Ultimate 2.0?1 of 12If there’s one phrase that has come up again and again from Marvel over the last decade, it’s “put the genie back in the bottle.” One More Day and House of M/Decimation were both attempts to put different genies back in different bottles, showing that the House of Ideas can be very aware of its problems, even if it’s not too easy to come up with solutions… until now.
Secret Wars, with its multiple realities, “end of the Marvel Universe” and potential for a straight-up reboot, gives Marvel the chance to give any concept, character or continuity problem a makeover, smoothing away problems with the ease of revisionist history. No longer will we have to wonder how Reed Richards could have been in the O.S.S. during World War II! Dangling plot lines from cancelled series can be safely ignored entirely, because they never actually happened anymore! And, finally, we can ignore the Spider-Mobile altogether!
In case Marvel really does decide to use Secret Wars to put some new genies in the bottle, here are some suggestions of ones they might want to consider.
Re-Set The Counter — Slightly2 of 12The histories of some Marvel characters — and some costumed identities — are just way, way too complicated not only for the average reader, but for anyone who’s not dedicated to researching certain subjects. How many Captain Marvels have there been by now, in Marvel alone? How many Ghost Riders? Post-Secret Wars, it’s the perfect opportunity to simplify the overly-convoluted mythology of the universe by picking and choosing the best of the legacies of a number of characters and moving forward from there. Sure, a lot of people will miss Genis-Vell, but isn’t it just cleaner to have the Captain Marvel mantle pass directly from Mar-Vell to Carol, and declare that Monica Rambeau has always been known as Spectrum?
Nobody Dies! (Okay, Some People Die)3 of 12There are a lot of important figures in Marvel history who aren’t with us anymore, from iconically-dead figures like Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy to more recent arrivees in the afterlife like Wolverine or the Watcher. Thanks to Secret Wars, each and every one of them is up for a potential resurrection without having to deal with that whole “How did they come back from the dead?” problem. If nothing else, let’s have Uatu return. What good is he to anyone dead, anyway?
Days Of Future Whatever4 of 12Before Marvel adopted the Multiverse model properly, it was a universe that had countless possible futures that had been visited by various heroes over the years, with humanity either being subjugated by Sentinels, Martians, Badoon or whatever other threat that could be dealt with in a couple of issues of Marvel Two-in-One. If Marvel is using Secret Wars to cut down on the parallel Earths, could it maybe also cut down on its use of the future as a go-to plot device for awhile? Let’s live in the here and now, and not create brand new multiple contradictory timelines so quickly.
No More Phoenix5 of 12Perhaps an odd choice, but hear me out: what if Marvel decided that there had never been a Phoenix? That way, you don’t have to deal with Jean Grey’s fake death, the Madelyne Pryor fiasco and Jean’s “resurrection” that followed, the second death of Jean Grey, or any of Avengers Vs. X-Men; in return, you get Jean Grey alive and well and wandering around the Marvel Universe from now on. The original "Dark Phoenix Saga" would still exist in reprints, of course, but by eliminating the Phoenix from continuity, you lose a lot of ill-considered and confusing retcons and get an important character back in return. Could that be win-win?
Brian Bendis has already stated a Jean Grey series was being discussed by him and Marvel in late 2014. What if those talks turned into some action?
Fifty+ Years With No Captain America6 of 12The backstory of the Captain America identity gets a little ridiculous after Steve Rogers ended up on ice during the end of the Second World War, thanks to the character remaining in print for some years afterwards in the real world. If Marvel has the chance to clean up its history, maybe everyone could just get together and pretend that there hadn’t been three different replacements between Steve disappearing and being discovered by the Avengers. Really, we didn’t need any of them, even if one did end up making a great bad guy later on.
Let’s Be Nicer To Tony Stark7 of 12Ever since Civil War, Tony Stark has gotten a raw deal — more often than not, he’s been written as someone whose arrogance can occasionally border on villainy… a line he has, of course, now crossed thanks to the events of Axis and Superior Iron Man. (He was also revealed to be involved in the chain of events that created the Hulk, back in Original Sin). Wouldn’t it be good to pull back on that a little bit in the future? Sure, Robert Downey Jr.’s take on the character can be a jerk, but there’s a big difference between that and being a bad guy.
Who Is Nick Fury?8 of 12Let’s be honest: there’s no way that Marvel is going to abandon the current, movie-aligned version of Fury for the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby take on the character — and, really, why should they? But if that’s the take on Nick Fury that we’re going with moving forward, can we get a revision to his history so that he’s not saddled with a past that’s essentially “He’s the son of the original Nick Fury who fought in World War II, got a special formula to stop him aging, then defended the world against aliens in secret. Oh, and he not only had an accident that meant he lost the same eye as his father, but then took on his father’s name because oh never mind, just accept it.” After Secret Wars, let’s just have one Nick Fury and let everything move on from there.
Hulk Is The Strongest, Only One There Is9 of 12Along similar lines: Hey, remember when the Hulk was the strongest one there was, because there weren’t a million different Hulks running around? Wasn’t that fun? These days, we have a Red Hulk, a Son of Hulk, two Daughters of Hulk and a couple of She-Hulks running around — and all of that makes Bruce Banner’s alter-ego that little less special. Let’s use Secret Wars as a way of reducing the number of gamma-irradiated heroes and villains in the new Marvel Universe, and in the process, try to remember what made Hulk so great in the first place. (Spoiler: Outsiders ostracized from the society they long to be part of tend not to have such a large extended family.)
Restore the Spider-Marriage10 of 12File under “Probably never happening,” but I know I’m not the only fan who’d like to see Peter and Mary-Jane get back together after all these years. It’s not that the post-Brand New Day stories haven’t included some of the best of the character’s history, but there’s little reason why those stories couldn’t have happened with a married Peter Parker. There are so few happily-married superheroes that it would make a nice change to let Spider-Man have one good thing back in his life, and the readers one happy ending. Baby May optional.
Fix The X-Men Franchise, Please11 of 12The hardcore fans will doubtlessly argue with this characterization, but to everyone else, the ins, outs and retcons of Marvel’s Mighty Mutants makes it a terrifying prospect to jump into, and an off-putting mess to try and get your head around: What’s behind the schism? What’re the ideological barriers between the different factions? Which team’s breaking time? Why are there two different versions of so many characters? and so on. If there’s one Marvel franchise that could benefit from a straight-up, ground zero reboot after Secret Wars, it’s the X-Men. Start over, and this time, try to include less time travel in the whole thing.
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