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Secret Wars II #8: Review

Feb 1986
Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Secret Wars II #8 Review by (October 24, 2016)
The X-Men came to San Francisco in Uncanny XM #202 when Phoenix attacked Beyonder there between last issue and this 1 (though there was no indication in surrounding issues that he was *in* SF). There he temporarily gave her the power to kill him but she used it instead to save her team from advanced Sentinels that B brought from the future. The XM have stayed in SanFran to help clear up after the Sentinels.
Beyonder says Phoenix isn't powerful enough to kill him now. But UXM#203 will say that she still has the power he gave her in #202, so another part of his statement here suggests that she could only have killed him in #202 because he was willing to let her then.
Nightcrawler isn't here because he was left behind when B transported the XM to SF. But there's no reason for Storm to be missing. (Indeed she's on the cover and various authorities list her as present, but I definitely can't see her inside.)
The New Mutants here are Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Warlock and Wolfsbane, all here following NM#36 where Beyonder tried to take Magik's Darkchylde side away.

Hulk was brought back from the interdimensional Crossroads in Hu#313 and Alpha Flight #28-29 (after meddling by Beyonder in Hu#312). Doc Samson captured him in Hu#314 and split Bruce Banner from Hulk in #315. Hulk escaped from SHIELD and then fought Hercules and Sub-Mariner of the Avengers and Iron Man and Wonder Man of the West Coast Av in #316. And now he's here.

Spider-Man is in a black costume - not the alien symbiote from Secret Wars I but a version Black Cat created for him.
Beyonder mentions SM's recent critical role in the multiverse, which was presumably stopping Puma from killing him in Spectacular SM #111.
Peter Parker's apartment was heavily fire-damaged in Web of SM #11. But it shouldn't be in as bad a state now as it's shown here because Pete and Mary Jane were redecorating in the earlier tie-in issue Amazing SM #273.
SM hasn't had any other apps since those Puma issues ASM#273 and SSM#111.

Last time we saw the Avengers in #5 I predicted the apps up to #6 where Captain America appeared. Since then Cap, Subby and Wasp went for Thanksgiving dinner in Vision & Scarlet Witch #6, before the whole team helped discover Jean Grey in a cocoon in their #263 and Fantastic Four #286. Then Nighthawk from the Squadron Supreme's universe comes to Avengers Mansion for help in CA#314, and the début of the new female Yellowjacket in Av#264 happens within CA#315 where Cap tangles with the Serpent Society with help from villain Porcupine. Lastly Herc and Namor were in Hu#316 as mentioned above. Chairperson Wasp seems to be absent for the current encounter.

2 tie-ins take place before the end of this issue:-

In NM#37 Beyonder takes revenge on that team for rejecting him in #36. He wipes them from existence (but they will be restored in SWII#9).

In ASM#274 Mephisto has a contest with Beyonder to win 24 more hours for the universe. But B gives M Spider-Man as a champion and takes Zarathos the Spirit of Vengeance as his. Z tries to stop SM from saving Kingpin from assassination, but fails, so the universe lives for another day.

Av#265 immediately follows this issue as the Avengers rescue Cap but then Beyonder defeats them all and sets out to destroy the multiverse.

Then there are 2 more tie-ins:-

In UXM#203 Phoenix adds more power to what Beyonder gave her and intends to destroy the universe in order to kill Big B so that a new universe can arise without him. But she relents and gives him back the power he leant her but also shows him all the lives in the universe, and he learns the lesson of mortality again. But will it stop him destroying the universe?

Then in FF#288 Beyonder meets Dr Doom trapped in another body and restores his original body. Realising that Doom as such didn't exist during Secret Wars I he gives him a temporary time trip to take part in that series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Wars II #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Beyonder has gone to see his friend Molecule Man in Denver. He's frustrated and angry that everything he's tried has gone wrong. And when the Big B is angry he lashes out and destroys things, including the Moon. Owen Reece talks him down, and surreptitiously repairs everything, including the Moon.

Owen asks Marsha Rosenberg to leave them alone while he tries psychiatry on Beyonder (basing it on his experience being psychoanalysed). He asks him about his childhood, but all B can do about that is show him the Beyond, outside the multiverse, where he was everything that existed. He didn't know other things were possible until a pinhole opened up through which he could see Marvel Earth. He recreates that event, right down to the photons coming through the hole. Owen looks through and finds that the event which caused the pinhole was his own origin as Molecule Man (Fantastic Four #20).

But he quickly brushes past that and gets Beyonder to take him through what's happened since he came to Earth. We see B near the end of #3 where he'd decided that the way people satisfy their desires is to acquire things, and so he'd conquered the world. But that was an empty victory. So in #4 he looked for love and chose Dazzler/Alison Blaire but she rejected him. Then within #5 he visited Dr Strange in his #74 and was advised to find his role in life. He tried being a superhero in #6 but that didn't work out. After thinking a lot in #7 he thought his role might be helping others find their roles, and tried that in several tie-in issues. In particular in Spectacular Spider-Man #111 Big B tried to let Puma fulfil his destiny to kill him, but Puma failed at the critical moment.

