Marvel followed through on its promise of an “announcement, to end all announcements” this Tuesday, and lo and behold… they meant it literally!
As of Secret Wars #1 the 616 Marvel Universe is no more!
Following the Epic events in Jonathan Hickman’s ongoing avengers and New Avengers story arcs dealing with Pan-Universal Incursions, a chain reaction throughout the multiverse where neighboring universes collide, with Earth being the epicenter of the event, the Marvel Universe(s) will be no more.
So far the Illuminati have been able to fend off our Earth’s destruction, using somewhat dubious methods, methods that got even more dubious-er when the Cabal (Namor,Maximus, Black Swan, Terrax, Thanos and his generals) took over the Alternate-world- destroying chores after the Illuminati wussed-out and decided to give up.
Now; Time Has Run Out ( see what I did there ) and the Marvel 616 Universe, the Ultimate Universe, and countless others from Marvels past stories are slammed together into Battleworld .
Editor in Chief AXEL Alonso was quoted as saying ” This is a place where were going to be bringing new pieces onto the board and taking old pieces off ” as well as : “we are taking the biggest pieces of Marvel History and seeing how easily they coexist with each other” and the one quote I’m sure caused apolexy among several fans “if we wanted to resurrect Gwen Stacy, this would be the place”
Yes, the comparison can’t help but be made with Crisis on Inifinte Earths, DC’s 1985 combination of their more popular individual universes into a singular timeline, affecting character origins, wreaking havoc with time,and blending multiple existing histories into one cohesive (sort of) whole.
This is a CRISIS for Marvel
But it’s not the first!
So for all those “I’m never reading Marvel again” and “Marvel ruined my Childhood” ( which implies you are now an Adult and should have the full mental capabilities to handle fictional characters having their fictional past altered by the fictional science ever present in these fictional worlds ) fans clearly haven’t been paying attention to the Marvel Universe.
But Bob, Marvel never had a Crisis, you’er wrong! They Have a Sliding Timeline, they don’t need too ever reboot!!
Ah yes the ever ready argument from the fanboys. The “sliding timeline”.
Marvel’s sliding timeline works as the following:
Time compresses forward, towards the present in the Marvel U. Meaning the birth of the superhero Era ( FF #1 ) is always 10 to 15 years ago, allowing the characters to barely age. This is a constant ongoing event that is never talked about within the Marvel Universe. Tomorrow the Marvel Universe will be Ten years old. Not Ten years and a day. The day after: Ten years old. A year later: not 11..still 10.
Marvel has a Crisis everyday.
Its just that no one talks about it. No event book. No Marvel versions of Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis or Flashpoint. It just happens.
Need Proof. No prob.
If the Marvel Universe is only ten years old, can you really count Avengers #1 as the true origin of the Avengers? Really? In 2005 a teenager used a ham radio to contact the FF and instead formed the Avengers? Even if you go for the far end and say 2000, I highly doubt you can find a teenager of that era who even knows what a ham radio is?
The F.F. ? Racing to the moon to before the commies??? In 2000? Little late, huh?
And speaking of commies, why are there so so many Communist-based villains running around the Marvel U. ( Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Red Guardian, the Gremlin, Abomination , etc. ) ??? Communist Russia was a fleeting memory in 2005, 2 decades defunct.
And then there was the day I woke up and Warren Ellis and Adi Granov told me Tony Stark was injured by shrapnel in Afghanistan, not in Vietnam like I’ve been told for most of my life and speaking of Vietnam….
Shouldn’t the Punisher be in a retirement home by now, most Vietnam Vets I know are getting up there. Castle was in Nam into 1968 ( the Tet offensive ). If he was the minimum age of service of 18 in ’68, he’s at least 65. Looking pretty spry Frank!!
Oh yeah that’s right he was killed and resurrected ( presuming to his prime )by mystical means!
And let’s not get started on Magneto and Professor X, WWII and Korea….
Or Franklin Richards never ending 8th birthday….
Oh and all those post 9/11 stories that reflected the horror of the Twin Towers terrorist attack, all those beautifully poignant silent stories, starring Marvel heroes dealing with the repercussions of that day….technically didn’t happen!
Is that enough evidence for you? No? Your actually gonna make me type this:
ONE MORE DAY.
The Universe was broken and rebuilt several times, Age of Apocalypse, Heroes Reborn, House of M, Genis-Vell detroyed it and rebuilt it when he was Captain Marvel, any story that starts with Infinity, and most recently the “broken timeline” in Age of Ultron. All of these stories, individually or combined can be used as a reason for certain alterations made over the years.
