Tag Archives: What If

What If The Fantastic Four Had Different Super Powers? Or, more accurately, What If the Fantastic Four Had Really Gross Powers?

 So, in reading and re-reading all of these What Ifs, I’ve made a startling discovery: There are a LOT of recaps. So first we need to tackle the Fantastic Four’s origin (Shitty scientist drastically mutates friend, girlfriend, brother in law.), then we need to address who the Watcher is (Bald moon creep.) and finally we talk about what would happen if something was different. In this case, it comes up because the FF beat the shit out of some muggers and Johnny Storm wonders what it would be like if they all had different powers.

“WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE INDEED, JOHNNY STORM OF EARTH 616” announces an especially big headed pantsless Uatu. “I TOO HAVE LONG PONDERED THIS VAGUE SENTIMENT FOR I AM THE WATCHER!” And with that, we are returned to… the Fantastic Four’s fucking origin again. This is, like, the third time I’ve read that thing in six issues of this comic. That is a lot of crashed spaceships for such a new series.

The ship crashes and out crawl Ben, Sue and Johnny, dusting themselves off and wondering where the hell Reed went. They don’t wonder for very long though, as Ben begins feeling pains in his back and goes to hide behind a rock in the tradition of great heroes.. These back pains quickly reveal themselves to be giant scaly wings, turning Ben into… well, basically Angel from the X-Men but interesting.

Ben flies out from behind his rock, revealing his new wings and naked chest. “Look,” cries Johnny. “Ben’s got wings. Like a dragon. Or a fly.” But there’s not time to further describe Ben Grimm’s new back deformity because now the cosmic rays are affecting Johnny, turning him into Colossus. You know, big stripey metal guy. But Johnny also makes a point of mentioning that he can feel his internal organs turning into metal and sure enough, it’s later revealed that his insides have been replaced by gears. This is, of course, disgusting and Johnny tries to relieve his anger by smacking Ben with a tree.

Luckily, Sue protects him by revealing her new stretchy powers although nobody seems to notice for a few seconds. This is also disgusting. And kind of hot. Moving on.

So, in all the flying and stretching and having clockwork lungs, everyone has sort of forgotten about Reed and they return to the crashed ship to see if they can find him. Eventually, they discover him at the bottom of a hole, now an enourmous brain without a body. Ben scoops him up in his arms (which for some reason causes Reed no damage but still makes ME wince.). The four of them resolve to use their new powers to help mankind and then start trying to think fo names for themselves.. Ben, remembering Johhny’s description of him as a dragon or possibly a fly, names himself Wings Guy. Johnny, proving himself a man after my own heart, goes with the portmanteau of Mandroid. Sue briefly toys with Rubber Girl before deciding on Ultra Woman. Not real clear on how ultra stretching makes you but I’m not here to judge. (This is a lie.)

So time passes and the Gross Fantastic Four pretty much do the same crap as they did in the original run. They beat up the Mole Man, the Skrulls, Namor. (No word on whether the Sub Mariner is into Stretchy Sue but if he’s seen the ‘More Flexible’ scene in the Incredibles he’ll probably give it a shot.) The story cuts over to a museum where a He-Man villain is trying to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. The Fantastic Three (Reed stays home due to not having… anything.) save the day, sending Beastman back to where ever after a brief fight scene where Ben wishes he were stronger. Count your blessings, Ben. You definitely got the sweetest deal out of this whole cosmic ray thing.

Next we head over to Latveria where Doctor Doom watches his summoned He-Man demon fail to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. I still have no fucking idea WHY Doom wants Blackbeard’s treasure but who am I to argue with a guy with that sweet a cape? He decides to enlist the help of the FF after learning a bit more about them. Well, mostly he learns that the gross brain in the tube is his old school buddy Reed Richards, the asshole he blames for blowing up his face back in the day.

Back at the Baxter Building, Reed is using his psychic powers to watch his teammates. Ben dodges some excited fans who are eager to get all up in his wingspan while Johnny is mocked at a record store for being made of metal. We also get a demonstration of Johnny’s less obvious power: turning electronics on and off. What a thrilling universe. Over at the playground, Stretchy Sue watches some children and thinks about how her relationship with Reed is drying up because he no longer has a penis. Then she terrifies the neighborhood by turning into a giant top and spinning the kids around.

