Secret Wars II #9
Issue(s): Secret Wars II #9
Actually, taken on its own terms, this issue isn't awful. It isn't very good, mind you, but it does reach something of a satisfying conclusion for the story that's been presented in this series. But that's at least part of the point. Reading this you can get so wrapped up in the poor delivery of the story being told that when something in it finally works out ok, you're just happy. And you can lose sight of the larger problem, that this is supposed to be a sequel to Secret Wars, and in fact it's nothing of the sort. Every once in a while you get an image that feels like a faded photocopy (metaphorically speaking) of the original Secret Wars, like this scene, which is so similar to the opening scene in the original Secret Wars but is missing the fun characterization: (Banner-brained) Hulk's follow-up, "That's obvious, Richards!" followed by some nice Human Torch-specific insulting the Thing. Instead, here the Human Torch vomits up a huge list of names.
In contrast to the first Secret Wars which, with a much simpler story and therefore much more space to work with, there's no characterization in this series for the individual heroes and villains; almost any character can say or do anything and it wouldn't make a bit of a difference.
Except maybe only the Wasp can make a furries reference.
But getting back to my point that this series doesn't really deserve to be called a sequel to Secret Wars, to my mind there are really four ways of looking at Secret Wars II. The first is as that sequel, and to serve that remit, the story is forced to include every Marvel hero and villain, have lots of fights, and feature the Beyonder as a big threat that the heroes must conquer. It's worth remembering that any reader in 1985/1986 coming to this series was looking for that. And really, it fails utterly in that regard.
The second rides the coattails of the first, and it was to create a big event that could cross over with every Marvel title and boost sales and help lower-tier books find a new audience. I think it achieved that goal, although it was more thanks to the novelty and significance of this event (this was the first of its kind but there will be many more) and thanks to the momentum and name from the first series. It's worth noting that a story that crosses over into other books required more forethought and coordination than just doing a straight 9 issue sequel to Secret Wars would have. You have to either go sit on every writer's chest and make sure they do it exactly how you want it, or you have to write the story in such a way that the tie-ins can supplement but don't harm the main story. And then there's the continuity issue, a constant problem for this book.
As for the third and fourth modes, these get to what Jim Shooter obviously really wanted to do. The third is a biting satire about phonies, be they Hollywood writers or people that love the latest gadgets or New Age gurus or middle class homebodies. Looking at it that way, the Beyonder's bad haircut and shoulder pads wasn't just a poor character design; it was part of the joke. The fourth mode is a serious philosophical work examining the age-old question of why are we here and what's the meaning of life? It's hard to put the third and fourth modes together; if your beleaguered protagonist is struggling with these deep philosophical challenges while wearing a disco jumpsuit and jamming carrots into a Cuisinart installed in your Lamborghini, you better be a really good writer.
Steve Gerber could have pulled off #3 and #4 at the same time (i'm not a huge Gerber fan, and i may not have loved it, but there's no doubting that would have been right up his alley). I don't think anyone could have done all four of these and still had a coherent story. Jim Shooter should have just tried for one.
And as i said, this issue kind of works on its own terms, and that's because Shooter largely focuses on #4 here, with a lot of #1 serving mainly as filler. #2 is no longer relevant since we're on the last issue, and Shooter leaves out the bad satire this issue.
Basic plot: based on all he's observed, the Beyonder decides that he needs to become mortal in order to truly find a purpose. After a couple of false starts (including an attempt by Mephisto to kill him while he's human)...
...the Beyonder sets things up so that he'll become mortal while still retaining some of his power. But in the meantime, Volcana returns home to find the Molecule Man having recovered from her earlier (staged) rejection of him, and he's grown to not be so co-dependent, which is a pretty nice scene.
Also meanwhile, Phoenix, who still has some of the Beyonder's power, has gathered nearly all of Earth's heroes (interestingly, Jean Grey, at least, is missing but thanks to Michael and S in the Comments i was able to locate the rest of X-Factor) to help kill the Beyonder.
And Molecule Man joins them.
Hmmm, Wolverine, isn't it? Sounds vaguely familiar. The guy who tore my insides to shreds in the first Secret Wars, if i recall correctly? Yes, i think i've heard of you. Thank you for your support; it's important to me.
To delay the heroes, the Beyonder sends the revived-from-the-dead but mindless and still forgotten-to-the-world New Mutants after the X-Men.
