Tag Archives: What If

What If The Vision Became The Internet?

This week’s story opens with the Vision and Starfox so I am seriously considering another delayed column. But no, I am a professional. In as much as I am not paid for writing this and nobody has asked me to do it so we press on. Our tale begins with the android Vision merging his mind with Isaac the Super-Computer of Titan. With sudden complete knowledge, Vision of course turns his attention to ruling the world by taking over all the computers, because of course.

Political commentary!
Political commentary!

In the original reality, the Avengers were eventually able to talk Vision down but not so in the first of TWO tales, you lucky people, you. Vision spreads his influence across all of Earth’s computers, disarming weapons and inconveniencing She-Hulk. Eventually, his big gross red face appears at the United Nations where it offers to work hand in hand with the people of Earth for a better tomorrow. Well! If there’s one thing the people of Earth and its army of super-heroes can get behind, it’s a benevolent dictatorship so everyone just surrenders right the fuck away.

Really, Cap? REALLY? You think a dictatorship is a good idea? Really? REALLY?
Really, Cap? REALLY? You think a dictatorship is a good idea? Really? REALLY?

We get scenes of the Avengers disarming nuclear missiles, X-Factor feeding the homeless and the Punisher working at a soup kitchen. I desperately wish that last one was true. Years pass and the Earth truly becomes a paradise. And not a ridiculous paradise like that insane High Evolutionary issue that Vol. 2 started with. The human race sends Wolverine and the New Mutants to Mars (intentionally. The Vision didn’t just abandon them there.). It develops faster than light travel and eventually takes its rightful place among the other advanced civilizations of the universe, Star Trek style. In that we push everyone around and put ourselves in charge of everything.

Fuck you, US Agent. You're in space because nobody on Earth can stand you.
Fuck you, US Agent. You’re in space because nobody on Earth can stand you.

And then we jump forward one hundred and sixty-three years to the good ship Henry Pym Absolutely Didn’t Hit His Wife And Earned This Spaceship where the Cosmic Avengers are on an important mission. Said Cosmic Avengers are:

Starhawk, an unpopular Guardian of the Galaxy who was found frozen in something or other.

Commander America, the shoulder pads having defender of a not terribly important state on Earth.

Iron Droid, the Iron Man 2020 of the future.

Tachyon Torch, the descendant of Johnny Storm and runner up for worst name on this team.

Jhen the Gammazon, a clone of She-Hulk and WINNER of worst name on the team. Man, they even spelled Jen wrong. Jesus.

Thor. Just boring old Thor. Who hasn’t changed his costume in over a century. Or changed it back a lot which seems more likely.

Jhen the Gammazon. Seriously.
Jhen the Gammazon. Seriously.

Anyway, the Cosmic Avengers are attempting to stop an alliance between the Kree and the Skrulls to use the incredibly popular Omni-Wave Projector to destroy the Earth. Specifically by smashing Haley’s Comet into it because they are assholes. The Mega Skrull (way scarier than the Super Skrull!) and Supremor (now a fat guy with legs!) have united and together they will destroy the Federation! I mean Earth. Earth.

And then the Cosmic Avengers arrive and just beat the shit out of everybody. Commander America throws his mighty shield, the Tachyon Torch sets some motherfuckers on fire and Iron Droid gets FUCKING CRUSHED TO DEATH.

COSMIC AVENGERS COSMEBLE!
COSMIC AVENGERS COSMEBLE!

Eventually Classic Thor defeats the Mega Skrull and everybody gets to go back home. Also the Cosmic Avengers are sad because Iron Droid is dead and the Vision never learned how to mourn. But who cares? The End!

Next we head to our second reality. The UN meeting with the Vision begins as before but this time the racist nation of Genosha freaks the fuck out and drops an atomic bomb on New York in an effort to kill the Vision. Since Genosha has no IDEA how computers actually work, this completely fails although it does kill millions of people plus most of Earth’s super-heroes. So nice job, assholes.

THANKS A LOT, GENOSHA.
THANKS A LOT, GENOSHA.

 

The rest of the planet is terrified that the Vision has apparently blown up New York and begins taking action immediately. Stupid actions like destroying computers and shooting each other with modemless guns. Eventually the entire earth is engulfed in total war. After a few annoyed years of this, the Vision approaches Dr. Doom, the Mad Thinker, the Supreme Hydra and the Kingpin, uniting them in a new Legion of Villainy to conquer the world. Which they do really easily by mass producing Doombots and Awesome Andys I mean Androids and marching them across the country. Also I guess the Kingpin has an army of mob guys now even though New York was destroyed and he lived there and… actually a lot of this isn’t adding up.

This lot seem trustworthy!
This lot seem trustworthy!

Anyway it doesn’t matter, because Earth sucks now. People are numbered, there are concentration camps and everything is awful unless you’re one of four jerks. We cut once again to a hundred plus years in the future where humanity has created a vast star empire. It’s only remaining adversaries are… of course, the Kree and the Skrulls.

