The Avengers Finally Explain Why Marvel’s Main Continuity Is “Earth-616” | Popgen Tech
Marvel fans know that its main reality is called Earth-616, but the final battle of the Avengers against Mephisto finally reveals what this name means.
Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers Assemble Alpha #1!Most Amazing fans know that its main continuity takes place in Earth-616 – a version of Earth in a seemingly infinite multiverse. However, despite the widespread use of the term, that is just now Avengers provides a satisfactory in-world explanation for why this name was chosen.
Although there is disagreement about who coined the term, it is certain that Alan Moore and Alan Davis introduced it in Marvel UK comics The Daredevilsand then it entered Marvel’s American line through Excalibur, where Captain Britain is a main character. While Moore said he chose the name at random, editor Tom Brevoort (via his blog) and others have credited Captain Britain writer Dave Thorpe, and even suggested that the number was chosen as a sign of irreverence in superhero fiction, and was intended as a reference to the Biblical ‘Number of the Beast’ – a numerological reference to Satan from Book of Revelation. (Pop culture often renders this number as ‘666,’ but early versions of the text indicate that it was originally ‘616.’)
And indeed, it is Marvel’s Satan who now gives ‘Earth-616’ its true meaning. In Jason Aaron, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair’s Avengers Assemble Alpha #1, the modern Avengers and the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC are currently united against Mephisto, the demonic ruler of Hell. Mephisto recently revealed that he is a member of the Council of Red – an alliance of Mephistos from across the multiverse, who strive to conquer and control all reality. Mephisto teamed up with the Multiversal Masters of Evil to attack Earth-616 in prehistoric times, using the world as his staging ground for an invasion of the very heart of all reality, known as the God Quarry. In short, Marvel just confirmed that every version of ‘devil’ in every reality has converged on Earth-616, seeking to control reality – as Mephisto says, “This time, the Devil got the garden.”
Earth-616 is the Devil’s Final Battle
Although it hasn’t been clearly spelled out yet, this reveal – which stems from the biggest conflict in Avengers history – effectively explains the meaning behind ‘Earth-616.’ The real life Book of Revelation details a vision of the rise of the Devil on Earth and the accompanying apocalypse, which is exactly what happens as Mephisto enacts his assault on all creation. The suggestion is that while ‘Earth-616’ is originally a random assignment, Mephisto’s attack retroactively gives the number its demonic meaning in human history. This has previously been referred to Avengers #62which Agamotto mentions that ‘616’ is “the true number of the Monster,” but now Marvel is revealing exactly how and why that number came to have diabolical meaning (at least, in Marvel lore.)
The True Meaning of Earth-616 Explained
This concept is head-scratching because it deals with time travel, multiple dimensions, and a creature that seems to break the rules of both, but it’s an incredibly compelling world explanation of why the main Marvel universe is apparently related to the Biblical Number of the beast. Chronologically, Mephisto’s attack means that Earth-616 is the place where Marvel’s Devil implements his plan to take control of every version of Earth and – hopefully, as the story goes – is defeated. The number can live in infamy and be recorded in Book of Revelationwhich (like the ancient battle shown in Avengers Assemble Alpha #1) will be written far, far in the future. Mephisto’s abuse of time travel means that the battle on Earth-616 both happened in the past and the future, which explains why it will be recorded as a vision of the future.
It’s a scary, weird theory, but hopefully one Marvel will continue to keep in its official lore beyond the references and hints it’s made so far. If, however, Amazing prefer not to do the final tying step Earth-616 in true religious terminology, the Avengers‘ The final battle with Mephisto just gave fans the most satisfying (if messy) explanation they’re likely to get for what the term actually means.
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Source: Tom Brevoort (via WaybackMachine)