Before there was Thor, there was Donald Blake – Thor’s human alter-ego who, after years of absence, has finally returned, but he’s not the same.
Unlike most superheroes, Thor doesn’t really have a secret identity – after all, why should he? The God of Thunder is a mythological figure, not some regular guy who needs to keep his heroic life a secret. But believe it or not, Thor used to have a human alter-ego in the comics called Donald Blake, who was actually introduced to readers before Thor himself. After years of absence, Blake just made his triumphant return to the Marvel Universe, but now, he’s a full-on villain.
Thor, as we currently know him, was introduced to Marvel Comics in Journey into Mystery #83 back in 1962. Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber, this issue saw Donald Blake, an American doctor, travel to Norway, where he encounters aliens. After being chased into a cave, Blake discovers a walking stick which, when hit against a boulder, transforms itself into Mjolnir and Blake into Thor, the Norse God of Thunder. As it turns out, Blake was created by Odin to be a human host for Thor. The All-Father figured that the best way to teach his son humility was to deprive him of his power and memories and have him live for a while as a mortal man. The plan works, but the question then arises; with Thor back, what happens to Donald Blake?
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Blake is more than just an alter-ego for Thor; he has his own memories and consciousness, making him an entirely separate person. Thor #9 explains that when Thor is in control, Blake is sent to “An eternal, unchanging, un-place of Odin’s making” – in other words, the suburbs. The Truman Show-like reality is designed to be quaint, peaceful, and keep Blake blissfully unaware of the passage of time. However, with Odin gone, the magic keeping Blake content faded, causing him to wake up. For years, Blake has been trapped in his suburban pocket-reality with no escape – until now.
The God of Thunder has had a rough go of it so far in Donny Cates and Nick Klein’s Thor run, prompting him to follow Tony Stark’s advice in the last issue and take a little vacation. Thor seeks out his reformed brother Loki and tells him he plans to bring back Donald Blake for a weekend. See, letting Blake take control would usually put Thor into the Elder-Sleep, which would allow him to speak with past Asgardian kings and hopefully find some answers as to what’s been happening. This time, however, Thor is sent to the suburbs, which have been all but destroyed, and the crazed Blake appears before Loki with a serious grudge. After taking Loki down, Blake snaps his walking stick in half and vows to never become Thor again.
Since banging the walking stick on the ground was how Blake would bring Thor back in the past, it’s unclear how the God of Thunder will escape and what Blake’s plans are now that he’s free. Right now, only one thing is for sure – Donald Blake is back with a vengeance.
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