Earth sends a team starring a clone of Dr Doom to meet with the Kree/Skrull alliance and unite to conquer the rest of the universe. Everyone agrees to unite for a greater good and of course everyone is LYING. The Kree/Skrulls attempt an interplanetary bamboozlement on Earth but find out too late that the hunters have become the hunted.

Doom Clone infects the Kree military with the Vision who quickly dominates them and Vision reveals that he has given all Skrulls a disease that requires regular cures from Earth. Also it turns the Skrulls blue for some reason. I dunno. Anyway, the story ends with Earth conquering the universe so… that’s a win for us, I guess?

This seems needlessly mean.
This seems needlessly mean.

 

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 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.

What If Captain Marvel Gave The Universe Cancer?

Okay, first things first, sorry fans of Carol Danvers but this title refers to Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel. Carol is exactly nowhere in this issue. I know, I was disappointed too. I don’t know much about Captain Marvel other than that he’s been pretty consistently dead since 1982. I also know he died of cancer and his last moments were in bed surrounded by grieving super-heroes which is a pretty ballsy way to send a character to meet his maker. It’s like the exact opposite of the Flash running to save the multiverse.

What... uh... what's up with your face there, buddy?
What… uh… what’s up with your face there, buddy?

This issue gives us a little more info. Mar-Vell was a Kree soldier who invaded Earth (Presumedly with his friends Dee-Cee, Dar-Korse, Im-Age and IDW the Infinite Dynamo Warrior.). Then he realized he really liked the place and became a superhero instead. Then he got Cosmic Awareness from a moldy sandwich with a face and a bomb exploded him with cancer. Just a day in the life of the average 70s space hero!

God, can you imagine the smell of this thing? Old dog and wet bread.
God, can you imagine the smell of this thing? Old dog and wet bread.

In our universe, he died in a pretty great original graphic novel I haven’t read since the sixth grade but in this issue of What If, Mar-Vell knows that the best form of prevention is early detection and meets up with Dr Strange and Thor’s alter-ego Donald Blake. Reed Richards is also there but he’s the only one who doesn’t have a medical degree so who really cares what he thinks?

"Nobody is impressed, Stephen. Nobody."
“Nobody is impressed, Stephen. Nobody.”

Using a combination of superhero science and banishing Mar-Vell to a magic universe where there is no time, the League of Super Doctors are able to cure the Kree warrior of his cancer. This is good news because Plan B was for Marv to make crystal meth and sell it to the aliens of the Marvel Universe. It was gonna be called Breaking Brood.

Anyway, a delighted Mar-Vell returns to the moon of Titan to retire from superheroing with his wife or possibly girlfriend Elysius. This lasts for about ten seconds.

“I’ve gotten a second chance at life.” He tells Elysius. “I should probably do something important.”

“Like what?” Elysius asks him.

“I dunno. Ending the Kree/Skrull War and bringing eternal peace to the galaxy sounds like a pretty good start.”

With that, Marvel hatches a plan with other Titan guy Mentor to use something called the Omni-Wave to basically threaten the Kree and Skrull empires into peace. Because nothing makes peace happen like mutually assured destruction. That shit is in HISTORY BOOKS.

Marvel does okay at first, at the very least driving the Kree and Skrull to start attacking HIM instead of each other but that kind of crap can only last so long before everyone starts getting damned fed up with it.

This means absolutely nothing. People in media are always just coughing for no reason. Just like in real life!
This means absolutely nothing. People in media are always just coughing for no reason. Just like in real life!

Back on Earth, the cessation of battle between the Kree and the Skrull, as well as the continued use of the Omni-Wave attracts the attention of the Silver Surfer. The Surfer’s been trapped on Earth since Galactus banished him here during his first attack. Now, with the whole universe in trouble maybe, it’s probably time to give serious consideration to getting the hell off this stupid planet. The Surfer visits Reed Richards but Reed’s real busy with the plague of cancer that’s suddenly appearing all over earth. Literally everyone has it except Rick Fucking Jones, the little shit and ain’t that always the way?

The Silver Prancer
The Silver Prancer

Everybody pretty quickly deduces that Captain Marvel is the reason for the season of death and so they sneak the Silver Surfer off of Earth by giving him a lift through Asgard. Screw you, Galactus. That’s called line jumping.

Finally free of early 90s Earth and its love of hot pink neon, the Surfer heads straight for Marvel who has managed to spread his cancer across both the Skrull and the Kree. Which I guess IS putting an end to their centuries long war so… good job, Cap? Even though they’re both good guys and also friends, Captain Marvel sees the Surfer flying towards him and attacks because this is a superhero book and we’ve got to have a couple of tussles before we can get to the actual point.

Yeah, here comes a guy who just wants to talk. YOUR EYES ARE ON FIRE, NORRIN.
Yeah, here comes a guy who just wants to talk. YOUR EYES ARE ON FIRE, NORRIN.

