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:
Basically they're moving Miles Morales into the Marvel Universe after eight issues of alt-reality filler
— Steve Morris (@stevewmorris) January 20, 2015
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.