Ode to the Beyonder

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.

The villain, see, was the Beyonder,
a walking, talking universe.
Embodied newly, he’d… just wander;
oh wait, friend, it gets so much worse.

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.”

He’d screw with them if left unheeded
like last time they were around him.
This was the last thing that they needed;
Clearly, they would have to pound him.

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 jim@ifanboy.com.


  1. My god! That was awesome. Can we Please have an audio rexirding of you reading this gem? Please?   This begs to be a piece of performance art.

     I tihnk, now that most of us are older and expect plausible narrative, we can enjoy stories like these in by reveling in their absurdity. It’s kind of like watching a demolition derby or a friend do something absolutley ridicolousss while drunk. It’s the aame insanity that is highlighted in the "What were they thinking" Mini’s or in episodes of "Tom vs. the JLA"

    Again, awesome.

  2. There should certainly be some kind of dramatic reading.

  3. "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." 

    There was almost a spit-take on those lines. What a great piece of work. 

  4. Jimski needs to start wearing a sign that reads "Mad genius at work."


    Simply brilliant.

  5. there’s really only two people who could pull off a dramatic reading of this.


    augie and daryl.


    make it happen, ifanboy!

  6. I have often wondered if I should go back through Secret Wars 1 & 2 and now I can say without a shadow of a doubt 2 is off my list thanks for saving me some serious time 🙂


    P.S. I vote for the dramatic reading that really, really is one of the best posts on this site 🙂

  7. I expect, no demand, more of the same around Christmas. I dub thee the Charles Dickens of iFanboy!

    And I’ll add a vote for Augie. He would be perfect!

  8. Awesome post. Don’t even want to know how long that took to put together. Maybe some dramatic beatnik bongo drum beats behind it at Augie’s reading.

    I do have to state – for good or for naught – I do remember the series and, particularly, the Daredevil crossover issue where the Beyonder gave Matt Murdoch back his sight, but Matt didn’t want it. Really weird stuff. I’d almost dare enter the long box just to go through it again for shits and giggles.

    And that omnibus looks like it’ll have the FF arc where the Beyonder was truly put out to pasture (#316-319). Yes, I have that too. It wasn’t as awful as you’d think it would be – had some good Molecule Man characterization in it (there’s a character I think Bendis or Fraction could do something awesome with). But it was the FF with two Things – one a woman – Crystal and Human Torch – not really that Fantastic a team.

  9. *claps*

  10. It rhymes, how about that…real poetry.

  11. This made my day. Excellent job.

  12. Ah, the 80’s…when nonsense made sense.

  13. I really want– and I don’t know why, exactly– but I really want to see a Youtube video of a dramatic reading of this poem as done by a Big Mouth Billy Bass.

  14. That was better written than Secret Wars II. Or Secret Wars I. Does anyone remember the issue of Fantastic Four called "Secret Wars 3" that told the supposedly "true" origin of the Beyonder and how it ties into the Molecule Man? And how harsh of a retcon rape did THAT issue get by Bendis is Illuminati?

  15. Oh my God.

    See, I read the headline on this article and I just assumed "Ode" was a metaphor.

    But not so much.


  16. Impressive. Tres, tres impressive. Funny, too. Tres funny.

    SWII happend shortly after I got out of comics; the only issue I own is the X-Men issue with "Phoenix" on the cover. (Hey, don’t know who the poorly drawn buzz cut chick is, dont’ care. Phoenix died on the moon. Period.) It was an awful, awful book and my friends told me at the time that it was one of the better ones.

    I think SWII and all the tie ins should be collected in an omnibus edition and be required reading for anyone who wants to do an all company crossover. Perhaps if Jim Lee had been forced to read it we could’ve been spared Fire From Heaven, for example. 

    Keep up the good work, Jim. 


  17. Clap Clap Clap clap clap clap clap!

  18. Wow.  That’s beyond brilliant.  (Ok, that pun was unintentional, but I’m leaving it.)

     I was laughing all along (particularly at "omnipotent but dim"), but I don’t think anything hit me harder than the part about the Beyonder secretly being Jim Shooter.  Hilarity.

  19. Just wow! I daren’t even think how long that took to come up (although probably not long as you’re clearly an evil, unstable genius).

    @nickmaynard – you’re right. Daryl is the only person on the planet that can do this justice… AND set it to music like that Baz Luhrman song. That’d be like Christmas come early!

  20. Marvel needs a Beyonder/Sentry book.  That’ll learn us.

  21. THAT was pretty damn amazing!

    If you do get an audio recording of it may I request hiring either James Lipton or James Earl Jones to read it.  I’d be good with Lipton.

  22. WHen I was a kid, I excitedly started buying SW2, and quickly realized I could not get past the hair.