The current Greater Marvel Universe has gotten almost as jumbled as Pre-Crisis DC was, with the Existing 616 being impinged upon by the Ultimate Universe ( which was Marvel’s first New 52 before there was a New 52 ), various alternate stories ( does Hudlin and Romita Jr.’s Marvel Knights Black Panther origin count? What about X-Men First Class? The Marvel Boy mini series from Morrison and Jones, seemed to take place in another universe, but here’s No-Var, right in the 616? All those Season One graphic novels??
And then there’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the companies biggest source of new fans, and integrating aspects of that to make it palatable in the 616.
Nick Fury, who was white in the 616, was played by Samuel L Jackson in the MCU, based off of the Ultimate Nick Fury, then in the 616 white Nick Fury finds out he has a black son, who loses an eye, changes his name to Nick Fury and works for SHIELD,…. with a guy named Agent Coulson, who originated in the MCU, died and was brought back for a TV show and then given his own series in the 616.
By Odins’ beard, that’s more confusing then a Hawkman origin.
Marvel needed to address this overall problem for awhile now. Without retcons, reboots, historical alterations, a Crisis here and there, all of our comics would be populated by geriatric versions of the heroes we knew and loved, or they’d be replaced, changed or modified to the point where they’re unrecognizable. Iron Man needs to be Tony Stark just like Batman needs to be Bruce Wayne…. or no one cares. Sure characters have been replaced in the past, but 9 out of 10 times they all return to there true form. Even death doesn’t stop that.
So Marvel, Like DC with their New 52, had to find a way to keep all these established characters fresh, open to new readers, yet still keep to the core of the characters who have developed legions of fans, fans who follow them more closely then they do some of their own family members. But you can’t make everyone happy all the time, a lesson obvious by reading the comments section of any post New 52 DC article.
But in the digital age of broadband, Netflix, video games that look better than real life, e-readers, reality tv,and handheld devices that allow us access to all of the above, I consider us very lucky to still have actual printed comics.
The explosion of comic related movies, tv shows and video games have led to a new era of eager fans running to comic shops, leading to a somewhat boom in the industry. The comics and their cinematic counterparts need to be somewhat reflective of each other. DC has a long established history of alternate timelines so they have a little more sway than the Marvel U so to speak, who still needs something for the new fans, fresh out of theaters to go grab.
Say you never read comics, and you saw Avengers in the theater. Now you head to a comic shop and say “I want to read all about the Avengers”. Your friendly neighborhood comic shop employee hands you Marvel Masterworks reprinting Lee and Kirby’s inaugural run on that book.
As classic and awesome an issue as could possible be, said consumer might left a bit wanting. Why’s Iron Man all gold and look like an old stove? Where’s the Black Widow and Hawkeye? Why does Loki look like my creepy uncle? What the hell is a Ham Radio????
But give them the first trade to Ultimates, guarantee they’ll be back for volume 2
Both Marvel and DC are companies, and companies need to make money. No money, no comics. That simple. And if you don’t think printed comics are that hard up for new cash flow, keep in mind the following: Marvel sold 1 million copies of the New Star Wars #1. At $4.99 a pop that’s about $ 5 million. Add in variants and exclusives, and we’ll call it $5.5 Million. Lots of money right?
Guardians of the Galaxy ( who???) made $94 Million……. in three days.
Comic Shops still have Star Wars #1 sitting on their shelves a week later.
The cinematic universes are very important to both companies and will continue to exert a creative force on the direction of the comics as long as they keep making money and bringing new fans to the shops, who buys comics, allowing the companies to make comics, you know the, the ones you read!
I’ve been a comic fan for over 2 decades, okay who am I kidding, 3 solid decades, and primarily a fan of the big 2. I invested 3/4 of my life in these stories and I look at Marvel ‘s Secret Wars the same way I look at D.C.’s New 52:
With nothing but excitement.
Just like the New 52, I’ll continue to read the books that have the characters I like, as long as they are done well, and I’ll give new books a try based on their creative teams and what overall plans they have for said book. I’ll drop the books I don’t like and check out the fresh talent this event is sure to bring to the forefront.
I’m just glad there’s still comics to read!
And for all those who complain about what counts and what doesn’t, and what doesn’t fit and who did what when. They all count! I know they do, I read them.
It’s the definition of multiverse.
Just like everything pre-Flashpoint as well as pre-Crisis “counts”, everything pre-Secret Wars “counts”. You couldn’t have had a New 52 after Flashpoint if Barry Allen never came back from the dead after dying in Crisis on Infinite Earths and returning post Infinite Crisis.
Just like you can’t have the post Secret Wars Marvel Universe with the events of pre-Secret Wars 616 happening.
One begets the other.
So just sit back relax and enjoy the ride. If you find some changes don’t suit you, don’t collect it, buy what you like and enjoy this medium of entertainment while you still can…. they’ll be beaming 3D immersive comics to your brain via dreamtech in a few years anyway!