Well, Marvel promised an “announcement to end all announcements” last week, and they delivered on that promise. At a press conference at Midtown Comics in New York City, presented as the “Secret Wars Kick-Off”, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and executive editor Tom Brevoort confirmed months of speculation that the eight-issue series Secret Wars will represent the end of not only the Ultimate Universe (which we knew was coming), but also the classic Earth-616 Marvel Universe, effectively ending some fifty plus years of continuity. Tom Brevoort didn’t mince words in a tweet that coincided with the event either:
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) January 20, 2015
Brevoort further elaborated at the Kick-Off event: “The Ultimate Universe, the Marvel Universe, they’re going to slap together. Imagine two pizzas: They’re going to combine toppings, some toppings are going to drop off. It’s more than the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe, it’s all the universes you can imagine. That is the Marvel Universe going forward; Battleworld is the melting world from which the new Marvel Universe will be fermented; various characters will live their lives, and contend with this new situation, and set up all the building blocks and the bedrock of what the new Marvel Universe will be going forward.”
Of course, Marvel also took time to mention the plethora of licensed tie-ins for Secret Wars as well – Hasbro, Diamond Select, Mighty Fine, Funko, Hot Wheels and Marvel’s game division. Nothing says “big deal event” like tons of product. After all, that was the driving force behind the original 1984 Secret Wars.
We still don’t really know what this means — is it a total continuity reboot, like DC’s New 52 was three years ago? Will the end result of Secret Wars be an all-new beginning for the Marvel Universe, with a fifteen year old Peter Parker, Xavier alive and well running his school, and all those classic stories being retold again? Marvel’s continuity has never been the cluster$%&@ that DC’s was, so in a way this is a bit of surprise, despite the months of rumors it was happening.
Or is this going to be something totally different? It seems the concept of “Battleworld” in the Secret Wars series has various versions of classic Marvel characters from different continuities and points in time co-existing, (interestingly enough, much like DC’s upcoming Convergence series) but I can’t imagine that’ll be the set up for the Marvel Universe going forward. Or is it? I supposed we’ll find out soon. As always, more details as they become available.
For further analysis on what this means for the future of Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of Nerdist News.