Secret Wars II #8

Issue Date: 
February 1986
Story Title: 

Jim Shooter (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Steve Leialoha (inker), Christie Scheele (colorist), Rosen and Parker (letterers), Bob Budiansky (editor)

Brief Description: 

The Beyonder is furious and frustrated with his existence. The Molecule Man tries to counsel him, but all his attempts backfire and the Beyonder decides to destroy all existence in 24 hours. He teleports away and brainwashes a woman, Julia, to keep him company in a luxury hotel in San Francisco. When he asks Julia why humans cling to life, she points out its brevity makes life important. Moments later, he is attacked by the X-Men. He rebuffs their attack easily, but wonders if he subconsciously wanted them to attack him. Next, he tries to find the mindless Hulk in the Nevada desert but finds the mindless violence in his mind too ugly. In the meantime, the Molecule Man makes several attempts to protect himself and Marsha from the coming apocalypse but the Beyonder easily destroys his shields and laughs at his efforts. In Manhattan, the Beyonder visits Peter Parker, asking him for the meaning of life. Peter gives him a similar reply as Julia did. The Beyonder is displeased but Peter’s words make him think and he decides to give the Molecule Man’s advice one more try. When he returns to his apartment, though, the Molecule Man attacks him. The Beyonder decides to kill him but Volcana pretends to run out on the Molecule Man, figuring that seeing Owen broken and humiliated will prevent the Beyonder from killing him. The Beyonder releases energy in the Rockies causing the Avengers to attack. Captain America wants to talk to him first. The Beyonder grabs him, hoping for one final insight.

Full Summary: 

Denver, Colorado, a modest apartment:
Take it easy! Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, advises the Beyonder, who bursts out he can’t take it easy. It’s so frustrating! He’s so angry that he want to destroy all existence!

He lashes out with his power, thoughtlessly. As his outburst spreads out further and further, it levels the mountaintops around the city, destroys a satellite, then the moon, continuing on and on…

Owen suggests it is good to vent pent-up frustrations but maybe he is getting a little carried away. He doesn’t care! the Beyonder shouts. Doesn’t he understand? He’s fed up with this place! Ever since he discovered this stupid multiverse, he’s been unhappy. He can’t stand it anymore.

Let’s just talk about it, Owen pleads. His partner Marsha Rosenberg enters bearing some snacks and getting a look at the devastation inside the apartment. She asks what happened. Owen explains the Beyonder blew off some steam, but it’s all right now. He assures the Beyonder they can work it out. Hasn’t he always been here when the Beyonder needed help or advice? Discreetly, Owen fixes the damage done. He reminds him he is his friend. Let’s just take it down from the top. Still sulking, the Beyonder half-heartedly agrees.

Taking him aside, Marsha whispers to Owen she is afraid. He assures her it’s fine. He was in therapy for a long time. He knows what to do. She assures him of her love. He replies that gives him strength. The Beyonder glares at them.

After she leaves, Owen returns to their conversation. He was trying to tell him about attempting to find a role in the multiverse… It’s more than that, the Beyonder interrupts. The very existence of the multiverse is becoming a source of frustration to him. He’s beginning to think he’d be happier if he simply destroyed it. Then he’d be alone again.

Owen recalls whenever he tended toward extreme behavior, his therapist had him talk about his childhood. The Beyonder points out that he didn’t have a childhood. Nevertheless, Owen suggests they take a look at his origin.

They return to the Beyonder’s universe, which is nothingness since the Beyonder is everything in that place. What was it like when he was there? Not much different, the Beyonder guesses. He was here but had no form or organization. At least he doesn’t think he did. It’s hard to say. He doesn’t remember much before the event.

The event that tipped him off that something else existed, Owen recalls. What was that like? The Beyonder shows him by pointing to a pinhole to the other universe. It was caused by some cataclysmic event in Owen’s universe. Owen looks through it and sees the cataclysmic event – the atomic accident that transformed him into the Molecule Man. He caused this. Does that means he created him? the Beyonder demands in disbelief.

Owen doesn’t know and quickly changes the subject. He asks him to lie down on the couch he creates and retrace his steps after he came to Earth. The Beyonder is impatient but acquiesces. They go through his time early on when he had learned about human wants and tried to copy them. He took over the world but gained no fulfilment.

He tried love, right? Owen asks. Didn’t work out either. Alison Blaire didn’t want him, even rejected him when he offered her half his cosmic power!

