Back in 1986, Marvel Comics and Jim Shooter orchestrated what promised to be a revitalization in their monthly comicverse. The New Universe not only introduced new heroes and villains, but in a world devoid of Captain America, Spider-Man or Iron Man. This was a world closer to ours, untainted by the strange and unexplained until ‘The White Event.’ As a reader I tasted a few of the new books and was especially happy with Starbrand and DP7.
This year, Jonathan Hickman took over the reigns of the Avengers monthly series and after an explosive opening arc and a few standalone issues establishing the new members of the team such as Smasher and Hyperion, took on the New Universe in a new way. The White Event has come to the Marvel Universe, but has resulted in a deviation from the expected outcome. The Nightmask and Starbrand ‘vessels’ have arrived but are not correctly aligned to their powers. Rather than being the harbingers of a new power, they are just as deadly as any threat.
It will be exciting to see where Hickman goes with this.
“It wasn’t something that anybody at Marvel especially was looking to do,” Brevoort told Newsarama. “This was all really Jonathan.”
The New Universe started in 1986 during Jim Shooter’s tenure as Marvel editor-in-chief, as a way to mark Marvel’s 25th anniversary. It was intended to be a more grounded world separate from the Marvel Universe, kickstarted by the “White Event” that gave some individuals superpowers. It launched with eight books: D.P. 7, Justice, and Psi-Force, which each ran for 32 issues; plus the shorter-lived Kickers, Inc., Mark Hazzard: Merc, Nightmask, Spitfire and the Troubleshooters and Star Brand.
Following the end of the original books in 1989, the New Universe was touched on in books like Spider-Man 2099, Quasar and the “Starblast” crossover. The most notable revisiting of the concept was newuniversal, a 2007 reboot of the concepts by Warren Ellis and Salvador Larroca. Beyond the six-issue main series, the tie-ins featured some of the first Marvel work from X-Men: Legacy’s Simon Spurrier and Iron Man’s Kieron Gillen.
“For all that everybody says, ‘I don’t know about the New Universe,’ or ‘I don’t care about the New Universe,’ certainly everybody seems to be talking about the New Universe, and has been since the cover to #7, with the pink-white lightning bolt, came out,” Brevoort said. “Everybody recognized it, and everybody had a reaction to it. That indicated that there’s something going on there in the gestalt, whether it’s a nostalgia, or whether it’s just a simple recognition of, ‘It’s that thing from all those years ago, that’s kind of neat, I haven’t seen that in a long time.’”
“Everything has a nostalgic component to it when it comes to comic book readers,” Brevoort continued. “That’s just an ever-prevalent thing. You can’t find stuff in the history of comics that don’t have that pull to them. There’s nothing that is completely salted earth.”
I have to ask if, after the dust has settled, will the other players of the New Universe be in attendance such as Justice, Spitfire and the Troubleshooters, DP7 and… Kickers, Inc? Which one will Bendis be writing?