Doctor Doom then arrives at the Baxter Building and attempts to convince Reed that Doom can build him a new body so he can be a real boy again and score with Giant Top Sue but Reed doesn’t really seem into it. He prefers being a giant brain and… thinking about stuff? There’s some mention that Reed has turned the Baxter Building into a giant body for himself but it never comes up and I suspect Reed is just trying to feel better about himself. Giving up on bargaining, Doom throws Reed into one of those pneumatic message tubes and takes him to Latveria.

Luckily, the rest of the FF soon follow in their pogo plane and arrive at Castle Doom just in time to be captured in three specific death traps which they can only escape using their specific powers. Ben flies around a big room while someone shoots poles at him. (I assume this was designed by Professor X since this is literally the only thing Angel has ever done in the Danger Room.), Stretchy Sue gets buried in cement and then escapes by going under a door, and Johnny gets magnetized to the ground and escapes by realizing that he can control magnetism. So… more X-men powers. Fine.

Meanwhile, Doom is using a device to drain Reed of his consciousness, making him a powerful computer that will allow Doom to travel through time, stealing history’s greatest treasure. Dude’s gonna feel damn stupid when he finds out Carmen Sandiego already got them all. The rest of the FF show up and Doom kicks the shit out of them easily. He also blows up Johnny’s arm which is pretty awesome. When Doom finally attacks Sue, Reed freaks out and psychically attacks Doom, overriding his personality and giving himself a… well, swank new body isn’t quite right since Doom’s face looks like hot buttered garbage but now he has arms and legs and a dick so that’s a plus. We end the story by showing the new Gross Fantastic Four, complete with Reed not just in Doom’s body but with Doom’s hood and half skirt thing.  Look, I get keeping the mask but the skirt, Reed? Really?


What If Captain America Hadn’t Vanished During World War II?

You guys can all remember the basics from last week. Captain America and Bucky beat up Baron Zemo, Baron Zemo launches a missle with the two of them attached and then Uatu shows up to tell you how much watching he enjoys watching things. (Spoilers: It is a lot.)

So this time around, Cap and Bucky manage to catch up to the missile. Welcome to a chilling alternate reality where motorcycles are slightly faster and Ghost Rider is unstoppable. *Shiver* Anyway, Cap and Bucky defuse the missile, landing it safely and escaping with their lives not frozen. Good times.

Meanwhile, Baron Zemo escapes in a rocket ship that promptly explodes and returns to his boss, the Red Skull. Red Skull is flat out chilling like an anti-semitic nazi pimp in his solid gold Bone Throne (So named because it is made of solid gold bones, not because it is a solid gold throne that he bones in. Although he might.) waiting for the good word that Zemo has finally killed that accursed Captain America. When he finds out that Zemo hasn’t killed accursed anyone, he shoots Zemo and kicks him down a staircase. What a monster. Oddly, he also takes a few minutes to explain to a lackie that he hasn’t actually killed Zemo, he’s only been shot with a new, highly experimental Put-Somebody-To-Sleep-In-The-Basement-For-Roughly-Twenty-Years-Anator. Bet that won’t come up again. His great foe/former employee safely stashed downstairs, Skull blows up the castle and fucks off out of the story, leaving his nazi legions to die. What a dick.

Time passes and Captain America and Bucky (Now called Buck for some terrible reason.) are fighting Commies and Hydra in the sixties, taking time only to mention in passing how tragic it was that Nick Fury is dead. Seems a grenade landed a little close to his left. Seriously. That is hilarious. Anyway, President Johnson calls Cap into his office and offers him a position as head of SHIELD*. “I was going to give it to Nick Fury,” says Johnson. “But he’s been dead for ten years.” Cap declines but suggests they offer Buck the job.

Unfortunately, Buck only keeps the job for about ten minutes before everyone gets randomly attacked by the Hulk (Hulk attacks are almost routine in the Marvel Universe at this point. There’s a guy on the radio every morning telling you if it’s safe to be an army guy in the desert or not.). The Hulk attack goes disasterously as Cap is knocked out and it’s up to Buck to save everyone’s favorite teenage asshole Rick Jones from getting buildinged in the face. Guys, I think I hate Rick Jones.

