The Speed of Thor

We've been having another one of our regular chats about how fast Thor is and during this latest round I came up with a new idea to reconcile some of the sorts of things we see when it comes to Thor's speed. Now, to be clear, I'm not suggesting that this is how Thor actually works or how anyone else should see him, this is just me trying to figure out a way to accept as many displays of Thor's speed as possible in the face of the inherent contradictions. I'm curious to see if what I'm thinking is supportable by on panel evidence or not and if any coherent system or organization of Thor's speed feats is possible, and I also want your help with the whole endeavor. But your help comes later, for now, the problem. In the simplest terms, Thor has some displays of speed at an extraordinarily high scale, and he has some displays that are more in the realm of street level characters. He also has a ton of displays that may be in the middle somewhere but are hard to pin down. My thought is that perhaps Thor has the sort of speed that characters like Deathstroke or Midnighter have, where for the most part they operate like high street level characters, but occasionally they operate at a level beyond that which approaches speed more like Flash and it's not a flaw of writing or excused by the plot, but it's firmly within their abilities.

That's what I want to see if I can support with clear displays. To aid the collection and sorting of data, and for easy presentation whenever I feel I've gotten a lot, I'm making some categories. Some, the ones with other characters, will be simply for comparison and some will be different sorts of displays from Thor. What I need from you is ALL THE SPEED FEATS YOU CAN FIND. I'm going to want them primarily for Thor, but to beef up one of the major points of comparison, send me what you've got for Deathstroke as well (I got Midnighter, no worries). I want good ones, great ones, bad ones, old ones, new ones, related characters (various mjolnir wielders, beta ray bill, jane foster, etc), everything. The only sort I don't want for Thor right now are pure travel speed feats. If he's doing something while traveling, sure, but I don't need a million images of him just flying through space. If you have anything that's not immediately clear, give me context or references or at least issue numbers so I can find things myself. Unfortunately I'm not able to start us off with images but I'll be back with some in a few hours or so. I'm going to be filling in areas myself and updating in general as I get the chance but anything you provide will just speed things up. And in case it needs to be said, yes, I'm going into this with some preconceived notions, but I'm open to them being challenged as I fill this post with examples.

Some clarifications for the images in general since I'm not going to be commenting on each one individually. I feel like I've been pretty particular about what feats I'm presenting here, there are definitely more for each character that could be presented. I'll get into more clarification on each section as I go. The reason I was so strict was to make sure, as best as possible, that the displays could be taken at face value without guessing what they're "really" showing. This is not an attempt to just look at what Thor does most often but to look at all he seems to be capable of and see what sort of picture that paints.

Comparisons

Flash Speed - A DC representative to demonstrate high speed

For Flash, there are of course a ton of feats, but so it's clear, the point is not necessarily the exact speed he's moving, since this thread isn't about pegging Thor's exact speed, but looking at what grouping he best fits in, so for that reason, with the Flash examples, take note of how his high speed is demonstrated.

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Silver Surfer Speed - A Marvel representative to demonstrate high speed

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Sentry

Adding this section because after mentioning him in the thread I realized he displays speed in the sorts of ways people say Marvel characters don't.

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Midnighter Speed - Potential Thorspeeder 1

With Midnighter, separating pure speed from what is possible due to his combat computer is tricky, but I think I've picked well, using either instances where his combat computer is not a factor, or instances where high levels of physical speed are required even after the combat computer does its thing, or he makes clear references to his speed as the reason he is able to act the way he does.

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Deathstroke Speed - Potential Thorspeeder 2

With Deathstroke, there are a TON of examples of him moving around while bullets or lasers are flying that I've seen presented as all examples of dodging bullets. If I were going into detail for him like I am for Thor, I'd probably put them in an "Unclear Speed" section because it's very hard to say for sure whether he's dodging bullet/lasers or just moving while being shot at or even aim dodging. Since I'm not separating his displays like that, I've simply dropped almost all of those kinds of displays.

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Added here are displays against the Flash specifically.

