What If Aunt May Actually Died Like She’s Been Threatening To For Fifty Years?

Here’s an unfamiliar scene: Peter Parker AKA The Amazing Spider-Man weeping over his dead relative’s tombstone in the rain. “If only I’d been more responsible! If only I hadn’t thought of myself! If only I’d stopped that burglar… Aunt May would still be alive!” Wait, what? Then Peter dries his eyes, stands up and returns to his waiting Uncle Ben.

The only scene I've watched replicated more often than this in comics is Martha Wayne's pearls hitting the ground.
The only scene I’ve watched replicated more often than this in comics is Martha Wayne’s pearls hitting the ground.

“It’s true”, says Uatu, watching from Heaven. Where I guess he lives. “It took us forty-six issues but we finally realized we hadn’t had Uncle Ben live.” Actually, they did but no matter. We begin our tale when Ben Parker wakes up in the middle of the night with old man problems. After peeing for five straight minutes and falling down in the shower, Uncle Ben hears a noise and wanders downstairs, encountering the burglar. Ben starts to launch into a homespun tale about what comes with great power* when the burglar shoots him. Thus begins a tale of guilt, tragedy, and evil black costumes from space.

Oh, I see. And I think you’d better drop it. I SAID DROP IT!


But what if ‘twere not Uncle Ben who died but Aunt May, who was well on her way to her fifteenth stroke anyway? Well, to start, not a whole lot. Mostly events continue pretty much as they have before as Peter becomes Spider-Man and takes out his aggression beating up guys dressed like animals. And sand people. Unfortunately for Pete, Uncle Ben’s a little sharper than Aunt May (This is not difficult. Silver Age Aunt May is like the female Mr. Magoo.) and he soon figures out what Peter’s afterschool activities are.

This picture really captures Peter as a giant fucking dork.
This picture really captures Peter as a giant fucking dork.

As they’re preparing for dinner, Ben asks Pete to change the tablecloth, revealing Peter’s Spider-Man costume underneath. Dude springs this shit on Peter like he found his little box of weed. The two of them sit down and get all their various guilts off their various chests. While Ben doesn’t think Peter is responsible for May’s death, he does like the idea of Spider-Man so the two of them start working together to stop crime.

Could have been worse. His porn could have been under there.
Could have been worse. His porn could have been under there.

Meanwhile, shocking nobody, J. Jonah Jameson has hair up his ass about Spider-Man. The attack pieces he publishes in the Daily Bugle are getting really bad and Ben is fed up with them. He storms into the Bugle offices and start chewing Jonah out. At this point, Spider-Man (who is always around Jonah’s offices at 4:15 for some good natured webbing-feet-to-the-floor.) comes by and finds the two old men fighting. He swings in and then Ben forces Peter to reveal his identity to Jameson which is a fucking terrible idea.


As Spider-Man carries his angry, elderly uncle out the window, Jonah fumes, trying to  make a decision about whether or not to reveal Spidey’s identity. On the one hand, Peter Parker is a brave teenager who’s trying to do the right thing and make up for his aunt’s death while keeping his uncle safe. On the other hand, there’s money to be made. After working his way through every expression the Grinch ever had, Jonah reaches a decision. He starts getting tips from Spidey about what crimes Spidey will foil and sending in photographers. He also challenges Spidey to an interview in the Bugle to defend his views. This is not a great idea in my opinion. I feel like the public can really get behind Spidey’s philosophy of “fuck crime and throwing blondes off bridges.”

Spidey quickly gets fed up with the combined old white guy power of Ben and now Jameson always telling him what to do. Especially when Jameson orders Peter to start tailing his secretary and Pete’s sort of girlfriend Betty Brant. If you recall the old sixties comics, you’ll remember that Betty’s brother Bennett was kind of a mob screw up. Always working for mobsters with names like Blackie. She’s been acting weird and Jameson thinks she might be in deep with the mob.And then Ben agrees which really sets Spidey off.. “Oooh, those guys… always telling me what to do!” Peter grumbles. “I’ll show them. I’ll do it just to spite them.”

"Nobody tells Spider-Man what to do!"
“Nobody tells Spider-Man what to do!”

Sure enough, Spidey finds Betty working for the smuggest Doctor Octopus that has ever appeared in a Spider-Man comic.


