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File:Clap-on 4985.jpg

Clap your hands if you believe.

Clapping is pretty loud, but it pales in comparison to the Shockwave Clap. Sometimes it's just a really loud clap and sometimes it has the power to knock people over or cause physical damage. It can have more intuitive uses from time to time, such as blowing out fires.

This is commonly used by characters with Super Strength, since it lets them demonstrate their power without directly attacking someone (which could have messy results). Usually appears in the form of a powerful, high-pressure wave of air.

The "realistic" varieties of Sword Beam create a similar effect, but concentrated into a sharp edge. However, these are usually associated with skill rather than strength.

See also Kung Fu Sonic Boom, Make Me Wanna Shout, Shockwave Stomp. Not to be confused with Clap Your Hands If You Believe.

Examples of Shockwave Clap include:

Comic Books

  • A trademark move of both Fantastic Four's The Thing and the Hulk.
    • In a notable instance, at the end of the Fall of the Hulks storyline, the Hulk uses this to stop a building from collapsing by using the shockwave to fill the building with sand (he was fighting on the beach).
  • Luke Cage, Hero for Hire performs this maneuver in the second New Avengers #1. Victoria Hand (Token Good Teammate of the Dark Avengers) meets him at the Avengers Mansion because Captain America asked her to, but shows up with a gun on the grounds that she has no powers to defend herself with and the Avengers aren't exactly fond of her. Since he has Jessica and their baby with him, Cage demonstrates that the gun isn't much help by clapping his hands together so hard Hand goes flying.
  • Superman has been known to do this on occasion.
  • In JLA: Incarnations #5, Vibe and his vibrational powers show you how it's done.
  • Flint did a more narrow-focused version of this technique during her time with Stormwatch Red.
  • In X-Men The mutant Arclight, in addition to her superhuman strength, endurance, and durability, has the ability to create seismic energy with her hands that generate shockwaves and geo tremors. As noted below, her film incarnation possesses the same abilities.
  • In his first appearance, Lightning Lad of the Legion of Super-Heroes had his Shock and Awe powers work this way (it was later changed to just using lightning without any clapping). From the story itself:

 Lightning Lad: "My hands are like the positive and negative poles of a battery! Each time I clap them together, a super-lightning flash leaps forth!"



  • X-Men: The Last Stand: a villain called Arclight (see above) has this ability. And that's all she does, but apparently she can control it well enough to make sure the shockwave only breaks certain materials.
  • Also used in The Incredible Hulk movie by the titular character to douse a fire.


  • In Sir Thursday, Dame Primus does this with the Second Key, which takes the form of a pair of gloves.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Comic

  • Captain Excelsior: The Thunderclap.

Western Animation