I really dug this issue too. Always been a fan of What If...? and alt universe stories so this is right up my alley.
Some points to ponder:
Galactus - It seems some folks are confused that the large body discovered by the future foundation at the beginning of SW 2 appears to be dead Galactus, even though Galactus also appears in another part of the book, standing sentry to Doom's palace. Just to clarify, if there are multiple versions of Thor and apparently other characters, then there is sure to be multiple versions of Galactus.
Molecule Man - According to New Avengers 33, Molecule Man (all versions from all infinite unverses) was killed off by Doom... or at least that's what we were led to believe. But I'm thinking he played a part in the creation of Doom's Battle World and won't be surprised if he shows before its all said and done. Anyone who read the original Secret Wars will remember he played a big part in that series. I'm betting he'll also be showing up here.
Beyonders/Ivory Kings - Still not sure what role they will play by the end of this - other than the possibility that Doom created Battle World without their knowledge (again, according to New Avengers 33, the beyonders are not 100 percent omnipotent and things can be done without their knowledge) and at some point in the series they will learn about it, not be very happy, and attempt to destroy it (and possibly succeed).
All in all, a great follow up to issue 1. I like that it's starts at a totally new spot and throws us in what appears to be an established Battle World that's already been around and operational for quite a while. Hickman is known to introduce seemingly unconnected threads in his stories and eventually showing how they are actually all connected so I have faith we'll get all the answers we need by the time this is over. Going to be a great story - even without having to read all the innumerable tie ins.
Great comments and it seems I agree with the consensus - this first issue blew the doors and roof off the Marvel Universe. A great start to this epic event. My only concern is that with all the related cross-overs, I'm going to have a hard time knowing which ones to pick up and which ones to pass on, but anything that has Hickman's name on it has my $.
My theory is that the heroes/villains who died in the incursion didn't actually die, but were whisked away by the beyonders/ivory kinds to Battle World. there they compete against other heroes and villains from various earths in a battle royal where only one version of each hero/villain survives. The survivors of this battle royal will then be placed in the All New, Singular Marvel Universe. Meanwhile, the characters on the life raft will try to thwart this plan. They won't succeed, but most will survive and will carry over to the new, singular universe. So basically, the folks on the raft have the highest percentage of being in the new universe that will be revealed this coming fall. Those who've "died" in issue 1 and in past related Avengers/New Avengers books will have to compete for the right to be in the new universe.
Hickman's gotta be my favorite writer over at Marvel right now. He's really weaving a compelling story and I put both his books at the top of my pile whenever a new one comes out. Always the first book I read (and that was especially hard to do this week with Uncanny X-Men annual, Amazing Spider-Man, Afterlife with Archie, and others all on my pull list). Really looking forward to how this all shakes out in preparation for Secret Wars 2015.
Omnipotent madman forcing all the heroes and villains to fight each other because ????? is kinda weaksauce in the first place - although I liked Secret Wars the first time around. Doing it all over again is just plain uncreative.
I agree but I don't think they will simply be "doing it all over again" - my thought is that the Beyonder is going to see that the space time continuum is getting really jacked up and he'll realize the Marvel 616 universe is the reason. To set things straight and save all reality as we know it, he'll make the heroes from the various timelines and realities face off - with only one version being allowed to survive / live and return to 616. Thus saving the Time stream and re-establishing the balance of all reality.
I realize it's a silly theory, but that's kind of the direction I see it going: Beyonder sees what's happening, realizes it could tear apart and destroy the entire fabric of space time, and tries to fix it.
Remember what AoU Tony Stark said to Wolverine about constantly jumping back in forth in time / between realities:
@mightymodok: I don't think Secret Wars and its Tie-Ins are going to be a reboot of those series, but the repercussions of the story could result in the entire Marvel Universe getting a Reboot - similar to what DC did with the New 52 after Flashpoint. But that's just speculation - no one knows what the end game is (if there even is one) other than a select few at Marvel.
I kind of figured this was the direction they were going in with this once they said the various teasers were all going to be tied to Secret Wars. I started reading comics about the time the original Secret Wars came out so the plot/story makes sense and is pretty exciting. I'm really looking forward to it.
As for the new trailer video, there are several "countries" that are left blank after landing the 15 stories/events. Does that mean there could be other events (yet to be named) that will be included in the overall Secret Wars Arc?
I stopped reading Detective several months ago but seeing the cover today at my LCS piqued my interest so I picked it up. So glad I did. I am not familiar with Manapul & Buccellato's previous work with Flash, so reading this was a welcome surprise both visually and from a story-telling standpoint. Looks like I'm back to reading Detective Comics again for the foreseeable future.