The Beyonder (comics)

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The Beyonder
SecretwarsII3.png
The Beyonder from Secret Wars II #3,
Art by Al Milgrom
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Secret Wars #1,
(May 1984)
Created by Jim Shooter (writer)
Mike Zeck (artist)
In-story information
Species Cosmic entity, possibly Inhuman mutant (see below)
Notable aliases Frank, Kosmos
Abilities Nigh Omnipotence (pre-retcon)
Reality warping (post-retcon)

The Beyonder is a fictional character in Marvel Comics Universe.

Publication history[edit]

Created by Jim Shooter;[1] and Mike Zeck, the Beyonder first appeared in Secret Wars;[2] as an unseen force. He reappears in Secret Wars II #1 (July 1985), which was written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Al Milgrom.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Secret Wars[edit]

The Beyonder is the sum total of a parallel reality called the Beyond-Realm or simply "Beyond", hence the name "Beyonder". This dimension is accidentally accessed by nebbishy lab technician Owen Reece. Part of the energy from the dimension escapes and imbues Reece with near-infinite powers, which he wields as the villainous Molecule Man - potentially one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe. The remaining energy of the pocket dimension apparently gains sentience and curiosity. Using its vast powers, the Beyonder creates a planet called "Battleworld" out of pieces of various planets (one such piece being a suburb of Denver) and abducts a number of superheroes and supervillains from Earth so that he can observe the never-ending battle between good and evil that rages within humanity at large.

Initially explaining the nature of the experiment to the involuntary participants, the entity identifies itself only as "I am from beyond." The name "Beyonder" is quickly applied by Galactus and adopted by all others present. Galactus, sensing that the Beyonder could alleviate his perpetual hunger, immediately and aggressively charges into the Beyond-Realm through a dimensional rift, followed by Doctor Doom, who seeks power for his own purposes. Both are repelled, but the information gathered by Doom later enables him to use the body of the sound-based villain Klaw as a medium to steal the energies of Galactus' Worldship and then the power of the Beyonder itself. With the Beyonder's power, Doom constructs a 200-mile (320 km) high tower of golden stone as temporary quarters, and then states that he has given up his ambitions for conquest, instead simply being content with freeing his mother's soul from Mephisto. The Beyonder's consciousness then possesses Klaw's damaged mind and manipulates Doom into unconsciously squandering his power against the superheroes, distracting him enough for the Beyonder to steal his power back.[3]

This story formed the basis of the first Secret Wars twelve-issue limited series. The series sold incredibly well, with circulation reaching up to 750,000 copies per issue, numbers reminiscent of the height of comic book sales during the Golden Age of the 1940s.[citation needed]

Secret Wars II[edit]

Due to the high sales of the first series, a second Secret Wars series, the nine-issue Secret Wars II miniseries, was published. This series crossed over into almost every comic that Marvel was publishing at the time.

Intrigued by what he has witnessed during the first Secret Wars, the Beyonder comes to Earth to walk among humans and study them and learn of human desire firsthand. He creates a human body for himself; originally, this body resembles Molecule Man. He also transforms a television writer named Steward Cadwell into Thundersword. Finally, the Beyonder creates a form for himself based on that of Captain America.[4]

At first, the Beyonder has a complete lack of understanding of human biology and society, which leads to numerous difficult situations, some serious and some humorous. For instance, he needs to learn by example the difference between edible objects and non-edible ones, and needs to be toilet-trained by Spider-Man. When he learns about the monetary system from Luke Cage, the Hero for Hire, he transforms the Manhattan Heroes for Hire office building into gold as thanks for their assistance.[5] He later comes under the influence of a criminal named Vinnie and becomes the head of a criminal cartel. The Beyonder then uses mind control to assume control over the entire Earth, only to relinquish control when he grows restless and frustrated with the lack of free will that the world now displays.[6] Beyonder then transforms the elf Algrim into Kurse. The Beyonder became enamored with the beauty and power potential within singing superheroine Dazzler, resulting in a brief love affair.[7] On a train to New York, the Beyonder meets the mutant Tabitha Smith, also known as Boom Boom. Thinking he is a mutant, Boom Boom accompanies him. The Beyonder abandons her but returns and takes her to Xavier's school. At the school, Tabitha is terrified when the teams of the X-Men and the New Mutants fight the Beyonder. The Beyonder takes her to a planet where the Celestials are located. There, threatening to destroy the universe, the Beyonder fights and seemingly defeats a number of Celestials. Fearful of a further battle taking place between the Beyonder and the Celestials, Tabitha demands to be returned to Earth. Back on Earth, Boom Boom alerts the Avengers about the Beyonder. Summoning the Beyonder, Boom Boom thereby leads him into an ambush by the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and other costumed champions. The Beyonder, who had regarded Boom Boom as his only friend, allows the Avengers to defeat him, but then leaves. Boom Boom leaves during the battle.[8]

