Tag Archives: Captain America

What If Ronald Reagan Saved The Day?

It’s a dark time for democracy. Specifically, it’s the 80s. (Aw, snap! That’s some biting political satire.) Steve Rogers, the Star Spangled Sentinel of… S’liberty? is called before the League of America’s Top White Old Men. Seems that, back in World War II, Cap signed a contract to work for the United States Government until released by order of the President. And the president never actually gave that order. Now, part of that is because everybody thought Captain America was dead for… a non-specific number of years. But what it basically boils down to is that America’s Top White Old Men own the name, costume and if you want to get really specific, blood of Captain America. Yeeeaah, so we’re gonna need you to come in Saturday, Cap. Cap obviously protests. “I work for the Avengers. I work for SHIELD. I’ve done nothing since I came back from being frozen but help the American people.”

The giant flag in the background might be a bit much.


“True.” reply America’s Top White Old Men. “But we don’t particularly want you helping the American people that aren’t us.”

In our reality, Steve Rogers retires as Captain America, starts wearing a black costume as was popular in the 80s and calls himself the Captain. Not to be confused with this asshole from Nextwave.


But, what if Uatu asks because I don’t think I’ve mentioned him in a few columns, what if Captain America told those White Old Men to go fuck themselves? Would that rock and be metal as hell? Maybe! Let’s find out together!

So Captain America tells the League of America’s Top White Old Men that he will indeed not be returning his costume, nor will he unquestioningly work for a bunch of rich assholes. So they try to have Cap killed, ordering the military guard at… I guess it’s the Pentagon? after him and telling them that it’s not actually Captain America, it’s a Communist spy. Cap easily dodges these guys and escapes into the night.

That night, Cap calls the Avengers up to tell them what the score is. He resigns from the Avengers because he’s really busy being a fugitive and doesn’t currently have time to help save the world from Kang or whomever. The Avengers (especially Namor who is right fucking pissed) all tell Cap they’ll stand beside him but he hangs up.

Dr. Druid, you are such a dick.
Dr. Druid, you are such a dick.

At this point, Freedom Force (who, despite basically being the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are apparently popular enough to get a blurb on the cover of this issue, showing you how popular anything connected to the X-Men was at the time.) bust into Avengers Manor looking for Cap. There’s a fight because Freedom Force wouldn’t know subtlety if it snuck up and bit the Blob on the ass and then Top Old White Men representative and total bag of dick water Henry Peter Gyrich shows up.

Namor legit looks like he should be whistling nonchalantly.
Namor legit looks like he should be whistling nonchalantly.

Gyrich is the government’s liaison to the Avengers and expects them to fall in line and sell Cap out. When they don’t, he strips them of any official standing and storms out. But not before being a sexist prick on the way out. Man, fuck that guy.


Back in Washington, the White Old Men begin training a squad to replace Captain America. The guy at the head of the class in this squad is John Walker. In our reality, he was the government’s choice to replace Cap. Here, he’s just another asshole who’s given the name and terrible costume of Super-Patriot. The other members of the squad are all given Bucky uniforms and can I just point out how in bad taste it is to have an African American wearing Bucky’s bellhop uniform. This really feels like a US Government you can trust.

Those are definitely some facial expressions right there.
Those are definitely some facial expressions right there.


And if that weren’t enough, one of the White Old Men, Rockwell makes a clandestine call to Smith, the top White Old Man, who smokes a cigarette in one of those Cruella De Ville holders and acts menacingly. Well, we’ve probably seen the last of him!

It's Captain Picard!
It’s Captain Picard!

Cap meets with a bunch of other heroes at the Lincoln Memorial (Gee, Captain America holding a meeting at a symbol of patriotism? Who would have ever guessed?). These heroes in question include Falcon, Nomad, Vagabond and… ugh, D-Man. But none of them are important to this story so don’t worry about it. Instead, worry about Cap’s plan to restore the public’s faith in him by standing outside the Washington Monument (Another American symbol. How exactly has Cap not been caught yet? If he was really smart, he’d be hiding in Canada.) and telling them… well, something. Before he can start, Super-Patriot and the Bucky Brigade arrive!

Ugh. this idiot again...
Ugh. this idiot again…

There’s a lot of fighting as per usual. Cap’s buddies arrive to help out but the battle is finally ended peacefully by the arrival of Ronald Reagan. Thank God! President Reagan proclaims that Super-Patriot will continue to function as a government super hero while Cap is pardoned and allowed to fight crime however he wishes. It’s a lovely moment that could really only be better if Reagan turned into a snake monster again. No luck alas.

Seriously, he was a snake monster in  Cap 344. Look it up!
Seriously, he was a snake monster in Cap 344. Look it up!

White Old Man Smith is watching all of this on TV and is furious that Cap’s getting away with it. Deciding to throw all his previous years of scheming away, (If it wasn’t clear by the cigarette holder and the severe racism, Smith is actually the Red Skull. A-fucking-gain.) Smith calls up Rockwell (Who has been at the meeting the whole time! I know, I was surprised too!) and tells him “Screw the plan. Just shoot that fucker in the fucking head.”

