An all-powerful being crash lands on our planet spelling disaster for Earth's Heroes. The rise of the Beyonder begins here, as the Marvel Universe unites against a cosmic foe. In this kick-off issue, the mysterious Beyonder questions the meaning of life.
The Beyonder enters our universe and crashes near Denver. Molecule Man seems to think that something is amiss and looks out the window. Volcana calls him back in to their apartment to watch television, but the reception soon breaks up. They look outside to find boulders and earth flying through the air. Volcana over-reacts, destroying one boulder, but sets their apartment on fire in the process. Molecule Man puts the fire out and ventures outside to find the cause of the strange phenomenon. He brings the "cause" over and is shocked by who it is.
on Muir Isle, Professor Xavier cries out in pain. He can sense the presence of the Beyonder and is determined to organize an attack. While his son, David Haller, plays with building blocks on the floor (see New Mutants # 29), the Professor tells Moira to get Magneto to lead his X-Men into battle. The Professor also sends out a telepathic call to Captain America. Cap is on a passenger jet, flying coach when he receives the message. Immediately he asks the pilot to divert their course. The pilot agrees since Cap saved his platoon during the war, but asks that Cap take the heat by announcing the change in course to the passengers.
Back in Molecule Man & Volcana's apartment, the Beyonder takes on the amalgamated appearance of many of the forms of the heroes and villains he had encountered during the Secret War. He seeks only "to understand," and Molecule Man tries to help by explaining how he came to better understand his own power, demonstrating how he can turn an ornament into an edible apple. He tells the Beyonder that experience is the most important thing, and sends the him to Los Angeles where he can have many experiences. They also advise him to change his appearance to something less conspicuous.
In Westchester, Nightcrawler & Colossus are arguing with Magneto about the Professor's plan for Magneto to lead the X-Men. Suddenly the remaining X-Men crash in through the window to get Magneto, but Nightcrawler & Colossus fight to protect him. They all listen to what he has to say, and tentatively agree to join him against the Beyonder. They all climb into a limousine and Magneto uses his powers to make the vehicle fly out west.
In Hollywood, the Beyonder appears in the office of Stewart Cadwall, a fed-up, cynical script writer. The Beyonder takes on the appearance of Molecule Man, and immediately copies the trick he'd seen back in Denver; he transforms Cadwall's desk and scripts into a massive pile of apples. Meanwhile across Los Angeles, Magneto lifts the roof of a gladiatorial arena, where some of the New Mutants are fighting. He summons them to come to his aid. Cannonball, Magik, Dazzler and Cannonball's rockstar girlfriend Lila Cheney follow, but Magma & Sunspot remain behind (see New Mutants # 29 for details). Magneto then commands Rachel Summers to use her telepathy and locate the Beyonder. Although uncomfortable at using her powers to once again hunt down a powered being, she soon locates a man of great power in Hollywood.
Cadwall convinces the Beyonder to give him immense power, in order to show him what someone would do when given the ability to fulfill his desires. The Beyonder transforms Cadwell's Shazam trophy into a a sword shaped like a lightning bolt, and the rest of him becomes a super hero like something from one of the Saturday morning cartoons that he used to write. As Thundersword, Cadwall summons a pegasus, Boromir, and starts to attack all the studios who had rejected his scripts. There he encounters the X-Men's flying limousine. They attack Thundersword, believing him to be the Beyonder. Magneto has Rachel telepathically connect him to all the X-Men so he can give them orders instantly. The X-Men begrudgingly listen to his commands, even though they were already doing what he had instructed them to before he had told them. Thundersword's attention is drawn to a local McDonald's, but his attack against junk food accidentally causes the neighboring apartment building to catch on fire. Rachel telepathically commands the tenants to flee.
Captain America pleads with his taxi driver to go faster, while Iron Man suits up to be ready for combat. Just as burning debris is about to fall on a mother & son, Captain America dives to protect them with his Vibranium-alloy shield. Thundersword appears to fight Captain America and the junk culture he believes he represents. Cap leads the heroes' attack: his shield draws Thundersword's attention, and Dazzler follows up with a blinding flurry of lights. Magneto tries to finish things off by dumping dozens and dozens of cars on Thundersword, but he is able to deflect them.
Rachel Summers begins to sense another being. Feeling around in thin-air, she suddenly finds herself face-to-face with the Beyonder. The Beyonder approaches Magik and plunges his hand into her chest. He then draws out the physical manifestation of her hidden demonic soul, the Darkchilde. Magik panicks and creates a teleportation disc that whirles herself away from the Beyonder's grasp, taking Cannonball, Shadowcat, Rachel and Dazzler with her (see New Mutants # 30 for the rest of their story).
Wolverine goes into a berzerker rage and lunges at the Beyonder. The other X-Men pull him back, but not in time to stop him from slashing his Adamantium claws across the Beyonder's face and into his chest. The heroes all fear the Beyonder's reaction, but he merely stands there. Lila Cheney panicks and teleports the remaining X-Men across the galaxy.
Captain America is distracted by the X-Men's disappearance, and Thundersword is able to strike him from behind. As he is about to deliver a killing blow, Iron Man arrives and saves Captain America. Iron Man's armor's readings detect that Thundersword's power is derived from his thunderbolt-shaped sword. With that knowldge, it is easy for Captain America to disarm Thundersword by throwing his shield. Once he is separated from his sword, Cadwall returns to normal and breaks down in tears, despondent at how he has destroyed his employer's studios. Captain America and Iron Man agree that he should be given psychiatric help.
Meanwhile, the Beyonder decides that he wants more experiences. When he watched Dazzler in action, he felt something move inside of him. Then, when Wolverine slashed his face, he experienced something directly instead of just watching it. He quickly realizes that being in a fight is different from watching one on television. He turns himself invisible, and begins to closely follow Captain America.
The story continues in New Mutants 30, Captain America 308, Uncanny X-Men 196, and Iron Man 197.