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Secret Wars II #6: Review

Dec 1985
Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Life rules

Review & Comments

4 stars

Secret Wars II #6 Review by (October 12, 2016)
The cover is somewhat misleading. It's only a version of the mental image projected by Dave to Captain America and Mr Fantastic. It's only a coincidence that it includes Cloak & Dagger and Thor who Beyonder will interact with in the tie-ins to this issue. And She-Hulk isn't involved anywhere.

Sparta was at the time the main centre for comic printing and distribution.

Uatu's claim that Molecule Man's origin was of multiversal importance probably refers to the connection to Beyonder's origin that will be revealed in #8. However we could now relate it to his involvement in the 2015 Secret Wars and what led up to it.

Beta Ray Bill is an alien who proved worthy to lift Mjolnir and was granted his own Thor-powers and hammer Stormbringer in Thor #337

The Marvel Universe's cosmic beings have accumulated over the years.
Eternity and the Living Tribunal were created by Stan Lee in the Dr Strange strip in Strange Tales #138 and #157. Lee added Mephisto in #3 of the original Silver Surfer series.
Then Jim Starlin grabbed the ball and ran with it. Death and Eon came in Captain Marvel #26 and #28. The In-Betweener debuted in Warlock #9, and Starlin introduced Chaos and Order in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2.
Meanwhile the One Above All cropped up with the other Celestials in Jack Kirby's Eternals series, and the Gardener was created by Bill Mantlo in Marvel Team-Up #55.

Gardener is a representative of the Elders of the Universe. That group was mentioned in Avengers #174, but only the Collector and the Grandmaster were identified as members there. However the 1st edition of the Handbook of the MU added Gardener and some others in its #4.

Mephisto is in an interesting state at the moment. In Fantastic Four #277 he was apparently destroyed by Franklin Richards. But flashbacks in West Coast Avengers #9 and #15 will show him apparently OK again and condemning Master Pandemonium to search for 5 fragments of his own soul. However it isn't until Avengers West Coast #52 that the truth comes out. Franklin Richards had split Mephisto into 6 pieces, so he currently only had 1/6 of his power. He tricked Pandemonium into searching for *his* missing parts. But significantly when he faces Beyonder here and next issue he's in this much-reduced state.

There are 5 tie-ins that follow this issue:-

In Cloak & Daggger (1985) #4 the Beyonder tries drugs and is unaffected. He meets C&D and removes their unwanted superpowers. They explain about drugs and he experimentally allows the drugs in his system to take effect. Now convinced that drugs are a bad thing he restores and increases C&D's powers so they can continue their war on drug-dealers. But then he makes that pointless by killing all drug-dealers and drug-users. C&D talk him into reversing those deaths, and vow to be more discriminating in their own actions.

Then Beyonder pops in to the dying Microverse in Micronauts: The New Voyages #16. He heals a planet and does a few more good deeds. But then he destroys 3 populated planets to acts as a firewall against the psychic sickness that is killing the Microverse. However this was a ruse to galvanise the Micronauts into action. (But he really did destroy the planets.)

In Power Pack #18 Franklin Richards has dream about Kurse. Kurse injures Mrs Power while looking for Thor. Beyonder helps her to hospital and informs the Power kids. The Pack bury Kurse under a collapsed building. Kofi the Kymellian leaves Earth. FR dreams Kurse is still alive and Beyonder isn't really good.

The story continues in Thor #363. Kurse digs himself out. PP and FR meet recovering Beta Ray Bill. Beyonder in a new ocean home watches Kurse fight Thor. BRB and PP join in. Energizer defeats K with power siphoned from Mjolnir and BRB's Stormbringer. But K has realised that Malekith is his real enemy, and B sends him to Asgard. FR tells PP that B 'created' K (in #4) and so is responsible for their mother's injuries. (And the issue ends with Thor turned into a frog.)

