With Marvel Studios releasing a little bit of footage for the upcoming What If? series on Disney+, I wanted to draw attention to the original series that started it all. Well, there were "imaginary stories" from DC Comics in the Silver Age, but this was the first time that Marvel crafted a series around the concept of alternate earths. We highlighted a cover gallery some time back, but this time I thought we'd go a little more in depth on why these stories matter. Essentially, these are mini-reviews of old comics. I'll acknowledge that, but feel like most of these individual issues may not get a proper review.
A guilty pleasure of mine is the first series of What If? by Marvel Comics. Now with Secret Wars looming on the horizon and bringing back some of these versions of familiar characters, we started on our Facebook feed highlighting the covers for the series, but news, reviews, and previews got in the way and I can't be certain that I've kept them in order or even where I stopped. Rather than be sad and just quit, here is a gallery of the covers from What If? featuring some really good covers by Mike Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Byrne, and Jack Kirby.
Over on our Facebook Page, We've been sharing the covers of the original What If? comic series, and among those was What If? #27, which is What If Phoenix had not died? within the comics, we get one story, but another unfolded in Phoenix: The Untold Story. The reason for the change is the role that Dark Phoenix played as a genocidal villain. In feeding her hunger, she consumed the star for the D'Bari causing it to go nova and destroy the planet. Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter recounts that when he saw that scene he asked to see the ending and demanded that it change. Chris Claremont and John Byrne then changed the ending to the one that was published with Jean Grey committing suicide rather than kill billions again.
What If? #11 October 1978 Today of all days, we need to review a comic that might have had the best of intentions somewhere, but was obviously created with the intention of having fun with a story. Therefore we give you a What If? story created by Jack Kirby, proving that while fandom may hold the original Marvel Bullpen with awe, one of them can have a little fun with their roles. SYNOPSIS: The Watcher introduces us to a version of the Fantastic Four that while different, is still familiar, the original Marvel Bullpen: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky and Flo Steinberg. They are fighting an ogre-like creature whose weapon takes out everyone bu Flo, the Invisible Girl. She lets him defeat himself by surrounding him with a force field while he fires his weapon. She then realizes that he's the reclusive scientist that they came to meet.
What If? #35 October 1982 SYNOPSIS: Matt Murdock is mourning at Elektra's grave. A large mysterious bald man visits and asks him to imagine a world where she didn't die, because Bullseye was killed while escaping from prison. Elektra is contracted to kill Matt Murdock's friend, Foggy Nelson. When he recognizes her as Matt Murdock's girlfriend from college, she lets him go. This angers the Kingpin who contracts a different assassin to kill Elektra. Foggy Nelson runs to Matt Murdock to tell him what has occurred. Matt sends Foggy home and goes after Elektra as Daredevil.
WHAT IF #34 August 1982 It's a special day here at Reviews of Old Comics. So far, I've only had one comic that reached a perfect 10 of 10, but today that changes! SYNOPSIS: This issue of Marvel's What If? is a special science fiction anthology issue with five stories. Born of the Sun (by Jack Williamson, art by Don Heck) One by one, the planetswere disintegrating while a religious fanatic was destroying man's only chance for survival! A Day in the Life of Dr. Moon (by Harry Dawes, art by Frank Bolle) A fatal disease threatens to wipe out Lunar City unless the carrier can be found and destroyed!