When Reagan reigned, and days were spent on
heroes bold and caped and booted,
naively, I lost every cent on
drudgery that came jumpsuited.
Once, comic books were “done-in-one”… and
then came nineteen eighty-four
when someone said “team-ups are fun!” and
Marvel threw a Secret War.
The series bounded off the shelves
like Diet Meth; everyone bought ‘er.
Marvel schemed amongst themselves
like chum had been hurled in the water.
A sequel was announced and hatched
as ink dried on the final issue,
but Wars’ success would go unmatched;
II was so bad, I’d need a tissue.
Jim Shooter took the writing reins,
but he was also Marvel’s boss
so editors could take no pains
to stop his crazy mishegoss.
He thought the sequel’s crux should be to
bring here to Earth part I’s “Big Bad”;
In hindsight, surely even he knew
the worst idea he’d ever had.
He had been All where he was from;
we’d piqued his curiosity.
He was omnipotent but dumb
when it came to humanity.
So he left his universe… of… Him
and came here, human yet divine.
All-knowing, yet profoundly dim.
(Think you’re confused? Man, I was nine.)
And oh!, his clothes! My God, that coif!
That nest of jheri-curly fuzz!…
He looked a bit like Hasselhoff
before I knew just who that was.
So, childlike, this godlike zero,
dressed like Michael Jackson’s double,
went to visit every hero
who, in turn, said, “Thiiis is trouble.”
But here’s the thing, though: he was God.
Use all the might you can exert!
Do all you want to smash that bod!
He doesn’t care, Hulk; he can’t hurt.
Page after page, heroes are sent
To punch and stab him, even though
They know he is omnipotent.
He walks away. They let him go.
So: X-Men trying to kill Jesus.
Does that sound like effective drama?
Each issue, they’d attack and he jus’
talked at them like the Dalai Lama.
“So ponderous! So plodding! Tell me,
why’s Baddie the star of the book?
The cast’s so big, and yet you sell me
a roadside wreck; I have to look.”
And then, to make the readers buy in
(because the first one went so well)
they made all books they published tie in;
they’d cross-promote this thing to hell.
He stopped by thirty other comics.
X-Men! Spidey! The New Mutants!
Less artistry, more economics.
Character? More like pollutant.
Dazzler got a little visit
where, I think, he tried to shag her
(Sure, that sounds risque, but is it?:
he shot smack with Cloak & Dagger.)
Let Phoenix “kill” him in a fight,
then he decided just to fake it.
He gave Daredevil back his sight;
Daredevil opted not to take it (!)
Had soul food with Luke Cage and got
the check (kind of) cuz he insisted.
Popped up in ROM and Micronauts,
books which, apparently, existed.
(Did Shooter’s workers have a laugh?
Read the tie-ins now, and ponder:
is his disgruntled writing staff
writing him as the Beyonder?)
Then, finally, he had to die
though, lamely, ’twas by his own hand.
By then, my piggy bank was dry;
like him, I wished to understand.
History is unforgiving
to the second Secret War
but its legacy keeps living
every summer at your store.
And though the tie-ins break your heart,
and though the story may nonplus,
as long as there is ink for art
there’ll always be an Omnibus.
Jim Mroczkowski doesn’t rhyme with anything. You can have a much less bat@^#% insane conversation with him at either Jimski.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.