Oct 5, 2015

Secret Wars II: Not as Bad As You Remember, Part 6

Secret Wars II: Not as Bad As You Remember
Part 6: Dave & Beyonder’s
Ben Smith

They say that performing the same tasks over and over and expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity. From time to time, I decide that I’m going to do a multipart exploration on a particular series or character, to share my love and passion of those comics with anyone that might not be familiar with them. What almost always happens is that the level of effort starts to outweigh the pay (which is nothing) and my mind slowly becomes untethered.

All of this is to say that a person can only type “the Beyonder” so many times before it takes a permanent toll on their soul, so the least you can do is read it, you selfish jerks.
Heartbroken and borderline suicidal, the Beyonder was in a bad place last time out. Let’s see what crazy hijinks he gets into this time.

Secret Wars II #6
Scripter: Jim Shooter; Penciler: Al Milgrom; Inkers: Steve Leialoha; Editor: Bob Budiansky

The Beyonder builds a new base of operations in Sparta, Illinois. (As a childhood resident of the state of Illinois, I always found it exciting when comics took place in my home state. I remember when Storm was de-aged after going through the Siege Perilous, and she showed up on Cairo, Illinois. My comic shop growing up, Campus Comics, made a special point to label those comics, since Cairo was near where we lived. Not everyone lives in New York, Marvel, you selfish jerks.)

The Beyonder inspects each level of his massive new tower, to include the communications center, the garage, the conference room, and the gardens.

Nearby, a reporter at the Daily Sun-Telegraph takes notice of the new addition to the city. The reporter, Dave, drives up to the edge of the tower just in time to see the Beyonder fly off (to assist Power Pack).

The Beyonder handles his business (it’s weird to think now how big a push Power Pack seemingly got back then) and when he returns to his headquarters, Dave is still waiting outside. Dave tries to get his attention to let him in, but the Beyonder doesn’t seem to notice, until the door opens. (The fundamental flaw in Power Pack, for me, is that as a kid, I didn’t want to read about other kids. I never was all that interested in stories about kids. I didn’t like Robin. I didn’t care if Megatron stepped on Spike in one episode of Transformers or not. Kids were annoying.)

Dave meets the Beyonder, and nervously begins to ask him questions. The Beyonder details his story thus far (cue the recap panels). Of note for those of us only reading the main series, is that apparently, following the events of last issue, The Beyonder met with Doctor Strange. Strange put the one from beyond on a path to enlightenment, so that he might become a champion of life. (Which is why he seems so much more upbeat than he did last issue. That can come from no longer hanging out with Boom Boom, who we’ve established as the worst mutant ever created. That’s not easy to do when Colossus exists.)

The Beyonder goes on to explain that the universe is a constant struggle between life and death. In that struggle, are several participants, to include Chaos and Order, Eon, Death, Mephisto, the In-Betweener, Eternity, and the Living Tribunal. (I never got that into the cosmic beings. I need webbed boots on the ground in my stories, not the personification of justice or whatever other dumb shit you find in books like Silver Surfer. Only a fool genius would grow up reading Silver Surfer. A fool genius!)

Conceptual beings that are so vast they can barely be comprehended by the human mind.
Dave is sufficiently flabbergasted, and having recently been looking for a higher purpose in life, decides he’s going to help the Beyonder in his goal to be a champion for life.

The next day, the Beyonder saves Perth, Australia from a massive tsunami. He returns back to his headquarters to find it bustling with people, all hired by Dave as part of their operation. (Dave is the Jack Haley of this operation. I’m sure he thinks he serves some purpose, but he really doesn’t.)

Meanwhile, in that same ole’ suburb of Denver, Owen Reece (the Molecule Man) returns home from work more than a little troubled by the Beyonder’s recent activities.

Later, as they’re trying to eat dinner, Owen is hilariously annoyed by the presence of the Watcher. (The Watcher is a cosmic being that monitors and records all activity on our planet, but has sworn never to interfere. However, he has interfered from time to time, and only shows up during times of great importance.)

The Watcher is there to convince Owen to intervene in the situation against the Beyonder. (At one point, he claims that the entire history of the multiverse was merely a prelude to Owen’s rebirth as the Molecule Man. Which is something that I personally have always believed. All of our lives have a clear demarcation line of pre and post Molecule Man awareness. “Are you pre-Molecule Man awareness? Please call our helpful professionals at 1-800-MOL-CULE and they’ll put you on the path to enlightenment today. Call now, and you’ll get a free copy of Micronauts #23.”) Owen declines to help, preferring to be left alone to live his quiet, normal life.

Elsewhere, the Beyonder continues his altruistic work all across the world.

When he returns to his headquarters, he expresses some concerns to Dave about still not quite being able to discern his role in the multiverse.

