If You Thought NuDC's 5-Year Scale Was Tight...

Check out this month's Mighty Thor (#13). Here's his alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake, since separated from Thor and living his own life.If his later notions about 9s following him around are to make absolute sense, Don Blake seems to infer he came into existence whole as a medical student in 1999, and only found the walking stick version of Mjolnir that would free Thor 10 years later (2009). In other words, Thor's superhero career is only THREE YEARS OLD!*

In the Marvel Universe, there are no reboots and continuity is king (allegedly). Only the sliding time scale exists to keep heroes contemporaneous with the readers. But three years in which to more than 600 issues-worth of modern-day superheroing somehow occurred?! All that time as Don Blake, longing after Jane Foster. All that time logged with the Avengers (which now ALSO can't be more than 3 years old... they must change line-up every week!). The Asgardian and cosmic threats of the 70s. The fall and return of Asgard in the 80s. The time Beta Ray Bill wielded the hammer. The Walt Simonson era and its battles with Hela, the Midgard Serpent and the Fire and Ice Giants. Thor in golden armor to keep his broken body together. His replacement by Thunderstrike. His days as ruler of Asgard after Odin's death. His breaking of the Ragnarok Cycle, followed by hibernation. The return of Don Blake. Asgard rebuilt in Oklahoma. Jane Foster becoming a doctor (and a stint as a goddess). The Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and Siege. And then his death at the hands of the Serpent and replacement by Ulik for a small while.

How many stories did I just skip over? How many deaths of Odin and Loki? And Thor managed them all in THREE YEARS. I call foul.

Further evidence: The recent retelling of Captain America's origin by Mark Waid used the sliding scale to have Cap wake up from his long slumber in the 2000s. And yet, that series still gives Cap a modern career at least a decade long. What is up with comics writers and editors these days that no hero can be a freaking VETERAN!?

*And if it wasn't the 9th of September 1999, and the Enchantress is correct in her speech bubble, and it's 10 years of memories from today, then Thor came to be sometime this year. Surely that isn't right?

16 comments:

LiamKav said...

I always thought that the Marvel universe had settled into a system where everyone agrees that FF #1 happened "ten years ago". So unless there was a REALLY long gap between that and Thor's first appearance... yeah, that doesn't make sense.

snell said...

Grrrrrr....

Siskoid said...

Absolutely none. If the Avengers are the ones who thaw out Cap, and the Avengers are formed because of Loki's machinations, that means he has a little less than 3 years in HIS modern career.

De said...

This rings an awful lot like the recent Thor movie where he's deemed worthy of the hammer again after all of two days.

googum said...

I'll just say it: an editor should have caught that and had the writer correct it. But at Marvel, the power of the editor seems to be at a low ebb right now. Once, they were almost writing the books themselves, now they seemingly can't tell a writer squat...

Siskoid said...

I've gone on record lamenting the state of editing in comics so often now, it's become a personal cliché, so yes, you're absolutely right.

Matthew Turnage said...

Thor made his debut in the MU roughly contemporaneously with Spider-Man. So, if Thor has been around for three years, in that same three years Spidey finished his last two years of high school, completed a four year college degree, completed his first year of grad school, dropped out, got married, went back to school (did he ever finish his Masters degree?), quit being Spidey while he thought he was a clone, found out he wasn't a clone, though MJ was dead, thought Aunt May died at least twice, became a school teacher, made a deal with the devil that wiped out his marriage, and found time to have countless solo adventures while serving on the Avengers and the FF, plus a ton of other stuff.

Let's not even get into what a three year time-scale would mean for the Fantastic Four. How old is Franklin now, anyway?

Spider-Man's academic career pretty much dictates a 10 year scale for the MU, and you can't untie Thor from the early days of Marvel's super-hero era without everything falling apart.

The other option? The current MU stories take place in 2019. It's comics answer to the UNIT dating controversy!

Siskoid said...

