Thursday, January 29, 2009

What If? (At A Glance)

What If...At A Glance
(Marvel Comics)


Uatu the Watcher, who first appeared in Fantastic Four #13 acts as host and narrator to this fun little series that explores what life in the Marvel Universe would have been like if only things had turned out just a little different. It goes without saying that these stories are not part of the Marvel Universe "canon", so essentially anything is fair game.

Volume One (1977-1984)
#1: ...Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four?
#2: ...The Hulk Had The Brain of Bruce Banner?
#3: ...The Avengers Had Never Been?
#4: ...The Invaders Had Stayed Together After World War Two?
#5: ...Captain America Hadn't Vanished During World War Two?
#6: ...The Fantastic Four Had Different Super-Powers?
#7: ...Someone Else Besides Spider-Man Had Been Bitten By The Radioactive Spider?
#8: ...The World Knew That Daredevil Is Blind?
#9: ...The Avengers Had Fought Evil During The 1950s?
#10: ...Jane Foster Had Found The Hammer Of Thor?
#11: ...The Original Marvel Bullpen Had Become The Fantastic Four?
#12: ...Rick Jones Had Become The Hulk?
#13: ...Conan The Barbarian Walked The Earth Today?
#14: ...Sgt. Fury Had Fought World War Two In Outer Space?
#15: ...Nova Had Been Four Other People?
#16: ...Shang-Chi, Master Of Kung-Fu, Fought On The Side Of Fu Manchu?
#17: ...Ghost Rider, Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel Were Villains?
#18: ...Dr. Strange Were A Disciple Of Dormammu?
#19: ...Spider-Man Had Never Become A Crimefighter?
#20: ...The Avengers Fought The Kree-Skrull War Without Rick Jones?
#21: ...Invisible Girl Of The Fantastic Four Married The Sub-Mariner?
#22: ...Dr. Doom Had Become A Hero?
#23: ...The Hulk Had Become A Barbarian?
#24: ... Spider-Man Had Rescue Gwen Stacy?
#25: ...Thor And The Avengers Battled The Gods?
#26: ...Captain America Had Been Elected President?
#27: ...Phoenix Had Not Died?
#28: ...Daredevil Became An Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
#29: ...The Avengers Defeated Everybody?
#30: ...Spider-Man's Clone Lived?
#31: ...Wolverine Had Killed The Hulk?
#32: ...The Avengers Had Become Pawns Of Korvac?
#33: ...Dazzler Had Become The Herald Of Galactus?/...Iron Man Was Trapped In The Time Of King Arthur?
#34: (All Humor Issue)
#35: ...Elektra Had Lived?
#36: ...The Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers?
#37: ...The Beast And The Thing Continued To Mutate?
#38: ...Featuring Captain America, Daredevil, Vision And The Scarlet Witch (Aging versions of our super-heroes)
#39: ...The Mighty Thor Battled The Conan The Barbarian?
#40: ...Dr. Strange Had Not Become Master Of The Mystic Arts?
#41: ...Sub-Mariner Had Saved Atlantis From Its Destiny?
#42: ...The Invisible Girl Had Died?
#43: ...Conan The Barbarian Were Stranded In The 20th Century?
#44: ...Captain America Were Revived Today?
#45: ...The Hulk Went Berserk?
#46: ...Spider-Man's Uncle Ben Had Lived?
#47: ...Loki Had Found The Hammer Of Thor?


In 1988, four years after the cancellation of the regular series, Marvel released a one-shot Special Issue, possibly to gauge interest in resurrecting the title. Apparently the sales didn't yet warrant the return of the series. I do not own this issue, but my research suggests that the Watcher did not appear this time around.


What If Special (1988)
#1: What If Iron Man Had Been A Traitor?


The Watcher returned for Volume 2, but was gone with issue #77. This volume sometimes revisited themes originally touched upon in the first series, and was also notable for the fact that storylines sometimes spanned more than one issue, whereas in the first series they were always self-contained.


