This is not a joke, this is the real deal. Today, Marvel Comics announced what some insiders suspected: this Summer’s epic crossover event, Secret Wars, will be the end of the Marvel Universe as it currently exists. You can watch their announcements in the video above. But here are some of the important parts:
- Secret Wars will feature the Marvel Universe (known as 616 to fans) and the Ultimate Universe (which features the popular Miles Morales version of Spider-Man) will colliding, effectively ending the continuity of both.
- Marvel’s continuity has been in place with a shared universe since 1961 while the Ultimate Universe began as a type of rebooted reality starting in 2000 with Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Senior Vice President of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort confirmed the eight-issue Secret Wars represents the end of both continuities and will reboot everything.
- “The Marvel Universe will be Battleworld and every single piece of those worlds will be building blocks for the universe,” said Alonso. He later added that some dead characters could return following the new continuity, such as Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man’s first serious girlfriend.
- DC Comics rebooted their universe in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and this sounds like a similar idea to bring characters up to speed without origins that were originally written back in the 60s. It was very well received, simplifying multiple takes on characters and bringing them into a more modern world. DC again rebooted its universe 2 years ago with what it calls the New 52 to less acclaim.
- Marvel has released an interactive map of Battleworld that will indicate which heroes are in which countries.
- Battleworld was previously created by a cosmic entity known as The Beyonder in a 12-issue crossover event in 1985 that was also called Secret Wars. He forced heroes and villains to fight for his amusement. Eventually they beat him.
- Secret Wars will begin in May 2015, written by Jonathan Hickman who is currently writing reality-spanning adventures in Avengers that will lead up to this story. Art will be handled by Esad Ribic. Brevoort confirmed that Hickman’s story in Avengers and New Avengers have been leading up to this event.
- Marvel will publish Secret Wars #0 for Free Comic Book Day in May, to bring new readers up to speed.
- Stan Lee, a founding creator of the Marvel Universe was asked for his take on things. He said:
“It’s probably good. Anything they do that’s unexpected and different usually captures the attention of the fans. People will want to follow it to see what happens and where it will lead. Marvel cannot keep doing the same stories over and over again. You always have to come up with new angles and new approaches to things. I think it’s probably a good idea. It sounds intriguing to me.”
Are you excited to see the Marvel Universe rebooted for the modern age? Do you have concerns?