After angrily shit-kicking everyone around, Spidey yells at Betty and Bennett and then fucks off. He’s so completely done with everything that he goes and lives on the street for a few days, sleeping in web hammocks and stealing pies from Mysterio’s windowsill.

"Spare some change for web fluid, buddy?"
“Spare some change for web fluid, buddy?”

Eventually Jameson’s trained bum, Patch finds Peter and delivers a message. “Surrender, Dorothy.” I mean, “Come Back To The Bugle, Or I Reveal Your Identity.” Worried that having his ID leaked might still somehow hurt Uncle Ben, Peter meets with him only to get yelled at some more. The Jameson of this reality is somehow more of a jerk than other realities.

Next Jameson hurries to the local hospital where his son, astronaut and future werewolf John Jameson is recovering from a mission to outer space. It seems that John’s been hospitalized since he was bombarded by space spore, something I am not entirely convinced is a real thing. The doctors think he’ll recover and are just observing him when the Green Goblin busts the fuck in.

Not real clear what this guy's problem is with astronauts.
Not real clear what this guy’s problem is with astronauts.

Turns out the Goblin regularly follows one-eyed homeless people around New York and caught Spider-Man and Patch’s discussion. He realized that Jameson knows who Spider-Man really is and kidnaps him. Peter sees this as his chance to finally be rid of Jameson, knowing the Goblin will kill him and solving all his problem. Fortunately his friendly neighborhood conscious kicks in , but not before the Space Spores have an effect on John, changing him into a glowing giant muscle man.**

Giant Dude In A Hospital Gown: The Spectacular Character Find of 1984!
Giant Dude In A Hospital Gown: The Spectacular Character Find of 1984!

Space Spore Man follows the Goblin Glider’s contrails to whatever abandoned Oscorp building the Goblin is hiding out in this time. Fed up with the Goblin’s bullshit, John follows a recent What If  tradition and snaps the Goblin’s neck. That asshole taken care of, Space Spore Man turns his attention to beating the everloving crap out of his dad.

Honestly, this solves a lot of problems.
Honestly, this solves a lot of problems.

Luckily, Spidey arrives at the last possible second, saving Jonah from his son’s weird space illness. Mostly by tossing John at some electrical wire which should kill the poor bastard but really just makes all the spore fall off for no reason. As he leaves with John, he turns to Jonah and whispers “you fucking owe me”, finally putting an end to Jonah’s harassment. Uncle Ben still rides his ass from here to Eternity though. FAMILY.

*Great responsibility. Jeez, man, have you ever even read a Marvel comic?

**Absolutely happened in real Spidey comics from the 60s!


What If The Hulk Got Mad? …wait, seriously?

This week we explore the Hulk, the implications of the logical conclusions of angering said Hulk and whether or not these implications will be found palatable. Or to put it simply, what if the Hulk got really, really, REALLY angry. Like, message board angry.

Let's all just take a moment to admire this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz cover. And applaud me for spelling his name correctly on only the third go.
Let’s all just take a moment to admire this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz cover. And applaud me for spelling his name correctly on only the third go.

Our story begins, as it often does in tales of intense rage with Rick Fucking Jones. Of course, in this case the rage is mine but that isn’t important. We follow the usual chain of events as the dumbest teenager in the Marvel Universe drives Archie’s jalopy out to an atomic bomb testing site so he can play the harmonica and win fifty cents for an egg cream. Fortunately for him and unfortunately for anyone who owns property in New Mexico, Dr Bruce Banner races out to save Rick’s life. In this case, he fails to knock Rick into the radiation proof trench that all nuclear test sites feature and the two are both belted by gamma rays.

Kidnapped by mindless ones!
Kidnapped by mindless ones!

The military takes the two radioactive idiots back to Gamma Base and they’re both put to bed and given all the ice cream and ginger ale they could want. Problems arise when Bruce realizes he wants more vanilla and Rick telepathically reads his mind. Then, angered by indescribable pain and lack of that peanut butter stuff you drizzle on the ice cream and then it hardens, Banner freaks the fuck out and turns into the Hulk. He kicks a wall down and runs out into the desert.

When General Thunderbolt Ross arrives seconds later, Rick tries to cover for the man who saved his life. “Uh, yeah. Bruce WAS here. But then a giant… green guy busted in and kidnapped him. I think he was a robot.” Fortunately, in a post-Kirby Monster Comics universe, this is completely plausible and so the Army begins its search for a green, scientist kidnapping robot. Arch Hall Jr and a jeep with a shovel in the back are mobilized at once.

