SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Secret Empire #10, by Nick Spencer, Steve McNiven, Rod Reis and more, on sale now.
When Marvel Comics announced plans for the Generations-branded series of one-shots which have been hitting comic stores over the past several weeks, the publisher remained mostly mum about the mini-event’s details. All we knew was that readers would experience current Marvel heroes meeting with their counterparts from the past, with the hows, whys and wheres all shrouded in mystery.
Then, Marvel added a new wrinkle teasing something called the Vanishing Point, without revealing what, or where, it was. Additionally, fans were told that the answer to that question, and more, would be revealed in the pages of Secret Empire #10. And while we’ve been given more information about what, exactly, the purpose of the one-shots is (generally, to offer insight into the newer versions of the heroes while building the concept of legacy in the Marvel Universe), it wasn’t until the current event’s big finale that we learned what the Vanishing Point is neither a place nor a time, but an incredibly brief moment in Marvel continuity.
Well, sort of – it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, so it’s understandable if you’re still a little unclear about what, exactly, happened.
At first, it appeared as though Hydra Cap was responsible for the heroes’ experiences in the Vanishing Point; early in the issue, the evil Steve Rogers gained the final piece of his Cosmic Cube and attained full godhood. His first action was, naturally, to take the players who posed him the greatest threat off the board. Thus, he erased a cadre of Marvel’s heroes, most of whom just to happened to be those featured in the Generations one-shots, from reality — literally, erased from Marvel continuity. As a reader, the understandable reaction was, “Oh – that’s how they’re going to end up stranded in different time periods.”
This, however, was a feint.
While Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel and the rest remained erased from reality during the inevitable showdown between the good and evil Steve Rogers, they were all brought back into continuity in one fell swoop by the renewed Kobik (the sentient Cosmic Cube at the center of the event). Not only did Kobik return these heroes, she re-worked Captain America’s reality she had originally twisted and perverted at the Red Skull’s command back into the one we’ve known for decades.
Then, as a “gift” for their sacrifices, she sent the newly returned heroes “through the Vanishing Point.” A moment later, all of the heroes were back in the current time, restored, “reborn” and ready to face the future with new knowledge about themselves and their mentors.
Of course, while this answers the how, what, when and where of the Vanishing Point, there are still questions to be asked and, presumably. answered. It remains to be seen whether everyone involved will now have a memory of their various adventures. The Generations one-shots appear pretty united in presenting a status quo change for the Legacy heroes (Kate Bishop, Amadeus Cho, etc.), but we’ve not yet learned if the older heroes (Clint Barton, Thor Odinson) will retain any memory of their roles in the event.
For some heroes, like Bruce Banner or Wolverine, the point is moot as they’re currently dead. But for others, like the aforementioned Barton or the newly reborn Steve Rogers, the possibility remains that they’ll have some sort of recollection of working with their mentees/successors at some point before they actually met for real. Presumably, these answers, and more, will be coming as Marvel Legacy unfolds in the months ahead.
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