What does it mean to be a god in marvel? many comic fans nowadays think gods are just advanced aliens. while this may be true in the MCU it is not true of the gods in comics. Before we get into the gods unique physiology lets explain what magic is.
MAGIC (FOR THE MOST) PART IS SCIENCE WE DONT UNDERSTAND
if you read my debates alongside @zetsumoto about magic in the MCU you know that I believe magic is a spiritual science. Why is this? Magic is something that can be studied in the form of spell books and replicated time and again with spells, it can also be used to enchant objects and in many cases can be mixed with technology (Doom's armour, the destroyer armour, sorcerer supreme stark, ect). Magic and science have counterparts in common:
So yes, magic is an ascended form of science... for the most part. why do I say for the most part? because unlike science, magic at its core is faith and story, as so eloquently explained by Dr Doom here in loki agent of asgard:
"To be a creature of magic, to be a god, is to be a creature of story"
unlike science which is all about discovering the wonders of the "natural" world and manipulating it to your needs magic is about imposing a narrative, a story upon reality to bend it to your own or another's will. For the most part science and magic are very similar but when you get to the roots, the ultimate end of both, magic is faith, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Now then, what does this all mean? what are gods? well doom told us, they are...
GODS: Living Stories
That's right. the gods of marvel are living stories in physical form. As explained by Doom to be a creature of magic is to be a creature of story. Though the portrayal of gods in marvel has been erratic over the years it has been hinted at forever they are living stories and in more recent times it has become increasingly apparent in strazinski's thor and especially in loki agent of asgard. Another proof of gods being beings of story is evidenced by ragnarok, the great repeating "story" of asgard that the gods were bound to until thor "rewrote their destiny". Here are several scans hinting at the gods being living stories:
- 1,2,3. loki hinting at the gods being formed from humanity's stories and faith.
- 4. RKT actually finds the story of the asgardians woven by the fates.
- 5. Donald Blake seems to hint at gods being stories.
now of course the true origin of the gods is uncertain. them being living stories doesn't even necessarily mean humans created them as loki said that even when the omniverse is destroyed there would probably a ton of stories still in the nothingness, seeming to show stories are eternal (cant find the scan right now). What we do know though is they are stories in physical form.
lets look at what else makes them different from advanced aliens.
GODS UNIQUE PHYSIOLOGY
what is "dimensional freedom"? it is not higher dimensionality like mr mxy nor is it infinite dimensionality like pre-retcon beyonder, rather it is the ability to exist in the same state on all different planes of reality. for instance a 3D being that goes into the 4th dimension would be a piece of paper, utterly powerless against 4D beings, however a dimensionally free god would be just as powerful in the 4th dimension as he is in the third, there would be zero change in power.
Is this belief that gods are dimensionally free supported by feats? yes indeed:
- 1,2. Thor says his "divinity transcends dimensions and so might his corporeal form" then proceeds to back this up by climbing out of a 4 dimensional (3 special and one temporal dimension) universe!
- 3,4,5. X-man hides outside of time in the plank length between moments, does this stop ares from fighting him? nope! Ares not only busts right into this temporal dimension and stomps X-man easily as if the fight was in the normal world. Ares even says being in the place in between planck lengths doesn't limit him!
- 6. Odin battles Seth on literally every plane of reality.
- 7. Loki fights odin on every metaphysical plane.
In both classic and modern times it is shown gods are dimensionally free or, dimensionally independent. time and space mean nothing to them, as explained by X-man:
a god is a god on every plane of space and time. we also see that because of their unique dimensional independence gods cannot be molecularly broken down to their base bits.
this one is pretty simple to understand. gods in marvel are empowered by and can hear prayers.
- 1,2. thor hears the prayers of a child a universe away and answers them.
- 3. thor is empowered by a prayer to God when fighting glory.
- 4. Thor prays to Gaea and she answers.
gods are creatures of faith and hope and thus can hear and answer the prayers of mortals.
This is something that definitely sets gods apart as divine. major gods embody something, for ares its war, thor the storm, hela death and odinforce users embody their pantheon itself. A god as a living story is the living story of their concept:
- 1. X-man says he cannot counter ares because he is war personified on every plane of existence and time.
- 2. Hela is an embodiment of death, so when odin kills her earth is ravaged by un-death.
- 3. Thor is the storm personified, as he explains all the storms of earth are his.
- 4,5. It is explained he who has the odinforce sustains and embodies Asgard.
PIS or just godly awesomeness?
many people say that certain feats are PIS (thor knocking out PF, hurting galactus) but I see it differently. don't get me wrong, im not saying thor can go around oneshotting multiversal abstracts nor that he can hit that hard against lesser opponents, im simply saying as creatures of faith and story many times gods scale up to overcome the odds... and also scale down to make a story more interesting and believable. when the odds are stacked against them gods as beings of story and faith can accomplish the impossible, an example proving this is thor killing glory, however when fighting lesser beings gods are scaled down to make the story of their existence more interesting and worthy of telling.
please voice your opinions :D If you have any more scans showing gods as living stories or scans of them doing something unique because of their physiology, please show me so I can add them.