"Son, I fought in the Fin Fang Foom wars and what you're saying makes complete sense to me."
“Son, I fought in the Fin Fang Foom wars and what you’re saying makes complete sense to me.”

Meanwhile, the Hulk is absolutely hysterical, feeling nothing but pain and also really worried about the annoying teenager that apparently lives in his head. He tangles with the army a few times before Rick can convince him to go into hiding. Unfortunately, Ross observes Rick slipping the Hulk mental mash notes and realizes that they two are mentally linked. Desperate to hush up the unstoppable rage monster before the public finds out, Ross decides his best course of action is to start torturing Rick. General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, ladies and gentleman. The man who never met a hornet’s nest he couldn’t poke with a stick.


Surprising literally no one, inflicting pain on the guy whose brain is psychically linked to the strongest scariest motherfucker on earth is a TERRIBLE idea. Hulk starts freaking out worse than ever, throwing around tanks and actually killing people. And since that isn’t bad enough, Ross goes ahead and tortures Rick to death. Now, personally, I have no problem with this but the Hulk oddly takes issue.


After a devastating attack on Gamma Base, Ross calls in the only people who can possibly help him: The Fantastic Four in their 43rd What If appearance. Unfortunately, the FF have little effect on the Hulk as Johnny fails to burn him, Reed almost gets torn in half and Sue fails to confuse him by turning invisible. Which is not a very good plan. Finally, the Thing takes a crack which would have been my first go-to but whatever. Unfortunately, then the Hulk hits the Thing with a nuclear missile.

With a single puff, the Hulk ruins children's birthday parties across America.
With a single puff, the Hulk ruins children’s birthday parties across America.

Everyone thinks the two monster men are both dead until a human Ben Grimm carries an unconscious human Bruce Banner out of the giant crater. So it looks like everything’s going to be fine, right? Not so much.

Bruce regains conciousness, is flooded by the mental anguish of Rick’s death, turns back into the Hulk and snaps Ben’s neck. This causes Johnny to attack and the Hulk swats him like a fucking fly, reducing the Fantastic Four to the Fantastic Fiancees. “Well, I’m out of ideas.” Says Reed.

At this point, Thor and Iron Man, who have been watching the whole thing unfold on TV, arrive. Thor uses his lightening powers to overcharge Iron Man’s transistors (Silver Age Iron Man was always solving his problems with transistors. The only thing they couldn’t cure was alcoholism.) hoping to make the Golden Avenger stronger. What it mostly does is make Iron Man’s armour light up like a pinball machine when the Hulk twists his spine backwards.

The best part is that this headbutt comes out of fucking nowhere.
The best part is that this head butt comes out of fucking nowhere.

Finally, with no other ideas, Thor just fucking grabs the Hulk and breaks his neck. Which probably would have saved time in the long run. As the Hulk dies, he turns back into Bruce Banner and Thor zaps the corpse with lightning, giving a proper burial to a fallen foe. And disposing of the corpse of the guy he just killed. Meanwhile, Ross is digging his own grave behind Gamma Base for that sixteen year old civilian he tortured to death. Whoops!


What If The Insane 50s Cap Came Back From The Dead And Ran Amok And It WASN’T Written By Ed Brubaker?

I feel like we’ve tackled the question of what would happen if Captain America were revived from his decades long slumber beneath the ice before in this column but apparently not. We WILL be doing it later into volume 2 of What If. I guess there’s a sliding scale of when Captain America can come back to life after being flash frozen and then worshipped by Eskimos (A detail I thank God every day wasn’t included in the movie.).


The story’s as old as time itself. Man fights nazis, blows up, gets frozen in ice and then become a subject of worship by an incredibly racist depiction of ice dwelling natives. And then shockingly smooth underwater  guy Namor appears to ruin their party. He knocks the Capcicle into the ocean, the Avengers run into it in their submarine, defrost him with hair dryers and make him their king.

That’s how it was. But here’s how it is. Instead of ruining the eskimo’s religious ceremony, Namor gives the whole thing a miss. This means no defrosted Cap as the eskimos take his frozen body on an all-Northwest Territorys tour. Woo!