So Rick recovers back at SHIELD HQ**, and Buck tells Cap that it might be time for him to hang up the old cowl with little wings on it. Cap tells him it’s not so easy being Captain America and Buck replies that heading SHIELD ain’t so simple either. They then swap jobs for a week. Unfortunately for everyone, Rick wakes up in time to hear all of this and blackmails his way into being the new Buck. Except they just call him Rick. Finally, a super hero with a lamer name than the Whizzer.

So basically everything starts working out. Bucky Cap’s doing a great job fighting Hydra and hooking up with attractive spy person Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers: Director of SHIELD is actually digging being in charge of  a bunch of awesome spies.. It’s almost as if we could have completely skipped over the whole Bucky: Agent of SHIELD thing. But, of course that would be ridiculous.

Bucky Cap and Steve mount one final push on Hydra and its mysterious hooded boss, the Supreme Hydra. No idea who that guy could possibly. Oh, wait, no, it’s the basement liberated Baron Zemo, driven mad by his years of starving to death in an exploded french castle. Bucky, Steve and Sharon slip in to Hydra headquarters in disguise but are quickly revealed for spies when a lonely Hydra agent notices the way the uniform clings to Sharon. It’s like Metal Gear Solid all over again but with less stupid war fetishing and implied vagina hiding.

A fight breaks out and Zemo shoots Bucky before Cap knocks him into a pit of lava, which is pretty high up on the list of cool ways to kill old nazis. Unfortunately, and twenty years late, Bucky finally dies. His last words: “I should have known there was only one Captain Americuuuuuuuuhh.” Jesus, Steve. A last “Hey, you did okay, pal.” before he died wouldn’t have been out of order. Dick.

So, at a funeral in the rain, Sharon chews out Cap for training Bucky back in WWII***, and Steve wanders around his secret Captain America museum, wondering what if he did the right thing. Then Rick bursts in in his Bucky costume and tells Steve that he, Rick, wants to be Captain America. So yes, Steve. It WAS all for nothing.

*Strategic Headquarters for Intelligence, Espionage and Lion Defense, true believers!

**It stands for HeadQuarters, dumb ass!

***Seriously? World War 2. It was a big deal. Ask your grampa.


What If The Invaders Had Stayed Together After World War II And Also Someone Cared?

What If the Invaders had stayed together?


What If takes a different direction this week by giving us a chilling tale of alternate realities that absolutely nobody cares about. Come on, Marvel. You’re only four issues in, you can’t give us an X-Men story or something?

Anyway, we open on a poorly drawn Captain America and Bucky doing battle with Baron Zemo in their infamous last battle of World War 2. Zemo handily defeats them both with his flare gun that fires robots and does other things and then dresses the two of them in military fatigues and ties them to a plane. The reason for this has something to do with Zemo being angry that there is a pink mask glued to his face which is understandable.

Suddenly, Cap’s shield appears from nowhere and frees the two heroes. This is never explained and the Watcher seems to be expecting it so clearly whatever the hell happend, it’s on me to figure it out. I dunno, guys. I know my Marvel comics pretty well and I have no idea what happened. Anyway, the plane is launched, Cap falls into the ocean to be frozen and defrosted in the sixties and Bucky dies. Forever.

Next we get to see what the rest of the Invaders are doing. It’s all pretty boring with the exception of the Original Robot Human Torch and his half-naked buddy, Toro who are trying to save Hitler from shooting himself. This is accompanied by the hilarious picture of Hitler with a gun to his head, looking really embarrassed. You can also make out the dead legs of Eva Braun. Torch and Toro bust in and Hitler tries to blow up the building, but Team Fire Guy is too quick for him and they SET HIM THE FUCK ON FIRE. What’s left is a pile of smoldering scabby horror with an arm sticking out of it. It’s HILARIOUS.

So the Fire Guy Express meet up with the rest of the boring Invaders and head back to Washington, DC where President Truman can congratulate everyone on that war they won. Between Toro and Namor, we are then treated to the former President sitting around a war table with a lot of mostly naked dudes. They were truly the greatest generation.

