Oh Marvel, Marvel, Marvel…. what a coy little tease you are…
Marvel first announced Secret Wars Summer 2015, complete with a Alex Ross image and a creative team at NYCC 2014. A surprise to most fans, using the name of the classic mini-series from the 80s, but announcing Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic as the writer and artist, and giving us a very Crisis-like image by Alex Ross
Let’s take a good look at that image:
In the background we have what looks like the classic Battle Planet (the one created by the Beyonder using pieces of different worlds to give the Heroes and Villains of Earth a place to throw-down), but in the forefront instead of heroes battling villains, we got heroes battling heroes…from different timelines and dimensions!!!!
Original Secret Wars May 1984
The new image gives us Classic Cap, Thor, & IronMan and their counterparts Superior Iron Man Lady Thor, Thunderstrike, Iron Man 2020, Falcon Cap, American Dream, Horus, Commander America, DarkDevil, Miles Morales, various cross gendering/robotic versions of the Antman and Wasp, Classic Hyperion and his Ultimate Squadron Supreme Counterpart, Hawkeye, a Were-Black Panther, Ghost Rider 2099, Night Mask, 1602 Daredevil and what even looks to be like Obnoxio the Clown and Teen Hulk!!
What the hell is going on Marvel????
Not much more was given, except Jonathan Hickman saying in interviews that the new Secret Wars is tied into his ongoing work in Avengers and New Avengers (more on that later…)
Then Marvel began releasing images on an almost daily basis, teasing us with what seems to be some pretty big plans for Summer 2015! Each image (don’t know if they’re covers or promo pieces) had the title of a previously existing story arc, but new art accompanying it. After a closer look at the images, all didn’t seem kosher in Denmark!
While some seem like they could be just re-issued trades or omnibuses, or possible revisits to that arc, Like House of M, Old Man Logan, Civil War and Years of Future Past
See, standard images from those arcs, correct costumes and characters appropriate for said story.
Others seem wholly new, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Inhuman’s Rising, (although that might be a play on Atlantis Rising, the Namor, F.F., Inhuman’s arc from the 90s, which should not be confused with the multi-annual Atlantis Attacks crossover which preceded it)
Then there’s the few, who although kept the name of a past series, show remarkable differences from the past story arc by subject matter in the promotional image.
Yep, that’s Cap, bare chested, wielding a battle axe, jumping off Devil Dinosaur into a literal mountain of Hulks. Never happened in the original story. Is this an alternate world? a continuation of the original? Are they doing an “I Am Legend” tale with Cap as then last man on a world of Hulked out humans. ( There are a few Hulks there that are definitely not familiar, and could be anyone, and one that might just be Elektra !)
Star-Lord???? A family of Novas??? Missing Gems in the Infinty Gauntlet??? All new stuff… Star-Lord was no way near the Infinity Gauntlet saga (specifically…that Star-Lord), and Nova was Rich Rider, just getting started with the New Warriors at that time, not the Nova-Bunch. Is this the past? the future?
Galactus Buster Armor? Well that’s new, same with the Lady Liberty imagery and it looks like Armor vs. Armor here… not Iron Man hunting down villains who stole his tech!
Then the final piece of the puzzle….The End of the Ultimate Universe
Which lets face it, is long overdue (like an Ultimatum or Cataclysm ago!)
Now you could look at it a few ways…
If Secret Wars is an outcome of Hickman’s work in Avengers and New Avengers a lot of this makes sense. You see, the Marvel Universe has been experiencing Incursions, the abrupt collision of two neighboring dimensions in the Multiverse. The linchpin in the universal structure is the planet Earth, so if 1 of the 2 Earths are destroyed before the collapse, the other Earth is saved… momentarily, until the next Incursion occurs. If I wasn’t clear enough, here’s Reed Richards himself to explain
The Illuminati ( Mr. Fantastic, The Black Panther, Namor, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange and the Beast ) have been managing the Incursions to the best of their abilities, but gave up on World-Killing when they were forced to kill a world of heroes. Thankfully, the Cabal ( Namor, Thanos,Terrax,Black Swan, Proxima.Midnight and Corvus Glave ) picked up where they left off, slaughtering alternate earths , and we still have a planet to read comics on.
So is Secret Wars the end of Hickman’s magnificently epic run, with universes dwindling to just a few left to experience Incursions, and some cosmic Deity (Living Tribunal?? ) have them battle it out on neutral turf to decide who’s universe survives?? Are the other images just glimpses into other universes, one shots or tie in mini-series? Will there be refugees from alternate worlds living in the 616? Is Marvel having a Crisis or is Secret Wars it’s own thing? If so are the other teaser images a sign of something else:
Hell yeah! Why not? a series of prestige format or graphic novels under the old alternate universe “What If?” title of yesteryear. With the exception of the End of the Ultimate Universe, the other images all have the earmarks of Marvel ‘s classic “What If?” tales, plus, as seen through trade sales, very marketable titles!
Or they all might be there own thing, who knows? I don’t!
I got a possible Crisis at D.C. to worry about in April first!
I know I’m gonna need a second job soon to get all this stuff
And just on a side note, this is the best Marvel Comic cover EVER!: