Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.

In morose mode, the Beyonder gives some of his power to hothead Rachel (Phoenix), together with the challenge to use it to either save the rest of the X-Men's lives, or kill him.

Clearly he's just manipulating her, a fact evidenced by his keenness to see both scenarios play-out.

Rachel duly obliges, in the second issue by plotting to destroy the entire universe along with him inside it.

By this stage the Beyonder has decided to destroy the universe anyway, so destroying it with him too is a bit like the nuclear deterrent. Rachel considers no-one winning to be better than the other side winning. It's armageddon on a universal scale.

To carry out this ultimate act of unithanasia, she has to first spiritually posess every living thing in the cosmos. This she does. With the benefit of this new omniversal perspective though, she finds she just can't go through with it.

All those beings, all those voices, all those souls.

Rachel: "Everything depended on me, Ororo. But I failed. I failed. I failed."

Ororo: "Because you could not kill? Because you could not slaughter countless innocents? A strange failure, that."

Rachel: "Now the Beyonder will. He'll destroy everything!"

Ororo: "And that infinite cost will be upon his conscience."

Ultimately she returns the Beyonder's power to him, but together with the experience that she has had of the totality of life in all its forms. The Beyonder can't handle that either. He collapses, likewise overcome by his own conscience.

I found this a satisfying conclusion to a story about how to save the universe from a villain who is omnipotent. Of course, as an omniscient being, the Beyonder should have already known exactly what he was doing, and arguably what would come of it. However as comes across again and again in Secret Wars II, despite many statements to the contrary, he does not actually know everything.


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