Secret Wars II #5

Issue Date: 
November 1985
Story Title: 

Jim Shooter (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Steve Leialoha & Joe Rubinstein (inkers), M. Hands (colorist), Parker & Rosen (letterers), Bob Budiansky (editor)

Brief Description: 

Pettily, the heartbroken Beyonder dismantles a train, causing him to meet teenage mutant girl Boom Boom, who chooses to walk with him a bit while looking for a secret school for mutants. She talks with the dejected Beyonder about suicide and giving up, however he is fed up and returns to his home dimension, only to find he cannot simply become his old self anymore. He returns to Earth and takes Boom Boom to her destination, Xavier’s school. However, she is shocked when the X-Men attack the Beyonder, who then flees. Meeting up with her again, the Beyonder takes Boom Boom to a place in the cosmos to cheer her up. In order to impress her, he challenges the Celestials to a fight. But Boom Boom grows scared believing he doesn’t care about living beings. Annoyed, he sends her back and she calls the Avengers for help. When she calls him again, he comes as she is his only friend at the moment. On cue, the heroes attack. The heartbroken Beyonder doesn’t even defend himself, causing the heroes to call off their attack. Captain America suggests he return to his home and the Beyonder replies he tried, it doesn’t work.

Full Summary: 

Near Washington DC, the “one from beyond” walks on the train tracks humming Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. The frantic shriek of an air horn interrupts his reverie as a fast train is about to run him over. The Beyonder raises his finger and imitates a gun. Bang! The train comes apart around him without touching him, its momentum unbroken. At the last moment, he relents and allows the passengers at least to land safely.

The former passengers panic and somehow the Beyonder is pleased as he walks on. His life is screwed up, yanked out of the path he intended, by a force out of his control. Why should they fare better? Lives here in this universe are so easily broken, it seems, even his.

However, a skinny teenager with blond hair runs after him, telling him to wait. He did that didn’t he? Yes, he replies curtly. She knew it! she shouts excited. He is a mutant like her! She can always tell. That’s some power he’s got. She babbles on that she was on her way to Westchester in New York. She heard there was a place for mutants there, like a secret school or something. Since he wrecked the train, the least he can do is let her walk with him. He honestly replies he doesn’t care.

Hours later, she tells him she is called Boom Boom. She hates the nickname but her real name is Tabitha, which is worse. Besides, Boom Boom is funnier than her alleged friends think – if they knew. She complains about being tired. Aren’t they going to make camp? A moment later, two tents, a campfire and all the makings of camping appear.

Again, she marvels at his power. Everywhere he goes – poof –instant home. She used to think she had a home, but not long ago she found out she was a mutant. So did her parents. They were appalled. Of course they’ve always been appalled by her. She was always too weird to suit them. Anyway, this mutant thing got them really freaked, they lost it. She takes off her sunglasses to reveal a blackened eye. Daddy tried to beat it out of her. Tears come from her eyes. So she took off and here she is. Huh, he probably couldn’t care less about her traumatic childhood. And why should he?

She shows him what she can do. She focuses and a small glowing globe appears in her hand. She tosses it into the tent and it blows up. She can make them in different sizes and set them to go off whenever she wants. She calls herself Time Bomb.

The Beyonder asks why she destroyed the tent. Boom Boom points out he can fix it. Why did he blow up the train? It’s a long story, he replies evasively. She’s got time. All right, he begins. He comes from another universe. He was alone there. The idea of anything else existing never occurred to him, until he became aware of their universe. He became intrigued. So he assumed human form and came here. He was okay until he met this woman. He wanted her to love him…

He took her to romantic secluded spots, so they could get to know each other. The closer they got, the more terrific he thought she was. He fell more and more in love with her. He wanted to do everything for her. Then he tried to help her with her singing career. But all his help just upset her. Finally, he gave her the ultimate gift, part of his own cosmic power. He made her a goddess. That went over like a lead balloon. She fought it, fought him. And gave the power back to him.

The Beyonder admits he’s felt empty since. He’s tried to keep thinking of other things but his stomach keeps twisting itself into knots.

Grabbing some wieners to roast over the fire, Boom Boom replies she knows about rejection. First you think it’s your fault, like you’re the jerk. So you try to fix yourself and, since that never works, you feel more useless and stupid. So you cover it up, pretend it isn’t happening. Or else you wallow in it, like it’s a game where you get ten points for each rejection and whoever is the most miserable wins. Sometimes you get mad and try to hurt them back. She did that to her daddy, which is why he punched her lamps out. She should have put a bigger timebomb in his lasagna. Anyways you slice it, it leaves you lonely. You just want so bad for someone to want you.

Desire, the Beyonder scoffs. It is the root of everything in this universe. Ever since he learned of this thing desire, he had nothing but grief, pain and trouble. He’s beginning to wish he’d never come here. What point is there in seeking to understand desire? He understands it’s a nuisance! A nuisance born of incompleteness. Should he track this nuisance to its end or simply go home where he is all… complete? And no desire can haunt him.