Here's the Hulk teaming up with three of the guys who recently tried to pound the crap out of him.
Worth mentioning that Magik has her Soulsword back...
...and when Rachel scans the New Mutant's memories and learns who they were, Kitty Pryde doesn't pipe in with an "I told you!".
Eventually the heroes make it to the Beyonder, and the Molecule Man goes up against him (love the Roman Legionnaire/Caveman/Dinosaur dimension)...
...but even with help from the other heroes, the Molecule Man is outmatched, and the Beyonder pushes them all away with a big blast that also cuts a swath through the Rocky Mountains. The Molecule Man manages to keep everybody alive, and by everybody i include every living creature in the path of the blast, all moved to subspace.
The heroes return to find the Beyonder incubating in his machine as a baby, and the consensus among all the heroes is to kill it. Among the baby killers are Spider-Man (who struggled with helping Puma killing an adult Beyonder and ultimately decided against it) and the Silver Surfer (whose appearance here doesn't get nearly enough attention, but at least he'll be in the Avengers epilogue). There were a few dissenters (including Cap, who is in this scene nonetheless) and Reed Richards tries to stop them, but not on moral grounds, only because he's afraid of the energy that the machine will release, which he says will destroy the universe in a "blinding white flash".
Reed is unable to stop the Molecule Man, however, who destroys the machine.
And indeed there is a white event...
...but we learn that the Molecule Man helps the universe survive it by secretly funneling off the energy released from the machine into the empty multiverse where the Beyonder came from. Therefore the Beyonder is reverted to his primordial state and, presumably over centuries, he evolves into universes and planets where life eventually grows. "Thus, within the new universe begat by the Beyonder's power... mortal beings live their finite lives... giving meaning to the infinity in which they dwell... Thus, finally is the desire of the one from Beyond... fulfilled!"
It's a good ending for the character. A terrible use of just about every other character appearing here, but some nice closure for the Beyonder. In fact, even leaving aside every other contradiction introduced by later retcons about the Beyonder, it's the invalidation of the beautiful finale here that really sticks in my craw. There was no need for any further explanation or an undoing of what happened here; the Beyonder has returned to some other multiverse and has actually become a real universe. The Jheri-curled, "Is hallucinating why there is eating?" guy was not coming back.
There's an idea that i want to credit to Sean Howe in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, but can't find the passage, that the Beyonder can be seen as a metaphor for Jim Shooter himself, and it's an interesting idea.
Whether the idea is that the story is intentionally autobiographical or otherwise, it's interesting subtext at a time when Shooter was involved, by his own accounts anyway, in power struggles with the executives at Marvel while the people he was fighting for were griping at him (while fighting the Beyonder, the Molecule Man says to him, "I'm convinced that all you care about is you! You're a selfish - selfish god with no redeeming qualities"). I don't want to get involved in trying to sort out if Shooter's versions of various behind-the-scenes events are accurate; for the purposes of this point it's just important that his version was true in his own mind and was therefore informing the story.
It's probably not worth trying to extend the metaphor too far - what do his attempts to become mortal mean, and who do Mephisto and the Molecule Man and all the super heroes represent? - but at a high level, a guy that seemingly has all this power and can do anything but can't be fulfilled... that sounds like Shooter could have been channeling his own experiences into this a bit. At the same time, you could pretend that the tie-in books with characters having to deal with this capricious omnipotent being represent the experiences of the various creative teams...
In any event, as i said, this issue taken as a standalone has its merits, and at least reaches a nice conclusion (for now) (and albeit at the expense of the Marvel heroes, who really come off looking dumb). The series taken as a whole, however, was largely an atrocious failure, real waste of potential. Another writer might have done more with this. Another art team might have made the difference; Milgrom and Leialoha, to their credit, manage to last the entire 9 issues with a little help from Josef Rubinstein in the middle, but the stiff flat art is nearly as much a problem with this series as the writing. Maybe just a less ambitious plot would have helped. Or trusting the better creative teams on the tie-in books to do more. A number of ways in which this may have been something good. But instead it's remembered, correctly, as a real joke and a failure. I know there's some sick people out there who like the series, and yes, you can find some things of merit in here, but let's face it: you're wrong. ;-)
Now, to end with something only tangentially related here. Some people will have noticed my cheeky reference to a "white event" above. And also that line in the final scene referring to a "new universe". At around this same time, purportedly to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Marvel universe, Marvel, with Jim Shooter's lead, was launching a new set of titles under a New Universe banner. The idea behind the series was that it was going to be even more "world outside your universe" than the original Marvel universe: supernatural events would be few and far between, the universe could be built up with pre-planning instead of haphazardly, the characters would be realistically depicted, and the stories would happen in realtime, so every month in real life, a month would happen in the comics. And the initial trigger for superpowers in the New Universe was called a "white event". The connection with the end of this series is obvious, although nothing (to my knowledge) was ever explicitly said and the New Universe was intended to be completely separate from the MU.
