A Guide to the Many Marvel Multiverses
Here are some of the most important alternate worlds in the Marvel Multiverse!
Within the Marvel Universe, there are countless timelines and worlds that have only scraped the surface of the larger multiverse. Many of Marvel’s most popular event series have spawned worlds their own, and their adventures continue even after the stories conclude.
As a primer for the most important alternate realities, Marvel.com is diving into the Marvel Multiverse 101. Consider this your crash course on the 616 and beyond!
Earth-616: The Prime Universe
The 616 universe may sound like just another timeline, but it’s by far the most important world of them all. Earth-616 is the Marvel Universe as we know it, and its legacy stretches back to 1939. While the rolling timeline keeps things modern, the 616 universe has continued uninterrupted since the launch of FANTASTIC FOUR #1 in 1961.
Earth-1610: Ultimate Marvel
Nearly two decades ago, the ULTIMATE comic line was created to give Marvel’s classic characters a modern reboot. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, THE ULTIMATES, and more paved the way for a new generation of readers. Most notably, Miles Morales made his debut as the new Spider-Man after Peter Parker was killed in the Ultimate Universe. Miles moved to the Prime Universe after SECRET WARS in 2015 when the Ultimate Universe was thought to be destroyed. But the Ultimate Universe has been reborn and its story isn’t finished yet.
In the 616, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s baby was tragically lost. But on Earth-982, Mayday Parker grew up to become the Amazing Spider-Girl! After Spider-Girl’s initial appearance in WHAT IF? #105, she gained her own ongoing series and spun off the MC2 line which explored a bright future for the next generation of Marvel heroes.
Unfortunately, not every timeline offers a happy ending for Earth’s heroes. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST introduced a world where the X-Men and nearly every major hero fell to the Sentinels. In a future controlled by mutant haters and machines, Rachel Summers and others like her were transformed into Hounds to hunt their own kind. The X-Men tried to prevent this timeline from coming to pass, but it keeps coming back to haunt them.
Sometimes, it’s the past and not the future that we have to worry about. Legion, the mentally unbalanced and supremely powerful son of Charles Xavier, attempted to appease his famous father by traveling back in time and murdering Erik Magnus Lehnsherr before he became Magneto. Instead, he accidentally created a world in which Xavier died before founding the X-Men, which led to the AGE OF APOCALYPSE. This actually overwrote the 616 reality for a time, before a brave group of X-Men were able to reverse the damage. Incredibly, the post-AGE OF APOCALYPSE survived as Earth-295, before eventually meeting a dark end years later.
Now this is a scary universe, largely because it’s the home of the Marvel Zombies. The various heroes of Earth fell to a zombie plague and quickly devoured the rest of humanity before turning on each other. The Marvel Zombies even ate Galactus and eventually traveled to other realities. Even the 616 and Ultimate Universe have come under attack by zombies from this world.
The Scarlet Witch was responsible for creating Earth-58163, a world better known as the House of M. She created a time and place where mutants were the dominant form of humanity on Earth. This was done in an attempt to appease her father, Magneto, and to reclaim her lost children. It was an illusion that couldn’t last despite Scarlet Witch’s desire to please everyone. Even after her changes were undone, this reality survived.
On almost every Earth, Peter Parker is Spider-Man. But one of the biggest exceptions is Earth-65, the home of Spider-Woman. We know her better as Spider-Gwen, the alternate Gwen Stacy who has headlined her own ongoing series. Spider-Gwen still pops into the 616 universe on occasion, now with the codename “Ghost-Spider.”
Consider this another world that you wouldn’t want to visit. In OLD MAN LOGAN, the former Wolverine lived in a timeline were the villains nearly exterminated all of the heroes. Much to his shame, Logan was tricked into executing his fellow X-Men before he retired. A version of Old Man Logan even made it to the 616 after SECRET WARS and he’s currently starring in DEAD MAN LOGAN.
Sometimes, the universe just needs heroes. In Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert’s 1602, the Marvel heroes were born several centuries early in order to confront a unique threat whose origins came from the future. Peter Parquagh, Sir Nicholas Fury, and strange incarnations of the X-Men and Fantastic Four were among the heroes reborn in this era. Their world continued as Earth-311 once the initial danger had passed.
Within the shadows of Earth-90214, Marvel’s familiar heroes took on a few darker shades in the Marvel Noir books. Spider-Man Noir was easily the most notable creation of this world, as he went on to meet the rest of the Spider-Men in the SPIDER-VERSE crossover event.
The Marvel Universe does have a future, but the world of 2099 is a very different place. Spider-Man 2099 became one of the first iconic heroes of the era, but the X-Men 2099, Punisher 2099, Fantastic Four 2099, and even Ghost Rider 2099 eventually emerged as this era’s champions.
While this is a good guide to some of the most well-known Marvel Universes, it’s by no means a complete one. The Marvel Universe is always expanding, every time someone messes with the space-time continuum or travels between dimensions. And knowing Marvel Comics, that happens pretty often!
Stay tuned to Marvel.com for the latest on the Marvel Universe you’re currently in – and the ones you’ll visit in the future!
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