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Secret Wars, the 1984-1985 limited series that launched a toy line, introduced Spider-Man’s black costume and marked the beginning of the crossover era, looms large in Marvel history. The 12-issue comic spawned an immediate sequel, and has been revisited or referenced more recently in Beyond!, New Avengers: The Illuminati and Spider-Man and the Secret Wars.
But now, more than 25 years after the conclusion of Secret Wars, is Marvel planning a return to the Beyonder’s Battleworld — in a video game? It certainly looks that way: Siliconera discovers that, just last week , Marvel filed a trademark for “Secret Wars” that covers everything from software and video-game cartridges to bicycle helmets and sunglasses.
The website points out the registration could be for the third installment of Activision’s Marvel: Ultimate Alliance; the second game, released last year, closely followed the events of the 2006-2007 crossover Civil War. There’s little preventing a sequel from mimicking a decades-old Marvel miniseries (Destructoid certainly hopes it isn’t for another Ultimate Alliance, saying “that cash-cow has been milked rotten at this point”).
However, it’s perhaps just as likely that, following Disney’s $4-billion purchase of Marvel last year, any plumbing of the publisher’s back catalog would be done by Disney Interactive Studios for its own games. “We are evaluating the entire Marvel library,” Disney Interactive’s Mark Orgel said last spring. “Not just the characters that everybody knows and loves from the motion pictures today, but the little-known characters.”
So, sure, why not the 25-year-old Secret Wars? Although conceived by then-Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter to help introduce a line of Mattel action figures, the series’ concept translates easily to role-playing video games: A cosmic entity known as the Beyonder teleports numerous superheroes and supervillains to a world stocked with alien weaponry and technology, then pits them against each other, with the winners promised anything they desire.