Sunday, May 29, 2011

What If? Classic Collection Vol. 7 (What If Vol. 1 #40-#47)

#40 (Aug 1983): Dr. Strange doesn't become the Sorcerer Supreme by a quirk of timing, instead
his traditional foe Baron Mordo does. Strange goes on to teach medicine due to his injured
hands. Mordo plays the "good guy" role for a while until he betrays his teacher "The Ancient One" to a demon called Nightmare, who teams up with another demon nammed Dormannu to conquer
the (alternate) "Earth dimension". Strange somehow manages to summon up his raw powers to
defeat both Mordo and the demons anyway, and then it all turns out to be a dream (according
to the last panel). Not interesting at all. D

#41 (Oct 1983): The Sub-Mariner stops the destruction of Atlantis during the 1950s by a
(mutant?) telepath wielding the Serpent Crown, which allowed him to control minds. (In the
normal "616" timeline he succeeds, causing a dispora of Atlantians for about 20 or
so years.) Namor's cousin manages to take over Atlantis while Namor is away and frames
him for the murder of his grandfather, the Emperor. Namor goes into exile for a while
but eventually comes back when aquatic barbarians then take over Atlantis. However, he
comes a little too late and the survivors of these events decide to abandon Atlantis,
leaving Namor to rule an empty kingdom. Eh. C-

#42 (Dec 1983): Sue Richards dies during her first pregnancy because the (other three)
members of Fantastic Four don't come back fast enough from the Negative Zone with a
device to stabilize her internal cosmic energies, or something. A crazed Reed Richards
goes back into the Negative Zone to commit a suicide attack on its ruler Annihulus,
and despite the best efforts of the Torch, Thing, and (oddly enough) the Sub-Mariner, he
succeeds. Lots of funeral montages during the issue. Melodramatic mush. D+

#43 (Feb 1984): Conan The Barbarian gets stuck in the 1980s for some reason. He becomes a
master criminal and eventually takes over a black gang (!), becoming its leader. Then he
has a showdown with Captain America. Very strange (yet mildly entertaining) story. The
B-story involves a dimension where the Ultimate Nullifer was used to destroy the universe;
only Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, and Phoenix remain due to being exiled beforehand.
The "spirit of the universe" appears when they try to reverse the Nullifer's effects and
begs them not to bring it back to life. Only the B-story appears in the Marvel TPB, as
Conan's copyright is currently being used somewhere else. C+ (B-story alone is just a C-.)

#44 (Apr 1984): Captain America is never found by the Sub-Mariner or the Avengers. After
Nixon visits China, an outraged anti-Communist working in a government lab frees the
"second" Captain America and Bucky out of their cryogenic freeze (they were a 1950s
version who had to be put away in suspension by the government after they got out of
control). This Captain uses his influence to help create an "America First Party" that
takes over the country and enacts apartheid conditions. The real Captain is then found
by a Navy submarine crew. This Steve Rodgers then goes after the fake Captain (who's
working under several supervillains under the guise of "fighting Communists") and defeats
him on TV, with the help of a fugitive Nick Fury and Spider-Man. At the end, everyone
pledges allegience to the American flag. Kinda odd but interesting too. C+

#45 (Jun 1984): Hulk is more berserk than usual after being "created", goes on a killing
spree that ends up killing Iron Man, the Thing and the Human Torch. Thor manages to snap
his neck after a fight to the death. Eh. (Original cover is pretty nice, though.) C

#46 (Aug 1984): Spider-Man's Aunt May was killed instead of Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben manages
to figure out Spider-Man's identity early on and helps "coach" him on life decisions. He
ends up revealing Spider-Man's identity to J. Jonah Jameson to stop the Daily Bugle's
media attacks on him, but JJJ instead talks him into allowing the Press to cynically
use the "Is Spider-Man A Villain" headlines to sell papers, while boosting Peter Parker's
salary to a "decent" wage. The Green Goblin figures out that JJJ knows Spider-Man
personally and kidnaps him to extract the truth, but JJJ's recently superpowered son
(from exposure to radiation as an astronaut) kills him in a berzerk rage, then almost
kills JJJ too until Spider-Man saves his life. Again, eh. C-

#47 (Oct 1984): Loki kills Thor in his human form before he can get his mystical hammer.
Odin thinks Hela (goddess of the underworld) is at fault, so he wastes a lot of time and
forces attacking her until he realizes the truth. Meanwhile, Thor exists as a spirit in
the nicer part of the underworld until an Asgardian girl he liked sacrifices her life to
bring him back (along with his hammer). Then he goes and kicks Loki's ass. The sum result
of all of this? Odin loses an eye. Not much a final issue for the first volume of "What If?". D

Overall: Another mediocre collection of stories. I can see why this version of the series
was canceled before issue #50. Oh well...C-

That's it for the Vol. 1 series! Vol. 2 (which is longer but not collected so well in
Marvel's TPBs) may or may not be next.

No comments:

Post a Comment