What If It Was The Fantastic Five Again?

It’s a story we’ve tackled over and over and over again. What if something happened in that first year of the Fantastic Four’s run? Hey, listen, it could be Atlantis Attacks again. And speaking of Atlantis and attacking, let’s talk about the time the Human Torch attacked a homeless man from Atlantis. The Torch is having a hissy-fit at the rest of the FF because he is clearly the one who got the short end of the stick in their whole getting powers thing. He leaves the Baxter Building and spends the night at what the texts continue to describe as a “flop house.” There he finds a familiar homeless person and sets his beard on fire. Then he throws said homeless person in the ocean and said homeless person luckily turns out to be Namor the Sub-Mariner. Because otherwise the FF would have a fucking lawsuit on their hands.

The Human Torch solves New York's homeless problem, one man at a time.
The Human Torch solves New York’s homeless problem, one man at a time.

While in our reality, the Torch dumps Namor in the drink on his own, in this issue we see the rest of the Fantastic Four helping to search for Johnny and them all watching him toss a strange man into the sea. Nobody seems to think this is a bad idea.

Anyway, Namor emerges from the ocean, pissed as hell but Sue Storm and the FF are able to calm him down. While they admit that Atlantis was destroyed years ago, they convince their new fishy friend to stick around, join the team and they can maybe help him find his people. Possibly before Atlantis Attacks and a giant snake devours the She-Hulk.

The Thing lets the new guy borrow his undies.
The Thing lets the new guy borrow his undies.

Namor’s first mission with the Fantastic Five is inevitably going to be the one where Doctor Doom sends the team back in time to search for Blackbeard’s treasure because it always is. Fuck you, Doom. You become a god on multiple occasions. Why the hell do you want some dead asshole’s doubloons? Anyway, Doom holds Sue hostage because she’s the woman and sends the rest of the team into the past. Luckily for everyone, Namor is familiar with Blackbeard’s treasure from when his team recovered the wreck years ago and knows exactly where to find it. Unfortunately, once he finds it, it is no longer there in the future for his people to discover and thus the location is lost to him so he could never find it in the first place and… GODDAMNIT, TIME TRAVEL. The hell with this, everyone back to the present to beat up Doom. That motherfucker.

"I see you're wondering about my friend's ears. He was injured... in a... mechanical rice picker."
“I see you’re wondering about my friend’s ears. He was injured… in a… mechanical rice picker.”

Back in the present, Namor unleashes the magical power of Blackbeard’s gold. Specifically, the gems of Merlin that were hidden among it. Jesus, how many famous historical figures interacted with this treasure? Did it also contain the bow of Robin Hood, the crown of Genghis Khan, the Dracula trophy of Dracula and the microphone of Elvis? Anyway, Namor unleashes the power of Merlin to turn Doom into a squirrel and then be seduced by another squirrel. Unfortunately, it’s just another fucking Doombot so guess who is still around to make bombastic statements and talk about himself in the third person. Fucking Doom.

The FF5 share many more exciting adventures all of which are made easier because Namor is there and isn’t he just so great? The super-apes of the Red Ghost are no match for the chiseled pecs of Namor the Sub-Mariner. Nor is Reed Richards and his stretchy flabby man chest. As he and Sue grow apart, she and Namor grow closer together until one evening whilst they enact the flying scene from Superman, Namor asks Sue to marry him. She says yes and luckily in this case, does not have her body permanently altered so it can live underwater. Good call, Sue. Excellent foresight. They do have a rather swinging wedding though (As far as I can tell, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are NOT invited.) and at the wedding toast, Reed proclaims that he is leaving the FF to pursue his scientific pursuits. Jesus, Reed. Way to bring the room down.

Way to bring down the party, REED.
Way to bring down the party, REED.

Fortunately, things seem to work out pretty well. The Fantastic Once Again Four continue to be a force for good in the Marvel Universe. Namor and Sue are expecting their first child while Reed opens Richtech where he can develop technology of the future without being distracted by frivolous things like fighting crime and being with a loving family. Alas, the good times cannot last forever. Needing a lab assistant, Reed hires hot foreign redhead Lissette Orlova and yes, those of you with linguistic degrees in the languages of fake eastern European countries, that IS a Latveria name. You see, Lissette is a spy for Doctor Doom, poisoning Reed even as she falls in love with him.

