You Got Question? So Do We1 of 12Tuesday, Marvel Comics made the bombshell announcement that, as of May's Secret Wars #1, the Marvel Universe as we know it will no longer exist. In its wake will be a new universe that combines the classic Marvel Universe with the Ultimate Universe, as well as bits and pieces of other alternate Marvel timelines.
Of course, while that answers the question of just exactly why Secret Wars will be such a massive story for Marvel, it leaves an almost uncountable number of new questions.
While we don't have all the answers, Newsarama is ready to lay out ten lingering questions about Secret Wars, the end of the Marvel Universe and the new Marvel Universe that will follow.
What happens to Marvel's current ongoing series?2 of 12One of the biggest questions coming out of Marvel's press event was what exactly will happen with Marvel's ongoing series. Brevoort and Alonso addressed this somewhat, with Alonso saying Secret Wars would "whittle down the title count a little bit," while Brevoort clarified that "If anything it will be stable, if maybe not a couple less."
What is less clear is exactly which titles will make it through. It seems as though Secret Wars will see most of Marvel's line suspended in favor of titles that will feed into the larger crossover, ala "Age of Apocalypse."
On the other side, only time will tell. Said Alonso, "We don't want to give away too much. No one is blindsided by this. Every one has had years of preparation to be able to tell their stories up to and beyond Secret Wars...There will be a certain amount of overlap where certain titles will continue, finish their stories during Secret Wars and you'll see how they endcap. There will of course be new series launching during Secret Wars."
How Does All-New, All-Different Avengers tie-in?3 of 12One of those titles will undoubtedly be the recently announced All-New, All-Different Avengers. It's hard to say exactly how ‘ANADA’ will tie-in to Secret Wars - especially since Marvel may be a little up in the air on the concept as well. As recently as one week ago, Tom Brevoort told Newsarama that there would be no Avengers or New Avengers titles on the shelves during Secret Wars.
Of course, that all changed with the ‘ANADA’ teaser issued on January 16, mere days after Brevoort's comments. Was Brevoort just doing some clever wordplay, saying that there would be no titles named Avengers and New Avengers, thus making ‘ANADA’ the prime Avengers title except in name?
However you decide, it's surely an attempt to ensure that the Avengers will have a book in stores when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters. Perhaps another planned title was renamed to ensure the Avengers brand. Time will tell - after it runs out, of course.
How far reaching will Secret Wars be?4 of 12Judging by the preview images we've seen, nothing from Marvel's huge comics oeuvre is off-limits in forging Battleworld - and possibly the new Marvel Universe. But what about Marvel's other media offerings?
It seems safe to say that, while Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley has asserted that fully integrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe into its publishing line would be downright impossible, some bits and pieces of the best characterization might find their way into the new world -- the same way bits and pieces of classic Marvel lore influenced the Ultimate Universe, perhaps. But with Spider-Verse pulling in elements of even the most obscure Spider-Man ephemera, will Secret Wars do the same for the larger Marvel Universe?
With even the much-maligned Marville making an appearance on Battleworld, who's to say we won't see parts of Marvel's successful animated wing, or even farther reaching source material?
Who will survive and what will be left of them?5 of 12Who survives Secret Wars - not just in terms of death, but in terms of concept - is a hard nut to crack. You can assume that we'll see certain aspects of continuity continue unabated, as it seems unlikely that Marvel will launch high-profile books like Howard the Duck and Ant-Man mere months before outright canning them. It also seems a safe bet that the new Thor and All-New Captain America will still be running around after Secret Wars.
On the other hand, there are some obvious casualties of this new status quo. The Fantastic Four will likely return in some form or another, perhaps kicking off the new Marvel Universe as they launched the old one way back in '61. But what about concepts like the X-Men - hugely popular, but massively convoluted - that have strayed far from their core path, with some characters such as Cyclops seeing almost unprecedented character assassination?
Do we finally know just what has been keeping the original X-Men in the present day?
Will Secret Wars be a continuity heavy event?6 of 12With more than 40 locations - some of them obscure and inscrutable - making up Battleworld, and hundreds of possible realities to explore, it is safe to say that there are gonna be some deep cuts popping up in Secret Wars.
But just how much will those bits matter to the bigger picture? Will Secret Wars require an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel's 54 year history to fully enjoy?
A publishing move only happens like this for one reason: sales. That's not to say Marvel is creatively bankrupt. Rather, it reinforces the idea that streamlining and restructuring its publishing arm is being done to welcome in new readers, perhaps drawn in by Marvel's hugely successful films, or simply by the premise of a fresh, more accessible start.
And that's the key. While Secret Wars will undoubtedly cater to longtime fans with eagle-eyes capable of catching numerous references and Easter eggs, it is also very likely that the larger story will be designed to welcome new fans to the fold, and to allow them an opportunity to understand the Marvel Universe at large.
