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Secret Wars II #2: Review

Aug 1985
Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

I'll take Manhattan

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Secret Wars II #2 Review by (September 7, 2016)
This issue has none of the characters our Libraries follow. But I'm putting it on the Iron Man site to give the whole series a home, despite the fact that IM is in less than half the issues.

Spider-Man is here just after Spectacular SM #105-106, a team-up with the Wasp. He wishes he was wearing his black costume to avoid being chased by hate-mobs. At this time he no longer has the alien costume from Secret Wars I. (It escaped from the custody of the Fantastic Four but Peter rejected it in Web Of SM #1.) But Black Cat made a normal duplicate in SSM#99 and Peter alternates between black and original costume as he feels like it. (And he's shown on this cover in black while inside he's wearing red.)

Psycho-Man is a villain from the Microverse 1st seen in FF Annual 5. He uses a device which can produce specific negative emotions in his target. He was last seen in Micronauts #15-17 fighting that team and the FF in the Microverse. This version of Hate-Monger is a creation of Psycho-Man purely for the current plot.

The assassin shouting "Justice is served" is Scourge. He appears in various guises with the same catchphrase to kill villains, previously in Iron Man #194 and Thing #24. I think the name Scourge will 1st be used in Captain America #311. It also seems that there is more than 1 Scourge, part of an organisation.

Elsie Gertz was saved from Charlie Carcrash's gang before by Thing in Marvel Fanfare #20. She was just attacked by another gang during the hate-storm in FF#281, and this time saved by Daredevil.

The Marvel Chronology Project has Power Man & Iron Fist brought forward through time from #114 of their comic of the same name. Because they are sent back to when they came from their appearance here doesn't have to match up timewise with the rest of the characters. And #114 is the last time they are in New York until #121 when they return to find their building gone, and learn that the gold incident wasn't just a bad dream.
However I have proposed to them that this is awkward for certain other reasons. I've proposed the duo could be abducted from a stopover in New York en route from Nice to Boston between #117 and #118. At least currently there are no direct flights from Nice to Boston, and NY is 1 of the possible change points. And Colleen Wing is with them in Boston in #118 but she was in NY in #117.

The story of the gold building continues (without Beyonder) in 2 official tie-ins after this issue:-
WOSM#6 The pile of gold threatens the economy so the government makes a deal with Kingpin to move it quickly, and he gets to keep a load of gold typewriters. Disgusted, Spidey nicks a gold notebook.
Amazing SM #268 The military dumps the gold in the deep ocean. Spidey foils Kingpin's plan to steal even more of it.
That's not the last we hear of the gold notebook.

(The end of this issue also declares FF#282 a following tie-in, but it actually fits within #3.)

SM won't be back in this series until #7. Before then he'll have many adventures, mainly in his own several series. Some of the highlights are:-
Fighting Firelord in ASM#269-270 which brings him into a crossover with Avengers #258.
The intros of Alistair Smythe in ASM Annual #9 and Slyde in ASM#272.
The Death of Jean DeWolff story in SSM#107-110 involving Daredevil and the intro of Sin-Eater.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Wars II #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Beyonder has been observing humans last issue, especially Captain America and Rachel Summers of the X-Men. Now he's decided that he needs to be a human, and stay that way, to fully understand what they experience. And he's chosen to model his body on Steve Rogers.

He's clad himself in a skintight white 1-piece garment, and his 1st sensation is cold. He has materialised on top of a skyscraper in New York and decides to drop to the ground. As he nears the bottom he senses this wasn't a good idea, and reverts to his energy form hovering in midair. Then he goes human again and falls the rest of the way. Even the fall from this small height causes a sensation somewhat similar to when his temporary body got slashed by Wolverine last issue.

As he walks among the crowd Beyonder is pleased that his garment elicits responses. At some point he will choose other clothes when he understands more about them.

He feels another sensation that Rachel said was hunger in Uncanny XM #196. She advised him to eat. So he copies someone's order for a hot dog and soda. Unfortunately he tries to eat the glass soda bottle, and doesn't find the experience pleasurable.

