It's not a reboot. Well...not completely, anyway.
The Marvel Universe, a.k.a. the 616 Universe, is coming to an end...at least as we currently know it. During a live press event held at Midtown Comics yesterday, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Senior Vice President of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort confirmed that Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic's upcoming eight-issue limited series Secret Wars will represent the end of both the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe.
The story kicks off in Secret Wars #0, a Free Comic Book Day offering that features two worlds going in and one or no worlds coming out because of the "Incursion" event Hickman has been exploring in his Avengers and New Avengers titles. The Ultimate Universe will fold into the 616 Universe and "Once we hit Secret Wars #1, there is no Marvel Universe, Ultimate Universe, or any other. It's all Battleworld," said Brevoort.
In addition to the long-running Incursion threat, Marvel has made a number of creative moves in recent months that hinted at a possible continuity reboot, such as the murders of Wolverine, Namor the Sub-Mariner and The Watcher, Nick Fury taking over for The Watcher as a character called The Unseen, the Ultimate Universe being featured in The All-New X-Men, the cancellation of Fantastic Four, various Spider-Men and Women from multiple universes appearing in the "Spider-Verse" event, and others.
Alonso confirmed that Marvel will launch a "wealth" of new series, both ongoing and minis, during Secret Wars.
"All the bits and pieces all the little sections of earths within incursion zones, all pieces that have remained, will be fused into a gigantic organism which will be Battleworld," said Brevoort. "And this will set up all the building blocks of the New Marvel Universe. Every world we’re going to introduce you to, every piece is a building block for the MU moving forward. None of these are Elseworlds or What Ifs, they are not set in the past or future, and not in alternate reality. This is the reality of the Marvel Universe."
"Every creative team has known this was coming," said Brevoort. "We've had a line of demarcation in the sand. Get your most immediate business done by this point because we're going into Secret Wars and it's going to have an impact on everything. Most of those creators are working on books during Secret Wars. They may not be exactly the same book. There may not be a Guardians of the Galaxy book, but there's probably going to be something that involves some bit of that business, or stuff that may be done in Guardians in the future. Everything is going to kind of change and shift as we go. We're not entirely ready yet to map it all out for you."
Secret Wars #0 will arrive in comic stores for Free Comic Book Day on May 2, 2015.