So Truman tells everyone that he’s just recieved word that Cap and Bucky are dead. Luckily, he has spares. Out comes new Cap and Bucky played by the Spirit of ‘76 (Not to be confused with the regular Spirit who was created by Will Eisner and doesn’t suck) and… some kid who used to play baseball and likes Bucky. America is saved! Truman also brings out Ms. America and the Whizzer (whom I was delighted to learn apparently got his powers from a mongoose!) and suggests that they all team up and defend America from Japan. Then he drops a couple of bombs on Japan, winning the war and giving birth to Marvel Godzilla.

Post war, the President invites the Invaders to continue fighting for America, but… y’know, maybe don’t call yourselves the Invaders. Since we’re not supposed to be invading things anymore. They change their name to the All-Winners Squad which is terrible but whatever, I’m just the guy who reviews old comics and am forbidden to intervene. That done, Torch and Toro take a vacation, Worf-style so Torch can visit his inventor.

Torch reveals his origin story, which includes being built by some scientist named Professor Horton. Horton tried to create a perfect android but failed when the android instantly caught fire, a rather serious design flaw. He then tried to use his incredibly dangerous creation for profit and the Torch fled. Nice on, Prof. Way to lose the PERPETUALLY ON-FIRE MAN.

Torch and Toro arrive at Horton’s home in Boston but find that something is amiss when they discover that the professor is actually a crappy robot. They are then captured by the Torch’s brother he never knew he had, Adam-II. Adam-II is a weird looking red faced guy with a big steel mohawk and a fondness for creating non-crappy robots, outdoing his father on basically all counts. Adam-II knocks the robot and the naked teenager out and throws them in a big metal room with the real professor Horton. Adam-II then begins filling the room with water in an effort to drown his android brother.

It’s not a great plan.

Luckily, the spouting water manages to miss Torch’s arms and torso (It’s right in the book. “Thankfully, the spouting water missed my arms and torso!”) and he is able to escape and also summon another American looking super hero who just happened to be in the area, the Patriot. Patriot frees everyone who wasn’t already freed and then Professor Horton explains that Adam-II is planning to replace a local Boston congressperson. The (sigh) All-Winners Squad shows up (Including the new glasses-wearing-for-some-reason  Ms America, which I am pretty into.) and everyone grabs a newspaper and runs off to look for their respective congressman to check for robot impersonation.

Fake Cap and Fake Bucky manage to pull JFK and OF COURSE, IT’S HIM, he’s the only one you’ve heard of. They’re able to identify JFK as a robot because of his fake silver robot eyes. “Blast!” says Adam-II who is also there, further tipping Cap and Bucky off that this might be the right place. “I forgot to add proper eyes in my haste!”

Cap and Bucky fight some more androids, (a theme in this issue) and then Cap summons the All-Winners Guys with a flare stick he keeps in his fake shield. The All-Winners arrive and Adam-II makes a break for it by stealing JFK’s car and immediately crashing it into a building. Then he burns to death and explodes. Seriously. So Cap shows up and reveals that he’s not actually Cap. Which we already knew. But he’s also not the Spirit of ‘76, he’s Patriot who FOUND the Spirit of ‘76 who was DRESSED as Cap and then Spirit of ‘76 died of severe android beatings and the Patriot stripped him and put on his Cap uniform so that Captain America could force Adam-II to crash JFK’s limo.Then everyone cries. This comic is nuts.

What If the Avengers Had Never Been?

What If: The Avengers Had Never Been?

Okay, let’s skip Uatu’s opening monologue because yes, he’s still doing them and just set the stage. So the original Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Giant Man and Wasp) formed to defeat Loki, a threat so powerful no one hero could stop him. Except that Thor routinely stopped him but whatever. The reason the team stayed together was that the Hulk freaked out and ran off to the surprise of absolutely everybody and everyone decided it might be a good idea to track him down before he breaks anything and maybe/maybe not kills somebody depending on the writer and if the Hulk is currently in a movie.

So in the normal continuity, Hulk hooks up with Namor the Sub-Mariner who has a fish up his dick about humanity and finding his lost people (See What If #1 for another time Namor got in a shitty mood, true belivers!) and the two jerks pick a fight with the Avengers for some reason. The Avengers show up, there’s a sweet silver age style fight in the Mighty Marvel Manner, Namor and Hulk get the floor wiped with them, and the Avengers resolve to be just sort-of popular until the 21st century when someone has the bright idea to stick Spider-Man and Wolverine in there and sales go fucking nuts.


