A boom tube
is a slang expression for an extra dimensional point-to-point travel portal opened by a mother box
used primarily by residents of New Genesis
in DC Comics
. The concept was created by Jack Kirby
for his Fourth World
series of comics.
The "science" of boom tubes has never been explained, (as is normal for the New Gods, though Orion, in the first issue of New Gods, says that a tube "stems from the waves of the mind") but they allow people to travel interstellar distances quickly by creating an apparent tube between two points through which people can travel. When in use a 'tube' coated in arcane technology appears for the user to pass through accompanied by a loud 'boom' noise (hence the name). The tubes need to be generated or opened by another device, commonly a mother box. Boom tubes are powered by the mysterious X-element, which serves as a matter threshold.
The initial Kirby comics depict boom tubes as a sort of quasi-technological equivalent of Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge linking Asgard and Earth; indeed, boom tubes are described as a "bridge to Earth." Subsequent writers have allowed the tubes to be used for point-to-point transport between various locations on New Genesis, Apokolips, Earth and other planets, thereby making them near-ubiquitous for the travel of the New Gods. Boom tubes replaced other mostly undefined concepts like the Electron Road, the Matter Threshold and the Star Gate, all of which have been used by the New Gods for travel from either New Genesis or Apokolips.
Later additions to the concept
- Later canon is unclear on whether it is even possible to travel from the regular universe to that of the New Gods without a boom tube or similar device. For example, an issue of Justice League International shows the JLI reaching Apokolips using a normal spacecraft, but Cosmic Odyssey explicitly states that one cannot reach Apokolips or New Genesis without a tube.
- The "tube only" idea was reinforced when later writers introduced the idea that the New Gods were, in fact, giants, and that the boom tube would appropriately shrink or enlarge people who traveled through it. For example, if Superman were to travel to Apokolips in some manner under his own power, he would be miniature (if not microscopic) in comparison to Darkseid. This has apparently become canon in the 52 mini-series, demonstrated by the great size of the New God Devilance the Pursuer. The precise size ratio has varied, with New Gods in their "original" size being depicted as anywhere from tens of feet tall, to tens of thousands of miles tall (as in New Gods #10, 1996).
- In Grant Morrison's Mister Miracle run, it was revealed that the technology is actually referred to as 'boom lanes' by the New Gods. However, the noise disorients the character, so he later calls it "'boom tube', or something."
In Brad Meltzer
's Justice League of America
#1, a villain named Dr. Impossible
uses a "father box" to summon "hush tubes".