Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

PP#18 Script: Louise Simonson
PP#18 Pencils: Brent Anderson & Scott Williams
TMT#363 Art & Story: Walter Simonson

Two-part Secret Wars II-crossover story, with part one in child super-group title Power Pack (left), and part two in hammer-throwing god of Thursday's title The Mighty Thor (right).

The Beyonder's good intentions seem to have levelled-out a bit. He's now quite definitely trying to be a super hero, but having upset everyone by conquering Death recently (and then quickly aquiesced into bringing the reaper back again), he's now limited himself to only offering people help. After all, he still isn't quite sure what makes an action 'good'. It's certainly encouraging that that's the side that he's aiming for.

If any issues in this saga demonstrate just how far the Beyonder's morality has come in such a short stretch of time, it's these ones.

Back in Secret Wars II #4 he resurrected the metallic Algrim (also known as Kurse) to let him try to kill Thor, more out of curiosity and sport than anything else.

Now Algrim has finally made it across the bottom of the sea to New York (where Thor works), and the Beyonder is faced with the results of an experiment that he wouldn't bother with making today. Still, he lets Algrim's battle with Thor play out anyway.

I think, in that footnote-box, they meant to write Secret Wars II #4. (an easy mistake) And I also think they meant to put another asterisk somewhere in the text above, to point down to it.

Anyhow, after Algrim has injured the title characters' mum, it never seems to occur to the one from beyond that he just might be in some way responsible, or maybe he might have healed her, instead of merely taking her to the hospital.

That said, little by little, it's clear that his journey towards understanding life is still progressing.

Beyonder: "... all the power in the universe can't make you good. You have to CHOOSE it."

Speaking of choosing good, or rather failing to, as a teenager in 1985, I found Marvel's child supergroup Power Pack to be something of an embarrassment.

Well, that was probably because I had never read their comic.

I was particularly surprised at Marvel UK's decision to run their adventures as a back-up strip in their Return Of The Jedi weekly. Frankly(n), I believed that Power Pack should have been at the bottom of their list. I mean, they were all kids.

When they got up to this two-parter in #129-132, about two months before Secret Wars II was to even begin reprinting at Marvel UK, the editor of ROTJ (apparently a droid called Cyril) seemed at something of a loss as to who some of these new characters were.

I think that was a cry for help.

Kudos to Cyril for putting an asterisk in the above text though, partly because he put it in the wrong panel, but mostly because he also erased the second asterisk to which it would have pointed.

Neither did he print the final page of part one, but that's okay, because he didn't bother with any of part two either.


Fortunately, confused British readers had all this rectified for them when, nine months later, both episodes reached UK comic shelves for a third time in the British reprint mag Secret Wars II #65-66...

... although this time it was instead the penultimate page of part one that went bye-bye.

Human editors!

Still, at least that footnote-box underneath the cop firing at Algrim finally got something written in it that made some sort of sense...

Three things to note this time:

1. TWO asterisks. Whew!

2. While Secret Wars II (UK) #57 had indeed reprinted Secret Wars II #4, I'm afraid that neither one of them had featured any fight between Algrim and Thor in the first place, not even in flashback. They had included the Beyonder briefly talking about that event, which had actually taken place even earlier in The Mighty Thor (US) #247-248, assuming that the footnote-box in SWII#4 had been trustworthy.

3. This time they've noticed to Anglicise the American spelling of 'armor'. Shame on your spellcheck, Cyril.

Thankfully, the following week, God bless 'em, they did in fact reprint part two, the opening narration of which actually reads "This story begins twice." Heh-heh-heh.

After that, the second half of page eight is replaced with an advert for the British Spider-Man Annual. There's also the odd bit of narration that's been reworded, until eventually, the final page of part two is cut as well. I can see why they did that - it was all a bit Thor-continuity-based. What a shame no-one thought to replace the back-issue references with their corresponding issues of Return Of The Jedi though. (assuming those episodes had indeed seen print in there)

Y'know, I feel I've only chosen to highlight the negative things of the UK reprintings above. Bearing in mind the Beyonder's thoughts in this story on choosing good, let me finish on some of the positive advantages that the UK versions enjoyed over the US:

Part one had a free sticker-badge of the Enchantress, while part two came with a whole free sticker-album!



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