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And here is a display of the Flash showing his speed to Deathstroke which should serve as an example in the difference in how they use their speed (isolated actions vs continuous application). There is also an image of Impulse talking about how slow Deathstroke is before Deathstroke demonstrates his workaround for that, an area of effect attack, which we'll see again with Thor. (Wasn't originally going to put this here but if I only do one image it makes it big so I had to do two.)

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Street Level - Cross-company Baseline (Wolverine, Batman, Captain America, etc)

You're going to see a lot of Captain America here, and that's not without reason. First, he's been around a long time and as, by some measures, the very best "non-powered" hero and poster child, he's racked up a ton of the sort of feats we're looking at. Second, his shield is about the closest thing a street level character has to Mjolnir (Iron Fist has a number of feats here for a similar reason), a tool that can just be put in front of anything to stop it. Third, there's an idea out there that Marvel doesn't demonstrate speed in a way comparable to DC characters, and with Deathstroke here as well (you know they both say they "see faster" than things like bullets and that's what lets them react quickly? if you didn't the images are here), I thought it was a nice comparison.

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Thor Speed

High Operational speed

These are Thor's displays where he operates at anything clearly outside of the range of what can be considered street level. The term "operate" is being used to mean performing a series of systematic actions.

....Yeah, I'm still waiting too...

High Reflexive Speed

These are Thor's displays where he performs any action clearly outside the range of what can be considered street level but not as a series of systematic actions.

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Unclear Speed - Blurs, potential metaphors, and other unclear displays

Speed displays that cannot accurately or reliably be measured.

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Unclear Limits

Just to have a place to demonstrate the mirror of the previous section, this includes displays of Thor not overcoming unclear speed displays. Just as he blocks energy, he gets hit by it, and just as he tags fast moving characters, he gets hit by them when they're moving fast. This is just for balance and to show he's not always presented as faster than any unclear speed, but like the previous section, no definite information can be gleaned without stated values.

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Hammer Spinning

I added this section because Thor's most impressive (dealing with multiple projectiles) blocking feats tend to involve him spinning his hammer. Personally I find this to be the equivalent of Captain America raising his shield, but decided to give it its own section.

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Here are a couple really interesting hammer spinning ones. Interesting enough to look at separately. In these, Thor talks about spinning his hammer even when its spinning on its own, out of his hand. In one instance he throws it and it spins FASTER than it was in his hand. It's pretty common to attribute the speed Mjolnir flies, its ability to tow Thor through space, and even some fun tricks to the hammer, but perhaps even the spinning itself is more an attribute of the hammer than Thor himself.

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Street Level Speed

I decided to split up the street level section so things wouldn't get muddled. This section has Thor performing feats that have been performed by other street level characters. I wasn't sure if random energy blocking should go here or in the Unclear Speed section, but I put them here because Captain America performs similar or identical displays with his shield.

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Street Level Limits

Thor's displays where limits can be demonstrated that are purely or primarily a result of speed. Just like a clear reference to speed is needed to justify high end speed, a reference to speed is needed to support the idea of a lower limit. I think the only examples here without a clear reference to speed will be times he's hit multiple times in a row by characters who are street level or accepted as outright slow. There are PLENTY of examples I'm not using of Thor being hit when no significant speed at all is suggested and I could easily have more images of that than anything else, but this is not a list of any time Thor has been hit by anything or failed to hit something.

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Direct Speed Comparisons

Decided to add this section to include direct comparisons for some of the feats most commonly used to suggest Thor has high speed to look at which things have been performed by street level characters, characters with speed on that level, or speedsters. Discussions about Thor's speed usually involve claims from some saying Thor's speed is being "lowballed" or that only his "bad displays" are being used. This section focuses on what he has done and the sort of other characters that have performed similar feats so we can determine what leel of speed is necessary for the sorts of things Thor does. For some of these, there will be only one display in a given section so I've added fun Midnighter image just so I can upload multiple small pictures instead of being forced to upload a single large image.

