December 29's Timeless #1 from writer Jed MacKay, artists Kev Walker, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessey, Marte Gracia, and letterer Ariana Maher lays out a series of teases for future Marvel Comics stories coming in 2022, including some concepts that have been previously shown, and a few brand new teasers for upcoming stories.
What's in store for the Marvel Universe, as shown by Kang the Conqueror's precognitive future technology in the story? We'll break it all down right now.
Spoilers ahead for Timeless #1
Timeless #1 is framed around Kang the Conqueror as he takes a jaunt through the Marvel Universe's past and future alongside Professor Anatoly Petrov, a college professor specializing in the concept of supervillains.
Kang takes Petrov along with him to show him his influence over the timeline, as Petrov's writing reveres Doctor Doom as the most influential villain of the Marvel Universe. But as the pair travel across the timestream, Kang discovers an anomaly causing temporal disruption: a rogue timeline that was cast off and destroyed by Immortus, but which has survived and is trying to rejoin the main Marvel timeline - causing huge ripples in the Marvel Universe.
As Kang uses the observation equipment of his Oracle Base to determine the nature of the anomaly, he examines upcoming events in the Marvel Universe, some of which seem to be driven by the incursion of the "Pirate Timeline". On his monitors (seen above), he sees visions of numerous Marvel characters along with brief, related prophecies, including:
- Doyle Dormammu killing his father with the Twilight Sword, "The son takes up the Twilight Sword and strikes down the father."
- Ben Reilly swinging through Los Angeles, "While a son with no father finds a new home."
- A tease of the new Iron Fist, "The Iron Fist reforged for a new hand."
- A glimpse of Punisher joining the Hand, "While another hand is driven by a new lord on a mission of punishment."
- A tease of the Fantastic Four's 'Reckoning War' storyline, showing the moon under attack, "The moon cracked in a great reckoning."
- A second Reckoning War tease showing a flag flying with a strange symbol, "While further in the future, another reckoning leaves humanity with dominion over Earth."
- A tease for the current Iron Man run in which Tony Stark has gained cosmic power, creating an 'Iron God' armor, "A new god takes their throne."
- Captain America seemingly being gunned down by Winter Soldier, "While an old icon falls."
- A glimpse at a new team of Young Avengers, though their identities aren't clear, "A young generation of Avengers rise."
- A look at Taskmaster wearing Captain America's uniform and carrying his shield, alongside Batroc, Paladin, Titanium Man, and a woman who may be Red Skull's daughter, Sin, "To reclaim a stolen name."
- A look at Shuri as the Black Panther alongside a red-haired woman in a Spider-Man costume - possibly Mary Jane, as seen in Mephisto's vision of his own downfall shown in Amazing Spider-Man #74, with an implication from the text that MJ may take Peter Parker's place as a hero at some point, "The brave honor the sacrifices of those in their hearts."
- A look at the returning Jack of Hearts, "And a heart once thought lost beats new."
The scene also shows separate glimpses of the previously teased image of Thanos wielding an Infinity Stone-encrusted Mjolnir, the entrance of Ravencroft Asylum, and what looks like Manhattan overrun by symbiotes. A final tease arrives at the very end of Timeless #1, with Anatoly Petrov drawing Miracleman's logo in his notes, stating that he can't get the vision of Miracleman he saw in Kang's Oracle Base out of his head.
Miracleman, originally known as Marvelman, is a long out-of-print hero originating in British comics. His modern adventures, told in the '80s by writers Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman with artists Gary Leach, Alan Davis, and Mark Buckingham, are cult-favorites among comic readers for their shockingly mature themes and the abrupt, unresolved ending of Gaiman's run.
Marvel Comics purchased the rights to Miracleman way back in 2009 and has published collections of previously-published stories. The publisher has tried to work through complicated legal hurdles involving the rights to the character so Gaiman and Buckingham could resume work on the character and finish their untold stories. Marvel has announced its coming publication to retailers several times, most recently in 2017 and then again in 2018, however, so far, the only appearance the character has made on the page is in 2019's Marvel Comics #1000, which offered a similar one-page teaser that didn't materialize.
Marvel again seems to be signaling plans to publish Gaiman and Buckingham's new work.
Back to Timeless #1, Kang and Petrov manage to defeat the "Pirate Timeline" by killing the version of Reed Richards they find there, who has killed the Celestials, stolen the Infinity Stones, and taken up the mantle of Doom.
The special ends with a version of the Judgment Day teaser Marvel released online Monday.
With that, Timeless concludes, leaving its secrets to be uncovered in 2022 - which begins in just a few days.
Timeless #1 teases some major Marvel storylines for 2022. Before then, these are the best Marvel Comics stories of all time!