Secret Wars II #1

Issue Date: 
July 1985
Story Title: 

Jim Shooter (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Steve Leialoha (inker), Christie Scheele (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), John Byrne (cover), Bob Budiansky (editor)

Brief Description: 

The Beyonder arrives on Earth near the home of the Molecule Man and Volcana. Recognizing him, the Molecule Man advises the omnipotent creature, who simply wants to understand. The Molecule Man and Volcana send him to LA. On Muir Isle, a stricken Charles Xavier has sensed the Beyonder’s arrival and managed to alert the X-Men, Magneto and Captain America that the Beyonder is in the western USA. Magneto and the suspicious X-Men join forces, along with some of the New Mutants, Lila Cheney and Dazzler, whom Magneto saves from the arena. In the meantime, the Beyonder (now aping the Molecule Man’s form) has met frustrated writer Stewart Cadwall, who promises he’d show the Beyonder things if given powers. Easily convinced, the Beyonder gives him power and, transformed into “Thundersword,” Stewart goes on a crusade against the ills of modern society. The X-Men, joined by Captain America, believe him to be the Beyonder and try to stop his rampage. Rachel Summers, however, manages to find the real Beyonder, who is observing the battle invisibly. Interested in Magik’s dual nature, the Beyonder pulls out her Darkchilde nature. Horrified, Magik teleprots away with the New Mutants and a few others. Believing the Beyonder has killed them, Lila Cheney teleports the rest of the mutants to safety, leaving Cap in the lurch. Luckily, he is saved by Iron Man. When they manage to separate Thundersword from his sword, he turns human again. Fascinated, the Beyonder invisibly follows Captain America.

Full Summary: 

He enters our space at a random point, for time and distance have no meaning for him. At unimaginable velocity, he travels through the cold, seeking one particular galaxy and therein a certain planet – Earth. He lands near a suburb of Colorado less than gracefully.

Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, peers out of the apartment he shares with Marsha Rosenberg aka Volcana, believing he heard something. She tells him it was nothing. The two return to their snacks and watching Hogan’s Heroes.

Suddenly, the TV stops working. They wonder what’s going on when they hear a strange noise. Owen rushes to the window and sees pieces of ground flying by. Marsha turns to her Volcana form and fries a boulder until Owen remarks that her volcanic form is damaging the floor.

Molecule Man levitates outside and figures it had to be a pretty strong energy field to disrupt gravity. He sees a person standing on one of those boulders. Scared, he returns to Marsha and hugs her. He begins: it is the—

Muir Isle, Scotland:
-- the Beyonder! Charles Xavier shouts as he awakes, bringing the New Mutants and his son Legion running to his side. Dr. Moira MacTaggert orders him to rest after his ordeals. He must warn everyone! he shouts, and marshal their defenses. The Beyonder is somewhere in the western United States. He tells Moira to take the students to Westchester and rendezvous with Magneto and the X-Men there. He’ll try to reach other—

In vain, she tells him not use his telepathy and think of his injuries. He does his best until he faints. What shall they do? Wolfsbane asks. Pray this was delirium, Moira replies. From what Charles has told her, if the Beyonder were really here, she fears for them all.

In a plane flying from Heathrow, London to New York JFK, the passengers in coach are treated to a rare sight, namely Captain America flying among them. While they are speculating about his presence, Cap is also telepathically contacted by Professor X and informed about the Beyonder’s arrival and his presence in the Western US.

Cap gets up, musing that Xavier sounded unwell and panicked. He must not ignore his warning. He walks up to the flight deck, tells the flight crew of his wish and shows his Avengers priority card, which he is told isn’t necessary. One of the pilots tells him Cap saved his platoon from being overrun by Nazis in Normandy. But he has to tell the passengers.

Soon, Captain America tells the crowd that the flight had to be diverted. Back on the flight deck, the pilot asks what this is about. He wouldn’t believe it, Cap sighs. At times he is unable to…

Cap reflects on what happened some time ago:
Along with several other heroes and villains, he was abducted to another world. Their captor proved his power by annihilating a galaxy. He ordered them to slay their enemies and what they wished would be theirs. The Beyonder created a battleworld from parts of other worlds for their fights. Of course, war broke out between the villains and the heroes, the latter of whom just wanted to return home.

Doctor Doom managed to usurp the Beyonder’s power. Ultimately, though, Doom’s inner doubts and fears proved his undoing, leaving him struggling with the powers which threatened to run wild and destroy the universe. The Beyonder reclaimed his power, seemingly destroyed Doom and his lackey Klaw and vanished, leaving the other combatants to make their way home.

And Cap grimly wonders what the Beyonder wants now.

In the Molecule Man and Volcana’s apartment, the Beyonder sits, having taken on a mixed form of several heroes and villains he met. The Molecule Man tells him not to worry about the couch he destroyed. Sitting on a comfy chair, Marsha adds Owen will repair it later. She tells him to make himself at home. Laverne and Shirley is on. Owen suggests the Beyonder isn’t ready for Laverne and Shirley and might need more basic information.