Reacting to Bullets - Figured I'd start low and work my way up. First up is Thor reacting to bullets:

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And now street level characters reacting to bullets: (Included here are street level characters actually catching bullets as well. There are SO MANY of these, I'm just using a few.)

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And just for further comparison, some examples of what it looks like when "verified speedsters" react to bullets.

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Reacting to Random/Unspecified Energy - Thor:

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Street level characters:

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Further Comparison - Deathstroke: Take note of the explicit speed statements made when Deathstroke avoids energy attacks. It's something not really seen in Thor's displays.

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Further Comparison - Midnighter: (In general, Midnighter is a tough character to use in this sort of thing because his combat computer means he knows things are coming ahead of time, but two things are making me use him anyway. First, there are some times when he attributes his ability to perform some action to his speed directly, at least one of those is below. Second, there are some times when knowing alone wouldn't be enough to perform a feat, and he'd need the actual movement speed as well, at least one of those is below as well.)

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Reacting to "Light Speed" Energy - Thor: Thought Thor had a "clear" example of this but it turns out...not so much. Captain America and Hulk do though.

Street level characters:

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Further Comparison - Hulk: (The first appearance of Hulk in this experiment.)

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Reacting to Missiles - Thor:

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This bit was actually difficult to find for street level characters for what I think are obvious reasons (strength and durability requirements which are blurred less for street level characters) but I think I did alright.

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Further Comparison - Midnighter:

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Further Comparison - Hulk:

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"Lightning" Speed Descriptor - Thor:

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Street level characters:

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Further Comparison - Hulk:

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Moving Faster than Sight -Thor: One of these says "almost faster than mere mortal eyes can follow", but I put it here anyway.

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Street level characters: I've been sleeping on Batman so I'll put him here. There's also some of him reacting to bullets and reacting to or tagging a well known speedster. I guess this is the Batman section since I don't want to reupload the groups of images.

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Further Comparison - Midnighter:

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Acting at the Speed of Thought - Thor

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Deathstroke:

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Midnighter: This one is indirect, but in it, Impetus is said to move faster than two whole teams (including arguably the planet's best telepath) can think, and the telepath and his team are specifically asking for Midnighter to take him down because no one else can and the character with what they thought were the best reflexes just hurt herself trying to stop him.

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Using AOE Attacks to Hit Speedsters - Thor:

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Street level characters:

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Tagging Speedsters - Thor:

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Street level characters:

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Further Comparison - Deathstroke: (The nice thing about these is that speed is specifically being mentioned along with these displays.)

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Further Comparison - Midnighter: (The nice thing about these is that speed is specifically being mentioned along with these displays.)

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Further Comparison - Hulk:

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Thor/Black Panther subsection - Just because this particular image of Thor "surprising" Silver Surfer with his speed has been used to support Thor, here's an example of Black Panther surprising Surfer with speed. What's interesting is that Black Panther displays the reflexes to perform an action at a speed that surprises Surfer.

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"Fighting Evenly" with Speedsters - Thor: This turned out to be a pretty disappointing section. Most of the support for Thor's speed comes from him "tagging speedsters" (which by now you've seen multiple examples of "street level" characters do) but when pressed for examples of him fighting them in any sort of extended battle at speed, very little is provided. I think I'll split these up.

First up, Thor vs Gladiator. This is actually multiple fights. Aside from the general lack of speed on display (aside from Gladiator successfully blitzing and disarming Thor), I'll point out that in the first fight, Gladiator specifically says he's going to stand his ground, which, if anything, suggests a lack of speed being used on his part.

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Thor vs Surfer: These two have obviously fought plenty of times, but below is what I see a lot when on this subject so I'm putting it here, it's two different battles. I'll just say, I don't see much evidence of speed being used by either party (except at the very beginning when they don't even use it to fight each other).

