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Overview

The Multiverse is the collection of alternate universes which share a universal hierarchy; it is a subsection of the larger Omniverse, the collection of all alternate universes. A large variety of these universes were actually originated as forms of divergence from other realities, where an event with different possible outcomes gives rise to different universes, one for each outcome. Some can seem to be taking place in the past or future due to differences in how time passes in each universe. Often, new universes and dimensions are born due to time traveling (another form of divergence). Eternity once stated that there are almost infinite aspects of itself, thus establishing the Marvel's positioning then.[2] Afterward the Beyonder estimated there is a "seemingly endless number of dimensions" to thereafter explore the entire Multiverse and its "myriad planes."[3] The Crossroads also leads to an infinite number of dimensions.[4] In addition, the Molecule Man, who was almost omniscient,[5] has also postulated that there are infinite parallel dimensions to Earth's universe that together comprise the Multiverse.[6] Finally, it was later stated in the Book of the Vishanti, which details the Marvel cosmology, that there is "literally a transfinite number, that is, a number greater than infinity" of universes in the Multiverse.[7] There is also a transfinite number of Multiverses.[8] The Multiverse was further described as boundless by the Captain Universe.[9]

Multiversal Cycle

In the beginning, there was only one universe: the First Firmament. A war between its creations, the Aspirants and the Celestials, shattered the First Firmament into pieces, and from these pieces were born countless universes, thus forming the Second Cosmos and First Multiverse. As these new universes coalesced, a new, collective being was formed. Each iteration of the Multiverse has gone through a different instance of renewal, which constitutes in the destruction and re-creation of everything there is starting from zero, with each renewal prompting the Multiverse to evolve further.[10][11]

The seventh iteration of the Multiverse was destroyed as a consequence of the phenomena known as incursions,[12] and was eventually reborn as the eighth when Mister Fantastic acquired the power of the Beyonders, which was previously held by Doctor Doom. Richards' intervention caused the eighth incarnation to be a direct continuation of the seventh. Instead of starting from scratch, most of the destroyed universes were re-created, continuing their existence almost as if nothing had happened.[13]

Protectors of the Multiverse

The Multiverse was originally established as being protected by Merlyn, and later by Saturnyne and the Captain Britain Corps. There are other beings and groups dealing with protecting the Multiverse, for example the Time Variance Authority, the Exiles and A.R.M.O.R.

Most realities have a Captain Britain designated to protect its version of the British Isles and in extension the reality. These protectors are collectively known as the Corps.

New realities are constantly created and often involves time traveling characters as time travel in Marvel Comics always creates divergent realities, and it is not possible to alter time or travel back to your own past.

X-Termination

The rift first became known on Earth-TRN262 in the head of the Sphinx. Lord Xavier, the Witch King, Nazi Xavier, and Xavier Head began sacrificing civilians to an interdimensional rift to gain power. The transdimensional X-Men were were able to rescue their Xavier and narrowly defeated Lord Xavier and Nazi Xavier. Unfortunately, the X-Men did not act quickly enough to save that world, and were forced to make an interdimensional jump, leaving that reality and all its citizens being consumed by the Exterminators vortex.[14]

Meanwhile on Earth-616, AOA Nightcrawler and Dark Beast used the Dreaming Celestial to create a portal to New Apocalypse. Unfortunately, this portal opened the rift between realities wide enough for the Exterminators to pass over to Earth-295.[15]

When the Exterminators emerged, they were greeted by the X-Men, the transdimensional X-Men, and the X-Terminated.[15][16]

One of the Exterminators departed to Earth-616 where he drained the Dreaming Celestial while the other two Exterminators remained on Earth-295, one feeding off the rift and the other seeking out the power of Apocalypse in the Death Seed.[17]

Age of Ultron

After Wolverine traveled back in time numerous times to prevent the rise of power of the evil artificial intelligence known as Ultron, the space-time continuum was broken, causing a multiversal massive shockwave to echo through time and space as reality seeming to shatter before being pulled back together. A "multiversal chaos" was unleashed, where numerous beings from other realities were transported to other universes through the tears of reality.[18]

