What If..? is cheerfully carrying on the pitch-black humor that made the original comics such a fun read. While the notion of exploring alternate Marvel universes could mean we get ones where everyone is happy and safe, it’s much more interesting to see the horrible ways everything can go wrong and our favorite heroes get killed off.
And this week’s episode, “What If… Marvel Zombies,” was the darkest yet. Loosely adapting the 2005 miniseries by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, the story saw the MCU Earth suffering through a zombie apocalypse. This means zombified versions of the core heroes, with a ramshackle team of survivors consisting of Spider-Man, Sharon Carter, Bucky, Happy Hogan, Victor, and Bruce Banner trying to stay alive.
But there was one scene that may have gone a bit too far. No, I’m not talking about Tony Stark getting decapitated or Steve Rogers being chopped in half by his own shield, I’m talking about T’Challa’s fate. For much of the episode, our heroes were trying to get to Vision, who seemed to have found a way to repel the zombies using the Mind Stone and might be close to a cure… but was also secretly keeping the zombie Wanda alive.
And, in a truly monstrous reveal, we saw that he’d been feeding her bits of other heroes. This led to the nightmarish sight of a drugged and unconscious T’Challa missing a leg, presumably amputated by Vision to give Wanda something to gnaw on. Fortunately, T’Challa survived and helped Spidey and Scott Lang get to Wakanda, but sadistic torture isn’t exactly your typical MCU fodder and fans are saying that maybe, just maybe, this was a bit too gross.
Of course, readers of the original comic will have recognized the scene as a spin on one there. In that Hank Pym has succumbed to the zombie virus but is still working on a cure, satisfying his hunger for flesh by gradually carving up Black Panther. In what’s got to be the most disturbing passage in the book, Pym admits that he’s come to like the taste of human flesh so much that even if he were cured, he’d still want to eat people.
Fun times. After two depressing episodes, let’s hope things get a teeny bit cheerier next week when we see what would have happened if Thor had never learned humility. I’m sure it’ll be a laugh riot.
What If..? airs Wednesdays on Disney Plus.