It’s been the super secret plan of the Marvel staff for more than five years. It’s been a glimmer in Jonathan Hickman’s eye for even longer. But now, Marvel is joining the “big battle changes fictional universe forever*” trend with Secret Wars, which launches in May leaving carnage in its wake.

As announced at a press conference with Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and E-i-C Axel Alonso at Midtown Comics downtown location, as part of the eight issue Secret Wars event Secret Wars #1 and Secret Wars #2 by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, the Ultimate universe is folding into the 616 Marvel universe and “There will be only Battleworld,” promised Tom Brevoort. Issue #2 will be a huge extra sized reference staking out the new world, which ties in to the teasers marvel released last fall. Various universes form popular mini series of the past from Civil War to Marvel Zombies will return.

“We’ve never done anything like this ever, said Brevoort during the presser, which was live streamed until it crashed in the second half. What we will do to top it I don’t know. Hopefully that will be someone’ else problem. But I’ll still be employed and working.”

According to Alonso, it’s the most coordinated event they’ve ever done, with all Marvel comics division on board as well as partners Hasbro, Diamond Select, Mighty Fine, Mad Engine, Funko and Hot Wheels with Marvel Interactive working on all kinds of new elements. Secret elements.

The story kicks off in Secret Wars #0, a FCBD offering that kicks off the end of everything we know, or at least everything we suspect, as two world go in and one or no worlds come out of the “Incursion” event.

During the event the Marvel U. will be turned into the Battleworld which will also be turned into an interactive map where you can purchase products based on the worlds, which go back to the teasers released prior to NY Comic-Con back in the fall. The first to go will bt eh Ultimate Universe, which is being blended with the 616 universe. “It’s like two pizzas being stacked on top of one another,” said Alonso, showing a keen ear for phrases which bloggers will quote.

As the event unfolds, Marvel’s regular line will launch several new books and new mini series that tie in with this new combo world. “All the bits and pieces all the little sections of earths within incursions zones, all pieces that have remained, will be fused into a gigantic organism which will be Battleworld,” said Brevoort. “And this will set up all the building blocks of the New Marvel Universe. Every world we’re going to introduce you to, every piece is a building block for the MU moving forward. None of these are elseworlds or what ifs, they are not set in the past or future, and not in alternate reality. This is the reality of the Marvel Universe.”

“If we resurrect Gwen Stacy this would be the place to do it,” Brevoort went on to tease, also showing a keen ear for pull quotes. “Or it could be four Gwen Stacys!”

“This puts an endcap to decades of stories and starts a new era. When you see the scope of the event and what we’re willing to do [you’ll be amazed][.

According to Alonso this isn’t necessarily part of anything to do with the MCU, which is developing its own continuity. “It all starts on the page. We tell our own stories, this is exactly what we’re doing here. You’ll be shocked for this.”

In questioning after the live stream ended, the two explained that creative teams had known for a while that they needed to wrap things up. “Get your business done because we’re going into Secret Wars,” said Brevoort. “Everything is going to change and shift as we go.”

The size of the Marvel line will remain stable with perhaps a slight contraction, said Alonso. “You’ll see new books coming out, but we expect a lot of them to do well.”

Asked directly is this was a straight ahead reboot, Alonso was cagey. “Read and find out. Our history isn’t broken and it isn’t something we need to fix. If anything it’s something we’re building on and seeing how it comes together.”

Or as Marvel’s PR man Chris D’Lando put it, “The Marvel Universe and the ultimate Universe may be ending, but we are just getting started.”

So whew! Is it a full on reboot or not? We don’t know, but perhaps Beat ex-pat Steve Morris had the clearest take:


  1. I had a different take on the news, maybe one that’s more positive than Steve. Alas, his tweet cannot be disputed. *sigh*

  2. I’ve been reading Marvel comics since the mid sixties and although I only buy a handful now I welcome anything that shakes things up. As long as it’s a well told story it’s worth doing. Whatever happens isn’t going to physically phase out my back issues. Bring it on. (I’ll probably only buy the core Secret Wars comic though, not all the companion titles.)

  3. Says to me “Wait for the Amazon glitch and order the Omnibus(es)”. Cause I defintely want to read and own this but I’m gonna want the whole enchilada and getting it all in one tome seems the best way to go.

  4. Just please be better than the Nu52. I came to Marvel fleeing the DC reboot. I have found that I love the titles I’m currently reading from Marvel. I care about these characters more than I’ve cared about DC’s in maybe 5 years. There are few truly bad ideas, but there are many that suffer from bad execution. Please don’t let this be one of them.

  5. Yes, this sounds similar in some ways to the original CoIE.

    It also sounds like the end of the original Age of Apocalypse event where some of the characters from that timeline/reality ended up in the 616 when the event concluded. This could be much like that only on a line-wide scale as opposed to just the X-Men books.

  6. I’m down to just a couple of Marvel books each month, so no big loss to me if this turns out to be a jumping-off point. And maybe I’ll see a few characters I liked once upon a time when the dust settles. Not spending any money on the event itself, though.

  7. Please don’t pull a total reboot, with things like the Ultimate Captain America now being the main Cap. I quite buying DC when they pulled the New 52 stunt, I don’t want to quit buying the Marvel titles that I enjoy. It would put me down to only buying one title a month (Godzilla Rulers of Earth). After reading comics steadily for 27 years, that would be a major downer.

  8. Wow, I also quit buying DC after the New 52 started. I wonder whether it was considered a success? I’m sure it did well at first, but has it held on? I really hope Marvel isn’t so stupid to throw out their continuity. I have always loved that there’s a real history to many of its characters that I don’t know. I don’t want to know the whole story all at once.

