The GeeksverseFrom the Fan’s Desk | Did Marvel Just Date Itself?

From the Fan’s Desk | Did Marvel Just Date Itself?
Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by
With the New 52, DC made their universe five years old and ran into the problem of compressing all of Batman and Green Lantern’s stories into that five year period. Did Marvel just make a similar mistake?

mightyavengers09_CVRIn last week’s Mighty Avengers #9, we got some of the history of Dr. Adam “Blue Marvel” Brashear and his adventuring son, Kevin. If you got a Doc Savage vibe (or more accurately Doc Brass from Warren Ellis’ Planetary), you weren’t alone. But what was interesting was that Mighty Avengers writer Al Ewing ascribed dates to some of those adventures. The Blue Marvel was a character that adventured in the time before the Fantastic Four, Avengers, and all the other major Marvel heroes. He was asked to stop being a super hero and he complied, going into hiding and working on his research. Through a three-page montage sequence, this issue of Mighty Avengers also showed that he spent that time doing more than just research.

It’s revealed that in 1970, Kevin Brashear was born and that 1972 saw his father Doc Brashear battle “The Were-Sacrifice of the Deathwalkers.” The young Kevin received his first chemistry set at the age of eight in 1978 and in 1983 the Brashears countered the threat of the Technocracy. In 1991, Kevin Brashear is shown graduating from what I assume is college—it must be his college graduation if he was born in 1970. 1993, 1997, and 1999 saw the father-son duo take on “The Atomic Skeletons of Paris,” “The Dream Machine of Doktor Skorpion,” and the Millenium Bug, respectively. The most significant event, however, might be one that occurred “an unspecified time later” in what the book calls “the beginning of the age of Marvels.”

The events referenced in this unspecified time, which took place after 1999, corresponds with the events of Fantastic Four #19 (October, 1963), the first appearance of Galactus. Assuming that Mighty Avengers #9 is set in 2014 (and there’s no indication that it doesn’t), it apparently means that Galactus first arrived on Earth sometime after 1999. That means that all the canonical adventures in that have led up to the current All-New Marvel NOW! universe have taken place in a time frame that spans 14 years at the longest.

Now granted, 14 years is better than the New 52’s five years, but I do think it’s a mistake to provide definitive years for all those events to have happened.

Obviously, no one reading the comics thinks that Galactus first appeared in the year the comic was published and the FF have been adventuring in real time since 1963. By now, all readers are familiar with and have accepted the floating timeline/sliding timescale explanation for how time works in most continuously ongoing superhero comics. The Punisher as he exists now isn’t a Vietnam War veteran as he was originally written, but a veteran of the Gulf War (1990–1991). In another five to ten years, the character will likely be reconfigured as a veteran of the Iraq War (2003–2011). The characters don’t really age, we understand that, but there are cases of seemingly permanent growth and development: No one really thinks of Cyclops as an 18 year-old kid anymore (the adult one, not the time-traveling youth currently seen in All-New X-Men), but is he 32 (18+14) or would he be older? I view the current adult Cyclops as getting close to 40 and to find out he’s only 32 (or possibly younger depending on when joined the X-Men, 14? 16?) is a bit of a shock. His current actions make me think of an older person.

In the long run this probably won’t matter. Marvel hasn’t made a big deal out of the timeline shown in Mighty Avengers, so nothing makes this “official” or accepted by Marvel. When Ewing moves on from the book, or if it’s canceled, the events of this issue won’t matter. And people will soon forget it happened.

At least I hope so. I didn’t like when DC assigned a definitive period of time to their stories and I don’t like it if that is what Marvel is doing.

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