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Three Theories About Uncanny Avengers (SPOILERS)

Marvel Comics frequently throws around the term “earth shattering” to describe crossover events or major storylines. Usually, it’s sound and fury without much substance underneath. However, in “Ragnarok Now” writer Rick Remender has managed to create, somewhat under the radar, an epic storyline that started way back in Uncanny Avengers #6 and ends up being quite literally earth shattering. If you haven’t read it, Uncanny Avengers #17 ends with the Earth exploding, with almost all the superheroes going up with it. This comes pages after Captain America is killed by the undead Grim Reaper (and after the Scarlet Witch, Rogue and others were killed earlier in the series). Thor, one of the only heroes left at the end of the issue, returns to Asgard defeated, his beloved Midgard destroyed. What the &%#$ is going on?  

  Obviously, Marvel isn’t really going to kill all of its heroes. So what does the end of this issue mean and what are the long-range ramifications on Marvel continuity? I think there are three main possibilities.  

1. Illusion

How many times have you been watching a movie or television show in which something shocking happens only to subsequently find out the scene was a dream? This is a common trope for presenting a shocking reality without dealing with its consequences. While I don’t think the dream scenario is likely here, there is a possibility of this storyline being an illusion, especially considering some of the retcons Marvel has pulled over the years.   However, this seems like the least desirable and most remote choice. It would be disappointing because it would be the easiest solution. Usually, the “it’s only a dream” trope is pretty disappointing if not infuriating when it’s employed. Remender doesn’t strike me like the kind of writer who pulls cheap narrative tricks for shock value. However, Uncanny Avengers #17 does begin with a monolog by Havok, talking to his unborn daughter about how the heroes brought this fate on themselves by being a divided team. Maybe this story is some very dark, fantastical version of It’s A Wonderful Life….  


2. Time Travel

There has been an element of time travel throughout the Uncanny Avengers story arc, so this seems like a definite possibility. Although the Apocalypse Twins (Eimin and Uriel) have spent a lot of time recently fighting the Avengers, their big nemesis has always been Kang, who is the master of time travel. Furthermore, many of the problems that emerged in this story were caused by improper time travel by heroes. Wolverine murdered Arcangel (the twins’ father) and Thor also lost his battle ax, Jarnbjorn, while traveling in time. So there seems like a chance that the resolution of the story can be through time travel, going back to undo what’s already been done. The problem with this is that how can one travel back in time when there is no world left from which to start?  


3. Alternate Dimensions

Within this choice, there seem to be two distinct approaches to the alternate dimensions. On one hand, the alternate reality of Uncanny Avengers could be like “Elseworlds” tales in the DC Universe or the Marvel Ultimate Universe. Although we have been led to believe this series took place in the 616 Marvel universe, perhaps it’s actually always been somewhere else and we can enjoy this series in the same way that you would when reading a non-continuity story.   The other possibility is that Uncanny Avengers is an alternate reality that will come to affect the 616 Marvel universe. I think there are real indications that this may be what’s happening. Although Uncanny Avengers has mostly been pretty divorced from the other Avengers titles, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers currently has a story that involves alternate world Avengers. Also, the panels immediately before and after the Celestial destroys Earth in Uncanny Avengers #17 are of Uatu the Watcher. We know that the upcoming “Original Sin” event will involve the Watcher. So perhaps Uncanny Avengers is connected. Maybe this is a reality in which the Watcher should have intervened and did not? Or maybe he did and will later suffer consequences?  

  In one sense, Uncanny Avengers #17 feels like a series concluding issue (and quite one at that!), but it’s not. Many mutants have already been moved to another planet, called Planet X, which is where the next issue (still written by Remender and with art by Daniel Acuna) is set. Wasp, who was not on Earth when it was destroyed, is the last human alive and will have to be protected by her new love, Havok, as Magneto and a new X-Force try to eliminate her. This issue and other upcoming ones will certainly give us more indication how exactly Uncanny Avengers fits into the main Marvel continuity and who are left in this universe to be Avengers.  


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