What If Doctor Doom Graduated?

We all know the story. It’s a tale as old as time. Brilliant Eastern European son of a witch damned to Hell moves to New York, enrolls in university, befriends/hates the smartest guy on the planet and then blows his face off trying to contact said dead mother and gets kicked out of school. Victor Von Doom, could you possibly be any more cliche? But what if Doom’s crusty old dean was a little more lenient with Victor? What if, instead of expelling the student for attempting to contact the forces of evil, he sent Victor back to his dorm with a face full of bandages? What if all of that crap happened? And what if it was written by Dwayne Mcduffie?

Space Ghost has mastered the Five Magiks!
Space Ghost has mastered the Five Magiks!

This week we travel back to a time before Fantastic Four 1. Reed Richards is living at a boarding house with a very teenage Susan Storm and a ten year old Johnny Storm. Listen, it has long been canon that Reed met Sue when she was super young and then they married when she got a little older but that shit is still really creepy. Get your mind outta the gutter, Richards! Reed’s working on a Space Warp Projector which… shows the galaxy. In 3-d. Which is neat, I guess but it’s no rocket to the stars. Come on, Reed! Apply yourself for once and you might permanently disfigure your best friend for life.

Empire State University is really hard up for alumni, I guess.
Empire State University is really hard up for alumni, I guess.

Speaking of said best friend, Reed is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ben Grimm. Unfortunately, he’s running a few minutes late because he got stuck in traffic behind the sinister Toyota of Dr. Doom. Doom arrives at the Boarding House looking for a place to stay and definitely not to do anything evil that might involve contacting the souls of the damned. And he looks so gosh darn trustworthy what with his face bandages and his mystic powers and his manservant. Then Ben arrives and it’s like a class reunion if one of the attendants hated all the rest. So, it’s like my class reunion.

This is absolutely the thing to say to somebody you know who has been disfigured.
This is absolutely the thing to say to somebody you know who has been disfigured.

Victor’s been in the house less than three hours before he steals Reed’s Space Warp Projector, using mystic powers to put Sue and her aunt to sleep. Reed and Ben decide to use science to track Doom and Sue and Johnny come along because what’s more fun than child endangerment? Nothing, that’s what.

"...this isn't my house."
“…this isn’t my house.”

The Nontastic Four follow Doom back to his cliche abandoned warehouse where he sets upon them with traps and robots. Which he calls Doombots. Which shouldn’t be hilarious because there’s no difference between college drop out classic Doom and legitimate Doctor Doom but it really is.

"If only I were a hideous orange rock monster with super strength and also depression!"
“If only I were a hideous orange rock monster with super strength and also depression!”

Doom traps our heroes and then begins trying to summon his mother from Hell with a combination of magic and Reed’s Space Warp Projector. He manages to tear a hole in reality and fill the room with demons but his mom is also there so I guess that’s a win? Good job, Doom? Ben manages to unplug the projector, meaning that the entire world won’t be swallowed by Hell, just the room. Man, today is just full of good news.

"Thanks, Satan!"
“Thanks, Satan!”

The group manages to hide in a pentagram on the floor, protecting them from the hellhole. Then Sue gets the bright idea to close the portal with satanic magic, attaching her lipstick to Johnny’s Fantasticar prototype and drawing another pentagram. This closes the portal, banishing the forces of hell and Doom’s mom. Doom is understandably pissed off so Reed spends literally SECONDS studying Doom’s research and figures out a way to free Doom’s mom.

The moral of this story is that sometimes people are just assholes.
The moral of this story is that sometimes people are just assholes.

The fact that Doom now has actual proof that Reed is smarter than him, combined with a mother’s love long denied him makes Doom finally realize… that he should be a super-powered monstrous despot! ALTERNATE REALITIES.

In unrelated news, Reed Richards has discovered a way TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM HELL AND NOBODY SEEMS TO THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT.

