Few words in my inbox get me more excited than “new Alex Ross cover.” The vaunted painter has illustrated everyone from the X-Men to the Justice League over the years in his signature style, and has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered a trade paperback copy of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ Marvels at my local comic book store back in Wakefield, MA. Now, Ross is back in action with a hand-painted cover for Marvel’s long-teased Secret Wars #1, a revival of the 1984 crossover comic of the same name. The cover, revealed in a press release by Marvel, shows iconic heroes like Iron Man, Black Bolt, Namor, Spider-Man, Hulk, the new Thor, Captain Marvel, a particularly surprised-looking Thing, and many more floating through space as an explosion erupts in their midst.
Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Esad Ribic, Secret Wars #1 will take heroes from across the Marvel multiverse to Battleworld, a mysterious planet where multiple, separate realities will come together to, presumably, wage some kind of a secret war. The 8-issue event series will feature covers by Ross throughout its run and kicks off in earnest in May 2015. If you want to fully understand the backstory, you can check out the reality converging chaos going down right now in the pages of Avengers and New Avengers.
What mysteries will Battleworld hold for our heroes this time around? Will Spider-Man get an even blacker symbiote suit? Will we finally understand what all these crazy teasers are supposed to mean? Only time will tell, and we’ll have to be plenty patient until the book drops in May 2015.