Captain America Ice Cube World Tour 1988
Captain America Ice Cube World Tour 1988

Because they have no one to unite them, the Avengers eventually split up partly to persue different interests and partly so they no longer have to hang around with Rick Jones. With no place to hang out, Rick has to get a regular person’s job at a Jack In The Box and dies of E. Coli in the early 90s. Come back, Cap! We need you!

Shut up, Rick.
Shut up, Rick.

Flashforward a few years to a secret underground bunker somewhere in New York. A mysterious janitor, cloaked in shadow enters a vast room. He speaks quietly of the president’s decision to visit Red China and realizes that there is nothing that can stop the oncoming tide of communism. He approaches two giant glass tubes. And within the tubes? None other than Captain America and Bucky. Specifically the Captain America and Bucky of the 1950s who were injected with unstable super soldier serum during the Korean War and then cryogenically frozen when they developed schizophrenia and started beating up minorities. But this lone janitor thinks they’re just what the good old USA needs. The mysterious janitor then leaves our story never to return. Seriously, dude has nothing further to do with anything. I have no idea why they worked so hard to hide his face and identity and whatever.

"You maybe want to stick around and... I dunno, maybe teach us about this bizarre new time you've trapped us in?" "Nah, I'm super busy being a janitor."
“You maybe want to stick around and… I dunno, maybe teach us about this bizarre new time you’ve trapped us in?” “Nah, I’m super busy being a janitor.”

The new Cap and Bucky get right back into the swing of fighting crime wherever they find it, doing the usual “stop a bank heist and wail on punks for a while” thing that all super heroes experiment with. For a while, things work out okay for the two. They battle some no-name super villains including racist favorite, the Yellow Claw. They also meet Phil Donahue, a slightly better known super villain. Unfortunately, being a vigilate dosesn’t pay very well unless you’re the Punisher even with the day-time talk show appearences so eventually the two are starting to look pretty desperate.

“I’m definitely not an insane guy who got surgery to look more like the real Steve Rogers. That’s for darn sure.”


When a shady dude in a suit offers the two heroes a job with the Committee to Regain America’s Principals (Which sounds completely legit and not at all terrifying.), they jump at the chance. What the job mostly entails is shilling out for congress hopeful Norman Chadwick and appearing on TV to discuss his more… unfortunate political views. Like making it illegal to hire anyone who doesn’t have an identity card. And when the minority groups who cannot get jobs anymore march on Washington, we get the wonderful image of Cap backed by an army of riot police trying to break them up. During the argument, a sniper shoots Cap and riots ensue. Oy.

Oh boy.
Oh boy.

And then things get worse. Martial law is declared throughout the US, while a wheelchair bound Cap goes on TV, telling everyone to hang in for the duration and eventually maybe we’ll be able to start having elections again. Probably.

"Real patriots don't need shirts."
“Real patriots don’t need shirts.”

A couple of years pass, and we cut to a naval submarine cruising the seven seas when it stumbles across (if a submarine can actually stumble over anything.) a man frozen in a block of ice. The crew bring the man aboard, turn on the medical hair dryers and discover… the real Captain America (Hereafter referred to as Real Cap.). Crewman Shipwreck or possibly Shore Leave mistakes Cap for member of the Sentinals of Liberty, America’s new incredibly racist army. He’s about to toss Real Cap back in the ocean when the ship’s captain stops him. As Real Cap regains conciousness, the crew gather around to wail on him with wrenches in the typical naval tradition.


Unfortunately, Real Cap is also real confused and real pissed off and there is a lot of asskicking and people being hit with vibranium shields. Eventually, the sub captain manages to calm everybody the hell down and is able to explain what the samhill is going on. There is very little good news unless you’re super into racism which Captain America thankfully is not.

The Captains America and Submarine return to New York and we get a nice tour of the shithole America has become. There are Sentinals of Liberty on every street corner waving machine guns and wearing their Captain America ‘A’ helmets. (Specifically the 1970s TV movie Cap helmets which is bad enough without the racism and oppression.)

When you're this awful, you deserve a stupid Spaceballs helmet.
When you’re this awful, you deserve a stupid Spaceballs helmet.