Can't be a very powerful gun if it didn't go through the front of his head. Maybe it just bounced off?
Can’t be a very powerful gun if it didn’t go through the front of his head. Maybe it just bounced off?

Well, that was easy.

Your tax dollars at work.
Your tax dollars at work.

Following Cap’s stupid death, Super-Patriot does indeed become Captain America. For a while. Eventually, Walker goes mad with power (as is tradition.), starts getting incredibly brutal and kills a bunch of people. The government hush it up because of course they fucking do and force Walker into retirement. After that, there is no Captain America and we cut to the Cap Memorial Flash Museum where we find Smith taking a stroll and laughing at having finally defeated his age old enemy. Well, that took a turn for the depressing!



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

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


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

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

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

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

Shut up, Rick.
Shut up, Rick.

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

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

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

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


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

Oh boy.
Oh boy.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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



What If It Was The Future For A Bunch Of Avengers And Also Daredevil?

In honour of the first (admittedly late) Forbidden To Interfere of 2015, and also because it just so happened to work out this way, this week our tales of thrilling alternate realities take us into the Marvel Universe’s far future. No, not 2099. That’s too far. No, nor the incredibly distant future of Iron Man 2020 (AKA Arno “I have a stupid name” Stark.) No, it’s 2050 and a tale of the Avengers! The ones who are still alive anyway!

We join our heroes as they return from a mission. Just so we’re all on the same page, that line up consists of Thor, Jocasta the Android Woman, the Vision, some weird green guy made of energy who also has a moustache and looks like 70s Stan Lee and Devil Ears Iron Man, here played by Michael Rhodes and his giant afro.

2050's looking AWFUL 70s, guys.
2050’s looking AWFUL 70s, guys.

Everyone’s enjoying the post mission cool-down except the Vision. It turns out his wife, Wanda Maximoff AKA the Scarlet Witch is dying of old age and extreme flowyness as shown here in a dress that extends into alternate timelines.

That's a whole lot of... everything... just everywhere.
That’s a whole lot of… everything… just everywhere.

Wanda’s watched over carefully by Thor’s alter ego Donald Blake and also her nurse Cassie Lang. So much for being the awesome Young Avenger Stature in this reality, Cassie! On the other hand, you’re also not dead so I guess it’s kind of a wash.

As Vision takes Wanda for a roll in the garden, he tells her of his plans to deactivate himself once she dies so that, if there is to be an afterlife, they may forever be joined there. It’s a very beautiful sentiment but Wanda’s having none of it, commanding Vision to live for as long as possible. My working theory is that Wanda’s hoping to hook up with Wonder Man in the hereafter. Which is a great theory except that nobody wants to hook up with Wonder Man ever. Wonder Man sucks. While this is going on, Jocasta menacingly watches the duo from a window in the mansion and creeps everybody out. Man, I hope yet another Hank Pym built robot isn’t about to go crazy and murder a bunch of people.

Nothing worrying here.
“I’m your number one fan. Number one fan. Number one fan.”

That night, Wanda has like eighteen old person heart attacks and Doctor Blake tells Vision it’s only a matter of time before she goes to that big lunatic asylum in the sky. Vision remains visionlently, excuse me vigilantly at her side until the end. Then Jocasta kicks in the door, telling Vision that Doctor Blake has made a discovery that may save Wanda and he should go to the library at once. Never mind that the library is empty, dark and locked. And Blake’s in bed. And it’s three AM.


Vision eventually realizes something’s amiss and returns to Wanda’s bedside only to find her and Jocasta both gone. He wakes the other Avengers and tears the mansion apart looking for them. He eventually finds them both in Jocasta’s lab where Jocasta is performing a standard Freaky Friday operation on the two. She has downloaded herself into Wanda’s shitty dying body and imprisoned Wanda in her unfeeling steel frame. And then Jocasta dies of extreme oldness. Meanwhile, the now immortal Wanda in her unstoppable robot body builds some insane robot sons out of an old freezer and then eliminates all mutants. Stupid Pym built robots….

"She was, in many ways, more human than us all. Especially me. And my robot boyfriend."
“She was, in many ways, more human than us all. Especially me. And my robot boyfriend.”

Next we visit the dare terrifying future of Old Captain America and Really Old Retired Nick Fury! These days, Cap spends his time between training the New Avengers and performing family duties with his wife Sharon Carter and kids Steve Jr and Severus Albus Rogers.

Sharon is in the middle of begging Steve to retire from captaining America when the call goes out: the cast of the Warriors is messing with hardworking future police officers in New New York’s oddly named Punk Row! Cap leaps both onto his flying motorcycle (because the future is awesome and also exactly like Saint’s Row 3) and into action, kicking several punks in the face.

A chillingly accurate portrayal of 1980s New York.
A chillingly accurate portrayal of 1980s New York.