"Jesus, Reed... Maybe we should contact the Vatican about this or something?" "...why?"
“Jesus, Reed… Maybe we should contact the Vatican about this or something?” “…why?”

What If Spider-Man Died And Still Ruined Everything?

This week we revisit a favourite of mine, Kraven’s Last Hunt. In the original story, Great White Hunter and Owner Of A Lion Vest Kraven the Hunter goes insane, kidnaps Spider-Man, buries him alive, beats the shit out of people and then blows his own head off with a shotgun. It’s AMAZING.

Look at that giant fat fucking head! This is my new favourite Watcher for anyone wondering.
Look at that giant fat fucking head! This is my new favourite Watcher for anyone wondering.

This story is… less of that. We open on Spidey swinging home one night when Kraven shoots him with a blow dart, immobilizing him. But instead of just tying Spidey up and burying him, Kraven does what super villains should have been doing for years and shoots Spidey in the fucking head. It’s the smartest thing a Spider-Man villain has ever done but it’s not what you’d call dramatically satisfying.

"Man, that was really easy. I should have shot this asshole back in the sixties."
“Man, that was really easy. I should have shot this asshole back in the sixties.”

Kraven and his lackeys bring the spectacular Spider-Corpse to a graveyard where they bury it with a custom gravestone, after which Kraven literally dances on the grave. After a quick trip to his back to his mansion to devour massive handfuls of spiders, I vomit, I mean he swipes Spidey’s costume and heads out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge™ against… random street crime. Hey, thanks, Kraven. You’re doing… well, the Punisher’s work anyway.

OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!
OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!

Back at Peter Parker’s Peter aparkment (sorry), Mary Jane Watson-Parker-Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Nahasapeemapetilon waits by the window and mostly frets. She eventually goes out into the rain to find her husband and is immediately cat called by street douches. This issue is a real winner for MJ. Luckily, Spider-Kraven shows up literally foaming at the mouth and rescues her. MJ sees how brutal Spider-Man acts, how he didn’t even notice her and most importantly how he kept his mouth shut for the entire battle.

“That is definitely not my Peter.” She thinks.

This is pretty much all Mary Jane does for the entire comic so drink it in, I guess.
This is pretty much all Mary Jane does for the entire comic so drink it in, I guess.

MJ starts visiting the usual Spidey cast for help. Eventually, Flash Thompson takes her to the Baxter Building where they meet with the Human Torch who… I guess is still friends with Spidey but doesn’t know who he is yet? Anyway, the Torch has been watching the news and seeing all these brutal attacks by Spider-Man and figures something isn’t exactly kosher. He calls two friends and they call two friends and eventually the Torch pulls together Spidey’s other closest friends in the Marvel Universe, Daredevil and… Captain America? Fine.

Specifically, let's find his half-eaten rotted corpse!
Specifically, let’s find his half-eaten rotted corpse!

The three heroes split up to look for this new Spidey and they eventually all find him. Seperately. Which is weird. Anyway, they figure out that this isn’t Spidey pretty quickly as he endangers a baby and throws bricks at the Human Torch. No spider in history has ever thrown a brick at anyone. (If you have knowledge of spiders hurling bricks at you or a friend, please post your story in the comments.)

Does whatever a spider can.
Does whatever a spider can.

Spidey’s Amazing Friends meet up at the Baxter Building where MJ continues to wait and cry. They tell her that they believe her about the new brutal Spider-Man being an imposter and she tells them that she’s actually Mrs. Spider-Man. (You know, I would kill for some Golden Age Spider-Man stories where MJ tries to trick Spider-Man into marrying her.)

Meanwhile, New York is having bigger problems as a gross rat monster known as the Vermin has been dragging folks into the sewer and eating them. Trust me, this is a bigger deal in the original story. The Vermin attacks J Jonah Jameson while he’s waiting for a cab and is about to drag him into the sewer to make J Jonah Jibblets when Spider-Kraven arrives.