Real Cap is eventually snuck over the “Harlem Wall” by J. Jonah Jameson, who has traded hating Spider-Man for hating his rights taken away. Now he just strongly dislikes Spider-Man. Speaking of, once they’re over the wall, Real Cap is introduced to the local resistance cell, led by Nick Fury and machine gun toting Spidey. (Pretty sure my brother owned a machine gun Spidey toy back in the 90s.) Cap remembers Nick and they bond over both being relatively young decades after World War 2.

Not seen: Aunt May with a flamethrower.
Not seen: Aunt May with a flamethrower.

Several days later, Fake Cap meets with his bosses who are planning an election rally thing. If everything goes according to plan, they’ll have total control over America and ALL FREE MEN WILL FEAR THE NAME OF WILLIAM TAURNEY, a man who is clearly very evil, very important, very into curly white wigs and whom we have NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE. I briefly mistook him for a member of the Hellfire Club. They tell Fake Cap that nothing can possibly go wrong at the rally so it sucks seriously for them when Real Cap and his Amazing Resistance Group bust the fuck in.


The resistance wrecks up the place as Real Cap and Fake Cap battle it out on live TV. The two guys look basically identical so it’s a good thing they keep insulting each other with words like “nazi” and “commie” so we can tell them apart. Eventually, Real Cap beats up Fake Cap enough that everything is saved and then he lectures the country on them allowing this crap to happen while he was gone. Then he gets a standing ovation and everybody sings… I THINK it’s the Star Spangled Banner? I don’t know, I’m Canadian.



What If Conan Continued To Smack Cars With Swords? Also: What If Dr Strange Was Haunted By The Ghost Of A Universe?

This week, we go all the way back to What If 13 to revisit a world where Conan the Barbarian walked the earth in the modern times of the mid 80s. As you’ll recall, one of an army of dickish wizards from Conan’s time used a magic well to send our favorite shirtless dynamo into the future. There he slayed a vicious taxi cab, shoved an old woman into a garbage can and won the heart of Danette, a modern woman who did not understand a word he said. Eventually, he travelled to the Guggenheim Art Museum where he foiled an art heist and was then sent back to his own time for some reason. It was a fantastic issue. You should have been there.


But what if travelling to an art museum was NOT in fact the obvious way to return to the Hyborian Age? What if instead, Conan was arrested for all those murders he committed? We rejoin our hero as he is carted away by the NYPD. He watches as the fateful time travel lightning hits the museum’s clock tower, stopping it forever. Eventually, Conan is taken to court and found incompetent after he is unable to speak four languages. Fed up with America’s justice system, Conan breaks his handcuffs, gets shot and then jumps out a nearby window.

Well, that IS all the languages. I guess you're right.
Well, that IS all the languages. I guess you’re right.

After a brief stop at the local knife store to steal a knife, Conan tends to his wounds. Once he has dug the bullet out, he realizes that the 20th century might not be so magical after all. Well, fuck you, buddy. We’ve got toasters.

Ya done it again, Conan, ya goof.
Ya done it again, Conan, ya goof.

Conan spends the next few days learning about his strange new world. He begins to learn English, starting with the universal phrase “Give me your money and nobody gets hurt” and moves up to more eloquent words like “Give me ALL your money and nobody gets hurt.” Unfortunately, Conan is a little unclear on the concept of paper dollars, so his many heists only net him about three dollars.

I would pay good money to read "What If The Hulk Mugged A Businessman."
I would pay good money to read “What If The Hulk Mugged A Businessman.”

Eventually, Conan gives up the life of a lone mugger and occasional drug dealer. Instead, he joins a typical 80s street gang after showing them his skills with a knife. Fortune quickly smiles upon the barbarian and he returns to his love Danette in style.

Let's all just be amazed by this.
Let’s all just be amazed by this.

Alas, as you may have heard, pimping ain’t easy and it’s also not a lifestyle for everyone. Danette is impressed neither by Conan’s white suit, nor his matching leopard and so he leaves her.

Working for a gang is simple but it isn’t enough for Conan. He decides to form a gang of his own and seeks out Ajujo, a gigantic African American fellow who apparently lives at the local gym.Ajujo isn’t particularly thrilled by the idea of working for a ‘white boy’, but Conan is a skilled debator and eventually convinces him. By beating seven shades of hell out of him. Ajujo realizes that Conan is a man worthy of respect and he and his friends join Conan, forming the Warriors, I mean the Barbarians gang. And they look goddamn awesome.