Boom Boom interrupts. Nobody can just take a rain check on life. His choice is to go on trying or just collapse. And then die. Quick or slow. She had had a friend who took the quick way out and a bunch who vegged out on drugs and stuff. Same thing… just slower.

That’s too bad, the Beyonder says disinterested, but he is not like her friends. He decides to leave. Boom Boom gives him a hug and thanks him for the company and food. A moment later, he disappears. He’ll be back, she decides. So, all alone again. Ten more points. She wins! She buries her face in her hands.

Meanwhile, the Beyonder reappears in his home dimension, which is completely empty. He figures he will just discorporate, then hesitates. He can’t help thinking… he almost wishes he brought a few things. He adds some gadgets and appliances, people, finally even star systems. An image of Dazzler appears. He could create a copy, even bring the real Alison here and make her love him. But love freely given, that he can’t have. He can’t earn it, buy it, make it, force it, beg it. Or live without it.

Angrily, he reminds himself that he came here to forget the other universe and everyone in it, and dissolves everything. That moment, the back of his pants explode and he realizes Boom Boom snuck in a timebomb. That sneaky little twerp—

Boom Boom is hitchhiking on Interstate 92 when an expensive car finally stops. Of course, it is the Beyonder. She panics at first but he assures her he is not going to hurt her and drags her in. She asks if he isn’t mad about the bomb she put in his pocket. In response, he fixes her black eye. Now does she believe he isn’t mad? She guesses so and welcomes him back.

142 miles later, Boom Boom is in a better mood and claims she knew he’d come back, even without the time bomb. He’s not ready to quit yet, she can tell. Her neither, although she considered it a few times. Things will be fine once she finds that school for mutants, she knows it. And she’s sure things will work out for him, too. Why doesn’t he find a place to stay near Westchester, so she can visit him once in a while? Who says he’s staying in this universe? He still considers going back. Boom Boom retorts he can’t bail out. It’s just the same as dying. But he’s going to make it. She knows.

Minutes later, the car stops in front of a large building. The Beyonder tells her this is Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the secret school for mutants she heard rumors about, the headquarters of the X-Men. Confused, Boom Boom asks, but if it’s secret, how did he… He knows whatever he wants to know, the Beyonder explains. Now scoot. Boom Boom stammers how she can get in touch with him. Just yell, he replies. He’ll probably hear her if he’s in the universe. She asks him to wait till she’s in. Okay, okay, he sighs.

She knocks and Peter Rasputin opens the door. She babbles that she is Tabitha, she means Boom Boom. She can make these little time bombs and—Taken aback, he asks if she is sure she has the right house.

Suddenly behind him, Rachel Summers shouts, “it’s the Beyonder!” As if on cue, several X-Men and New Mutants burst out of the building to attack the Beyonder. While the Beyonder yawns, some of them wonder why they are attacking. Because Rachel said so, Shadowcat announces.

The Beyonder decides he really has no time for this, if they’ll excuse him… A forcefield forces them all back from his car and he drives away at top speed.

Rachel orders the others after him, who do as ordered, subconsciously strengthened by her psi-powers, leaving behind a frightened and bewildered Boom Boom. She runs into the woods crying.

A little later, X-Men and New Mutants return after their unsuccessful chase. Rachel defends her actions by pointing out the Beyonder’s insane power level. Wolverine concedes that maybe they should hunt the Beyonder full time, but right now it’s her power that concerns him. He doesn’t like being psionically coerced into anything. Maybe they should have a little talk about that.

Colossus asks about the girl. Why would the Beyonder bring her here? Wolverine insists they settle their internal problem first.

Meanwhile in the woods, Boom Boom shouts her heart out for the Beyonder to come and get her out of here but nothing happens. Finally, she makes a huge timebomb and announces it’s set for thirty seconds. If he doesn’t come back by then, she will quit. The quick way. She begins to count down to zero, but nothing happens. The Beyonder doesn’t come. Maybe he knew she really set it to a minute, she thinks. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. Ten points… She decides she is sick of running. This time she counts down for real.

The bomb explodes but doesn’t hurt her, thanks to the intervention of the Beyonder. Why did he come? she asks. Because she is not ready to quit yet, he can tell, he echoes her earlier words. He admonishes her for the stupid stunt. Boom Boom shoots back she is thirteen. Stupid stunts come with the package. Not that stupid. He tells her to get into the car, which then phases through the trees as it drives through the woods.

She admits that, for a moment there, she was ready to quit. She was really counting on that school, but they scared her, ignored her and ran off trying to kill him. She was so down. She still is. Then the only way is up, he decides and the car flies upwards and finally into space. He tells her he is maintaining a life support system around the car. He has decided the planet is too small for him.

Soon they close in on the world center complex of the Celestials. He explains the Celestial are those really big armored giants. Boom Boom thought those were statues. He admits they don’t move around a lot. Who are they? What do they do? Boom Boom asks. He explains they are one of the universe’s oldest races and they have sort of taken it upon themselves to look after the universe and shepherd its development along.