"Somebody grabbed me! It must be that fucker Spider-Man!"
“Somebody grabbed me! It must be that fucker Spider-Man!”

This, of course, results in a rant of “Help! Spider-Man and his best friend this giant rat were going to eat me!” which is definitely newsworthy.

The Torch, Cap and Daredevil arrive and then everyone beats the shit out of each other for a while. Beaten, Kraven flees and the heroes follow him back to the cemetery where the find he has dug up Peter’s grave and is now eating him. Which is all sorts of disgusting. The Torch finally beats Kraven while Cap puts a tarp over the devoured remains of Peter Parker. Who was eaten. By a silver age villain in a lion vest.

"That's weird. There's a giant pile of mouldy ground beef wrapped in a Spider-Man costume in here!"
“That’s weird. There’s a giant pile of mouldy ground beef wrapped in a Spider-Man costume in here!”

Everyone heads back to Mary Jane’s place where she cries a lot more but at least can stop standing by windows now. Kraven gets carted to a mental institution where he can eat all the spiders he wants and maybe eventually work for Dracula which I am now realizing is a comic I absolutely want to read.

Uatu, did you turn him into Wolverine? Did you turn him into Wolverine because you sent Wolverine back in time because you are a total ass bucket?
Uatu, did you turn him into Wolverine? Did you turn him into Wolverine because you sent Wolverine back in time because you are a total ass bucket?

Meanwhile, MJ goes to tell Aunt May what’s happened to her nephew but this is mean crotchety Aunt May who doesn’t believe her and is mostly just a jerk. Thanks for nothing, Aunt May! Now who’s going to lift machinery to get you your heart medication?! You dick!

Aunt May here played by Almira Gulch.
Aunt May here played by Almira Gulch.

At the funeral, Mary Jane has the bright idea to hold a press conference at the Baxter Building telling the world what a hero Spider-Man actually was. In life, wealth and fame he may have ignore, but in death he should at least get some praise. Unfortunately, Jameson shows up to present his yelling, hysterical side of the story. Everyone latches on a picture of the Torch trying to get JJJ to leave and ignores the whole “abusing a grieving widow” angle. All of this results in a world much less trusting of super-heroes. The president bans super heroes from meeting and the Avengers and the FF close up shop. So look forward to that next Skrull invasion, folks! Meanwhile, Mary Jane apologizes to Peter’s grave for screwing up his death worse than he screwed up his life!

Old People: Heroes or Menaceses? Menasees? Menses? Whatever.
Old People: Heroes or Menaceses? Menasees? Menses? Whatever.

What If Comics: A Fun Super Powered Romp For Everyone!

What If The Watcher Was A Dickhole?

Uatu gets damn self-reflective this week as he turns his all-seeing eye to the man in the mirror and asks himself to change his ways. Specifically from someone who is forbidden to interfere to someone who is forbidden to interfere but still launches a dude into the timestream for daring to wander onto his doorstep. I do not want to know what the big bald douche has done to the legions of interstellar girl scouts who have approached his door.

Our tale this week begins on the moon where the Uncanny X-Men are defending Jean Grey from execution by the Shi’ar Empire. If you recall, there is a moment when Wolverine stumbles upon the Watcher’s house. If you do not recall, then it is handy I do these summaries, isn’t it?

The Watcher seriously values his privacy.
The Watcher seriously values his privacy.

The Watcher, who is a friend to humanity and defended us from Galactus that time, decides that he doesn’t want no filthy mutant wandering among his furniture and knowing what he gets up to in his spare time. Hypocrite, thy name is Uatu. Anyway, Watchie gets pissed and blasts Logan with visions from different alternate realities. That knocks our boy out and brings the X-Men one step closer to their defeat.

“But WHAT IF?” Uatu asks himself? “What if I didn’t just knock Logan out? What if I sent him screaming into the distant past, abandoned, alone and without a friend in the world or even knowledge of the local language? WHAT IF I DID THAT INCREDIBLY AWFUL THING FOR NO FUCKING REASON IN THE WORLD? WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?” Well, U, what would happen would be that Wolverine fought Conan the Barbarian but it would not be nearly as fun as when Conan met Thor and they became friends.

