Secret Wars 2 # 1 - 3
Iron Man # 197
Captain America # 308
Uncanny X-Men # 196 - 197
Web of Spider-Man # 6
Amazing Spider-Man # 268
Fantastic Four # 282 & 285
Avengers # 260
The original Secret Wars was a huge hit, which I covered in an earlier blog: "23: UXM 180 - 183 (Secret Wars)." It was not surprising that Marvel decided to try to rake in some cash by bringing back a second part to that crossover, however this one was done differently. In the original Secret Wars, the omnipotent Beyonder brough a small collection of heroes and villains to Battleworld. This time around, the Beyonder has come to earth and spends 43 issues interacting with EVERY running title. There are individual Secret Wars issues, but the Beyonder also shows up in all the other existing titles with a varying degree of impact. I really didn't need to read this whole thing as part of my X-Men journey, but it was a blast being able to dip into all of these other comic lines and see what's going on with other heroes at this same time.
Secret Wars 2 # 1: Beyonder on Earth
There's actually a lot of X-Men in the first Secret Wars comic. We are first introduced to this setup by seeing Professor Xavier become aware of his presence.
Also, I noticed in this re-read that Legion is hanging out with the rest of the New Mutants. Unfortunately he doesn't really have a presence in the core New Mutants comic after his main arc, so this must be taking place immediately afterwards (covered in 30: NM 26 - 31 (Legion and Karma)
Professor X is still supposed to be limiting his use of psychic powers, so this isn't helpful to that end.
He reaches out to Captain America (who is riding coach on an airplane at the time) to warn him of the danger.
The above two panels are actually from New Mutants # 29, not Secret Wars 2 # 1. This sets up a really interesting dynamic where Charles asks Magneto to lead the X-Men in his place against the Beyonder. This was actually pretty shocking to me. I knew that Magneto goes from being a villain to being more of a sympathetic character, but I didn't know there was a time when he officially becomes a member (and the leader nonetheless) of the X-Men! Crazy.
When the Beyonder shows up, he appears as an amalgamation of all the characters he brought to Battleword in the original Secret Wars. He also chooses to speak to Owen Reece, the Molecule Man.
This series really elevated the Molecule Man, making clear that his ability to manipulate molecules actually makes him on par with the most powerful beings in the Cosmos.
The Beyond sets up the central theme of this series. In his universe, he was all powerful. But now that he is aware of our multiverse, he is very curious about it. Owen (Molecule Man) gives him the advice that the best way to understand life is to experience it, which sets the Beyonder on a long ass path to experience humanity!
Magneto accepts the challenge and shows up to lead the X-Men. At first some of them tried fighting him, but eventually cooler heads prevailed and they decided to go with it for the time being.
In an effort to understand humanity, the Beyonder gives some random human superhuman powers, which of course goes straight to his head and makes him a villain. You can see the Beyonder creeping in the background, who is now taking the shape of Molecule Man (He'll change his image a lot).
The X-Men (along with a few New Mutants) are the first to confront this new villain and put a stop to him.
The Beyonder stays hidden, observing, but Rachel is able to sense him and forces him to make his presence known. This also sets the tone for Rachel to have a big impact throughout Secret Wars 2, as the Beyonder notices that she is special.
After appearing, the Beyonder also notices that something is different about Illyana. He grabs here and forces the Darkchild persona to the surface, unleashing hell. This will be explored more in my next post which will cover the aftermath of this, in addition to the battle for Karma's soul.
Iron Man # 197: Lightning Guy Strikes Again
Iron Man #197 is an entire comic in the Iron Man universe where we learn that it's actually James Rhodes (Rhodie) in the armor. That random guy who was given powers in the last issue was stopped once they took away his lightnight bolt weapon. However, in this issue he realized that he still had the power, so he made a new lightnight bolt and broke out of jail. Iron Man faces him solo and defeats him. The Beyonder observed this and took mental notes.
Captain America # 308: Stop Copying Me!
Captain America # 308 shows us Captain America as he gets off the plane in L.A. and finds Hawkeye, who is on the precipice of forming the West Coast Avengers. The West Coast Avengers was one comic line that I brought random issues of in the 90's, so I flagged this first issue in my Marvel Unlimited Queue and might give it a little read one day.
The Beyonder watches Cap deal honorably with a villain named the Armadillo and decides that he will take the shape of Captain America from now on. The Beyonder concludes that Cap is as good a template as any to model your behavior and physique after.