If only Marvel didn't use contemporary presidents and other temporal cues, I'd hand you a no-prize, no problem.

CalvinPitt said...

Has Thor been making a lot of dumb mistakes recently that an "experienced" hero wouldn't? I had that problem with Spider-Man the last few years, where he seemed much less competent than I remembered from comics of the '80s and '90s, and I figure the writers think if he's been at it a shorter time, it's more plausible he'd make poor decisions.

Anyway, I'm around the same line as Matthew. In JMS' 1st year on Amazing Spider-Man, I decided 4 years for us = 1 year for Peter Parker. So he'd been Spider-Man about 10 years, and was 25 or 26 at the time (I don't know if he was 15 or 16 when he was bitten), which seemed reasonable.

I've stuck with that ever since, so Peter would be up to 12.5 years (27.5 or 28.5) by now, and I put the FF and Avengers on that same scale. It has flaws, mostly with regard to the recent rapid-fire big events (It leaves less than 6 months between the end of Civil War and start of Secret Invasion, with World War Hulk in between, and only 3 months after SI until Siege begins), but it mostly works well for me.

S said...

I haven't read this, but is it possible he's just saying his first day of Med School was September 9th, not that it was in 1999?

Siskoid said...

I went back and read those sequences, and you're right, he means the 9th of September.

But here's the rub. Blake says he has only 10 years of real memories, they start on the 9th of Sept. when he was 21. So he's 31 now. No problem there.

Then he says that 10 years on, he found the stick. Which is even worse, because it means he JUST became Thor. So Thor has been active less than a year by this count.

Faced with that impossibility, I guess I though he meant (or also meant) 1999, since he makes a point that 9s are a big part of his life, coincidence and all that. 9/9/99 makes more sense than 9/9/12.

I'm not too down on myself for getting confused by the dialog presented.

S said...

But didn't "Don Blake" stop existing as a seperate persona pretty early on in Thor? I know Roy Thomas wrote a thing in the 70s about "Don Blake" not existing anymore.

Again, I haven't read this so I don't even know how "Don Blake" can exist, but presumably his "memories" would stop right about when he turned into Thor, since that's when his "life" pretty much ends. So he's created at age 21, lives for 10 years, finds the stick and becomes Thor, and then his memories stop until now, for however long in Marvel Time that's been.

Siskoid said...

That could work, but if Roy Thomas destroyed him, he returned later because he was in Walt Simonson's run in the 80s. Then I guess was gone again (same as Thor, during the Thunderstrike days) and returned, not sure when. As part of JMS' run? I wasn't reading that for obvious three-letter reasons.

That's still a lot of stories that have to fit in less than a year of memories for "10" to be right. He also says he remembers being Thor, but if he's not counting Thorian memories... Well just how does he count memories? I don't have an alter ego, but say I only wanted to count my memories when I lived in a certain town on and off... How would I go about that?

In the end, I'll have to chalk it up to Blake giving a round, approximate number that has little bearing on the actual one.

S said...

He only pops up in Simonson's first couple issues I think? After that Thor stops transforming, he just stays as Thor when he puts on glasses in his new Sigurd Jarlson ID.

But yeah, before that he would still transform physically into Blake, but I'm pretty sure that Roy Thomas wrote a thing making it clear that he no longer thought of himself as "Don Blake" when he did so, that he was just Thor in a human body (and with a modern speech style, I guess).

chiasaur11 said...

Think that more or less matches with the current scale, then.

In The Thing, it said it'd been 13 years since that fateful rocket flight, which gave Ben an excuse for his Mitzvah. It's been Civil war and the like since then, but Thor got started a little after Reed and crew, evening out the edges.

Sure, it makes Reed and Ben's service in WWII a little awkward, but it more or less works.

Bill said...

I am less than impressed with Mighty Thor now. I read that issue and dropped it from my pull list. I have no idea what is supposed to be going on in that book any more.

 

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