Secret Wars II #2
Issue(s): Secret Wars II #2
The story makes it clear that even the concepts of "time" and "space" are new to the Beyonder:
Once in the "recent past," he knew not of "time," for in his own realm he was all things and all things were him all at once, ever. "Physical?" Having but three dimensions instead of an infinite number--? Such a thing was unknown to him. Yet, "Now" he stands, incarnate in human flesh, having height, breadth, and thickness. He is moving through a fourth dimension, "time" in a synchronization with other "things" and beings here.
These are interesting ideas. And there's nothing inherently wrong with an "idiot god comes to earth" type of story, even if it's certainly not what readers coming to a Secret Wars sequel would be expecting. I do think there is some obligation to tie things back to what we saw in the first Secret Wars, however. Ok, so this Beyonder didn't know about anything outside of his own eponymous universe, but why did his first reaction to learning about our universe involve wiping out a galaxy, building a planet, and recruiting a bunch of earth super-beings to fight each other? And what did he learn from that event?
Certainly not how to drink.
The backdrop of this issue is the riots instigated by the Hate-Monger and the Psycho-Man in FF #280-281, and we get to see the Hate-Monger converting the Invisible Girl into Malice, something that happened off-panel in the Fantastic Four issues.
During the riots, the Beyonder is directed by a shopkeeper ("You must be from out of town", after crawling into the store through a broken window wearing a white jumpsuit and no shoes) to seek out someone he already knows, and the Beyonder picks Spider-Man.
In general, i don't complain when there's some major event going on in, say, the Fantastic Four, and the story doesn't take the time to stop and explain why every other New York based hero doesn't get involved. I'm one of the biggest proponents of the shared universe concept that there is, but i still don't think it should be a ball and chain to storytelling. That said, this issue of Secret Wars II deliberately segues from the hate riots from the Fantastic Four Hate-Monger story to Peter Parker very casually walking around at the Bugle and then heading home to catch a "Muppets special on teevee". I'm all for the Muppets, but you'd think Mr. Great Power Comes With Great Responsibilities might have other priorities during a time when the entire city is tearing itself apart.
Anyway, the Beyonder shows up asking his Stranger In A Strange land questions ("Why is clothing?").
Peter then sends the Beyonder to Mr. Fantastic, but not before teaching him how to go to the bathroom in a scene that is genuinely funny if we're willing to accept what kind of story we're getting here.
By now the FF are dealing with the aftermath of their fight with Malice, and are battling the Hate-Monger directly (or rather, dealing with a crown of bystanders that he's controlling, and supported by a still-hidden Psycho-Man). Unlike the previous FF scene, this is new material that takes place after the end of FF #281.
The Beyonder shows up during that fight, asking what i think is my favorite question of his.
The character eventually known as Scourge appears and kills off the Hate-Monger, although Mr. Fantastic is too interested in the Beyonder to really care, especially since this Hate-Monger is really a construct of Psycho-Man anyway.
Psycho-Man himself gets away, still not officially revealed.
The Hate-Monger is an odd target for Scourge. Most of his targets are established third tier super-villains, but this Hate-Monger has only appeared in the one FF story and has been operating mainly behind-the-scenes. All of the Scourge's other hits seem to have been planned; they weren't reactions to an immediate threat. If the assumption is that the Scourge saw what was going on in New York, investigated, and found the Hate-Monger and killed him, that would make him a lot more like a (violent) super-hero than i think was the intention. So i guess we'll just say he stumbled across the Hate-Monger by accident and figured why not?
Anyway, Reed is unable to talk to the Beyonder because his wife is a bit needy after the Malice thing.
It's a natural reaction although i don't think it's written very well. And really, Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic blow the only real chance to speak to the Beyonder while he's still in a formative stage. If either had been able to take the time to talk to him more and give him the guidance he was seeking, his time in our universe might have gone much differently. As it stands, we'll see next issue that the Beyonder winds up under the mentorship of a low level crime lord instead.
But first, after a little more wandering around, the Beyonder is directed by a bag lady to the office of the Heroes for Hire. Power Man and Iron Fist aren't around currently (see the Considerations section for more) but that doesn't stop the Beyonder, who just plucks the two of them out of time.
It's worth noting that this is the same method that will eventually be used to explain Dr. Doom's presence in the first Secret Wars during a time when he was supposed to have been dead.
After an initial fight (or, some more "intense experiences", in the Beyonder's terminology), Danny guesses at what they are dealing with, and attempts to provide the Beyonder with the much needed guidance. Unfortunately, Luke interrupts and sets the Beyonder down a very different path (another funny line in this issue is when Cage tries to explain why paper money has value but other forms of paper don't, and Danny has to remind him that we're not actually on a gold standard. Although it now occurs to me that Danny, having been raised in K'un-Lun, probably wouldn't know that either). In any event, another missed opportunity to get the Beyonder on the side of the angels.
The Beyonder pays for the advice by turning the Heroes For Hire office building into gold, just as Spider-Man shows up.
It's a dense issue. And i'm trying to accept it on its own terms and let it be about this cosmic entity that has come to earth and is learning about... everything, really. The scripting is stiff and so is the art, but the plot isn't altogether awful... yet.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place partially during and directly after Fantastic Four #280-281. The Luke Cage and Iron Fist appearing here are plucked from time (it's 3AM when the Beyonder shows up at their office). I have this issue occurring between PM&IF #117-118. As for where in time they are pulled from, the MCP have them pulled out of time between Power Man & Iron Fist #114-115, which would be the most recent possible time before Fist starts dying from radiation poisoning. When the duo meet the Beyonder a second time in a later issue, they'll remember this encounter as a dream (and that's what a note at the end of this issue says as well). The official tie-ins for this issue are Web of Spider-Man #6, Amazing Spider-Man #268 (both dealing with the gold building), and Fantastic Four #282 (continuing the Psycho-Man story).
Cross-over: Secret Wars II
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
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