Speculation abounds regarding the real trigger behind Marvel's expansion. Jim Shooter's ego has been blamed. So has the idea that Marvel was afraid that Jack Kirby was going to sue Marvel and claim ownership of all their characters. Execs were also pushing to expand Marvel's output regardless of quality.
The line did not do well (i can tell you i never bought a New Universe title in realtime; i was a fan of Marvel comics), but to be fair, the R&D budget for the line, originally $120,000, was reduced down to a tenth of that (and that money was spent on Speedball). It was a time of upheaval at Marvel as the company was getting bought by New World Pictures and Jim Shooter was distracted by things happening at the executive level and then soon leaves the company (after which there was a revamp of the New Universe line that led to some critical approval but not a major difference in sales).
I'm not going to cover the New Universe issues in my project, although elements of it (mostly Star Brand) will eventually creep back into the "real" Marvel universe. Just thought i'd use the opportunity presented by the end scene in this issue to talk about it a little.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Most issues of Secret Wars II amble along at a leisurely pace and there is room for non-related comics to appear in between, but things ramp up between issues #8 and #9 so i've placed this directly after the tie-ins for #8. And the epilogue in Avengers #266 takes place directly after this. Regarding the large cast of heroes, the good news is that Phoenix summons them all into this story. That's how i'm accounting for Starfox, who hasn't been on the Avengers since issue #261 (Nov 85) and is supposed to be in deep space. Phoenix even performs a costume "correction" for Iron Fist (who must actually be the H'ylthri imposter at this point). The Hulk is non-verbal in this story and i'm placing him in the same gap as his appearance in Secret Wars II #8. Thor has a beard, so i'm placing this between Thor #366-367. The big challenge - and i really mean impossibility - in this story is Alpha Flight. The team includes Talisman, which i'm just going to chalk up to Phoenix pulling her in from wherever she was. But there's also the problem of Shaman, who doesn't get his powers back until the end of Alpha Flight #35, and the powers manifest in a different way and he has a different costume. And at that point Snowbird is going through a rapid pregnancy.
Another problem is Valkyrie...
...who has to be a pillar of ash at this point because she died in Defenders #152, which was a tie-in with Secret Wars II #7 and doesn't come back for a number of years.
One option is just to rule these as art errors. None of the problem characters are critical to the story in any way and don't have speaking parts. But i don't like to do that and we don't need to since we have the Phoenix, still using a portion of the Beyonder's power, to use as an explanation. She fixed Iron Fist's costume, pulled Shaman away from his vision quest and gave him his old costume back and just happened to be floating him in the air for that one panel (he's not shown using his powers anywhere else in the issue), and pulled in Starfox and Valkyrie and Talisman. And then when it was all over, she sent everyone back to exactly where they were before, in whatever status (poor Valkyrie!). As for Thor, just for fun i'm assuming there's a temporary mistake and Rachel accidentally reverts him back to being a frog for his otherwise irreconcilable appearance in New Mutants #38 before that gets corrected and he returns to Asgard for Thor #367. It's all a highly ridiculous set of assumptions, but clearly Rachel isn't thinking straight; she's had a one track mind about the Beyonder for a while now. This still leaves the question of where in Alpha Flight's chronology they are appearing here. The MCP have them here during Alpha Flight #34, but as Michael notes in the comments for that issue, that raises some chronology questions for the X-Men, who are seen at their New York mansion in #33-34 but have been operating out of San Francisco for the past couple of issues of Secret Wars II (and the X-Mansion is also destroyed by the Beyonder at this point). I've instead placed this after #34 which still isn't great. Vindicator (who does not appear in this issue) and Puck (who does) are seen returning home from the battle with Lady Deathstrike in #34 at the beginning of #35, and are discussing it as if no interruption, such as Puck being teleported across the continent to fight the Beyonder, has occurred. But i still find that to be the best fit; it's right after they return that Snowbird's problems worsen to the point where she is shapeshifting uncontrollably. And this can't get pushed further out in Alpha's chronology because we're nearly into a crossover with the Avengers (who obviously appear here before that). There's simply no good fit for Alpha Flight, but with a lot of help from "Rachel did it" and a very selective reading of the Alpha issues (for example, in #35 when Shaman's whereabouts are mentioned, it's only Doug Thompson and Vindicator, neither of whom would have seen Shaman in Secret Wars II, that speak, and Snowbird has a convulsion before anyone can tell them they saw him more recently), i'm going with between issues #34-35.