Owen tries to explain that makes love so special, that it cannot be bartered. He knows, the Beyonder snaps. Enough already! He doesn’t care about love or her anymore. He doesn’t want to talk about it.

Owen suggests they go on. They see Dr. Strange advising the Beyonder to find his role in the cosmic tapestry. Therein lies fulfilment. The Beyonder now decides that is baloney. There is no role for him. He even tried helping others find their role, figuring that might be his role.

They look at how that worked out.

A memory of Spider-Man’s foe Puma trying to kill the Beyonder, as that was his role, a quandary for the Beyonder. Spider-Man intervened, preventing the Beyonder’s death.

Loudly, he announces this is a waste of time. They return to Owen and Marsha’s apartment. Marsha welcomes Owen and the two are being lovey-dovey, annoying the Beyonder. He scoffs that fulfilment isn’t possible as long as anything besides him exists. Owen protests that he is fulfilled. Bull! the Beyonder shouts. Everyone here in this chaotic multiverse are merely parts of a whole and needs other things. Nothing is complete here. Not even him, as long as there are other things. Other things are the root of this insidious thing desire. But he can fix that! he rants. By destroying everything else. Then he will be everything again and fulfilled.

Owen points out he said he didn’t remember much from before. How does he know he was happy? The Beyonder shouts at him to shut up. Owen pleads he thinks the Beyonder hasn’t really tried to be part of this world. Sure, he’s taken a human looking form, but he’s not really human. He is so powerful… infinite… that nothing really means anything to him. Maybe if he let himself become mortal…

Kicking the couch, the Beyonder accuses the Molecule Man of wanting him vulnerable so he can kill him. Then he decides Owen is too much of a wimp. But he is afraid the Beyonder will destroy his little fool’s paradise. Well, it’s over. He’ll destroy all of existence, starting with him.

Owen points out all he has done for him and asks for some time. The Beyonder decides to give him 24 hours, then he will be back and the end starts here. He teleports away.

He reappears in a luxury hotel in San Francisco and demands their best suite, controlling the staff into obeying his order.

Later in a five star restaurant, he controls the pretty sommelier into accompanying him.

Later again in his suite, he is pensive, despite the company. He becomes angry at her obedience and displays his power with an earthquake, then stops it again. He admits he can’t find any meaning and asks why mortals cling so desperately to their wretched lives. She figures it’s because life is so short. Annoyed, he punishes her by turning her into a crone. He turns her back, figuring to let her have her last few hours, then sends her away… as he senses trouble.

Moments later, the X-Men attack. The Beyonder is bored and busy thinking, so instead of actively fighting he takes out Rogue and Wolverine by deflecting Magneto’s blast at them. He rebuffs the attacks of Colossus, Shadowcat and Magneto similarly. Figuring their existences will be expunged tomorrow, why rush it? He will murder no one! Rachel Summers vows and displays the Phoenix effect as she attacks him with all her power. The Phoenix effect flares… and nothing happens.

The Beyonder grabs her by the throat and explains that maybe at some point, if he’d deliberately left himself wide open, she might have been able to destroy him, but the truth is she never had a chance. She is sophisticated enough to realize that. So why this kamikaze run?

Rachel groans that he forced this attack by coming here, knowing that the X-Men protect this city. He realizes she is right and decides he has to think about that. He teleports away.

The Molecule Man watches all this and panics. What if he is on his way here? Marsha tells him not to panic. There must be something he can do. Owen uses all his power to create a force-dome over this part of the country, hoping it will be Beyonder-proof.

The Beyonder gets a good laugh out of this and effortlessly shatters the forcefield, causing the Molecule Man to despair.

Shortly, the Beyonder appears in a desert in the southwest and calls for the Hulk. He wants to talk to him. The Hulk attacks, intending to kill him. The Beyonder is not hurt but amazed at the Hulk’s savagery. He freezes him and wants to find out why. He looks into the Hulk’s mind and memories.

Last the Beyonder saw him, he was in his human form, Dr. Bruce Banner at a Crossroads between dimension and also at a crossroads in his life. He was considering suicide. At that point, any desire was a mystery to the Beyonder but he found the desire for self-destruction especially puzzling. He still does and wishes to learn more about it. He wants to study the Banner side of his mind but he finds it is missing. No wonder he is more vicious now. He is nothing but rage and power personified. An infinity of power with no finite element inside. He looks away, realizing it’s ugly. Worse, it reminds him of someone. He lets the Hulk go.