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Thor vs Angela: This is not one continuous fight. The first image is Thor "fighting evenly" with Angela. It's only one page but the fight ends on the next page with the pillar you see cut in the first page falling on her (I don't think that's a great testament to her speed, but its what we've got). Also, claims about Angela's own speed don't actually provide any measure and further rely on some dubious claims, so I'm a little wary of using her as an example of a speedster, but it's what we have. Following the first page though is another of Angela's fights with Thor, with comments on the speed displayed there. Not flattering for Thor, but I'll let you decide.

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Street level character: Just showing one fight here, I think it's longer than any fight Thor has had with a speedster.

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Eh, why not show another one. This is Majestic fighting 3 members of the Skein (he's killed one and is using her sword when these scans start) for an extended period of time. Their speed is on the level of Zealot (bullet blocking street level character, not a speedster).

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Further Comparison - Ultimate Quicksilver: This is to display a difference between how characters with and without speed look when fighting characters with speed.

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Explicit Speed Measures/Descriptions - Thor:

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Street level characters: Not much here, which is what I always expected to be the outcome. This is the one area where Thor goes beyond what street level characters are capable of, though it does look like Iron Fist has performed at least one similar feat.

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Further Comparison - Deathstroke: Sort of a weird one but there are several time statements in this one so I thought it should go here. Deathstroke's movements are described as him moving through frozen time and acting in instants.

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Further Comparison - Midnighter: The blink of an eye is measured at 100-400 milliseconds

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Further Comparison - Flash: I personally think Flash shows speed of an entirely different sort than what Midnighter, Deathstroke, or Thor demonstrate, and not just in how fast he goes but what he can do with speed that truly allows him to perform processes at a high level. But these are here for you to be the judge.

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Thoughts

This section isn't set in stone and it will change as I go through the images. From what I've seen so far though, Thor does not demonstrate the sort of operational speed characters like Flash do and most of his quantifiable speed feats are within the wide range of street level speed. Or put another way, when the question is put forth, "Can Thor fight at high speed?" the answer seems to be no. If fighting is a continuous action, a back and forth of blows or movements, a two-sided exchange and physical combat, then Thor doesn't do that. Characters like Flash or Quicksilver fight at high speed. Thor seems to display only the ability to deliver a single blow or similar action at a high speed, which is the same that can be said for Deathstroke, Midnighter, and "street level characters". There doesn't actually seem to be anything Thor does that can't be replicated by street level or borderline street level characters, and there are displays from "true speedsters" that Thor does not appear to match, even in his decades-old showings, where most of his "high speed" displays come from.

This is a repost from elsewhere in the thread:

If just looking at all those images has shown me anything, it's that we REALLY need to get away from this idea that one character fighting another makes their speed equal. It's ridiculous and doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny. If Thor "fights evenly" with a character who has super speed, then some are quick to say Thor is just as fast. But then if Thor "fights evenly" with someone much slower, what are we to take from that? To my mind, there are only three options:

  1. This new character is now automatically as fast as Thor and thus as fast as the first FTL character in the example.
  2. Thor is as slow as this second character, which is now a contradiction
  3. Thor is holding back his speed to fight this slower character

Now if we can toss out 1) on the basis that we all know Wolverine isn't as fast as the Silver Surfer (though obviously Black Panther is, just go with it) and 2) on the basis that it's an outright contradiction, we're left with 3) (or some fourth option I don't know about). And 3) seems to be what I see from the Thor Speed Truthers, that Thor really is as fast as someone like Flash or Silver Surfer but he fights slower. But aside from the existence of examples of Thor saying he could fight faster if he weren't worried about hurting people (which is not a problem confirmed speedsters ever seem to have btw), the simple response is, "Why is it reasonable to think that Thor was holding his speed back but not that it was Surfer (or Established Fast Character X) that was holding their speed back to fight Thor?" Characters "fighting evenly" should have no bearing on greater speed unless speed is specifically mentioned or clearly depicted in some way. Even in the case of "blitzing", particularly with flying characters, I don't know how much that can be expected to factor in when we don't know how much faster than normal they're going. I think too much stock in placed in who can fight whom as an indicator for speed. I thought this was clear, but the preponderance of images says otherwise, and while it does seem to be more a thought process from the Thor Speed Truther camp, it's not exclusive to them.

