Oct 12, 2015

Secret Wars II: Not as Bad As You Remember, Part 7

Secret Wars II: Not as Bad As You Remember
Part 7: Mephisto's Thing
Ben Smith

Reading Secret Wars II is kind of like sending pictures of your penis to someone. You know you probably shouldn’t do it, because they’ll just show it to everyone so they can all make fun of you, but you do it anyway. (Well, I don’t, I’m a prude.) Your only hope is that some potential future employer doesn’t google you and find out you’ve been reading Secret Wars II, because that sure would be embarrassing.

Maybe if the Beyonder was sending out dick pics in this series, I wouldn’t hate myself so much right now.

Let’s dive in!

Secret Wars II #7
Scripter: Jim Shooter; Penciler: Al Milgrom; Inkers: Steve Leialoha; Editor: Bob Budiansky

Mephisto lounges in his dark domain, scheming dastardly schemes. (Mephisto, despite what angry Mary Jane fans might tell you, is not the devil. He’s a very powerful demon that looks awfully like a devil, and presides over his own hellish domain full of damned souls. The point is, the marriage was erased 8 years ago. Seriously, get over it.)

Mephisto still has a bug in his craw over his encounter with the Beyonder in the events of the previous issue, and the Beyonder is currently spending his time on a deserted island doing nothing but sitting there and thinking. More accurately, he is yet again contemplating his purpose in this world.

“Let the sweet nectar of their freshly renewed agony quench his fury,” is not the kind of statement that should ever be taken for granted. Along with nude celebrity photos, or Lebron James losing another NBA Finals.

Yet, Mephisto has a plan, and it is a machine called Beyondersbane. The Beyonder used an enormous amount of energy to destroy Death in the last issue. Energy which would have returned to him, but Mephisto intercepted it and funneled it into this machine he created.

Elsewhere, the Beyonder continues to sit and ponder on his deserted remote island. That is, until yet another bumbling idiot arrives to insert himself into his affairs. (Humans are the worst. But I am a misanthrope, so you know, feel free to ignore my grumpiness. You stopped reading, didn’t you?)

Not too far away, the Thing (of the Fantastic Four) is filming a scene for a movie on a separate small island. The crew’s mail arrives, including a very specific beer that the Thing had requested. (Iron City Beer, which I’m going to assume is a real thing, since Shooter is from Pittsburgh. Man, I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers. Has nothing to do with anything, but it needed to be said.)

An offhand mention of the Beyonder causes the Thing to smash those allegedly delicious alcoholic beverages he had presumably been waiting so long to get, and then launch into a detailed flashback of his major activities since the events of the original Secret Wars series. (I see Ben Grimm/The Thing is currently pretty angry about Johnny Storm/The Human Torch stealing his girlfriend Alicia while he was away on an alien planet. As of this writing, John Byrne just made as ass of himself on his forum in an argument with Dan Slott over the upcoming direction of The Amazing Spider-Man. Byrne claims his story changes never changed the characters, and yet Johnny and Alicia so clearly betraying Ben would be a pretty big change. One that was undone by Skrulls, so, I guess the point is that only Byrne can do possibly radical things with the characters.)

Coincidentally enough, the Beyonder is not too far away, still sitting around on that nearby island, deep in contemplation. His new idiot friend decides his quiet reflection is an inspiration. Next thing they know, this buffoon has led a whole gaggle of new idiots to the Beyonder’s island, so that they can all sit and ponder their likely numerous missteps in life.

This guy should probably start with pondering why he’s wearing a leather vest with no shirt.
But not the mohawk. the mohawk is sound.

Elsewhere, Mephisto’s agent strikes bargains with the villainous elite of the Marvel Universe. All part of his master scheme to destroy the Beyonder. When the villains combine their efforts to attack the Beyonder, all Mephisto needs is one of them to touch him, and it will spark a mystic circuit with Beyondersbane that will send all of that energy surging back into the one from beyond, destroying him (along with the Earth and a third of the universe, apparently).

In a surprise twist, Mephisto has received the aid of the other cosmic beings of the universe, and Eternity itself will ensure that Beyondersbane is able to complete its task.

Back on the island, the Beyonder and his island of fools has become quite the news story, drawing ever more attention, and therefore, more fools. (Just like The Bachelor.)

Over in that familiar suburb of Denver, Molecule Man and Volcana are having friends over for a game night. Molecule Man senses the events transpiring, and is conflicted about what he should do, if anything. Volcana convinces him that they should just ignore these possibly cataclysmic events, and return to their game of Trivial Pursuit. (It’s what I would do.)

All across the Marvel Universe, familiar characters watch the news stories and are unsure what to make of the Beyonder’s latest shenanigans, including the our loveable, blue-eyed Thing. (I love that a poster where it appeared the Thing might not have blue eyes in the upcoming movie sparked a minor nerd riot online. As if him not being able to say that incredibly corny line in the movie ruins the character, and is somehow proof that the movie will suck. Look, it may very well suck, but none of us know that for sure yet. That’s kind of the point, right?)

The Beyonder is starting to get annoyed by all the people crowding the island, and considers leaving for somewhere else. This is bad news for Mephisto, who still needs a little more time to enact his needlessly complicated plot. (The funny part is that by the time this column I’m writing right now actually hits the internet, the new Fantastic Four movie will have already come out, and we will actually know for sure if it sucks. I don’t care, I’m not erasing any of it.)

Mephisto visits the Thing in his sleep, berating him in the guise of the most important people from throughout his life, about letting the Beyonder push him around. Thanks to some trickery and a contract for his immortal soul, the Thing’s power is increased by a hundredfold, and he jumps into the ocean to swim off and face the Beyonder.

The Thing arrives on the Beyonder’s island in an explosion of sound and fury. The Beyonder’s new idiot sidekick distracts the Thing just long enough to make him second guess his intentions.

At that exact moment, Mephisto’s army, comprised of the greatest Marvel villains ever, launch their attack (I can’t help but think Doom looks out of place in this assemblage). The Thing contemplates what to do next, while the Beyonder wonders if he shouldn’t just let them destroy him. Everyone trembles in anticipation.

Then, the Thing comes to his senses, and defends the Beyonder singlehandedly against this onslaught of evil.

Ironically bolstered by the extra power granted him by Mephisto, he pushes wave after wave of the dangerous foes back.

With his legion of super-villains nearly defeated, Mephisto has no choice but to rip up the contract for the Thing’s soul, returning him to his normal power level.

All that remains is a now normal powered Thing against the mighty Juggernaut, with the destruction of the entire planet hanging in the balance.

The Juggernaut makes easy work of the overmatched Thing, and moves in to touch the Beyonder, which would complete the circuit and destroy them all.

Just when it looks like all might be lost, the Thing digs down deep and reaches out to stop the Juggernaut from advancing, delaying him long enough for Mephisto’s plan to miss its window of opportunity.

With the circuit uncompleted, Beyondersbane explodes, returning the stolen energy back to its original host.

Mephisto stands defeated, and even the tortured prisoners of his stygian realm smile that day.

The Molecule Man is relieved that the latest crisis has passed, but is becoming increasingly worried that he will eventually have to get involved.

The Thing collapses in exhaustion, having rediscovered his heroic nature. The Beyonder is struck by a revelation. While he sat and contemplated his place in the universe, he inadvertently helped a large group of people find theirs.

On his never-ending quest for purpose, the Beyonder now decides that maybe his role is to teach others what their true roles in the universe might be. (Like an omnipotent life coach.)

That does it for this chapter in the ongoing epic saga of The Beyonder. He’s got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.

Next week, more of this.

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