Incursions (Multiverse) New AvengersVol 3 2 001

Mechanics of incursions

Incursions and the Eighth Cosmos

Due to the result of a phenomena paradoxial in nature known as incursions which resulted from the early destruction of a reality causing a contraction in the Multiverse,[19] every universe in existance began to experience regular collisions one with another, with their respective planets Earth acting as the focal point. Unless the impact was averted by the destruction of either of the two colliding Earths, both intersecting realities would be destroyed when the two planets made contact.[20]

While numerous different beings and groups of people from across numerous universes attempted to avert the death of everything, it all eventually came down to the final incursion between the last two surviving universes, Earth-616 and Earth-1610, which were subsequently destroyed. Only a handful of inhabitants from each universe outlived their realities, aboard life rafts that kept them in suspended animation. Among them were the Reed Richards of each universe, Mister Fantastic and the Maker.[21]

After stealing the power from the Beyonders, powerful beings that existed outside what once was the Multiverse, with the help of the Molecule Man, Doctor Doom managed to salvage the remnants of several destroyed universes, merging them into Battleworld. Doom's eight-year reign as Battleworld's ruler came to an end when the discovery of the two life rafts caused bedlam. During a confrontation between Doctor Doom and Mister Fantastic, the Molecule Man transferred Doom's power to Reed, destroying Battleworld in the process. With the power he had received, Mister Fantastic began to restore the Multiverse, universe by universe, with the help of his revived family. This chain of events is what caused the creation of the Eighth Cosmos.[22]

Eternity War

Still resentful by the existence of multiple realities, the First Firmament decided to attack the current embodiment of the Multiverse, Eternity. Taking advantage of Eternity's weakened state caused by its most recent rebirth, the First Firmament bound it in chains, and sent its Aspirants to destroy it from the inside out.[11]

In an attempt to help strenghten Eternity, the Maker harvested the essence of the Aspirants and used the High Evolutionary's technology to disrupt and bring down the Superflow, the network that separated realities from one another, successfully merging every universe within Eternity into one. The Maker also took advantage of this opportunity to rewrite the laws of the Multiverse to bring back to life the original Ultimates from his defunct home universe.[23] Even though the process strengthened Eternity in the beginning and allowed it to break free from the First Firmament's grasp, it soon proved to be counterproductive. Eternity began to deteriorate, facilitating the First Firmament's consumption of it. Because of this, Galactus sent his own Ultimates to stop the Maker.

After Spectrum and the High Evolutionary killed the Maker's then-current body, both teams of Ultimates worked together to reverse the damage caused to the Superflow. Using the nanites from his armor in the High Evolutionary's technology, which had been advanced by the Maker beyond its creator's understanding, Iron Man was capable of interacting with it. Spectrum subsequently used her powers to link together the minds of both teams of Ultimates, allowing their combined brain power to operate the machine, and restore the Multiverse to its normal state.

Galactus and his Eternity Watch subsequently entered Eternity and defeated the Aspirants, freeing Eternity from their detrimental influence. Full of vigor once again, Eternity managed to confront the First Firmament, summoning the previous embodiements of past cosmoses to his aid. This army of past cosmoses imprisoned the First Firmament, and took it away to another plane of existence in order to heal it.[24]

Dimension vs. Universe

A dimension is described as "universe or realm containing space, time, matter, and energy".[25] The realms where gods and demons reside are parallel dimensions, rather than being adjacent realities. They are situated beyond the main universes.[7] The Beyonder once classified parallel dimensions such as the Microverse within the same "many-layered multiverse" of gods and demons.[3] The realms are pocket-dimensions endowed with limited size,[7][25] while the universes within the multiverse don't have boundaries and are virtually infinite.[26]

Universe Listing

A list of alternate universes with known numerical designations resides below. Many other alternates have been visited or explored, but are yet to be designated.

Official Universes

These universe numbers have actually been printed in an official Marvel publication. For other, unprinted universes, see "Unofficial Universes" below.

