I’ve always had a huge soft spot for Marvel‘s What If comics. Beginning in 1977, they’ve explored what might happen if things had gone slightly differently in the Marvel Universe (usually for the worse).
The original series imagined possible timelines where Peter Parker had successfully joined the Fantastic Four, what would’ve happened if Captain America hadn’t been frozen in ice at the end of World War II and how Daredevil would deal with the world knowing he was blind. The stories have made periodic returns over the years, but Marvel’s just announced that they’re bringing them back in a big way with some awesome ideas.
First up is WHAT IF? THE PUNISHER #1, in which the death of Uncle Ben sends Peter Parker on a rather different path than we’re used to – namely into a skull-vest wearing, gun-wielding Spidey-powered hybrid of The Punisher and Spider-Man. The synopsis promises to show us how his battles with the Green Goblin will be very different, by which I choose to imagine that Spidey-Punisher will just blow him away with a giant gun.
If that sounds like something you may dig, then get a load of WHAT IF? GHOST RIDER #1, in which a real-world Nordic black metal band clashes with the Marvel Universe in the form of the Ghost Rider, seen here rocking out on the hood of a speeding car while on fire. It sounds absolutely bonkers, with editor Kathleen Wisneski saying:
“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!”
The rest are made up of WHAT IF? MAGIK #1, which shows a reality where the mutant becomes a runaway and gets to explore her powers in her own time, WHAT IF? THOR #1, which wonders what would’ve happened if Thor were raised by Frost Giants rather than Loki, WHAT IF? X-MEN #1, which looks like a bit of head-scratcher cyberpunk X-Men combo that, honestly, feels a little bit 90s, and WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN #1, which asks what would’ve happened if Flash Thompson had been bitten by the radioactive spider – a story I’m pretty sure they’ve done a couple of times already.
Anyways, these comics are always at minimum interesting, giving artists and writers a place to go a bit mad with Marvel characters without having to worry about continuity. From what we understand, they’re hitting store shelves this October, so be sure to check them out!