Marvel Leaks Its Own Confidential Information, Baffles Fans

Here's something you don't hear every day: there's a "leak" at Marvel, and nobody is blaming Tom Holland or Mark Ruffalo yet. Marvel Comics has released a pair of "not-for-publication" documents on their website and social media, blending what appears to be heavily-redacted government documents about certain operatives with "do not publish' websites full of convincing-enough code. Fans can dig through the documents and try to piece together clues (like "(children)_atom," a nod to "children of the atom, a frequent nickname for mutants. The redacted documents all paint pretty clear pictures of the existing characters they are talking about, but that raises the question of who the rest of the numerals might be, since there are at least four numerals represented in Marvel's tweet that are not immediately obvious.

What it all means is not yet clear, although the most obvious guess is that there will be a comic coming soon that explores the connections between these characters in specific and Marvel's top-secret organizations more generally. Given that Brian Michael Bendis's Leviathan event is bringing together various clandestine organizations from around the DC Universe into a single, cohesive story, if that is the case, it makes sense that Marvel would focus on the mystery elements to demonstrate for the audience what the big difference is between the two stories. You can see some of the documents at the link above, and a couple of them in the tweet embedded below.

Most fans who have hazarded an educated guess are landing on the Weapon X program, noting that the numerals at the top could refer to the designations given to mutants there. Fans have guessed that the document identifying subject I is almost certainly Captain America, and X is Wolverine. Other potential candidates include VI (Nuke) and XIII (Fantomex).

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DC just announced a battery of exciting projects for the fall, so it could be that Marvel has some big announcements coming up in the next couple of weeks -- but if nothing comes of these documents soon, it might be reasonable to expect this viral marketing campaign to run up through the start of Comic Con International in San Diego next month -- traditionally a pretty good forum to get a lot of eyes on your announcement.

Keep your eyes on ComicBook.com, and we'll update you as we know more. What do you think might be teased in these cryptic messages? Chime in below, or hit me up at @RussBurlingame on Twitter.