His name is Killraven. You could be pardoned for missing him – but all evidence is that his will be one of the worlds that is part of the ‘Secret Wars’. And it could be big…
A homage to H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’, the reality of Killraven – Earth-691 – was conquered by Martians, and named ‘New Mars’. Killraven was one of a handful of freedom-fighters battling against the overwhelming conquerors. His story ran in ‘Amazing Adventures #21-39’, and he’s made a number of appearances – including time-travelling team-ups with Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the Black Cat.
More recently, Marvel have made a number of attempts to bring his story into the normal universe; the most notable being:
- ‘Marvel Zombies 5’ (2010) – a miniseries that included a wacky end to the invasion, where Martians versus Zombies led to the Martians quitting the Earth.
- ‘Claws II’ (2010) – in which Wolverine and the Black Cat visited a future timeline that seems to be Killraven’s world.
More interestingly, though, Marvel have been gradually building towards bringing Killraven and News Mars into the mainstream. 2009’s ‘Captain America: Reborn’ included an image of the Martian timeline, and teasers for the forthcoming ‘Uncanny X-Men’ / ‘All-New X-Men’ annuals suggest the same.
Meanwhile, over in the pages of ‘All-New Invaders’, there’s currently a plotline of a Martian incursion in London… And Bucky has just retrieved Killraven, who had been committed to a lunatic asylum.
Marvel are playing a clever game, and they’re bringing a vintage concept back to life.
What does this mean for the ‘Secret Wars’?
‘Secret Wars’ includes a number of wastelands – the Age of Apocalypse, Marvel Zombies… But there’s something powerfully iconic in revisiting H. G. Wells’ classic. What’s more, if the future images we’ve seen are anything to go by, the Martians will be a powerful and dangerous force on Battleworld.
More importantly, New Mars adds Killraven and his band into the mix, potentially resurrecting a franchise Marvel have long been keen on.