Crossover: Secret Wars II
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (15): show
There's a few other characters that MIGHT be appearing, if you look at the art very closely. Someone that looks like Nightcrawler appears on page 21, panel 1- hanging from a tree. He also seems to present on page 30, panel 2. Unfortunately, Uncanny X-Men 204 makes it sound like he was absent for the final battle. (Maybe he wasn't and just went home to New York before the other X-Men?)
Posted by: Michael | November 15, 2013 8:08 PM
I agree that the actual ending of SWII is about the only thing good in it. It was a fitting end to the Beyondera nd actually had some pathos. I have no idea why it was decided to bring the character back in Englehart FF run.
Posted by: Chris | November 15, 2013 8:38 PM
Isn't that Cyclops there in the first panel of the "white event", just above and to the left of Thor?
Posted by: S | November 16, 2013 12:14 AM
Didn't this story end with an image of the Silver Surfer holding a dead baby?
Posted by: Jay Patrick | November 16, 2013 5:20 AM
I don't understand the dislike that SW II receives, particularly seeing how much of it somehow bounces off SW I.
The penciling was poor, but then again the same is equally true of SW I. The plot had holes, but it at least dared, while SW I was a very simple slugfest plot that seemed to make an actual point of having weird characterization just for the heck of it.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 16, 2013 7:51 AM
That does look like Scott but Scott's surprised to find out Rachel is "Jean"'s daughter in X-Factor Annual 5. Wouldn't he wonder what the Phoenix effect was doing around Rachel?
Posted by: Michael | November 16, 2013 9:02 AM
I've added all the Where's Waldo characters, thanks Michael and S. That also seems to be Iceman next to Beast in the front of the White Event panel. Which means Rachel brought in all of X-Factor except Jean Grey.
I suspect a lot of the characters here didn't quite know what the heck was going on, which may help explain Scott not noticing Rachel using the Phoenix force, or dismissing it as part of the general pyrotechnics going on.
Jay, there is a panel towards the end with the Surfer holding the dead Beyonder baby and looking a little sad about it, but he's also part of the group rushing Mr. Fantastic to kill the baby earlier.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 16, 2013 10:40 AM
The Beyonder's decision to destroy the universe may have been an allusion to Shooter's plan to "destroy" the Marvel Universe, as alleged by Doug Moench.
The Beyonder's bizarre fashion sense is hard to interpret: satire maybe, but this is also the era when Rachel Summers was wearing aerobics gear as a costume for a while and Henry Pym stars wearing a red boiler suit with shoulder pads. Costumes bad to a lesser extent code names seemed to be deemphasized in the late Shooter era.
I think all of this fits together. Shooter really did want comics to be the world outside your window, as the New Universe, Valiant, and Defiant would (to different degrees) show. The trouble is that was never what the Marvel Universe was meant to be: its greater realism was psychological, but it was still a world in which there was a Savage Land underneath Antarctica and aliens visited earth so often that practically every Marvel hero encountered some in his first few appearances. (Including Spider-Man, before the Shooter-era retcon of ASM #2.)
Shooter does seem to me to have been pushing the MU in the same direction as the New Universe. The latter gave him a chance to go much farther than he could with the classic characters. Here too the Beyonder stands in for Shooter, creating that new, perhaps more fulfilling universe, with fewer costumes, aliens, and fantasy elements.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 16, 2013 11:34 AM
Fnord- Oh, I wasn't trying to point out that the Sufer was present; I was just saying "Bummer, dead baby."
