The Beyonder is a fictional character in comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Secret Wars vol. 1 #1 (May 1984), and was created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. He reappears in Secret Wars II #1 (July 1985), which was created by Jim Shooter and Al Milgrom.
Apparently, Steve Englehart wanted to tie in the Beyonder to older characters known as the Beyonders (first mentioned in the team-up comic Marvel Two-in-One #63, beings powerful enough to collect planets) for his "Secret Wars III' story in Fantastic Four #318-319. According to Englehart, an editor hated the character and ordered the Beyonder "removed" from the Marvel Universe. Englehart did as asked but has stated that he tried to exile the character with dignity. The character was subjected to a retcon making him less potent than originally determined, and explanations of his omnipotence have been written off as the more powerful beings "playing along" to ease the Beyonder's transition into self-awareness. It was explained in Secret Wars III that the Beyonder was in fact a Cosmic Cube. During the first Secret War, the Beyonder claimed to be the embodiment of an entire universe. As he became self-aware, he recognized himself as the only person in his universe. Secret Wars III revealed that the Beyonder is in fact a wayward Cosmic Cube, at one time inhabiting his own "dimension" because there was no matrix to hold his energy. The Beyonder took his name from the powerful Beyonders who were manipulating his destiny.
In 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 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.
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.
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 an amalgam of parts of various super-beings. He then changes it to be a duplicate of Captain America. He also transforms a human into Thundersword. The Beyonder later patterns his hairstyle and wardrobe after Michael Jackson's look as Captain EO.
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 a homeless woman and Luke Cage, the Hero for Hire, he transforms the Manhattan Heroes for Hire office building into gold as thanks for their assistance. He later comes under the influence of a criminal named Vinnie and becomes the head of a criminal cartel; he 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. He then transforms the elf Algrim into Kurse. The Beyonder has a brief love affair with the musician Dazzler, and, when pondering his place and needs in the universe, accidentally inspires a cult of meditation. His body is destroyed, or nearly destroyed, several times over, although each time he repairs it with his powers.
On a train to New York, 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. However, that planet had not been truly the Celestials' headquarters, and the Celestials had allowed the Beyonder to "defeat" them, presumably in order to observe him in action. This, however, is part of the retcon. Fearful of the 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.
He then acts in an attempt to "preserve life" throughout the universe by seemingly eliminating and then resurrecting the manifestation of Death. 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 to attack the Beyonder, who is saved by the Thing. The Beyonder then fights the Puma.
The Beyonder reconsiders destroying the multiverse, and resurrects the New Mutants. The Beyonder tries to create for himself a mortal human infant body that can retain his omnipotence. 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 created a new universe.
At some unknown point, Kosmos goes mad and assumes a mortal form, now calling itself the Maker. After the 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 psychically shuts down its mind, instructing the Shi'ar that the body should be kept alive, brain-dead, or the Beyonder essence would go free again.
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.
In the "Annihilation" crossover, the former Herald of Galactus, the Fallen One, now under the control of Thanos, 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; however, given the strange nature of her existence as a Cosmic Cube, as well as the fact that she had been killed once before in Secret Wars II without apparent ill effect (the Cosmic Cube energy that was the original Beyonder simply filling up an empty pocket dimension where it was shunted to and starting life anew), it is uncertain at this time if she has truly died, or instead has been set free as Thanos predicted.
In New Avengers: The Illuminati #3, featuring a re-telling 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. The apparent secret behind the Beyonder's seemingly godlike abilities was also deduced by Xavier, who recognized that the Beyonder had been a mutant Inhuman, 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.
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. He also claimed he did not receive enough credit for maintaining the character's 1987 jheri curl.
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. The story's connection to modern continuity is unclear: the scene depicted on the asteroid is one which remains in continuity, as does the revelation of the Beyonder as a Cosmic Cube in Secret Wars II.
The Beyonder makes an appearance in the Spider-Man cartoon during the early 90's. However, his appearance in the cartoon greatly differs from his normal comics, featuring the brief "super hero" costume the Beyonder wore in Secret Wars II along with a new haircut and a goatee as opposed to having a clean-shaven face with a disco outfit. He is also more of a neutral force than a villain.
The Beyonder first appeared in the episode "Arrival" of Season 5, the first chapter of that Secret Wars in the series. The Beyonder worked with Madame Web to prepare Spider-Man for the Secret Wars, supposedly to see whether good was more powerful than evil. During this time, Doctor Doom actually managed to steal the Beyonder's powers in "Doom" (the third and last chapter to the Secret Wars), but he was defeated, and it was implied that he had planned the whole ordeal out before it began. The Beyonder had all the heroes Spider-Man had summoned to assist him forget their actions, and sent them home. Spider-Man, however, was needed for something bigger, so he was the only one whose memory was untouched. It was revealed that the evil Spider-Carnage had destroyed the entire multiverse with a giant bomb. However, when the destruction reached the Beyonder's own reality, he used all of his powers to roll back time. Though it tested him to the extreme, he sent his servant, Madame Web, into the past to train Spider-Men from many different realities to find out which one would be worthy enough to lead the others against Spider-Carnage.
Mister Mxyzptlk parodied the Beyonder in his first appearance in current 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 "Beyonder." When asked by Lois Lane where he came from, he answers by saying, "Oh...here and there. Yonder, let's say. Yes. Yonder."
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