UXM 196: College Kids are Brats
Professor X hears someone's thoughts saying "He knows what we did. We've got to kill him." In retrospect, it's painfully obvious what this is referring to but I'll let that come out.
We do a quick check in with Storm in Africa. I mentioned that she has been traveling around, helping with some petty crimes. Well, she thwarted the plans of a brother and sister who got revenge by shooting her. When I originally read this, I had no idea who this was, but now I realize that this was setup for the villains in UXM #200. I'll save the reveal for the future blog where I'll cover that.
Charles brings the X-Men together, which includes Magneto, to discuss that the X-Men need to stake out Columbia University to figure out who the students were trying to murder.
First of all, come on...We knew that college kids beat up Xavier in an earlier issue. Obviously it's him. Come on. Second, if I pretend for a second that no one figured this out, this is clearly overkill to have the X-Men do what local police could do.
I love this. Once again something that I didn't necessarily catch in my first read through. Wolverine can tell that something is wrong with Charles, but isn't sure what it is. I can tell you. Charles is dying from the time those same college kids beat him up and he isn't telling anyone!
While in this meeting, Rachel senses the Beyonder, so she leaves the table to go find him. She does find him in a deli and there is a scene where she explains to him how to eat food. Yup.
Nightcrawler goes to a Priest and has this long tirade about losing his faith. It's actually pretty interesting. What he's basically saying is that the Beyonder is all powerful, so he must be God. But if he is God, he's an evil son of a bitch and that means my faith is bullshit, so what do I believe now? Poor Kurt.
Here we just see the Beyonder making note that Rachel is a being almost as powerful as him. We'll see more of this in the Secret Wars storyline.
This isn't anything big, but I love Kitty. She decides randomly to try Logan's cigar and coughs violently. A pretty typical thing for a teenager to do.
Here's a great scene between Kitty and philsopher Logan. Basically they are talking about whether or not they can trust Magneto. Wolverine brings up that both him and Storm have been able to change so why can't he? Pretty wise.
So Kitty is doing some sleuthing and runs into this group of people who are clearly the same people that beat up Xavier and are thinking about killing him. We also learn that Kitty, who is 15 at this point, is taking college courses at Columbia. So she's VERY smart.
Woah. Holy Shit. While I do have a degree in political science, I have no intention of getting into politics or political correctness in this fun X-Men blog. But I am going to say that this is the second time Kitty has used this word (She also used it in the Graphic Novel, God Loves Man Kills) when she shouldn't have.
I get what Claremont is doing here. Mutant prejudice is supposed to be similar to racial prejudice. I think we all get that, without needing these types of direct correlations.
Anyway, this group puts chloroform over Kitty's mouth and knocks her out before she has a chance to phase away.
This is a pretty cool scene. Rachel senses that Kitty is in trouble and she says "Kitty, My Kate!" This is a reference to Rachel's future timeline where the older Kate Pryde is a good friend of hers. Also, I get the impression that Rachel might be specifically coded as a lesbian or at least bi. Once again, don't want to get overly political, but perhaps there's more between the two of them?
This is also the first time that a member of the X-Men see her in her hound outfit.
Rachel blasts onto the scene and saves Kitty in time, but not before one of the students fires a gun at her and Rachel deflects it back at him.
Well, well, well would you look at that. Magneto is the one showing restraint. This will certainly be interesting with him working in concert with the X-Men. I'm seriously blown away by this. When I did my standalone Magneto post, I only did that because I thought we would get a tempered version of Magneto. You might think I was setting this up, but really I had no idea!
UXM # 197: Arcade, I guess
There is such a lack of important events taking place in this issue that I'm not even going to bother breaking it down with panels. Arcade kidnaps Kitty and Peter to force them to help him defeat Doctor Doom, who he thought was trying to kill him (Sound familiar?) After a bunch of shenanigans, they succeed only to find out it wasn't even Doom, it was actually his assistant "Miss Locke" playing a trick on him. I know people love Arcade, but I really don't care for his stories.
There was this one panel at the end where this fight helped Kitty and Peter talk to each other and agree to be friends.
Secret Wars 2 # 2: Things get silly
Yea...things get weird. Soooo. Spider-Man teaches the Beyonder how to go potty. Yes, that happened.
The Beyonder interacts with the Fantastic Four and Reed Richards tries to explain to him that the universe is complicated and not easy to understand.
