Friday, July 30, 2010

Continuity Implant - STAT!

Here's where the "sliding timescale" is about to bite Marvel in the ass in a big way.

OK, I can accept that the Magneto walking/flying/menacing his way around modern day Marvel Earth is a lot younger than he should be because hey, when he got his proper age restored waaayyy back in the Claremont X-men days, well, he could have had his age reset in his late 30s for all we know.

That's not the problem.

The problem is the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

If we assume that they are thirty five years old (which is the upper limit of assuming their ages) that gives them a birthdate of 1975....which is 30 years AFTER World War Two. Which means that at best, Magneto (and Magda, his wife who was also a Holocaust survivor) would have been into their forties. This of course, is a problem that is only going to get worse as the timeline keeps sliding forward, and you have to do some impressive mental gymnastics to work around this issue.

Now, clearly I'm not saying that Magneto's origin needs to be fully retconned - like it or not, the Holocaust experience gives the character most, if not all of his gravitas and makes the character's motivations much more dramatic, revealing, and even on occassion, understandable (if not sympathetic). But don't be surprised if in the next twenty years someone in the Marvel Braintrust comes up with the idea that Magneto subconsiously "electromagnetically extended his own lifespan as well as that of his wife" in order to prevent this problem from getting any worse.


Jens Altmann said...

Great minds think alike, because I've actually been thinking of the same problem this week. It had occurred to me that Magneto must have been born before 1930. That would make him 80 now. Now, as Christopher Lee (born 1922) and Clint Eastwood (born 1930) prove, you can be 80+ years old and still be badass, but I came across the same problem you did: Wanda and Pietro.
For now, the problem could be solved by making Magneto their grandfather. That would work on several levels. It would fix the problem with the early continuity where Magneto lusted after Wanda. If she's his granddaughter, he might not have known the connection. It would fix the timescale problem. And might add some more angst to everyone. ("What ever happened to our real parents, Pietro? Why did Magneto pretend to be our father?")

Eventually, though, Marvel would need to remove Magneto from the Holocaust. Sadly, that isn't as difficult as it sounds. Magneto is a Jew and (IIRC) a gypsy. Those groups were also persecuted in Stalinist Russia. Relocating Magneto to that time and place resolves the problem for at least another 20 years. Sadly, since persecution of minorities is not uncommon, it wouldn't really be difficult to adjust his origin once again when the USSR connection becomes too implausible.

And no, I have no idea why I waste my time thinking of such things.

By the way, your pictures tend to go off the browser window for me. The text is fine, though. I'm using the most current Firefox. Any ideas what the problem might be?

Phil Watts, Jr. said...

These are the kind of problems that arise when you tie a character to a certain period in history.

I remember reading the Larry Hama G.I. Joe books, which had a similar problem, as the characters Stalker, Stormshadow and a pre-ninja/pre-injury Snake Eyes were all serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War. However, that should make these characters aged at least in the late 50's or 60's. Since they can't have an old-ass man pushing 60 hopping around like a ninja, they changed the origin, making it so that they simply served a tour of duty in "southeast Asia" so they won't be specifically tied to the Vietnam War.

It's weird that despite problems like this popping up whenever they tie a character to a certian historical period, they still keep doing it. Even the idea of putting Barack Obama's face in a comic will be a problem in the long run, because that will tie the characters in that comic to THIS period.