They return from the time-trip to the Denver apartment, where Owen's fulfilling relationship with Marsha just rubs salt in Beyonder's wounds. He decides the only way for him to be happy is to be alone again. And to that end he's going to destroy the multiverse. Molecule Man tries to talk him down again. He suggests that it is Big B's omnipotence which makes everything meaningless. He should limit himself to being truly human. But B thinks he's just trying to get him vulnerable so he can kill him.

This makes him more determined than ever to wipe everything out. Owen pleads with B to remember their friendship and think it over. Beyonder says he'll wait 24 hours. Then vanishes.

He reappears in a San Francisco hotel and compels the reception to give him the best suite, throwing the current occupants out. Then in a restaurant he compels waitress Julia to accompany him back to that suite. She is completely besotted with him, but it means nothing to him. He creates a (minor) earthquake, and then just as easily stops it. He asks Julia why humans endure their bleak lives, but gets angry when she repeats Reece's idea that the knowledge of death makes each moment precious. In his exasperation he ages her near to the death she finds so important, but then relents and makes her young again to enjoy the few hours the universe has left.

Beyonder also sends Julia away, sensing the approach of trouble in the form of the X-Men led by Magneto. He's not in the mood to kill them, so he uses Magneto's own magnetism to repel him, Rogue and Wolverine, and Shadowcat's phasing power to send her and Colossus sinking through the building. But Rachel Summers uses her recently attained Phoenix status to try to kill him, but fails.

Big B asks her why she tried when she must have known it was useless. She says it was because he came to their city. B realises that he knew that and must have subconsciously hoped she would succeed. He leaves to mull it over.

Owen Reece has been watching these developments using his Molecule Man powers. He panics and devises a plan to at least save Denver when Beyonder destroys everything else. He gathers all his energy and surrounds the city in a force bubble that he hopes will enable it to survive without the rest of the multiverse. (Making the closed ecosystem work will be a task for later.) But B arrives and smashes it open with a thought. (For some reason it breaks into physical shards which MM has to dissolve to save the citizens.)

But Beyonder was only passing on his way to the southwestern desert and the Hulk. The Big Green immediately attacks the Big B and pummels him until Beyonder suspends him in midair. The last time B saw him he was Bruce Banner trapped in the Crossroads between dimensions contemplating suicide (Hu#312). Now he wanted to study that urge more closely, but discovers that Banner is no longer within the Hulk (since Hu#315). All that's left is the power without a mortal element - which Beyonder now sees as a reflection of himself. He leaves Hulk to think some more.

Later Beyonder pops up in New York and sees Spider-Man swinging past. He goes to see Peter Parker in his burned-out (since Web of SM #11) apartment. (For some reason Pete opens the door in his costume with the mask off even before he knows it's Beyonder outside.) B asks P why humans have a passion for life and a fascination with death. Peter illustrates with an example:- He saw a man committing suicide by jumping off a tall building. SM swung down to save him and the falling man grabbed his hand. PP knows that the immanence of death makes life seem sweeter.

Of course this answer just irritates Beyonder again. It's what he has been trying to deny. But his parting remark is that Peter may have saved the universe again. On the way out he's attacked by the New Mutants who have been alerted by Phoenix. But he dismisses them in 3 panels and goes off to think some more.

Meanwhile Molecule Man has gathered up all the free energy in the multiverse, but he knows even this isn't enough to defeat Big B. So his next plan is to move himself and Marsha to hide in a personal force bubble in the Beyond-Realm, the last place Beyonder will look. But Marsha talks him into standing up to B. She has a theory that B really wants to kill Owen because he's jealous of their successful relationship. But she also thinks to herself that she's ready to take the next step herself if he fails, even though it will hurt her lover.

Beyonder has finished thinking on a lonely mountaintop and heads to Denver to tell Owen that he's right - he's ready to try mortality. But Reece senses his approach and is ready for him. He attacks on sight. B tries to explain that he comes in peace, but MM won't let up. So B just stops him.

But now B's paranoia is vindicated. If he'd been mortal Owen would have killed him! So now Reece must die. But Marsha throws herself at his feet begging Beyonder to spare her. Kill Owen and the rest of the world but keep her at his side. She spurns Reece as worthless. But B is disgusted and Marsha flees. Owen is curled up in a foetal ball. B kicks him and leaves, saying that the multiverse is safe for a while until it ceases to amuse him.

Marsha drives off and we learn that was her real plan. Beyonder was only angry at Owen because he was jealous. By making B think Owen's perfect life was a fraud she'd saved his life. (And we also learn that B wasn't actually fooled.)

Beyonder now wanders off into NM#37 and Amazing SM#274.

Then, still angry at MM's betrayal, Beyonder vents energy which is tracked by the Avengers (Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hercules and Sub-Mariner) in their quinjet. They land and Cap approaches him. B impatiently creates a vortex which sends the Avengers and their craft spinning away. Only Cap dodges out of the way so Big B becomes truly big and grabs him.

To be continued in AVENGERS #265.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Piotr Rasputin)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)

(Anna Marie LeBeau)

(Peter Parker)

(James Howlett)

> Secret Wars II: Book info and issue index

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