This seems unnecessary.
This seems unnecessary.

Wolverine wakes up in a time undreamed of, back when Marvel still owned the rights to Conan. He is instantly attacked by a giant lizard dragon thing because Wolverine is the best there is at what he does and what he does is get amnesia, get attacked, get angry and get drunk. Most of these things happen in this issue.

After murdering the lizard monster, some bald villagers smacking at the dirt with a stick like all unimportant characters in a fantasy setting direct Wolvie to a nearby town where he can get his bearing and maybe get home. And also change out of his yellow spandex because nobody likes it.

Meanwhile, in that very town, Conan the Barbarian is drinking away his sorrows over the loss of his girlfriend, the pirate Belit (who has an umlaut or something over the e in her name but I will be damned if I know how to do that.). He is contacted by a vision of one of apparently hundreds of thousands of asshole dark wizards that Conan is constantly dealing with. This one’s name is Zukala and he offers to bring Conan’s ladyfriend back to life if Conan will bring him another asshole apparently non-dark wizard named Karanthese. Well, Conan’s in a pretty shitty mood and wizards are all jerks anyway so what the hell? Oh, Conan. This will not be good for your alignment meter.

How about you don't judge because at least he didn't send anyone to the past, you dick?
How about you don’t judge because at least he didn’t send anyone to the past, you dick?

The next morning, Wolverine has arrived in town where he mugs a singing drunk and steals his clothes. Wolverine’s spent time drunk in Madripoor. Ending up thousands of years in the past isn’t that difficult. Anyway, he’s attacked by Red Sonja who was strolling by when she saw him roll that drunk. Wolvie mistakes her for Jean because she is a red head and they all look literally the exact same in the Marvel universe. Seriously, Sonja has also been mistaken for Mary Jane Watson which means that Jean and MJ look identical too and what is happening with red heads in the Marvel U? Is this another clone thing?

Let's see, sword? Chainmail bikini? Speaking ancient Summarian? It MUST be Jean.
Let’s see, sword? Chainmail bikini? Speaking ancient Summarian? It MUST be Jean.

Anyway, they scuffle and Wolverine beats Sonja and if you know your Red Sonja lore that means that Wolverine is worthy to have sex with her which is gross so Wolvie leaves instead. What a gentleman. A short smelly murderous gentleman. He heads into a bar and Sonja, overcome by attraction to this guy who refused to rape her, follows. Soon they have struck up a friendship based on an inability to understand one another at all which is when Sonja notices Conan walking by.

Wolverine's got a weird little troll thing going on in this issue?
Wolverine’s got a weird little troll thing going on in this issue?

Conan’s on his way to Karanthese’s temple but unbeknownst to him, Red Sonja is working a job as a bodyguard of Karanthese. There’s a pretty long fight which is understandable if you’ve been given the job of having Conan fight Wolverine which ends with Sonja knocked out and Wolverine half-naked and decapitated. Except of course you can’t decapitate Wolverine because of his adamantium bones so instead no blood gets to his brain, giving the mutant extremely severe brain damage. Which is awesome. Conan leaves Wolverine but takes Sonja and the wizard.

SUCKERED BY CONAN!
SUCKERED BY CONAN!

That night, Wolverine has healed enough to track Conan but all his higher brain functions are pretty much gone and he’s all animal-y now. He tracks Conan to Zukala’s wizard tower where Conan is preparing to sacrifice Sonja so Belit can live again. That’s a totally asshole move, Conan. You dick. Go put a shirt on, you jerk. Wolverine and Conan fight some more and Wolverine cuts Conan’s fucking hand off which is pretty goddamn awesome.

"No! I'll have to get a bad-ass hook like 90s Aquaman!"
“No! I’ll have to get a bad-ass hook like 90s Aquaman!”

