How Dr. Don Blake and Thor Work With 1960s Marvel Logic
Journey Into Marvel – Part 69
Extremites, I was thinking about Batman. The concept of a mortal superhero is ingenious. Batman is full of the flaws of humanity yet he can challenge any mortal or extra skilled foe. He can face a human antagonist like the Riddler and an extra-human like Ra’s Al Ghul.
When it comes to Superman, his antagonists must be more powerful to pose a threat to the Kryptonian. Lex Luthor, begins as a billionaire with an endless supply of resources and over time morphs into a superhuman cyborg just to keep up with Kal’El. At Marvel, Thor, a god, has this same problem.
Returning back from a recent adventure, Thor, after changing into Dr. Don Blake, is captured by local gangsters. It seems they need a ‘sawbones,’ a colloquialism that is used far too much in this story, to patch up their escaped boss: Thug Thatcher.
Easy fix for Thor, right? Just a few smashes of Mjolnir and Thug Thatcher stew.
Sometime in the 80s, I don’t know when, Dr. Don Blake was retconned to have always been Thor. His mind had been wiped by Odin for some transgression. In February 1963, however, Thor is the alter-ego of crippled Dr. Don Blake. The creatives — who in this case are Stan Lee and Larry Lieber — have a perfect conceit where they can remove Mjolnir and leave Don Blake helpless.
When Don Blake cannot reach his cane — which of course — is the disguised Mjolnir, he uses a mental connection with Odin to help him out. Calling up the AllFather on the rainbow connection, as you do when you are an Asgardian, Thor coaxes dad to send a lightning bolt down to shock the gangster who is holds the cane. The cane flies into Don Blake’s hand and he becomes Thor.
The narration states that even though Don Blake does not have the strength of an Asgardian he still has the mind of Thor and can contact Asgard whenever he wants. Extremites, even when Don Blake is Don Blake he still is Thor, but when Thor is Thor he is not Don Blake.
Yeah, I’m confused too.
If Don Blake always has the mind powers of Thor doesn’t that make him Thor?
The origin story, recounted here for those readers who have yet to encounter a Journey Into Mystery issue, is all a ruse because Don was always Thor.
I am sure, there are Extremites out there who are looking at your screens thinking ‘Julian you are over thinking this;sit back and enjoy the whole charming Silver Age story of vaguely ethnic gangsters capturing nurses and stuff.’
The relationship between Thor and Don Blake defines the story. Especially, when the limitations of humanity are involved. How the conceit of Mjolnir works changes issue to issue and this hampers any understanding of the real conflict between alter egos. Perhaps, this why in the Early issues of Marvel ‘Alter-Egos’ were so fluid. Stan could not keep them straight.
As stories go, by the way, this one has its moments but it is forgettable.
Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.
Story I Read: “The Thunder God and the Thug!” (Journey Into Mystery #89 Feb. 1963)
Rating: 1 1/2 of 5
Pros: The dialogue is pretty good. Thug Thatcher is a parody of the characters RFK was parading in front of judicial committees— so appreciate that.
Cons: Extremites, I’m so confused. The whole mental telepathy thing is a major flaw and throws this story off the rails.
Next Review: “The Impossible Man” (Fantastic Four #11 Feb. 1963)
Last Review: “The Return of the Wizard!” (Strange Tales #104 Feb. 1963)
Posted on April 1, 2015, in Marvel, Odin, Thor and tagged Asgard, Batman, Comics, Don Blake, Journey Into Mystery, Larry Lieber, Marvel, Marvel Comic, Marvel Comics, Marvel Universe, Odin, Stan Lee, Thor, Thug Thatcher. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.