Multiverse (Marvel Comics)

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Within Marvel Comics, most tales take place within the fictional Marvel Universe, which in turn is part of a larger multiverse. Starting with issues of Captain Britain, the main continuity in which most Marvel storylines take place was designated Earth-616, and the multiverse was established as being protected by Merlyn. Each universe has a Captain Britain designated to protect its version of the British Isles. These protectors are collectively known as the Captain Britain Corps. This numerical notation was continued in the series Excalibur and other titles. Each universe of the Multiverse in Marvel also appears to be defended by a Sorcerer Supreme at nearly all times, appointed by the mystic trinity of Vishanti to defend the world against threats primarily magical in nature from within and beyond and bearing the Eye of Agamotto.

Later on, many writers would utilize and reshape the multiverse in titles such as Exiles, X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four. New universes would also spin out of storylines involving time traveling characters such as Rachel Summers, Cable, and Bishop, as their actions rendered their home times alternate timelines.

Concept[edit]

The Multiverse is the collection of alternate universes that share a universal hierarchy; it is a subsection of the larger Omniverse, the collection of all alternate universes. A large variety of these universes were originated from another due to a major decision on the part of a character. Some can seem to be taking place in the past or future due to differences in how time passes in each universe. Often, new universes are born due to time traveling, another name for these new universes is an "alternate timeline". Earth-616 is the established main universe where the majority of Marvel books take place.

In each universe, a Captain Britain protects the British Isles. Altogether, the Captains make up the Captain Britain Corps.

Nature of the Multiverse[edit]

According to Forge, mutants living on these alternate Earths have lost their powers due to M-Day, as stated in "Endangered Species", however, this mass depowering has not been seen in any of Marvel's current alternate reality publications such as Exiles, the Ultimate titles, Amazing Spider-Girl, the Marvel Adventures titles or GeNext, though it is possible that the issue of time may be related to their exclusion. This was apparently retconned during the "X-Men: Messiah Complex" storyline, where Forge stated that all mutants in possible future timelines were depowered, not in parallel universes.[1] This, in addition to A.R.M.O.R.'s observation that Lyra arrived from an alternate reality[2] indicates that the topology of the Marvel multiverse is based on new realities branching off from key nodes of a timeline instead of strictly parallel dimensions.

Other realities[edit]

Not every alternate reality is an entire independent universe, but instead maintain a parasitic relationship to a parent reality. Others can exist outside the multiversal structure altogether.

Pocket universes[edit]

  • Counter-Earth (Heroes Reborn): A pocket dimension where Franklin Richards stored many of Earth's superheroes after the events surrounding the appearance of Onslaught. Doom saved Counter-Earth from the unstable pocket dimension, and placed it in an alternate orbit of the Earth-616 on the other side of the sun.
  • The Hill: A dangerous pocket dimension used by Mikhail Rasputin after flooding the Morlock tunnels. Rasputin brought all Morlocks to The Hill to raise them in a survival of the fittest mentality. In this dimension time runs several times faster. While in Earth-616 only 1 or 2 years passed more than ten years passed in the Hill. Marrow and the other Gene Nation members grew up in this dimension.
  • The Microverse: Originally, many microverses existed within the Marvel Multiverse. The most commonly visited is the one containing the regions known as Sub-Atomica and the Micronauts Homeworld.
  • The Mojoverse: A dimension where all beings are addicted to gladiator-like television programs. Ruled by Mojo and home to Spiral, Longshot and the X-Babies.
  • The Negative Zone: Mostly uninhabited, it is a universe parallel to Earth's with many similarities. One major difference is all matter in the Negative Zone is negatively charged. Negative Zone Prison Alpha is located here. Also the home of Blastaar and Annihilus.
  • Otherplace: Also known as "Limbo" or "Demonic Limbo", A magical dimension of demons which were historically ruled by Belasco and was primarily featured in X-Men comics.
  • The Void: A pocket dimension that exists inside Shaman's medicine bag.
  • The Soul Gem: A pocket dimension that exists inside the green infinity gem.

External realities[edit]

Definitions[edit]

The classification system for alternate realities was devised, in part, by Mark Gruenwald.[3]

Continuity[edit]

A Universe/continuity is a single reality, such as Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel Universe/Continuity. In Marvel Comics, the concept of a continuity is not the same as "dimension" or "universe"; for example, characters like Mephisto and Dormammu hail from alternate dimensions and the Celestials from another galaxy, but they all nevertheless belong to Universe-616. A continuity should also not be confused with an imprint; for example, while the titles of some imprints, such as Ultimate Marvel, take place in a different continuity, some or all publications in other imprints, such as Epic Comics, MAX, and Marvel UK, take place within the Earth-616 continuity. Note that in context the Marvel Universe is sometimes used to refer to the Marvel Multiverse, and sometimes used to refer to the Earth-616 continuity.[4]

Multiverse[edit]

A Multiverse is the collection of alternate universes, with a similar nature and a universal hierarchy. The Marvel multiverse contains the universe that holds Earth-616, most of the What If? universes, as well as the vast number of the alternate Marvel Universe Earths.

The original term and concept were coined by Michael Moorcock for his "Eternal Champion" sequence. The lead characters from Moorcock's work are obviously the inspiration for the Captain Britain Corps.

Megaverse[edit]

There are certain universes which are tied to the Marvel multiverse – such as the New Universe and the Ultraverse – which do not share any open similarities to it, and thus are not strictly part of the larger universal hierarchy that forms the Marvel multiverse, but at the same time, are not so far removed that they existed in a separate multiverse.[5] The 21st century edition of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe[citation needed] posits the term Megaverse[citation needed] as the name for this larger grouping, though because there is always the chance that some future publications will increase the interactions between different Multiverses, this is a fluid definition.