New York is in the grip of an epidemic of hate, as seen in Fantastic Four #280. She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot have been arrested for trying to stop a hate-crime. Mr Fantastic and Human Torch are in Avengers Mansion (their home since the Baxter Building was destroyed in FF#278) trying to figure out the cause. Invisible Girl is escorting Alicia Masters home. (Thing is still away on Secret Wars I's Battleworld.) Psycho-Man and Hate-Monger (the cause of the hate) turn Sue Richards into Malice, filled with hate for husband Reed. (This is the middle of FF#280.)

During rioting Beyonder enters a clothes shop through a broken window and asks why people wear clothes. The shopkeeper gets rid of him by telling him to ask a friend. So he finds someone he remembers from Secret Wars I - Spider-Man in the Daily Bugle offices as Peter Parker. He tries to talk to Peter but Parker changes to Spider-Man to get away. So Beyonder follows Spidey home floating invisibly.

Then he reappears in Peter's apartment, asking why he wears at least 2 different types of clothing. After Parker punches him he explains he's from Beyond and seeks experience and understanding. Eventually Peter realises this is the Beyonder and suggests Reed Richards might be a better guy to answer deep questions.

But 1st he has to explain the meaning of the sensation in his bladder, and introduce Beyonder to the bathroom. Then his guest zaps off to find Mr Fantastic. And Spidey follows hoping to give MrF advance warning.

Meanwhile the FF have moved on to #281 where they have broken Invisible Girl free from Hate-Monger's control. That story continues here as the reassembled FF fight HM who sends hate-filled crowds at them. Psycho-Man joins in from the shadows creating different emotions. But when the FF catch HM, PM returns to the Microverse and leaves him to his fate. Which is to be shot by a man shouting "Justice is served" from another shadow, revealing him to be an android.

MrF ducked out of all this to talk to Beyonder. But all he can say is that the universe is complicated. And Beyonder zips off again. And Spider-Man misses it all.

Next Beyonder transports some clothes from a shop-window manikin. A bag lady Elsie Gertz berates him for not paying, but then points out the clothes don't fit him anyway. She tells him how to (cosmically) change them until he looks good. A street gang led by Charlie Carcrash harass her (again) on the belief she's got money hidden away. They also beat up Beyonder, who's beginning to think this is normal. But he doesn't have anything in his pockets, so they leave empty-handed.

Elsie fishes out a Heroes For Hire card and suggests Beyonder goes to them for protection. He mends his injuries, but takes her advice and zips there immediately.

Arriving in the HFH offices he finds Power Man and Iron Fist absent. But he looks back in time until he finds them in, and pulls them forward in time to meet him. The duo are understandably angry and attack, but Beyonder knows how it goes now and hits 1st. Luke Cage asks him politely to step outside so the fight won't damage their office. And Beyonder does step outside - through a 14th-floor window.

Luke leaps out to try and catch him and break the man's fall with his unbreakable body. But Beyonder does the same trick as earlier, but better. He turns energy partway down and lands in that form. Cage makes a hole in the road.

Danny Rand arrives (presumably by lift) and stops Luke from attacking again. He asks the man what he wants. Beyonder goes through his spiel of trying to understand multiplicity and diversity, because in his realm he's the only thing there is. Martial artist Iron Fist thinks being 1 with the universe is what men dream of. Luke dismisses this Zen stuff and says money is what men want.

Beyonder doesn't understand why men want paper, until Luke explains it stands for gold which is rare and hence valuable. Beyonder links this to the lessons about money from the Elsie Gertz episode, and combines it with his ideas about multiplicity -> incompleteness -> desire - and comes to the wrong conclusion.

Spidey at last finds the Big B just in time to see him turn the building which contains the HFH office into gold. Which collapses under its own weight.

Beyonder pulls his vanishing trick again. But an editorial comment says he sends PM&IF back to their own time (where they'll think this was a dream). SM is left in front of a mountain of gold.


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> Secret Wars II: Book info and issue index

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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Alicia Masters, Psycho-Man, Wyatt Wingfoot.