Marvel’s rebooting their universe (sort of?) in “Secret Wars”

After much speculation on what Marvel planned to do with its newest mega-crossover, “Secret Wars” (a modernized version of the classic 80s miniseries), today brought news of what Marvel has planned: a reboot of sorts for the Marvel Universe. 

I say “of sorts” since while there’s time- and dimensional-travel and merging going on, it doesn’t sound quite like DC’s myriad of reboots…I think. Details seem a bit sparse, but basically, some event in “Secret Wars” causes various timelines/Earths (including the Ultimate Universe) to somehow merge with “our” usual Marvel Earth, with the various versions of characters co-existing (somehow) in what Marvel’s dubbing “Battlezone.” (Yes, this all sounds a lot like DC’s upcoming “Convergence” and its “Dome.”)

Thus, I’ll list my concerns/questions below:

  • I assume the main goal of this is (once it’s all over) to have various popular/better-selling versions of characters to have on hand in one mainstream Marvel continuity. Most particularly, Miles Morales could move to the mainstream Marvel universe for good, as other than himself and the African-American Nick Fury, there’s little else worth saving from the Ultimate line. As it stands, Miles’ book is the only Ultimate title that’s still in print. As for myself, I wouldn’t miss the Ultimate universe if it’s gone, as I hated almost all of it (especially the Ultimate versions of Captain America, the Hulk, etc.)… but that moves onto the next question…
  • Will there only be one version of popular characters like Wolverine, Spider-Man, etc. used once this is all over? And which versions will get the pick? Will Peter be married again (which I somehow doubt)?
  • If they’re all existing in various separate “areas” in this Battleworld, what’s the point of merging anyway versus letting them just exist on separate Earths/timelines? It all sounds a bit confusing, even to this fan; I’m wondering what long-time fans and newcomers will make of it all, or (like “Convergence” and whatever that’ll bring) it makes for an easy jump-off point.
  • Does this story mean Marvel’s past is being retconned/rewritten/tossed out? Until now, one could buy an old Spider-Man or X-Men comic from 1965 and know it was still in continuity here in 2015, but that’s not the case for a 1965 comic of Superman or Batman. I’d hate to have to start referring to versions of Marvel characters/continuity as “pre-Secret” and “post-Secret” like we do for DC (pre-Crisis/post-Crisis). And of course, not to confuse that with the original “Secret Wars” from the 80s.
  • How will all this affect books like “Storm,” “Ms. Marvel,” or “Rocket Raccoon?” Like mega-crossovers in general, this sounds like it’d be disruptive to whatever’s going on in those books, which’re selling well on their own. But that brings me to my final point…
  • What’s the point of all of this anyway? DC only did “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 30 years ago since sales were down versus Marvel’s, and DC thought a wholesale reboot was the key to a sales boost and making things “easier” to understand for readers. While they were wrong on the “easier to understand” part, it did boost sales (for awhile). But Marvel’s sales have been quite strong for the past several years, moreso than DC’s; see the 2014 sales figures—even “Rocket Raccoon” outsold everything from DC. All this assumes the worst (based on “Heroes Reborn” and DC’s various reboots), however. I suppose Marvel could’ve learned from those reboots and know what not to do this time around, though that’s being optimistic.

With disruptive comic events from Marvel and DC this year (depending on what happens after “Convergence”/DC’s move out west), and even Archie planning a reboot of its core title, they’re all big reminders of the nature of corporate comics. While it remains to be seen what’ll ultimately happen in those companies’ books, it probably wouldn’t hurt for fans to consider checking out more creator-owned/independent comics from Image, Boom Studios, and others.

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