Multiverse/Universe Listing

Pocket Dimensions: Universes Within Universes

  • Earth-311 (Marvel 1602): Originating out of a Neil Gaiman story; the Age of Marvels began during Queen Elizabeth's reign. Elizabethan versions of many Marvel heroes banded together. The sequel is 1602: New World. Note: Within the pages of 1602, it is unambiguously affirmed that this universe is the same Earth-616 that the normal Marvel titles are based within. However, when events transpire at the end of the series, the 1602-verse lives on in Uatu's pocket dimension as Earth-311.[27]
  • Limbo: The name of three singular dimensions in the Marvel Universe.
  • The Encroachiverses: A succession of universes believed disappointments by extremely powerful, unnamed beings; including the Baloney-verse, the Don't-Worry-Be-Happy-verse, the 976-verse, the Dimension of Suicide, the Noriega-verse, the Trashi-verse, the Narcissi-verse. the Media-verse, the Puppet-verse, and the Insipiverse.[28]
  • The splinter of time that was Earth-13584 qualifies as a pocket dimension.[29]
  • The Microverse: Once believed to be a universe within the universe, the Microverse is actually a parallel reality.[30][25] There are many microverses,[31] or at least there were at one time. The most commonly visited are Sub-Atomica[32] and also the Micronauts' Homeworld.[33] Reportedly, a Crisis-event once caused all the Microverses to collapse in one themselves to become a single Microverse, although reports of this event come second-hand.[34]
  • Counter-Earth (Heroes Reborn): Originally a pocket dimension, where Franklin Richards kept some of the heroes after the events surrounding the appearance of Onslaught, this version of Earth now resides in the Earth-616 universe, on the opposite side of the sun.[35]
  • The Magick Universe, home to Lord Chaos, Master Order, and the In-Betweener.[36]

Future Timelines

The future of the Marvel Universe is not set in stone; not all futures listed below are possible futures. Some are thought to have been prevented, but may have only been delayed.

Near Future

The near-future timeline of MC2 is home to numerous next-generation superheroes, most notably Spider-Girl and the next generation of Avengers.

The dark future of Days of Future Past may have been prevented by the X-Men. In this timeline, mutants are hunted down and either killed or imprisoned by the Sentinels who control the world's governments. Rachel Summers, Nimrod and Ahab have all traveled from here to the present. The future of Bishop, Shard and the XSE may be a later period in the same timeline.

The future timeline of Earth X revolves around the Marvel Universe's cosmology. However, Earth X is not a possible future of the main Marvel Universe, given that revelations about the history of Earth X that are incompatible with the known history of Earth-616.

In one future timeline, Martians conquer the Earth in a redux of The War of the Worlds. Killraven and his Freemen are among the few revolutionaries who are able to resist the alien overlords. In one alternate timeline, Killraven is the leader of his timeline's team of Avengers; another alternate version was seen in Alan Davis's Killraven miniseries.

The year 2020 is home to several heroes and villains, most notably Iron Man 2020. Machine Man and Sunset Bain are known to have future counterparts in this year. The bounty hunter Death's Head visited here at least twice (and died here on the last visit), and his successor Death's Head II (Minion) was created here and returned to this timeline on several occasions. Nikki Doyle, the virtual-reality adventurer called Wild Thing, is also a native of 2020.

The space faring superhero Star-Lord hails from a future timeline, but has, through unknown circumstances, come to reside in the present, where he fought alongside Thanos against the Maker in the cosmic prison called the Kyln.

Far Future

The Marvel 2099 series tell the exploits of the Marvel Universe in the year 2099, including Spider-Man 2099, Doom 2099, and the X-Men 2099. Marvel 2099 has its heroes in a climate of corporate-dominated dystopia. An alternate version of this timeline was seen in the Marvel Knights 2099 series of one-shots; a villain from this time traveled to the past and was defeated by a group of heroes from the present, who remained in this future timeline after preventing their own timeline from occurring.

The Spider-Man of the year 2500 met both the modern Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099, but was later killed by the Hobgoblin from 2211.

The 30th century is the home of the Guardians of the Galaxy and their allies, the Galactic Guardians. The Guardians are the future of the same timeline that Killraven inhabits. The starship Sol III and its crew (from Cyberspace 3000) are also native of the time of the Guardians.