That’s when Captain America arrives, flanked by Mister Fantastic, to have a rousing discussion about truth, honor, and freedom. They are concerned that the Beyonder is doing too much, that he is upsetting the natural order of things. They’re fearful that the human race will come to rely on him too much.

Dave inserts himself into the conversation and suggests that they are merely jealous that the Beyonder is going to steal the limelight from them, and become the greatest hero of all. (This is the point in which Dave would get choked out, if I were Steve, or even Reed. Of course, if I were Reed, I would have long ago quit the hero business to become a coked out porn star. Not only because of my special abilities, but because of the self-loathing of being Reed Richards.)

The Beyonder promises to give their concerns a lot of thought, and the two heroes depart, still uneasy about this omnipotent being operating freely in their world. (It would be a noble cause, dedicating yourself to entertaining the world through filmed hardcore sex. The world should see what super powers can offer to the porn industry. I think I just gave Mark Millar his next story idea.)

Dave and the Beyonder hold a press conference, in which Dave gets a little overzealous, and announces that they’re not going to stop fighting until death is vanquished. (Dave is overstepping his bounds. I have to imagine this is how Hitler or Mussolini started out. Was the Beyonder around during WWII? My world history is a little fuzzy.)

Following the press conference, the Beyonder thanks Dave for inspiring him, and takes steps to do exactly what Dave promised.

Meanwhile, Mephisto is presiding over his “stygian realm.” (I love that the thing that pissed Mephisto off the most was his subject using the word “jesting.” That’s the kind of random annoyance that I can relate to. Did I just say I related to Mephisto?)

Mephisto is threatened by the Beyonder’s promises to murder death, and will do whatever he can to stop him. (Death is sort of a key component in his whole operation. Much like depression and the porn industry.)

The next day, the Beyonder and Dave are enjoying a nice meal when they are joined by an unexpected guest, the personification of Death. (I’m positive that Dave was hurt that they wouldn’t be dining with just the two of them. Dave is that kind of friend. He’s a little too attached.)

The Beyonder has decided to follow through on Dave’s boasts, by eliminating Death from the equation. He laces a cup of wine with his own energies, which when sipped, will remove the spectre of Death from the universe. Mephisto suddenly arrives with a pack of demons, in an attempt to stop them, but the Beyonder easily neutralizes his threat.

They are then immediately joined by the Watcher and the rest of the conceptual beings discussed earlier. They plead with the Beyonder not to eliminate Death, because it will upset the natural balance of the universe. (There are these shows and movies that try and convince you that living forever would be a curse, not a blessing, but I disagree. I’m all for it, I’m in. I really hope that I’m a Highlander.)

Dave, however, has decided to take it upon himself to make this important decision, and hands the cup to Death, despite the Beyonder’s warnings that he cannot reverse this action once it’s taken. (Which is exactly what porn star Hitler would do. Sorry, most of you know him as Reed Richards.)

Death drinks deep, and disintegrates into nothingness. Now nothing will ever die again.

At that same moment, far away, the Molecule Man takes notice of this event, and he is pissed.

 He instantly teleports over to confront the Beyonder and his lackey. He lectures the Beyonder about eliminating Death. Removing Death has removed the ultimate consequence from life, and therefore there is little purpose left in doing anything.

 (Interesting prospect. If you couldn’t die, what’s the point of eating or getting shelter? Therefore, why work a job you hate to make money to provide you with the necessary things you need to survive? Millions of garbage collectors or dishwashers would quit instantly. If you didn’t eat though, would your body just continue to shrink and get skinny until you’re basically just skin and bones? So maybe eating would become a cosmetic activity. Something you need to do to prevent yourself from looking like a zombie. Or your muscles would stop working, and you’d just be stuck stationary on your back, never dying, but never living. Like a coked out porn star.)

Dave finally comes to terms with exactly what he did, and begs the Beyonder to reverse it. He cannot, but there may be a way to restore Death if a sentient being were willing to take on the responsibility of the role.

Dave reluctantly agrees to accept that responsibility, in an effort to fix his mistake. The Beyonder kills him, and Death is reborn as an annoying, clingy dude named Dave. (That doesn’t seem like a good deal for the universe. Also, has Thanos been hitting on this dude Dave this whole time? These are questions the Infinity War movies need to answer.)

The Beyonder disassembles his headquarters, preferring to wipe away this chapter of his life. He admits that even for an omnipotent being, he just feels exhausted.

Things are not looking good for our wayward cosmic being. Everything he’s tried to do has ended in disaster. The woman that he fell in love with (Dazzler) rejected him. His only friend (Boom Boom) betrayed him. He followed Dave’s advice and it led to his friend sacrificing his eternal existence. He has a right to feel exhausted, and sometimes feeling exhausted can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Which can only mean bad things when you have the power of a god.

Next week, I type “the Beyonder” many more times.

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