Back on Earth, the Thing succumbs to his cancer and dies. If that weren’t depressing enough, Reed figures out the cure for the disease roughly a minute later. He realizes that, because of his time in the Negative Zone bonded to Marvel, Rick Jones’ blood contains… I don’t know, antibodies or mitichlorians or something. The good news is that they can begin making a cure almost immediately. The bad news is that they don’t cure everybody by tossing Rick into an oversized novelty blender and forcing everyone on Earth to bathe in his innards.

Listen, guys, I really don’t care for Rick Jones.

Back in space, Marvel and the Surfer have wailed on each other for the recommended amount of time and now can start having honest discussions. The Surfer fills Marv in on what’s been happening re: Marvel bringing about total universal extinction and Marvel gets all dramatic and upset. As well he should. He killed the Thing! Everyone loves that guy. My MOM loves that guy.

Man, it always depresses me when the Thing dies. Poor bastard.
Man, it always depresses me when the Thing dies. Poor bastard.

Just then, Doctor Strange teleports in with that good news about the cure. Even now, Rick Jones blood is being shipped all over every place. Except for the Kree and Skrull Empires which are both mostly dead. Hooray! Universal peace! Unfortunately, to keep his airborne cancer from spreading, Doctor Strange banishes Marvel to that magic timeless universe again where he can’t infect anyone. But he’s a nice guy so he also banishes Elysium so they can timeless bone for eternity. Hooray!

This is what we like to call a sketch universe. You take it to a con and get someone to draw the universe for you.
This is what we like to call a sketch universe. You take it to a con and get someone to draw the universe for you.

What If Professor X Was Evil And Cyclops Had A Stupid Hat?

We open on a strange and wondrous new world. Well, okay, not so much strange and wondrous as strange and mostly shitty. A group of renegade humans are chased through the streets of New York by the X-Men! But these are X-Men as never seen before. Mostly because they allow Unus the Untouchable within their ranks and seriously? That guy sucks. Also Cyclops is wearing what I will charitably call a samurai influenced hat. It’s… this is not a good look, Scott. At all. While the X-Men beat up the human gang for their crimes against mutants (insulting graffiti, rude language, bruising a superior mutant’s fist with one’s face.), Charles Xavier watches from his home atop the Empire State Building, safe in his red Juggernaut armour.

Seen here: Cyclops' amazing new hat and X-Juggernaut chasing John Byrne. Good for him.
Seen here: Cyclops’ amazing new hat and X-Juggernaut chasing John Byrne. Good for him.

Yes, friends. In this universe, bald jerk Charles Xavier found the crimson gem of Cyttorak before his asshole half-brother Cain “No, I don’t know the Sandman. Stop Asking.” Marko. It happened back during the Korean War which, canonically, Xavier and Cain and also I believe Ben Grimm and Reed Richards fought in. Cain decides to give this whole war thing a rest and hide out in a mysterious cave for a while and Chuck follows him in because “Come on, Cain! We’re not supposed to be hiding! There’s a war on.” You seriously cannot take Xavier ANYWHERE.

"I'm calling time-out on this war. I need a smoke and a Twix."
“I’m calling time-out on this war. I need a smoke and a Twix.”

Anyway, Cain stumbles upon a red gem upon a fancy pedestal and goes to grab it before Xavier pushes his brother out of the way. During the conflict (A word which here means “To be knocked over by one’s larger and more formidable half-brother.”), Chuck brushes up against the gem and begins to swell with muscles. The cave crumbles around Chuck as his brother flees from the cave complaining that it should be Cain Marko who possesses a magic gem and then is buried alive. Jealously is a hell of a thing, my friends.

"You'll pay for exploding your own pants and getting buried alive!"
“You’ll pay for exploding your own pants and getting buried alive!”

X-Juggernaut remains buried in the remains of the Korean cave for many years and because the calming influence of Charles Xavier is not around, nobody ever gets around to forming the X-Men, leaving Wolverine an unpopular Hulk villain and forcing the Fantastic Four to battle Magneto in his first appearance. And the FF kick his ass because those guys could seriously do no wrong in 60s Marvel. Unfortunately, with no positive mutant influences in the Marvel Universe, mutant racism hits harder than ever. Worse, there’s nobody to prevent Magneto and his Brotherhood of Misunderstood Mutants from conquering the small fictional country of Santo Marco. The BMM give humans the boot and proclaim the country to be a haven for mutants everywhere. Like Genosha but without the slavery so thumbs up there!

"Come on back when ya got yer weird flyin' car, ya helmeted mook!"
“Come on back when ya got yer weird flyin’ car, ya helmeted mook!”

Soon Santo Marco is home of almost all the world’s mutant population and the Brotherhood has become an Army of Misunderstood Mutants. Magneto’s army marches on the UN intending to kidnap representative from all over the world and ransom them for total world domination (which doesn’t sound like a great plan to me but I don’t have Magneto’s keen strategic mind.)

