If you're a Marvel fan, you probably know about plans for Avengers: Secret Wars, which will cap Phase 6 of the MCU. You might know about the classic Secret Wars comic, where some of the most powerful heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe square off against one another. Now, The Portalist and Marvel are partnering to bring you Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars, a novelization of the iconic story that lets you look into the future of the MCU.
Best of all, you don't have to wait until 2027 to enjoy this version of Secret Wars. Try out the full first chapter below, and if you love it, you can buy the book today.
Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars
Steve Rogers knew he was in a spaceship of some kind. He stood in the middle of an open floor underneath a transparent dome through which he could see a field of stars. He was still wearing his Captain America uniform, and he clutched his shield at his side.
But there the familiar ended. A moment before, Steve had been conducting a training exercise for new S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits at Nick Fury’s intake facility on Long Island. A bright flash had blinded him and he’d flinched, thinking something had gone wrong with the training equipment.
Then, suddenly, he just wasn’t on Long Island anymore.
Steve turned in a complete circle, taking in and analyzing his surroundings. The ship was huge—at least the size of a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The open area where Steve had appeared was ringed with banks of monitors and consoles, none of which looked anything like current S.H.I.E.L.D. or Stark technology. Steve looked up through the dome again and saw the dissipating traces of some huge release of celestial energy—multicolored, overpowering. He blinked hard.
The stars above weren’t familiar, and he didn’t see any nearby planets. By the looks of things, he was in the middle of galactic nowhere.
And he wasn’t alone. Other heroes had appeared all around him—all just as confused, by the looks of things. Automatically, Steve performed a head count and updated his threat assessment. Three of the Fantastic Four were present: Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing. Where was the Invisible Woman? Steve made a mental note to ask later. Spider-Man looked around warily—his thin, costumed frame crouched next to the Thing’s orange, rocky bulk. Several of Steve’s fellow Avengers were also there: Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Hulk, and Spectrum. That was good news. He knew his people, and he knew he could count on them.
From the X-Men, there was Nightcrawler, Colossus, Kitty Pryde’s pet dragon Lockheed, Wolverine, Rogue, Cyclops, Storm, and Charles Xavier. Another note went into Steve’s mental situation file: After assessing the threat level, ask Xavier what he knows about this. In addition to being a telepath, Xavier was often in the know about global-level threats before anyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. had an inkling of their existence.
Steve completed his circle and noticed one person who stood out like a sore thumb: Magneto, the X-Men’s mortal adversary—also in full costume. Steve almost flattened Magneto with his shield, just on general principle, but it wasn’t in Steve’s nature to hit a man without provocation.
Magneto was the only visible enemy, and he looked as thunderstruck and confused as the rest of them. Steve left him alone and started looking for any potential point within view from which an attack might come. There were plenty of ways out of the room, and therefore plenty of ways an enemy might enter— but he saw no immediate threats.
After the first few seconds, when everyone else was doing more or less what Steve was doing, the questions started to come.
“How did we—?”
“Where are we?”
“Ooh, I got it!” Spider-Man said, raising his hand. “We’re on some kind of giant ship in outer space.” He shot out a web to an overhead girder and swung up to stick himself to the transparent dome. He couldn’t just stand around like a normal guy, Steve thought. But hey, he was younger than the rest of them—or at least that’s how he always acted, with the wisecracks and showing off.
Mister Fantastic—Reed Richards—seemed to be assessing the situation like it was a puzzle just for him to solve. That’s how he saw everything, Steve figured. With his graying temples and thoughtful approach—not to mention a vocabulary full of what used to be called fifty-cent words—Richards was almost the stereotypical nutty professor. Except, of course, for his powers, which he was exhibiting now. He stretched his head and one arm over to the closest instrument panel and examined it. The rest of his body—and the rest of his suit, with its white, circled “4” logo—didn’t move. For the millionth time, Steve wondered how the blue fabric of his suit handled all the stretching. Reed could have made a killing if he’d patented that. “No identifiable origin,” he said. “These gauges look like Kree, Shi’ar … I’ll have a handle on it soon.”
“Brain trust?” Steve said. “Xavier? Banner? Any idea how we got here?”
He was looking at the Hulk when he finished asking the question. It was difficult for Steve to reconcile the presence of Banner’s mind trapped in a body full of the Hulk’s primitive rage. In any case, Reed was the first one to try to answer. “Teleportation, some kind of dimensional breach … hard to tell,” Reed said.
“That’s obvious, Richards,” spat the Hulk.
Noting the edge in Banner’s voice, Steve looked to Iron Man next. “Tony?”
“Um, no idea,” Iron Man said, shifting from side to side as he glanced away. “Reed’s the expert.” Steve cocked an eyebrow.
It was unlike Tony Stark to admit anyone else was more of an expert on anything.
“Let’s set some groups and start exploring,” he said. “If this is a ship, we better find out how it works. We’ll break it up into territories for each team.”