They land. Other lesser races call them spacegods, he continues. As far as he is concerned, they are just a bunch of big stiffs. He suggests they head down the boardwalk. The Celestials don’t do much but they are impressive-looking, so the spacefaring races in this quadrant have built a tourist trap around them. Sort of like Niagara Falls? Boom Boom asks. Exactly, he agrees.

He treats her to some alien fast food and Boom Boom is amazed at the alien vendor’s deference. He’s heard of the Beyonder? He explains all of the more sophisticated races are aware of his presence. He is the most powerful being in existence. He guesses that makes people nervous. Boom Boom points out the Celestials didn’t even look up when they arrived. Nonsense, he replies forcefully. They’ve thought of nothing else since he’s arrived in this universe. And since he came here, they’ve been absolutely frantic! Boom Boom points out they looked bored to her. She just can’t perceive it with her humans senses. She want more action? Watch!

He flies upwards and into space. Emitting a radiance, he addresses the Celestials and dares them to keep him from destroying the universe, which they are meant to safeguard.

They don’t act and he realizes they know he was bluffing. They are a little more subtle than he thought but they are also fools if they think this universe means a rat whiskers to him. This time he means it: He gives them three seconds, then they can kiss creation goodbye. Three… two… one…

Finally, the Celestials move to attack. He blasts them back, figuring this will look great from the Boardwalk. He takes them out, almost smashing the Boardwalk.

Boom Boom shouts for him to stop. Cheerfully, he joins her and announces they are not hurt, just a little shaken up. Boom Boom calls him crazy. He assures her he was just kidding. No, he wasn’t! she shouts. He meant it! He was going to destroy everything!

Will she relax? he asks annoyed and then apologizes for scaring her. How about if he gives her a little present to make up? Anything she wants. She’s always wanted to be pretty, hasn’t she? He shows her her new face in a mirror. Boom Boom refuses. He decides she secretly wants to be older and ages her to 21. Again, she shouts no. He figures she wishes to be normal and takes away her mutant power. No! she groans. She screams at him to leave her alone. She wants to be back on Earth and she wants him to stay away from her forever!

Annoyed, the Beyonder sends her home. Good riddance to the stupid little twerp, he announces and demands an Earth beer from the bar keeper. As he walks to the car, several aliens discuss his rude behavior and worry for the universe.

The Beyonder wants to cruise the universe but soon is drawn back to Earth. In his mansion in Brazil, he settles down in front of a viewscreen and looks at how Algrim is progressing. In fact, he is still in the ocean, making his way to the US. The Beyonder figures it’s going to be interesting to see what happens once he has fulfilled his desire to kill Thor, which ought to be in a week. What shall he do with himself until then? He turns on the record player, only to find a song by Dazzler playing. Now he’s even more depressed.

Meanwhile in a phone booth in Westchester, Boom Boom liberates some money and uses it to call the Avengers hotline. When she mentions the Beyonder, she is immediately patched through to Avenger leader, Wasp. Boom Boom gives them a short version of her story and mentions she thinks she can get him to show up.

Later at a familiar campsite, Boom Boom shouts for the Beyonder. She needs to talk to him! He immediately appears and tells her he was hoping she’d call. He missed her. How is she? She hugs him and stammers some polite words. He confides he’s been depressed but he has been thinking about her words. You have to go on trying or die… quick or slow. He was almost ready to quit. He’s so glad she called. She’s all he has left.

Suddenly, Boom Boom runs away. A moment later, the powerful timebomb she placed on him explodes. And then both Avengers teams, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange and Thor all rush to attack. They pour it on but the Beyonder doesn’t even fight back.

Noticing this, Captain America holds the others back The Beyonder slowly gets up. The heroes wonder what to do. Do they toss him in the slammer? Hawkeye asks. On what evidence? Wonder Man points out, and what prison could hold him?

Cap asks the Beyonder why he doesn’t just return where he came from. Can’t bail out, he mutters. It’s no use. He tried. He wanders off.

Cap hopes he will eventually go home. He wonder what the meaning of the last thing he heard the Beyonder mutter is. “Ten points. I win.” What do they make of that? Strange figures Tabitha might know but she slipped away in the confusion. The Invisible Woman predicts she will turn up again. And so will the Beyonder.

Characters Involved: 


Boom Boom

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Rogue, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Cannonball, Sunspot, Warlock II, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)
Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Hercules, Starfox, Thor, Wasp (all Avengers)
Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)
Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)
Dr. Strange


Story Notes: 

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

First appearance of Boom Boom

“Ain’t no Sunshine” is a song by Bill Withers.

The Beyonder had his heart broken by Dazzler last issue.

He revived Algrim last issue.

Boom Boom appears next in X-Factor (1st series) #12 and from then on becomes a regular character in the X-books.

Further appearances:
The Beyonder tries out wrestling and runs into the Thing in Thing (1st series) #30

The Beyonder tries to gain enlightenment by becoming Dr. Strange’s pupil in Dr. Strange (2nd series) #74.

And he counsels the Human Torch in the worst situation of his career in Fantastic Four (1st series) #285.

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