With the reveal of what Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event is all about, all of my worst fears have come true. Or they haven’t. This spring, writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic will smash the two major Marvel Universes — the main Marvel Universe that’s been in motion since 1961 and the Ultimate Universe, which launched back during the heyday of Destiny’s Child — to create an all-new Marvel U. So yeah, I do know that everything is most certainly about to change. But, of course, I also know from my decades reading superhero comics that the more things change forever the more things stay the exact same forever.
A lot of JAM pieces start out as conversations I have in my head about a topic as I try to cover as many different angles and approaches and yelling points as I can. I wouldn’t be any better than a YouTube commenter if I just barreled ahead full force with a barely vetted opinion. Now that we know what “Secret Wars” is, I’m finding it super hard to vet my opinion. I can’t make up my mind about this.
My brain is divided into two voices: the fan that is hyper emotionally attached to these characters, defying all logic, and the reader — which is the more rational mindset, the one that takes into consideration dozens of outside factors and tries to be all unbiased and junk. It’s the voice that I try to use around here, but I’m finding it hard to use regarding “Secret Wars.” Because of that, I’m letting the fan out to play for a bit. Yep, for the first time ever, IN YOUR FACE JAM is welcoming a co-author — and it’s my unrestrained inner fan. Let’s see what happens!
“Secret Wars” is ruining the Marvel Universe that I love!
Whoa, okay, coming in hot, Fan Me.
Yeah, you bet I’m coming in hot! Combining the Marvel Universe with the Ultimate Universe is one of the most eye roll-inducing ideas ever. We’ve all known the Ultimate U was going to end, so how exactly would the Marvel Universe benefit from including the Ultimate scraps that are still around?
Okay, sure. Even logical Reader Me can admit that the Ultimate Universe has very little to offer going forward. For one thing, most of the Ultimate Universe’s heroes are dead. And sure, there are some interesting takes on classic characters — Colossus and Mister Fantastic spring to mind — but I can’t see them replacing the long-running versions of those characters and being beneficial. Maybe having Ultimate Nick Fury around in the Marvel Universe would solve the main Marvel U’s big Nick Fury Jr. problem.
You mean how Marvel shoved the retconned son of Nick Fury into every big Marvel book and expected characters and fans to treat this newbie with the same amount of respect and reverence as the original Nick Fury — the one they later wrote out of the MU in “Original Sin”?!
How are you already at a ten? Yes, having Ultimate Nick Fury in the main Marvel Universe would give the MU a character with the experience, personality, attitude and expertise that Nick Fury Jr. just doesn’t have. Plus, he’d be Nick Fury, not Nick Fury Jr., which still has way too big of a “James Bond Jr.” ring to it for me to take seriously.
We agree on that!
Also, it would be nice to have Miles Morales in the Marvel Universe.
No! Taking Miles out of his reality completely undermines the impact and importance of the character! Now, instead of Miles being the Spider-Man, he will forever be a Spider-Man! Miles is important because he is a half black, half Latino inhabiting the costume of Marvel’s most popular character. Yes, it’s always been problematic that Marvel only felt comfortable making that move in an alternate universe and not the main one. Now Miles will forever be in the mash-up MU, one that has proven it cannot get rid of Peter Parker for more than twelve months.
Yep, that’s true. Logically, I don’t see why “Ultimate Spider-Man” couldn’t just continue on as the lone Ultimate book. That series has everything worthwhile about the Ultimate U in it — specifically Miles, Jessica Drew, Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane. Unfortunately, because “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man” is viewed as part of a universe that “no longer matters” — and ugh, there may not be a more useless word in comics than “matters” — it does not sell what it should. It sells fine; it exists just outside the top 75 with around 30K issues ordered every month. But a character as great as Miles and as well executed as he is should be doing Peter Parker numbers (“Amazing Spider-Man” #11 moved over 100K). If this makes Miles “matter” — ugh, that word — to the seemingly large section of comic readers that only read comics because they might have some weird butterfly effect on a dozen other titles and therefore causes the former Ultimate Spider-Man’s sales and profile to rise, then that’s a good thing.
I guess. Reading comics because they “matter” instead of the story they tell is just super dumb, though.
I’m glad you finally came around to thinking like that, Fan Me! You’ve come a long way. Remember when you got so angry over Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s “X-Force” #116 that you cut it up and fashioned it into a paper top hat as some weird and indefinable form of protest?
We all do stupid things in high school! Most of mine were inspired by then-progressive X-Men comics that made me apoplectic! Grant Morrison is forever my enemy because he called Cannonball “Jet-Ass”!
