Secret Wars is probably the biggest single story that has been done in the Marvel Universe, says Tom Brevoort, senior vice-president and executive editor for Marvel Comics. “It represents the end of the Marvel Universe, as it is currently known … All legends have an ending.”

But that doesn’t mean Marvel’s calling it quits. Of course not.

Secret Wars is simultaneously the end of the Marvel Universe as it now stands, and the birth, the dawning of a new Marvel Universe. A new and refreshed Marvel Universe by the end of it, and during the course of it,” Brevoort says.

The first issue of the eight-issue miniseries, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Esad Ribic, was released last week. Even if you’ve never read a comic, the issue will quickly get you up to speed. Basically, Brevoort says, the issue has two parallel Earths on the verge of colliding in the next eight hours, destroying both worlds. It’s up to the Marvel heroes to stop the collision.

“And they fail, so it’s a really upbeat, positive first issue, feel good sort of a story,” he says. “Things get weird and strange and new, and pick up from there. But all you really need to know is you’re about to witness the last days of the Marvel Universe as it exists.”

A Q&A with Brevoort gives fans an idea of what to expect in the coming months:

How will Secret Wars play out in the rest of the titles you publish?

Secret Wars is going to be a book that, by its very nature, impacts on everything that we’re doing. So most of our ongoing titles are reaching … their conclusion. Whatever that title is, be it Spider-Man, be it Captain America, be it Thor, it will come to its natural conclusion and then, as we move into Secret Wars proper, there’s a swath of titles, each of which represents within its pages, within its story, some building block, some foundational piece of the new Marvel Universe.

So for at least some of these months – and it’s not all happening at once because we knew that was going to be difficult for both readers and our retailers that all of the titles stop in a given month – over the course of two or three months, you’ll get to months where there is no Captain America, there is no Spider-Man book, there is no Thor book, at least one that you recognise.

Secret Wars 1 kicks off with an all-out battle for survival between the main Marvel and Ultimate Marvel universes.

Secret Wars 1 kicks off with an all-out battle for survival between the main Marvel and Ultimate Marvel universes.

There may be other books, because within the context of Secret Wars, we’re doing a bevy of series, many of which call back to a key and classic story lines and events from Marvel’s past. So while there’s not a typical Amazing Spider-Man book, there is an Amazing Spider-Man book called Renew Your Vows, which is very much about the married Spider-Man of years gone by. There’s also a Spider-Island book, there’s also a Spider-Verse book, and that’s just off the top of my head.

So there’s not a Thor book, but there is a Thors book, which has multiple Thors operating in the context of Secret Wars. And there’s not a Captain America book, but there is a Hail Hydra book that is all about a place in which Hydra has taken over and won, and what that means for everybody.

So in most cases, there is something that is in some way analogous to a book that you may have been reading, but it also means that there is a lot of weird and interesting stuff coming out, and hopefully some of it will catch people’s attention.

Is there a title you’re especially excited for?

I think the Civil War series that Charles Soule and Leinil Yu are doing will be a good experience both for people who read the original Civil War, and for people who are just interested in the idea of Civil War because they know it’s the title of the next Captain America movie.

Why should people who saw Avengers: Age Of Ultron and want to try out a comic make Secret Wars the book they pick up?

Well, I think, again, Secret Wars is going to be so big and all pervasive that frankly, they have no choice! Eventually, no matter what Marvel title they pick, they’re going to have to deal with Secret Wars, so they might as well take it head on. On top of which, in terms of Marvel titles likely to give you the same sort of spectacle and bombast and personal stakes and personal angst as the Age Of Ultron movie, Secret Wars has all that in spades. – amNewYork/Tribune News Service