The End has come for the Marvel Universe.  Through events too complicated and not actually relevant here, the arcane fictional multiverse has come to an end.  But there were some survivors.  On a single planet, tiny slivers of these dead Earths remain, ruled with god-like power by Victor Von Doom.
This is the short version of the premise for Marvel’s big summer crossover, “Secret Wars.”  The main story follows Doom, Dr. Strange and their allies as they try and keep their last light stable in the face of internal strife and unexpected visitors.  It certainly is interesting to see Dr. Doom remake the world in the image of his Game of Thrones fanfic.  It even comes complete with scheming baronies and an epic, continent-long wall.  But the real draw is the diverse and imaginative Battleworld tie-ins.
Marvel used to have a non-canon series called “What if?” where writers imagined what would happen if famous storylines had played out differently.  Freed from the shackles of continuity, creators were able to tell any stories they wished, without having to ensure the characters all maintained the status-quo.
Battleworld feels like a vast series of these what-ifs, all playing out at once on one huge world.  And while it looks like the world will be back to some semblance of normal in a few months, these stories are fascinating while they last.  The sheer breadth of stories to choose from ensures that there is something for every reader.  Want to watch a team of tough Lady-Avengers punch out sharks?  There’s a title for that.  Want to see SHIELD fight an inexorable tide of zombies, robots, and Kirby-style monsters?  There’s one for that.  Want to read a gritty murder mystery where all the cops are Thor?  Bam.  Want to see an extension of every big X-Men crossover or alternate reality since Days of Future Past?  Battleworld has you covered, all while slowly building towards Secret Wars’ climax.
The writing and art from each book differs, but with so many to choose from, chances are there will be something to suit your taste.  It looks like the world will come back and everything will go back to normal in a month or two.  But until then, visit your local comics shop, pick something that interests you, and settle in.  It’ll be a heck of a ride.

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