Posted by: Jay Patrick | November 16, 2013 11:46 AM
I actually thought you were suggesting that i was being too hasty putting the Surfer in the pro-baby killing faction.
I've added the scan.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 16, 2013 12:09 PM
I think all of this fits together. Shooter really did want comics to be the world outside your window, as the New Universe, Valiant, and Defiant would (to different degrees) show. The trouble is that was never what the Marvel Universe was meant to be: its greater realism was psychological, but it was still a world in which there was a Savage Land underneath Antarctica and aliens visited earth so often
Here too the Beyonder stands in for Shooter, creating that new, perhaps more fulfilling universe, with fewer costumes, aliens, and fantasy elements.
"World outside your window" more describes the Wold Newton Universe, which tries to keep less bizarre phenomenon out of its bounds.
Follow-up on Wold Newton
The goal of the Wold Newton Universe is to emulate the real world, although it cannot be said to be the real world.
I find it intriguing that despite the success of Star Wars in 1977, a perceived decline of mundane adventure movies did not occur.
Unhelpfully for Wold Newton proponents "Hollywood no longer makes A-level non-fantasy action vehicles with any regularity" while masked avengers largely outside of the fantasy genre such as the Lone Ranger and Zorro have had disappointing adaptations in the last ten years.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/1997/01/19/the-dark-side-of-a-hit.html#sthash.shywu2BF.dpuf (search for a cached version of this article by David Ansen)
Posted by: PB210 | November 16, 2013 12:48 PM
Maybe it's not the Valkyrie, but another Asgardian Valkyrie dressed the same?
The Beyonder Vs. Molecule Man panel is way too much like the Rama-Tut Vs. Kang panel from the Englehart Avengers era to be a coincidence.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 16, 2013 2:30 PM
One thing I don't get- why are you putting Thor after Thor 368? He obviously had the beard at the start of Thor 367, so wouldn't it be simpler to put it between Thor 366 and 367?
Posted by: Michael | November 16, 2013 5:34 PM
Thanks Michael, good point. I may have been over-complicating it in the sense that Thor #367 begins concurrent to the end of the Balder the Brave series and i have those issues concurrent to Thor #364-366. So i was going to place Thor #367 right after the Balder series. But having Thor out for the Beyonder fight during the Balder issues and then starting Thor #367 after this issue will be much cleaner. I haven't actually done my "analysis" of those Thor issues yet but sounds like that's the better option.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 16, 2013 5:44 PM
Not that you should be expected to go out and buy a complete set of New Universe titles (though really, that would set you back, like, three bucks), but they all do take place within the broader Marvel Universe, and this fall within the parameters of your project. They just take place on an alternate Earth, like the Squadron Supreme. There is also the implied connection to the Beyonder and the fact that Quasar eventually ended up with the Star Brand, as you pointed out.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | November 16, 2013 7:32 PM
In one of your comments fnord12, you wrote: "I've added all the Where's Waldo characters, thanks Michael and S. That also seems to be Iceman next to Beast in the front of the White Event panel. Which means Rachel brought in all of X-Factor except Jean Grey."
I think this takes place before X-Factor #1 (according to how other events relate to that issue) so Angel, Beast & Iceman would have to be here between The New Defenders #152 and X-Factor #1. I guess big question is: are Angel & Cyclops shown in their "X-terminators" costumes (with the giant X across the torso)? If not, then it takes place between.
Also, if that is Valkyrie appearing here, it would have to be her spirit, which leaves the Realm of the Dead on a few occasions to appear to Dr. Strange we find out in the near future. (Dr. Strange Vol 2 #80, Strange Tales Vol 2 #5-7)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 18, 2013 4:07 AM
Re: The pencils in SW1 and SW2 being equally bad. I kind of blinked at that. Mike Zeck is not an all-time favorite of mine, but he's better than competent, and his floor is still a couple flights above Milgrom's ceiling. I looked at the scans on fnord's SW1 entry to brush up on it. I'd say the art there varies from extremely good (in issue #1) to middling, depending on the inks. Some of it in the later issues does look a bit deadline-pressured. Whereas In SW2, I find it bad, bad, and more bad -- crude, stiff, rushed, rudimentary. Milgrom is just about the last person I'd want on a book with tons of faces and figures to draw and a lot of movement, spectacular cosmic effects, etc. He could be passable within the limits of a Spider-Man title, but this isn't up to his best at all.