In Power Man & Iron Fist #121 the duo return from K'un Lun to discover that their building really has been turned into a gold ruin - the time-displaced adventure they had in our #2 wasn't a dream. Beyonder shows them his ocean base where he monitors the world for problems to solve. Luke Cage takes B for a meal while IF tells Nick Fury about the base. NF sends IF and SHIELD Agents to destroy it as a threat to national security. B and LC arrive while they are planting explosives. B saves them the trouble by destroying it himself.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Wars II #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Using his incredible power over bureaucracy Beyonder buys a property and gets planning permission in minutes. And he builds his giant new base in Sparta, Illinois even quicker. Everything inside is on a grand scale.

Dave, comic fan and owner of a local newspaper, spots the towering new building and rushes over to investigate. But Beyonder has spotted on his monitors that Power Pack are in a bit of trouble and flies to help them. Dave is more astonished to see a flying man than you''d expect of an inhabitant of Marvel Earth.

In New York the Pack and their friends Franklin Richards and Kofi the young Kymellian are preparing to deal with a train crash that Frank saw in 1 of his precognitive dreams. A local gang the Squids have found an alien laser gun (dropped by a Snark in PP#17) and they use it to derail the elevated train which contains their rivals the Death Angels. Gee lightens the train with his gravity control as Lightspeed tries to lift it back to the track, while Mass Master creates a smokescreen to keep the gang from shooting again.

Then Beyonder zips in and solves the problem with a wave of his hand. After some words of encouragement he flies home again.

Dave sees him return and tries to get his attention. He seems to be ignored until a giant scoop picks up him and his car and brings them to Beyonder. Dave starts an interview and B tells him his story, using a mento-projector to add visuals to his tale.

B used to be the whole of his personal universe and knew nothing of anything else until an event opened a pinhole from Earth. What he saw interested him and he''s now here in human form to learn about life as an individual, especially about desire. He''s tried various experiences but ended up miserable with unfulfilled wants. Then he heard about Dr Strange and sought him out in DrS#74. Stephen Strange showed him his own path to enlightenment and now Beyonder is determined to become a Champion of Life.

He explains that there is a continuous contest between death and life which will either end in the heat death of the universe or all the inhabitants of the universe evolving into gods. This struggle is manifest as certain cosmic beings. On the 1 side there is Death and her lovers like Mephisto. Ranged against her are Chaos, Order and Eon who represents self-preservation. The In-Betweener stands between these opposing sides. Eternity represents the sum of them all. The Living Tribunal arbitrates disputes among them.

Dave only vaguely understands all this. But he does know that Beyonder is a great force for good, and wants to help.

Next day B stops a tsunami from swamping Perth in Australia. Returning home he finds that Dave has recruited a whole staff to publicise his boss''s service and prioritise calls for help - and loads of other people necessary to make a large business function. Beyonder doesn''t actually need this help, but he''s glad to give Dave a purpose in life. So he just flies off to deal with a volcano his monitors have alerted him to.

In Denver Marsha Rosenberg (Volcana) is preparing a meal for her returning lover Owen Reece. Molecule Man is deliberately leading as normal a life as possible, working at a low level at the local nuclear energy plant. But when he gets home he''s angry at Beyonder''s latest scheme - it''ll all end in tears. As Marsha consoles him the dinner burns. But MM uses a tiny bit of his power to fix it.

But as they eat Uatu the Watcher turns up to get Owen''s help. Reece ignores him so he has to explain himself to Marsha (and us readers). He''s 1 of an ancient race dedicated to observing the events of the universe but not interfering. He saw Owen''s miserable life leading to an earlier low job in the nuclear industry. He witnessed the accident that unlocked the power of Molecule Man - an incident which he claims rocked the multiverse.

But Reece''s insecurities made him unconsciously limit his power. When he 1st appeared in Fantastic Four #20 the FF were able to defeat him and Uatu took him away. The Watcher now says he strengthened Owen''s mental blocks and allowed him to escape. MM continued as a limited villain until Dr Doom destroyed the blocks in Secret Wars I #11, and Owen Reece became the most powerful being in the multiverse. Luckily the love of a good woman (and the earlier counsel of Tigra in Avengers #216) mean that he no longer wants to use his power for evil.

Uatu says that Beyonder is a great threat to the multiverse, and his race have agreed that intervention is necessary this time. He begs Owen Reece to stop his friend before it''s too late. But Molecule Man sticks by his own non-interference policy.

