6 Stupidest Secret Wars II Moments

After talking up the original Secret Wars on Monday, you knew I kind of had to look at the sequel, right? The awful, awful sequel? Looking at it again, it's pretty bad, though I don't dislike the ending. I'll talk about it at the end of this post. For now, all you need to know is that Al Milgrom isn't as well suited as Mike Zeck or even Mark Bright for the art on a big crossover event. That the series spends all its time visiting each and every book in the Marvel line, recapping those side-adventures as it moves along (for purposes of keeping my sanity, I did not look at any of these). And that Jim Shooter's story involves the god-like Beyonder coming to Earth to learn what it is to be human, becoming a gangster in the process, then a "too helpful" hero, until Mephisto tries to kill him while all of Marvel's "big cosmic concept" characters stand around like they're regular folks. We often cut to scenes of SW1 favorites Molecule Man and Volcana playing house (she has an apron on at all times and they play Trivial Pursuit with the neighbors) whose power will be needed in the end game. Secret Wars II is in no way a "secret war". So what are, to my mind, the stupidest moments in the series? Here they are chronologically.
The Beyonder's dress sense. If you remember him as a disco god with large shoulder pads, man cleavage and a wet jerry curl, you should realize THIS was his first idea. I guess we lucked out in the end.
Spider-Man's bathroom tips. Throw the dignity out the window, there's this famous (or infamous) scene where Spidey potty trains a god. The early issues of this 9-ish mini were full of stuff like this. Not selected for this list: The Beyonder trying to buy a prostitute with a gold bar.
The Beyonder gets really fat. But it doesn't matter. He can burn it right off. Guys, Jim Shooter contributes to body image problems at least one more time when he turns a man's older, stouter wife into a petite young thing and oh, they're so happy now! I'm not sure that played right in 1985 either!
The Beyonder dates Dazzler. So he falls in love with Dazzler (because disco god, obviously, although she's in her Let's Get Physical phase) and forces her to date him. When it doesn't work, he turns her into a goddess. When she rejects THAT idea, she falls to her death and dies. So he has to resurrect her and move on. Why would I kid about something like this?
The Beyonder puts the moves on underage mutant Boom-Boom. But it's okay! He can make her look older! Or prettier! Or with fewer body image problems! Thankfully, she rejects him too. That's two pretty similar issues in a row, Shooter!
The Beyonder kills and resurrects Death herself. So along the way, he makes a friend (yes, it's the least believable thing in SW2, I know) and the Beyonder takes this guy Dave to dinner. There's a third guest - Death. And the Beyonder has a poison cup that will destroy Death forever. Convinced this is a good thing, Dave hands the cup to Death and she drinks it. Except now everybody's mad because why bother with living if you don't need to water the flowers or eat the cows? (Molecule Man's words, not mine.) So Dave decides to sacrifice himself and become the new/the same Death. Uhm... does Thanos know about this?

Now, the finale is pretty good (give or take a sequence where the Beyonder clones the New Mutants). The Beyonder clones himself a human body and leaves his power in a big hourglass so he can see what it's really like to be mortal. He freaks and runs to his hourglass several times, finds the perfect human/Beyonder formula, gets his lair crashed by the entire Marvel Universe, and they kill him as a baby growing in the clone machine. Sadness. But his energies reach back to his pocket universe and spark a Big Bang where from nothingness a full universe just like our own is born. Kind of salvaged it. If I'm very generous about it.

But perhaps I missed your own favorite bone-head moment?


googum said...

I really, really hated--and this may be more Claremont than Shooter--Nightcrawler freaks out, that if the Beyonder is all-powerful, does that mean there's no God? Even though he bails for a few issues, Nightcrawler seems fine the issues of SW2 we see him in, even the last couple where he wasn't supposed to be there!

snell said...

I think you're going to need an entire post to deal with the Bendis retcon "revealing" that the Beyonder wasn't from another Universe, but was actually a "mutant Inhuman."

Which really makes you wonder about that Spider-Man bathroom scene...

Secret Wars II works best if you think of it as Deja Q done by really untalented people...

Siskoid said...

And here I was still rolling my eyes from the retcon where the Beyonder is a Cosmic Cube.

SallyP said...

There were a whole lot of really terrible moments in this particular series.

Who thought this was a good idea again? Shooter?

Anonymous said...

Say what you will, but SWII also had the tie-in with "Power Man and Iron Fist", where Luke Cage took the Beyonder to a soul food kitchen, the Beyonder turned himself into a refugee from a blaxploitation film, and they had to do English translations of all his word balloons.

Sometimes, something is so offensive that it goes all the way back around to adorable.

PM & IF 121. Go find it in bargain bins.

OTL said...

Luke Cage also tried to explain the Gold Standard to the Beyonder. (The series really is full of moments that would make people say "that actually happened?".)

Is that first picture the Beyonder, or Combo Man?

Also, would this be the most embarrassing moment in Spider-Man's career (that doesn't involve clones or Straczynski)? :P

Anonymous said...

All of this is still in continuity, by the way, as far as I know. Mephisto may have taken Peter Parker's marriage, but he didn't take Peter Parker's teaching the Beyonder how to go to the bathroom.

Mother cats stimulate their kittens' digestive tracts by licking their bellies. You don't suppose ... ?

Siskoid said...

Sally: For sure Shooter. He was the boss and wrote the damn thing.

Anon: Mephisto truly is the Devil.


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