With the collapse of the multiverse, Marvel Secret Wars has begun – and I’m going to guide you through it.
Long, long ago, back in ye olde 1980s, the Mattel toy company decided that superheroes were going to be the next big thing. But if they were going to team-up with Marvel to sell epic play sets, then they wanted a big comic book event to go with it. The keywords coming out of the focus group were ‘secret,’ ‘wars,’ and ‘everybody,’ and so the Secret Wars (where heroes and villains from around the world were sent to an alien planet to fight to the death) was born.
But now Marvel’s throwing everything into a new blender with months of comics featuring alternate universe versions of the characters we love, and seeing what sticks to the sides. It’s complicated, it’s confusing, it’s bananas. Hopefully, it’ll also be fun – because I’m determined to read every single issue.
Ambitious? Perhaps. Insane? Most likely. But the comic book world has become my world, and with this epic crossover event, my world is about to get really weird. The new Secret Wars kicked off last week with the #1s of six mini-series. While many of the Marvel characters from our home universe (codenamed Earth-616) are still playing out the arcs of their own books, this new Battleworld is made up of leftover realities explored and exploited in the name of sales over the years – plus a few new worlds in which to play. There’s a lot of history getting thrown in that blender, so heads will spin and roll.
Here’s what you need to know to get started: after shenanigans from the Avengers and New Avengers (largely involving multiple Tonys Stark and Reeds Richard), two universes (ours, and the ‘Ultimate’ one, where much of the movie canon originates) collided. Something extra-freaky involving a mutant, the Phoenix Force, mad science, and magic destroyed everything. Almost.
Somehow, in a way that hasn’t been explained, or even really questioned, good old Doctor Doom (or some version of him at any rate) gathered all the remaining fragments of the broken realities, fashioned them into one world, and declared himself God.
(He does stuff like that.)
He puts a Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, in charge of upholding Doom’s law, a responsibility which Sheriff Strange, in turn, foists off onto the Thor Corps. That’s my favorite part so far, with hundreds of Thors wielding Mjolnir-esque hammers acting like beat cops. (If you’ll excuse my crossing the streams, it’s like the Lantern Corps, with different races, genders, and species using thematically similar accessories to fight crime.) They patrol the fiefdoms on this Battleworld, which is where the miniseries come into play. Each broken reality has its own territory, and each one exists as if it has always been on Battleworld and Doom has always been God. So far, fighting to the death is something only done by the gladiators from the Killiseum; Doctor Doom likes peace as much as the next guy, as long as the piece belongs to him. (Fun with homophones!)
Revisiting favorite characters and missed universes is the best thing about this stunt, but with so much going on, where to begin? Let me show you what’s what.
To get a Valkyrie-eye view of Inferno #1, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1, MODOK Assassin #1, Old Man Logan #1, Secret Wars 2099 #1, and Secret Wars Journal #1, CLICK HERE.
My opinions are entirely my own and do not reflect those of my employer.