Infinite Marvel Earths?

As Tony Stark explained in final issue of this summer's Marvel event <em>Age of Ultron</em>, "we <em>broke</em> the space-time continuum." Because of Wolverine and Sue Storm's multiple time jaunts throughout the Marvel Universe in an attempt to undo Ultron's ultimate victory over humanity, the walls of reality are seemingly breaking down in the Marvel Universe, meaning that characters are crossing over into each others' realities, and all bets are off as to what kind of crisis this will end up precipitating. <p>What this means on a practical level right now is that Marvel is headed towards mash-up heaven. Spider-Man 2099 has already taken up residence in <b>Superior Spider-Man</b>, and we're headed toward an Ultimate Universe-Marvel Universe Galactus showdown. But if all of the various Marvel realities are breaking down and running into each other, these are only only the start of what we can expect. <p>Here are 10 more Mighty Marvel Mash-Ups that we're hoping to see as the Marvel Multiverse collapses in on itself.

STAR COMICS REBORN

If ever there was a time to resurrect Marvel's mid-1980s imprint for younger readers — an imprint that featured such original creations as <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Terry><em>Planet Terry</em></a>, <a href=http://www.comicvine.com/wally-the-wizard/4050-3518/><em>Wally The Wizard</em></a> — then surely, it's with the beginning of an event that promises to rewrite Marvel reality as we know it. <p>If Jonathan Hickman can fearlessly bring the much-maligned New Universe into mainstream continuity over in the publisher's flagship <em>Avengers</em>, then surely it's time for some equally brave creator to bring some all-ages action to the 616. One <a href=http://marvel.com/news/story/9496/exclusive_x-babies_vs_star_comics>2009 mini-series</a> wasn't enough!

NEW UNIVERSE CIVIL WAR

And speaking of the return of the New Universe, the version appearing in the current <em>Avengers</em> storyline marks a third incarnation of the characters and concepts that originally appeared in 1986, after the original version was revamped by Warren Ellis for the short-lived 2006 <em>newuniversal</em> revival. <p>With three different versions of the Star Brand — theoretically, an all-powerful weapon on a cosmic scale — on the loose, not to mention different versions of Justice, Spitfire and Nightmask, amongst others, what're the odds that the collapse of realities would bring them into contact with each other? It could be Marvel Comics' very own <a href=http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Crisis:_Legion_of_3_Worlds><em>Legion of Three Worlds</em></a>, only for characters with even lower sales than the Legion of Super-Heroes!

MARVEL APES VS. DUCKWORLD

Once upon a time (2008), Marvel published a comic called <a href=http://marvel.com/comics/characters/1011350/marvel_apes><em>Marvel Apes</em></a>, set on an alternate Earth filled with simian versions of familiar superheroes with names like Spider-Monkey, Iron Mandrill and the Ape-Vengers. <p>Once upon a different time, Marvel published a comic called <em>Howard the Duck</em>, in which the eponymous lead came from <a href=http://marvel.com/universe/Duckworld>Duckworld</a>, an alternate Earth where ducks replaced humans as the dominant species. Both of these anthropomorphic alternate Earths are canon in Marvel continuity. As the walls that separate alternate realities in Marvel canon are now breaking down, surely it can only be a matter of time before we see the kind of all-out duck/monkey warfare that not even National Geographic could imagine. To deny us that pleasure would just be cruel.

ROCKET RACCOON VS. SPIDER-HAM

While we're on the subject of Marvel's anthropomorphism, it's been too long since we've seen Peter Porker, a.k.a. <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Spider-Ham>the Spectacular Spider-Ham</a>. It's possible that the powers that be are concerned that the all-ages pig version of Spider-Man wouldn't necessarily be in tune with today's audience, but there's one way to address that: Give him a fan-favorite cynical sidekick… Namely, <em>Guardians of The Galaxy</em>'s Rocket Raccoon. <p>It's the ideal partnership: Rocket fits into Spider-Ham's animalized world, but brings an all-new hard-bitten worldview more in tune with modern readers — as well as the kind of buzz that can only come from a starring role in a major motion picture due next year. A take on Spider-Ham has appeared in the <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</I> animated series, so it'd be a full-on multimedia jam session.