The Barbarians quickly become a gang worthy of both fear and respect. By which I mean, they work over the local shopkeepers and deal drugs but don’t hurt women or anyone who looks poor. But even this, Conan tires of. Like a princess in a Disney Musical, he dreams of more and so Conan sets his sights upon another museum. This one holding an exhibit on “The Fabulous And Easily Stolen Treasures of the Hyborian Age” which Conan might find interesting if he ever learned to read. Everything is going according to plan until some idiot tries to steal a well protected necklace once owned by Cerebus the Aardvark and sets off an alarm. Nice job, Karim.

That is one fragile display case.
That is one fragile display case.

The police are alerted but more importantly, so is Captain America over at Avengers Mansion. Cap arrives and then he and Conan fight it out for a couple of pages. It is INCREDIBLY awesome. Eventually, Conan stabs Cap rather nasitly in the arm and Cap is forced to retreat rather than bleed to death. Before he goes though, Cap tells Conan that he recognizes him as a man of honor (He apparently missed all the muggings and drug dealing Conan had been doing earlier.) and begs him to turn himself in.

This is just bad ass.


The Barbarians retreat to their headquarters but Conan isn’t through with Cap yet. He has one of his men write a letter to Cap and deliver it to Avengers Manor. The two titans agree to meet in an abandoned section of the Bronx where they can finally beat the fuck out of each other in relative peace. Unfortunately, an army of cops have followed Cap as has the entirety of the Barbarians and a massive battle erupts between the two.

Ajujo is shot by the police at which point Cap commands that the police let Conan go for some reason. I have no idea if this goes for the rest of the Barbarians as well. No one seems to much care about them.  Cap tells Conan that he can do better than common thuggery and even offers him a place on the Avengers. And a few days later, as Conan sits in a hotel room, he seriously considers it. And guys, listen. If there is an issue of What If where Conan joins the Avengers, I want to read that shit like now.

Not real clear why you aren't arresting this drug dealing, murderous thief, Cap.
Not real clear why you aren’t arresting this drug dealing, murderous thief, Cap.

Well, we’ve got a few pages left, so why not revisit What If 32? Because apparently I haven’t written enough about that particular issue. If you’ll recall, What If 32 features Michael Korvac turning into a giant naked gold man, enslaving the Avengers and destroying the universe with the Ultimate Nullifier. It was kind of a big to-do. But before he did that, he banished the three people on Earth who could stop him to another reality. Those three were Dr Strange, the Silver Surfer and the Phoenix.

Don't have to look so smug, you big headed, bald dick.
Don’t have to look so smug, you big headed, bald dick.

We rejoin Dr Strange as he finally escapes Korvac’s trap and returns to his universe to find it… really really empty. Like, nothing but whiteness in all directions. It’s like a (Note to self: Remember to put some sort of joke about white people here.) convention.

Strange is as facinated by hair growth as Geordi La Forge.
Strange is as facinated by hair growth as Geordi La Forge.

Strange cruises through the infinite for a while before locating the Silver Surfer. Which is a hell of a feat when you’re travelling through an empty void looking for a dude covered in reflective surfaces.

I bet the artist loved drawing the backgrounds on this thing.
I bet the artist loved drawing the backgrounds on this thing.

The twosome eventually become a trio when the meet up with Phoenix who has also managed to escape Korvac’s trap. Pity none of you were able to figure that shit out BEFORE the Universe ended. They also manage to find the Ultimate Nullifier which honestly beggars belief. Guys, what part of infinite formless void are you having trouble with?

Strange scans the Nullifier with the Eye of Agamotto and everyone finally gets clued in on what the hell is going on. After some discussion, they think they can use the Nullifer to recreate the universe by running it backwards, something which Strange admits “Always worked on Star Trek.”


At this point, the ghost of the ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE appears. It begs them not to recreate the universe, leaving the empty void as a tombstone within the multiverse as a warning… not to destroy universes I guess. Good advice.

It's a g-g-g-ghost!
It’s a g-g-g-ghost!

So the three go their seperate ways. The Surfer vows to explore the multiverse, the Phoenix seeks out a universe like her own where she had died and can take her own place. (A universe with a dead Jean Grey, huh? Good luck.) Strange stays behind. He decides that he is only Sorceror Supreme of THIS reality and vows to stay and guard it forever. Or until he dies of thirst in three days. Whichever comes first.