Meanwhile, Zukala has used his stupid powers to peer into Wolverine’s mind and realizes that he has been sent from the future. And also the moon.

“This is a man whose backstory I would read about in one to twelve serialized magazine adventures each month.” Zukala thinks. “But no time for that now!”

He opens a time pool to Wolverine’s home and lures the mutant to it. Then he summons a giant demon to fight Conan who has considered his missing hand, had a change of heart and is now trying to rescue Sonja. Wolverine is distracted by the monster and seeing Sonja in trouble returns his senses and then he and Conan both fight the demon until it knocks Conan into the time pool.

Listen, guys. It is about 82 degrees outside right now and that time pool looks refreshing as hell.
Listen, guys. It is about 82 degrees outside right now and that time pool looks refreshing as hell.

Pissed to have missed his flight home, Wolverine murders Zukala and then saves Sonja and the wizard. The three escape from the tower which is now crumbling in accordance with the fifth law of heroic fantasy. The wizard goes home and Logan and Sonja ride off into the sunset to live their lives together, learn to speak to each other and eventually become kings by their own hands. But that is another story.

Meanwhile, Conan pops out on the moon, murders a couple of members of the imperial guard and then fails to stop Jean from becoming the Dark Phoenix again, resulting in the Phoenix killing everyone on first the moon and then earth. That includes you, Uatu. That’s why you don’t send people back in time for no fucking reason. The hell is wrong with you?

Look at that shrug! "Whoops!" What an asshole! I'm glad you're dead!
Look at that shrug! “Whoops!” What an asshole! I’m glad you’re dead!

What If The Fantastic Four Killed Billions Of People And A Lot Of People Cared?

Reed Richards is dead! Yes, the Fantastic Four’s own Mr Fantastic Four’s own Mr. Fantastic Four’s own Mr… Shit. Reed Richards is dead. Executed by the Shi’ar Empire for the crime of saving the life of the world devouring Galactus (for some reason.) and thus responsible when Galactus devoured the Skrull Homeworld and ending the lives of seven billion Skrulls. Including, according to a Skrull representative, some very attractive princesses.

"YOUR FATE WILL BE DECIDED BY THESE BALLOONS!"
“YOUR FATE WILL BE DECIDED BY THESE BALLOONS!”

While in our universe, Galactus answers his cosmic summons and calls upon Eternity the very conciousness of the universe itself to testify (There’s your celebrity witness.) on Reed’s behalf in the universe we examine this week, Galactus can’t be bothered.

“Mighty Galactus” calls out Frankie Raye, the universe spanning Nova and Galactus’ current herald. “My friend and your saviour Reed Richards of Earth has been called upon to answer for the crime of saving your life! He needs your intervention to save his life.”

“Well, that’s his tough fucking luck, ain’t it?” Galactus replies. “I hate that stretchy asshole! He can go piss up a rope made of himself. Peace out!”

"He saved your life!" "Yeah, that was fucking dumb of him! What a maroon! So says Galactus!"
“He saved your life!” “Yeah, that was fucking dumb of him! What a maroon! So says Galactus!”

And with that heaven-splitting drop of the mic, Galactus dooms the life of Reed Richards. Empress Lilandra and the gathered impartial jury sentence Reed to death and then laser him to death right in the courtroom. In front of his wife and everything! That shit is COLD. The Traumatized Three are flabbergasted which is when the Watcher sends them back to Earth.

“Sorry!” He says. “ I figured watching your best friend and husband get brutally executed in front of you would be good for you! Boy, is my giant bald face red! Anyway, love to stay and help with that overwhelming grief but alas! I am forbidden to interfere!”

Man, I’m getting real sick of that guy’s bullshit.

They spell Revenge the same way everyone does. They tried getting a couple of 4s in there but it didn't work.
They spell Revenge the same way everyone does. They tried getting a couple of 4s in there but it didn’t work.