The Beyonder steals some clothes and then learns from a homeless lady that you can't steal. He learns that he needs to get a job in order to make money.
To make money, he goes to "Heroes for Hire" and interacts briefly with Power Man and Iron Fist. This is a continuation of a disturbing theme. The Beyonder shows up and heroes immediately start trying to beat him up.
Power-Man made a statement about money being backed by gold (which Iron First historically corrects him by saying that's not true anymore), so the Beyonder turns an entire building into gold.
Web of Spider-Man # 6: The Weight of Gold
The is picked up in Web of Spider-Man # 6 where the entire issue is spent with him saving people who were hurt when a building turned into gold and caved in on itself.
The Amazing Spider-Man # 268: Intro to Econ 101
The story continues in Amazing Spider-Man # 268, where Spider-Man realizes that a building made out of gold would wreck the economy, so he helps the government deposit all of the gold into the ocean. Yes, there was an entire issue about that. This is when I decided to start skimming these connected issues.
I was glad I started skimming because Fantastic Four #282 doesn't really have anything to do with the Beyonder. This just deals with the fallout of Sue Storm being attacked in Secret Wars 2, # 2 but does not further the Beyonder narrative in any other way.
Secret Wars Volume 2, # 3: The Beyonder discovers his penis.
The Beyonder meets his first true friend, a pimp named Vinnie. Vinnie starts by introducing him his very first girlfriend, which he ends up liking very much.
Vinnie and his girlfriend take big B out to dinner and he learns how to properly eat. He was crunching entirely glass bottles earlier and complaining that it cuts his lips to drink.
Beyonder makes more female friends, and likes it.
So the Beyonder basically joins Vinnie's criminal operation for an extended period of time. First he cures all of Vinnie's prostitutes of disease (can't believe this is happening), and then he starts making bars of gold for Vinnie to use.
Working for Vinnie the pimp wasn't fulfilling enough, so he decided to bran out into his own ventures. He started by buying a yacht and partying with girls. Then he decided he wants to be President.
Being President wasn't enough, so then he decides to put every single molecule and lifeform in the multiverse under his explicit control. The Molecule Man is the only person who seems to notice, but all he does is free the molecules of himself and his girlfriend Marsha.
Controlling everything wasn't satisfying, so he goes back to his best friend Vinnie for advice. When Vinnie says he isn't sure what to tell him, Big B decides to go find Cap, who happens to be across space on an adventure.
Avengers #261: MCU in Print!
This was actually an awesome issue to pop into with the Avengers. The Avengers are in space, partnering with Firelord and the Skrulls to fight Nebula! It's like this is Prime Marvel Cinematic Universe material.
We see that Nebula destroyed Xandar. If you recall, Xandar is the planet most prominently featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies with Glen Close as their leader. Ring a bell?
The Avengers working with the Skrulls. It's worth mentioning that this is a big deal. When the Skrulls were shown as sympathetic in Captain Marvel, that was a major twist from the Marvel Comics Universe. I would guess that this is one of the very few times that the Skrulls worked on the side of the protagonists.
Here's Nebula, who announces for the first time that she is the grandaughter of Thanos. Obviously that is a bit different from the movies. I have a feeling Nebula stays a villain for most of her time in the comics.
The Avengers actually defeat Nebula, but the Beyonder shows up at the last minute as a continuation of that last issue. He can tell the Avengers don't like Nebula, so he tries to "help" by removing Nebula and her minions from this universe. The Avengers are pissed and tell him he messed up by helping them to escape. I don't understand why he doesn't just bring them back. Instead, he pouts.
Daredevil #223: I see a strong issue
Since the Beyonder forced the entire multiverse to bend to his will, he decides instead that he'll conquer the world in a more straightforward, legal way. He hires Matt Murdock (Daredevil) to be his lawyer.
He pays Daredevil in the form of giving him his sight back. We get an entire issue where DD gets his sight back and visits all his friends and favorite locations, seeing them for the first time. It's a pretty uplifting issue.
In the end, Daredevil realizes that the Beyonder's goals are not pure. He also realizes that having his sight back changes everything, and actually makes it harder for him to fight crime. He makes the Beyond take his sight back. Heartbreaking.
Fantastic Four # 285: The Ghost of Beyonder Past
The only Beyonder-relevant thing that happens in this issue is that the Beyonder does his best Scrooge impression and shows Johnny Storm alternate pasts that don't involve him to help teach him a lesson.
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