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Secret Wars II #5: Review

Nov 1985
Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Despair

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Secret Wars II #5 Review by (October 12, 2016)
The X-Men are Colossus, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Shadowcat and Wolverine, the same as in #1.
The New Mutants here are Cannonball, Sunspot, Warlock and Wolfsbane. In #1 the team was split. Warlock, Wolfsbane and some others were with recuperating Prof X on Muir Island. Cannonball, Sunspot and the rest were in Los Angeles fighting in a gladiatorial arena when they were joined by the X-Men temporarily led by Magneto to fight Beyonder.
After #1 CB&SS along with Rachel Summers and Shadowcat concluded the gladiator story in NM#30-31. Beyonder followed Rachel into #30, and then into Uncanny XM #196 where Prof X was back from Muir Island but Magneto was still hanging around. However PX got beaten up and went back to Muir Island again to recuperate.
Then Colossus and Shadowcat had a solo adventure against Arcade in UXM#197, and UXM#198 featured only Storm in Africa. Then Storm and the combined New Mutants in NM#32-34 rescued Karma who had been mind-controlled by the Shadow King in the previous episodes.
There isn't any reason why only 4 NM's are here. The ones on Muir Island were supposedly sent to the X-Men school even before Prof X was well enough to go there, and the others are all presumably back from NM#34. Also PX and Magneto remain behind the scenes here.

The Celestials recognisable here are Eson, Gammenon, Nezarr and Ziran.
The Celestials were invented by Jack Kirby in his Eternals series - they created the Eternals and Deviants in pre-history. Some of their backstory was detailed in Thor Annual #7.
Since the Eternals series Gammenon cameo'd in Hulk #243. Various Celestials were involved in some Thor issues between #283 and #291, which culminated in #300 in them sparing Earth and leaving it.

Beyonder has some other adventures between the bulk of this issue with Boom-Boom and the mass non-battle at the end. He tries professional wrestling with Thing in his #30, and then seeks enlightenment in Dr Strange #74. In fact the Marvel Chronology Project puts several things around those 2 issues to fit in the gap:- Thing follows #30 with a break from wrestling in West Coast Avengers #3-4. And then MCP has Iron Man in his #202-204 featuring Bethany Cabe and Madame Masque or vice versa. DS#74 is the end of a sequence from #71 (involving old 'flames' Clea and Umar), which doesn't all have to be in this gap but is certainly after Dr S's app in Illuminati #3 which follows SWII#3. And MCP then fits in his app in Vision & Scarlet Witch #4.

This Avengers hotline isn't the same as Captain America's hotline which he sets up in his next appearance in his #312.

The Avengers are currently Black Knight, CA, Captain Marvel, Hercules and Wasp, and they are all here straight after Beyonder left them in Av#261. Starfox being with them here is a mistake because he quit the team and didn't return from space with them in #261 *before* they met Beyonder there. Thor is shown presumably visiting - MCP have him in the middle of his #360 (and Walt Siomonson's run), after breaking Lorelei's seduction spell on him and removing Loki from the throne of Asgard.

The Fantastic Four still have She-Hulk instead of Thing, and are also seen here after their return from space where they shared the Avengers' adventure in Av Annual #14 and FF Annual #19 in a Skrull civil war which ended with that race losing the ability to shapeshift.

The WCA are here with their full team Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mockingbird, Tigra and Wonder Man after the 1st 4 issues of their ongoing series which included a crossover with V&SW#1-2, continuing the family feuds with Grim Reaper and Ultron, and the introduction of new villain Master Pandemonium.

Thing is on the cover but not actually in this issue. As mentioned above he's currently hanging around in a run of WCA, but not actually a team member.

2 of this issue's tie-ins have already been mentioned as happening within the issue. After the end he talks Johnny Storm out of giving up being Human Torch in FF#285.

This was our introduction to Boom-Boom. She'll head to Los Angeles and join Vanisher's gang of Fallen Angels in X-Factor #11. But that team (the original X-Men) will make her 1 of their trainees.

The X-Men appear next in UXM#199 where we learn Prof X on Muir Island is dying from his beating, Rachel becomes Phoenix and Magneto is arrested for war crimes. Meanwhile the New Mutants and Storm go to Asgard in the NM Special Edition, and then the X-Men (without Magneto) join them there for XM Annual #9. Then everyone, including PX, gets together for the trial of Magneto in UXM#200. The trial is interrupted before it's conclusion by Fenris, the Strucker twins. PX saves Magneto's life but is near death and asks M to lead the XM and NM. Lilandra and the Starjammers take PX away to save him with Shi'ar tech.
The teams will be even busier before their next app here in #7, but I'll relate the rest of that story in the comments on that issue.

The Celestials' leader One Above All will appear in next issue. Some of the other Celestials will show up in the Eternals 2nd series, Silver Surfer and more Thor issues. Then Gammenon, Ziran and a couple of others will take part in XF#43-50 where the Ship that X-Factor 'inherited' from Apocalypse turns out to belong to the Celestials. Then all the known Celestials gather in FF Annual #23 where Beyonder (who has become a Cosmic Cube in FF#319) takes on a female form called Kosmos.

Hercules and Wasp cameo in the afore-mentioned FF#285, and Cap has his equally afore-mentioned #312. Then they and the rest of the team recruit Sub-Mariner in Av#262. And Cap gets stuck between MODOK and the Serpent Society in his #313. All this before our next issue.

Thor returns to his #360ff to rescue humans sent to Hel by Malekith. He won't be back here until our last issue.

