Secret Wars II #7
Issue(s): Secret Wars II #7
The Beyonder has decided to sit on a remote island and think. And so, in Jim Shooter's strange satirical way, that attracts a group of random phonies to sit and think alongside him.
Meanwhile, Mephisto is still worried about the way that the Beyonder stopped Death last issue, because when there's no death, his realm isn't getting filled with souls. So, with the approval of Marvel's other cosmic entities, he's built a big device, powered by Eternity, that will destroy the Beyonder.
And he recruits just about every villain in the Marvel universe...
...and imprints a symbol on their hand that, he says, will destroy the Beyonder if they will just touch him.
But the Beyonder has gotten annoyed by all his unwanted followers, and so he announces that he's going to leave. Since Mephisto's machine isn't quite ready yet, he needs a delaying tactic. So he hits the Thing, who is on a nearby island filming alongside Sharon Ventura, with some dreams that twist Alicia's breaking up with him into being the Beyonder's fault, and the Thing wakes up willing to sign his soul away in return for the power to fight the Beyonder. The idea being that he'll keep the Beyonder there long enough for the machine to be ready and the villains to arrive. But the Thing gets doubts about killing the Beyonder, so when the villains show up, he uses the power Mephisto gave him to fight all of them instead.
The Beyonder just sits on his rock.
Since the Thing is ruining his plans, Mephisto tears up the contract giving the Thing his power, even though it means returning the rights to his soul. So while most of the Thing vs. Villains fight is pretty uninteresting since it's not really the Thing using his own strength, the Thing still has to fight the Juggernaut with just his own power. And he gets thoroughly stomped but still manages to prevent Juggy from touching the Beyonder.
So the Juggernaut's repeated claim that no Thing stops the Juggernaut is false (sorry).
With that last failure, Mephisto's machine melts down and the threat is over. The Beyonder decides that his actions (or inaction) allowed the Thing to realize his true essence, as a hero, not a murderer. And he decides he's going to do the same for others and teach them what their true role in life is meant to be, setting up, vaguely, the scenario for the next round of tie-ins.
Throughout all of this, the Molecule Man is uneasily monitoring events from a distance. He isn't happy that the cosmic entities are trying to kill the Beyonder, but he doesn't get involved, and he worries that in the end he'll be the one that has to deal with the Beyonder.
Maybe it's because the Beyonder keeps his mouth shut for most of the issue, but this definitely is one of the least bad issues of the series. The specifics of Mephisto's plan might not stand up to scrutiny but we can argue that the cosmic entities work in mysterious ways. The biggest disappointment is that you have all these villains working together and yet there's no interaction, either while they're hanging around in Mephisto's realm...
...or when they are fighting the Thing. The idea of just a huge hoard of villains attacking with no context and little interaction goes back to at least Fantastic Four annual #3 but unfortunately they're never very enjoyable. So compared to the use of the villains in the first Secret Wars, for example, this is really lame and a step backwards. And it's part of a trend that continues to this day, where after every Marvel event you can go to the MCP forum and find people squinting at panels trying to figure out if that guy way in the background is Crossfire or Livewire or some other random guy whose appearance adds nothing to a story.
Speaking of appearances, despite what you see on the cover, MODOK does not appear in this issue. He's dead, but it's not like that had to stop Mephisto. And look how sad it makes him.
And continuing to speak about appearances, of the cosmic entities, the MCP lists Mephisto, Death, and Eternity, but not the others, even though they are shown to be reacting to the events here.
So i've decided to list them all. They do include Death, although they didn't list Death for issue #6. I've decided to list Death for both #6 & #7. The reason this is confusing and i've been trying to read between the lines of the MCP listings instead of just believing my own lying eyes is because of the eventual retcon regarding the Beyonder and how that related to the other cosmic entities, which i read in realtime but subsequently paid a witch to burn out of my brain. So i'll revise accordingly when i get to that stuff.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: For the Thing, this takes place between Thing #31-32, while he and Sharon Ventura are on a remote island filming a movie. I'm not thinking too hard about the appearances of all the villains since we can use Mephisto's powers to explain anyone that shouldn't be available right now (Dr. Doom. Abomination (whose appearance here is covered in his eventual resurrection). At a minimum, we're learning new information about Baron Mordo's status. And Ultron at this point is either the "Mark Twelve" semi-good guy or the one that's attached to a television set and crossing the country at the moment; neither really fit well here but i'm assuming it's Mark Twelve somehow corrupted by Mephisto.). The official tie-ins with this book are New Mutants #36, Uncanny X-Men #202, Amazing Spider-Man #273, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #111, and Defenders #152.