The 30th century of the parallel timeline of Other-Earth is the home of Kang the Conqueror, whose divergent counterparts include Immortus and Iron Lad; he uses the 40th century as his home base.

Cable and his clone Stryfe hail from the future world that was ruled by Apocalypse until he was killed by the time-travelling Cyclops and Phoenix. Cable was raised here by the Askani, who were led by this timeline's version of his time-displaced half-sister, Rachel Summers.

The year 8192 is home to the time-travelling robot bounty hunter Death's Head and the gladiators-turned-mercenaries called Dragon's Claws.

The End of Time

Near the end of time, the last member of the timeline-managing Time Variance Authority oversees the birth of three entities named Ast, Vort, and Zanth; these three become either the Time-Keepers or the Time-Twisters in one of the two possible remaining futures. The Time-Keepers are the employers of Immortus, and use him to eliminate timelines that could lead to the creation of the Time-Twisters. During the Destiny War, Kang the Conqueror killed the Time-Keepers and diverged from Immortus, creating a new future for himself in which he does not become Immortus.

Wolverine and Jubilee of the X-Men were once transported to the end of the universe (the "Big Crunch") by the time-dancer Spiral and her employer Mojo. All four returned to their own time after the battle.

Galactus battles the Watcher who witnessed his "birth". The two of them battle over a millennia and the universe basically dies around them. Stars burn out and opposed to there being a "big crunch" entropy wins over all. As the universe verges on flickering out of existence, Galactus draws his last shreds of energy, giving him just enough of an edge to battle the rogue Watcher. Galactus and Nova, his herald, are left in an empty void. Galactus comes to the realization what he's been doing for billions of years. He cracks his armor and the energy he absorbed spews out of him. Galactus becomes the Big Bang of the next universe. Nova survives and becomes the "Galactus" of the next universe and the cycle continues.[37]

Mister Immortal, Craig Hollis of the Great Lakes Avengers, is destined to be the only true immortal in existence and will learn the last secret of the universe at the last moments of the universe.[38]

Bibliography

  • Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005
  • X-Men: Millennial Visions #2000
  • Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (Hardcover) Vol. 2-5

2005's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes compiles all of the then-known universes in a Earth-number format. Supposedly, the method of delineating a Universe's number is to derive the numbers from the publication date of the issue where the universe first appeared. First being the two-digit year followed by the number of the month. For instance, it is commonly and erroneously thought that "Earth-616" was named after the publication date of Fantastic Four #1, 61 from its year of publication and 6 from June.[39]


  1. Spider-Verse Team-Up #2
  2. What If? #43
  3. 3.0 3.1 Incredible Hulk #312
  4. Incredible Hulk #305
  5. Secret Wars II #7
  6. Secret Wars II #8
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #21
  8. Cable #94
  9. Fantastic Four Annual #2001
  10. Ultimates Vol 2 #1
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ultimates 2 Vol 2 #6
  12. Secret Wars #7
  13. Secret Wars #9
  14. X-Treme X-Men Vol 2 #12
  15. 15.0 15.1 X-Termination #1
  16. Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #60
  17. Age of Apocalypse #14
  18. Age of Ultron #10
  19. New Avengers Vol 3 #33
  20. New Avengers Vol 3 #2
  21. Secret Wars #1
  22. Secret Wars #2-9
  23. Ultimates 2 Vol 2 #9
  24. Ultimates 2 #100
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #1
  26. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #2
  27. Marvel 1602 #6
  28. Sensational She-Hulk #13
  29. Dark Avengers #190
  30. Fantastic Four #282
  31. What If? #23
  32. Fantastic Four #16
  33. Micronauts #1
  34. Captain Marvel Vol 4 #6
  35. Heroes Reborn: The Return #1-4
  36. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #15-16
  37. Epic Illustrated #26
  38. G.L.A. #4
  39. Statement by Stuart Vandal, Jun 17, 2005. Original thread preserved on comixfan.net, http://www.cxpulp.com/showthread.php?7263-The-Official-Handbooks-General-Q-amp-A-Thread