SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Civil War II" #8, on sale now.
After a seven month run, Marvel's massive "Civil War II" event has concluded with the release of the limited series' eighth issue. The climactic finale included a lot of set-up for the immediate aftermath following the event, much of which we've already seen play out across the Marvel Universe over the past few months as new series have been launched. We now know Tony Stark's status quo (as hinted at in "Invincible Iron Man"), we saw Hawkeye set out on his new mission ("Occupy Avengers"), the young Avengers members band together ("Champions") and Jennifer Walters wake up with a new look ("Hulk").
But that's not it when it comes to glimpses of what's to come. In addition to running through the current post-"Civil War II" status quo of dozens of Marvel heroes, Brian Michael Bendis' issue also includes a number big splash page images that include nods to major events that are currently unfolding, are scheduled to unfold in early 2017, and could unfold in the near future.
At the top of the issue, the Inhuman Ulysses' power to predict the future evolves to the point where he is seemingly physically transported to a far-flung future reminiscent of the world Old Man Logan came from. His powers continue to twist further, even after he returns to the present day. After being confronted by a number of heroes, Ulysses power flares up again -- and he shows everyone what he calls "the futures."
The first of seven splash pages comes from Adam Kubert and depicts an event we already know is going to happen: "Monsters Unleashed."
The first major event of 2017, "Monsters Unleashed" is a limited series from Cullen Bunn and a lineup of Marvel artists that will pit all of Marvel's monsters against all of Marvel's superhero teams. The event is scheduled to kick off on January 18, 2017.
The next splash page comes from Leinil Francis Yu, and at first looks like a nod towards "IvX," the event he's currently illustrating.
A closer look at the image reveals that this isn't an "IvX" tease, though, as there are no Inhumans in the image. The only non-X-Man in the splash page is, Nova, one of the heroes pulled into the future vision by Ulysses. Also, the Cyclops presented here looks much older than the one currently in "All-New X-Men" and "Champions."
Additionally, the image features the current X-Men lineups and costumes, all of which will disappear in the spring with the ResurrXion relaunch. The image also includes characters like Psylocke and Archangel, two characters missing in the ResurrXion lineups. The image also features Strong Guy perched on Cerebra's shoulder, side by side with Sabretooth. Strong Guy has only appeared in cameo role in "Death of X" recently, so his inclusion here is also a point of interest.
The third image comes from "Captain America: Steve Rogers" artist Daniel Acuna and calls back to one of "Civil War II's" most iconic splash pages.
The image of Miles Morales holding Steve Rogers' impaled body on the Capitol Building's steps appeared in many comics, but Ulysses' vision of this moment was seemingly disproven in "Civil War II" #7 when Spidey and Cap met on the steps and didn't fight. Instead, Captain Marvel and Iron Man clashed in a battle that ended with Miles cradling a gravely injured Tony Stark. This image, however, indicates that the vision might still come to pass -- and the inclusion Captain America's ominous visage in the top of the splash kinda hints that Miles may become aware of this Cap's allegiance to HYDRA.
Next, Alan Davis and Mark Farmer turn in a splash page that features the return of some characters that haven't been seen in a long time.
Yep, it looks like Killraven and his Freemen are returning, if this vision of the future does indeed come to pass. The image features Martian invaders attacking a city with Medusa, queen of the Inhumans, witnessing the future vision featuring Killraven and his Freemen (M'Shulla, Old Skull and Carmilla Frost). A freedom fighter from a future timeline, Killraven and his team debuted in 1973's "Amazing Adventures" #18. After years fighting in an unrelated reality, Killraven made his way to the proper Marvel Universe's present day in a 2010 "Avengers" storyline. More recently, he appeared in "All-New Invaders." Could he be on Mars right now?
Next, Marco Rudy's splash features Miles Morales witnessing a slaughter perpetuated mutant-hunting Sentinel.
There's not much else to go on, here. Spider-Man stands in the forefront of the image, witnessing the carnage in the vision and surrounded by piles of impaled bodies -- presumably the bodies of heroes, since Wolverine's clawed hand can be made out in the mess. Above the pile, a mystery character attacks a Sentinel head on.
The next tease also plays up the piles of superheroes angle, except this time, it's Ultron standing triumphantly.
The image from Mark Bagley and John Dell features the Avengers foe standing victorious over a classic roster of Avengers. With Captain Marvel -- another hero pulled into Ulysses' vision -- up front, the image also includes what looks like classic versions of Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America and -- interestingly -- a young Wolverine. Well, comparatively young. Right now, Wolverine is dead and two replacements -- Laura Kinney and Old Man Logan -- have taken his place. But this character isn't either one of those; instead, it looks like the regular Wolverine. Ultron's return is also notable, considering he was last seen merged with Hank Pym before being dropped into the sun.
The final image comes from "Secret Wars" artist Esad Ribic, and sees him paired once again with the God of Thunder.
The vision comes as Ulysses' look into "the futures" concludes. This one depicts a sword-swinging Loki leaping into action against Thor Odinson. This Thor, currently seen in "The Unworthy Thor," has the characters artificial Destroyer arm. But instead of carrying the axe-like Ultimate Mjolnir hammer, it looks like he's carrying the classic Marvel Universe Mjolnir -- the hammer currently carried by the Jane Foster Thor. Could this signal a coming change to the Thor books?
Whether or not these visions will come to pass as depicted (or even come to pass at all) remains to be seen. But considering that a few of these have already been announced and others don't seem that far from where the comics are right now makes it seem likely that these visions will come to pass in some form, the only question is when.
"Civil War II" #8 is in stores now.