Don't Call It A Reboot – But What Were The Seven Iterations Of The Marvel Universe Before This One?

The upcoming Ultimates #1 written by Al Ewing comes the closest to telling us what the Marvel Universe is. And possibly what it might have been.

We are introduced to neutronium which, in our world is what scientists refer to as a hypothetical substance composed of nothing but neutrons.

n1Well, reintroduced. We first encountered it in Mighty Avengers Vol 2 #9 written by Al Ewing.

Mighty Avengers (2013-) 009-010

It then reappeared in Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #5, written by Al Ewing.

Captain America and the Mighty Avengers (2014-) 005-002

…where the Blue Marvel described it as crystals of frozen spacetime, found only in Exo-Space. We are told if they could be brought to a regular dimension, it could potentially solve hundreds of global problems. And now the Blue Marvel is back at it for Ultimates #1. But things have now changed.


Not compatible with the world we knew, until now that is. After whatever happened eight months ago…


Isometric… eight? Is this Iso-8?

In the Avengers Alliance game and in the Iron Man, Captain America and Thor video games,  Isotope-8 is a powerful substance that works as a boost, a catalyst, able to focus, to strengthen, to power up even transfer abilities.

15And it's also big time in Contest Of Champions, written by … you get the picture.


Note that it is formed from the "rebirth of the universe". Back to the Ultimates preview. And what neutronium or Iso-8 could do.


So the Iso-8/Neutronium can make cosmic cubes, the ones that SHIELD proposed using to alter reality in Captain America.


And, yeah, Sam Wilson has a particular dislike of cosmic cubes, and they have stuffed up his own continuity a number of times.cubes2

So, to recap, neutronium, which couldn't exist in the universe now can, is called Iso-8 to merge with other continuities,  and can be used to create cosmic cubes that can alter everything. So how can they exist now?

Not a reboot but a multiversal renewal….

n6Or cosmic refresh. But if this is the eighth continuity, what were the previous seven?

Could they explain how Mister Fantastic and Ben Grimm fought in World War 2? How the X-Men were formed in the sixties counter culture? Why Luke Cage was a seventies jive talker? Why Kitty Pryde was an eighties chick? Why Deadpool had all those nineties pouches?

Previous to this, Marvel continuity has shifted and merged, fluid even, as events changed around it. There was no reboot, just past history slightly changed as the years drove on. Mister Fantastic and Ben Grimm fought in Vietnam instead, then the Gulf War, and now there is the realisation that everything since Fantastic Four #1 has to have happened after 9/11.

But now we are told that there may have been eight versions of the Marvel Universe, which may incorporate these changes.

Anyone care to figure out where these ages may have been? And what the new eighth iteration will be like now that cosmic cubes can be formed willy nilly? And, given that the origin of the Beyonder and Molecule Man was meant to stem from a cosmic cube, is this a clue as to how Secret Wars will end and everyone moves from the seventh reality to the eighth?


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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