So in this reality, the Avengers resolve to… not actually go after the Hulk. Giant Man reasons that, hey, we never said the Hulk HAD to be an Avenger. Why not just let him go? Iron Man responds by saying “Well, sure. Nobody said he HAD to stay but he is a giant, moronic green guy with a tendency towards temper tantrums. Maybe we should keep an eye on him, what with our being super-heroes and all.”

“Nah,” says Thor. “Fuck that guy. I’m out. Oh, uh… thou. Verily.”

And he bombs out of the story. Giant Man, watching Thor steal his dramatic exit, also heads for the door. The Wasp appears to want to stay but a quick “Shut up, Janet. Men are talking.” from Giant Man puts that shit to bed.

Still worried about the Hulk, Iron Man contacts the Hulk’s buddy Rick Jones (“Young Rick Jones is the Hulk’s friend. I’ll contact him! He’s a short-wave ham radio operator! I bet he’s at his set right now!”). Luckily, Rick is indeed ham radioing and agrees to help Tony find the Hulk. Then the Hulk kicks the door down and… well, he leaves actually. Just smashes up the wall to the room Rick is in and then goes and rampages somewhere else. Weird, Hulk. That’s really weird. Anyway, Tony arrives, Hulk whoops his ass and Iron Man carries Rick back to New York.

We then cut back to Uatu who tells us what happened to the Hulk, which is exactly what happened to the Hulk in the normal continuity. (He and Namor move into an electronic cave and plot to destroy the Avengers, unaware that laziness has done the job for them.) Namor sends a message to Iron Man, telling him and the rest of the Avengers to meet them at the electronic cave for some fist fighting. Iron Man agrees, worrying that, if he tells them that the Avengers have disbanded, they’ll think he is a coward. He decides that being beaten to death will be easier.

Fortunately, this plan doesn’t last too long and Tony falls back on the plan that will serve him well in the 2000s. He builds a whole bunch of new armors. Then he calls up Giant Man, Wasp and Rick to use them. Wasp is unsure but luckily Giant Man is there to tell her what to think. Seriously, it’s embarrasing how shitty that dude treats her. They all try testing their new armor and fail miserably at it. (My favorite scene involves Iron Man telling Rick that he doesn’t need to flap his arms to fly.) Finally, Tony loses his shit and fires them all again. So much for the Avengers again. That’s okay, nobody wants to read the adventures of Rick Jones.

So Tony fixes his armor so that it will be more powerful than ever (It has something to do with overloaded transistors because Iron Man used to be all about transistors.) and then flies off to fight Hulk and Namor. Meanwhile, Rick grabs Wasp and Giant Man and mentions that maybe they shouldn’t fucking bail on their buddy before he gets killed by a fish guy and the Hulk and try… oh, I don’t know BEING FUCKING SUPER HEROES.

Iron Man arrives at the electronic cave and fights Namor and Hulk for a while. He’s actually doing okay at first, bamboozling Namor into a rock and then gluing Hulk to the water(?) and electrocuting him. Unfortunately, Namor recovers from his head wound and the fight goes underwater, like all battles with the Sinister Sub-Mariner. Namor finally beats Iron Man and then gloats at Hulk for awhile when the cavalry arrives in their Iron Wasp, Iron Rick and the Iron Giant (“Sooooperman.”). They get Namor on the ropes by shooting him with needles and then Iron Giant bonks him with a rock. Namor is defeated but Hulk pretty much shit-kicks Iron Giant until Iron Man uses the last of his energy to make Iron Giant super powerful. They defeat Hulk but at what cost? Tony dies of a broken heart and the team resolves to… still be the Avengers without him? I guess. So the story ends basically the same as it normally would but more depressing! Hooray for What If!


Forbidden to Interfere 2: What If the Hulk had the brain of Bruce Banner?