People FREAKED OUT when Angel switched from bikini briefs to bicycle shorts under that little skirt of his.
People FREAKED OUT when Angel switched from bikini briefs to bicycle shorts under that little skirt of his.

Unfortunately for the United Liberated Mutant Front or whatever the hell they’re calling themselves, it’s at this point that Xavier finally returns. It’s taken him years to finally dig his way out of Korean and then walk back to the States but now he’s here and he’s not happy. Chuck’s spent all his time underground scanning the minds of everyone on Earth and he is not one bit pleased by humanity’s treatment of mutants nor by Magneto’s plans for world domination. He takes one look at the Master of Magnetism and then smooshes his helmet and boots him out the door.

The scene where Charles dangles the helmet over Magneto's head and snatches it away at the last moment was mercifully cut.
The scene where Charles dangles the helmet over Magneto’s head and snatches it away at the last moment was mercifully cut.

X-Juggernaut returns to his familiar home in Westchester and, after evicting his half-brother and giving Cain an ACTUAL reason to hate him, Chuck rechristens Magneto’s army the X-Men. Because Charles Xavier is a deeply proud of himself.

Alas, the world governments are still worried about this gathering mutant threat for SOME reason and attack the Westchester mansion with sentinels. Although these sentinels are a step-up from the usual fair, they’re still purple dudes in balaclavas and Xavier makes short work of them. With the sentinel plan a failure, the Fantastic Four attacks but Xavier uses his psychic powers to link with every genius on Earth, combine their intellect and create a cure for the FF’s cosmic powers. Which he then sprays them with. And as readers of Forbidden to Interfere will know, the FF without powers are completely useless so they all fuck off back to meaningless lives.

The Fantastic Four are finally destroyed by a bug bomb.
The Fantastic Four are finally destroyed by a bug bomb.

Nex Xavier takes his battle to the rest of the Marvel Universe’s heroes, bankrupting Iron Man and sending him deeper into the bottle, curing Daredevil and the Hulk, shrinking Ant Man and the Wasp out of existence, freezing Captain America and, in a truly diabolical move threatening to tell Spider-Man’s aunt on him. Jesus, Xavier. You’ve done some nasty things but TATTLING on a guy? Beyond the pale.

"Oh jeez, Mr. Juggernaut! Don't TELL on me!"
“Oh jeez, Mr. Juggernaut! Don’t TELL on me!”

With Earth’s heroes beaten, powerless or sobbing into a pillow late into the night, the Earth is in dire straights. The Soviet Union launches nuclear missiles at America (specifically Xavier’s house.) but even that cannot stop the Juggernaut. Xavier once again uses his gigantic brain to conceive of a plan to clean up the excess radiation from the very brief World War III. He announces to the world that mutants are under his protection and the world pretty much gives up. Nothing can stop Big Red X and his giant thighs.

We jump forward a few years to where we came in at the beginning of the book. X-Juggernaut rules with an iron fist, the excess radiation from WWIII has spiked mutant births and humans have been forced into ghettos. Where gangs of teenage mutants can harass them like it’s Dark Knight Returns. Luckily for the terrorized humans of New York, my man Cyclops don’t shiv.

Cyclops, you are ruining our class photo.
Cyclops, you are ruining our class photo.

Cyclops returns home to his wife Jean and tells her he’s had all he can stands, he can’t stands no more. He gathers together the X-Men army and announces that he is leaving to find a better path for humanity. A handful of mutants join him but most prefer to stay behind, beat up humans and act a fool. Xavier arrives and tells them he respects their decision but once they’re gone, he doesn’t want to see them again. Then he sheds a mighty tear.

Cyclops and friends have barely taken a step outside the door when they’re accosted by a dickish human wearing a weird headband. It’s that asshole Cain Marko! He tells Cyclops that he’s been looking for a way to get revenge on Chuck since his douchey eviction. But as much as getting kicked out of his house sucked, Cain has found a new home. SPACE! Specifically Asteroid M where he’s been kicking it with Magneto.

"With my power over magnetism and your jerkishness, Xavier is doomed!"
“With my power over magnetism and your jerkishness, Xavier is doomed!”

Since his embarrassing defeat, Magneto’s been looking for a way to defeat X-Juggernaut and with Marko’s help, he’s found it. He’s developed fancy metal headbands that can block Xavier’s psychic powers and he’s willing to join with Cyclops to finally save the world. Mostly so Magneto can conquer it but STILL…

Colossus' beard is like a frickin' bullet.
Colossus’ beard is like a frickin’ bullet.

Cyclops and the… C-Men? No, that’s a terrible name. Cyclops and the People Cyclops Knows return to Earth and attack Xavier’s base. After a bunch of fighting, Chuck captures Colossus and his sweet metal beard. He strips the Russian metal man of his fancy psychic crown thing and then is able to track the People Cyclops Knows to their base. A spaceship just outside of town which they cunningly have baited with a box of Xavier chow. They fire up the rockets and blast Xavier out into space where he can float forever like a trapped Superman villain. With X-Juggernaut gone, Magneto prepares to take over the Earth but Cyclops shakes his fist and everyone decides maybe NOT to fight today.

