Comics : Beyond #5

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

The Beyonder has kidnapped Hank Pym, the Wasp, Venom, the Hood, Gravity, Medusa, Alyosha Kravinoff and Firebird and transported them to a new Battleworld. Once there they meet up with Deathlok who informed them that the Beyonder has been doing this for years. The Space Phantom, who was hiding amongst them disguised as Spider-Man, may have the means to send them home. Pym opened a door to Limbo and he and the other heroes waited inside to ambush the Space Phantom. Meanwhile, the doorway was destroyed from the outside by Venom who declared to the Beyonder that he has won his captor's competition.

In Detail...

"Everybody Limbo"
Beyond #5
Jan 2007 : SM Guest
Summary: Space Phantom Appearing as Spider-Man
Editor:  Tom Bervoort
Writer:  Dwayne McDuffie
Artist:  Scott Kolins
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Issue
Review
Articles: Gravity, Venom III

Our heroes are stuck in Limbo and no-one is terribly pleased about it. Pym has emptied his pockets of all his miniaturised high-tech tom-foolery, but it's not going to get them out. There is much bickering. Meanwhile, the Beyonder seems to be ignoring Venom and couldn't care less that he has defeated the other heroes. This depresses Venom.

In Limbo: Pym pontificates at length how he can never make things up to Janet. Firebird is very sympathetic. Gravity and the Hood show each other pictures of their girlfriends. Janet tells Medusa how she can never forgive Hank for hitting her, then Medusa points out Hank kissing Firebird (which at least ties up one small subplot). Deathlok comes up with a plan to escape.

On Battleworld, the Space Phantom confronts Venom and points out that because Venom didn't kill the other competitors he hasn't won the game. He then pops back to Limbo where he is jumped by all the heroes and trapped in a bubble of Gravity's devising. The Hood threatens the Space Phantom and eventually the creature agrees to take them all back to Battleworld. The Space Phantom tries to double-cross them but Janet is too smart for that.

The group has turned up next to Venom who is standing agog at the enormous being before him. "It's the Beyonder!" he declares. But it is not: it is the Watcher. Venom doesn't believe this and decides that it's time to play the Beyonder's game by trying to kill Firebird. Pym takes exception to this and seemingly disintegrates Venom with a handy rifle. He then turns the gun on the other heroes and disintegrates all of them. He feels bad about it, but Henry Pym has won the Beyonder's game.

In General...

I lost patience with this title last issue, and this does little to rekindle my enthusiasm. It's just so dull! There's no warmth, there's no humour - half the issue dwells on the characters sitting around Limbo moaning, and I still can't sympathise with any of them! I'm not usually this uncharitable; there's something fundamentally wrong here.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Hank Pym hit Janet recently. In actual fact it was in Avengers (Vol. 1) #213! Back in November 1981! Get over it for goodness sake! Why is it suddenly so important now?

And as for Firebird developing the hots for Hank Pym... why? She might have had feelings for him in long past issue of Avengers, but they're certainly not expressed in this series! Note to Mr McDuffie: having a heroine pout for four issues does not make for character motivation. You have to actually get into the mind of the character and show us what she's thinking - goodness knows you've had ample opportunity: it's not as if there's any plot to get in the way.

This series was a fun concept that has gone completely off the rails. It's a wreck.

Overall Rating...

There are worse comics than this out there, but you didn't read them this month. A writer should make you care about the characters, and I just don't care. One web.