FEARLESS DEFENDERS VS. FEMIZONIA

In the current Marvel Universe as it exists, the Fearless Defenders stand out for their women-only line-up, matched only by the loose affiliation of characters making up Brian Wood's <em>X-Men</em>. <p>What would happen, then, if the Defenders found themselves stranded on Femizonia, the woman-ruled alternate America of the future that is known as the birthplace for both Lyra, <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Lyra_%28Earth-8009%29>one of Marvel's many She-Hulks</a>, and also Thundra, the <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Thundra_%28Earth-715%29>man-hating sometimes-member of the Fantastic Four</a>? Cheesy exploitation or nuanced discussion of gender, either one could be on the table with this particular pairing. Make ours Femizonia Defenders, please.

HANK PYM IN THE MICROVERSE

As a high concept, it's almost irresistible: Take Marvel's smallest heroes — the Enigma Force, a.k.a. <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Microns_%28Earth-616%29>the former Micronauts before Marvel lost the rights to use the name</a> — and team them with Marvel's biggest hero… in terms of physical stature, at least. <p><em>Age of Ultron</em>'s finale suggests that Pym may be done with the size-changing heroics for now, but if he were stranded in a world where size matters more than usual, who's to say that he wouldn't like to take advantage of those ever-useful Pym Particles one more time?

1602 + 2099 = ?

One is a re-imagining of the Marvel Universe in the distant past! The other is a re-imagining of the Marvel Universe in the not-so-distant-anymore future! Together, they <em>fight crime</em> — no, wait, together, they offer a chance to compare and contrast different takes on the core characters, ideas and values of Marvel Comics, as well as tell a story of very different cultures and sensibilities colliding — with, we can only hope, a misunderstanding or two in there to begin with, to ensure fights between <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Peter_Parquagh_(Earth-311)>Peter Parquagh</a> and <a href=http://marvel.wikia.com/Miguel_O%27Hara_%28Earth-928%29>Miguel O'Hara</a> in the classic tradition. <p>After all, thematic commentary on the essential and necessary truths present in Marvel's stories is all well and good, but there are some things we just expect from this kind of story.

HERE COMES TOMORROW (AGAIN)

We've seen a lot of different futures for the X-Men throughout the years. The most famous, of course, is the dystopia depicted in the classic "Days of Future Past" storyline, where Sentinels rule the world and mutants are an endangered species. <p>In contrast, there's also Grant Morrison and Marc Silvestri's "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc that closed out <em>New X-Men</em> and offered a world where mutantkind has become the dominant species, as well as Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's post-apocalyptic "Old Man Logan" where… well, no-one really seems to be the dominant species anymore, really. <p>If reality really <em>is</em> becoming blurred as the result of Wolverine's actions, wouldn't it almost be fitting if each of these different futures started blurring in on each other, forcing each future's Wolverine to have to team up to keep everyone alive?

AVENGERS NOT-QUITE ASSEMBLED

There are a bunch of different versions of the Avengers these days, between the regular Marvel Universe version — with a line-up that could already take on most foes and defeat them without breaking a sweat — the <em>Earth's Mightiest Heroes</em> animated versions, the Ultimates and the movie characters (who theoretically exist in the comics via the <em>Marvel Cinematic Universe</em> spin-offs and tie-ins). <p>Instead of simply putting them altogether as one über-team (as fun as it would be to see each version of Captain America interact, or watch the various Tony Starks act appalled at each other's behavior), what if one bad guy were to end up ricocheting between realities and facing off against all of each team individually, using what he's learned from his experiences with one against the others? (Alternatively, tweak this idea slightly and just have Doctor Doom from the Marvel Universe bouncing between realities to screw with everyone because <em>he is Doom</em>.)

SPIDER-MEN 2: EVEN MORE SPIDER-MEN

The first <em>Spider-Men</em> series gave the regular Marvel Universe Peter Parker and the Ultimate Universe Miles Morales a chance to meet… but they're nowhere near all the various Spider-Men that've shown up throughout Marvel's history. <p>With the multiverse folding in upon itself, it wouldn't take too much effort to bring Parker — either resurrected, picked from history before his death or an alternate version altogether — and Morales face to face with <em>1602</em>'s Peter Parquagh, Miguel O'Hara's Spider-Man 2099, Otto Octavius' Superior Spider-Man or even Ben Reilly's original clone flavor of wall-crawler. <p>Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but the idea of bringing together all of Marvel's Spider-Men for a one-off adventure that forces them all to work (and, of course, joke) together against a common foe? That just sounds awesome, admit it. Especially if Peter Porker gets involved.

10 Mighty MARVEL MULTIVERSE Mash-Ups We Have Our Fingers Crossed For

Date: 19 June 2013 Time: 08:37 PM ET