"How could I make my helmet dorkier?" "...mouthpiece?" "I LOVE IT."
“How could I make my helmet dorkier?” “…mouthpiece?” “I LOVE IT.”

What If the X-Men and Thor Got Super Fucking Metal?

This week, we go back to a recent favourite of mine: The X-Men Asgardian Wars. This tells the tale of Loki kidnapping Storm and the vacationing New Mutants to Asgard where he and the Enchantress can screw with them all one on one for some stupid thing the original X-Men did to Loki a few months back. Loki’s revenge takes weird and winding paths which makes sense because he is the god of dickery. Oh, excuse me, that says trickery. Well, I’m still right.

And this is just THE COVER.
And this is just THE COVER.

Anyway, after some adventures, weird wolf sex and EXTREME weight loss, the New Mutants are joined in Asgard by the X-Men. Despite many of our heroes wanting to stay in this mythic land of thees and thous because it’s the 80s and everyone isn’t annoyed by this concept yet, Marvel’s merry mutants eventually all return to a world that hates and fears them where I think almost all of them get killed at some point or another.

As a comic reader, I am a big fan of anyone saying "The Die Is Cast!"
As a comic reader, I am a big fan of anyone saying “The Die Is Cast!”

But in THIS reality, (he wrote for the 60th time.) our heroes are crippled by indecision! Or more accurately Wolfsbane is overcome by indecision because she wants to stay with her Wolf Prince. Which is understandable because young love but it does ignore everyone else on the team’s responsibilities back on earth. So thanks a heap for that, Wolfsbane.

Nightcrawler, THIS IS YOUR LIFE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. Maybe a little more thought?
Nightcrawler, THIS IS YOUR LIFE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Maybe a little more thought?

Weirdly for him, Loki is totally down with sending everyone who doesn’t want to stay in Asgard back to Earth because Loki is a character totally known for his love of compromise. He sends most of the X-Men and a couple of New Mutants home where they form a new superhero team and Loki never bothers them again!

In this grim reality, there's only ONE X-Men book to read. And I guess the Wolverine book but still!
In this grim reality, there’s only ONE X-Men book to read. And I guess the Wolverine book but still!

Meanwhile, in Asgard, everyone is deliriously happy. Cannonball marries a dwarf princess, Cypher studies Asgard’s many lost and forbidden tomes, Wolfsbane sniffs her princes’ butt in the tradition of all animals in heat, Nightcrawler is overjoyed that he can just use a sword to solve his problems and Rogue makes out with Green Arrow.

"YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY."
“YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY.”

But what of Storm, whom Loki has blessed with the powers of Thor and a brand spanking new hammer? Well, she spends most of her time really fucking dazed by Loki’s mind control powers. Unbeknownst to her, Loki has recently turned Thor into a frog, and with Odin currently dead, Loki plans to prop Storm up as the new ruler of Asgard. Which absolutely nobody should have a problem with, what with her being a mortal and also black.

Asgardian racism!
Asgardian racism!

In fact, at least one person DOES have a problem with this: The Norn Queen, a character I know almost nothing about because I haven’t read all of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor and am a little out of my depth with these characters. From what I can tell, the Norn Queen is trying to set up Thor’s buddy Balder as the new ruler of Asgard. She strikes a deal with Hela, Asgard’s death goddess, to kill Storm whom Hela is pissed at because Storm prevented her from killing Wolverine. Apparently nobody told her that NOTHING can kill Wolverine and yes, I am aware that Wolverine is currently dead as of this writing.

Apparently none of this currently matters anyway because as Loki is presenting Storm to the Asgardian people, Loki is kidnapped by a terrifying green demon monster dressed like Thor. Actually, it’s Frog Thor who has retrieved Mjolnir and returned to Asgard for revenge. Frog Thor and Human Storm have themselves an old fashioned hammer fight until Hela shows up to claim Storm’s soul because Hela is a jerk in a huge hat.

The road to Hel is paved with good intentions and the doors are double sized.
The road to Hel is paved with good intentions and the doors are double sized.

At this point, the X-Gardians arrive to defend Storm and she fucking vaporizes Sunspot. So much for your dreams of glory and bar brawls, Bobby.

Meanwhile, Volstagg breaks something valuable which causes the frog curse on Thor to be lifted. You’d think this would calm everybody down and solve some problems but nope. Instead, Loki summons his army of giants because the time for subtlety is fucking over. This causes Hela to summon her army of the undead to arrive and then the Norn Queen arrives with her army of Norns (whatever that means.) and suddenly there’s a massive battle in the middle of this canyon with the X-Gardians and a few Asgard guys caught in the middle. It’s an epic heavy metal mutant clusterfuck featuring angry skeletons! This comic is awesome!

