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With Marvel’s Secret Wars officially beginning, it’s time we face some harsh truths. No, not that the Marvel Universe is dead or that they’re going to want to ring out every cent we have through 200 variant covers, one-shots, and side stories. Not even the fact that one of my most favorite characters may already be dead.
No, the truth I speak of is much more uncomfortable than all that. It’s one that not a lot of people talk about. An inevitable reality. An outcome that was coming from the first Secret Wars. The proverbial “elephant in the room”.
I think that 2015’s Secret Wars may be a too “big” an event.
Now first off, let’s break it down. The scale of an event is usually a powerful draw for people. A couple Spider-Men fighting isn’t too noteworthy, but all the Spider-Things ever is worth buying multiples of! The bigger you make it, the bigger the draw, the more you sell.
So naturally there’s an incentive to ramp up the scale. Each event must be bigger, more epic, than the last. From that very moment, we’ve been building to the logical conclusion. We reach a level of scale that can’t be successfully exceeded.
I think that may be the current Secret Wars. Now, sure, if you went back to the first Secret Wars, people may have said the same thing. “All the cool heroes and villains fighting together? How can you get bigger than that?!” I can understand the sentiment of ‘speaking too soon’.
However, think about it for a minute. Multiple Marvel universes are going to be duking out. And we’re not talking about just any ol’ universes, either, it’s like Marvel’s Greatest Hits. The biggest stories of the last, man, mostly forever? You can’t get any bigger because there’s nowhere else to go.
And so now that puts us on the brink of what could possibly be the biggest Marvel event ever. That does seem like a bit of problem, doesn’t it? How are you going to sell events if you can’t keep getting bigger? Where do we go from here? What’s the next big deal.
I guess, if you were betting readers, you would assume that they’d take time post-Secret Wars to build up new stories to build off of, kinda like the Nu52. There’s probably some truth to that, but how long before Marvel tries to push something through? I mean, we have some kind of event a couple times a year. That money will be hard to resist.
Where could you go from here? Well since you’d run out of Marvel, you’d have to go outside Marvel. Another crossover with DC? I mean, that’s been done. Multiple times. No, you’d have to go even bigger. Maybe Marvel’s multiverse vs DC’s. Red Son Superman fighting What-If Vampire Wolverine. Earth X Captain America vs 90s Superboy. Literally Marvel comics vs. DC comics.
Though, this does raise the question. Should we go bigger? There’s something to say for giving characters breathing room. Events are nice, but something seems to be lost if you have an earth shattering mega-event every five years. Characters need time to grow so that we care about them when the event does happen. That attitude seems to be long extinct.
So while I’ll be interested to see how these new Secret Wars play out, I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve hit something of a wall. It’s early, maybe there will be something we’re not expecting, who knows? I guess it’s history regardless.