We’ve been talking about a bunch of different comic universes over the last month, with news of DC Comics’ new direction after Convergence, Spidey in the MCU, and of course that Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. What we haven’t discussed much of is Marvel Comics upcoming universe-altering event Secret Wars, which promises to bring an end to the current Marvel Universe as we know it, which will be known afterwards as the “All-New Marvel.”
This will be the fourth series to use the banner first made famous in 1984 with the 12 issue maxi-series Secret Wars, which was pretty much created to sell toys. The series saw the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe transported by the Beyonder to Battleworld, where the ultimate test of good vs evil would play out. The series sold well and introduced a few concepts that stuck around in the mainstream comics, most notably being the alien symbiote we know today as Venom. A sequel to the series arrived in 1985, called Secret Wars II, which featured the Beyonder on Earth learning about humanity.
Finally, Secret War by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabrielle Del’Otto debuted in 2004, and featured popular characters like Wolverine, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Widow and Luke Cage involved in a secret mission that would help set up Brian Michael Bendis’ 8-year run on the Avengers. This war probably had the biggest impact on the shape of the Marvel universe, considering this began an era of popularity for the Avengers the likes of which the franchise had never seen.
After Bendis left to take on the X-Men franchise, we saw Hickman bring a new vision to the Avengers and New Avengers, and begin to set up his own monumental event which we now know will be Secret Wars. Following the events of “Time Runs Out”, we’ll see the culmination of Hickman’s storyline of world incursions – two Earth’s merging with one having to be destroyed in order to survive – result in Battleworld, which sees a number of Marvel universes across the multiverse in a huge mashup that is set to change the MU as we know it. This event is drawing from the last few years of timeline and universe blending that we’ve seen since Age of Ultron, with events like Spider-verse and Hunger all leading towards Secret Wars and the new universe we will see after the event.
When the new universe was first teased, many fans were thinking this might be Marvel’s own version of DC’s New 52 reboot that changed that company’s line three years ago. However, after a bit more information was revealed, we get the feeling that this is more comparable to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earth’s than the New 52 reboot. We know the mainstream Marvel universe (616) will be mashing up with the Ultimate universe for sure, both universes slated to end as a new one is reborn.
This is very similar to the events of Crisis, which saw DC’s continuity reduced to one world, called New Earth. This New Earth featured characters from across the multiverse who were formerly on different Earth’s now living together in a combined continuity. Obviously there were still some problems as we saw a few more Crisis over the years try to clear up the issues. With Marvel’s upcoming new universe, we can predict a similar outcome, with characters from the Ultimate universe joining the 616 continuity, or whatever the new continuity will be called.
While we don’t have too much information on the titles coming out after Secret Wars, we do have a number of series announced that tie in to Secret Wars while the rest of the line goes on hiatus. Today we will take a look at some of those series as we continue to explore the upcoming Secret Wars event. The main 8-issue series will be written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Esad Ribic, and will be joined by a number of series exploring some of the different universes we’ll see at Battleworld, as well as some tie-ins for the event itself.
Marvel first revealed three publishing banners that some of the titles will fall under, that serves as an expansion of the event. Any title that falls under these banners will tell a unique part of the Secret Wars story. First up is Secret Wars: Last Days, which asks a very important question of the Marvel Universe, with descriptions from Marvel’s editor-in-chief Axel Alonso:
“What would you do if you learned today was your last day on Earth? That’s the question your favorite Marvel heroes are going to ask themselves in their Last Days story lines as they brace for Secret Wars and the end of the Marvel Universe.”
The second banner will be Secret Wars: Battleworld, and will examine the many encounters we will see among the various sections of Battleworld.
“If you want the full story of what’s happening across the surface of this new planet, Battlworld branded titles are for you, Who polices Battleworld? How do the various domains interact? What happens when those domains go to war? What strange, never-before-seen creatures inhabit this world? What familiar faces will make appearances? Fans who want to fully understand how each sector interacts with the others can’t miss out on these books!”
Finally, the third banner will be Secret Wars: Warzones, which promises to take the event-style storytelling to the nth-degree, and set up the future of the new Marvel Universe.
“If you want a glimpse of what the future holds, you’ll find it in the WARZONES titles, Our creators let their imaginations run wild as they lay down the foundations for the future. Whether we’re revisiting the most popular events from Marvel’s past or telling completely new stories, you won’t believe what we’ve got in store for you.”
Under these banners we will see a few mini-series re-examining old Marvel events and exploring the “What if?” qualities of some of the sections of Battleworld. We’ll list some of these announced titles below, although we are expecting even more to be announced over the next couple of weeks:
Let’s take a look at the first month of titles that we’ll see during Secret Wars, which are sure to either entertain or offer some insight into the new Marvel Universe we will see develop after the latest Marvel event. The current ongoing titles that don’t finish up before May will be exploring the “Last Days” banner we’ve previously discussed, as these heroes and villains finish off their series prior to the line-wide revamp we’ll see after Secret Wars wraps up.
Secret Wars – The main series from Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic has already debuted some spectacular covers from comic legend Alex Ross, and will probably be 8 issues of awesome. The final incursion that the Avngers have been waiting for is here, and it pits the Marvel Universe against the Ultimate universe, which will presumably lead into the construction of Battleworld.