We enter on the Hulk doing what he does best: smashing army guys and wanting to be left alone. We get the usual “Why men no leave Hulk alone?” from Hulk and the less regular “Why Hulk no let men arrest him for destruction of property?” from the army guys. Sad and shirtless, the Hulk retires to a mountain somewhere to weep about his inability to think about things. Unbeknownest to him, the Hulk is watched by… the Watcher! Because I guess it’s his turn or whatever.

Remembering last issue, the Watcher explains the premise of the book to everyone (BEHOLD, HUMAN! FOR THERE ARE MANY WORLDS AND I, UATU THE WATCHER, MUST BUT WATCH UPON THEM ALL! FOR SUCH IS THE SACRED VOW WHICH whatever.) and then tells us the origin of the Hulk (BEHOLD, HUMAN! DOC BRUCE BANNER! BELTED BY GAMMA RAYS! TURNS INTO THE HULK! AIN’T HE UNGLAMOUROUS!?). Then we get to the meat of the issue: What if the Hulk had the brain of Bruce Banner! Which turns out to mean, what if the Hulk was smart, not what if the Hulk had the actual brain of Bruce Banner. Like, in a jar or something. And it turns out that, in this universe, everything is bat shit crazy. Oh, and the Hulk shakes people’s hands like he is running for office.

Bruce is finishing up work on the extremely phallic looking gamma bomb in between ackward flirtations with the Dr Girlfriend-esque (Or Jackie Onassis, fine, fine.) Betty Ross and being called a milksop for the seven thousandth time by General Thadeus “Thunderbolt” Tiberius Ross. Everything’s going about as well as a devestating planned explosion can go when Banner notices Marvel’s Dumbest Teenager Rick Jones hanging out in the testing zone, playing some swinging tunes on his harmonica. Unfortunately, the bomb cannot be stopped due to the influence of russian spy Igor who sabotages the test by making sure it goes forward as planned, the fiend. Bruce sucessfully saves Rick, the dumb little shit, by pushing him into a radiation proof trench but finds himself bathed in gamma rays, making the gamma bomb the least successful explosion in history. (“How’d that new bomb we developed work?” “Well, nobody died and the country we attacked is now populated by giant green supermen.” “Hmm. Somebody fire Bruce Banner.”)

So, first of all, the reason why Banner never gets stupid is never revealed. He just doesn’t. That’s some real imaginative work there, Uatu. Nice job. Night falls, and the power of the moon or whatever turns Bruce into the Hulk, destroying his first of many, many shirts. Rick shows Bruce himself in the mirror and Bruce takes the time to remark that, while his body may have changed, his brain is just fine, thanks for asking. And to prove it, he smashes through a wall and runs away.

Bruce and Rick head for Bruce’s isolated cabin in the woods where they can make out, smoke pot and search for an antidote when they find Igor rifling through Bruce’s drawers looking for more effective bombs. Bruce realizes that Igor is a dirty commie rat and shakes him a little before he and Rick leave to alert the authorities. Igor is imprisoned in the unlocked cabin, presumedly under the honor system. Down, but not beaten, Igor uses an advance artificial thumbnail to contact his superiors in Moscow.

With Igor arrested or ignored or whatever, Rick and Hulk head home when they run into Betty looking for Bruce. Rick quickly explains that the bomb blast turned Bruce into the Hulk and absolutely no follow-up questions are asked. Then the tip of a rocket crashes next to everyone and a hideous russian  crawls out. It’s Igor’s superior, the Gargoyle! Lured to America by Igor’s promises of a shirtless green dynamo, Gargoyle shoots the Hulk with his Hulk piercing pellet gun. Luckily, the Hulk beats back this new and terrible weapon by believing in himself. In this way, any man can walk away from a gunshot. The Gargoyle starts crying because he is ugly and then the Hulk pats him on the shoulder. “So!” says Gargoyle. “You too know what it is to be branded a freak and an outcast by humanity!”

“No,” says the Hulk. “I’ve only been a monster for… like an afternoon. But I’m sure people will get around to ostracizing me soon enough. This is the Marvel Universe after all!”

Then the Gargoyle resolves to stop being an asshole and work for peace instead and they shake hands and the Gargoyle climbs back into his busted-ass rocket and heads home, promising to do good in Russia. And maybe get some surgery. Because Jesus. Dude is not attractive.