The FF have no more apps after #285 and before SWII#6.

Thing will go on a film shoot in his #31 which will lead into our #7.

Dr Strange doesn't appear in the rest of this series. But he does show up in Longshot #5-6 where he gets the hero back to his home dimension, and then he's back to his own #75 for the return of Topaz (from Werewolf By Night). All this happens before another visit to V&SW in their #6, which happens soon after SWII#6. And his next app in Spectacular Spider-Man #115 is beyond the end of this series.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Wars II #5 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Beyonder is walking along a railway track near Washington when a train comes up behind him. So he casually causes it to break into pieces, and the bits and passengers fly past missing him. Just as casually he arranges for all the people to land safely. But he's glad their lives are now messed up like his is.

As he moves on a teen girl runs after him. She introduces herself as Tabitha, but her friends call her Boom-Boom. She's a mutant like he must be, and she's on the way to Westchester, New York where she's heard there's a secret school for mutants. She persuades him to let her walk with him since he wrecked her ride.

That night Beyonder magics up a camp - 2 tents, a fire and some food. Tabitha explains that her father beat her when he discovered she was a mutant, so she left home. She demonstrates her power by creating an energy ball which explodes when she throws it. She can make them of all sizes and can control when they'll go off. She's given herself a codename Time Bomb.

In return Beyonder tells his story, although the girl doesn't really believe the bit about coming from another universe. He concentrates on last issue where he fell in love with Dazzler. Despite everything he did she rejected him. He's tried keeping busy with other stuff (see Hulk #312, ROM #72 and Avengers #261) but life seems empty without her.

Boom-Boom understands rejection and the various ways of coping with it. Currently she accepts it and awards herself 10 points for each example, telling herself the person with the most points wins. But you're still lonely.

Beyonder on the other hand thinks he should just abandon the whole desire thing and go back to his own universe where he is everything. Tabby protests that you can't just give up. That way lies suicide or drugs. But he's really decided to go, so she gives him a hug for luck. Then he disappears and she gives herself another 10 points.

Back home Beyonder is still in his human form. He hesitates before becoming the whole universe again because he finds he misses things. He creates objects and people and even planets. Then he thinks about creating Alison Blaire, or even bringing the real 1 here. He knows he could make her love him (as he did last issue), but that wouldn't be good enough.

He tries to talk himself into forgetting that universe and becoming his own again. But then the energy ball goes off that Time Bomb planted in his back pocket.

Tabitha is unsuccessfully trying to hitch-hike when a sports car stops and picks her up. Inside is Beyonder, who proves he's not mad at her by fixing her black eye. She says she knew he'd come back - he wasn't ready to give up yet.

He drives her to New York and to Prof X's mutant school - nothing is secret from him. He waits while she knocks on the door. But Rachel Summers recognises him and sends the X-Men and some New Mutants out to get him. But he effortlessly dispels their attack and drives off. But Rachel uses her psionic powers to compel her team to chase him, leaving Boom-Boom alone again. This is not what she expected so she wanders off into the woods.

The X-teams return after a fruitless chase, arguing. Rachel says they had to try because Beyonder is so dangerous. Wolverine agrees but is very unhappy about the psychic coercion. They forget about the unknown young girl.

That young girl is trying to attract B's attention. Calling for him doesn't get results, despite his claim of omniscience. So she makes the biggest energy bomb she can and says it will kill her in 30 seconds. She counts down but he still doesn't appear - and the bomb doesn't go off because she really set it for 1 minute. She awards herself another 10 rejection points and then waits for the real explosion - which happens.

However Beyonder saves her from harm. He materialises his car and drives them out of the wood, phasing through the trees until he eventually decides to make the car fly up into the sky, and into space and to the multi-world habitat of the Celestials.

The giant Space Gods are as usual just standing around, but B lands the car on a planet which turns out to be an alien tourist resort - the Celestials are a popular draw. The races around here are also so advanced that they know of B's entry into their universe and recognise him.

Beyonder claims that the Celestials also know he's here and are worried. Boom-Boom doesn't believe him so he flies up to confront them. He convinces them he's going to destroy the universe so they stir themselves and attack. The battle that follows happens on many more planes than the visible physical 1. But the effect of B's victory is Celestial bodies scattered over the planets, and many scared aliens (and Tabitha).

Beyonder tries to make it up to her. He makes her beautiful, then a few years older, then removes her power. But she rejects each of these options and just asks him to send her back to Earth and leave her alone. With a thought he complies.

Then he cruises through the universe in his car, but is soon drawn back to Earth. He goes to his Brazilian mansion and checks up on Algrim who he restored last issue to pursue his desire to kill Thor. The Dark Elf is still plodding across the Atlantic from England. He switches on his record player, but the disc is 1 of Dazzler's. He slumps in depression.

Tabitha is back in Westchester, but not at the school. She contacts the Avengers hotline, and mention of Beyonder gets her through to Wasp. She says she can bait a trap for him.

Later she's at their old camp-site. She calls and he appears. He's really missed her, and her wise words have made him want to keep on living. She hugs him again - but plants an even bigger bomb in his trouser pocket.

Tabby runs away, the bomb goes of, and the assembled heroes (Avengers, Dr Strange, Fantastic Four, Thor and West Coast Avengers) lay into him. But Captain America stops them when he sees that Beyonder isn't fighting back.

There's no jail that could hold him, so Cap asks him to go back to his own universe. B says he's tried that and it didn't work. The heroes let him wander dejectedly off muttering "10 points, I win".


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> Secret Wars II: Book info and issue index

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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Dazzler.