Ultimate End – This will be another series to follow alongside the main Secret Wars title, as it looks to chronicle the final days of the Ultimate universe, before some of the characters presumably find themselves as part of the new Marvel Universe. The title will be written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mark Bagley, who together brought us the record-breaking run on Ultimate Spider-Man that helped make the Ultimate universe what it is today.
Secret Wars: Battleworld – Not to be confused with the “Battleworld” banner that will feature on some of the titles, this series will take a look at some of the weirder matchups on Battleworld. Written by Josh Williamson and Ed Brisson with art by Mike Henderson and Scott Hepburn, we can expect this mini-series to offer smaller scale stories that the main Secret Wars title won’t be able to handle.
Secret Wars: Journal – This series written by Prudence Shen and Michael Rosenberg, with art by Ramon Backs and Luca Pizzari promises to be a very continuity-important part of the Secret Wars event, while really only seems like another anthology type story to cover some of the alternate reality characters we might end up seeing in the new universe.
Inhumans: Attilan Rising – This will be the third ongoing Inhumans series, which has got to be a record for Marvel’s royal family. Attilan Rising will be brought to us by Charles Soule and John Timm, and will join current ongoing Inhuman and the upcoming Uncanny Inhumans. This new push on Inhumans might lend some credence to the rumors that Marvel might be looking to replace the more common mutants with Inhumans in response to some of the rights issues with Marvel Studios and Fox.
A-Force – The newest Avengers title will launch during Secret Wars, and will feature an all-female squad that looks to include members of the Avengers, X-Men, and Inhumans as they deal with Battleworld. The title will be written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennet, with art by Jorge Molina.
Inferno – This series from Dennis Hopeless and Javier Garron will revisit the epic X-storyline Inferno and take us to a world where the X-Men failed to stop the demonic uprising, leaving New York populated with evil and left at the mercy of the original Goblin Queen, Madelyne Pryor!
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars – Cullen Bunn continues his work with the merc-with-a-mouth alongside Matteo Lolli & Jacopo Camagni in this Secret Wars tie-in. But it’s not your typical Secret Wars tie-in, as this takes place during the 1984 series that Deadpool, as far as we knew, was not a part of yet! Expect hilarity to ensue as ‘Pool checks into the classic Secret Wars!
Infinity Gauntlet – A new ongoing from Gerry Duggan & Dustin Weaver takes us to a post-apocalyptic world where we see the reappearance of a cosmically powerful stone – an Infinity Stone. This series promises to “set the cosmic table for the Marvel Universe for years to come!” With the Infinity Stones set to play a large role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the time is pretty much perfect for a new Infinity Gauntlet storyline to hit the stands.
Old Man Logan – Brian Michael Bendis revisits the future world of Old Man Logan along with Andrea Sorrentino, as we get to once again enter the world of the Wastelands. The original Old Man Logan from Mark Millar and Steve McNiven was a fan-favorite, and with Wolverine currently dead in the mainstream Marvel universe, this might be the only Logan we get to see for a while.
Where Monsters Dwell – This mini-series from Garth Ennis and Russ Braun (the team behind The Boys) will feature classic Marvel character Phantom Eagle as he takes to the skies to take on – Dinosaurs? We don’t really need to know much more about this tale, as the creative team alone is pretty much enough to sell us on this.
Planet Hulk – While the title certainly implies we would be revisiting the epic storyline of “Planet Hulk,” Sam Humphries and Marc Laming are giving us an interesting look at this particular section of Battleworld. Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur versus a land of wild Hulks has us thinking this might be one of the more interesting alternate reality titles to come out of Secret Wars.
Master of Kung-Fu – Shang Chi returns in this mini-series from Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic, but it doesn’t sound like the Shang Chi we are used to. This series takes place in the mystical realm of K’un Lun, where the majority of the population has been trained in the martial arts. So how does this world affect the Master of Kung Fu?
Spider-Verse – Spinning out of the recent Spider-Verse event in the Spider titles will be Mike Costa and Andre Aruajo’s Spider-Verse mini-series. This issue will follow some of the more popular Spiders we saw in the event as they arrive on Battleworld to become a part of Secret Wars! Fans of Mayday Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spidey Noir, and even Spider-Ham won’t want to miss this!
M.O.D.O.K. Assasin – Finally, one of the breakout stars of the most recent volume of Secret Avengers will get his own series, though it looks like we’ll see quite a departure from the mainstream M.O.D.O.K. we’ve fallen in love with these last few months. Set on the Killville section of Battleworld, Chris Yost and Amilcar Pinna bring us a wolrd where M.O.D.O.K. achieves his goal, and killed everything!
That finishes off the new series we will see debut as Secret Wars begins in May, and some of them are sure to offer a unique glance into some of the more popular storylines and realities of the Marvel Universe before everything ends, and the new Marvel Universe is born. We’ll be back with some more titles releasing after May that continue to touch on some of these great storylines from the past.
Which of these titles will you be picking up? Are you excited for Secret Wars? Which alternate reality characters do you want to see become a part of the new Marvel Universe? Let us know in the comments section below or join the discussion at the Grizzlybomb Facebook page!
Images: Marvel Comics, DC Comics