Crossover: Secret Wars II
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
Hopper Hertnecky appears later in FF 296.
Posted by: Michael | November 9, 2013 2:56 PM
Thanks Michael. Added him. And for those following along at home, he's just an old pilot that delivers mail to the movie crew on the Thing's island.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 9, 2013 3:49 PM
"the eventual retcon regarding the Beyonder and how that related to the other cosmic entities, which i read in realtime but subsequently paid a witch to burn out of my brain."
worth every penny!
Posted by: S | November 9, 2013 10:17 PM
Oh? If you mean the Engelhart revelations about the Beyonder's nature and power level, I thought that was a good way to explain the Beyonder while limiting omnipotence-inflation. And if you mean Gruenwald's revelations in Quasar about the other cosmic so seen in SW II, well, that was even better. Guys like the Living Tribunal and Eternity should not get pushed around just to build up the latest menace-of-the-montth; that only cheapens the MU.
Shooter got it right in the Korvac Saga: showing that guys like the Collector and Starhawk were alarmed by Korvac and could be destroyed by him easily built Korvac up as a major menace without having to present him as the most powerful threat of all time--a status any threat would lose in mere months given how many end-of-the-world scenarios crop up in the MU. Heaven knows the Beyonder certainly isn't considered the greatest cosmic threat and power of all time today.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 9, 2013 10:48 PM
The problem is that the explanation that Englehart came up with made no sense whatsoever. According to Englehart, Macchio told him to explain away the Beyonder's omnipotence, but Englehart couldn't think of a really good way to do so, so he basically came up with "the other cosmic beings let themselves be defeated for no adequately explained reason". (Keep in mind that some of these beings, such as Galactus, are too proud to allow themselves to be beaten without a VERY good reason.And what was even stupider was that just two issues before that, the Watcher refused to aid the FF against the High Evolutionary, even though he tried to convince the Molecule Man to oppose the Beyonder during Secret Wars II. So the Watcher can't interfere in real threats but can interfere in fake ones?) And as we'll see later, the Beyonder's plan for destorying the universe involved manipulating Rachel into destroying the M'kraan Crystal and the M'kraan Crystal is certainly capable of destroying the universe. It would have been simpler just to leave the Beyonder dead and forget about Secret Wars II.
Posted by: Michael | November 9, 2013 11:17 PM
While I'm not the biggest fan of Korvac when he's not wearing purple spandex and having a computer for a torso making weird faces, I did like that he did show himself off as a major menace and yet he was paranoid in not showing himself to the major forces of the Marvel Universe. The Korvac/Starhawk fight was powerful enough to be felt by many other characters, yet he knew the threat that would be done if he took on the likes of Asgard, Olympus, heck even Mephisto! Obviously Korvac knew there was a high chance his concept of becoming supreme was going to fail and that many of the most powerful beings in the universe were going to want his head, thus he stayed in a mansion drinking cocoa planning until he knew for certain he was ready...at until Starhawk realized it again and the climax occurred.
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 10, 2013 7:37 AM
They could do an entire series on nothing but Bitterhorn's dealings with the villains. I'd LOVE to know what he promised big guns like Octopus or Hobgoblin. And Doom! He of all people should be the last one to accept a demonic bargain. I wonder how THAT went...
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 20, 2015 5:26 PM
It's gotta be magical manipulation, although one would think that defeats the whole point of buying someone's soul. That fat chick in the Emma Frost costume standing next to Abomination, what's she doing there?
And Mordo, is there anybody he hasn't sold his soul to at this point?
Posted by: ChrisW | July 9, 2016 9:59 PM
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