If you follow Marvel Comics, you know that the company's been talking a lot about what's next lately, particularly as it relates to Secret Wars, the massive event beginning in May that will see the end of the Marvel "616" Universe and the Ultimate Marvel Universe as we know them.
Through an incursion of both of those universes, Marvel Comics characters from various continuities, futures, pasts and What-Ifs will be gathered on a massive landscape known as Battleworld, where they'll basically be fighting for their future. This means plenty of opportunities to explore new encounters between various versions of Marvel characters, plenty of chances to bring back fan-favorite people, places and moments, and a shot at redefining the Marvel universe going forward. To that end, the publisher has announced, and will continue to announce in the weeks to come, loads of Secret Wars titles that will take place on Battleworld, including everything from a return to the Marvel 1602 universe to the resurrection of Marvel Zombies to the first-ever all-female Avengers team.
It's very clear that Marvel has big plans for Secret Wars, but what's been understandably unclear lately is just what Marvel Comics will look like after the event is done. Obviously we can guess which characters will stick around, and which core titles Marvel might keep running in the aftermath of the event, but the company doesn't want to tip its hand about whatever big reveals might be coming in the Secret Wars miniseries proper, so we just can't know for sure yet. Thanks to SVP of Sales & Marketing David Gabriel, though, we now have a somewhat clearer picture.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, Gabriel addressed just how much the Marvel Comics publishing line as we know it will be affected by Secret Wars, and clarified some of the company's plans in the months to come.
"We’ve been saying it over and over again but at the core, Battleworld IS the Marvel Universe when Secret Wars #1 hits in May. But before that, there will be a number of titles reaching, what we’re calling, a '616 finale,' ending those stories and characters as you knew them – for now!
Now in a perfect world, we’d have stopped every book with its April issue, putting out a nice clean May Previews catalog. Everyone would have seen upfront all those titles that had their finale, and all those titles that were starting fresh. But things don’t always go so easily.
Instead we gave our creators the option to end their stories the way they wanted to; we let them tell 'Last Days' stories if they wanted to; we let them tell Secret Wars stories if they wanted to. So in the end Secret Wars truly has been a creative driven process."
Gabriel also noted that, while every Marvel title will be affected in some way by Secret Wars, they won't all be affected in the same way. When asked about relatively new titles the company's publishing, like Spider-Gwen and the just-released Howard the Duck, he clarified that there's a plan for every book and not every plan includes a "finale."
"We’ve had a plan for each and every title in our line, from the All-New Ghost Riders to the Spider-Gwens and Howard the Ducks and even throughout our core titles," he said. "Some may take a hiatus for a month or two (something the industry is accustomed to); some will reach their '616 finale;' some become Battleworld transformed; and still others…well we’ll get to those!"
After addressing the idea of the "616 finale," Gabriel revealed a list of titles in which creators chose to go that route. It features more than 30 comics, some of which have already had their Battleworld counterparts or their "Last Days" storylines revealed, and some of which haven't. They could all return after Secret Wars in some form or another, or not, but in any case this list demonstrates just how transformative this event might end up being. Check out the list below:
- All-New Captain America
- All-New Ghost Rider
- All-New X-Men
- Amazing Spider-Man
- Amazing X-Men
- Angela: Asgard’s Assassin
- Avengers World
- Captain Marvel
- Fantastic Four
- Guardians 3000
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Iron Fist: The Living Weapon
- Legendary Star-Lord
- Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man
- New Avengers
- Rocket Raccoon
- Secret Avengers
- Spider-Man & The X-Men
- Spider-Man 2099
- Superior Iron Man
- Uncanny X-Men
Obviously this picture will only get clearer as we get closer to Secret Wars, but for now it's just interesting to ponder the futures of the various characters present in all of those titles. If you're interested in some more in-depth information, including some shop talk about working with retailers, check out the full interview with Gabriel at the link below.
Secret Wars begins in May.