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View Full Version : A Good, Bad, Ugly Special: What If's?


bat_collector
01-17-2006, 02:33 AM
As many have noticed on the board, Marvel decided to release another batch of What If? books last month. Last year's batch was terribly uninspired, dull, and just plain bad. Only one or two actually did anything interesting with the material. Because of the poor quality, I decided to not even give these six books a chance. Thanks, again, to Miamiloco, who irritated me about reading them until I decided to pick up one to see if I liked it.

What I found is an entirely new forcus on the What if? stories. Gone is the Watcher Uatu, as well as the simple nature of the concept. Instead, the comics go into an entirely new direction. Replacing the Watcher is Hector Espejo (translated into "mirror" from spanish), a teenage internet hacker who goes by the handle The Watcher. A son of both Microsoft and Intel R&D workers, Espejo apparently is able to get his hands on ultra-high tech computer parts that have allowed him to hack into an alternate universe. What he find is that while his universe's heroes do exist, all are different in some fundamental way. In other words, when reading this, think more Elseworlds than your classic What If? presentation.

Below, you'll find the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the six books!

The Good:
What If? Featuring Captain America
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Carmine Degiandomenico
No WWII Steve Rogers here. Instead, we go back to the Civl War, where we find Stephen Rogers as a naive Union soldier for the Redlegs Regiment, headed by a very corrupt Bucky Barnes. He is severely wounded when trying to save some children, and is taken to a All Volunteer (read black and native american only) Union regiment. There Private Wilson, a black man raised by native americans and taught by a shaman, transforms Rogers into Captain America. His final fight with Bucky ensues.
This one is a great story where so many things are different, yet fit exactly into the concept of what Captain America represents. Again, a great elseworlds-like title.

What If? Featuring Thor
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Michael Avon Oeming
The best of the bunch, both artistically and plot-wise. Galactus and a female Silver Surfer come to Asgard to prepare it for the next meal. However, after Thor defeats the Silver Surfer, he is offered the open position of Herald of Galactus, which he accepts to spare Asgard. But what happens when he learns Loki has taken over, and subsequently ruined, Asgard? Read this fantastic book for another great alternate take on Thor.

What if? Featuring Daredevil
Written by Rick Veitch
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
The most complex of all the tales, this shows how the Devil Who Dares started out in 19th century Japan. A sumo wresting Kingpin, a surprise identity for Bullseye, and Elektra also show up in this issue. You'll love the complex story developed here, but you'll wish the last few pages were not so rushed to finish the story. This is one that should have been two issues long.

What If? Featuring Fantastic Four
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Marshall Rogers
Perhaps you could say this is close of a more classic What If? style of comic. What if russian cosmonaughts were affected by cosmic rays? However, these cosmonaughts are Peter and Ilyana Rasputin, Nastasha Romonoff, and Rudion Richards (whose father was american). This is a nice cold war tale, highlighted by a fight between the Avengers and the FF. I think this also had a great ending.

The Bad:
What If? Featuring Sub-Mariner
Written by Greg Pak
Art by David Lopez
This is most classic instance of the What If? tale in this lot. What if Sub-Mariner grew up on land instead of the ocean. I can't say its that interesting. In fact it seems more intent on telling the most depressing story it can. You can pas on this one unless you are a huge Namor or Human Torch fan.

The Ugly
What If? Featuring Wolverine
Written by Daniel Way
Art by Jon Proctor
What if you combined Orgin, Punisher, 40's gangster movies, and obvious reference pics to Sideshows Logan statue (see page 2, he is in the exact same pose as the SS 1/4 statue with that same deformed looking head) and mixed them together? Well, you get this comic. I can't say its terrible, but its definately the weakest of the lot. If you were gonna pass on anyone, pick this one as it. However, I guess if you wanted to belive Origin never happened (cough*babytoxie*cough), you can use this to prove that Origin happens in an alternate universe and not in current continuity. :laugh:

So, in conclusion, try out a few of these. Yeah, they ain't your daddy's (or every your own) What If tales, but I think they are more inspired that were to be expected. And I'm all for hispanics getting a bit more face time in the Marvel U, so Espejo is ok in my book.

Wolverine1
01-17-2006, 04:58 AM
I thought that the female SS was Nova?

bat_collector
01-17-2006, 01:26 PM
I thought that the female SS was Nova?
She looked more silver than fiery to me. I could be mistaken. But then again it could have been an amalgam of the two into one. Thanks for pointing it out Wolvie. :thumbs2:

Wolverine1
01-17-2006, 02:09 PM
She looked more silver than fiery to me. I could be mistaken. But then again it could have been an amalgam of the two into one. Thanks for pointing it out Wolvie. :thumbs2:
I didnt know, I havent read any Nova stories. It just looked like her, the Thor story is the best one.

Bullseye
01-17-2006, 02:22 PM
That what if Daredevil sounds interesting. Nice reviews as always B_C.

JDH
01-17-2006, 02:46 PM
Cool reviews, B_C. You almost make me try them out, but I object to the absence of Uatu. Some thins are too perfect to mess with. The Thor is tempting, but I don't like the art style (a poor man's Bruce Timm if you ask me).

As for Origin, isn't it supposed to apply to all realities, including the Ultimate universe?

MiamiLoco
01-17-2006, 02:48 PM
I think EVERYBODY should give at least one of these books a chance, they are really fresh and new. I just finished reading the Daredevil one and I liked it a lot, more than I thought I would, especially since I'm not that big into the whole Samurai stuff. Thanks for letting everyone know about these great books B_C!!!

Bullseye
01-17-2006, 02:50 PM
Who's doing the artwork on these?

bat_collector
01-17-2006, 02:52 PM
Cool reviews, B_C. You almost make me try them out, but I object to the absence of Uatu. Some thins are too perfect to mess with. The Thor is tempting, but I don't like the art style (a poor man's Bruce Timm if you ask me).

As for Origin, isn't it supposed to apply to all realities, including the Ultimate universe?
I concur that leaving Uatu out in favor a teenage hacker is not exactly the greatest ide for me either. Marvel is obvioulsy trying to appeal to a younger audience, thereby ignoring a huge part of their history and alienating older fans.

As for Origin, you're kidding me, right? That would be stupid to make Origin that defnitive.

bat_collector
01-17-2006, 02:52 PM
Who's doing the artwork on these?
I'll go home and include both writer and artist on each book on the reviews.

JDH
01-17-2006, 03:04 PM
As for Origin, you're kidding me, right? That would be stupid to make Origin that defnitive.

I thought I read that somewhere. I don't mind too much, but then I really don't care about Wolverine. There didn't seem to be anything groundbreaking or earth-shattering in it, or at least not to my poor memory. Just Logan as a kid. He had to be one once, right?

bat_collector
01-17-2006, 04:05 PM
Who's doing the artwork on these?
Its been updated for you, artist and writer listed for each book.

Babytoxie
01-17-2006, 05:07 PM
Okay Bats, you've talked me into it. I sure will miss Uatu, though...

bat_collector
01-17-2006, 05:43 PM
Okay Bats, you've talked me into it. I sure will miss Uatu, though...
His presence is sorely lacked. I hope you like them.