array of weapons rather than one function as is the case in other science fiction universes.
Chainsaw – Warhammer 40K
Warhammer has many chainsaw weapons including a chainfist, chainsword, a large chainsword known as an Eviscerator, and a chainsword with teeth from a kraken called a frost blade.
Vibronic weapons used some type of energy to cause the blade to vibrate very rapidly to increase the destructive power of the blade.
Vibronic – Dungeons and Dragons
The vibronic weapons in this universe include the vibroblade, vibroblade axe, vibroblade stiletto, vibroblade sword, vibro-claws, vibro-katar, vibro-pick, small vibro-pick, vibro-scythe, vibroblade sickle, vibronic glaive, vibronic spear, vibroblade double sided sword, vibroblade double-sided axe, vibronic whip, slashmatic kobra blade, textronix model ultra, and smart sword.
Vibronic – Star Wars
The Force pike is a pole that has a vibro-edged head and has a stun option. Vibroweapons in the Star Wars universe includes vibroblades, vibrocutters, vibro-double blade, vibrosword, vibro double sword, jagged vibroblade, vibro-dagger, vibro-shiv, vibro-knife, vibro-knuckler, knuckle plate vibro blade also called a vibroknuckler, vibrostave, vibrowhip, vibro-ax, vibro-lance, and vibro mace and of course the infamous vibro-vibrator, just kiddingJ. In the Star Wars universe an ultrasonic generator creates the vibrations. In other universes the how of the vibration is not explained.
3.3) Other Enhanced Movement
Other Enhanced Movement – Dungeons and Dragons
The D&D universe has several spring loaded weapons that expand when a button is pressed including the carnifex, thump-club, spring-loaded wrist blade, concealed rapier, and “king kobra” telescoping metal truncheon. This universe also has two gas cartridge powered close range injection weapons including the injection device and micro-injection device. The poison glove exudes poison. This universe has several weapons that enhance strength including the crusher gauntlet and pincer gauntlet.
Other Enhanced Movement – Comic Books
In the DC universe Aquaman lost his left hand. The hand was at first replaced by a cybernetic retractable hook and then a cybernetic hand. The mechanical hand was replaced by a mystical hand. The mystical hand was made out of water and given to Aquaman by the Lady of the Lake. The water hand could dehydrate people and kill them, change shape and density, shoot jets of scalding water, heal and create portals to mystical dimensions.
The Marvel universe has Daredevil and he has a Billy club with a spring loaded cable and retractable grappling hook which he uses to swing around New York with. The Black Widow’s gauntlets are misnamed and are actually wrist bracelets. The gauntlets also have a line and retractable grappling hook. The Black widows gauntlets also give off an electrostatic stunning charge, can expel explosives, and expel tear gas. The gauntlets also have a radio transmitter. Baron Strucker, enemy of Nick Fury, often uses an armored gauntlet called the Satan’s Claw that enhances his grip and emits electricity.
The Marvel universe has any number of characters that have armor with motors that enhance strength. The most notable characters are Iron Man and Doctor Doom. Doctor Octopus has armored tentacles that he uses in combat with Spider-Man. Whiplash, an enemy of Iron Man, uses a titanium whip with motors that enables him to cut through metal much less flesh with his whip. The Black Panther used a glove that exuded knockout gas to take out the Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four #50.
Other Enhanced Movement – Star Wars
The injector pen, also known as a safety stick, of this universe is an injector filled with sedative agent for self defense. The Repulse-hand was a weaponized prosthetic hand. The hand could be use to crush but also had repulsor generators for extra damage.
4.0) DISINTEGRATION WEAPONS
Some melee weapons can disintegrate objects and/or beings with but a touch! What a great weapon and at the very top of my futuristic melee weapon I want to have in a bar fight. The how it works taxonomy system largely fails since there is no generally accepted theory as to how a melee disintegration weapon works. I have my very own theory as to how a weapon might accomplish this task. When the weapon makes contact with an object a miniscule amount of antimatter is released from a four dimensional container that contains no matter or energy but is pure space and therefore does not interact with energy or matter until released. You probably have to presume some sort of psionic control system so the weapon disintegrates when the user wills such disintegration. Also, assume that the psionic control system recognizes brain patterns and unless you have the right brain pattern the weapon won’t work for you. Kind of a brain fingerprint system.
My theory means that this weapon should really be classified under advanced materials (antimatter is a material, four dimensional space is a material, well sort of) using my taxonomy but I wanted to highlight my theory so I created a separate category. Also, my theory is not generally known or accepted.
Disintegration – Dungeons and Dragons
This universe has a disintegration rod and pocket disintegration rod and is classified as a super-advanced melee weapon.
Disintegration – Comic Books
As mentioned, the Swordman’s sword can fire a disintegration beam.
The list of futuristic melee weapons is much smaller than a similar list of ranged weapons would be. In general, science fiction is a genre where blasters and ray guns rule rather than swords and knives unlike the fantasy genre. The Dungeons and Dragons company has done a fine job of creating a vast array of futuristic melee weapons. However, they are weapons without a plot context and not as satisfying a read as a weapon with context. I guess this has to be the case for a book that is a gaming accessory for GMs who will decide the plot.
Star Wars has of course made lightsabre combat a central part of their universe and lightsabre’s have a rich plot history. Lightsabers make precise surgical cuts in duels. Warhammer 40K weapons use more blunt force in melees, pun intended. Many science fiction universes have almost no role for melee weapons, much less futuristic melee weapons and this is largely the case for the Star Trek universe.
Comic book futuristic melee weapons have a couple of consistent characteristics that are different from futuristic melee weapons in Star Wars and Warhammer 40K. In comic books, futuristic melee weapons tend to be one of a kind. They are not mass-produced. The weapons can do all sorts of stuff. The sword of the Swordman can shoot all kinds of energy. The lance of the evil Black Knight can shoot many types of energy and even objects like bolas and a lasso. In Armor Wars, a series in the Marvel universe, the idea of mass-production of Iron Man’s armor was explored. It might be interesting to explore what would happen if some other comic book futuristic melee weapons were mass-produced.
So what futuristic melee weapon would you like to have in a bar fight?
I look forward to comments about this question in the comments section below.