I liked neither series on the whole, but SW2 was a chore to get through. I remember being so glad when it was over and the Beyonder stopped showing up in everyone's book, even though a few good stand-alones did come out of it (like O'Neil's story with Daredevil's sight being briefly restored).
Posted by: Todd | November 20, 2013 9:58 PM
This is my favorite issue of the Secret Wars II. Mainly because it ends it.
The concept of the Beyonder trying to learn humanity is a good one. The execution of this idea was poor.
Maybe if John Byrne or Jim Starlin did it, it would of turned out better.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | March 4, 2014 4:33 PM
Right after that panel with the Surfer finding the baby there is another panel with all the heroes turning away. And, despite the dead baby, it always gets a chuckle out of me, 'cause the Surfer is just standing there with the baby in his hands, his face seeming to say "Uh, guys, what do you want me to do with this?".
Posted by: Berend | March 7, 2014 11:36 AM
I was thinking the universe with dinosaurs, cavemen, and a gladiator was the one Skull the Slayer ended up in.
On the New Universe front, the early DP 7 issues were quite good. The rest is hit and miss...with Starbrand being such a mess that it's like a car wreck, you just have to watch it and cannot look away.DP 7 I'd pick up just to read it, if I were you.
Posted by: Chris V | May 1, 2015 2:03 AM
@ Chris V -
Wow, you actually bought New Universe titles? Not only am I like fnord (have never read a NU title), I don't know a single person among all my comic friends who ever had either. At least my little sister once bought a few Star Comics. But nothing from NU.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 10, 2015 11:41 AM
@Erik: The NU happened when I was about 3, so I missed it then, but picking them up as back issues I quite like them.
Posted by: Thanos6 | June 10, 2015 7:29 PM
I actually did pick up some New Universe issues when they came out.
Posted by: Michael | June 10, 2015 11:55 PM
The other really good NU title, IMHO, is the Peter David run on Justice, which totally reorients the book away from generic sword-and-sorcery and turns it into a character study of an anti-hero.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 14, 2015 5:30 PM
More than Kitty yelling "I told you," how exactly did Rachel restore everything? The Beyonder wiped out all memory of the New Mutants' existence. Dani's parents, Roberto and the X-Men were the only ones who were specified, but it's implied to be universal. [Multiversal? Did the Enchantress and Loki forget as well? Just how did Rachel fix that?]
I wonder if having the kids killed and react traumatically to being resurrected was Claremont's reaction to the return of Jean, since it happened shortly afterward. Possibly also trying to ingratiate himself with the boss, "you can kill some of these characters and then have the Beyonder bring them back, and I'll milk the aftermath."
And if the Beyonder's so dangerous, why did Rachel limit herself to only these characters? Alex and Lorna would be helpful, as would, I dunno, Dazzler.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 14, 2015 6:47 PM
In Avengers 266, the Molecule Man basically says "I used my powers to undo most of the damage the Beyonder did but I was too weak to fix it all". Presumably the Molecule Man restored everyone's memories of the New Mutants and let Rachel fix the kids' minds.
Posted by: Michael | December 14, 2015 8:58 PM
I'd thought of that. "Secret Wars" I and II are really all I know about the Molecule Man, but it just seemed so out of his reach that I'm dubious. "I transact power on levels unimaginable to you, Captain America, and the Beyonder, it seems, on levels unimaginable to me." That's why I threw in Loki and the Enchantress, by looking at the issues of "New Mutants" before they died to find the best instance of 'Phoenix fixed that???' I can accept that Farouk and Magus forgot the New Mutants ever existed, but the Molecule Man reshaping Asgard?
I love the line in Alan Moore's "Supreme" where other inhabitants of the Supremacy describe Supreme as a 90's model whose powers are so poorly-defined as to be effectively limitless. This Molecule Man/Rachel/Beyonder conflict may have been a decade early, but that's exactly what I'm talking about.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 14, 2015 9:40 PM
I've read this as the Beyonder being Shooter as EIC. He wanders throughout the Marvel Universe commenting on the characters and comics. Cap is corny talking t captivating. Gerber had railed against violence in comics before going on to write violent cartoons. He encounters prostitutes and organized crime, while going by the name Frank. He philosophizes about death and is mostly attacked by characters whose writers were supposedly feuding with him. He contemplates destroying the universe but goes on to create a New Universe. I'd have to reread the series to comment more concisely, but it seems like satire at the expense of Marvel Comics more so than society at large. But overall it's a pretty successful satire. Of course, 10/11 year old me thought it sucked, but had no clue to the behind the scenes drama the comic creators were engaged in. I'd be interested in engaging in discussions of this series further, if anyone were interested.
