Love it or hate it, Marvel's event machine keeps rolling. With the changes which occurred in the wake of <I>Original Sin</I> and <I>Axis</I> - namely an insidious, inverted Tony Stark, a female Thor, and a new Captain America - still fresh, Marvel is chugging right along into <I>Secret Wars</I>, a new limited series that promises to change everything we think we know about the Marvel Universe. <p>But that's a tune we've heard before - several times, in fact. And just how many of those had any lasting impact on the status quo? More than you might think. <p>While some aspects of Marvel's event, like the revolving door between life and death, are almost a punchline, there are still events that have had huge ramifications on the Marvel Universe. We now present ten Marvel events that had major impact!
Early on in <I>The Infinity Gauntlet</I>, it seemed as if it would be the proverbial series that would change everything – half of humanity was dead! Natural disasters had altered the very world our characters lived in! – but everything was reset by series' end, with the only lasting effects that which meant that a new <I>Warlock</I> series could be spun out of the whole shebang. A masterclass in the whole "No change, just the illusion of change" thing. <p>A spiritual follow-up, <I>Infinity</I>, promised more lasting change - while Thanos and the gems were still a part of the story, the biggest fallout from that event was the unleashing of the terrigen mists and unlocking of thousands if not millions of Inhumans. <p>Now, the Infinity Stones will once again be the center of conflict in a new <I>Infinity Gauntlet</I> series spinning out of the revived <I>Secret Wars</I>, which will follow a young woman who recovers one of the Gems on Battleworld.
2011's massive event series featured developments that certainly felt big at the time, and by the final issue of the series, Bucky Cap and Thor were still dead, and Paris was a city of stone statues instead of people. <p>And then came the three epilogue issues that, one by one, undid each of those things. Cleaning up after itself or a statement on the impermanence of death in superhero comics? Potentially both (<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/facing-fear-fear-itself-aftermath-111208.html>Fraction told Newsarama at the time</a>, "Death in superhero comics is meaningless. It's the escape. It's the resurrection. That's the story. These issues were kind of the chance to focus on that under the microscope, once all the pyrotechnics were done."), but <I>Fear Itself</I>'s very visible use of the reset button was something that made the idea of a crossover event that changes everything forever that little bit harder to take.
It's tempting to suggest that ending the then-long-running thread of "Who Do You Trust?" and "Maybe one of these characters is an alien shapeshifter" is enough to make the end of <em>Secret Invasion</em> an important event in and of itself. <p>In terms of narrative, though, the series moved Tony Stark away from the position of power that he'd been in for months, and placed everything in the hands of Norman Osborn, heralding a period where the bad guys really had won... Well, at least until they started messing everything up for themselves.
This is a tough one, because it wasn't the end of <I>Secret Wars</I> that changed everything, but the start – but that's what you get when the entire series is essentially a twelve-part flashback to explain away the changes already seen in everyone's regular book. <p>But still: She-Hulk in the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man's black costume that would later turn out to be Venom are two changes that may not have stuck forever, but ended up becoming surprisingly welcome additions to the canon. Less so, that giant dragon girlfriend for Lockheed, of course. And let's hope "Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger," doesn't come back when <I>Secret Wars</I> sees a revival as a whole new event later this year.
Unusually, <b>Schism</b> was an event book that existed for the sole purpose of the end result: Splitting the X-Men franchise in two. And yet it worked, and in the process refreshed the franchise in a way that nothing else had managed since the days of Grant Morrison. <p>It wasn't just the clash of ideologies that surprisingly came to life, but the characters presenting those ideologies. "Wolverine as Teacher" made perfect sense, even as it seemed counter-intuitive, a sign that something has gone right. <p>The separation between teams was compounded by our <i>next</i> item, and it's telling that there are still multiple successful ongoing books for each side.
Aside from the death of Charles Xavier – like we've never seen <em>that</em> before – and the criminalization of the "Phoenix Five," what exactly did <em>AVX</em> achieve for the larger MU? <p>Well, in theory it ushered in an era where the X-Men and cosmic characters were brought further into the wider Marvel Universe, which is something that may end up being a quieter, but more meaningful change to Marvel than we normally see from these event books. <p>Oh yeah, it also happened to (mostly) reverse the lasting consequences of our next item on the countdown.
"No More Mutants." With those three words, the Scarlet Witch upended the X-Men franchise in a seemingly out-of-nowhere denouement to the alternate world series, reducing the mutant population of the Marvel Universe to less than 200 and beginning a near-decade long race against extinction that finally came to an end with <I>Avengers Vs. X-Men</I>. <p>Of course, the House of M reality will see a resurgence in this summer's <I>Secret Wars</I> as the source of one of Battleworld's many zones, the Monarchy of M.
Mutant Massacre wasn't an event crossover in the way that we understand them today – where was the core miniseries? Why no "Mutant Massacre" banner on the covers of the tie-ins? – but it certainly had the kind of impact that something like, say, <em>Maximum Security</em> could only dream of, marking the end of the X-Men's stay at the Xavier's school for close to 100 issues, the deaths of a handful of familiar faces, new members of teams, the end of Warren Worthington as the Angel and a more somber tone for a franchise already known for its dourness.
Hey, remember that time when a crossover ended with the Marvel Universe devoid of some of its most famous characters? Now, we can look back and say that the absence of the Fantastic Four, Avengers and their respective members was only a temporary thing, but at the time that was far from a known fact, meaning that the <I>Onslaught</I> saga genuinely did have that feeling of having changed everything in real ways, possibly forever. If only there had been an Internet back then*, it would've broken in half! (* I know that there actually was. I am old.) <p>Onslaught has made a couple of comebacks, and the new "Red Onslaught," who is Red Skull with parts of Xavier's brain in his head, was the central villain of Marvel's recent <I>Axis</I> event.
Oh, <I>Civil War</I>, how you changed the Marvel Universe! There was that whole "You work for the government or you're a criminal" thing, that whole "Now no one gets on with anyone else" thing, the skillful creation of a second Avengers book for the first time since <I>West Coast Avengers</I>, but more importantly, it changed the Marvel Universe by changing the Marvel Universe. <p>Even though <I>House of M</I>'s decimation of mutantkind came earlier, it was <I>Civil War</I> that felt as if it actually changed the tone and content of all of Marvel's line for months afterwards, setting the pattern for events that followed. <p>And <I>Civil War</I> is the Marvel event that just keeps giving, not only seeing a resurgence as the Warzone, a <I>Secret Wars</I> territory set during the events of <I>Civil War</I>, and as the subtitle of the third Captain America film, <I>Captain America: Civil War</I>, which sees Chris Evans's Steve Rogers going head to head with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark.