Firstly, I'd like to thank for Marvel UK writer and editor John Freeman for cross-posting my original Secret Wars article over on Down the Tubes. I've fielded a few questions about this via the comments here and via email. It seems that more than a few of agree with a number of my comments - in particular on the pricing policies at Marvel over the past few years. I'm not going to cover that again (although is refreshing to see that I've not been alone on that one).
What I did want to explore however, is the recent additions to Marvel's interactive Battleworld map.
As I mentioned last time round when the Secret Wars event kicks off it appears that all of the multitude of alternate universes and timelines from the entirety of Marvel's history will be crunching together in one singular universe where elements of all of them will be forced to coexist at the same time. This 'Battleworld' does not have a lot in the way of actual continents. There's a territory around the North pole and an (as of yet) unexplained Wall separating the southern most region from one giant land mass, made up of dozens of different story-lines from the past, each standing as an independent country in its own right.
Marvel has been unveiling those Countries gradually. At my time of last posting the list was:
- Dystopia: Future Imperfect Hulk (The Maestro version of The Hulk)
- Domain of Apocalypse: The Age of Apocalypse (in which Charles Xavier's death in the past created a timeline where Apocalypse took over the entire of America and much of the World)
- Technopolis: Armor Wars Iron Man (in which other supervillains gained control of Iron Man's armour tech designs and used them against him)
- Iron Fist's K'un-Lun
- Higher Avalon which links to a profile of Captain Britain's history (and may plausibly what has become of Otherworld/Avalon with all the Universes smashing together).
- Spider-Island (in which the Jackal's scheme gave everybody in Manhattan spider-powers)
- The Monarchy of M: House of M (in which Mutants became the ruling class of the planet, with Magneto as their figurehead)
- Sentinel Territories: Days of Future Past (the future timeline in which the Sentinels all but eradicated all superhumans and placed humanity into concentration camps for what they believed to be its Own Good)
As of this past week Marvel have begun to reveal some more.
- Egyptia: Forever Yesterday (A timesliding story in which New Warriors villain The Sphinx created an alternate timeline where Ancient Egypt rule over the world right up to the 20th Century).
- The Regency: Which brandishes links to the now infamous One More Day storyline from Amazing Spider-man (in famous for removing/erasing the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson).
- New Quack City: Which matches up with recently announced new series for Howard the Duck.
- 2099: Literally what it says on the tin. A whole Country for the 1990s Marvel 2099 imprint of comics.
- Hala Field: Which bears the following message "Hero! Pilot! Avenger! Captain Marvel, Earth's Mightiest Hero with death-defying powers and an attitude to match, is back and launching headfirst into a new role - Squadron leader of the interstellar defense team, the Carol Corp!" Intriguing.
- The Wastelands: Wolverine: Old Man Logan (Mark Millar's tale of an aged and long since retired Wolverine as a survivor in a post-apocalypse America)
- Perfection: Age of Ultron (In which a time travelling Wolverine and Sue Storm journeyed across time trying to stop Ultron from constantly taking over the world. A story which is very likely to be an important part of what caused the Marvel Multiverse to collapse in the first place...)
- New Xandar: The Infinity Gauntlet. (That what the blurb links to, anyway. Xandar was of course the homeworld of the Nova Corps up until its destruction during the Annihilation storyline).
Another point which is worthy of note is that there is an area still labelled up as "Marvel 616" on the Battleworld map.
It resides in the territory simply labelled up as "Manhattan".
That yellow land mass within it labelled up as "Attilan" (which is the name of the home City of The Inhumans) and to its north that brown-coloured mass is labelled as "Marvel 1610" (the universal serial number for Marvel's 'Ultimate Universe').
Oh, and can you see that there's a little alcove underneath, like some kind of hollowed out chamber?
That's been labelled up as "Monster Metropolis".
Make of that what you will... :)
Of course Marvel have stated that as a result of all this some book s will be ending, and others beginning.
I think it likely that books such as the shortly to be released Spider-Gwen (about the alternate universe spider-powered Gwen Stacy, from the recent Spider-verse storyline in Amazing Spider-man) are likely to survive the new status quo. Likewise the aforementioned new Howard the Duck series.
But as for other new titles, well Marvel have announced a few tying into this event.
For example the Battleworld anthology series will be a chance for several writers to use this new mish-mash world of properties to play out battle between characters who you would never have dreamed of even getting the opportunity to encounter each other.
Another anthology title, Secret Wars Journal, will showcase shorter stories featuring lesser seen characters, from Misty Knight and Paladin, to the Night Nurse... and apparently, even Millie the Model.
Peter David will be returning to the Universe which he helped sculpt in the 90s, in Secret Wars 2099.
Haden Blackman will be taking on writing Shang-chi in a new Master of Kung Fu.
But perhaps the most unexpected series unveiled so far is the new Avengers team to be written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite K. Bennett. Because once Secret Wars begins the Avengers are no more.
But there is... A-Force?
Yes. A-Force an entirely female superteam, bringing together 'Earth's Mightiest Heroines'. A lot of very recognisable faces on that cover. Medusa, Black Widow, Storm, Rogue, She-Hulk, Dazzler. Is that Captain Universe from Hickman's Avengers, above Nico Minoru from Runaways? A Phoenix costumed Jean Grey, too.
We know very little more than that cover, right now.
Makes me wonder if this is what was intended by that "All-New All-Different Avengers" teaser a while back?
I'll be keeping an eye on this event, obviously hoping to find some kind of Marvel UK ties along the way. I'll be particularly interested to find out if "King James' England" is related to Neil Gaiman's 1602.
Next time we get another batch of reveals I'll post another update.
Until the next time...