The New What If Batch

September 13th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The December solicitations are on the horizon and what better Christmas present for me than a heaping helping of new What Ifs? I had heard a couple brief mentions of this year’s batch, but just today I finally got to reading what they’re all about. Let’s give it a look.

What If? Spider-Man: Back in Black, written by Steven Grant: Rather than Aunt May, Mary Jane is the victim of the Kingpin’s hit. Apparently, this deals more with Spider-Man vs. Kingpin than anything involving Mephisto, which I’m glad to see.

What If? Captain America: Fallen Son, written by Marc Sumerak: During the aftermath of Civil War, Captain America isn’t the one who gets assassinated. This time it’s Iron Man. If anything, I’m interested in this comic for the can of worms that it brings. They’ve pushed the idea that Iron Man’s been putting too much responsibility on himself to the point that once he’s dead, the world is fucked. Now we’ll see where that avenue would lead us. Plus it would be cool to see what kind of impact Cap could have on World War Hulk.

By the way, here’s the cover.

What If? World War Hulk, written by Greg Pak: Hulk wins. Now what? I’m wondering if the tangent point will be the Sentry deciding not to interfere or just Hulk beating the crap out of him with no problem. It also is set to have several pages of a WWH Mini Marvels comic, which is always a plus. Despite that, Pak’s on board so it has to be good.

If they go for the depressing “everyone dies” ending, I’d love it if Sorcerer Supreme Doom just happened to show up out of nowhere at the end.

Speaking of Doom…

What If? Secret Wars, by Karl Bollers: Remember when Doom stole the Beyonder’s powers? This is what happens when he holds onto it and moves upwards by going for the Infinity Gauntlet. The concept and the cover lead me to Boner Town.

What If? Runaways, by CB Cebulski. Iron Lad comes back from the future in hopes of fighting Kang the Conqueror. He never does discover Vision’s Avengers fail-safe program and never goes after Patriot and the others. Instead, he puts together a team based on the children of the Pride. It does fit well, considering Iron Lad himself is a runaway of a different flavor. This won’t be a single issue, but will be told as a backup across the other five issues.

That leads us to one more…

What If? House of M, by Brian Reed and Jim McCann. Replace “No More Mutants” with “No More Powers”. Considering the writers, I have faith in it, but at the same time, I feel a bit cautious due to the DC take. A few years ago there was an Elseworlds called Act of God where a black shroud covered Earth and took away everyone’s powers. Even guys like Superman and Martian Manhunter, who aren’t even human, lost whatever made them special outside of appearance.

While a good idea, the miniseries was worth reading because of how ridiculously dumb a lot of the characters reacted towards losing their powers. Superman and Kyle Rayner became the whiniest bitches known to man, leading to Lois and Jade leaving them. Wonder Woman immediately hit the Superman rebound (Elseworlds rule #6). Booster Gold and Blue Beetle had to fill in for the Justice League to the point that they were constantly exhausted. Steel was mankind’s most powerful hero. Aquaman had a buzzsaw hand and, my favorite part, Martian Manhunter changed his name to The Green Man and started using exploding skulls as weapons.

Not to mention, this panel.

I need to review this one one of these days.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: The Finale

March 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I feel kind of silly making this article since it was supposed to be done months ago. There are several things that kept me from finishing it, but I’m going to take the easy way out. All the time I usually use to write these What If articles was really used to pretend I was writing for Lost. I love writing Sam the Butcher’s dialogue the most.

Starting it off, here’s a series of sig images I made for the Batman’s Shameful Secret sub-forum at Something Awful. I guess they worked.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Bl to Bu

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok


Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)

“They call me… Blade! Blade the Black Agent X!”

Times change, don’t they? The story that introduces Blade doesn’t so much go into his background, other than his hobby of offing vampires. He takes care of some of Dracula’s henchmen early on and then fights the big bad on a cruise ship. When Dracula has things won, one of his mind-controlled lady victims comes to jump his bones. This distracts Dracula enough that Blade can get back up. Dracula makes the decision to leave, though the boat will explode in moments. Blade tosses everyone off the boat and makes it to safety himself, knowing that he and Dracula will fight again one day.


Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)

Before Blink was well-known for her role in Age of Apocalypse and Exiles, she showed up in regular 616 continuity as part of the Phalanx Covenant. Along with members of Generation X, she finds herself captured by the Phalanx.

When attacked by a being named Harvest, Blink uses her power to teleport him away while tearing him apart. Other than that, she follows the others as they attempt to escape, knowing that the Phalanx was unable to find a way to dampen their powers.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Be to Bl

December 30th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for being a week late. The holidays drained me faster than a three-way with Rogue and Parasite. …Please pretend I didn’t just say that.


Secret Wars II #1 (1985)

We start out with another iffy entry. The Beyonder was present during the first Secret Wars. That’s obvious. It’s just that at no point did he actually appear. That didn’t happen until the horrifying sequel. We know him for his silly disco outfit, but that wasn’t what he originally showed up in.