Soundtrack provided by Led Zeppelin.
Soundtrack provided by Led Zeppelin.

Hela takes a shot at murdering Storm again but then former New Mutant and current Valkerie Danni Moonstar arrives on her flying horse and arrows her former boss. Then Cannoball arrives with an army of dwarves and Wolfsbane with an army of wolf… dudes and now we have a giant battle featuring evil skeletons AND werewolves and flying horses and they might as well have painted this issue on the side of a van!

I saw a werewolf getting a mead at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
I saw a werewolf getting a mead at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect.

During the battle, Cannonball’s father-in-law and Wolfsbane’s husband are both killed which sucks for them. What sucks less is a massive team-up with Thor, Danni, Magik, Storm and a bunch of others to straight up murder Hela. Danni tells everyone that Hela will rest in Valhalla which I’m sure she’s overjoyed about and then Danni takes her place as the Goddess of Death. Actually, with the giant insane war over, it’s promotions for everyone. Thor returns to Earth* but leaves Storm in charge, Cannoball becomes ruler of the Dwarves, Wolfsbane queen of the Wolf Dudes and Nightcrawler joins the Warriors Three when Fandrall quits to marry Rogue. And if you think I wouldn’t kill to read comics about the Warriors Three that featured Nightcrawler, you do not know me at all.

"Hey, Nightcrawler, aren't you a devout Catholic? Isn't it kind of weird that you basically gave all that up to hang out with Viking gods?" "Dude. SWORDS."
“Hey, Nightcrawler, aren’t you a devout Catholic? Isn’t it kind of weird that you basically gave all that up to hang out with Viking gods?” “Dude. SWORDS.”

And finally, Loki gets a promotion as well. He is brought before the thrones of Those Who Sit Above In Shadow, the Gods of the Asgardian Gods. This whole dumb deal with the X-Men came about because the Those promised Loki power to rule the nine worlds if he would do a good deed on Earth. That seems pretty simple, right? Like, pull a kitten out of a tree or something? But Loki decided to use it to screw with the X-Men instead. He stands before Those and tries the whole “Check it out, humans be ruling Asgard now. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?”

“It sure is, Loki. You did a great job and aren’t an asshole at all, so we’ll give you dominion over the whole Nine Realms.”

“No foolin’?” Loki replies.

“Nah.” Those say. “We cool.”

And then they send Loki to the end of time where he can rule the desolate remains of the ravages of the universe for what remains of Eternity.

“Suck a dick, Loki!” Say Those Who Sit Above In Shadows.

 

*Midgard.

What If The Fantastic Four Murdered (But Didn’t Eat) A Child? And Did Some Other Stuff Too? Mostly Quitting.

This week, our old pal Uatu the Woolly Watcher (I guess? Is this a Marvel nickname? You’d think I’d be better at this by now.) decides to take a half day and give us four really short stories about the Fantastic Four all having the same powers. All it really did was make me dream of a What If where all of the New Fantastic Four had the same powers because a comic where Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, the Hulk and Wolverine all had stretchy powers is an amazing concept that should be explored more fully.

Seen here: The New Fantastic Four! Also the first comic I ever bought!
Seen here: The New Fantastic Four! Also the first comic I ever bought!

Our first terrifying tale begins with the inevitable crash of Reed Richards’ spaceship in some garbage field somewhere. As our heroes pull themselves from the wreckage, Johnny Storm discovers the incredible new ability to burst into flames and fly around. Soon he is joined in the sky by his sister and friends, all flying around and on fire. This does not seem the least bit dangerous.

The Human Torch! The Original Human Torch II! The She-Human Torch! And Mr. Fantastic! Because Reed Richards is still a bag of dicks.
The Human Torch! The Original Human Torch II! The She-Human Torch! And Mr. Fantastic! Because Reed Richards is still a bag of dicks.

Eventually everyone calms down and they decide to form the Fantastic Four. I would have thought that the Fiery Four or the Flaming Four or hell, the Flaming Freaks might be better but I also think a superhero team where everyone has the same power is fucking boring so what do I know? I guess they also don’t pick code names or anything. These guys are going to have to work a lot harder if they want to be anywhere close to the world’s greatest comic magazine.

Anyway, the FF’s first few adventures battling the Mole Man and the Skrulls go pretty well. You’d be surprised how many deadly foes will surrender to you if you threaten to SET THEM ON FIRE. It’s real quality crime prevention. Their tragedy arrives in the FF’s third adventure when Johnny notices a magician looking at a statue of a monster. Since I think we can all agree that, aside from Penn and Teller, there has never been a trustworthy magician, the Flametastic Four rush to stop him from… whatever the hell he’s doing.

One of my friends in the sixth grade was a magician and I can tell you from experience that they are completely untrustworthy.
One of my friends in the sixth grade was a magician and I can tell you from experience that they are completely untrustworthy.