The Beyonder then acts in an attempt to "preserve life" throughout the universe by seemingly eliminating and then resurrecting the manifestation of Death.[9] Throughout the course of the series, the demon Mephisto seeks to steal his powers or to destroy him to win the favor of Death. Mephisto sends an army of supervillains called the Legion Accursed to attack the Beyonder, who is saved by the Thing.[10] The Beyonder then fights the Puma, believing that the only purpose left in his life is to help the Puma find his by allowing Puma to become one with the universe and allow Puma to slay him- Puma having been convinced of the Beyonder's nature as a malicious threat - but a casual comment by Spider-Man about the Beyonder's manipulations causes Puma to lose faith in himself at the crucial moment, and the Beyonder survives uninjured.[11]

The Beyonder then feels the futility of all his efforts and decides to destroy the entire multiverse.[12] He starts by killing the New Mutants.[13] He then battles Phoenix.[14]

The Beyonder reconsiders destroying the multiverse, and resurrects the New Mutants. Realizing that he can never truly understand what its like to be mortal as long as he has his powers as a safety net, he constructs a machine to leech and contain his powers, turning him mortal. Amazed with his newfound "limitations", he quickly becomes fearful of being without his power and takes his power back from the machine. Intrigued by this new experience, the Beyonder tries to create for himself a mortal human infant body that can retain his omnipotence, but will allow him to grow and learn at a normal rate. Although he is on the verge of succeeding, he is killed in the process by the Molecule Man. The Beyonder's near-limitless power is returned to the now-empty "Beyond-Realm", where it forms a Big Bang and creates a new universe.[15]

Deadpool Team-Up[edit]

Long after the Secret Wars II crossover had ended, a Deadpool special featured the "Secret Wars II continues in this issue" corner tag that was used during that original storyline. In this issue, a younger, less-experienced Deadpool is hired by the Kingpin to kill the Beyonder. The flashback sequence ends with Deadpool chasing him into a portal with a footnote saying "to be continued in Secret Wars III."[16] This storyline has yet to be followed up on.

Kosmos and Maker[edit]

The tale of the Beyonder continues several years later when it is revealed that the energy which comprises the Beyonder and the energy that gives the Molecule Man his powers needs to be combined in order to create the basis for a mentally stable, mature, nigh-omnipotent being to be born. The Beyonder then merges with the Molecule Man.[17] This being, called Kosmos, expels the Molecule Man from its form, and returns him to Earth. Kosmos takes on a female form and is tutored by Kubik, touring the universe with him.[18] When the Molecule Man's lover, Volcana, leaves him, Owen Reece gets angry, extracts the Beyonder from Kosmos, and proceeds to attack him until Kubik intervenes.[volume & issue needed]

At some unknown point, Kosmos goes mad and assumes a mortal form, now calling itself the Maker. After the now amnesiac Maker destroys a Shi'ar colony, the Imperial Guard manage to imprison it in the interstellar prison called the Kyln. The Maker's madness takes control of several inmates, but is finally subdued by the nihilist Thanos and several of his allies among the prisoners. Thanos confronts the Maker, and, by refusing to reveal its origins at a critical juncture, manipulates it to psychically shut down its own mind. Thanos instructs the Shi'ar that the body should be kept alive but brain-dead, or the Beyonder essence would go free again.[19]

Apparently, Thanos had encountered the Beyonder in the past, but this has never been explained, as Thanos was dead at the time of Secret Wars II. Thanos' flashback showed Thanos as a youngster.[volume & issue needed]

Beyond! and "Annihilation"[edit]

The Beyonder returned in the series named after him, Beyond!.[20] This being was called The Beyonder in the second issue. This "Beyonder" is once again in command of the patchwork Battleworld, where it is revealed that he has been collecting various superhumans and pitting them in combat with one another. Eventually, the pool of heroes and villains featured in the mini-series discovers that this Beyonder is actually the Stranger, who has been conducting studies of super-humanity through re-creations of the original Secret War.

In the "Annihilation" crossover, the former Herald of Galactus, the Fallen One, now under the control of Thanos,[21] is sent to investigate the aftermath of the Kyln's destruction by the Annihilation Wave and ascertain the Beyonder's fate. The Fallen One soon finds the lifeless form of Kosmos in the rubble.[22]

New Avengers: The Illuminati[edit]

The Beyonder in his human form.
Art by Jimmy Cheung.

In New Avengers: The Illuminati #3, featuring a retcon of past events, Charles Xavier reveals that in the original Secret War, he had initially planned to use his powers to make everyone fall asleep and thus buy him and Reed Richards time to formulate an escape plan, but feared the Beyonder's wrath. However, he immediately sensed a strange mental presence and attempted to mind-scan the Beyonder, revealing him as one of the Inhumans previously ruled over by fellow Illuminati member Black Bolt. Xavier also deduced the apparent secret behind the Beyonder's seemingly godlike abilities, which was that the Beyonder was not only an Inhuman but also a mutant, like Xavier and his own team of X-Men, and the exposure of his mutant genes to Terrigen Mists had created an unprecedented reaction, bestowing upon him more amazing power and knowledge than all other Inhumans of his time.[23]