Posted by: Yogi deadhead | January 5, 2016 11:05 AM
Didn't the classic anime 'Akira' use the exact same unimaginable-sentient-energy-transcends-reality-and-becomes-a-new-big-bang ending, just 2 years after this?
Posted by: Oliver_C | January 5, 2016 11:40 AM
D.P. 7 #14 (the last 1987 issue of that New Universe title) has a letter published proposing that the White Event that jumpstarted the New Universe may have been created by the Beyonder. The reply says outright that such is not the case and says that a nearby Star Brand story will reveal why.
Of course, when it did happen it was in a Byrne story that feels more than a bit like an exercise at badmouthing Jim Shooter at the expense of artistic merits, so it is quite possible that John Byrne thought otherwise.
What is funny is that for all the criticism against Jim Shooter, Marvel under DeFalco had little if anything to show that it knew better.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | January 17, 2016 8:38 PM
Starfox's appearance here and in #5 is actually really easy to justify. He's searching for Nebula, this is his status quo until he eventually finds her in Byrne's run, and the only person who actually knows where she is would be the Beyonder (since he sent her away). So, it makes complete sense for Eros to return to Earth for Beyonder-related stuff. The Avengers could easily contact him and let him know the Beyonder has re-surfaced. Although, your Rachel explanation also makes sense, it doesn't really explain his involvement in #5.
(Also, fnord, you mention the issue with Eros' appearance in Emperor Doom in the placements but you moved Emperor Doom much earlier so it's no longer a consideration with this one)
Posted by: AF | May 18, 2017 12:36 PM
Removed the references to Emperor Doom here and in #5, thanks AF. That's also a really good point about Starfox in this series generally.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 25, 2017 11:34 AM
I understand your criticisms but I think this story was amazing. It wasn't about the heroes, it was about the Beyonder. The heroes were just guest stars, any hero was replaceable with another one. I read it was "this hero tells the beyonder this" or "this hero tells the beyonder that". I really couldn't care about "characterization" when you're dealing with +30 characters at once. That's why group titles like Avengers have a "6 character limit". Only Claremont was so obssessed that he would put so many ongoing characters and respect each character on their own.
I though SW sucked. No explanation whatsoever to the story. It was just mindless action. This sequel literally explained everything I wanted to know about the original. Sure, it wasn't another "secret war", but it was a sequel. I would have preferd a title like "Beyond... the Secret Wars", but anyway.
I liked the Beyonder's story and I liked the ending. He became a second multiverse. Very very nice.
Posted by: will | September 20, 2017 3:22 PM
"Hmmm, Wolverine, isn't it? Sounds vaguely familiar. The guy who tore my insides to shreds in the first Secret Wars, if i recall correctly? Yes, i think i've heard of you. Thank you for your support; it's important to me" :-)
Secret Wars II has a lot of flaws (and for a lot of people its bad rep seems to bring down the original Secret Wars with it, which I maintain was actually a good crossover & nothing like its sequel) but for me the whole thing is worth it just for Spider-Man having to tell a god how to use the toilet, Luke Cage's gold standard economic theory, and this scene of Wolverine talking to Molecule Man.
I'm sure Shooter was an extremely busy man and it's possible Milgrom had drawn the two talking & Shooter had forgot all about their previous encounter when he wrote the dialogue. But I don't believe that, because Shooter having Wolverine slash up Molecule Man & Absorbing Man were possibly the most violent Wolverine had ever been shown on-panel (a lot of Wolvie violence so far had been implied more than seen), and then he also had Wolverine slashing up Beyonder-using-Molecule-Man-body in the first issue of this series.
So I really like the idea that Shooter's concept of Wolverine is someone who doesn't even seem to remember that he's tried to disembowel someone, cos he does it everyday & it's totally blase to him, and Molecule Man is there trying to pretend to the cool kid/school bully that he totally wasn't bothered about the whole thing either.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 9, 2018 10:45 AM
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