Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Thoughts on Marvel’s What If? Returning

July 18, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marvel What If? The Punisher

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Cosmic Ghost Rider #1, Catwoman #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we asked, Can Hawkman Be Cool? Here’s what some of you had to say:

Rock Mu: “They mostly pulled it off with Aquaman, and he was far lamer back in the day than Hawkman. I don’t don’t see why they can’t make Hawkman cool. Whether or not they will remains to be seen though.”

Mike Riley: “Hawkman & Hawkgirl are cool. Thanagar’s origins are as interesting as Kryptons or Themascyras.”

Feather Wifflebottom: “Hawkman is better in a team book than as a solo.”

Richard H1S: “The biggest problem with Hawkman is everytime they seem to fix him and his continuity its only a matter of time before someone screws it back up.

100% This is an editorial problem. Editorial lets it get mucked up.

Have Johns fix it, again. Then whoever he hands off the book to tell them “you can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t screw up his history…again””

Captain Mcgloo: “They need to decide between the alien cop thing or the ancient Egyptian prince thing because putting them both together is textbook example of putting a hat on a hat. Either he’s Carter Hall or Kotar Hol, smooshing them both together makes them both lame.”

Carl Rood: “Because adding MORE to an already convoluted backstory always works.”

Whole F’n Truth: “Hawkman was cool when Robinson and Johns was writing (both JSA/Hawkman). After the Rann/Thang War and the beyond the writers/editors that took over (both from Hawkgirl and JSA) crashed and burned it. I still laugh at the Post Flashpoint Hawkman and the crazy attempt to make him Wolverine. I have little faith in this “Rebirth” Hawkman because DC writers don’t understand a history of a character aka research. I give it 14 issues”

The Man With The Plan: “It’s the look for me, you can streamline the character all you want, but he looks like a doof”

Donald R. Maust: “Thinking of Hawkman’s continuity reminds me of when I was a kid, reading a Jonah Hex comic and on an editorial page, they were talking about a Superman story where one of the characters was from Earth A and another was from Earth One, and my eight year old brain glazed over and said “I’m sticking with this and Marvel, because they make sense.” If they can streamline things, and make it enjoyable without having a Rain Man-like memory for insane continuity, I’d read it!”

To read last week’s column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss our…

Thoughts on Marvel’s What If? Returning!

Marvel has announced the return of a its popular What If? series in a number of six one-shots in October. What If? first popped up back in the 70s and had Uatu the Watcher as a narrator, sharing alternate realities with the reader.

This was done away with in the late 90s and just focused on the divergent stories. From the looks of things, the one-shots have evolved a bit. Here’s what we’re getting:

Written by Gerry Conway with art by Diego Olortegui and a cover by Patch Zircher, the questions are asked…what if Peter Parker wasn’t the one bitten by the radioactive spider? What if the person who got bit was someone who didn’t live by the mantra of “with great power comes great responsibility”? What if that person was an egotistical bully who was only interested in taking care of himself?

What if…Flash Thompson became Spider-Man? Find out on October 3.

Brought to life by writer Leah Williams, artist Filipe Andrade, and with a cover by Jeff Dekal, Illyana Rasputin enters a new reality on October 31.

Before she was Magik, Illyana was just a kid whom Limbo chewed up and spit out seven years older. So it’s no surprise that, at 15, she wants nothing to do with the X-Men…nothing to do with the New Mutants…and nothing to do with her own powers. It’s not even surprising that she runs away…but where—and who—she ends up? Well, that’s something you’ve never seen before.

“Illyana Rasputin deserves better,” explains book editor Annalise Bissa. “As much as we all love a character who’s been aged up, down, grown up under the thumb of demons, watched her parents die, died herself, come back, been evil, been good again, had more power changes than you can shake a stick at…any X-Fan might start to wonder who Magik would be in a world where her mutation isn’t ruled by these crazy ups and downs—where she has the chance to embrace her power early and grow from there, this is the book for you. If you like Magik, magic, or any other word for all things mystical and mysterious and maybe a little bit murderous, read WHAT IF? MAGIK #1.”

On October 17, writer Sebastian Griner, artist Caspar Wijngaard, and cover artist Aleksi Briclot, present WHAT IF? GHOST RIDER #1.

You’ve only heard whispers of this real-world/Marvel Universe crossover until now, when moral decline and budgetary shortfalls have combined to lower our lawyers’ resistance! Sebastian Girner and Caspar Wijngaard recklessly bring you the tale of the first and only true Nordic black metal band to visit the Marvel Universe through the insanity of likeness release waivers! What role does Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes play, and will your mind survive the brutality!?

Editor Kathleen Wisneski says, “Before you read this comic, you’re going to need THREE things, friends. ONE: an extra pair of pants. TWO: some kind of eyeball apparatus designed to keep your eyeballs INSIDE your head. THREE: your mom on speed-dial. We are serving you pants-off and eyeballs-out levels of horror and shock, and if ANYONE has a chance to call you back from the ledge of insanity that this comic will lift you to, then ABANDON you upon, it’s your momma. If she’s read it first, you can hold hands on your way DOWN INTO THE ABYSS!”

Written by Ethan Sacks with art by Michele Bandini and a cover by Marco Checchetto, the Odinson experiences a new reality on October 24.

When young Thor’s father falls to the King of Giants, his life is forever changed. He’s ripped from Asgard to be raised in a world of persistent winter, learning the brutal way of life in Jotenheim. But how does the runt of the giants, Loki, feel about his new stepbrother? Find out in WHAT IF? THOR #1.

On October 3, writer Bryan Edward Hill, artists Neil Edwards and Giannis Milonogiannis, and cover artist Rahzzah bring you WHAT IF? X-MEN #1.

From the publisher that gave you OLD MAN LOGAN and HOUSE OF M…witness the X-Men as you never imagined!

Welcome to the EXE/scape, a digital wonderland of business and pleasure accessible to anyone with the social (or monetary) capital for the bio-mods needed to log in… Or you can bypass all of that by being born carrying an .EXE/gene! But circumventing the login regulations is exactly what got the likes of Charles Xavier and his .EXE/men banned and driven underground in the first place… Free-roamers u/Domino and u/Cable have taken every dirty job there is on the ‘scape, but when a simple data scrubbing job turns bad, the life of bio-mod magnate Erik Lehnsherr hangs in the balance, and with it, their very society…

Editor Chris Robinson keeps the pitch short and sweet: “The most life-changing comic since VENOM #1. Speculators take note.”

Written by Carl Potts with art by Juanan Ramirez and a cover by Christopher Stevens, WHAT IF? THE PUNISHER #1 hits on October 10.

When Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben is ruthlessly killed by a burglar that Peter let escape, he vows to never let the same fate befall another innocent bystander. From then on, he stands as a figure of cold retribution. Criminals beware – the guilty caught in this spider’s web will be punished. But will Parker stand triumphant…or shattered by this twist of fate?

The friendly neighborhood takes a different turn in this WHAT IF? adventure, positing a very different sense of responsibility for the man who will be known as the Punisher, as his battles against villains like the Green Goblin take a new path!

“WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT…PUNISHMENT?! PUNISHER and SPIDER-MAN are two very, very different characters, but could they be two sides of the same coin?” asks editor Mark Basso. “They’re fueled by different philosophies and use different methods, but how many kicks to the other side does it take to turn a Peter Parker into THE PUNISHER!? Everything you think you think you know (not a typo!) about your favorite heroes and anti-heroes will change after you read this book!”

Which one of these are you most excited for?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!