p>Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A mysterious structure appears in New York City. Heroes and villains are compelled to enter it. In a snap, they’re transported across space to a patchwork world where they are told: Slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours!
Yep, you have heard it before: It’s the plot of much-maligned Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars, a 1984 year-long series written by Jim Shooter with art by Mike Zeck.
But never fear this time, things are a little different, namely there’s none of the inane dialogue from that old series. In it’s place are witty interactions, the original intriguing premise and enjoyable artwork.
Just like before, it appears that the Beyonder, the omnipotent being from another dimension, has pulled a group of super-powered warriors together, just to watch them duke it out. Unlike last time, this group is a bit smaller:
- Spider-Man: Your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler takes his second turn on Battleworld.
- The Wasp: Another Battleworld vet. The fairy-like superhero can shrink, fly and shoot blasts of energy.
- Dr. Pym: The Wasp’s ex-husband is a scientific genius and can alter his size — and the size of other objects — by touching them.
- Venom: Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis. Last time I knew he was Eddie Brock, a work rival of Peter Parker’s. Things have changed though, and the Venom-being is now merged with the man once known as Scorpion.
- Medusa: A member of the royal family of Attilan, Medusa has super-powered hair.
- Firebird: A highly religious ex-Avenger with flame powers.
- Kraven the Hunter: The son of the original big-game hunter who had a mad-on for Spider-Man.
- The Hood: A character who I have absolutely no clue about.
- Gravity: Another character who I know little about. (Sorry! I can’t read everything!)
That’s an interesting cast if you ask me. There’s a superstar, there’s some well-knowns and there’s a few mystery guests.
Just as interesting, the series opens up with a mysterious figure as he buries contestants in an un-documented scenario just prior to the new group’s arrival. The losers? Bi-Beast, Super-Skrull and a Kree warrior.
Back in 1984, I absolutely loved Secret Wars. I was 11-years-old and superheroes beating the crud out of one-another was all I needed. I’m not expecting a repeat of that, but the first issue of ” Beyond!” has piqued my interest all over again.
It’s that twinge of excitement that makes “Beyond!” really interesting to me. Most of all, it’s not the heavy-handed Civil War, which is chocked full of serious, gut-wrenching stuff.
Instead, “Beyond!” goes for “summer blockbuster”-style fun, and I gotta say, it’s a welcome relief.
BEYOND! No. 1 (September 2006)
Written by: Dwayne McDuffie
Art by: Scott Kolins
Four Stars out of Four (How can you not enjoy the brash characters and wild plot).
Comic Book Resources’ article on Beyond!