He desires… to understand, the Beyonder finally says. Owen agrees how important that is. Knowledge isn’t understanding. He always knew he was omnipotent but only recently he came to understand that.

He had subconsciously limited his powers because of self-doubt, self-hate and fear. But when his mind was opened he understood that every iota of matter and energy answered to his whim. Before he could only do things with inorganic molecules. Now he can do everything!

The Molecule Man demonstrates by turning a small statue into an apple which he then munches. He doesn’t really do much with it but live a peaceful life with Marsha. But now that he realizes his potential he feels so much better. He guesses that’s what it’s all about: realizing, whether you’re omnipotent or not, there’s good inside of you and that makes you OK. But he guesses everyone has to find out for himself. Experience is the best teacher.

He desires experience, the Beyonder announces. Marsha suggests he go to LA. You can experience everything there. Some instructions and the advice to change to a more inconspicuous form later, the Beyonder steps through a teleportation portal and Marsha and Owen return to their TV.

Meanwhile at Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters:
Nightcrawler and Colossus are in a heated discussion with Magneto. They also heard Xavier’s psionic scream and they don’t doubt Xavier, but Magneto is another story. When Magneto blusters the rest of the team, Rogue, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Rachel Summers, burst in through the wall, ready to attack him.

Colossus and Nightcrawler physically intercept them and Kurt explains Magneto is only here to talk.

Magneto expresses surprise at all this suspicion and reminds them that on the Beyonder’s Battleworld they were allies. Wolverine stood by him when the mutant haters wanted his blood.

Wolverine retorts that mutants take care of their own, but now it’s just them and him. He’s tried to kill them too many times to forgive and forget.

Nonetheless, Xavier has asked him to lead them in their search for the Beyonder. He asks them to follow and asks but once. As team leader, Nightcrawler decides they will following him… Very carefully, he thinks silently

However, with the Blackbird being repaired, they only have the cars. They all get into a limo and Magneto levitates it.

In the meantime, the Beyonder’s disembodied energy moves through Hollywood until something gains his attention. In an office, Stewart, an angry writer, berates his agent, on the phone, shouting about how he sick he is of writing the pabulum the networks buy. He’s tired of prostituting himself, tired of car chases and phony dramas. Did he know that on last night’s A-Team five thousand shots were fired and no one got so much as a scratch? He’s sick of the network censors – sick of the hypocrisy of this stupid world’ s lack of violence, the mediocrity the idiocy – Reagonomics, for Pete’s sake! He wants to show the couch potatoes out there who sit in front of the TVs like mindless zombies all day the disgusting horror they inflict upon each other. He wants to show them what it means when a forty-five calibre slug rips though your guts – show ‘em up close the shredding flesh and squirting blood and – of course he is against violence! That’s the point!

His scantily dressed girlfriend tells Stewart the cartoon he writes is on. Stewart lays down the phone as he sees the ball of energy forming in front of him. Both he and the girl are scared.

Stewart grabs a small paperweight with a lightning bolt symbol to defend himself. What does it want? he shouts. Taking on the shape of the Molecule Man, the Beyonder manifests and announces he desires to understand. Stewart introduces himself and his girlfriend Marian. The Beyonder explains he is from beyond. In his realm, he is all. But here is multiplicity… diversity… incompleteness… which he does not understand. He desires to understand. The Beyonder apes Owen’s words about the importance of understanding and shows them he can do anything by turning Stewart’s desk and word processor into a pile of apples.

At that moment, Magneto makes a grand entrance in the secret arena where mutants fight for the audience’s amusement and demands the release of Xavier’s students. Magik and Cannonball join him, bringing along Lila Cheney and Dazzler. However Magma and Sunspot, the reasons the other mutants infiltrated the Arena, choose to stay behind.

When the X-Men ask what’s going on, Magik explains they are in trouble and suggests they return and get their friends. Magneto decides they have no time for that now. They need to find the Beyonder. He asks Rachel to use her telepathy to pinpoint him.

Back in Stewart Cadwall’s apartment:
Stewart muses if he had the power to do as he wanted – does he want desire turned into reality? Then give him some power! The Beyonder complies. Both Stewart and the paper weight / award he is holding transforming him into Stewart’s idea of a superhero – Thundersword – and his award into a boltlike weapon.

Unimpressed, Marian has fallen asleep. Stewart tears apart the wall with his newfound power and decides he will straighten out a few things in the world. He calls out the name Boromir and a flying horse materializes. He flies off and the Beyonder follows invisibly.

Meanwhile, the X-Men’s limo makes its way through the traffic while Rachel finds herself incapable of tracking the Beyonder. She explains she has no idea what to look for and doesn’t relish the idea of using her powers to hunt for someone.

Impatiently, Wolverine and Colossus suggest they head for a motel. The Beyonder will show himself soon enough. At that moment, Rachel senses something high in the air, moving away. The limo takes off.