I like it. We see him talking with the Molecule Man, who tries to explain things to him in a way that is admirably calm and casual. Molecule Man and Volcana send Beyonder on his way as he takes a more subtle form on his quest for experience. This form is of Molecule Man himself. He proceeds to turn a desk into apples, turns a fat television writer into a super-villain and then turns invisible and follows Captain America around for the hell of it.

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Hot Topical Humor

November 23rd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

So yesterday while on my break at work, I wandered through the mall to get me some lunch and, as always, passed by a Hot Topic. This time, I did a double-take and stepped back for a closer look. Hot Topic now sells Zombie Captain America t-shirts, based on the fake Avengers #4 cover where Cap has birds sticking out of his skull. Not only that, but they have a zippered sweatshirt with the Zombie Secret Wars cover on the front. I decided against buying either, but continued looking at what they had.

I saw that they had this on a shirt.

This is Toxin. He’s the Carnage symbiote’s “son” using an honest cop as a host. He debuted in the Venom vs. Carnage mini-series and got his own six-issue series shortly after. I think he’s awesome, but I realize that only five people have read his stories and he will probably never make another appearance in any Marvel comic ever again. Much like Hybrid. So consider me a bit confused that they’d give him a shirt rather than, say, Thing or Daredevil.

Seeing that on a t-shirt was weird enough. What was even weirder was looking at where the tag should be and finding on the shirt “X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND”. Er… yeah. Yes, those two have plenty to do with each other.

While I’m talking about things that have nothing to do with each other, Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I’m thankful for the Secret Wars t-shirt I bought for half-price!

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 20

November 12th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Well, it’s been four months of lead-up. When the first part of the countdown came out, Lynxara asked about why I’d do a top 100 list for a series of books that only have 175 issues. Especially when I count two-parters as one entry. Truth be told, this isn’t like ranking the best issues of Nightwing or Mighty Thor. Most comic series have cohesion and you usually have an idea of what to expect in each issue. Writers, artists and story remain the same for months and sometimes years at a time.

What If, on the other hand, is different. What If is the ultimate comic book box of chocolates. Writers, artists, stories, ideas and tones change from issue to issue. Many stories are good. Many are bad. But almost every one of them is interesting in its own way. I could have easily have done a top 20 or top 50 list and be done long ago, but there’s too much fun we’d be missing out on. No jive-talking Incredible Hulk, or Matt Murdock crying over Wilson Fisk’s death bed, or Kraven the Hunter eating Peter Parker’s face.

Now let’s get in our Quinjet and take us down to #1.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 15

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

This article is dedicated to all the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner fans out there. Why? Because anyone else is probably going to be bored out of their skulls.


Issue: Volume 2, #114
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Gregg Schigiel
Spider-Man death: Yes
Background: The all-powerful Beyonder brought a group of heroes and a group of villains onto a planet he created to battle for his amusement. The storyline is known for introducing the Venom symbiote, putting She-Hulk in the Fantastic Four and for one of the funniest movies on YouTube. Dr. Doom, using his own genius, found a way to steal the power of Galactus and challenge the Beyonder. He then stole the Beyonder’s power too, but things went to Hell and he ended up back to his usual ugly self. So if Galactus is powerful enough to challenge the Beyonder, why didn’t he? And what if the fight between the two ended with both of them dying? Toss in Reed Richards’ death for flavor.

The story begins on the 18 birthday of Balder Blake, otherwise known as Bravado (son of Thor and the Enchantress). As he does every year, he tries to lift Mjolnir, his father’s hammer. He still can’t lift it, despite the support of his friends Crusader (daughter of Captain America and Rogue) and Mustang (son of Hawkeye and She-Hulk). They return to his house to find a surprise party waiting for him. It’s there that we meet his other friends Torrent (daughter of Wolverine and Storm) and Firefly (son of Human Torch and Wasp). As the story goes, the Secret Wars lasted for about five more years with many casualties until the two sides decided to call a truce. Now, for the most part, they and their children live in harmony.

There’s also Symbiote Spider-Man. He acts a bit creepy, talking in “we speak” that Venom was so famous for. Plus he’s a bit anti-social. Curious…

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 1

August 3rd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

It’s time to begin. Er… now that I’ve done two prelude articles before starting this off, I now realize that I don’t have anything to say for an intro. I could always go over the history of the series. Yeah, let’s do that.

What If first started in 1977 with the issue What If Spider-Man Had Joined the Fantastic Four?, based on the very first issue of Amazing Spider-Man. The series lasted for seven years until ending with issue #47, What If Loki Had Found the Hammer of Thor? For the most part, the quality remained about the same.

Several years after cancellation, a special was released called What If Iron Man Had Been a Traitor? While not exactly a classic, it seemed to have helped bring the rebirth of the series as volume 2 started the very next year, 1989. Volume 2 followed the same structure of the first volume: Uatu the Watcher would go on a monologue about who he is and what he does, followed by spelling out just what the issue’s story is about. Like I mentioned a couple articles back, this is a good way to learn Marvel history. Me, I just found out Shang Chi’s backstory days ago. Before that all I knew about him was that he’s some martial artist guy without fear and his name makes him sound like Shang Tsung and Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat did the Fusion Dance.

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