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At the Special Edition: NYC comic convention that was held over the weekend at Pier 94 in New York, there were some illuminating comments made about Marvel Comics’ current mega-event Secret Wars. During the panel, “Marvel’s Next Big Thing,” which was held on Saturday, writer Brian Michael Bendis made some revealing comments about Secret Wars, being written by Jonathan Hickman with art from Esad Ribic.
Ever since Secret Wars was announced, and especially after a press release of “Battleworld” last year, fans have been clamoring to know whether Marvel is rebooting their entire universe in the way that DC Comics did with the New 52 in 2011. Marvel hasn’t exactly shied away from the suggestion, either. Editor in Chief Axel Alonso has said that Secret Wars marked the end of the first 75 years of Marvel Comics and that post-Secret Wars would start the next 75 years.
However, all along, I was rather skeptical that Marvel would wipe away the entire continuity of their comics for a number of reasons. For one, although DC received a lot of initial press coverage of their reboot, many fans turned away, angry that their dedication to the heroes and series was being undone. Contrary to what many people in the comics industry say, it seems that many of those fans have stayed away from the New 52, and the sales of non-Batman related titles eventually leveled off. Now, after Convergence, the pre-New 52 history of DC Comics seems to be back in play.
Although many higher-ups at Marvel tend to be cheeky and evasive when talking about the future of their comics, Bendis was rather straightforward in saying that Secret Wars was “not a reboot.” He said that Marvel does not need a reboot and never has. This also jives with the sneak peak of All-New, All-Different Avengers, written by Mark Waid with art from Mahmud Asrar, that was released on Free Comic Book Day 2015. This story featured many regular 616 Marvel Comics such as the new Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson/Captain America, and the Vision in addition to Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales).
When I took a look at characters who would likely be changed by Secret Wars, Miles Morales was at the top of the list. He has been such a popular character that he was essentially being wasted in an Ultimate Universe that had lost its luster and sales power. It was almost a certainty that he would come to the “regular” Marvel Universe. The only question was whether he would replace the current Spider-Man. Marvel’s recent promo images from David Marquez seem to indicate that Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen) would be in the new Marvel Universe as well as Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew).
Bendis neatly explained the philosophical impulse behind Secret Wars. He said that most mega-events create buzz through deaths of major characters, so they are essential taking elements away from the universe. He said that many of the Marvel creators were so excited by Secret Wars because it was “additive,” meaning that rather than reducing the number of characters extant in the Marvel Universe, it would be significant;y adding to them (including, he emphasized, villains). He also mentioned that Marvel creators knew well in advance about what Secret Wars was going to be and had time to plan for it.
It seems likely that not all 616 characters will make it through Secret Wars. There can’t be 2-5 version of each major character. Still, the history of the Marvel Universe will be intact. In fact, Bendis confirmed that the events of Secret Wars are in continuity. So while some of the stories are unusual, they will be remembered by the characters surviving the event. In other words, Secret Wars “counts” in regards to continuity.
Another major item discussed by Bendis during the panel was his new series Invincible Iron Man. Many had wondered whether the Iron Man seen in the promo images released by Marvel would in fact be Tony Stark. Bendis confirmed that it is Tony Stark in the armor, though he may be significantly changed by Secret Wars. He also confirmed, when asked by a fan during Q&A, that Stark’s inversion (which occurred in Avengers & X-Men: Axis) would still relevant to Iron Man post-Secret Wars.
Now that we know that the entire 616 Marvel Universe will not be resetting, what exactly do you think will happen after the conclusion of Secret Wars?