There is another thing I keep seeing, though this isn't from everyone, and that is that there are lot of times Thor gets hit by an unknown enemy, projectile, or energy weapon, and seemingly to head off the idea that this makes Thor slow, the excuse is that "we don't know how fast it was going and it might have been light speed so it's not a bad display for Thor." Now, and I've stated this before, I don't think every hit means something bad for the character getting hit or necessarily displays a greater amount of speed, and there are plenty of reasons for this. I'll provide just a few:

  1. Everyone gets hit. It's comics, it would be dull if this weren't true.
  2. Super fast characters fight slow all the time for in character reasons as well. I'll use my boy Majestic as an example. Most fights where he takes on randoms or even characters he knows, he fights at their speed. Sometimes he does it because he's talking to them, sometimes he does it because he doesn't fear what they can dish out, sometimes he does it because he wants to show off, sometimes he does it just because he's not in a rush. Very few characters (usually just speedsters) default to high speed when they start a fight and even then it's pretty much never their max speed when they do. And even speedsters usually don't just blitz every enemy they see on a regular day.
  3. Characters of the same speed can dodge each others attacks or just miss. Every h2h street fighter in comics has fights where one or both of the combatants avoid getting struck, and usually they take turns dodging attacks, because it's (usually) not about a vast speed difference but about skill or just knowing how to dodge or block a punch even if one doesn't have a ton of skill.

So really, I don't think Thor needs excuses for getting hit by things he "shouldn't" if he were going at "full speed". But the excuses themselves raise a question. If the reason he got hit is because the attack was at light speed, but the claim is also that he's faster than light, he STILL shouldn't get hit. If anything, the attempt at an excuse just makes Thor look worse.

This is another bit I wrote in another thread about the idea that Thor doesn't necessarily pilot mjolnir through space so its travel speed isn't necessarily connected to his personal speed.

Any number of instances suggest Thor is not making moment by moment adjustments to Mjolnir's movements:

  • Thor not knowing where an enemy was and sending mjolnir to search underground for him
  • Mjolnir opening dimensional portals and flying through space to go find Thor when Thor didn't even know exactly what was happening
  • Mjolnir being released from Thor's hand and then moving in circles even faster when not physically controlled by him
  • The many times Mjolnir has not listened to Thor (his own words) and refused to be moved
  • Mjolnir not listening to Odin and refusing to be moved
  • Jane Thor having Mjolnir do her fighting for her (I really like it every time I see it)
  • Mjolnir pretending to be Jane without her knowing (interesting here is that at one point Jane/Thor can see through Jane/Mjolnir's eyes, clearly demonstrating that the hammer's perception can be shared, and suggesting yet another way that Thor could "pilot" at high speeds without innately having perceptions that would allow for it...though I personally still think its mjolnir doing the driving)
  • Mjolnir teleporting on its own
  • Mjolnir pulling Jane/Thor through space without her permission or guidance
  • Mjolnir pulling Odin all over Asgard and destroying it in the process without his permission or guidance

These are just off the top of my head. Mjolnir clearly has a "mind" of its own and is more than capable of flying on its own. And given that its also pretty firmly established that Mjolnir is aware of Thor's wants and needs without him needing to communicate them, Thor wouldn't need to be consciously piloting even if he suddenly wanted to go somewhere else. If midway through a cross-galaxy flight that only takes a few minutes he forgets that he left the light on in Avengers tower and he desires to go back and turn it off, his thought process isn't necessarily operating at the speed he's moving at. It's like getting on a train and thinking while it's moving. You don't need to be thinking at the same rate the train is moving. It will take you the same 2 seconds to come up with the answer to 235 x 2 whether the train is moving 1 mile an hour or 1 million. The distance traveled has no affect on your processing speed. Even putting aside the possibility that while flying, Thor relies on the clearly established ability of him perceiving things as Mjolnir does, he doesn't need to.

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