Anyway, the remaining FF decide to do what they do best: Namely seek out terrible revenge on Lilandra. They pile into a captured Skrull flying saucer (Yes, Skrulls cruise around in flying saucers. Honestly? I’m glad their homeworld blew up. These dudes are too cliche’ to live.) and head back to the Shi’ar Empire, only stopping to grab Annihilus’ old cosmic control rod. Presumedly in case they need to control anything. Cosmically.

The FF arrive on Chandilar, the Shi’ar throneworld and home to a bunch of X-Men adventures that aren’t important right now. They’re attacked by some Shi’ar patrol ships and then Johnny sets them all on fire and kills them. Which… uh… Wow. Well, way to kill some guys, Johnny. That’s… wow.

When you seek revenge, dig two graves. For the two people the Human Torch just fucking murdered.
When you seek revenge, dig two graves. For the two people the Human Torch just fucking murdered.

Anyway, no time to be upset about Johnny Storm, Human Murderer. The FF’s spacecraft is now under attack by a Shi’ar army. While Ben opens fire with the ship’s lasers, Sue uses her invisibility powers to weld the Cosmic Control Rod into the ship’s weapons because a) I guess she can do that and b) maybe it will help?

Well, it definitely helps. In that it completely blows up the entire Shi’ar homeworld, killing billions of people. Uh… whoops.

Well, this is embarrassing.
Well, this is embarrassing.

The FF return home as akwardly as humanly possible and then Sue appears on television from the UN to let Earth know exactly how fucked they are. The answer is very. Very very very fucked. The UN officially awards power over all of Earth’s armed forces to Nick Fury and SHIELD who prepares to defend the planet from the onslaught of the remaining Shi’ar empire and oh yeah, every other space going race in the universe. All of whom are a little fed up with Earth’s shit.

Meanwhile, the new Skrull Empress has recieved a message from a spy in the Kree army, basically laying out the oncoming attack on Earth. The Empress equips a Skrull ship with the Omni-Wave* and then stashes it on one of Mars’ moons. The plan is that when the armada attacks Earth, the Omni-Wave will wipe out every military power in the universe AND make it look like Earth did it to any survivors. Skrulls are total assholes.

Borrowed from last week's column.
Borrowed from last week’s column.

Back on Earth, the remaining Fantastic Four are surprisingly not in jail. They’re all just chilling in their giant office building, playing with Franklin. Franklin notices a distinct lack of smiles among his remaining family (He doesn’t mention his dad, which made me assume they hadn’t told him in case Reed get resurrected for a new FF movie or something. I don’t have the heart to tell him the FF are owned by Fox.) Anyway, Franklin wonders why the FF don’t just go and apologize to Shi’ar. Well, out of the mouths of babes, huh? That’s a wonderfully innocent stupid idea and the FF head out, leaving Franklin with a baby sitter. Who hopefully like raising small children with omega level mutant powers because there is no way the FF are coming back from this.

Well, gosh, if Frank Castle thinks you're doing a good job...
Well, gosh, if Frank Castle thinks you’re doing a good job…

The FF steal back their Skrull flying saucer and head out into space but before they can leave the system Ben detects another Skrull ship on one of Mars’ moons. They land to investigate and discover the hidden Skrull ship and its Omni-Wave. Both of which they punch until the day is saved. Unfortunately, the later explodes, killing the FF and also destroying Mars’ moon. Boy, history is going to look real kindly on the Fantastic Four.

That movie is VERY popular in space.
That movie is VERY popular in space.

Anyway, then the space armada arrives and tells everyone on Earth that since the FF blew up the traitorous Skrulls and are now dead, everyone else on Earth is probably pretty cool and how would you like to join our Federation of Planets? And that’s how Star Trek started! Cannonical!

 

*Last seen last week when Captain Marvel threatened a bunch of people with it. Thing is goddamn popular for something I’d never heard of before. I guess I just never had the Marvel trading card about it.