"Face it, tiger. You just hit... wait, that's not me."
“Face it, tiger. You just hit… wait, that’s not me.”

Eventually, Doom places his plan into action. He kidnaps Reed and his… weird purple singlet thingy and injects him with a neurotoxin that completely saps his free will. Meanwhile, Lisette apologizes. A LOT. Doom drags Reed to the Baxter Building and uses Reed’s knowledge to bypass the security systems. It’s a lot like the Baxter Building level of the Maximum Carnage game except the soundtrack is provided by Reed’s whimpers and not the musical stylings of Green Jelly.

After sealing Ben and Johnny in their rooms, Doom attacks Namor and Sue and their one set of pyjamas. Doom beats Namor pretty easily and then starts strangling Sue. Unfortunately for Sue, she has forgotten that she is the most powerful member of the FF and has beaten Doom numerous times and just lets herself be strangled until Reed snaps out of it and attacks Doom. Then Doom throws him at the window and Reed cuts himself badly, forgetting that he is a stretchy guy. I guess amnesia is communicable by air. Anyway, Doom escapes vowing revenge but the issue is almost over so I guess don’t worry about him.

The FF and Lissette rush Reed to a hospital where a blood transfusion from a Stretch Armstrong doll saves his life. Then Reed realizes that he loves Lissette and they hook up and they all live happily ever after with their creepy, creepy offspring.

PS Doom exploded on the way home.

 

What If the Punisher Killed Daredevil… And Then Later Spider-Man… And The Kingpin… And Himself And Jesus, He was Busy This Week…

We open this week’s issue with… well, the death of Daredevil. I mean, it’s right there in the title and Uatu does NOT mess around.

“We don’t have time for me to catch you up this month, losers! A MAN IS DEAD.”

And indeed one is. During a random fight between the Punisher and Daredevil, Frank shoots Matt with a tranquilizer dart. Which is a fine thing to do to a super hero. Unless he falls off the damn roof. Which he did. And splatters across the pavement like the smear without fear.

"WAA-HA-HA-HOOEY!"
“WAA-HA-HA-HOOEY!”

The news takes New York by storm. In his tower, the Kingpin springs into action. Well, he eases slowly out of his chair into action but that’s not really important right now. Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, shocked by Matt’s death, delivers information on New York’s criminal underworld to Ben Urich which results in many crooked politicians being arrested. Meanwhile, angered by the death of his best pal, Daredevil, Spider-Man vows to finally take down the Punisher. After a couple of panels talking about how he secretly was fine with the Punisher murdering mobsters. Apparently with great power comes great responsibility and that responsibility is to stand aside and do nothing.

Goddamnit, Peter.
Goddamnit, Peter.

The assault on the Punisher doesn’t really work out in Peter’s favour though. While he does manage to beat Frank to within an inch of his life, he didn’t count on the one thing he should have: specifically the Punisher using a gun. Frank blasts Spidey in the shoulder and then leaves him on the sidewalk. The good news is that Spidey is safely taken to a hospital. The bad news is that he is not taken with his mask. The next day’s Daily Bugle leads with the headline: Spider-Man: Menace or Employee Of The Month? And then if that weren’t bad enough, Aunt May is exploded. Don’t panic, it’s by the mafia. Not… just randomly.

"That awful Garfield sent Nermal to Abu Dabi again!"
“That awful Garfield sent Nermal to Abu Dabi again!”

A representation of New York’s super heroes meet with the mayor who forbids them to take on the Punisher.

“Let the cops handle it.”

“Sure,” says Captain America. “Because THAT’S worked great since the seventies.”

He does alert all of the super heroes though and that plan works for about six seconds before Cloak and Dagger take on Frank. They do a reasonably good job of fighting him but eventually he just jumps in the Hudson River like so much Kramer and escapes.

Behold the costume of Dagger. Her boobs literally point to where her crotch is.
Behold the costume of Dagger. Her boobs literally point to where her crotch is.

When the cops’ inability to stop the Punisher combines with so many politicians accused of corruption, the mayor steps down. You’d think this would get the Avengers and the Fantastic Four back to looking for the Punisher but they just stay indoors and wait for the whole messy business to blow over. Nice job, guys.