Volume Two (1989-1998)
#-1: ...Starring Bishop, The Man From The Future
#1: ...The Avengers Lost The Evolutionary War?
#2: ...Daredevil Killed The Kingpin?
#3: ...Steve Rogers Had Refused To Give Up Being Captain America?
#4: ...The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?
#5: ...The Vision Had Destroyed The Avengers?
#6: ...The X-Men Lost Inferno?
#7: ...Wolverine Was An Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
#8: ...Iron Man Lost The Armor Wars?
#9: ...The X-Men Died On Their First Mission?
#10: ...The Punisher's Family Hadn't Been Killed?
#11: ...The Fantastic Four All Had The Same Power?
#12: ...The X-Men Had Stayed In Asgard?
#13: ...Professor X Of The X-Men Had Become The Juggernaut?
#14: ...Captain Marvel Had Not Died?
#15: ...The Fantastic Four Had Lost The Trial Of Galactus?
#16: ...Wolverine Battled Conan The Barbarian?
#17: ...Kraven The Hunter Had Killed Spider-Man?
#18: ...The Fantastic Four Battled Doctor Doom Before They Got Their Powers?
#19: ...Vision Of The Avengers Conquered The World?
#20: ...The Amazing Spider-Man Had Not Married Mary Jane?
#21: ...The Amazing Spider-Man Had Married The Black Cat?
#22: ...The Silver Surfer Had Not Escaped Earth?
#23: ...The All-New, All-Different X-Men Had Never Existed?
#24: ...Wolverine Was Lord Of The Vampires
#25: ...The Marvel Super-Heroes Had Lost Atlantis Attacks?
#26: ...The Punisher Had Killed Daredevil?
#27: ...Namor Had Joined The Fantastic Four?
#28: ...Captain America Had Led An Army Of Super Soldiers In World War II?
#29: ...Captain America Had Formed The Avengers?
#30: ...The Fantastic Four's Second Child Had Lived?
#31: ...Spider-Man Had Kept His Cosmic Powers?
#32: ...Phoenix Had Not Died?
#33: ...Phoenix Rose Again?
#34: ...No One Was Watching The Watcher? (All-Humor Issue)
#35: ...The Fantastic Five Fought Dr. Doom And Annihilus (Timequake Pt. 1)
#36: ...The Avengers Battled The Guardians Of The Galaxy? (Timequake Pt. 2)
#37: ...Wolverine Had Been Lord Of The Vampires During Inferno? (Timequake Pt. 3)
#38: ...Thor Was A Thrall Of Seth? (Timequake Pt. 4)
#39: ...The Watcher Saved The Universe? (Timequake Pt. 5)
#40: ...Storm Of The X-Men Had Remained A Thief?
#41: ...The Avengers Had Fought Galactus?
#42: ...Spider-Man Had Kept His Six Arms?
#43: ...Wolverine Had Married Mariko?
#44: ...Venom Had Possessed The Punisher?
#45: ...Barbara Ketch Had Become Ghost Rider?
#46: ...Cable Had Destroyed The X-Men? (Part 1 of 2)
#47: ...Magneto Took Over The USA? (Part 2 of 2)
#48: ...Daredevil Had Saved Nuke?
#49: ...Silver Surfer Possessed The Infinity Gauntlet?
#50: ...The Hulk Had Killed Wolverine?
#51: ...The Punisher Became Captain America?
#52: ...Doom Became Sorcerer Supreme?
#53: ...Ironman Of 2020 Had Been Stranded In The Past?/What If Rick Jones Remained The Hulk?/What If Spider-Man Killed The Lizard?
#54: ...Death's Head I Had Lived?
#55: ...The Avengers Lost Operation: Galactic Storm? (Part 1 of 2)
#56: ...The Avengers Lost Operation: Galactic Storm? (Part 2 of 2)
#57: ...The Punisher Became An Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
#58: ...The Punisher Had Killed Spider-Man?
#59: ...Wolverine Led Alpha Flight?
#60: ...X-Men: The Wedding Album [What If Scott Summers And Jean Grey Had Married Earlier?/What If Scott Summers And Jean Grey Had Never Fallen In Love At All?/What If Phoenix Had Fallen For Wolverine?]
#61: ...Spider-Man's Parents Destroyed His Family?
#62: ...Wolverine Battled Weapon-X?
#63: ...War Machine Had Not Destroyed The Living Eraser?
#64: ...Iron Man Sold Out?
#65: ...Archangel Fell From Grace?
#66: ...Rogue Possessed The Power Of Thor?
#67: ...Captain America Were Revived Today? (Part 1)
#68: ...Captain America Were Revived Today? (Part 2)
#69: ...Stryfe Killed The X-Men?
#70: ...The Silver Surfer Had Not Betrayed Galactus?
#71: ...The Gamma Bomb Spawned A Thousand Hulks?
#72: ...Spider-Man Become A Murderer?
#73: ...The Kingpin Owned Daredevil?
#74: ...Mr. Sinister Formed The X-Men?
#75: ...Blink Of Generation X Had Not Died?
#76: ...Peter Parker Had To Destroy Spider-Man?
#77: ...Legion Had Killed Magneto?
#78: ...The New Fantastic Four Had Remained A Team?
#79: ...Storm Had The Power Of Phoenix?
#80: ...The Hulk Had Evolved Into The Maestro?
#81: ...The Age Of Apocalypse Had Not Ended?
#82: ...J. Jonah Jameson Adopted Spider-Man?
#83: ...Daredevil Was The Disciple Of Doctor Strange?
#84: ...Shard Had Lived Instead Of Bishop?
#85: ...Magneto Ruled All Mutants?
#86: ...Scarlet Spider Killed Spider-Man?


