This box, its theme, and its characters were not on my list of predictions in this weekend’s post about the Marvel United Multiverse – Civil War expansion! It includes the O.G. Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Quake, Clint Barton as Ronin, and several Skrull opponents.
I’ll admit, I’m slightly negative on the contents of this expansion box.
While I love the idea of having a set of Skrull villain sculpts, it didn’t add a group of hotly-anticipated heroes. Having Nick Fury Sr. is fun, and Quake has a following from the Agents of SHIELD TV series, but Maria Hill is relatively anonymous as a standalone hero and an alternate Hawkeye wasn’t exactly at the top of every list.
Who else can you include in a Secret Invasion set?! Most of the story was about not knowing who to trust, so it’s shorter on iconic heroes than some other Marvel Events. Yet, there were options available. Hank Pym as Yellowjacket is core to the event, but they just included him in the Civil War box. It’s a pivotal event for Janet van Dyne, and the Wasp in the core Marvel United box is technically Hope van Dyne! Why not give us a Janet figure?!?! And, Norman Osborn plays a massive role in the event, but we just got his Iron Patriot as a stretch goal.
I think including Hank and Janet in this set was the way to go, which could’ve freed up a spot in Civil War for a different hero. CMON really missed their chance here. As a completionist I’ll eventually add this box to my final pledge, but I’m not excited about it.
I’m much more interested in what this set means for the remaining expansion boxes in this campaign – and it’s looking like we can expect 2-3 more. To this point I’ve been predicting teams of characters, because that’s how the past two campaigns worked. However, this campaign is all stories and events – The Coming of Galactus, Age of Apocalypse, Civil War, and Secret Invasion.
With that in mind, it’s time to pivot to an all-new, not-entirely-different list of 20 predictions that repackage major characters into events-based boxes. For a list of all of Marvel’s many line-wide events over the decades, check out my Guide to Marvel Universe Events.
20 Events to follow-up Marvel United: Multiverse – Secret Invasion
#1. Siege or Dark Reign AKA Thunderbolts AKA Dark Avengers – 99% odds. The core of the Thunderbolts remain largely untouched beyond Baron Zemo, Songbird, and Iron Patriot, and CMON is firmly into selling 00s storylines. This box could be almost entirely Anti-Heroes, including characters like Moonstone, Fixer, Lady Loki, or Sentry – plus, throw in Ghost, for some MCU synergy. (Guide to Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers)
#2 War of the Realms AKA Asgardians! – 80% odds. This could add Makelith as a major villain, plus the highly-demanded Enchantress, or Executioner as an Anti-Hero. For heroes, we could get an alternate of Thor, the Warriors Three, Sif, or Heimdall. Heck, maybe we could even see Angela or Throg! This works perfectly because it’s a fresh event with an almost entirely classic cast. Any Marvel fan from the 80s or the 10s (or the MCU) would know all of the characters.
#3. Annihilation AKA Marvel Cosmic – 70% odds. This is increasingly feeling like the kind of box this campaign is leaning into. It’s a major event with a recognizable title and an iconic villain in Annihilus. Even with the MCU core of the Guardians of the Galaxy already completed, it lets CMON squeeze in some slightly more-obscure cosmic characters like one or both Quasars, Moondragon, or Cammi. Or, you know… Richard Rider as Nova. (Guide to Marvel Universe Events – Annihilation)
#4 King in Black or Absolute Carnage – 60% odds. Everyone loves symbiotes, and these events were massive for Marvel and offer more character options than Maximum Carnage. Knull really captured the imagination of comic fans – including many more-casual readers. This could be a chance for a second Venom sculpt, Knull, and a host of other symbiotes like Scream – maybe even some Symbiote versions of a few heroes. Plus. The Maker was around for this event – and he’s a major multiversal villain!
