While it’s not the only thing that has made him one of the most popular comic book characters for 60-plus years, Spider-Man’s Everyman qualities are one of his main draws. Introduced as “the superhero who could be you” by Stan Lee in the Silver Age, Spider-Man has retained the qualities that have made him such an endearing character over the years. Even when many extraordinary situations over the years have taken him beyond his “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” roots, he has retained that relatability.
Spider-Man’s involvement in a particular cosmic event had serious consequences. His appearance in the first Secret Wars the crossover led to him bringing back the classic Battleworld symbiote suit and the eventual creation of Venom. His participation in the Beyonder’s otherworldly battle royale led to an infamous moment between the divine being and the wallcrawler. It confirmed Spider-Man’s Everyman status in the weirdest way.
Secret Wars II was all about Beyonder’s divine attempt to understand humans by living as one, taking an opposite approach to Secret Wars’ toyetic battle between the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. In Secret Wars II #2 by Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom, Steve Leialoha and Christie Scheele, the Beyonder hit the Big Apple in search of answers as a riot coordinated by Hate-Monger raged.
Despite enjoying a real New York hot dog, the Beyonder is still trying to figure out concepts like eating and wearing clothes. Searching for someone who could help him understand his new humanity, he discovers Spider-Man under his civilian identity of Peter Parker, covering the riot for the Daily Bugle.
The Beyonder’s attempts to reach out to Spider-Man show his childish naivety. After entering an elevator with no introduction, he asks Parker questions like “why the clothes?” and “why is he eating?”. Then, the Beyonder follows Parker through the bugle, triggering his Spider-Sense. Parker switches to his Spider-Man costume in an attempt to get away from his pursuer, while the Beyonder turns invisible to follow him.
After arriving at his apartment, Spider-Man thinks he’s safe to watch the latest muppets TV special That is, until the Beyonder reveals himself and continues to question him, this time following Spider-Man’s internal monologue. The invasion of his personal space and mind causes Spider-Man to go after the Beyonder, punching him in the face. Instead of responding in kind, The Beyonder asks more questions while giving Spider-Man a clue to his identity.
Once Spider-Man realizes who he is dealing with, Spider-Man realizes he is overwhelmed. Although he references his scientific prowess, he knows he is not the polymath that Reed Richards is. Spider-Man recommends the Beyonder go to Richards with his questions about the meaning of life. The Beyonder agrees. Before leaving, Spider-Man offers the Beyonder some hospitality when he realizes he’s been a bad host for his uninvited guest.
When Spider-Man offers him a glass of water, the Beyonder asks if it will relieve the “strange pressure” in his lower abdomen. Spider-Man realizes his guest needs to use the bathroom instead. When the Beyonder asks him to explain what it is, Spider-Man responds with an exasperated “oboy”. Writer Jim Shooter doesn’t show readers how Spider-Man explains the mechanics of relieving himself from a god. Rather, it glosses over the biology of it all with a caption and cuts to Spider-Man ushering the Beyonder into the bathroom.
As Spider-Man tries to support Beyonder’s potty training experiment, he understandably worries about what might happen when a god uses his toilet. The Beyonder eventually embraces the concept without issue, enthusiastically proclaiming that “the experience is consummated!” before teleporting away to meet Richards. Unfortunately, Richards turns out to have no more answers for the Beyonder than Spider-Man. Worse still, it doesn’t even offer any essential life skills.
Spider-Man’s potty training, the Beyonder, remained the most memorable moment of Secret Wars II. This shows how odd it was compared to its simpler predecessor. That said, he exemplifies some of Spider-Man’s best qualities in his own weird way. Given the choice of any superhero in New York City to offer him advice, the Beyonder chose Spider-Man. As he struggled with the task, he was understanding, supportive and helpful to someone in need. It’s those qualities that make him a hero more than his powers, something that can shine through no matter how bizarre the circumstances.
Who was the first superhero to acquire superpowers as a result of a scientific accident?