"Everything Ends. Spring 2015."
That's what Marvel Comics' presumably final teaser in a long series says - and that's all it says. In fact, that's all the email from them containing the image said, too. So what does this all mean?
Looking back, Marvel teased Civil War, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, X-Men: Years of Future Past, Planet Hulk, Armor Wars, House of M, Infinity Gauntlet, Old Man Logan, Age of Apocalypse, Future Imperfect, Spider-Man's Marriage, Avengers vs X-Men, X-Men '92, and the new stories Inhumans: Attilan Rising and the End of the Ultimate Universe. That's fifteen teasers in all, and all with the time of "Summer 2015" written on them. Today, we see that the beginning of the end happens just before all of those things are revisited, and as we've posited all along, it's hitting at the start of Secret Wars, in the Spring.
What little we know about Secret Wars in a concrete way fits with all of these teasers. The year-long series will be a culmination of all of the time travel and alternate reality tampering that's been done at Marvel Comics. While initially writers and editors teased that they would be addressing the significant amount that's happened in just the last several years: things like Beast bringing the five original X-Men forward in time, the Phoenix Force, a primal part of the Universe being fractured and destroyed, the incursions of other worlds in New Avengers and the Ultimate Universe, the latter clashing with the regular 616 universe multiple times, time being altered, locked, and altered again in Uncanny Avengers (with a multiple-reality team being thrown together, to boot), Spider-Man 2099 being stuck in the present day and all of the insane world-clashing and Spider-killing of Spider-Verse - these have all happened in the last three years, during Jonathan Hickman's run on the Avengers titles, and it's just the tip of the iceberg. We thought that things like the tear in the fabric of reality in the cosmic books from just before that and Age of Ultron which did a significant amount of pardoxical time travel could influence it as well.
Then, thanks to one question asked at New York Comic Con, the doors were flung open. Marvel President of Publishing Dan Buckley said, "every story in every book is leading to Secret Wars." Marvel's teasers after that have traveled through time and space, touching on popular events from the last ten years, but also from the last thirty. They've even reached into the realm of animation (something Spider-Verse is doing, too). Even the two "new" stories feature touchstones of the recent past, with the Inhumans becoming more populous and more significant after Infinity, and the Ultimate Universe being a major source of time and space woes for pretty much the whole of its existence.
And so, here we are. "Time Runs Out," as the New Avengers and Avengers banner across the top of current new issues says. "Everything Ends," as the teaser says. Indeed, the "biggest event ever" at Marvel Comics where "every book is leading" to it seems it may be even more significant than anyone expected.