Saturday, April 30, 2011

What If Classic Vol. 4 Collection (Vol. 1 #21-26)

Damn, I had these reviews written over a month ago...oh well, better late than never.

#21 (Jun 1980): A continuation of #1, where Spider-Man joins the Fantastic Four and
Invisible Girl ends up marrying the Sub-Mariner. Spider-Man quits after ego-clashing
with his teammates. Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch miss Sue so the remaining
members kick the Sub-Mariner's ass when he invites them to his formal marriage ceremony.
Then they try to frame him to set up a human-Atlantean war only to have the Thing
change his mind and tell the truth. Disgraced, Reed and Johnny go off to attack Atlantis
on their own to "free Sue" only to find out she really loves the Sub-Mariner and is about
to have his baby. Reed ends up disabling the doomsday weapon he brought along with him
but Johnny vows vengence and runs off. The best issue yet during the series...which
isn't saying much. B-

#22 (Aug 1980): Dr. Doom is a good guy because he accepts Reed Richards's help with
finding his mother's soul in Hell. He then becomes some sort of hybrid between his
normal form and a holy knight, with no scarred face. Mephisto gets pissed at losing
Mrs. Doom's soul and forces the good doctor (now Latverian king) to trade his wife's
soul in place of his mother's and his kingdom. Doom spends the rest of his life
attempting to summon Mephisto for one more fight, but never summons the demon he's
looking for, only other lesser random ones. Eh. C-

#23 (Oct 1980): Three stories. Story no. 1: Hulk's love interest from a subatomic world
did not die. The US military figures out how to permenantly shrink the both of them
so they can stay in her universe. Hulk accepts and ends up fighting the "Dark Gods"
of that universe. Who cares. Story no. 2: Some non-alternate history backstory
involving the Celestials tampering with prehuman genes. Story no. 3: Aunt May gets
bit by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker, fights some Z-grade Spidey
villain called the Leapfrog. Meant to be funny, I guess. D-

#24 (Dec 1980): Spider-Man manages to successfully save Gwen Stacy instead of
accidently killing her by trying to break her fall during a fight with the
Green Goblin. After some initial shock when Spidey reveals his true identity to
Gwen the two get married and Spidey whoops on Green Goblin, who reveals Spidey's
identity to J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson reveals Spidey's real name and tries to
get him arrested, but Spidey gets away. Jameson's assistant Robbie Robertson
quits his job with a suckerpunch to Jameson's midsection. Parker faces an
uncertain future. There's also a brief regular continuity story about the Eternals,
which follows up from the Celestials story in the previous issue. C+

#25 (Feb 1981): Thor battles Odin over being banished with his human wife back to
Earth (in the original timeline, it is just his human wife that is exiled from
Asgard). The Avengers (minus Quicksilver) join him, and get powered-up by Asgardians
friendly to Thor. Loki kills Iron Man and is killed by an overpowered Wasp. Thor
declares a truce with Odin and self-exiles himself to Earth. Also included is a short
story about the "Uni-Mind", some sort of Eternal brain-trust. C-

#26 (Apr 1981): Captain America gets elected president in 1980 (with a "African-American" VP, no less) over Carter and Reagan. He helps "liberate" a Central American country with smuggled solar-powered weapons only for the coup leader to be secretly replaced by the Red Skull, who leads President America (heh) into a trap. The Red Skull then tries to use the captured President as blackmail against the US government before attempting to destroy Washington DC with a "solar blast", but Cap manages to save the day and sacrifice both of their lives in order to save America. He is forever beloved and the comic ends with a Bible verse. Plus a totally uncompelling B-story regarding the Man-Thing retaining intelligence or something. And a C-story that has nothing to do with alternate realities but appears to be a rejected "Guardians Of The Galaxy" plot instead. D-

Overall: Other than the first story (which follows up issue #1 quite well), these are mostly mediocre stories...and about a fifth of the material isn't even related to "alternate dimensions" at all; instead it's backstory to some of Marvel's (more obscure) alien races. C-