So Marvel has released a video and an “interactive map” of Battleworld, and is starting to tease actual titles of what we can expect in April/Summer 2015, when “everything ends” and the Marvel and Ultimate Universes combine.

Everyone wants to know if this will be good for Marvel, and how dramatic the changes will be, so here’s my predictions:

1) It will be “good” for Marvel’s short-term sales, but probably won’t change long-term sales.
2) Marvel Comics after the big event will look more like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but overall most things will stay the same.
3) There’s no chance all the event and event-spin-off titles will be good, but I bet about half of them will be.
4) It will be better than DC’s Convergence event.

So, what can we actually expect?

First of all, we know the main book will be “Secret Wars,” which will begin after Jonathan Hickman’s two Avengers titles end. Second, there will be a “Last Days” series, which will show all your favorite Marvels reacting to the “end” of the worlds. And third, there will be a “Battleworld” comic that will tell side-stories not featured in Secret Wars, mostly about people in those areas adapting to the new Earth.

And what is Battleworld? It’s pieces from Marvel stories throughout time.

There’s a lot of potential for great comics here, and my understanding is that many Marvel titles will end before or during the event to make way for what will be the future of Marvel storytelling—at least for a while. The cynics say “nothing really ever changes” but I disagree. There is a distinct difference between the Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, etc. of the 1970s and now.

There have always been shifts in what Marvel stories emphasize and their general “flavor.” Captain America of the 1980s, for example, had a girlfriend, a job, and a secret identity. In the 2000s (up to last year), he was a soldier, his identity was public, and there wasn’t any real discussion of his private life. You can look at lots of other Marvel characters and see how they’ve shifted. She-Hulk started as a non-entity—a grab at a copyright, really—and now she’s headlining one of Marvel’s most interesting monthly books. No, the differences over time aren’t hugely dramatic—you can still recognize them and their essential character—but there have been enough changes and surprises to keep the stories fresh.

So I remain hopeful.

Come back tomorrow for a full guide to Battleworld!

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