Frank also has a low opinion of folksy home-spun wisdom.
Frank also has a low opinion of folksy home-spun wisdom.

Not long after, Ben Urich and his bodyguard are murdered by mob guys and worse, Peter Parker is told of his aunt’s explosion and released from hospital. On very STRONG medication. Pete manages to track the Punisher to the new Mayor’s inauguration ceremony. Peter comes on a little strong and Frank blows him away. Goddamnit, Frank. You can’t shoot your problems away. When every tool looks like a gun, every problem looks like a pimp on crack.

Peter Parker: The Hysterical Spider-Man! His powers: Advantageous! His sanity: Questionable!
Peter Parker: The Hysterical Spider-Man! His powers: Advantageous! His sanity: Questionable!

With his great… foe? Spider-Man dead, Frank heads for Fisk Tower to take on the Kingpin. With a knife. Good planning, Frank. There he finds Fisk and the new mayor plotting. Turns out this entire thing has been a plan since Daredevil died to bump out the rival mobs and get the super heroes distracted chasing Frank around. Except they were specifically not to do that so it’s a good thing it worked out anyway. The Kingpin chokes the Punisher to death, finally killing him and removing all the street level characters from New York. Damnit, Kingpin! Now who will helm the Marvel Knight imprint? Unfortunately for Fisk, Punisher has taken a cue from Aunt May and has the Kingpin exploded.  

"If you can read this, you are about to explode. -Love, Frank."
“If you can read this, you are about to explode. -Love, Frank.”

What If I Had Had It With These Motherfucking Snakes In This Motherfucking Marvel Universe? (Remember that? Remember when that was a thing?)

This week, we travel back to that most well-known of crossover, Atlantis Attacks. And I honestly have no idea how this issue of What If could possibly improve upon it. Mostly because I had no idea what Atlantis Attacks was about, except for the stray issue that floated through the comic store I used to work at. Apparently, it begins with the Silver Surfer (a popular fellow around here recently.) battling some dude called Ghaur, some kind of blue… space wizard with an incredibly difficult name to spell. Ghaur had been turned into an intelligent gas and was briefly stole the Surfer’s power so he could become human again. But, like a blue human. I guess this is how Ghaur rolls.

"Attack, Atlantis! Poke them with your jaggedy spears!"
“Attack, Atlantis! Poke them with your jaggedy spears!”

Once he has returned to Earth, he sets about attempting to summon the giant snake demon Set by convincing the current leader of Atlantis Attuma to attack the surface. As if Atlantis ever needed an excuse to attack the surface. Most of the time, “Prince Namor has a winged boner* and wants to take another shot at the Invisible Woman.” will do in a pinch. The second part of Ghaur’s plan involves him kidnapping seven lady superheroes to be Set’s seven brides. You may recall the musical that was based on these events: “Seven Brides For Seven Screaming Demonic Snake Heads.” It won a Tony!

Next, Ghaur begins building his army by getting a bunch of drug addicts and infecting them with a serum that turns them into snake people. Unfortunately for him, there is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the grips of a serious snake god cult serum.

"My name is Jimmy and I'm a snake monster." "Hi, Jimmy."
“My name is Jimmy and I’m a snake monster.”
“Hi, Jimmy.”

Finally Ghaur succeeds in summoning Set to Earth by uniting all of the Serpent Crowns in the multiverse which blesses him with a giant seven headed snake monster. Nice job, Ghaur! Why on Earth did you want this?

Problems arise and our reality sharply turns to this new one when

  1. Namor is killed in a boating explosion like someone took out a mob hit on him.
  2. The Punisher and Moon Knight fail to stop Ghaur from infecting New York’s drug fiends with Serpent Crack and are indeed themselves turned into snake men.
  3. Thor fails to get his naked half-brother to help him protect Thor’s mother Gaea, the spirit of the Earth and the character Whoopi Goldberg played on Captain Planet.
  4. Dr. Strange, the Thing, Thor and Quasar travel to Set’s home dimension hoping to lure the big gross jerk home but the Thing is eaten by a giant slug, Quasar is cast into eternity and Dr Strange is burned to death by slug fire. Yes, these giant slugs breathe fire. This is the worst place in the entire universe.
Frank can now murder mobsters and then swallow them whole.
Frank can now murder mobsters and then swallow them whole.

