Despite Jim Shooter's vision of what it was to become, in a list of the bad ideas to have come out of Mavel Comics, high on the lists would have to be the New Universe. Created using the tired old formula of "what would happen if people in the real world became super-heroes," the New Universe discovered that the answer was that no one would care.

The origin of the New Universe dates back to the early 80's when Marvel came out with the Secret Wars. This pitted the mightiest of the Marvel heroes (the Avengers, Spider-man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men) against the cream of the villainy crop, including Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Galactus. The fight takes place on a distant planet over twelve issues and is overseen by none other than God. He goes by the name the Beyonder here, although some atheists believe that the whole fight didn't really happen. The whole tale was uninteresting at best, but it left itself open for a sequel.

Flash forward a few years and enter Secret Wars II. Reading like a Star Trek movie directed by William Shatner, this series tells of how the Beyonder comes to Earth to discover what it means to be human and wacky hijinks ensue. There are many meaningless battles and more crossovers than you can shake a stick at. Finally, in the final battle, the Beyonder lets loose a tremendous bolt of energy that rips though the fabric of reality and creates a new universe.

Enter the New Universe, a number of comics that take place in a reality much like our own with the exception that people have begun to show super powers. This is the result of the White Event, an unexplained white light that covered the earth months before.

As with most "heroes in the real world' sagas, the "real world" soon looked pretty unreal, with Pittsburgh becoming a smoking hole (much to the chagrin of the local chamber of commerce), the U.S. president becoming a paranormal, and the U.S. going to war, using super-powered people as infantry. Not long after, the whole project went the way of eight-track tapes much to everyone's relief.

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