The Marvel Press Event to End All Press Events?
This Tuesday, Marvel had their “announcement to end all announcements” (their words, not mine). Many people were wondering what it could possibly be: getting the movie rights to Spider-Man back? Rebooting the universe? Relaunching Rom: SpaceKnight? The Internet was abuzz with speculation, and now, we can finally talk about it, because the announcement is….
That the Marvel “616” Universe and the Ultimate Universe will combine together for Secret Wars, and that Battleworld is going to be the new Marvel Universe, with each alternate reality being a different “country”.
Yeah, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me either. According to the Marvel Press Conference, the “incursion event” that’s been happening in the pages of New Avengers and Avengers is going to fail, causing a bunch of alternate realities to smash together into the regular 616 universe.. This explains those weird teaser images Marvel was releasing after New York Comic Con, of which those are the tip of the iceberg. The Marvel Universe is no more. The Ultimate universe is no more. There is only Battleworld.
Sound like DC’s “Convergence” event? It does. A lot. It’s pretty weird that the big two companies are both having big alternate reality storylines happening so close to one another, and I’d try to find the big difference between the two of them, but the only difference I can find is that one event has Marvel characters and the other has DC ones. However, unlike DC, Marvel is doing what they do best and hyping this storyline like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a Free Comic Book Day special issue that they’re expecting to do gangbusters. And the event starts right after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. But how exactly will those “new readers” react to Secret Wars? I mean, I’m the assistant manager of a comic book store, and I’m having trouble figuring out what the whole thing is about. How the hell am I supposed to convince someone who just saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and wants to read some Marvel books to give this a try? Hell, even Brian Michael Bendis had a hard time explaining it when he was on Seth Meyer’s talk show this week!
On the plus side, Jonathan Hickman wrote Infinity, which was one of the few good Marvel events of the past few years. And if he’s been building to this story for as long as it seems, I really hope it ends up paying off in the long run, and doesn’t end up like Rick Remender’s AXIS event. But I still wonder is this all done as ploy to try and phase out the Marvel characters that aren’t under the Marvel Studios umbrella? With the promise of Secret Wars creating a “new Marvel Universe” (that’s NOT A REBOOT), I start to get worried that we’ll lose characters like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Spider-Man simply because they aren’t owned by Marvel Studios. Of course, I know that they won’t go away completely, but it’s not too hard to believe that their roles won’t be reduced greatly by the time Secret Wars ends.
Of course, the character I’m the most worried about is my beloved Spider-Man. I’m all for Miles Morales having a bigger role in this “new Marvel universe”, but if that development is because Marvel Studios can use the Morales version of Spidey, then I start to wonder about the true motives of the event. Marvel’s always been a little weird when it comes to syncing up their comics with their movies, but if they start to allow the Marvel Studios films to fully dictate what they do in the comics, then they’d be making a mistake. However, Marvel still has a pretty big stake in the Spider-Man merchandising, so I don’t think they’ll completely phase out Peter Parker. But then again, I don’t see Morales being relegated to a sidekick role…..
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The point of all this is that as usual, I’m trying to remain hopeful about another Marvel event. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in some of the tie-ins teased (come on, like I wouldn’t pick up the Spidey and MJ one, or the Old Man Logan one), but at the same time this seems like an event that could become too unwieldy. I guess we’ll just have to wait until May to find out for sure.