Hot off the success of the 1984 Secret Wars crossover
mini-series (arguably the first true “universe-wide”
crossover) and its spin-off toy line, Marvel decided to revisit
the concept almost before the ink was dry on the last issue
of the original.
This time around instead of having the various heroes disappearing
off to the realm of the mysterious Beyonder, with minimal subsequent
interruption to their regular titles, it was decided to have
the omnipotent being visit the Marvel version of Earth and stride
his way through every single book that Marvel published —
or so it seemed at the time.
In Secret Wars II this omnipotent being came to Earth
to discover what it would be like to be human, and chose as
his teachers the various heroes he encountered the last time
around. Of course, being super-heroes they decided to fight
him rather than instruct — except for Spider-Man, who
taught him what it felt like to go to the bathroom! (I’m
not kidding. It’s right there in issue #2.)
This second Secret Wars series was seriously flawed
on several levels, not least of all in the basic premise. As
the Slings & Arrows Comics Guide puts it, “No
human writer can convincingly portray utterly omnipotent characters,
as Jim Shooter proceeds to demonstrate.” To be honest
Shooter’s idea of having the Beyonder assume diverse identities
and live different lives had some potential, but it was never
The book also suffers from the extensive nature of the crossover
and the way it was applied across the Marvel line of books. Read
as a self-contained nine-issue mini-series it suffers from appalling
plot jumps and flaws in narrative logic. To get the true scope
of the story you need to read all the cross-over issues —
a mere 30-plus books.
here to return to the Comics of 1986.