In the build-up to Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars, the heroes of the Marvel Universe learned of a phenomenon known as the Incursions. These incidents saw two separate realities from across the multiverse essentially colliding, a process that destroyed both worlds. Despite the best efforts of the reformed Illuminati and their allies in New Avengers, the Incursions continued across all of creation – eventually reaching the core Marvel Universe.
Despite the best efforts of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, only a handful of people were actually able to survive the final Incursion and destruction of the Earth. Now, we’re taking a closer look at Secret Wars and every hero who died in the build-up to the event.
The Avengers were already falling apart from each before the final Incursion. When the Illuminati first reformed to try and contend with the early signs of the Incursions, they included Captain America. However, the rigid morality of Steve Rogers came up against the necessary pragmatism the team needed to protect the Earth. After Captain America tried to force his allies to never betray their convictions, Doctor Strange merely wiped his mind of any knowledge of the new Illuminati and keeping their activities secret. However, the events of Original Sin revealed the truth to Captain America. After recruiting the rest of the Avengers, he tried to bring Iron Man and the rest of the Illuminati down for operating in secret. This essentially set off another Civil War, with Rogers leading his allies on a hunt across the globe for the Illuminati.
When the Final Incursion approached, both sides of the conflict — along with a third-party seeking unification led by Sunspot — came together to try and find a means to save the world. When that plan failed, they worked with Reed Richards to devise a plan so at least some people will escape the end of reality with their lives aboard his new ship, known as the Life Raft. However, an embittered Rogers refused to allow Tony Stark to be on the last ship out of reality. Instead, he dons a War Machine suit of his own and attacks his former friend. The battle quickly becomes more and more brutal, and the pair are even seemingly killed when a S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier falls on the pair of them.
Many other heroes from across the Marvel Universe also made their best efforts to try and save reality, but they also all died in their efforts. Thor, Hyperion, Star-Brand and Nightmask ventured into deep space to confront the Beyonders but were overwhelmed and killed by their power and sheer numbers. Magneto attempted to use his powers to stop the Earths of the core Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe from colliding with each other, but he died in the effort. The Punisher took the opportunity to murder many major supervillains before falling himself during one last mission. Other heroes continued their work trying to help people until the very end, like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Ms. Marvel. Some were even completely caught by surprise by the Final Incursion, such as a vacationing Deadpool.
Meanwhile, in the Ultimate Universe, the Maker is able to trick his world’s Nick Fury into attacking the main Marvel Universe’s Earth. But Fury’s forces are pushed back by powerhouse heroes from the core Marvel Universe like Hulk, She-Hulk and Colossus. In the chaos, a ship carrying Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Beast, Amadeus Cho and a handful of other scientists trying to make their way to Reed’s Life Raft is shot down and destroyed. The Maker’s robotic legion advances on the other Earth, killing Rocket Raccoon and Black Bolt in the initial assault and even brings down Avengers Tower. In the end, everyone on both worlds died when the two worlds collided.
However, there were some survivors of the event. The ship constructed by Mister Fantastic and Black Panther proved capable of escaping reality before it was destroyed. The teleporter Manifold was able to use the last of his powers as the world was dying to teleport the other six beings necessary to save everything to the ship: Captain Marvel, Thor, Spider-Man, Star-Lord (carrying a sliver of Groot with him), and a Phoenix-wielding Cyclops. However, the section of the ship carrying the rest of the Fantastic Four — along with Franklin and Valeria Richards — were lost in the escape.
Meanwhile, a second ship also survived, flying from the Ultimate Marvel Universe. This ship contained the Maker and the Cabal – the Marvel Universe versions of Thanos, Maximus the Mad, Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Terrax and Black Swan. Also on board that ship and hidden away from the villains thanks to his cloaking powers was Miles Morales, which meant that another Spider-Man was able to eventually enter the fray. Meanwhile, Loki, Silver Surfer and their then-current companions largely skipped the event, as they were outside of reality at the time and unaffected by the events of Secret Wars.
Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange also survived the final Incursion through magical intervention and actually found a way to save at least some parts of reality. Doom was actually responsible for using the powers of the Beyonders to remake the multiverse as best he could, leading to the creating of the Battleworld. Eventually, the Survivors and the Cabal each end up confronting Doom and his rule, leading to Doom’s eventual defeat and Molecule Man resetting the multiverse with the help of the Richards Family. This led to the direct restoration of the core Marvel Universe, along with everyone on it from before the events of Secret Wars.
In the final days of the Marvel Universe before Secret Wars, the Avengers and Marvel's other heroes fought their last battles.