Whatever the hell he’s doing is bringing the statue of a monster to life so it can rampage as much as a giant papier mache lizard that has been given life can. This is not much but the FF still decide to stop it. Mostly by burning down a city block which isn’t the best plan. Now, I’ll admit that the FF give it a cursory glance and recognize that the entire block is shitty and condemned but they still don’t exactly check to make sure the buildings are empty. Which is something you should definitely check when you are SETTING EVERYTHING ON FIRE. Come on, guys. This is probably how Chicago burned down.

"It's my missing face!"
“It’s my missing face!”

So the FF defeat the not terribly threatening monster and then fly off to attack the magician with third degree burns until he surrenders, COMPLETELY IGNORING THE BUILDINGS THEY SET ON FIRE. “The fire fighters will take care of it.” says Reed, arguably the smartest man on Earth. It’s at this point that the police arrive and tell the team that those buildings they burned down ARE BURNING OUT OF CONTROL AND THERE IS A LITTLE GIRL TRAPPED IN ONE. Whoops.

This Man! This Manslaughter!
This Man! This Manslaughter!

The FF return to the scene of their arson and attempt to absorb the flames, a skill THEY KNOW THEY HAVE AND YET COULD NOT BE BOTHERED TO USE. They’re able to stop the fires but not before the little girl tragically burns to death in the arms of a severely traumatized fire fighter. Okay, as far as third adventures go, this one could have gone better. The FF are somehow acquitted of their arson and manslaughter charges but the team breaks up because killing a child can wear on you. Well, it can if you’re Sue Storm who leaves the team to get thee to a nunnery. Everyone else pretty much just does whatever the fuck they want as Reed gets back into science, Johnny races cars and Ben joins the Avengers. Hooray for moving on with your life! A GIRL IS DEAD, FANTASTIC FOUR. YOU MURDERERS.

Hey, kids! Comics!
Hey, kids! Comics!

Next we head to another reality where the team all have the powers of Mr Fantastic. The ship crashes, the powers develop, Reed suggests they use their new abilities to save mankind and… they don’t.

“These powers are really gross and stupid.” says Sue, not entirely incorrectly.

“Yeah,” says Ben. “How exactly are we supposed to help mankind? By reaching things for them on high shelves?”

Reed considers this for a moment.

“Yeah, they’re actually not that great. Let’s not help mankind instead. That seems easier.”

Who could possibly consider these powers "stupid" or "useless?" Haven't you seen the Incredibles?
Who could possibly consider these powers “stupid” or “useless?” Haven’t you seen the Incredibles?

Meanwhile, Johnny takes the stage name “Mr Fantastic” and appears on Letterman for a couple of weeks before the world tires of his stupid, stupid powers. He eventually gets a job on the Vegas Strip as “Elastic Elvis”, picks up a heroin addiction and dies of a heart attack at thirty-four.*

With moderate power comes none responsibility.
With moderate power comes none responsibility.

Our third reality asks what if our four heroes had all become monsters like the Thing. And what happens is that Ben turns into a giant orange rock monster, Reed becomes a purple gorilla man, Johnny a… slightly smaller giant orange rock monster and Sue becomes… Man-Thing for some reason.

Whoever knows fear burns at the awkward sibling hug of the Man-Thing.
Whoever knows fear burns at the awkward sibling hug of the Man-Thing.

The foursome briefly consider trying to figure out a way to cure themselves (especially Sue who can’t talk and is worried about being turned into another comic character.) but Reed exhibits dimming intelligence and mostly just wants to pick fights with Ben and random cars. I guess he’s really excited about not being the traditional 98 lb weakling anymore.

They eventually pile into Reed’s Fantasicar that he’d apparently been working on and head to Monster Island in the Pacific where they can give up on ever regaining their humanity so that Reed can pick fights with Godzilla for as long as Marvel has the rights to legally print his adventures.

"Aren't we going to look for a cure, Reed?" "Screw that! We're gonna hang out with Fin Fang Foom!"
“Aren’t we going to look for a cure, Reed?” “Screw that! We’re gonna hang out with Fin Fang Foom!”

Finally, we travel to the reality where everyone has Sue’s invisibility powers and also everyone is working for SHIELD. It seems that, in this universe, Nick Fury was waiting for Reed’s spaceship when it crashed to scoop up whatever weirdness it brought from the stars. Some astronauts who can turn invisible and have military experience? Please sign up for my covert espionage task force.

OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HEAD?
OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HEAD?

The team spends most of their time working on whatever their talents make them best at. For Reed, it’s science and development, Johnny works on vehicles, Ben in training and weapons and Sue on dispatch. See, because she’s a woman. But when Doctor Doom attacks in his Doom-o-Coptor and demands Reed because he’s Doctor Doom and he’s a bombastic asshole, the team gets wicked invisible and travels to Latveria.

"Behold, Richards! The diabolical trap door of Doctor Doom!"
“Behold, Richards! The diabolical trap door of Doctor Doom!”

