What Are Marvel’s Secret Wars and Secret Invasion? (Pt. II)
Over the years, big secrets and surprise reveals have become the name of the marketing game for Marvel. Twice a year at big conventions, Marvel fans are given information bit by bit and only until the movies or TV shows premiere do we ever get the full (partial) picture.
Now, after more titles have been revealed for Phases 5 and 6, many MCU fans might be asking: What is Marvel’s Secret Wars? And what about Secret Invasion? Why all the secrets?!
Well, search no further. Part I lets you in on Secret Invasion. And now Part II, your guide to Secret Wars, is just Beyonder this sentence.
As always, any MCU speculation about unreleased projects is unconfirmed.
What is Marvel Secret Wars?
First things first, let’s get the most confusing details in order. Marvel comics have had two events called Secret Wars. In 1984, the first Secret Wars happened, written by Jim Shooter and with art by Mike Zeck and Bob Layton. The second Marvel comics event titled Secret Wars is from 2015, written by Jonathan Hickman and with art by Esad Ribić.
During the first Secret Wars, the primary antagonist is the Beyonder. This entity makes his return in Secret Wars II (1986), which elaborates on the character’s background. In Hickman’s Secret Wars, the Beyonders are extra-dimensional beings who manipulate the Multiverse. Both of these books also prominently feature Molecule Man and Doctor Doom, though in slightly different ways.
Why Is Secret Wars important?
A quick answer to this question is that Secret Wars means everybody is gettin’ involved. All the major heroes and villains will have to team up somehow to face a threat larger than the Multiverse itself.
The first time around, Secret Wars was developed as a way to promote a new line of Marvel action figures with Mattel. But the longterm impact of this book would be the ongoing tradition of company-wide crossover events, meaning a huge book every year or so that combines heroes and villains from all over Marvel. These crossover events are a chance for writers and artists to shake things up for our favorite heroes, as we’ll see in the next section.
Differences between Secret Wars 1984 and Secret Wars 2015
The biggest differences between both Secret Wars aren’t just who appears but also why they appear and how they deal with the threat of Beyonder(s).
Secret Wars (1984)
A gargantuan, mysterious construct appears in Central Park. Heroes such as Spider-Man, James Rhodes (as Iron Man), the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men all approach it. In flashes of light, they’re all whisked away — well, most of them. Some teammates are left behind while the rest find themselves on Battleworld. But heroes aren’t the only ones present. Doctor Doom, Magneto, Molecule Man, Enchantress, Kang the Conqueror, Ultron, Doc Ock, Lizard, Absorbing Man, the Wrecking Crew, and Galactus have been summoned as well.
The Beyonder lets everyone know that they will battle against each other and the winners will be granted whatever their hearts desire. Of course, some are more willing than others to fight. Doctor Doom attempts to wrest control from the Beyonder himself, using Molecule Man and Klaw the Master of Sound as pawns. Doom also creates Volcana and Titania. Meanwhile, Magneto and the X-Men break off from the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) makes her comics debut, as does Peter Parker’s black symbiote suit.
Eventually, Doom gains the Beyonder’s power but in the end he loses it. As everyone returns to Earth, Ben Grimm decides to stay behind and She-Hulk takes his place on the Avengers.
Secret Wars (2015)
Three decades later, Incursions are ravaging the Marvel Multiverse. Earth-1610, the Ultimate Universe, is on course to collide with Earth-616. Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange, and Molecule Man confront the Beyonders while both Earths are destroyed and only a partial escape vessel survives from 616. Against the Beyonders, Doom manages to kill them and takes their power for himself. Sound familiar?
However, Doom is now the creator of Battleworld. Doom’s new reality is composed of fragments of the old Multiverse, altered to suit his vision, except nobody remembers their past lives. Well, almost nobody. The discovery of the former Multiverse’s survivors sets in motion a rebellion against Doom. His Battleworld is a place where Sue Storm is his wife, the Thor Corps enforces his rule, and Stephen Strange is the sheriff. Plus, Victor and Sue have two super-powered, influential children: Valeria and Franklin.
Slowly, the rebellion against Doom picks up followers, led by Black Panther and Reed Richards. Molecule Man’s power turns out to be a key part in restoring the Multiverse, along with Franklin Richards’ reality-warping abilities.
Secret Wars in the MCU
The MCU’s Secret Wars film won’t premiere until at least 2025, which means so much can happen between now and then. Regardless, Secret Wars is definitely a way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to undergo some major changes. New characters, new realities (Incursions have already been mentioned in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), and maybe the inclusion of some familiar faces.
Of course, the biggest question of all is how the X-Men might factor in, if at all. The word “mutant” has only recently been used in the Ms. Marvel finale. Theories abound on when and where other noteworthy Children of the Atom might pop up before Secret Wars. But Secret Wars is also a chance to incorporate non-mutant heroes like Miles Morales and other Spider-Verse figures. Also, the 1984 event heavily featured Wasp, She-Hulk, and Monica Rambeau, which lines up with their increasing presence in the MCU. And, if all goes according to schedule, when Secret Wars happens in the MCU, the Fantastic Four will have debuted a year prior.
Villains on the Rise
Aside from the heroes, the super-villains are just as important in Secret Wars. They cross the lines our heroes struggle with, and they push the plot into heartstopping directions. Except, as it now stands, Victor von Doom is not in the MCU. Might Kang the Conqueror take his place as a powerful, time-traveling match against the Beyonder?
Plus, there’s Enchantress. This Asgardian trickster, often known as Amora, has been imitated in the comics by Sylvie Lushton. And Sylvie, the Loki variant in the MCU, is definitely not opposed to doing evil deeds. Could the MCU’s Sylvie make an even more villainous transformation? Speaking of evil deeds, let’s not forget Scarlet Witch. Since the Molecule Man and his matter manipulation have yet to appear on screen, could Wanda’s villainous persona take his place as the key to altering reality? Who knows, but we’re definitely eager to find out!