The Marvel Comics Universe has been a staple of comic book storytelling since 1961, featuring all of the timeless characters within the Marvel stable in a single, shared space. While there are several other “universes” within the dimension that Marvel storytellers are permitted to use, the mainline universe has been the home of every major Marvel character for over fifty years, and when DC Comics had wiped away and relaunched their universe on a few separate occasions, the Marvel Universe was always something of a standby that old and new fans alike could always count on as being there. That is, until now.
Announced at a major event kick-off in New York City at Midtown Comics (via Newsarama), Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort announced that the Marvel Universe as fans have always known it will be coming to an end in the pages of Secret Wars, the new 2015 crossover event. Within those pages, the mainline Marvel Universe and the alternate “Ultimate” Universe, which premiered in 2000 with the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man #1, will be “smashed together” to create a new whole consisting of characters from both these iterations of Marvel Comics. The Ultimate Universe was originally envisioned as a way for comic book creators to tell stories with major Marvel characters without the weight of decades of continuity from the mainline universe, but eventually, it became just as (if not more) convoluted as the Marvel Universe-proper.
As for motive, its no secret to comic book fans that much of the designs prevalent in the movies produced by Marvel Studios have taken inspiration from the Ultimate comics, in everything from costumes to the physical appearances of characters. It was in 2001 that the Ultimate version of Nick Fury first appeared, modeled after actor Samuel L. Jackson, and seven years later it was this version of the character that was chosen to tie the Marvel films together in the first Iron Man film. With the melding of these two universes, now that iteration of Fury can become the Nick Fury, just as he is in the films. Brevoort and Alonso explained,
Once we hit Secret Wars #1, there is no Marvel Universe, Ultimate Universe, or any other. It’s all Battleworld, The Marvel universe will be Battleworld, and every single piece of those worlds will be building blocks for the universe.
They also explained that this idea has been a culmination of the work that writer Jonathan Hickman started on his Avengers comic book titles, which began in 2012 with the Marvel NOW! semi-relaunch. Secret Wars #1 will hit comic book stores and digital download queues this May, and we will certainly take a look at what’s in store for the Marvel Universe when its released.
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