Dawn breaks and Bruce returns to normal because we’re going by classic Hulk rules, I guess so he and Betty go on a date. The Watcher, realizing that we’ve still got a bunch of shit to do, decides to skip Bruce and Betty’s actual relationship and just has them fall in love while on a picnic. Night comes again and Bruce takes Betty home to  meet the parents. Unfortunately, as he drives the car in,  he turns into the Hulk again, just in time for General Ross to see him. Ross calls him a milksop AND an oversized monster and Bruce gets pissed off and wrecks up his car, causing Ross to see the error of his ways. Nice one, General. Didn’t even need a pardon from NASA unlike SOME people. So Ross and the Hulk shake hands and then Hulk snaps Betty in half having hot, premarital sex in his science cabin. Wait, no.

So Bruce and Betty get married and stuff actually seems to be working out when Bruce gets a letter from Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. He invites Bruce to the Baxter Building in New York to see if Bruce can help turn the Thing back into a human. Because clearly, if there’s one thing Bruce knows, it’s de-freaking yourself.

Bruce arrives at the Baxter Building and he and Reed shoot rays at Ben until everything works out. Now Thingless, the FF breaks up because that’s just what happens in alternate realities, and Hulk and Betty move in, forming the Avengers’ science bros decades early! They are soon joined by Professor Charles Xavier, who pulls that Spider-Man shit by inviting himself to a job interview nobody agreed to and then using his powers to wreck up the place. The Fantastic Four: You broke our coffee table! You’re hired!

Once again, everything is totally awesome. The team of scientists do some great science and it’s all coming up Milhouse. And then Galactus shows up because fuck you, Earth. Bruce turns into the Hulk during the day for the first time ever (Once again, no explanation whatsoever is given for this.) and gets his ass whooped. Then Reed tries… stretching at Galactus. This works about as well as any time you try defeating a powerful foe by reaching for him. Finally Professor X attacks using all the power of his incredible psychic mind. Just kidding, he flies around in a little rocket-powered go-cart.

Their individual attacks proving useless, the Science Bros. do the only sensible thing they can. They combine themselves into a giant gold man in orange shorts who calls himself X-Man and then challenge Galactus to a staring contest. Seriously. Although the plan works… somehow, it turns out X-Man is a jerk and, before he turns back into three fully clothed guys, he bitchslaps Ben Grimm which turns him into the Thing again. For some reason. The Science Bros regain conciousness to discover that their various powers are gone. For such is the price that must be paid, when one has turned into a giant gold man. They also see the new Thing. Who is evil now by the way. Or at least a jerk now. So Jerk Thing jumps out the window and goes rampaging. “Hey, Reed.” Bruce asks. “You think we maybe outta do something about that?”

“Nonsense, Bruce.” Reed replies. “What could we, the three smartest people on the planet do without our super powers. Now let’s get back to our researches. Let the army chase down my best friend.”

Reed Richards is kind of a jerk.

So now it is the Thing who runs around, ducking the army and smashing stuff where, in another reality, it was the Hulk. A powerful lesson and one we will come back to in our exploration of What If time and again. No matter what happens in an alternate reality, it’ll more or less be the same as in our reality.

What if Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four?! WHAT IF THAT?

What If Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?

So we start with a little introduction featuring famous giant bald white guy the Watcher, here to explain what exactly an alternate reality is. He’s also the Cryptkeeper of the What If series, minus the bad puns and rotting jaw line. Unfortunately.

So after a little (a lot.) of explanation about what the hell is actually going on and then a catch-up on who Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are (Stan Lee lived by a single philosophy: Every comic book is somebody’s first comic book. And if your first comic book is an story about four guys in jumpsuits who hire another guy when normally they wouldn’t  have, God help you.) and what their whole deal is. And then we get about four pages of a scene in Amazing Spider-Man 1 where Spidey tries to join the FF by breaking in, ruining an expensive plexiglass cage and then beating everyone up. (Stan Lee lived by a second single philosophy: Never go into a job interview ready to beat up the guy interviewing you. And at least tell somebody you’re there for an interview too.)

Then the Watcher freezes everything, Out Of This World style, so he can explain what the concept of the book is again, in case the slow kids weren’t paying attention. Spider-Man goes to leave but Sue calls him back, explaining to Reed that the FF doesn’t have enough jerks in it. Considering this is set in the Silver Age and Reed is still in his “Shut up, Sue, I’m doing science. Go buy yourself a hat.” phase, this is saying something.

