Great Marvel Stories: Secret Wars (2015) - the end (and beginning) of the Marvel Universe

Great Marvel Stories: Secret Wars (2015) - the end (and beginning) of the Marvel Universe

Great Marvel Stories

And the day came when the Marvel Universe ended. Dramatic incipit aside, what Jonathan Hickman did with his Secret Wars in 2015 can be considered as a zero point in the Marvel comic universe, although it would be more correct to speak of a multiverse, given the shocking dynamic that animated this maxi-event. In recent years, Hickman has been regarded as the re-founder of the mutant context of the House of Ideas, with his House of X / Powers of X, but his name is linked to a rich production within Marvel, which has made him the protagonist. of popular historical runs, such as the one on the Avengers. Yet, it is precisely to this maxi-event that the appreciation for the work of an author who knew how to combine respect for the tradition of a complex continuity, born with the Fantastic Four in the roaring early years of the Silver Age, should be addressed to necessary reconstruction of a narrative frame that seemed to be a maze for readers.

Marvel's continuity, despite an attempt at organicity that avoided resorting too often to reboots, still shows some inevitable fragility. The need to keep alive a complex superheroic ecosystem, combined with the obligation to provide periodic starting points to new generations of readers, has pushed the House of Ideas not only to use retcons, but also to give life to a series of operations aimed at expand its offer following the tastes of an ever-changing audience. From these needs parallel universes such as Marvel 2099 or the Ultimate one were born, children of the evolution of the comic medium as a response to the new requests of different generations of fans. For years, this crazy mechanism has therefore created more or less obvious connections, sometimes confusing readers thanks to the succession of different authors, often unwilling to respect the work of their predecessors. This anarchic management of the Marvelian multiverse, after years of plots and adventures, even if not perfectly successful, has found in Secret Wars (2015) a sort of zero point to bring order to the confusion generated.

Secret Wars ( 2015): the end of the Marvel Universe according to Jonathan Hickman

Secret Wars: evolution of a maxi-event The end is only the beginning The legacy of Secret Wars

Secret Wars: evolution of a maxi-event

Before going into the discussion of Secret Wars (2015), it is better to make a clarification. The maxi-event hatched by Hickman is not the first to bear this name, which especially now that we talk about Secret Wars also for the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be a source of confusion. Given that the Marvel film franchise will certainly be inspired by the work of Hickman, we cannot avoid making a parallel with the first Secret Wars, dated 1984, which have the merit of being the first Marvel maxi-event, even if not born so much. for a happy narrative intuition, but for the much more venal marketing.

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The casus belli was simple: a cosmic entity, the Arcanum, decided to bring Battlewords, heroes and villains of the Earth to a remote planet, to make them fight each other. A cosmic adventure that saw among the protagonists X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four but also villains of the caliber of Destino, Doc Oc, Galactus and Kang, and which although born as a promotional engine also became the turning point for some characters from the Marvel Universe. It was during Secret Wars, a space mission for the heroes of the House of Ideas, that Peter Parker, during a fight, came into contact with an alien substance that seemed to adapt perfectly to his body, becoming a costume, on which even a spider appeared. stylized. In the story written by Shooter, this meeting however became an integral part of Parker's life, so much so that on his return to Earth he kept the new uniform, forcing the writers of the Arrampicamuri series, The Amazing Spider-Man, to adopt this costume, which in the future it would become Venom, thanks to David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane.

The consequences of this first Secret Wars affected many of the heroes who intervened, also leading to great revolutions, such as the abandonment of the Fantastic Four by Ben 'What' Grimm, replaced for some time by Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk. The impact of Secret Wars, created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, was not only narrative, but also conceptual, becoming the canvas on which to base the evolution of future maxi-sagas, from Civil War to Avengers: Divided.
| } And inevitably, even for Hickman's Secret Wars.

The end is only the beginning

The Secret Wars (2015) wouldn't exist without the multiverse. A concept that was not born in Marvel's house but in DC Comics, when in The Flash # 123 (1961), the Flash of the Golden Age, Jay Garrick, and the Scarlet sprinter of the Silver Age, Barry Allen, have the opportunity to meet in the story 'I Flash of the two worlds'. What was meant to be a curious narrative device became instead one of the most used (and abused) working tools by comic writers, who used it both as a starting point to create fantastic stories or as a deus ex machina to resolve intricate continuity discrepancies. >

And what could happen if these universes eventually start colliding with each other? Well before giving life to his Secret Wars, Hickman had begun to sow the Marvel Universe with the idea of ​​him, introducing the concept of Incursions, that is, clashes between two different universes whose separation had broken, causing the destruction of both. Within the Time Runs Out storyline, carried out on Avengers and New Avengers, this issue had emerged leading the most sublime minds of Earth-616, heroes and villains to seek a remedy for this impending catastrophe. A situation that led to the breaking of historical alliances and the creation of new unions between unlikely characters, but whose sole purpose was the salvation of Earth-616. A race against time, which eventually led to the final Raid, where Earth-616 finally collided with Earth-1610, better known as the Ultimate Universe.