And soon they see who they believe to be the Beyonder (actually Thundersword) destroying the NBC building and people running away in a panic.

Thundersword sees the flying car and totals it. Cannonball falls out. Magneto lowers the rest to the ground and asks Rachel to link them all telepathically. Magneto orders the flyers and Nightcrawler after Thundersword and tells Shadowcat to cut him off.

As the flyers surround him, Thundersword strikes them with his lightning bolt. Rogue and Cannonball suffer the brunt of the attack. Colossus and Wolverine catch Cannonball as he is about to land in a McBurger’s restaurant.

Thundersword starts ranting about junk food and junk culture and begins totaling the restaurant. A fire breaks out threatening the neighboring buildings. Magneto orders Rachel to warn the people inside.

People – some only in their night clothes – leave the hotel without knowing why.

Some distance away, a very impatient Captain America asks the star struck cabbie if he can’t go faster.

And at the West Coast Avengers compound, Tony Stark and James Rhodes hear about the fight in the news. Tony decides to look in as Iron Man.

Near the fighting, a trapped woman tries to get her small son to leave her before the conflagration reaches her. Luckily, that moment Captain America arrives and saves them both.

He looks around to see Thundersword, who mocks him for defending the corrupt institutions he represents.

Dazzler shouts that Cap is coming to help them fight the Beyonder. Cap is pretty sure though that their foe isn’t the Beyonder and hopes Magneto is wise enough to pick up on what he is about to do. He throws his shield which, as expected, Thundersword blocks. Magneto orders Dazzer to act. The sound of the shield ricocheting plus the rest of the racket give Dazzler enough sound to radiate light enough to pierce Thundersword’s protective goggles.

Magneto sends a barrage of empty car flying at him. Thundersword strikes at them with his sword. Some of the debris is hurled at Lila Cheney.

Rachel senses that she is only stunned and wonders about the interference she keeps on sensing. She reaches out toward the presence and suddenly the Beyonder (still in the Molecule Man’s form) becomes visible in front of her. Kitty, Dazzler and the New Mutants have joined her and wonder who he is. Rachel figures he’s the Beyonder.

The Beyonder is interested in Magik. He reaches into her core and brings her demonic essence, her Darkchilde nature, to the fore. Horrified, she teleports herself and those close to her away.

Wolverine is the first to note the psi-link is gone, as are the youngsters. He realizes that this is the real Beyonder and, in a berserker rage, attacks him, slashing him.

The other X-Men hold him back and marvel that, despite his injuries, the stranger doesn’t seem to be fazed. Rogue reminds them the Beyonder destroyed and created a world. What if he is angry now? Panicked, Lila Cheney teleports the mutants away, leaving Cap alone to face Thundersword.

When Cap is distracted Thundersword strikes him down. He gets ready to deliver the coup de grace, gloating there will be one less Republican now.

That moment, Iron Man blasts him with his repulsors. As Iron Man flies Cap out of harm’s way, Thundersword childishly protests. Iron Man reveals the sword is his power source.

While the Beyonder realizes that what he is doing now is not experience, Iron Man dive bombs at Thundersword and Cap throws his shield at the sword, separating it from the wannabe villain, who turns normal again a moment later.

Steward begs the Beyonder to turn him back but the Beyonder is too busy with his own train of thoughts regarding the nature of experience versus watching. Cap addresses the Beyonder but he teleports away.

Stewart claims he was possessed; it was temporary insanity. He realizes he destroyed the studio he worked for. Cap suggests he needs psychiatric care and asks Iron Man to keep an eye on him until the police arrive. As for the missing X-Men, he will contact Xavier to learn more. He figures the Beyonder will make his move eventually. Cap strides away, unaware that invisibly the Beyonder is following him.

Characters Involved: 


Molecule Man

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Cannonball, Cypher, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert
Dazzler II
Lila Cheney

Captain America, Iron Man (both Avengers)
James Rhodes

Stewart Cadwall / Thundersword

On the phone:

Story Notes: 

This is a follow-up to the popular Marvel Superheroes Secret War maxi-series.

An omnipotent Doctor Doom showed the Molecule Man the true nature of his powers in Marvel Superheroes Secret War #11.

Cypher is mistakenly colored with black hair.

Xavier sustained his injuries in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #192.

Xavier alerted Magneto in New Mutants (1st series) #29 and the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #195.

Magneto saved the New Mutants from the Arena in New Mutants (1st series) #29.

Stewart Cadwall is a parody of famous comic writer Steve Gerber.

Before continuing in issue #2 the story is also continued in:
- Captain America (1st series) #308 in which the Beyonder decides to copy Captain America’s form
- Iron Man (1st series) #197 in which Iron Man has to fight Thundersword again
- New Mutants (1st series) #30 in which the mutants have to battle Magik’s dark side after what the Beyonder did to her
- Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #196, in which Rachel has another run-in and short conversation with the Beyonder

Boromir is most likely named after the Tolkein character from the Fellowship of the Ring.

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