Back on Earth, the Avengers take a run at defeating Set and fail utterly. The Beast and the Wasp are both burned to death and then Set goes all Hungry Hungry Hippos, devouring Hank Pym and Ghaur. So at least that’s one problem solved! And also Ghaur is dead! Yeah, fuck you, Hank Pym.

That middle head just looks embarrassed to be here.
That middle head just looks embarrassed to be here.

 

The remaining superheroes mount an attack on Set and its remaining minions under the sea and they get their ASSES KICKED. Like, this shit is embarrassing. Somebody stabs Captain America in the back with a giant tuning fork. That is not how Captain America dies. He gets shot with a time bullet, obviously. The only survivor is Thor who gets his ass beat so badly he is cast out of the ocean

Back in New York, the armies of Set have infected the city’s water supply, transforming everyone into hilarious snake-headed monsters. Seriously, look at these guys. They’re ADORABLE.

My favourite is the guy in the suit.
My favourite is the guy in the suit.
This guy. He looks like when Kermit the Frog became an ad executive.
This guy. He looks like when Kermit the Frog became an ad executive.

In the Baxter Building, Thor regroups yet again with Rachel Grey, Doctor Doom, Wolverine, Sabretooth, the Grey Hulk, Cloak and somebody who I am told is the Aquarian but who I am pretty sure is Jesus Christ**. Most of these guys have been protected from the Snake Serum because of their healing factors and in Doom’s case because he only drinks his own urine, purified through his armour. This is my personal head canon. Deciding they have no other options, the remaining heroes resolve to kill Set’s brides so that they cannot birth Set’s unholy snake babies and also defeat Set once and for all. It’s not a great plan but let’s face it, aside from Doom and maybe Rachel, we aren’t talking a team of great thinkers here.

Sabretooth, you're the worst.
Sabretooth, you’re the worst.

 

Meanwhile, in eternity, Quasar has been falling for several days. He eventually decides that this plan isn’t working the way he hoped, and stops falling, returning to the place of the giant slug battle. There he finds the remains of the Thing and also Dr Strange’s Eye of Agamotto. Then he yells for a while which helps nobody.

Back on Earth, the heroes make their two-pronged attack. Wolverine leads his squad to assassinate the brides of Set when they are attacked by an army of snake-headed superheroes and it is going to take a real effort not to just post pictures of these guys because they are hilarious. Look at snake Colossus. That’s just wonderful.

"AH WUZ ONCE A MAN, SUG!"
“AH WUZ ONCE A MAN, SUG!”

While the snake army is not much of a threat, the mind controlled brides pretty much ruin our boys. Storm incinerates Sabretooth with a lightening bolt, proving that Storm is the shit and Sabretooth is garbage. The Invisible Woman cuts off the Hulk’s air supply which forces him to return to Bruce Banner after which She-Hulk and Andromeda beat him to death. The Scarlet Witch changes Wolverine’s molecules into anti-matter and then throws him at Jesus and they both explode. Try coming back from that, Jesus! And finally, Cloak is bombarded with light energy and is sucked into his own shadow dimension. He looks sad but Cloak always looks kind of sad, so maybe this is okay for him.

 

Meanwhile, Thor and his buddies make their attack on Set. It doesn’t go well. Doom is burned to death by the serpent’s fiery breath but he goes out like a champ so it’s still pretty damn awesome.

Metal as hell.
Metal as hell.

 

While Rachel uses the Phoenix Force to blind and weaken Set, Thor tosses his hammer, splattering one of the monster’s seven heads. Then the Phoenix Force craps out and Rachel falls to the ground, shattering every bone in her body. Whoops.

Thor attacks Set some more but only ends up covered in fourth degree burns all over his body. He’s grabbed at the last second by that giant hand from Cabin in the Woods and dragged into the center of the Earth by his mother Gaea who keeps him frozen in carbonite for all eternity where he will be safe. Thanks, mom.