  9. I bailed on Marvel years ago so I can’t comment on the quality of the storytelling there or what this might mean for it. It says an awful lot about Marvel and the business in general, though, that this isn’t a bigger story.


  10. Here’s what I don’t understand. This is supposed to be a battleworld consisting of different Marvel “universes”, right? I saw this list of places on their battleworld map:

    Planet Hulk: 1. Greenland
    X-Men ’92: 33. Westchester
    Age of Apocalypse: 3. Domain of Apocalypse
    Armor Wars: 5. Technopolis
    Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows: 8. The Regency
    Years of Future Past: 30. Sentinel Territories
    Attilan Rising and Ultimate Universe: The End: 20. Manhattan (a, c)
    Future Imperfect: 2. Dystopia
    House of M: 29. The Monarchy of M
    A vs X: 17. Marville
    Old Man Logan: 31. The Wastelands
    Civil War: 22. The Warzone
    The Infinity Gauntlet: 40. New Xandar
    Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies: 39. Perfection & 38. The Deadlands

    My problem is, most of these things happened in the SAME universe! So it makes absolutely no sense. That said, I’ll be glad that Hickman is finally wrapping up that storyline he’s been working on for what seems like a decade.

  11. I really hoped this would never happen. I hate the Ultimate Universe, from the name to all of its flesh-eating, incestous characters. Like the New 52, this is an excellent jumping off point, and ends my lifelong love of superhero comics. Maybe it’s time anyway. I’ll always have Image and good independent books. I never outgrew superheroes, but they sure outgrew me.

  12. This is interesting:

    According to Alonso, it’s the most coordinated event they’ve ever done, with all Marvel comics division on board as well as partners Hasbro, Diamond Select, Mighty Fine, Mad Engine, Funko and Hot Wheels with Marvel Interactive working on all kinds of new elements. Secret elements.

    How did they keep all of those images/stuff (sorry) secret? That’s cool. Plus a huge map at the center of the narrative?? That is NERD 101. Hickman’s New Avengers is my favorite comic since forever so really looking forward to it.

  13. I think we have reached the crescendo of event fatigue across the big two. Between Convergence and this I am thinking it is a perfect dropping off point. I will be curious to see if Image/IDW and Darkhorse show upticks in readers after these two mega events begin.

  14. I really wished Marvel would say “yes, we’re starting again, because our industry needs new readers and fans of our movies now get to enjoy the characters that inspired those films.” To be brave enough to really make real change and not keep pandering to their (dwindling) longtime reader. Because that would be exciting and get real attention.

    Instead we get this “not a reboot” nonsense that only longtime fans care about. All this apologising-for-change/justifying-why-they-need-to-do-this rubbish, because Marvel is too scared to hurt the longtime fan. They’d prefer to deny new readers of today the chance to enjoy Marvel from a clean-slate universe, and keep selling to the 40/50-year-olds.

    And that is the trouble with Marvel at the end of the day. Fear of losing the hardcore longtime reader and letting them control the company direction. So sad!

  15. And before anyone makes a snide remark at DC, e.g. “hope Marvel do it better than DC”… At least DC outrightly came out and said “our industry needs change, WE at DC need to change to bring in new readers….” That’s honest IMHO, that that was the reason behind the New 52. DC made actual change and were bold yet humble about it.

    Change is good for the industry. Pretending-to-change (aka Marvel) is not.

  16. @Kard – marvel wanting to bring in new readers is a good thing, getting to that goal by pissing off a majority of existing readers is not (IMHO) the way to go about it. to be honest who exactly are they trying to attract to become new readers, ’cause at four bucks a pop, comics can turn into a very pricey hobby if one is buying ten or more books a week, so even if you are curious about this hobby , I really doubt spending fifty bucks a week on comic books will look like an attractive deal for getting into this hobby if you’re a kid, teen , or young adult that hasn’t started reading comics yet. with slow but sure dwindling readership going on year after year, marvel should be concerned that if they piss off the current older fan base ( are there enough fans under the age of thirty-five to sustain marvel comics, sure everybody loves the movies, but the comic books are another story all together) enough it could hurt them when it comes to the bottom line. those 40/50 year old fans are the ones buying ten plus books per week, pissing off that block of customers all at once, having many of them dropping the books en masse, well, lets see if that happens or not. the thing that readers seem to want from marvel are good stories , done well and less of the plot gimmicks that have seemed to have taken over many of the books. instead were gonna get the gimmick storyline to end all gimmick storylines. with all that said, it’s kinda unclear what the hell marvel is doing. you got breevort and Alonso contradicting each other, marvel has been known to make misleading statements to throw off fans to what they are doing. from all the articles around the ‘net that I’ve read a couple of things seem (I could be wrong) clear. the marvel universe will probably become closer in line with the marvel movie universe in look and feel and the majority of marvel history will remain intact, but there will be tweaks to a good amount of the character’s histories. probably not a major reboot like DC did with the new 52, more like dipping a toe in the water. if marvel does go the whole reboot route, starting everything at the beginning , origins and all, I’m more than likely out. I dropped dc when they did this (four reboots in my lifetime seemed like more than enough). it shows very little respect for your established audience when every several years or so you decide to tear down all the stories and history that the fans have invested their time and money in, in favor of seeking a new audience.

  17. All those different Battleworlds are Alternate realities, whether happening in official Earth-616, or a parellel universe with a mirror Earth, or a Future reality. For example, WorldWarHulk, he lost at the end, but in BattleWorld, he was plucked out from timeline when he was world conquering and put in. Just as there are multiple versions and new versions of Thors, there may be more than one green Hulk here. One big thing they are leaving out is the Onslaught saga, why isn’t one of Marvels strongest bad guys ever not making an appearance in this?

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