Let’s save those thoughts for the “Brett vs. New X-Men” column you’ve been threatening to do for years. Back to “Secret Wars”: it looks fun. Hickman’s a fine writer and Ribic’s an artist that we love. You’re going to get to see things like “Age of Apocalypse” again — and whatever “X-Men ’92” is!
THAT IS THE COMIC I’VE BEEN WAITING OVER TWENTY YEARS FOR!
Right! It might sound like giving in to the hype, but “Secret Wars” does kinda sound like it’s going to be a celebration of all things Marvel. It kinda sounds fun. Alternate universes and old events are going to coexist on a Battleworld–
I still don’t understand how “Civil War” constitutes a “country” on Battleworld!
–and we’re gonna get to see a bunch of fish out of water-type stories. You love those. Remember the “Thor” movies?
When Thor hangs Mjolnir on that coat rack in Jane’s home — !
Right! It could be fun, and the event will only last for a few months and then, well, who knows.
But those are a few months where apparently every story I’m reading is going to be all “Secret Wars!” Reader Me, you know you’re over events! You did not read “Original Sin” or “AXIS!” You don’t like events and, according to Marvel, everything is going to be this event!
Marvel has made it sound like every book is either getting canceled or rebooted! Forget #SaveStorm and sales chart speculation, it sounds like the deck is getting wiped clean! Where are your event-free zones now, Reader Me? Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are leaving “Daredevil,” “She-Hulk” is ending, and it sounds like “Ms. Marvel” and “Black Widow” and “Captain Marvel” won’t be the same during or after this!
Yeah… that’s right…
All of these tightly focused, character-driven and relatively crossover free solo series have made me an even bigger fan of characters like Hawkeye and Magneto!
A-ha! “Magneto” crossed over with “AXIS” and I still enjoyed reading those issues because Cullen Bunn used them to explore the character’s psyche.
But “AXIS” wasn’t designed to destroy everything the way “Secret Wars” apparently will! I AM SO SCARED FOR MS. MARVEL!
I am too! “Ms. Marvel” has succeeded because it’s a brilliant book with best-of-their-career level work from G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. I would also wager that it’s found a huge audience because it feels both a part of and outside of the Marvel Universe. It “matters” because Kamala got her powers because of another mini-event (one I also didn’t read) and because she interacts with the Marvel Universe through team-ups and her own super-fandom. But “Ms. Marvel” has yet to be derailed by a crossover — unlike “Spider-Woman,” which launched with a first issue where the lead character felt like a sidekick to “Spider-Verse.”
But those Javier Rodriguez issues coming up — !
Oh yeah, I’m stoked for “Spider-Woman’s” second arc — but will there be an arc after that? Are all these new books being launched just to end? I do really wonder what self-contained books like “Ms. Marvel” and “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” will look like during “Secret Wars” and if being thrown in the topsy-turvy deep end will rob them — most likely only temporarily — of one of the things that makes them so special.
But then again, crossovers and events are a part of the superhero comic cycle, and events almost always cause a lot of fan headaches —
You are subtly referring to the Magneto/Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch thing from “AXIS” and I am now FLIPPING OUT!
Stop doing backflips and listen! In order to justify being an event, events have to mess up the status quo in crazy ways, which almost always angers fans — who also continue to buy event comics that infuriate them rather than entertain them. And that’s not to say event comics are inherently bad; it’s just frustrating when comic fans complain about events yet they keep on gobbling them up like Doritos Locos Tacos.
That’s not a slam, because I know we both love Doritos Locos Tacos.
So yeah, if you complain about the revolving door of events, don’t buy them. If you buy them and don’t like them, then you’re not doing anyone any good. If you like them and buy them, great! Events aren’t made to be subtle. They’re made to shake things up, get everyone involved and throw a lot of big action moments at readers. They’re summer blockbuster comics, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. As for me? Well, I’ve been reminded that at this stage in my relationship with Marvel, I do prefer self-contained stories. I’m probably going to sit “Secret Wars” out.
But earlier you said that “Secret Wars” sounds kinda fun!
Yeah, I guess you changed my mind. Why do you sound so bummed?
Because… all that summer blockbuster talk… “Secret Wars” does sound kinda fun.
Well this solved nothing.
Brett White is a comedian living in New York City. He makes videos for the Upright Citizens Brigade as a member of UCB1 and writes for the sketch comedy podcast Left Handed Radio. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).
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