Sunday, May 1, 2011

What If? Classic Collection Vol. 6 (What If Vol. 1 #33-#38)

#33 (Jun 1982): Dazzler becomes a herald of Galactus. She manages to turn him "vegan" or
something for a while, because he eventually switches to eating planets without intelligent
life. He beats on an assembled starfleet of survivors from his previous feasts, then
releases Dazzler from her duties as his herald, after centuries of employment. She goes back to Earth only to find it lifeless. The B-story has Iron Man transported back to the time
of King Arthur via Dr. Doom. His suit only works some of the time but he manages to become
King of England after Arthur dies fighting an enemy force. Eh. C

#34 (Aug 1982): An awful "parody" issue. A typical gag: "WHAT IF POWER MAN (Luke Cage)
WERE WHITE?", with an albino-looking Cage saying "Luke Cage is a funky honky!". Yuk. F

#35 (Oct 1982): Elektra doesn't get killed by Bullseye. Her and Daredevil run off to
another country. That is the whole plot of the main story on the cover. There's an okay
(non-What If related) B-story about wizards creating cat people and the problems that ensue.
The C-story involves Hank Pym dying during an Avengers mission under the Yellowjacket
identity. His wife Janet "The Wasp" Pym turns "grim n' gritty" and engages in solo vigilante
antics, while holding a grudge against Captain America for what she percieved as his role
in Yellowjacket's death. Her beef with Cap almost gets another teammate killed when the
team tries to save people from a burning building. She becomes remorseful and quits the
team. Something's wrong when the best story of the issue isn't even a "What If" plot. D+

#36 (Dec 1982): Fantastic Four delay their first spaceship flight and never gain powers
because they made the right adjustments for safety. They manage a faster-than-light
spaceflight to a distant solar system and return to Earth, and within less than a decade
Earth has colonies in other solar systems. The "Fantastic Four" still have to fight their
first villain, the "Mole Man", except without powers this time (as the "Rocket Group").
Mole Man ends up blowing up an atomic bomb on his island to avoid capture. The B-story
revolves around Nova not giving up his powers by staying on an alien planet (in the main Marvelverse, a group of aliens force him to keep his powers on their planet in order to
protect themselves from Skrulls). He ends up giving them up anyway, but not after a fight
with the aliens after he attempts to run away from the planet back to Earth.
Kinda blah. C-

#37 (Feb 1983): Another three-story What If. The A-story involves the Thing suffering
from a degenertive viral disease after being infected by MODOK. In this reality he
doesn't get cured and ends up mutating out of control. He tries to isolate himself from
society but the Fantastic Four (along with his blind girlfriend Alicia) track him down.
He ends up exploding due to an interaction between the virus and the cosmic rays that
gave him his power. Oddly enough, not only does this return him into a "normal" human,
it also gives his girlfriend true sight for the first time in her life. Eh. The B-story
involves Beast mutating out of control after he swallows a "mutant" formula to prevent
a corporation from getting their hands on it. In the main universe it simply turns him
into a furry blue creature but in this universe it also robs him of his intellect. The
x-Men track him down and exile him into the Savage Land before he can do any real damage.
The C-story involves Galactus demoting Silver Surfer back into human form. The Surfer's
girlfriend on his home planet takes his place so Galactus won't eat her planet, and the
Surfer asks for his old job back so his girl won't have to endure as his herald. Instead,
Galactus restores Surfer's powers but alters them as well so that he is forever trapped
on his own home world, albeit with cosmic abilities. So-so issue. C

#38 (Apr 1983): Yet another three-story What If, this time set in the (relative) future! The A-story is more of a pure "alternate future" storyline, as it's set 50 years ahead of then-current Avenger chronology. The Vision's wife Scarlet Witch is dying of old age. The android Jocasta somehow switches "minds" with the Witch so that Vision can have a wife that will live as long as he will. Kinda odd for the android to sacrifice her own life (in essence) just to give Vision's
wife a permenant body, but oh well. The B-story is both an alternate timeline and a "future"
story, as it's set 30 years later in 1980s Avenger chronology (and with the premise that
Captain America's girlfriend Sharon Carter didn't die). An older Captain America patrols
the streets of a decayed 2013 America, and ends up running into the Red Skull, who is
planning to install his son as the leader of an American "Reich". The C-story involves an
older Daredevil (also in 2013) dealing with the Black Widow, who is now the President of
the Russian Federation. They team up in the end to deal with the Kingpin, who himself is
planning to enter politics, but first needs to kill Daredevil and Black Widow for some
reason. Interesting to see an 80s comic predict the demise of the USSR, but pretty
average stuff otherwise. C

Overall: A pretty average What If offering, except for the awful #34. C-

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