Then, because everyone else is dead or swallowing bird eggs whole, the Silver Surfer arrives and blows off another of Set’s heads. Nice one, Surfer. Where the hell was the amazing sense of timing twenty minutes ago when everyone was still alive?

Set's head is full of candy.
Set’s head is full of candy.

 

Set knocks the Surfer for a loop and then Quasar shows up, fifty feet tall and pissed. He’s combined the Eye of Agamotto with his Quasar powers and also his Captain Universe powers and he’s also activated Rita Repulsa’s growth staff so now he’s ready for Whacking Day. Unfortunately, all he succeeds in doing is sucking himself and Set into the Eye where they will battle for all eternity. But Set is defeated! So that’s good, right?

Not so much. Each of Set’s seven brides give birth to a giant snake monster of their own who promptly devour their mothers and then set about eating every other snake hybrid on Earth, before slipping into other dimensions to begin the cycle again! So thanks for your heroic sacrifice, Quasar!

Little something for the Vore fetishists out there.
Little something for the Vore fetishists out there.

 

*Editor’s Note: Another name for Namor’s penis is Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Feathered Serpent!

**First appearance: The Bible, True Believers! In God!

What If Magic Punisher Fought Vampire Wolverine And Holy Crap This Issue Is Awesome!

Oh, man. This issue. This was great. We open on someone we haven’t seen in a long time: Snarky Watcher. The Watcher from the alternate universe that doesn’t particularly feel like introducing himself to you lesser, uglier mortals.

“Really? I need to introduce myself? It’s issue twenty-four of the second volume of the series. Man, nobody has it harder than me.”
“Really? I need to introduce myself? It’s issue twenty-four of the second volume of the series. Man, nobody has it harder than me.”

Uatu then introduces us to this week’s story, which starts that time that Dracula, the Lord of the Vampires, decided he was really, really into the X-Men’s Storm. He enthralls her with his creepy pick-up artist magics and is only defeated when Storm watches him almost execute her friends. She zaps him with lightening and he fucks off because he suddenly respects her, I guess. Take a walk, Dracula. You’re gross.

Storm only takes this crap for so long.
Storm only takes this crap for so long.

Anyway, in this universe, Uatu tells us that Drac has already completely enthralled Storm and when he uses his magic on her fellow X-Men, she helps out because thanks for nothing, Storm. Jeez. Dracula drains the blood of Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine and three days later, they rise again.

This is easily the worst orgy I've ever attended.
This is easily the worst orgy I’ve ever attended.

While Colossus and Nightcrawler arrive, ready to serve Dracula in his plans of seducing women he finds attractive and possibly buying real estate in England, Wolverine isn’t really into the whole idea. Dracula identifies Wolverine as “a strong willed individual” who can resist Dracula’s mind control. Which is a huge burn to poor Storm, Nightcrawler and… well, Colossus was never the best decision maker. Obeying the will of Dracula’s mustache is probably a good thing.

Wolverine decides he likes the idea of becoming Lord of the Vampires and figures that murdering Drac is the first step. Then he turns into mist and also a wolf to battle history’s most famous vampire. I have absolutely no clue what happens to Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton when he transforms and apparently neither does the comic because it is not mentioned. I personally dream of a world where Wolverine becomes mist and his skeleton plops onto the floor but no luck.

What, uh, what's up with your leg there, Drac? Is that a vampire power?
What, uh, what’s up with your leg there, Drac? Is that a vampire power?

 

Drac and Wolvie tussle for a while but it’s pretty clear that Dracula’s not in the best shape for this fight. Come on, man. Where’s the Marvel Tomb of Dracula Drac that I fell in love with? But unfortunately for fans of 70s horror comics, Wolverine eventually beheads Dracula. Then, if he’s smart, he fills the head with garlic, tosses it in a bucket of holy water, sticks it in a crate and throws it off a bridge. That Dracula is a tenacious son of a bitch.

Wolverine and his monstrous vampire pubic hair.
Wolverine and his monstrous vampire pubic hair.

With Dracula dead and loving it, Wolverine takes up the fancy cape and proclaims himself king of Vampires. Then he tastes the blood of Dracula and is flooded by Dracula’s evil. Which I guess lives in blood. Good to know. Anyway, if Vampire Wolverine weren’t bad enough, Logan becomes incredibly evil Vampire Wolverine. And then he begins infecting the rest of the X-books, starting with the New Mutants (“Logan, this one can already turn into a wolf!” “Damnit, Rahne!”) and moving onto the other X-villains.