What is worth keeping from the Ultimate Universe?7 of 12Marvel's Ultimate Universe debuted in 2000, spearheaded by Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley's hugely popular Ultimate Spider-Man. Designed to allow new readers, drawn in by the wildly successful Spider-Man and X-Men films, to get in on the ground floor, the Ultimate Universe appealed to those fans who longed for stories featuring their favorite characters untethered by the complications of 40 years of backstory.
Of course, 15 years later, the Ultimate Universe isn't exactly free of those confines either. As its core titles have changed, with Ultimate X-Men ending, and its Peter Parker dying to make room for Miles Morales, his successor as Spider-Man, some aspects of its universe have become almost wholly inaccessible on their own. Who thought Ultimate Comics: Ultimates was a good name for a book?
But there's still lots of good stuff in there. As Newsarama speculated a while back, Miles Morales, for one, will almost certainly make it into the post-Secret Wars universe. And perhaps there's something to those rumors of Fantastic Four's cancellation tying into the new film, just not in the way we thought. Might the Ultimate FF - a younger, sleeker FF more closely resembling their film counterparts - find their way into the new universe?
Who is coming back from the dead?8 of 12Just as there is a question as who will survive the post-Secret Wars transition, there's also the little matter who - or what - will be making a comeback. For one thing, that sure looks like the Beyonder in some of those recent teaser images.
Beyond that - get it? - Alonso also teased the return of Gwen Stacy, saying that if Marvel was going to do something like that, "this would be the place to do it." Of course, fans know that Gwen Stacy, as Spider-Woman, is the breakout character of Spider-Verse, with her own title, Spider-Gwen, launching just before Secret Wars.
And, with Wolverine currently dead, but appearing in Secret Wars, it's a safe bet that some version of Logan will be alive and kicking in the new universe. Whether it's the return of the classic, or the integration of some other version is anyone's guess, but it seems unlikely that iconic characters like Wolverine, Professor X, or even the Watcher will be absent from a more streamlined Marvel.
Who will be the architects of the new Marvel Universe?9 of 12With Jonathan Hickman taking a break from mainstream comics after Secret Wars, there is the lingering question of just who will be in the driver's seat of Marvel's biggest franchise, the Avengers. Hickman has apparently been a strong driving force for the last several years, leading the entire Marvel Universe toward Secret Wars. Who will step up in his absence?
It's impossible to imagine that creators like Rick Remender and Jason Aaron, writers whose vision is shaping much of Marvel's current output, won't be at the forefront, or that mainstays like Brian Bendis won't have a place. But remember, the same thing that pulled fellow Architects Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker away -- success in creator-owned books -- could also pull Bendis, Remender and Aaron away. Bendis in particular, if the Powers TV series proves a success.
But will the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe have a driving force, a team of creative visionaries who hold everything together, ensuring a streamlined launch for the new continuity? Regarding new creative teams, Alonso said, "We'll be making announcements as well about the creative teams and giving more information that will also fill in the picture,"
"We don't want to give away too much. No one is blindsided by this. Every one has had years of preparation to be able to tell their stories up to and beyond Secret Wars," he continued.
In other words, the answer to this question may become clear sooner rather than later.
How much influence did the New 52 have on this decision?10 of 12Former Marvel Editor-In-Chief and current Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada once famously said Marvel would never do a "Crisis," because it doesn't need one. While this sentiment was largely echoed by Alonso and Brevoort at today's event, there is also a curious question of timing.
Brevoort also said that Secret Wars has been in the works at Marvel for several years, with this event as an endgame for Jonathan Hickman's takeover of the Avengers line at the start of Marvel NOW, which came hot on the heels of DC's New 52. That's not to say that the New 52 invented the reboot - not for DC Comics, anyway - but Marvel couldn't have missed the sales bump DC enjoyed as a result of their relaunch.
It seems doubtful that Marvel is entirely playing copycat, especially when rumors of a reboot or restructuring have been rearing their heads time and time again about Marvel, but Secret Wars may be Marvel's way of expanding on the proof of concept - and possibly learning from the successes and failures - the New 52 model.
Is this a reboot?11 of 12Perhaps the most burning question surrounding Secret Wars is, is this a reboot? What exactly do we call Marvel's integration of its disparate universes? Alonso addressed this - vaguely - in today's Q&A, saying "Read and find out," before elaborating, "We don't view our history as being broken or something that we need to fix. If anything we think we are building upon that history and we are taking the best and biggest pieces of it and seeing how easily they coexist with one another."
That answer isn't exactly as succinct as it sounds. While we may not see a whole cloth revision of Marvel's history, it's a safe bet that there are going to be some changes. Will the pieces of the Ultimate Universe that survive be folded into Marvel's history, or will the mixing of oil and water be part of the new Marvel's charm? Will the Ultimate Universe be used to fill in gaps left as the bits that are no longer working get left behind?
The bottom line is, Alonso and Brevoort are specifically avoiding terms like "reboot," but until the books are in our hands, we won't know just how deep the changes will run.
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