As the new ‘Secret Wars’ epic looms ever closer, one figure is stepping out of the shadows: the monumentally powerful being known only as – the Beyonder! But who is this mysterious being? And what game do I think he’s playing?
Curiously enough, the Beyonder’s story is only truly told in the pages of 2007’s ‘New Avengers: Illuminati’. In it, Charles Xavier reveals that he was able to make psychic contact with the Beyonder, and learned that he is something quite unique: a mutant who underwent Terrigenesis. In other words, the Beyonder is both a mutant and an Inhuman, owning Black Bolt as his king.
The result gave the Beyonder infinite power, albeit a distance from all the world; he seemed childlike, almost infantile, and was first encountered in the first classic ‘Secret Wars’. In this tremendous epic, the Beyonder gathered the world’s greatest heroes and villains to a Battleworld he forged. Intrigued by what he had seen during these events, the Beyonder came to Earth in ‘Secret Wars II’.
The Beyonder’s story wound up continuing in ‘Fantastic Four #319’, in a story entitled ‘Secret Wars III’. That issue presented a weird, sci-fi-heavy origin for the Beyonder that Marvel have completely ditched, and had his essence be contained within the mind of a man called Kosmos. In the 2004 ‘Thanos’ series, Marvel revisited this being, revealing that he had gone insane. Thanos realised that the human form of Kosmos had to be kept alive, otherwise the Beyonder would be released once again. And by 2006’s ‘Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1’, the world on which Kosmos was kept in stasis was destroyed. There were no survivors.
So, the Beyonder’s essence was released. He was left to wander the universe again, and yet it was all done in such a subtle way that it would be tremendously easy to miss it. It was years later, in Jonathan Hickman’s ‘Fantastic Four #570’, that we get the first hint of the current ‘Secret Wars’ plot, as he hinted that the fabric of the universe itself was beginning to fray; one genius referred to it as some manner of ‘judgment’.
Now here’s where I get rather more speculative. The question is, what has the Beyonder been up to? Well, I think that the first hint is in 2013’s ‘Iron Man: Fatal Frontier’ Infinite comic. In this storyline, for the first time we hear of a company known as Cortex Incorporated. They seem obsessed with power and control. In the space of two years, they’ve gone from unknown startup to market leader.
And then, in the pages of ‘Mighty Avengers’, we met their charismatic leader – Jason Quantrell.
The man is obsessed with finding the next big thing – finding it, and controlling it. That draws him to the Nuhuman phenomenon sweeping the world in the wake of ‘Infinity’. And he even has his own super-spy – a Nuhuman who used to simply be an excellent spy known as Quickfire. This being comics, she’s hot.
And the mystery of Jason Quantrell brings us relentlessly to ‘Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1’, where Quantrell makes a speech to his shareholders. He tells them they need to look at things from a different perspective:
Quantrell is a mystery man with an interest in the Inhumans. At first I thought he might be the Beyonder, but I’m not sure. At the very least, he’s in league with the Beyonder. And, with the 2015 solicits suggesting that Quantrell and Cortex Incorporated will play a key role in ‘Captain America and the Mighty Avengers’ as it leads up to ‘Secret Wars’, this may be a book to watch.
Oh, and incidentally, two points of speculation:
First of all, the Beyonder is a mutant who underwent Terrigenesis. Of all the Nuhumans being born around the world, what if any of them have an active X gene as well as Inhuman ancestry? Is it possible there are others out there with this kind of power-level?
And secondly, for all his being a mutant, the Beyonder is tied to the Inhumans and even owned Black Bolt as his king (even if he did kind of disobey him). Little wonder one of the ‘Secret Wars’ teasers is…