We've been talking about Secret Wars for months, because we're excited about it, because we want to make sense of it and because we're curious just how much the Marvel universe will change in its wake. The massive, universe-spanning event, which kicks off with a main series by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic, isn't just a culmination of Hickman's own work on Avengers and New Avengers. It's a culmination of the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Marvel Universe as we know them. We still don't really know exactly what that means, and we won't until the series is done, but Hickman's finally given a little teaser.
In a lengthy two-part interview with Comic Book Resources that covers both the wrap-up of his Avengers work in the "Time Runs Out" arc and the beginning of Secret Wars, Hickman -- whose other work includes a long run on Fantastic Four and creator-owned books like The Manhattan Projects -- explained that he actually doesn't want to talk much about Secret Wars, though his Marvel bosses have been teasing out the event and its consequences for months now. If it were up to him, we wouldn't be getting any teases about what's coming at all.
"I don't want [readers] to know anything," Hickman said. "If I had my druthers we would have never even announced this stuff. The books would just show up the next month and would have replaced all the normal books. You've got to concede that would have been the coolest thing ever. It would have been confusing and it would have been total chaos, but we would've had fun."
That said, Hickman of course knows that that's not how comic-book marketing works, so he did at least give a little tease. We know that a major part of Secret Wars is an "incursion," a collision between the Marvel 616 and Ultimate Marvel Universes, and that various timelines meet up on Battleworld. We've been told for a long time that once Battleworld exists, the Marvel Universe doesn't (at least, until the event is over and some version of it does again), and Hickman revealed that that's where his event kicks off.
"So I'll say this for what people can expect: Issue #1 is basically a cold open on the end of the world, and issue #2 is what really kicks off everything," Hickman said. "We've done a really smart thing where issue #1 ships one week and issue #2 ships the week after. So there's no delay, no waiting around, or anything like that. Then I think when people see what Esad has done in issues #1 and #2, they will figure out really quickly just how big and exciting this is and how cool the story we're going to tell is."
Elsewhere in the interview, Hickman talked about the massive number of Secret Wars tie-in books that will be hitting stores alongside the event, books ranging from an all-female Avengers team to a Marvel Western to the return of Marvel Zombies and Old Man Logan. There are a lot of stories here, and just like many Marvel readers over the past few weeks, Hickman understands why it might be a little overwhelming.
"It's a crazy investment from Marvel," Hickman said. "It's a crazy investment from the creative teams and I'm sure retailers are pulling their hair out right now trying to figure out how they're going to invest in it, but it's good fun! It's the kind of fun comics that we should be doing!"
Secret Wars #1 arrives May 6.