Omniverse[edit]

Originally according to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe 2004, "the omniverse is the collection of every single universe, multiverse, dimension (alternate or pocket) and realm".

Known alternate universes[edit]

As stated above, nearly every imprint, timeline and appearances in other media have its own separate universe. Most of these have been cataloged by Marvel Comics in many publications, being most notable the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes. The numerical designations for these are rarely revealed outside of reference works such as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005. A.R.M.O.R. and Project Pegasus however seem to possess vast knowledge of other Marvel realities, utilizing the same designations; whether this is simply narrative convenience on behalf of Marvel's authors or an unusual decision by these agencies to utilize an effectively alien catalog method is as yet unstated.

The numeric designations of these alternate universes have been confirmed by Marvel Comics throughout the years and compiled in 2005's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes, and in Marvel publications since the release of the Handbook. The prevalent method of labeling an unnamed universe is to derive numbers in some way from the publication date of the relevant issue featuring its first appearance. This is, in turn, based on the mistaken belief that "Earth-616" derived its number from the publication date of The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961). In addition, many universes have also been designated with numbers by fans with various methods for the numbering, such as the birth date of an important Marvel staff member (artist Nelson Ribeiro for the Transformers U.S. Universe, Earth-91274) or the spelling of a name with a touch-tone phone (Animated Silver Surfer Earth, 936652, spells out Zenn La).

Below is a list of the main universes in the Marvel Multiverse.

Name First Appearance Notes
Earth-616
Marvel Universe
Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (1939)
  • Reality of the original Marvel Super Heroes and its mainstream continuity. Differences between universes are usually described in comparison with Earth-616.
  • First numbered in The Daredevils.
Earth-1610
Ultimate Marvel
Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (2000)
Earth-148611
New Universe
Star Brand #1 (1986)
  • Created by Jim Shooter as a "more realistic" alternative to traditional super hero comic books to honor Marvel Comics' 25th anniversary in 1986.
  • Set in a mirror 1986 Real World where "The White Event" suddenly grants superpowers to some individuals. Aging, major influence by superhumans in world events and "real-time" are the base concepts of this comic book line.
  • Home reality of Justice, Nightmask, Star Brand and Spitfire and the Troubleshooters.
  • First numbered in Alternate Universes 2005.
Earth-555
newuniversal
newuniversal #1 (2006)
  • Reinvention of the New Universe to coincide with its 20th anniversary in 2007, keeping most of the key concepts of New Universe.[6]
  • Unlike its first incarnation, the history of this Earth is already different from that of the Real World before the White Event occurring in 2006.
Earth-45828
Razorline
Razorline: The First Cut #1 (Sept. 1993)
Earth-88194
Shadowline
Dr. Zero #1 (1988)
  • Created by Archie Goodwin under the Epic Comics imprint as a mature-themed line for Marvel Comics.
  • Home reality of Doctor Zero, Power Line, and St. George and origin of Terror.
  • First numbered in Alternate Universes 2005.
Earth-93060
Ultraverse
Hardcase #1 (1993)
  • Home reality of Prime, Hardcase and the Ultraforce appearing in Malibu Comics (purchased by Marvel Comics in 1996).
  • First numbered in Alternate Universes 2005.
Earth-8311
Larval Universe
Marvel Tails #1 (1983)
  • Home reality of Peter Porker, the spectacular Spider-Ham and anthropomorphic funny-animal parodies of the Marvel characters.
  • First numbered in Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four.
Earth-928
Marvel 2099
Spider-Man 2099 #1 (1992)
  • Alternate future of Earth-616 set in 2099, with futuristic incarnations of Marvel heroes, villains and teams.
  • First numbered in Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four.
Earth-982
MC2
What If? vol. 2 #105 (1998)
  • Home reality of Spider-Girl, J2, A-Next, Wild Thing, the Fantastic Five and other descendants of the Marvel Super Heroes and Villains.
  • Set in an alternate version of Earth-616 in the late 1990s.
  • First numbered in Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four.
Earth-92131
Marvel Animated
X-Men: The Animated Series (October 31, 1992)
  • Setting of X-Men: The Animated Series and (possibly) other animated shows of the early 1990s.
  • First numbered in the Volume 5 of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcovers lists
Earth-199999
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)
Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
  • Continuity of The Avengers and related film and TV franchises.
  • Other film franchises such as X-Men, Fantastic Four or Spider-Man do not belong to this continuity.
  • Number revealed in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Volume 5 hardcover.
Earth-2149
Marvel Zombies
Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 (2005)
  • Reality of the original Marvel Zombies series where an outbreak of a zombie virus turned all costumed heroes into evil, cannibalistic zombies.
  • First numbered in Alternate Universes 2005.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Marvel Encyclopedia Volume 6: Fantastic Four (November 2004)
  • Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005
  • Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook (2006)
  • Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook (2006)
  • Marvel Legacy: The 1980s Handbook (2006)
  • Marvel Legacy: The 1990s Handbook (2007)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David, Peter. X-Factor vol. 2 #25
  2. ^ All New Savage She-Hulk #1
  3. ^ Marvel Universe App appendix, www.marvuapp.com
  4. ^ NEWSARAMA.COM: NEW JOE FRIDAYS - WEEK 44, A WEEKLY Q&A WITH JOE QUESADA
  5. ^ Mega is the Greek prefix meaning "great".
  6. ^ "CCI, Day 4: Ellis talks "newuniversal"". Comic Book Resources. 2006-07-23. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 

External links[edit]