This revelation leads to a confrontation with the Beyonder during the events of the second Secret War, wherein Black Bolt expresses his extreme displeasure toward the Beyonder's activities. When encountered, the Beyonder is dwelling in a simulacrum of Manhattan Island on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. The scene playing out is one from the Secret Wars II series (the destruction of Power Man and Iron Fist's headquarters). At the 2007 Philadelphia Comic-Con, writer Brian Michael Bendis admitted the asteroid scene was deliberately vague, allowing readers to draw their own connections to Secret Wars II.[citation needed] He also claimed he did not receive enough credit for maintaining the character's 1987 jheri curl.[citation needed]

The story itself is deliberately ambiguous; Black Bolt, for example, does not remember the mutant Inhuman who vanished, making it possible the Beyonder arranged all this as a mind game, as he had when he lived as a human and a mutant, trying to find a purpose in his existence.[original research?] Iron Man also says that he remembers the Beyonder, though Jim Rhodes was Iron Man at the time of the original Secret Wars. Tony Stark was Iron Man for most of Secret Wars II.[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Although not native to this dimension, the Beyonder was one of the absolute strongest and most powerful beings ever to exist in the Marvel Universe. In the original Secret Wars storyline, he was the be-all and end-all of the Marvel universe[24] that took human form to better understand the nature of human beings, and capable of destroying the entire multiverse or the conceptual entity Death itself. After his creator, Jim Shooter, left Marvel, writer-editor Tom DeFalco, displeased with Shooter's tenure at Marvel, re-tooled the Beyonder and altered his origin. He was no longer nigh omnipotent as many initially believed, being an incomplete Cosmic Cube, with less raw power and the same limitations of a complete cube. Nonetheless, he possessed vast psionic abilities allowing him to control and manipulate matter and energy at a cosmic level beyond all but the strongest and most powerful of cosmic entities.

He was shown and described to repel Galactus "like a bug",[25] and even greatly exceeded the collected energy of the latter's World-Ship.[26] He once destroyed a galaxy on a whim to meet his needs during the first Secret Wars,[25] and later, by using his entire energies, created a universe out of his own being.[27] When the Molecule Man extracted the Beyonder from Kosmos, their battle took place in more than three dimensions, and threatened vast portions of reality.[28] In Kosmos' 'Maker' incarnation, she was stated as capable of reversing The Crunch itself, essentially collapsing the entire universe.[29] The Beyonder could endow himself with a corporeal form of practically limitless strength and endurance. However, his scale of power has been claimed to be below that of the Living Tribunal and Eternity,[27] the Celestials,[30] or the Molecule Man (when unfettered from his emotional weaknesses).[28]

Other versions[edit]

In the Earth-691 timeline seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Beyonder provides Guardian Vance Astro with a black undergarment resembling a Symbiote.[31]

In the alternate Earth of Mutant X, the Beyonder allies with Dracula, to wage war on Earth's forces and to confront the entity known as the 'Goblyn Queen'. Many of the Mutant X heroes are killed in this confrontation. The battle ends up threatening all realities.[volume & issue needed]

Mister Mxyzptlk parodied the Beyonder in his first appearance in the post-Crisis continuity by assuming a form and identity that was similar in clothing and appearance to the Beyonder. He called himself "Ben Deroy", an anagram of the name "Beyonder." When asked by Lois Lane where he came from, he answers by saying, "Oh...here and there. Yonder, let's say. Yes. Yonder."[32]

In the Spider-Ham universe, "The Bee-Yonder" briefly appears to give Spider-Ham a version of the black uniform, stating that the familiar red-and-blue uniform was out of style.[33]

In other media[edit]

The Beyonder makes an appearance in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series voiced by Earl Boen.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rivera, Joshua (October 10, 2014). "Go big or go home: Why Marvel's new 'Secret Wars' could be too much". Entertainment Weekly. 
  2. ^ Truitt, Brian (October 9, 2014). "New 'Secret Wars' is Marvel Comics' major event of 2015". USA Today. 
  3. ^ Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #1-12
  4. ^ Secret Wars II #1
  5. ^ Secret Wars II #2
  6. ^ Secret Wars II #3
  7. ^ Secret Wars II #4
  8. ^ Secret Wars II #5
  9. ^ Secret Wars II #6
  10. ^ Secret Wars II #7
  11. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #273; Spectacular Spider-Man #111
  12. ^ Secret Wars II #8
  13. ^ New Mutants #37
  14. ^ Uncanny X-Men #203
  15. ^ Secret Wars II #9
  16. ^ Deadpool Team-up #1
  17. ^ Fantastic Four #319, in a story called "Secret Wars 3"
  18. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #23
  19. ^ Thanos (2003) #10
  20. ^ Going Beyond With Brevoort, Mcduffie, & Kolins - Newsarama
  21. ^ Thanos #12 (2004)
  22. ^ Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 (Apr 2006)
  23. ^ New Avengers: Illuminati #3 Preview
  24. ^ Secret WarsII #8
  25. ^ a b Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars v.1, #1
  26. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars v.1, #10
  27. ^ a b Fantastic Four #319
  28. ^ a b Fantastic Four Annual #27
  29. ^ Thanos #10-12
  30. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #23 (1990)
  31. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy #38 (1993)
  32. ^ Superman #28
  33. ^ Spider-Ham #17

External links[edit]