Thursday, January 13, 2011

What If Classic Vol. 3 Collection (Vol. 1 #14-15, 17-20), What If Vol. 1 #16

(Note: #16 was apparently so bad that it was not included in the series, but I've reviewed it anyway as a separate entry.)

#14 (Apr 1979): Leonardo DaVinci is a lot more creative than usual, creates flying machines
which speeds up humanity's technological process considerably. By 1942 humans are capable of
flying around in "faster than light" starships. Interesting premise but then they just copy
the history of World War II as the plot, only with aliens instead of humans (and nothing
resembling the ethnic tensions behind the war). Fuck outta here. D-

#15 (Jun 1979): Four different versions of Nova. All of them suck!!! F

#17 (Oct 1979): Ghost Rider, the first Spider-Woman, and Captain Marvel are
bad guys. Ghost Rider gets the worst end of the deal while Captain Marvel
ends up kicking Earth's ass. Spider-Woman just manages not to get herself
killed by backstabbing "allies". Blah. D

#18 (Dec 1979): Doctor Strange chooses the dark side instead of the light side, I guess. He
still ends up being a good guy at the end but with even stronger magical powers. Reeks of
"munchkin"/Mary Sueness but whatever. D+

#19 (Feb 1980): Spider-Man becomes an media celebrity instead of a superhero. J. Jonah
Jameson becomes a washed-up hack who hires all of Spidey's traditional foes to kill him
in some sort of harebrained revenge scheme. Daredevil is Spidey's bodyguard. Horrid. F

#20 (Apr 1980): Rick Jones dies during the Kree-Skrull War. For some reason he's really
important to this storyline, so the Kree Supreme Intelligence (the Kree's hivemind
master) merges with Jones's corpse to become a new superbeing, and singlehandely ends
the war. Why the fuck was this dude so important back in the 70s? F

Overall: Could be the worst of the What If Classic collections. Ugh. D-

#16 (Aug 1979): Chop socky Chinese stereotypes ahoy! Only person I recognize is
"Fu Manchu". I know nothing about the protaginst of this plot or his background,
and the story doesn't make me want to learn anything more about him. So bad they
didn't even include it in the What If Classic reprint graphic novels. F

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What If Classic Vol. 2 Collection (Vol. 1 #7-12)

#7: (Feb 1978): Various other people become Spider-Man. Flash Thompson (as
"Captain Spider") is careless and ends up killed by the Vulture. Betty
Brant (as "Spider-Girl") quits after inadventerly causing her boyfriend
Peter Parker's uncle to die in a robbery attempt. John Jameson (as the
jet-packed "Spider Jameson") dies saving a errant space shuttle capsule.
In all three universes Parker ends up assuming the Spider-Man mantle
anyway after saving some of the radioactive spider's venom. Whatever. C-

#8: (Apr 1978): Electro figures out Daredevil is blind and tells the
world. Daredevil gets an operation to return his sight but loses his
extrapowered other senses. The Owl tries to take advantage of all of
this but ends up killing himself by accident like the goofball
that he is. Matt Murdock retires his superhero identity and becomes
the NYC District Attorney. Eh. C-

#9: (Jun 1978): A 50's version of the Avengers assemble, consisting
of 3-D Man, (the goddess) Venus, the Venusian Marvel Boy, Gorilla Man,
and the Human Robot (who's just really a robot). They battle a
stereotypical bunch of foreign villains (and one brainwashed American)
to save a kidnapped President Eisenhower. Kinda boring but interesting
to see a FBI agent of Chinese descent among all of the 50s stereotypes
(even if he is a "kung-fu" master). C-

#10 (Aug 1978): The original Thor [Don Blake]'s girlfriend ends up
getting his hammer instead of him, becoming "Thordis". Odin rejects her
at first because she doesn't look like his son Thor but warms up to her
after she gives the hammer to Don Blake so he can become Thor and beat
on Loki. Odin gives her goddess powers and then marries her, even
though she first was technically his "daughter-in-law" or something
because of having the hammer. But gods marrying relatives is nothing
new in mythology, I guess. Funny to also see "Thordis" struggle about
being feminine yet superstrong as well. LOL. D

#11 (Oct 1978): In-joke issue where Marvel employees gain Fantastic
Four powers, with Jack Kirby and Stan Lee the recognizable ones.
Unlike the regular Fantastic Four, who are WASPs, this team consists
of second generation Eastern European Jewish Americans! Kinda odd how
that worked out. Boring as crap though. F

#12 (Dec 1978): Rick Jones becomes the Hulk instead of Bruce Banner.
He still becomes Captain America's sidekick but runs off after he
accidently Hulks out in front of him. Somehow he also gets the ability
to change into Captain Marvel (not the "Shazam" version) with magical
bracelets. Eventually all three are split into seperated beings and
the Hulk ends up trapped in the Negative Zone, becoming its most
powerful inhabit. Mildly hilarious to see Hulk use corny 70s lingo
but why did Marvel have such a hard-on for Rick Jones at one time? D+

Overall: For purists only. D+

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What If Classic Vol. 1 Collection (Vol. 1 #1-6)

#1 (Feb 1976): Spider-Man joins the Fantastic Four, making it "Five". Invisible Woman
ends up being Namor's bride after feeling useless, making it "Four" again. Whatever. C-

#2 (Apr 1977): Hulk maintained Bruce Banner's personality; somehow Professor X, the Hulk, and

Reed Richards combine into a bizarre "Super Saiyan" form called "THE X-MAN" in order
to beat Galactus. Then they seperate back into three people and lose their powers for good.
But not before turning the Thing into a mindless brute who fills the Hulk's original "bull in
a china shop" role anyway. Whatever. D

#3: (Jun 1977): The Avengers never got together for some strange reason. Iron Man dies. Boo hoo.

#4: (Aug 1977): Some WWII team stays together after the war to fight for America until the current date. Includes (at least) three different incarnations of Captain America and a whole bunch of of outdated characters that no one's cared about since the 1940's or so. Cold War
chop-socky bullcrap. D+

#5: (Oct 1977): Captain America does not get frozen during WWII. He and his sidekick battle communists until the 1960's. Bucky becomes the Captain for a while with Rick Jones as his
sidekick but dies fighting HYDRA. Eh. C

#6: (Dec 1977): Fantastic Four have different powers; Ben becomes a human "Dragonfly", Sue gets "Mr. Fantastic" stretching powers, Johnny becomes a living "mandroid", and Reed becomes a
giant brain with telepathic abilities. Somehow he ends up in Dr. Doom's body after the two
have a final showdown. WTF. C-

Overall: For nostalgia purposes only. C-

Monday, January 3, 2011

Marvel WHAT-IF Reviews by Rob Cypher

A basic review of the series. Here we go.

What If (Vol. 0?)

#1 (Jun 1966): Iron Man's origins are tampered with by communists,
who implant him with a radio-transmitting device that can cause pain
and stop his heart if he disobeys. Nick Fury somehow figures it out on
a hunch right away but can't convince anyone until the Iron Man "trojan
horse" has already disabled the Fantastic Four. Iron Man eventually says
"Fuck it" and disobeys, leading to his heart being stopped, but Mr.
Fantastic, being a swell guy and all, revives him anyway. Tony Stark
can no longer be "Iron Man" but can live a normal life and the villains
("Fu Manchu" ripoffs) get an Iron Man "dummy" fill ed with TNT at their
doorstop. Blah. D+