At some point cneturies ago, an alien race came to reside on Earth's near neighbor, Mars. These aliens would come to be known to humans as the Martian Masters. Though their civilization prospered there for centuries, their resources eventually began to dwindle. This proved convenient to the reality- and time-travelling Immortus, who felt that this Earth's technological development had progressed to quickly. Travelling to Mars during the late nineteenth century, Immortus turned the Martian's attentions toward Earth.
On Saturday, June 29, 1901, the Martians launched an invasion of Earth has since become known as the War of the Worlds. Though man's most powerful weapons proved useless against the Martians with their mechanical tripods and heat rays, the invaders were brought down by terrestrial bacteria by early July. Following the Invasion, human history progressed in much the same way as Earth-616 through to the 1970s, including the occurence of World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Age of Heroes. The economic depression of the 1970's, with a constantly rising cost of living, would mark the rapid deterioration of western civilization from that point on. Rather than encouraging the populace reduce the rapid consumption at the heart of the depression, world leaders opted instead for the rapid proliferation of nuclear fission plants to power more factories to produce more inferior goods from quickly-dwindling natural resources. Technological progress soon outpaced Earth-616 again.
In the early 1980s, all non-essential funding was shifted to bionics, primarily in an effort to find replacements for limbs destroyed by cancerous sunlight. Farms were moved in-doors, and the use of hydroponics to cultivate food stocks from chemicals began to slowly edge out more natural farming methods. Traditional schooling methods were supplanted in favor of pre-recored audio-visual lessons undergone by at the student's pace in individual cubicles, while teachers did little more than change the tapes. The mural-phonics system, which allowed the audience to see, hear, and even experience the sensations of subjects through virtual-reality helmets, became the dominant entertainment medium. Militarily, the superpowers continued the research and construction of nuclear and biological weapons. A lunar base was established, and at least one mission was successfully landed on Mars (though it is unknown if their was any reaction by the Martian Masters). Before the majority of its funding was diverted to bionics research, NASA launched Project Starjump -- an effort to launch a single human, whose life is prolonged by periodically-interrupted cryogenic suspension, to Alpha Centauri -- as its last major effort in 1988, with Second Lieutenant Vance Astro as the pilot.
By this time the Bionics Wars -- vast mobilizations of cyborg armies competing for scarce resources and food stocks -- were already raging across the globe. In 1995, a thermonuclear reactor -- one of the many fusion reactors embraced by nations and corporations aafter 1993, despite popular opposition -- exploded as a result of cyborg fighting. The resulting explosion rendered Western Canada uninhabitable, and and worldwide public outcry threatened a massive revolution if the nations could not end the senseless violence. The Bionics Wars formally ended in that same year with the signing of the Treaty of Peking and the formation of the first Confederation of Nations. By the late 1990s, high-speed Transbelt Conveyors became the primary mode of overland shipping and travel. Even more sophisticated artifical reality and sensation systems were developed: Cinderella was re-released in a sensory-stimulating version in 1996, and the fully-immersive octo-tympanum-viewscope, which could (among other applications) cause audience members to experience personally experience musical tracks on personal emotional level with accompanying solid-holographic imagery, was developed in 1998.
(A lot more to come: the Great Injustice, the second Martian Attack and occupation, Age of Government, Age of Corporations, the colonization of other worlds, the Badoon conquest and occupation, and the Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Bionics as used above referes to the popular, 1980s notion of bionics, as robotic replacements to biological structures, such as limbs and organs.
- It was first given this designation in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe - Alternate Universes 2005. The name is derived from the cover date of the first story set in this reality, Marvel Super-Heroes v1 #18 (January 1969).
- While there is a Dargo in this reality, it has not been established whether he is the same one that has appeared in the Thor and Thor Corps stories.
- Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe index of articles on Earth-691 characters
- Marvel Chronology Project page for Earth-691 character appearances
- MCP discussion of the relationship between the Killraven and Guardians of the Galaxy stories, focusing on the role of Mars
- Guardians of the Galaxy message board, with all realities on-topic
- Partial timelines of Earth-691, from the ancient past through 2000 and 2001-3000, assuming inclusion of Dargo and a divergence point (since disproven) of Marvel Two-in-One #69