Meanwhile Beyonder feeds a starving African village, diagnoses a mystery illness in Pittsburgh and solves the energy problem of an alien race in another galaxy. But when he returns home he''s still not sure he''s found the right role. He sees on the monitor that the Dark Elf he gave a boost to in #4 has reached New York and calls himself Kurse. He''s seeking Thor but has found Beta Ray Bill instead - and they are fighting. But B doesn''t know what to do - Kurse is only seeking to fulfil his desire to kill Thor.

But his musing is interrupted by a visit from Captain America and Mr Fantastic. MrF is worried that people will come to depend of Beyonder to solve all their problems. Cap is worried about the erosion of freedom his constant surveillance threatens. But Dave uses the mento-projector to show them what he thinks they''re really worried about - B making them redundant.

Beyonder assures them he''s thinking about what they said. The duo leave - Cap hopes B will do the right thing, Reed Richards isn''t sure there''s anything they can do if he doesn''t. The monitor shows that Beta Ray Bill has reverted to his civilian alien form in defeat, and Kurse has left him alive now he doesn''t seem to be Thor.

Beyonder and Dave hold a press conference. There are so many reporters from all over the world that they won''t fit in the huge conference room, so the meeting is held in the even-huger concert hall. B is talking modestly about his aims when Dave interrupts and asks for a demonstration of his power. So his boss temporarily cancels gravity in the room. Showman Dave then boasts that Beyonder won''t stop until he''s vanquished death itself. B makes that a promise, and the reporters rush out to file their stories.

Afterwards Beyonder studies the workings of the multiverse for a few minutes and says it can be done. It will take a bit of preparation, and many details will have to be settled afterwards, but he can remove death.

In his hellish realm Mephisto is worried. If Beyonder kills his lover Death then it will cut off his supply of souls.

Next day B and Dave are in a restaurant. B is explaining some of the finer points of no-death. Nothing will be able to eat meat obviously. But also they can''t eat plants either, because plants are alive. This prohibition will extend even further down the chain - the whole basis of life will change.

They meet Death (in her hooded woman form) and Beyonder puts a large amount of his energy into a cup of wine. When Death drinks this she herself will die. By this point Dave is having 2nd thoughts.

But at this point Mephisto invades the room with a horde of demons. He inflicts pain upon Dave to stop Beyonder. But B easily frees his friend and dispatches the demons. Dave''s 2nd thoughts are also dispatched - if Mephisto is against it, it must be good. So he grabs the cup and prepares to throw it at Death.

But then there''s another interruption. The Watcher arrives with the cosmic beings mentioned earlier (Eon is in a humanoid form), plus Gardener of the Elders of the Universe and One Above All the leader the leader of the Celestials.

The In-Betweener speaks for them all when he says that ending Death would be a catastrophe. But Dave thinks that like the super-heroes they''re just worried about their ''jobs''. Eternity now speaks as the sum of everything in the universe and adds his plea. Beyonder warns Dave that with his power diminished by the amount he transferred to the cup he won''t be able to reverse the effect. But Dave hands the cup to Death and she drinks - and disappears.

Mephisto and the others sense the effects rippling through the multiverse. And in Denver Molecule Man notices that a vase of wilting flowers has sprung back to life. he realises what Beyonder has done and teleports to the restaurant. He asks the cosmic beings to leave while he talks to Beyonder and Dave.

Owen tells B that he''s made life pointless. Why bother to strive to do anything now? And then he leaves in disgust.

Dave''s 2nd thoughts are back with a vengeance. He pleads with Beyonder to put everything back the way it was. B says the only way to restore Death is by killing something, and not even he can do that now. The only way is if someone is willing to die to become a new Death.

Dave realises he''s at last found his own destiny. He offers himself, and with extreme effort Beyonder kills him. And Dave transforms into Death and goes about his business.

Later Beyonder demolishes his new HQ. He plans to retire to somewhere much less public. And maybe do Champion of Life stuff in minor ways from now on.

Al Milgrom
Steve Leialoha
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Steve Leialoha (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)


> Secret Wars II: Book info and issue index

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