The Marvel universe as we once knew it is no more! An event years in the making and one that culminates in the Secret Wars crossover event, Marvel Comics has destroyed what’s left of its multiverse by smashing the last two planets together. All that’s left is Battleworld, a patchwork of lands from different points in Marvel history. I generally avoid crossover events like the plague, but the promise of total annihilation was too hard to ignore. So far, I’m glad to to be in!
Why did it have to come to this in the first place? Well, this story has been bubbling up for years on the Avengers side of Marvel, which I don’t really follow. From what I gather, parts of the multiverse began to collapse until the only thing left was Earth-616 – the main continuity, and Earth-1610 – the Ultimate universe, home of Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Those two Earths would end up on a crash course that no one could stop, causing everything to blow up.
What’s left now is a strange new planet made up of lands from different points in Marvel’s history, as well as a few new places. On one part of the world, an alternate-universe version of Spider-Man is still married to Mary Jane Watson. In another exists a land where there are only female Avengers. In a third, the X-Men are still trying to free mutant-kind from Sentinels. From Years of Future Past to Spider-Island, this new patchwork world is creating new stories based on previous key events.
On paper, it’s a scummy excuse to re-hash stories to cash off their equity. However, that’s not what’s going on here. You see, this new Battleworld is run by Dr. Doom and things are not moving forward as you’d expect. Some stories, like the aforementioned Years of Future Past, have very major differences to its predecessor while tying into the larger Secret Wars narrative. I’m on issue #3 of the main series now, which really starts to reveal what’s going on here. And what’s going on is insane. Johnathan Hickman is telling a great crossover story with the power to change or break everything.
As for the supporting books, those have been great too. The first issue of A-Force is a tease for how cool an all-girl Avengers could be. Old Man Logan is gritty and powerful, even during its intentionally calmer moments. Inferno, based on an X-Men arc I’ve never read, was really entertaining. X-Men ’92, based on the 90s X-Men cartoon, was really a throwback to the good old days with some new wrinkles to tie it in with the main plot. Most surprising to me was Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. There’s a fire and passion that comes through in that issue that hasn’t been present in modern Spider-Man comics since Superior Spider-Man ended.
Kudos to Marvel for the hot start to Secret Wars. From the concepts, to the writing, to the art, everything about this event so far has been inspired work. Fingers crossed that the quality continues to remain high for the duration of this, as it directly leads us into the All-New, All-Different era of Marvel. If you have any interest in the Marvel comic universe, you really should be keeping tabs on at least the main Secret Wars series. More posts to come on this topic as things progress!