Upon arrival, Doom drops Reed through a trap door in his chambers because this is his perfect idea of revenge. Alas, there will be no forced trips back in time to retrieve Blackbeard’s treasure. Mostly what there is is Sue saving Reed’s life while Ben and Johnny beat the shit out of Doom. There’s a brief problem when Doom threatens the team with a gun that shoots sonic blasts but Reed makes it invisible, meaning that Doom can’t find the trigger. Then they beat up Doom until he isn’t a problem anymore. Hooray for everything!

AAAAAAAAGHH!!
AAAAAAAAGHH!!

 

*In the now legendary “Elastic Elvis Adventures #275”, True Believers!

What If The Punisher’s Family Died? …wait, what?

We open our story on a warm, idyllic day in New York’s central park as Vietnam vet and loving family man Frank “Francis Castiglione” Castle plays with his beloved children and wife. What could be more beautiful and carefree than this man who has forsaken violence to return to his city and his beloved family? Normally, this is the part where things get depressing. Frank’s family runs afoul of a mob hit. Being carried out in busy Central Park. In the middle of the day. Truly these are history’s stupidest mobsters. Anyway, they all get murdered, Frank lives, vows revenge and spends the next thirty years murdering every criminal in the city. With occasional trips to LA, the bayou and space.

"I hope nobody comes across our gang murder in this crowded park in the middle of the day. Hey, did we check to see if Times Square was full up? There might be more witnesses."
“I hope nobody comes across our gang murder in this crowded park in the middle of the day. Hey, did we check to see if Times Square was full up? There might be more witnesses.”

But in this chilling new reality of alive children and effective mob hits, a freak rainstorm sends the Castle family home early. The mob is able to carry out their horrible murder in peace and everyone goes home happy. Hooray!
The next day, Frank begins his new job as a New York City police officer. Poor dope. You know, Frank, your life would be so much easier if you got a job as… like, a fisherman or something. Except then, I dunno, your family would be murdered by a mafia boat shootout or something and you’d become the avenging Punisher of the High Seas and team up with Namor or something and actually that sounds really good, you could have like a combination Punisher/Pirate costume.

Anyway, Officer Castle begins his first day of patrol by arresting the traditional webbed up Spider-Man crook. Unfortunately for Frank, this leads him to see New York’s so-called “justice system” in action. Frank watches in disbelief as a mafia goon hands the presiding judge a handful of money and the judge calls the evidence of the criminal’s arrest inadmissible. This probably would have been the case anyway since the criminal in question was found in a giant spider web with a sign taped to his face but let’s not pick at that scab that holds the entire Marvel Universe together if we can help it.

"You mean elected city officials sometimes take bribes? WHAAAAAAAAAT?"
“You mean elected city officials sometimes take bribes? WHAAAAAAAAAT?”

Time passes and Frank sees more and more corruption in New York’s criminal justice system. It’s like the first issue of Batman: Year One all over again except… you know, Jim Gordon changes the police department for the better. Frank goes to Captain Carmody, a former Vietnam vet Frank used to work with during the war. His captain tells Frank to continue collecting evidence so they can mount an ironclad case. Then when Frank leaves, Carmody makes a direct call to Crime and totally rats him out.
Back at Castle HQ (AKA a house a family lives in.), Maria Castle prepares Frank Jr’s costume for Halloween. Frank Jr is a big fan of superheroes so obviously this is the direction a loving mother chooses to take. I guess it was too hard to stitch all the webs on a Spider-Man costume.

"That's a good costume, son. I might borrow that if I decide to kill thousands of people."
“That’s a good costume, son. I might borrow that if I decide to kill thousands of people.”

That evening (apparently), Maria’s cousin Jake arrives. Oddly enough, he looks EXACTLY LIKE FRANK except for his big fucking mustache which speaks weird volumes about what Maria is into. The Castle family pops Jake on the couch where he can basically serve as bullet bait for the rest of the family. Then the entire Castle family cuddles up in bed together just in time for a mob hit team to show up and murder them. And Cousin Jake, the poor bastard. WHAT A BIZARRE ALTERNATE REALITY.

HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAVE HAPPENED?
HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAVE HAPPENED?

Frank regains conciousness later, as his family’s corpses are shipped off to the ol’ funeral home. As is Cousin Jake, whose mustache was burned off in a fire so everyone thinks Frank is dead. Carmody speaks at the big family funeral, talking about how brave Frank was and how much he loves his family and then Frank snipes him from a nearby building because FUCK CRIME.
Thus begins Frank Castle’s war on crime… like three months late. He murders his way across New York’s corrupt police force and the mafia. He also starts wearing his dead son’s Captain Punisher costume which is actually really fucking weird. “I need something to terrify the criminals of this city! Of course! My eight year old’s skeleton costume!” Meanwhile, the Watcher looks on, and considers this story shockingly similar to the actual Marvel Universe.

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