It appears as Marvel Comics will take a page from DC Comics for the first time in its publication history. The current Marvel Comics 616 Universe, which has been around since the 1960s starting with the debut of the Fantastic Four, and according the Marvel publication history started the Silver Age of Comics, (From DC Comics point of view the Silver Age started with the creation of the second Flash, Barry Allen), will come to an end along with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, the publication’s alternate Universe which started in the 2000s, after the company’s next big event: Secret Wars.
The news came out today at a live press event at Midtown Comics in New York City moderated by Marvel PR man Chris D’Lando, Marvel Comics’ Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. The end of what has been and is still currently Marvel Comics has been in development for some time during Jonathan Hickman’s tenure working on the Avengers.
The first issue of Secret Wars will feature a literal mash-up between the normal 616 and Ultimate Marvel Universes, both universes will be destroyed and whatever remains will get reformed into a Battleworld compiled of other various worlds. Marvel will also launch a few limited and ongoing comic series’ set in this Battleworld, which will eventually end with a relaunch of a brand new Marvel Universe.
“This is putting an endcap to decades of stories and starting a new era. When you see the scope of the event, [you will] see what we’re willing to do. This is a place where we’re going to be bringing new pieces onto the board and taking old pieces off. You guys will be yelling and screaming, loving and hating in equal measure,” Alonso said.
The publishing company has hinted that the “All-New Marvel” will be the new comics’ status quo, just like DC Comics New 52. Marvel confirmed Secret Wars is not a What If? story, nor is it another alternate reality. Similar to previous reboot events from DC Comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths and the New 52, the history of Marvel 616 and the Ultimate Universe will still have happened, however, Marvel’s reboot could also mean having two Spider-Mans’: Peter Parker from Marvel 616 and Miles Morales from Ultimate Marvel, living in one world.
Unlike DC Comics relaunch to the New 52, Marvel decision to reboot their comics comes as no surprise given the company’s current state over film rights. Since the film rights for Fantastic Four and X-Men still belong to Fox, Marvel is phasing these properties out of their comics. Fantastic Four is getting canceled later this year, Wolverine is dead, and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are no longer mutants. In addition, still no official word on Spider-Man film rights, will Sony and Marvel Studios cut a deal and allow Spider-Man to fight alongside the Avengers. No one knows, but at least the two studios are in talks.
Furthermore, if rebooting comics worked for DC, why not try it? “All-New Marvel” hopefully can be an opportunity to get old and new readers to start reading Marvel without having to go back and read older stories. The new status quo can will also correct and merge continuities between Marvel 616 and the Ultimate Universe, and incorporate the best elements from Marvel’s film and television mediums.
The eight issue Secret Wars event kicks off this May and the “All New Marvel” will debut this September.