For decades, Marvel Comics has resisted the siren call of a reboot, while largely keeping its continuity intact. But not for much longer…
At today’s much hyped Secret Wars press conference, Marvel announced that the upcoming Secret Wars event miniseries will combine the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe into a single universe.
“The Marvel Universe as you know it is done. The Ultimate Universe as you know it is done.” said Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort. For those of you who aren’t comic book fans, the Marvel Universe is the main continuity that started in Fantastic Four # 1 while incorporating elements from the previous incarnation of Marvel Comics dating back to 1939. The Ultimate Universe debuted in 2000 as a largely streamlined version of the major Marvel characters that were designed for new readers.
The surprising aspect of this announcement is that the Ultimate Universe has been in steep decline for years, with falling readership. Aside from Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man, the Ultimate line of comics could have gone away forever and very few would have missed it.
From a story perspective, the combination of the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe will be foreshadowed as the final incursion event in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers run. In previous incursion events, two alternate Earths were sent on a collision course and only one could survive. This time, neither Earth will survive and the combined universe will appear on Battleworld during Secret Wars.
Marvel also announced that Secret Wars # 2 will be oversized as it explores the newly created Battleworld, which will serve as the foundation for the new Marvel Universe.
Secret Wars will launch in May. The Free Comic Book Day release, Secret Wars # 0 will also include the Attack on Titan crossover with Marvel characters that was previously published in Japan.