I liked it better when Batman fought Dracula.
I liked it better when Batman fought Dracula.

“Look,” Wolverine says. “What’s cooler than Magneto? VAMPIRE Magneto.”

And he is not wrong.

After taking out the mutant population, the X-Vampires (which is not a very good commando name) turn their attention to the one person who can defeat a mighty vampire: Dr. Strange. I guess Blade was on vacation this week. He sends Vampire Juggernaut who makes short work of the good doctor. Man, I used to have a lot of respect for Strange but the Juggernaut? That guy is terrible. Anyway, Juggernaut shatters the everloving blue eyed shit out of Doc’s spine and then Wolverine feeds his body to albino crocodiles because the dude is thorough.

I can't shake the terrifying idea of Dr Strange reconstituting his body from gator shit.
I can’t shake the terrifying idea of Dr Strange reconstituting his body from gator shit.

 

After that, the vampire invasion of New York begins in earnest. Wolverine’s army starts turning random members of the superhero population and killing others. (“Hey, Wolverine. You want to make Daredevil a vampire?” “Nah, that guy’s an asshole.” “How about the Hulk?” “A vampire Hulk?! How could that possibly go wrong!”) The vampire army full-on attacks Times Square and announces their presence to the world. As a result, the US government quarantines New York and the rest of the world closes its borders to Americans.

Somebody in the What If offices was NOT a fan of Reagan.
Somebody in the What If offices was NOT a fan of Reagan.

Meanwhile, in the astral plain, Strange’s ghost is visited by the spirit of his dead boss, the Ancient One.

“You let New York get overrun by vampires, Stephen?” the Ancient One asks, rubbing his spectral forehead with a finger that doesn’t exist.

“…sorry.” Strange replies.

“Listen, go back to Earth. Find some dude to be your proxy. Give him some magic and show him the Montesi Formula. That’s the spell to destroy all vampires on Earth.”

“I know what it is.” says Strange.

“Do you?” The Ancient One replies. “Because it was in a fucking book you OWN and yet vampires are still a thing!”

Strange returns to Earth to find somebody who hasn’t yet been turned by vampires to help him and of course it’s the fucking Punisher. Marvel history has taught us that, no matter what happens, the Punisher will still be shooting assholes at the end of the world. If he’d been alive during the biblical floods, Frank Castle would be rowing a boat around and shooting fish with mafia ties.

I'm gonna be honest, it's a good look for him.
I’m gonna be honest, it’s a good look for him.

Strange gifts the Punisher with his cloak of levitation and the eye of Agamotto and if you think that shit doesn’t look tight as hell, you are nuts, my friend. As Frank arrives at Strange’s sanctum sanctorum, he’s attacked by the X-Vampires and dispatches them easily with a gun full of silver bullets and in Colossus’ case, a super soaker full of holy water.

WETTER IS BETTER
WETTER IS BETTER

 

With the X-Vampires defeated, Wolverine attacks in his big cape and scary skull belt. It’s a good look for him but unfortunately there can be only one big skull guy in town. Frank and Logan fight some more, bringing the battle into Strange’s home where Strange’s protective spells weaken Logan. The fight is going well for the Punisher until Vampire Kitty Pryde appears out of nowhere (and I mean literally nowhere. She hasn’t been in this story at all.) and Frank cuts her head off. Seeing Kitty die, Wolverine loses it and stabs Frank to death. Then he cries over the teenage girl he accidentally got murdered.

This is hilarious.
This is hilarious.

At this point, Strange’s ghost shows up to lay a serious guilt trip on Logan.

“Hey, way to kill that teenage girl, murderer.”

“I didn’t kill her! I turned her into a souless monster bent on destroying the human race!”

“Then why’s she so dead? Killer?”

Wolverine’s crisis of concious finally breaks the spell Dracula’s evil blood had on him (apparently) and he reads the Montesi Formula, killing all the vampires including himself. As the majesty that is Vampire Hulk crumbles to dust, all he can think is “I was too awesome for this world.”