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Comics of 1986 #46: Secret Wars II
© Alan J. Porter
March 02, 2006

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 fulfilled.

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.

Click here to return to the Comics of 1986.

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