In the meantime, the Molecule Man has gathered all the free energy in the multiverse - but it is not enough. There’s no way he can make a dome strong enough. He begins to cry. As she comforts him, Volcana wonders if the Beyonder really wants to destroy everything or whether he just wants to get at Owen, because he is jealous over what he has with her. Owen doesn’t know and admits he’s scared.

Sometime later, the Beyonder materializes in Manhattan and visits one Peter Parker. Peter asks him in but apologizes he can’t let him use the bathroom this time. The Beyonder just wants to talk. Peter is surprised. The Beyonder shrugs, why not. He likes him better than anyone else he met. He’s unique. He has power greater than he knows and he is so human. He observes both a fascination with death and a passion for life with mortals. He asks for an explanation.

Peter recalls some time ago he was swinging by as a suicide was jumping from a building. As Spider-Man reached out to catch him, he reached back. Right in the middle of committing suicide, he was reaching back and holding on for dear life. When the end is rushing toward you, you know you are really alive. That sort of situation comes up a lot in his line of work. Confronting mortality? the Beyonder wonders. Peter points out that everyone does it every day.

The Beyonder is displeased. Again he hears that life is given meaning by its finiteness. The Beyonder leaves through the window, telling Peter he irritates him. All of the smug insects irritate him. As it stands, Parker may have talked him out of obliterating all existence. They’ll see.

Barely outside, he gets attacked by the New Mutants. Irritated, he swats them aside, figuring Phoenix alerted them to his presence. He tells them he has some thinking to do, so get lost or he’ll turn them into little mutant potatoes.

Meanwhile, the Molecule Man packs, announcing he has a plan.
The two of them will flee to the Beyonder’s realm where he will create a forcefield fortress for them. The Beyonder might not be able to find them. Marsha orders him to stop. The Beyonder will find them eventually. He has to make a stand. So show some guts and do it here and now! She wants him to fight? Owen asks and begins to cry. She tells him to do what he has to and thinks if it comes to the worst, she will do what she has to, no matter how much it hurts him.

The Beyonder sits on a desolate peak in the Andes, muttering that Peter Parker would probably find this view spectacular. He considers apologizing to Owen and then maybe he will help him give this mortality business a try.

At the apartment, Owen nervously waits while Marsha tries to give him pep-talks. The Beyonder appears and greets Owen, who immediately zaps him, causing the Beyonder to be stunned for a moment. Marsha orders him to do it harder. The Beyonder protests, he came to… Die! Owen shouts. He zaps him again and again.

Not bad, the Beyonder admits and sarcastically thanks him for showing his true colors. He might have made a terrible mistake otherwise. When he moves threateningly toward Owen, Marsha throws herself at his feet and begs him to spare her, even if he kills Owen. She’ll do anything for him. She babbles she never loved Owen. The Beyonder pushes her away in disgust. She runs away.

Owen breaks down. Disgusted, the Beyonder asks if that is what mortality is about: to have something mean so much that you are nothing without them. He admits this cheered him up, so he will have a last look around before erasing everything. When he runs out of interesting things – in a few days max – Owen will be the first to know. Until then, lie there and whimper.

Marsha has eavesdropped. Now she leaves and drives away crying. She betrayed Owen to make sure the Beyonder was no longer jealous and wouldn’t kill him. Let someone else fight him. But she wonders who can…

The Beyonder appears above the Rocky Mountains, cursing the day he stepped into this multiverse. Erasing it may not be enough. Just the mere memory may be enough to prevent him from ever feeling complete again. He releases energy in rage.

His rage influences weather patterns, noticed by the Avengers who are looking for him from their Quinjet. They are ready to battle but Captain America wants to talk to him first. He asks him what he was thinking, releasing energy that could have levelled half the state. The Beyonder orders him not to bother him with his petty concerns. He attacks with an energy tornado. Only Cap dodges it. The Beyonder turns giant and grabs him musing maybe Cap will give him a special final insight…

Characters Involved: 


Molecule Man

Colossus, Phoenix III, Rogue, Shadowcat, Wolverine(X-Men)
Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Warlock, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Hercules, Namor (Avengers)



In flashbacks:
Dr. Strange
Bruce Banner

Story Notes: 

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

Parker’s apartment was destroyed in Web of Spider-Man (1st series) #11.

Puma attacked the Beyonder in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #273 and Peter-Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #111.

The epilogue follows events in New Mutants (1st series) #37 and Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #274.

The fight against the Avengers continues in Avengers (1st series) #256.

The story is also followed up on in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #203 and Fantastic Four (1st series) #268.

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