The 2015 Secret Wars crossover allowed creators to craft entirely new versions of the Marvel Universe. These tiny worlds ranged from sci-fi universes, horrific horror worlds and alterations on other Marvel crossover events.

One of the most interesting was 1872, which repositioned many Marvel characters and tropes in the old west. By melding the darker tones of the western genre with the bombast of superheroes, this version of the Marvel Universe was one of the most fascinating new takes on the company’s characters in years. Now, CBR is taking a look back at the miniseries and how it re-envisioned the Marvel Universe.

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The events of 1872 take place in the town called Timely, which is named for the publisher that preceded Marvel Comics. As a small town in the old west, the community was a part of Doom Valley (named for Doctor Doom, who had become the Godking of Battleworld in Secret Wars.) The entire expanse was littered with characters and references to other Marvel characters and stories, including the Parker Homestead, the sea-bound Attilan and the nearby Savage Mountains.

However, most of the story takes place downtown within Timely. The town is run by Wilson Fisk, who's known throughout most of the Marvel Universe as the Kingpin. His gang of enforcers served as his arm, carrying out his orders. In turn, Fisk works for Governor Roxxon, who doesn’t actually appear in the 1872 miniseries but serves as an underlining thread throughout, much like the shady Roxxon Corporation in the Marvel Universe.

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Many of Marvel's main heroes appear within the series, recast in western roles. Steve Rogers is the sheriff of the small town, one of the last bastions of true justice in the valley. He’s often called upon by the reporter Ben Ulrich to save the day, and still sore about the death of his deputy, Bucky Barnes. Tony Stark is the town drunkard, drowning himself in whiskey to forget how his weapons were used against American soldiers during the Civil War. Natasha Romanov is Bucky’s vengeful widow and Bruce Banner is the inventive town doctor.

The new version of Red Wolf is the only hero who is original to the western setting. While previous Marvel characters shared the title, the version who appears in 1872 is brand new. Red Wolf is a Native American warrior who trying to blow up the local Roxxon Dam. The installation has dried up the river that sustained his village, forcing his hand. Red Wolf quickly finds a kindred soul in Rogers, who saves him from a lynching early in the story but refuses to release him until he faces a judge for his crimes.

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Things in Timely take a turn when agents of Governor Roxxon arrive in town. The gang (led by Bullseye and consisting of Grizzly, Elektra and Doctor Octopus) quickly finds themselves fighting Rogers. But the sheriff is shot in the back by Fisk, and fed to the pigs. With Rogers dead, Romanov rallies the other heroes in the town to fight back against Fisk.She frees Red Wolf, and works alongside him, Banner and Stark to free Timely.

Carol Danvers and many of the other women within the town rise up to protest their unequal treatment and refuse to back down to threats. Taking Rogers’ sheriff star, Red Wolf becomes the man that Timely needs and is even able to avenge him by killing Bullseye. Meanwhile, Stark constructs a rudimentary version of an Iron Man armor, allowing him to go toe to toe with his new enemies and help keep Red Wolf alive.

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Meanwhile, Natasha and Banner go to the Roxxon Dam controlling the river. Confronted by Simon Williams, Natasha and Banner managed to set a series of explosives devised by Banner to unleash the river. Banner was seemingly killed in the blast after being fed copious amounts of the liquid… although his history suggests he may have yet survived in a changed form. In the end, Red Wolf manages to beat Fisk, but chooses to honor Rogers memory by bringing him to a fair trial. But upon returning to the town of Timely, Natasha shoots Fisk dead for his role in the death of her husband.

The miniseries ends with old west versions of Red Skull, Punisher and Deadpool descending upon the town of Timely. Footprints from the dam hint that a version of the Hulk now exists in the desert. A spider irradiated by his concoctions even heads towards the Parker homestead, teasing the birth of the old west Spider-Man. But on the bright side, justice is restored thanks to Carol Danvers joining the local government and Red Wolf leading a new team of “Avengers” to protect Timely. This Red Wolf would later even be brought into the main Marvel continuity, thanks to the reality-reshaping shenanigans of Secret Wars.

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