Marvel Comics has debuted a new variant cover for Secret Empire #10 featuring a portion of the art painted by Alex Ross to announce the publisher's upcoming series of Generations-branded one-shots.
Additionally, the image was accompanied by the question, "What Is The Vanishing Point?" with the promise that the answer will be revealed in the pages of Secret Empire's final issue.
The final chapter in the saga of HydraCap arrives in August, and is actually a late addition to the event. Originally solicited as a nine-issue series, Marvel announced in May that Secret Empire's story would be expanded to ten issues. The grand finale, written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by returning artist Steve McNiven, is notable for a number of reasons. Not only will it set the new status quo for Captain America / Steve Rogers as well as the rest of the Marvel Universe, the cover features a new HydraCap uniform and a blurred-out portion of the logo, indicating that there is at least one more major plot twist being built to.
With today's cover debut and new teaser text, Marvel has added another layer to the issue's mystery. While it was certainly a reasonable theory that Secret Empire would somehow set the stage for Generations, to link the two stories so explicitly would indicate that Marvel fans will learn how, exactly, Generations can happen in the first place before the current event is over.
A ten-issue series of one-shots kicking off in August, Generations will team a number of current Marvel heroes with their classic incarnations... somehow. While Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief Axel Alonso seemed adamant in his assertion that Generations “isn’t some alternate reality story or some time-travel story,” the solicitation copy for several of the one-shots makes no bones about time-travel playing a major part in how the encounters — even those featuring two currently living characters — occur.
The smart money would have been on Kobik -- the sentient Cosmic Cube responsible for the current Secret Empire event -- somehow being the cause of in the Generations hi-jinks. But with the tease of the mysterious Vanishing Point (no relation to DC Comics' time-displaced headquarters of the timeline safeguarding Linear Men, we're sure), Marvel has muddied those waters to some extent. Kobik may still be involved in whatever happens to set Generations in motion, but now you have to wonder if she's going to be operating under an outside influence.
Whatever the case, we'll find out when Secret Empire #10 arrives in comic shops August 30.