I lack the knowledge of basic or advanced physics to say that I know what I am asking, but there is a story that I am working on where I want to try to make super powers follow the laws of physics as we know them. I understand that superpowers are fictitious in nature, but it's been fun trying to think of ways for them to work.
However, I am always willing to revert to placing superpowers in a modern world without strictly following the laws of physics. I mean, it is a fictional story after all and I might be making this too complicated than it should be.
Let's say that you're gifted with super strength and endurance. Your body is the closest thing to a human, but it functions in some fundamentally different ways. In order to punch someone across a wall, you don't need to eat a certain amount in order to perform this act... But you do bounce away from the target. I'm not sure how the heck you don't.
But what about pushing a civilian away from falling debris in the last moment? How much force would be required to not break their spine or their limbs? Everything around this person would seem fragile.
If you want to save someone from a falling building, you would have to be strong enough to cause shock-waves that would act as propellers in order to cushion for the non super powered individual. However, it would be more practical to just have a gadget. These shock waves would require a certain amount of force that, at close range, would probably cause internal damage to the civilian and would cause property damage.
For powers like these, I've created some kind of 'battery' or an activation factor. I have a character who relies on an organ that moves like a pendulum. Once it moves at a certain rhythm, he can access his enhanced physical strengths.
To not complicate things, the object you would like to distort to your liking has to come from somewhere. If you want to manipulate fire, you need a source first. Generating your own kind of fire or cold sounds extremely complicated, even if I propose using your own body temperature or the surrounding area. Would the results here be more complicated than simple?
Like the 'battery' explanation, these guys could have some kind of nuclear fusion reactor for an organ if they can produce or manipulate heat/cold or other forces of nature. Even with enhanced physiology, that wouldn't justify how their DNA or their entire being doesn't evaporate away or melt from existence.
They would also be ticking time bombs, since there is no guarantee of stability.
To an extent, I feel like these powers fall in line into some kind of distortion of electromagnetism. But even if they can do this, why are they only limited to a specific kind of manipulation? I could maybe get away with photokinesis, solidifying light doesn't sound something so far off now. But for fire, water and the ground itself?