How do you celebrate the end of the year? Some people attend wild parties, while others are in bed before 10pm. Everyone has their own unique tradition for ending the year, including Marvel Comics. Since 2021, Marvel has commemorated the end of the year by publishing a one-shot called Timeless. Each edition is released on the last Wednesday of the year. Timeless uses brief flash-forward images to give readers hints at what Marvel is planning for the upcoming year. For example, last year Kang took a trip through the timestream, where he saw glimpses of Nightcrawler in a Spider-Man costume, the Red Goblin, and the destruction of the X-Men’s headquarters.
Needless to say, all of these scenarios played out this year. This week Marvel released Timeless #1 (written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, penciled by Juann Cabal), which continued the tradition. What’s in store for the Marvel Universe in 2024? Read on…
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Timeless #1 (2023)!
What is Marvel planning for 2024?
Timeless #1 is set in a dystopian future ruled by Khonshu. The moon god is using Danny Rand as a vessel, and the only hero standing in his way is his former friend Luke Cage. All of the other heroes have fallen, but Luke hasn’t given up hope. As Luke fights for the future, we see that he’s somehow gained the powers of fallen heroes, including the Hulk.
Throughout the battle, we get some interesting glimpses of the past (which would be our future). Here is what we saw (and our best guesses at what they mean)...
- A new Moon Knight is seen. Marc Spector was recently killed, but we know Marvel is planning on introducing a new version of Moon Knight in 2024.
- The Richard Rider version of Nova is holding a sword, as a figure (Apocalypse?) looms behind him.
- Stilt-Man and a few other d-list villains appear as zombies. This could be a reference to the current Marvel Zombies mini-series, but that takes place elsewhere in the multiverse. The flash-forwards we see in Timeless are typically hints at storylines coming to Marvel’s main reality, which means that we might be getting a zombie invasion in the 616! With a few exceptions, the Marvel Zombies franchise has stayed away from the 616, so this is huge! We already know that a vampire infestation is coming, so 2024 is shaping up to be a big year for Marvel’s monsters.
- A man in a suit (who I couldn’t identify) is reading a copy of The Immortal Thor. If you’ve been reading the title, then you would know that someone is gathering comics in order to take down the gods.
- We get a glimpse of the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn is currently acting as the Gold Goblin, however, it was recently hinted that his sins had returned to him (it’s complicated), which may turn him evil again.
- The Fantastic Four appear to be burying something (or digging it up). I noticed that Ben Grimm’s new dog isn’t in this image. Marvel, I beg you, please don’t kill off the new doggo.
- Blade is seen battling Hulk. Blade #6 hinted at an upcoming confrontation between the two, and it looks like that will be paying off soon.
- A pale-skinned man towers over a city…or maybe he’s standing over the model of a city. I couldn’t identify him, but it’s possible that this is the mob boss Tombstone. If so, then this could be a clue to how the current Gang War storyline will end.
- Marvel’s heroes are seen bowing before Doctor Doom, who appears to be holding the Eye of Agamotto. Could Doom be the new Sorcerer Supreme?
- We see the X-Men’s Danger Room, with a lockdown warning. This is an early look at the mysterious new direction for the X-Men (more on that later).
- Spider-Man (the Miles Morales version) appears to be overwhelmed by some sort of red energy.
- The Marvel heroes are seen battling a horde of vampires, and it appears they’re being overwhelmed. This is a preview of Marvel’s upcoming event Blood Hunt.
- Venom battles Kid Venom, a character who was introduced in Death of the Venomverse.
- The Spirit of Vengeance appears to be departing someone’s body (it could be Johnny Blaze, but it’s hard to tell). It’s a safe bet that this is setting up the Ghost Rider relaunch Marvel has planned for 2024.
- Joe Garrison, the new Punisher, is battling someone wearing the Punisher War Machine armor. This version of War Machine’s armor had previously been worn by Frank Castle, but with the anti-hero currently in another reality, there is no telling who this is.
- We see a team of young heroes. I recognize Spider-Boy, but the rest of the heroes appear to be new versions of existing characters. Someone is wearing a Ms. Marvel uniform, and we get a young Magneto. Time travelers? New mutants? Could this be the New X-Men that Marvel teased during San Diego Comic-Con?
- A goateed man is pulsing with blue energy. Tony Stark?
- We get a quick glimpse of some of the characters from G.O.D.S., Marvel’s new fantasy series.
- The Scarlet Witch is seen battling the Griever. This confrontation will likely be seen in the pages of the upcoming Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver mini-series.
- Black Panther is battling an enemy that I don’t recognize.
- Stephen and Clea Strange appear to be holding a baby. Will the sorcerer spouses start a family? Maybe, but it’s likely that this child is Clea’s sister. The couple have been taking care of the child over in the current Doctor Strange series. However, the baby in the picture does look younger. Hmmm….
- We see a shot of the monster anti-hero Terror, and his team Terror Inc. It looks like we’ll be getting a Terror Inc. revival in 2024!
- Captain America battling Iron Man. Could we be gearing up for another superhero Civil War? It’s also worth noting that Cap’s costume is different, resembling the version of Cap from the Ultimate Universe.
- Bucky is battling a white creature with an American flag on its chest. I couldn’t identify the villain, but my guess is this confrontation will take place in the pages of the new Thunderbolts series.
- The X-Men are seen in silhouette alongside Magneto…or someone with Magneto’s helmet. This is one of our first hints at incoming X-editor Tom Brevoort’s new direction for the X-Men line.
- Iron Man is against a wall, as a machine points at him. Is this a procedure Tony Stark is doing to himself, or has someone put the hero in a death trap?
The story ends with Luke being sent into the past…our present day. Perhaps he’ll be able to stop Khonshu’s rise to power. The issue closes with a series of comic book covers for some of Marvel’s 2024 events, including Blood Hunt.
The final page is a house ad for the X-Men. It’s a simple X-Men logo against a black background. The text simply reads, ‘From the Ashes.’ What does this mean? Whatever it is, it is coming in July 2024. Anticipation is high for Tom Brevoort’s new X-Men direction, and Marvel is keeping things close to the chest.
It looks like 2024 is going to be an exciting year for Marvel. What teases excited you the most? Keep your eyes peeled to Popverse throughout 2024 as we cover all these exciting developments.
An advanced review copy of Timeless #1 (2023) was provided ahead of release by Marvel.