Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are going Wild West in Secret Wars tie-in 1872

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Mar 4, 2015, 4:40 PM EST

Secret Wars, a continuity-spanning event that will change the Marvel Universe as we know it, doesn't actually arrive until May, but ever since Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso revealed just what's at stake in the event, we've seen plenty of exciting announcements that continue to broaden the scope and enhance the appeal of not just the main Secret Wars series, but all of the tie-in series Marvel's got cooking.

In case you haven't been keeping up, here's the deal: Secret Wars will take place on Battleworld, a massive map of various Marvel continuities in which past Marvel events, alternate universes, possible futures and more will all intermingle. It's a place where the Marvel Universe will be redefined, but it's also a place where creators can play in basically any Marvel sandbox they want, and that's led to some very exciting announcements over the last few weeks. Brian Michael Bendis is reviving the supervillain-conquered future that is Old Man Logan, longtime Thor writer Jason Aaron is basically doing a police procedural with hammers, an all-female Avengers team featuring the likes of She-Hulk, Medusa and Wasp will be revealed, and much more.
We're increasingly getting the picture that Marvel is embracing the anything-is-possible vibe of Battleworld, and that's reinforced by today's announcement of 1872.
Writer Gerry Duggan (Deadpool) and artist Evan "Doc" Shaner (Adventures of Superman) will team up on the book, which takes us to a Marvel Universe in which Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and other characters emerge not in the 20th century, but in the 19th. Set in the fictional western town of Timely (named for Marvel's predecessor Timely Comics), the series will recast Rogers as a local sheriff, Stark as what looks to be drunken blacksmith and Banner as a dealer in various ... elixirs.

"Growing up, I loved comic books and Western films, so this a crack at something I’ve only dreamt about," Duggan said. "1872 is going to have fistfuls of action, suspense, drama and fun, but I hope that, like so many great Westerns, it will give us the chance to hold a mirror up to certain parts of this great country we live in. Sometimes the mirror ain’t that flattering."

We don't know much about what to expect when it comes to the book's plot, except that Rogers will be battling corruption in Timely and he might be turning to Stark for help, but we do know that it will feature at least one classic Marvel supervillain: Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, whose approach to profitable crime could fit right into this world. It's also simply exciting to see Marvel returning, however briefly, to the once-bountiful territory that is Western comics. Once upon a time, they were among the most successful books on the stands, and now Marvel's hoping to recapture some of that former glory, while also recapturing the success the publisher's had in recasting its heroes in the past, most notably through books like Marvel 1602

Secret Wars and all of its tie-ins, including 1872, will launch in May. Check out Alex Maleev's cover for the first issue, along with some Shaner character designs, in the gallery below.

(Via The A.V. Club)