With the post-apocalyptic event, Secret Wars, still in the throws of its penultimate issue, the ripple effects of the “multiversal incursions” and fate of Battleworld are already being felt across the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe.
To briefly sum up the current catastrophe that has befallen the Marvel Universe, one has to go back to Jonathan Hickman’s recent (and brilliant) run of New Avengers and the pan-dimensional disasters that were discovered by the Illuminati.
Victor Von Doom’s patchwork planet, Battleworld (as seen in Secret Wars), was crafted as a result of the cataclysms known as the “multiversal incursions.” Setting aside the “how” and “why,” the incursions spanned the near-infinite multiverse and occurred when one universe’s Earth slammed into a neighboring universe’s Earth, resulting in the obliteration of one/both Earth(s) and respective universe(s). Not even Earth-616 (Marvel’s main continuity) and Earth-1610 (The Ultimate Universe) were spared.
The timeline of the ANAD Marvel Universe begins 8 months after Doctor Doom’s (presumed) defeat and the destruction of Battleworld. Amid the denizens of this new-yet-familiar Earth are incursion survivors… super-powered orphans from eradicated universes who, in the 8 months off-panel, have found each other and banded together under the moniker, Squadron Supreme.
Imbued with a “nothing left to lose” mentality, the Squadron members have sworn to protect their new home by anymeans necessary. As evidenced by James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s first issue of Squadron Supreme, the titular team takes no issue with employing violence, destruction, and death in order to achieve its goals.
Reflecting Marvel’s changing attitudes towards female characters and its apparent desire to focus plenty of panel time on them, the hodgepodge team roster includes not one… not two… but, three Strong Female Characters. For readers not keeping score, an even half of the Squardon’s members are proud, card-carrying members of the XX-chromosome club.
Doctor Spectrum (Earth-4290001): A member of the Great Society and keeper of the alien gem known as the Power Prism, Doctor Spectrum and her team fought valiantly to save their universe from the incursions.
Up until the moment their Earth was set to collide with Earth-616, the Great Society had successfully, and without bloodshed, fended off all previous incursions that threatened their reality. The arrival of the 616 Illuminati and their anti-matter bomb led to an all-out final battle for the fate of the two universes with Namor initiating the attack.
With the defeat of the Great Society and the anti-matter injector put in place, the fate of Earth-4290001 was sealed. Though the circumstances are still developing, Doctor Spectrum would be the only survivor of her universe and the driving force behind the Squadron’s attack on Atlantis.
Zarda Shelton a.k.a. Power Princess (Earth-712): Hailing from Utopia Island and belonging to a subgroup of Homo-sapiens that came about after Kree genetic experimentation, Zarda Shelton possesses brutal, superhuman strength, enhanced agility/reflexes/stamina, and near immunity to aging/diseases/illnesses.
After the planetary departure of the Utopians during World War II, Zarda elected to remain behind as their ambassador. This eventually led to her joining the Earth-712’s Squadron Supreme. She was instrumental in battling the likes of Null, the Living Darkness, the Nth Man, Overmind, and Earth-616 Hyperion. Zarda later went on to join the Exiles and assist in repairing damaged realities before passing the torch to Psylocke.
Following the multiversal incursions, Zarda is revealed to be the sole-survivor of Earth-712.
Thundra (Earth-715/Earth-7412): Thundra, a genetically engineered warrior-woman, is a transplant from Earth-715. In said reality, the Earth was known as Femizonia and ruled over by a female population that had enslaved its male counterparts.
Thundra quickly proved herself to be one of the most formidable women in Femizonia, quickly asserting her prowess in the military. She was soon faced with an invasion from Machus (Earth-74101), a male-dominated reality that sought to liberate the men of Earth-712. The ensuing battle resulted in a fusion of the two realities into an amalgamation: Earth-7412.
Stranded in 616 for a time, Thundra and came into conflict with the Hulk, Namor, and Ms. Marvel. She eventually ventured to and ruled over an alternate Femizonia (Earth-8009) that never integrated with Machus. As Empress of this reality, she abducted the 616 Avengers and Fantastic Four to aid against an invasion by Arkon and his extra-dimensional warriors from Polemachus. The conflict ended when Thundra and Arkon became lovers. At some point, she returned to 616 and joined the all-female team, the Lady Liberators.
As of the present, it is unclear which (if any) of Thundra’s homeworlds survived the incursions. It is implied that she is looking to enlist the aid of the new Squadron Supreme in locating Arkon within the wilds of Weirdworld.
The savage actions of this new and barbarous Squadron Supreme against Namor and the nation of Atlantis (as seen in Squadron Supreme #1) have already gotten the attention of Steve Rogers’ Uncanny Avengers team as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. Citizens of the world are polarized in their feelings for these new “heroes.” Many believe them to be saviors while others deem them far too dangerous and callous.
Squadron Supreme #2 hits the shelves today, December 30th, and the fallout from this team’s heavy-handed tactics is undoubtedly just beginning.
Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @ThatShaun.