#5. War of the Hulks – 55% odds. It feels like the stock of this expansion has rises with each subsequent announcement. It’s a mid-00s event and a chance to re-implement Hulk from the core set and She-Hulk from the S1 stretch goals. Plus, it comes with obvious additions like Thundra, Skaar, Red She-Hulk, and Leader. (Guide to Hulk, Guide to She-Hulk – Jennifer Walters, & Guide to Red She-Hulk)
#6. House of X AKA Dawn of X – 49% odds. I think now that we’re boiling down to recognizable events this might be slightly likelier than it was a few days ago – even if we have to fudge things a little to extend past the actual House of X event into the Age of Krakoa. CMON has already shown a willingness to sculpt characters this recent with their Betsy version of Captain Britain and an obviously Krakoa-influenced Doug Ramsey. Since Nimrod has already been used, for a villain we can go with the future or present versions of Omega Sentinel. Or, just stick with Anti-Heroes on the island like Proteus, Black Tom, Exodus, Fenris, or Nanny & Orphan-Maker. For heroes, play the obvious greatest hits – Moira MacTaggert, Xavier with his giant-helmet look, pirate Kate Pryde, Quentin Quire, & Sage. Plus, you could always sneak in some Amenth or Arrako mutants, though they lack major recognizability. The more I write about this, the more likely it seems! (X-Men Reading Order)
#7. Secret Wars – 45% odds. It’s Marvel’s biggest event twice over and it has a future feature film named after it! Why would you NOT do an expansion set based on Battleworld?! Think of all the fun location mechanics CMON could squeeze in between Battleworld and Incursions! The trouble with this is that so much of its core heroic cast is covered elsewhere, no matter if you go with the 1984 or 2015 versions. There’s Molecule Man, or perhaps a heroic version of Thanos, but CMON already anchored their new core set with Emperor Doom and they’re reprinting their F4 box so we’ll have Reed Richards. However, if you widen your lens to include all of the Incursions from Hickman’s run, you suddenly get Black Swan, Squadron Supreme, and The Maker as iconic villains. Throw in Manifold, Smasher, Ex Nihilo, Abyss, or any number of other Hickman high-concept characters – all of whom looked pretty darn cool.
#8. Messiah Complex – 4o% odds. Can we dare hope for an X-Men box in this campaign? If we can, I think Messiah Complex is our best bet for a recognizable event that’s not mostly comprised of 80s and 90s characters who already have sculpts. Exodus can anchor it as a villain, to which you could add others like the Purifiers, Random, Lady Mastermind, various Marauders, or even a Sinister redux or villainous Bishop! And, even with all of the core X-Men already covered it could be a chance to sneak in some popular Academy X characters like Armor, Elixir, Dust, the Cuckoos, Hellion, Rockslide, or Anole.
#9. Fear Itself – 35% odds. This offers some fun in the form of seven iconic characters transformed into bad guys with wicked designs, plus Red Skull’s daughter Sin. Throw in comics-accurate Valkyrie and you’ve got a solid set! The only trouble is this event was somewhat unpopular, so it’s not going to top most fan lists. But, stuffing it with good figures forgives many sins.
#10. Evolutionary War AKA New Warriors – 33% odds. Listen! Hear me out! Yes, we all know Evolutionary War predates the New Warriors by two years. But, we don’t have High Evolutionary yet, and he is a signature New Warriors villain! He’s a big enough deal to anchor a box, to which we can add Night Thrasher, Justice, Speedball, and some mix of Namorita, Silhouette, Rage… or, if CMON wants to really make fans go wild, the always-popular Richard Rider as Nova! Unfortunately, the New Warriors didn’t get involved with many other events aside from Maximum Carnage, so this might be our only shot. I really think this could work. Now I just need CMON to think the same way. (Guide to New Warriors)
#11. Siege of Darkness AKA Midnight Sons and/or Legion of Monsters – 30% odds. This box is starting to feel like an ugly ducking amongst the other choices, since it’s not as big an event as the others. I’m not counting it out quite yet, mostly because it’s a vehicle for Morbius and a lot of other horror heroes. (Guide to Ghost Rider & Guide to Werewolf by Night. Plus, check out the Cosmic Circus Midnight Sons reading guide from my colleague Vin!)
#12. Shadowland – 25% odds. I know, you’re skeptical because everyone pretends this event was bad (it’s not). But, think about it: We could get a new Daredevil sculpt, an anti-hero Elektra, some Hand baddies, plus Misty Knight, Coleen Wing, and a classic version of Ghost Rider. Even if it wasn’t a popular event, the box kinda sells itself.
#13. Inferno – 20% odds. Inferno is one of the X-Men events with the biggest name recognition, and The Goblin Queen has been conspicuously absent from both the X-Men campaign and this one. However, the real question is if CMON would’ve dropped Magik as an independent stretch goal if they had this event on tap. Sure, without her this box could still include S’ym, N’astirh, and even Cameron Hodge… but none of them are the Darkchilde! For heroes, it’s a chance to sneak in Rictor, Meggan, Wiz Kid, Artie & Leech, or even Power Pack – plus, a few alternate X-Men sculpts for fun. Plus, you could fill this out with any number of Mister Sinister’s Marauders! It’s pretty darn obscure on the whole, but there are enough untouched characters in it to make it a possibility.