The FF hires Spidey and they have a big press conference where they can dramatically remove their “4” emblems to reveal a fancy new “5”. Then J. Jonah Jameson shows up to proclaim Spidey a menace because it’s day time. He goes into his usual rant about how Spider-Man ruined his son’s space adventure or whatever but what’s this?! Apparently, Reed has some pull at NASA and gets them to drop the charges on Spidey. Jonah, easily cowed by the all powerful National Aeronautics and Space Administration backs off. Tomorrow’s Bugle Headline will read “Daredevil: Menace or Asshole?”

What follows is a few short stories about what’s changed now that the FF and Spidey are best friends forever. Basically the Chameleon never shows up because he’s afraid of Reed Richards and the Vulture gets his ass kicked in about five minutes because he doesn’t like being set on fire. Then Reed presents his new spaceship, powered by energy he found in “certain meteors” and proclaims his plan to have the FF be the first people to set foot on the moon! Except he kind of built it with only four seats, whoops, so Sue, uh, maybe you should sit this one out, muffin, here’s the credit card, go get yourself something pretty.  

So the Fantastic Five minus One go on an adventure while Sue stays behind and justifiably fumes, when she receives a psychic booty call from the ever-aerodynamic but not actually psychic Prince Namor to meet her at the docks. Upon arriving, Namor smacks her with a hypno fish. One of nature’s miracles, the hypno fish can not only breathe air and fly, it also has the incredible ability to hypnotize people and then capture them in bubbles so they can be safely transported under the sea. Scientists refer to it as ichthyius bullshitus.

Having soundly whipped the shit out of some communist moon super gorillas, the FF-1 return home to discover that a) Sue is missing and b) fucking Namor’s hanging out in the rec room. It takes all four superheroes failing to punch Namor in the face to realize that this is actually a hologram. Namor, politely waiting, invites them to his swinging undersea pad where they can all beat on each other in safety. The FF- 1 hop into their handy submarine and randomly drive around the ocean until they run into Namor. Seriously. It’s a good thing the ocean isn’t really big or they never would have found him.

Meanwhile, this whole thing is being monitored by the Puppet Master, who is also around, looking fucking creepy. He’s used his horrible puppet powers to control Namor but not the FF, despite clearly having puppets of them. This is not explained, nor is the Puppet Master’s possession of a Submarine of his own. Presumedly, he has a clay shipyard stored somewhere in his attic.

The FF arrive at Namor’s bachelor pad to find Sue trapped in a bubble and being attacked by the largest squid in the ocean. Namor challenges them to hand to hand combat, as is the tradition of his people apparently. Then he uses his array of extremely specific sea creatures to defeat the FF, including a seaweed mop that eats fire, a fungus that grows on rock guys, and a blowfish that exclusively feeds on inattentive super-intelligent husbands. There’s some more fighting and then Ben throws the squid through the ceiling where it smacks into the Puppet Master’s submarine. The Puppet Master tries desperately to forge a clay octopus but only has time to make one of the arms. Somewhere in the ocean’s depths, an eel plans to kidnap Sue Storm.

Freed of the Puppet Master’s puppet mastery, Namor comes to his senses. And attacks Reed because, mind-controlled or not, he still wants him some of that sweet Invisible Girl action. Aw yeah. At this point, Sue finally speaks up and tells the men to for god’s sake knock it off. And then she dumps Reed and hooks up with Namor. Tired of feeling like the fifth wheel from that one time Spider-Man took her seat on a spaceship, she abandons the surface for a carefree life under the sea, searching for Namor’s people and… I dunno, looking at fish. Luckily for her, Namor has prepared a device ahead of time that turns humans into fish, Blood Waters of Dr. Z style so he kicks Sue in there, permanently keeping her from returning to land, her family and the life she knew. Good thing she gave that decision a whole six seconds to think over.

So the once again Fantastic Four return to the surface, Reed mopes and Johnny and Spidey talk about how, if Spidey had never joined the FF, none of this would ever happen. And then the Watcher explains the premise again in case anyone fell asleep.