With issue #87, the tried-and-true format of dictating a specific point in history where a divergence created an alternate reality was abandoned, and in its place we found darker versions of the Marvel Universe. For example, rather than "What would have happened if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four back in Amazing Spider-Man #1?", it became "What if Spider-Man turned into a hideous Spider-Monster...for no real reason?" This new format was more akin to DC's "Elseworld" stories than it was previous incarnations of What If. Perhaps most notable was the introduction of Spider-Girl in issue #105, which, by proxy, introduced the MC2 line of comics.


New Format
#87: ...Starring Sabretooth [Cat And Mouse, Rampaging in the X-Mansion]
#88: ...Starring Spider-Man [Arachnamorphosis, Morphing into a spider-monster]
#89: ...Starring Fantastic Four [The Fantastic Farce, Losing control of their powers]
#90: ...Starring Cyclops and Havok [In The Shadows, Orphaned at an early age]
#91: ...Starring The Incredible Hulk [The Man, The Monster, Banner as a savage and the Hulk intelligent]
#92: ...Starring Cannonball's Little Brother Josh [I'll Be Your Best Friend, Discovers a sentinel]
#93: ...Starring Wolverine [Ferus, Wolverine goes savage]
#94: ...Starring Juggernaut [Wanderings, Killed Xavier and the X-Men]
#95: ...Starring Ghost Rider [Broken Soul, Alternate version of ghost rider]
#96: ...Starring Quick Silver [They Grow Up So Quickly, Raised by Magneto]
#97: ...Starring Black Knight [Last Light, Camelot conquered by Dr. Doom]
#98: ...Starring Rogue [Seeds Of Yesterday, Nightcrawler raised by Mystique]
#99: ...Starring Spider-Man [Mask Of The Innocent, Black Cat as a celebrity]
#100: ...Starring Gambit [Paper Skin, etc., Numerous humorous tales]
#101: ...Starring Archangel [Angel Of Death, Archangel killed X-Men and the Horsemen]
#102: ...Starring Daredevil [Shadow Boxing, Became a boxer like his father]
#103: ...Starring Captain America [Prodigal Son, Awakened in a much darker future]
#104: ...Starring Silver Surfer [Finder's Keepers, Impossible Man has the Infinity Gauntlet]
#105: ...Starring Spider-Man? [Legacy..., Spider-Man has a daughter with spider powers]
#106: ...Starring Gambit [Retribution, X-Men chasing Gambit for his betrayal]
#107: ...Starring The Mighty Thor [If This Age Be Golden, Thor in the Golden Age]
#108: ...Starring The Avengers [The Greatest Sacrifice, Carnage bonded to the Silver Surfer]
#109: ...Starring The Fantastic Four [Tragedy In A Tiny Town, Ben Grimm in Liddle-Ville]
#110: ...Starring The Uncanny X-Men [Family Ties, Colossus a Soviet Super Soldier]
#111: ...Starring Wolverine [Comes The Horseman, As a Horseman of War]
#112: ...Starring Ka-Zar [Brave Old World, Manhattan turned into Savage Land]
#113: ...Starring Iron Man [Strange Allies, Stark Lives, As Sorcerer Supreme]
#114: ...Starring Secret Wars [Brave New Worlds, Children of our heroes fight again 25 years later]