To avoid the collapse of these two realities, a bold plan of Doctor Strange and Destiny caused pieces of different universes to merge creating a new universe on Battleworld, where Destiny becomes the god-emperor of a feudal society. Despite Destiny's commitment to recreating this new dimension, in which heroes and villains from different universes find themselves living together unaware of the truth behind the end of the previous multiverse, Strange, sheriff of Battleword and accomplice of Destiny, tries to maintain a precarious order , until the heroes of Earth-616 and figures of Earth-1610, who escaped the rewriting of this reality, start a revolution that will lead to the end of this reality, giving life to a new Marvel Universe, the same in which the current ones are set adventures of the House of Ideas.

A similar event, carefully prepared by Hickman, could only be based on the presence of key characters from the Marvelian universe, but above all on the villain par excellence of the House of Ideas: Destiny. Although the presence of figures such as Apocalypse, Fisk or Thanos may have greater appreciation, Victor Von Doom is the evil mind par excellence of the Marvel Universe, since his adamantine will and his unparalleled knowledge place him on several occasions on the same level, if not beyond the limits of the finest Marvelian thinkers. It is his morality based on the contingency of the moment and the intention to do what is necessary, regardless of whether it is 'right', that makes Destiny a charismatic and concrete character, the only one who, as rightly guessed by Hickman, he could be the god of a universe.

With equal genius, Hickman captures the seeds of its failure. The fall of Battleword is just another clash between the two sharpest minds of the Marvel Universe, which is resolved with the birth of a new multiverse. An epic story that honors the decades of life of the Marvel Universe, which Hickman develops by giving each component used a reasonable place in the new order of Destiny, creating in the reader a feeling of familiarity and at the same time of disorientation.

Also thanks to the excellent work of Esad Ribic, who with his style bordering on the pictorial, not only captures the typical traits of the protagonists, but brings on paper a world with a clear and recognizable identity, in references to the tradition of Marvel's fiction are intertwined and reworked to be easily grasped, but at the same time contribute to the creation of a new imaginary.

The legacy of Secret Wars

An event of the scope of Secret Wars, could only leave a heavy legacy to the subsequent Marvelian world, not only in terms of macrodynamics, but above all on the personality of the key figures in this story. If the new order born from the end of Battleword made it possible to create a different vision of the traditional Marvelian pantheon, with the presence of atypical figures such as Old Logan or the presence of Miles Morales alongside Spider-Man in the New York skies, it is in the facing the consequences of extreme choices made for 'a greater good' that the post-Secret Wars has had particular relevance.

Above all, if we look at how Destiny dealt with its own failure. Despite having proved to be sufficiently determined and powerful to be able to create a universe, the Latverian despot after Secret Wars faced a profound inner crisis, which led him to question his role, the legacy of his existence. In this respect, his attempt to emancipate himself from the traditional figure of nemesis is central, trying to follow a different, heroic path, even going so far as to contend with Riri Williams for the role of heir of Stark as Iron Man, after the apparent death of Testa. di Latta following Civil War II, as told in Infamous Iron Man.

As per tradition, the arrival of such an important chapter of the comic book Marvel Universe in the cinematic dimension of Marvel's heroes , could only stimulate the curiosity of the fans. For some time it has been seen how the great sagas can be adapted differently than the original paper, as demonstrated by Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, but in the case of Secret Wars this passage takes on an even more particular value. .

The next phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe should finally see the entry on the scene of particularly awaited figures from the Marvelian pantheon, such as the Fantastic Four, while there is still no certain information on the appearance of essential faces for this transposition, as Doctor Doom. Although the essential concepts behind Secret Wars (2015) have already been introduced, such as the multiverse and the Incursions mentioned in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the announcement of Secret Wars prompted fans of the franchise to theorize how the Hickman's work could be adapted to the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While waiting to find out how Phase Five and Phase Six will accompany us towards this epochal event, we can only hope that Feige and Marvel Studios have some surprises in store that will allow us to make the most of the rich roster of characters of the inspiring maxi-event

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