“Hold on,” Spider-Man said. “We weren’t together on Earth. Why are we all in the same place now? Did we all get picked for some kind of galactic dodgeball game? I mean, I was getting a sandwich.”
“We were all in the Baxter Building,” Reed said. He looked around. “Where’s Susan?”
Steve took note: Even Reed didn’t know why his wife—Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman—wasn’t there.
“Typical Reed—only just now noticing my sister is missing,” said Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. “We’re all missing some members,” Cyclops said. “Not all of the X-Men are here—or the Avengers, either.”
“Ahem,” said Spider-Man. “Some of us aren’t part of your fancy teams.”
“Nothing fancy about the X-Men, bub,” Wolverine said. He and the rest of the mutants were in their uniforms, too, like they’d been ready for a fight. Cyclops always wore his ruby-quartz visor to control his optic force blasts, but some of the other X-Men would have been pretty easy to mistake for normal people. Colossus, when he wasn’t organic steel, just looked like the big Russian farm boy he was. Storm might easily have been mistaken for a down-and-out musician or artist, with her leather clothes and white mohawk. Wolverine had itinerant drifter written all over him, except when he showed his claws.
And then there was Nightcrawler. It was pretty hard not to stand out in a crowd when you had blue skin, three prehensile toes on each foot, the same number of fingers, and a pointed tail. And the purple dragon—Lockheed—what was he doing there? He was bonded to Kitty Pryde, and she wasn’t around.
“We’re here,” Wolverine said. “Let’s figure it out. What I want to know is, what’s he doing here?”
He pointed at Magneto.
Steve took a step closer to Wolverine in case he had to stop a fight from breaking out. Then movement outside, against the field of distant stars, caught his attention.
“Heads up,” Steve said. “Four o’clock high. Another ship.”
Xavier frowned and said, “I sense other humans there … our enemies.”
“Who?” Steve asked, peering up at the other ship as it drifted closer. It too was domed in glass, but Steve couldn’t identify the figures within.
“Kang the Conqueror. The Wrecking Crew. Absorbing Man. Doctor Octopus. Molecule Man. The Lizard. Doctor Doom.” Xavier spoke slowly as he focused his telepathic powers. “Another … perhaps several others. Something—another mind—is shielding them against my psionic investigation.”
“Pretty random,” Spider-Man commented. “Just like us. Only mean and ugly. Hey, Spectrum, maybe you can do your light-speed thing—zip over there and back before they notice you?”
“Hold on,” Steve said. “Don’t go off half-cocked. We don’t want to start a fight before we understand what’s going on here.”
“Speaking of fights,” the Thing said, “I’m with Wolverine. What’s this mook doing here instead of joining his buddies up there?” He pointed a finger at Magneto, who stood apart from the rest. Ben Grimm’s rocky frame was poised for a fight, and Steve knew even Magneto might have trouble against the Thing.
“I might as justifiably ask why I am cast among such as you,” Magneto shot back.
“Gang, we’ve got a bigger problem. Literally,” Spider-Man said. “See?”
He pointed, and now they were all close enough to see that the other spaceship didn’t just contain a motley assortment of their human enemies. It also held Galactus. He loomed over the rest of the forms in the vessel. This was a whole new category of danger. Galactus was as old as the universe, and as powerful as any ancient civilization had imagined its gods to be. He wandered the universe in search of planets he could consume, always searching for a way to sate his uncontrollable hunger. No one in the group of heroes could match that kind of power. If they had to fight the occupants of the other ship, and Galactus took their side, it was going to be a very short fight.
“Bigger problem,” said Ben. “Ha. Ha. Ha.”
His mind touched another. Not one of his allies, not one of his enemies. An ambient consciousness, a field of thought and desire, infusing the space around him with knowledge of its presence. Xavier had never felt anything like it. Ripped from his Westchester home, dropped on a strange ship in deep space, he felt no fear. Instead, he felt a sense of destiny like a physical pressure, a weight on his mind and soul. The X-Men were here for a reason. They would discover it in time.
He reached out and touched, ever so lightly, some of the other minds around him. They were feeling it, too, though he sensed them grasping to understand. Not all of them were even conscious of it.
Xavier was. He felt unbounded, as if the very air he breathed were a message saying: Yes. Yes. Yes. He was conscious of possibility, that things were possible here that none of them could have dreamed of back on Earth. It was not some hypnotic suggestion from the consciousness he touched. Xavier was in full possession of his faculties.
It was a greeting.
It struck him that he could be something new here. Something more than the instructor, bound as he was to his wheelchair.
He could act. Rules here were different. All of them. He had no idea in what way they would be different, or who had caused them to be so, but that difference was part and parcel of the way his mind experienced the reality of this place.
Things seemed possible here that had not been possible before. That which had been taken away from him might be granted again.
And if it could not, what would be lost in the attempt?
Around him, the X-Men were talking. The Avengers were talking. Three of the Fantastic Four were talking. All of them talked and talked, and Xavier fell deeply into himself and reached a point at which he knew that anything he wanted powerfully enough, he could achieve.
Xavier gave in to his fondest desire.