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What We Know About Marvel’s 2015 Secret Wars

Over the course of the last few weeks, Marvel Comics has been releasing mysterious teaser images with little information beyond “Summer 2015.” Many of them were named after previous popular comic events like “Infinity Wars,” “Civil War,” “Planet Hulk,” and “Old Man Logan.” However, the images did not exactly match up with how those events had played out, leading some to believe that these teaser series would be related to the Secret Wars mega-event series that was announced last month by Marvel at New York Comic Con.

 

Age of Apocalypse 2015 - Secret Wars

 

This past week, there was confirmation that all of these teasers are a part of next year’s Secret Wars series. To explain how, we have to go back to the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars mini-series, published in 1984-85. During that series, the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Hulk were brought along with a number of super villains such as Dr. Doom, the Wrecking Crew, Molecule Man, and Absorbing Man to a strange world by an entity called the Beyonder. The Beyonder created a world called “Battleworld” and pitted the good heroes (which included, to many of the heroes’ complaints, Magneto) against the evil villains, with the winners being granted their greatest desire.

 

Secret Wars became a huge hit and has taken a place as one of the biggest events in Marvel Comics’ history (the sequel, Secret Wars II, was not nearly as successful or popular). The series actually began because Mattel wanted to get into comic book toy licensing, to compete with Kenner’s DC “Super Powers” toys.  Secret Wars is also notable for being the first major company-wide crossover series at Marvel or DC (Crisis on Infinite Earths was already in the planning stages at DC). At the 2014 NYCC, Marvel announced the new Secret Wars, a year-long event beginning in May 2015, written by Jonathan Hickman (Avengers, Infinity), illustrated by Esad Ribic (Thor), and with covers by Alex Ross (Kingdom Come).

 

Secret Wars

 

The final teaser image that Marvel released last week simply said, “Everything Ends” and featured a “Spring 2015” release, contrasting with all of the other teasers, which had a “Summer 2015” date. This ignited some Internet speculation (imagine!) that Marvel was going to reboot next year. Marvel quickly followed up the “Everything Ends” teaser with one last Thursday that said, “Everything Ends: The SECRET WAR Commences.” To accompany this release, Marvel supplied a video showing how the previous teasers were connected to Secret Wars.

 

The new Secret Wars revives the idea of “Battleworld” but expands it. Each of the previous 15 “Summer 2015” teasers will be different realities situated on Battleworld. Some of these are other realities, such as one where Spider-Man is still married to Mary Jane, while others initially appear to be events that have happened in the main Marvel Universe (usually called the 616 universe). On closer inspection, though, the events seem different, implying that those may be parallel universes in which the Marvel Heroes went through a Civil War or an Armor Wars that were slightly changed from the ones in the 616 universe.

 

Secret Wars 2015

 

Secret Wars is the payoff for the years-long story that Jonathan Hickman has been writing in Avengers and New Avengers. Different realities and different worlds are encroaching on the 616 universe, threatening all of the worlds with extinction. In New Avengers, the Illuminati have been taking the drastic measure of destroying worlds to prevent this while Steve Rogers in Avengers is trying to stop the Illuminati. So Secret Wars now appears to be the culmination of these threads. Somehow (perhaps the Beyonder again?), these realities are brought together on Battleworld. It would make sense that the prize this time would not be one’s own desire but the promise of saving the hero’s own reality.

 

The big question that remains – along with some smaller plot-based questions – is whether there will be a reboot at Marvel, related to Secret Wars. It’s interesting that during the 1980s, then Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter wanted to make some major changes to the titles and considered a reboot, before settling on Secret Wars (which Shooter wrote), through which many major changes were enacted (Spider-Man’s black suit and She-Hulk replacing Thing in FF, among others). So it wouldn’t be totally shocking if the 2015 Secret Wars led to major changes at Marvel.

 

2015 Secret Wars #1

 

The Battleworld video released on Thursday even ends with the logo “All New Marvel.” This is similar to the “All-New Marvel Now!” branding. On one hand, this could just be the latest re-branding that allows Marvel to re-launch some series. There is definitely a strong chance that Marvel will drastically change some heroes, perhaps even replacing some with alternate reality versions. However, I do not think Marvel will ultimately have a company-wide reboot like DC’s “New 52.” Marvel could instead be doing a “soft” reboot, where some aspects are changed but the entire reality/history of the universe isn’t wiped away.

 

We’re sure to get much more information on the 2015 Secret Wars over the next year, which should make Marvel’s plan for the series and their long-term plan clearer. What do you think about Secret Wars? What realities will you root for? What do you want to see come out of the series? Let us know in the comments.

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