The series returned for a series of one-shots in 2005, some hosted by the Watcher, one by a comic book fan, and two by writer Brian Michael Bendis!


Volume Three (2005) (One-Shots)
--What If Karen Page Had Lived?
--What If Jessica Jones Had Joined The Avengers?
--What If Doctor Doom Had Become The Thing?
--What If General Ross Had Become The Hulk?
--What If Professor X And Magneto Formed The X-Men Together
--What If Aunt May Died Instead Of Uncle Ben?


One year later, Marvel continued in the same six-issue one-shot format, although once again following in the footsteps of DC's Elseworld titles, with a tendency to place our well-known heroes in different eras. Once again, the Watcher was back.


Volume Four (2006) (One-Shots)
--...Captain America Had Lived In The American Civil War?
--...The Fantastic Four Were Cosmonauts?
--...Sub-Mariner Lived With His Human Father?
--...Daredevil Had Lived In Feudal Japan?
--...Thor Was Herald Of Galactus?
--...Wolverine Became The Punisher In The 1920s?


As 2006 came to a close, Marvel fired off five more one-shot issues, this time each one giving an alternate outcome for a major storyline or "event" that had already come to a close. Think of them as "alternate endings" on the director's cut DVD of your favorite epic movie.


Volume Five (2006)
--Avengers Disassembled [What If The Scarlet Witch Hadn't Acted Alone?]
--Spider-Man: The Other [What If Peter Parker Rejected His Inner Spider?]
--Wolverine: Enemy Of The State [What If Wolverine Was Never Deprogrammed?]
--Age of Apocalypse [What If Both Xavier And Magneto Were Killed By Legion?]
--X-Men: Deadly Genesis [What If Vulcan Became The Leader Of The X-Men?]


And, with 2007, Marvel continued the trend, once again showing alternate realities based around their largest of storylines.


Volume Six (2007)
--Planet Hulk [What If Caiera The Oldstrong Had Survived The Destruction On Sakaar Instead Of Hulk?/What If Hulk Had Landed On The Planet The Illuminati Had Intended For Him?/ What If Hulk Had Reverted Back To Bruce Banner When He Crashed On Sakaar?]
--Annihilation [What If The Annihilation Wave Reached Earth?]
--X-Men: Rise And Fall Of The Shi'ar Empire [What If Vulcan Absorbed The Energies Of The M'Kraan Crystal And Became Phoenix?]
--Civil War [What If Captain America Led All The Heroes Against The Registration Act?/What If Iron Man lost the Civil War?]
--Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine [What If Spider-Man Had Remained In 1980's Russia After An Accidental Death?]


Starting in December 2008, and continuing into 2009, Marvel announced the latest series of one-shots, again capitalizing on the success of their "event" storylines. On top of this, each issue contain a continuing Runaways back-up feature, What If The Runaways Became The Young Avengers. Announced were the following issues.


Volume Seven (2008)
--House Of M [What If Scarlet Witch Said 'No More Powers'?]
--Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America [What If Iron Man Had Died?]
--The New(er) Fantastic Four [Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Wolverine]
--Spider-Man: Back In Black [What If Mary Jane Had Been Shot Instead Of Aunt May?]
--Secret Wars [What If Dr. Doom Kept The Beyonder's Power?]

If I missed anything, meet me on the blue area of the moon, and we'll discuss it like adults.

--J/Metro

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