#14. Operation Galactic Storm – 15% odds. I wouldn’t count out this vintage 90s event entirely. It’s a chance to introduce Sersi, Starfox, and Quasar, as well as White Vision, Janet as Wasp, or bearded Thunderstrike Thor, plus various Kree foes. And, while Mar-Vell as Captain Marvel wasn’t in the event, it was kinda about him.
#15. Atlantis Attacks AKA Agents of Atlas – 10% odds. The first Atlantis Attacks crossed the entire Marvel Universe in 1989 – it would be hard to pick any one iconic hero or villain for it, other than perhaps Attuma, Lyra, and Ghaur. However, a newer Atlantis Attacks was essentially a back-door reboot of Agents of Atlas with tons of new Pan-Asian heroes! This could be a chance to introduce Jimmy Woo, Amadeus Cho, Aero, Wave, White Fox, or Sword-Master, as well as alternate sculpts of Namor or Shang-Chi – both now members of the MCU.
#16. Secret Empire – 8% odds. As much as I disliked this comic event, it could be an interesting box since it brings with it the opportunity to add Hydra characters Marvel United is sorely lacking, like Viper. However, unless CMON really wants to release a Nazi-Adjacent Cap figure, there aren’t a ton of heroes to tie-in with this set – especially with FalCap already out as a stretch goal. They could give us a renewed version of Black Widow, but that’s about it.
#17. AXIS – 5% odds. Heroes become villains. Villains become heroes. The Avengers and X-Men kinda work together. Are there any new heroes to be had with this set? Not a ton. We already have second sculpts for Magneto and Iron Man, Medusa in the Inhumans box, plus the newly-announced FalCap, which leaves the good version of Sabretooth as one of the only major players worth sculpting.
#18. AXE AKA Eternals – 3% odds. Despite the surprising news that The Eternals was Disney Plus’s most-watched movie of 2022, the potential for this expansion set feels dead in the water. A.X.E. is too new an event to hang an entire box on, especially without Avengers or X-Men in it. I think Ikaris, Sersi, Thena, and Scout are the obvious picks to anchor it. They’re all visually distinct from each other and have enough comics to their name to give them interesting abilities. Makkari was also in the film and has an engaging design, so I’d vote for her next. But, right now this feels like it will have to wait for Campaign #4. (Guide to Eternals)
#19. Runaways – 2% odds. Alright, I give up – there really isn’t any event for Runaways! The Runaways are suffering from something that makes their comic so great – they just don’t get tangled up in events all that often, other than as a way to extend their run into a new title. While you could make the excuse to get a few of them into Dark Reign, we need a box with Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, Nico Minoru, & Chase Stein. Plus, you could optionally include Gert & Old Lace, Victor Mancha, or Katie Power. If we’re not getting that, I’d rather hold out for a future campaign. (Guide to Runaways)
#20. Maximum Security – 1% odds. I have four words for you: Ego The Living Planet.
Not Likely, 2020s edition: Devil’s Reign is too fresh, and I don’t know if you could sell a whole set on a Daredevil re-sculpt or Elektra-as-Daredevil when so many street-level heroes are covered already. Empyre focuses heavily on Wiccan and Hulkling, but they are already announced in this campaign.
Not Likely, 2010s edition: Original Sins’ entire cast is already covered and it wasn’t all that popular. Infinity spawned Thanos’s Black Order, who already have an expansion set of their own. Age of Ultron was mostly just Wolverine and Invisible Woman hanging out. Avengers vs. X-Men was already done with the Phoenix Five set.
Not Likely, 2000s edition: House of M is mostly just Wanda – none of the alternate character versions look all that different. We just got Nick Fury in Secret Invasion, so his Secret War is out (plus, it repeats a lot of heroes).
Not Likely, 1990s edition: Onslaught already has a figure from the X-Men campaign, and wouldn’t offer the chance to at many unique heroes. Infinity War and Infinity Crusade are basically just more of Thanos and Adam Warlock, though they do offer the chance to produce Magus or Her. We already have Infinity Gauntlet.
Not Likely, 1980s edition: Acts of Vengeance is really just Magneto plus Red Skull plus Loki and a bunch of mid-80s Avengers, all of which is fairly well-covered already. Contest of Champions is barely even an event.