Just as he’s mopping up the last of these jerks, Cap gets a call that his villain proof skyscraper headquarters has been broken into! But who could be responsible? Well, that flying car with the big red skull on the front seems a good indicator: It’s clearly 1930s entertainer Red Skelton out for revenge! Or it’s the Red Skull again. Fucking Nazis. Jeez.

Borrowed from Cobra's new line of flying battle tanks.
Borrowed from Cobra’s new line of flying battle tanks.

Cap chases the Skullmobile to the site of the 1963 World’s Fair. Which is apparently still around in the future. Or possibly rebuilt for the youth of today to enjoy. He finally meets up with the Ancient Red Skull in his (seriously) Armchair of Death.


The Skull battles Cap for a little while before revealing his evil plan (a bomb attached to the Skull’s heart that will go off if the Skull dies) and his evil son (Red Skull Jr, here to kill Cap and save his father. Presumedly by climbing vines and avoiding crocodiles.) Cap manages to defeat both Skulls but then Jr shoots his father, activating the bomb. Luckily, Cap stops it with a handily thrown shield because what else is Captain America going to do? NOT throw a shield at something. Anyway, Cap saves his family and resolves to never stop hunting the Red Skull no matter how old, decrepit or useless he might be. Sharon weeps over the charred remains of their marriage.

Finally we jump into the future of 2013 as Matt Murdock (AKA Aredevil according to the title page)

See? See?
See? See?

and his friend Vice President Foggy Nelson await the arrival of the new president of New Russia Natasha Romanov (AKA the Black Widow). Foggy and Natasha are here to take part in a new peace conference with important leaders from all over the world. Matt’s here mostly because he’s sad that his (unnamed) wife is dead and Foggy’s trying to cheer him up. Foggy, you’d think you’d know by now that nothing can stop Matt Murdock from being in a shitty mood except beating the hell out of people.

More like 'Mope Murdock.'
More like ‘Mope Murdock.’

Luckily, the conference is attacked by a new and mysterious Kingpin of Terrorism and his faceless army. Gee, I wonder who it could be? My money’s on the Owl. Natasha and Matt both change into costume (which they both luckily decided to wear for the first time in twenty years) and start handing out beatings. They eventually reach the top of the building and face the terrorists’ mysterious leader and SHOCK FOLLOWS SHOCK, it’s Wilson Fisk AKA the Kingpin. There’s like three minutes of fighting before Matt knocks Fisk off the roof, smooshing him like so much Allfather from Preacher. This finally pulls Matt out of his shell again, proving once more that murder can solve anything.



What If Captain America Was President And Also Something About the Man-Thing?

Back in the Bronze Age, so the story goes, a popular Marvel Comics character considered running for President. No, not Howard the Duck. It was Captain America. Seems like a pretty obvious idea honestly. The symbol for America also in charge of it. At the very least, you could get a good twelve issues out of it. Ultimately, Steve Rogers decided against becoming president which is probably for the best. You can’t throw a shield at communism, folks.

Dick Tracy villain Littleface.

But, our mysteriously egg-shaped Watcher asks this week, what if Cap HAD become president? In a scene that looks like he basically decides to run spur-of-the-moment, Cap declares his plan to run for president as a member of the New Populist Party. I took a couple of seconds to look this up, since I’m Canadian and honestly didn’t know if this was a real thing. It isn’t, far as I can tell. Anyway, at the request of the NPP’s chairman, Sleazy Truman Capote, Cap enters the race.

“You and your plaid suit seem trustworthy.”

The excitement of a super hero running for president takes the world by storm, as noted ever loving blue eyed political commentator, the Thing shows his support for Cap. Meanwhile, local newpaper editor and loud person, J Jonah Jameson takes a negative stance. I can only assume he fears this would result in Spider-Man for mayor. (Luckily, this is not to be. The idea of Spider-Man at a desk job is too chilling to imagine.)

I honestly couldn’t think of anything funny to put here.

Cap selects his running mate, African-American Andrew Jackson Hawk who does not have time for your bullshit, by the way. The NPP is not thrilled by Cap’s decision but screw those guys, their party doesn’t even exist. Hawk accepts Cap’s offer while the NPP make some ‘hilarious’ political commentary.

“You think this A on my forehead stands for ‘amused by political commentary?'”

Cap soundly defeats presidential hopefuls Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, making this only the second most embarrassing Captain America comic that Reagan has appeared in.* He then umasks, revealing to the world that he is popular comics artist Steve Rogers. Personally, I think it’s a little weird to elect a guy in a mask president but again, I’m Canadian. Things are different up here.

“I just know I’m going to ruin this Grant Morrison script…”

President Cap’s new plans for America take the world by storm. He converts America to solar based energy and weapons, freeing the country from, as a giant immortal spaceman puts it “they tyranny of foreign oil.” And when the South American country of San Pedro’s army of freedom fighters begs the US for help in overthrowing their corrupt government, Cap sends them solar lasers of their very own, winning the war overnight. Which, again, feels a little worrying to me.

I like your Kirbyesque blunderbuss, buddy.

As San Pedro celebrates its victory the newly elected president and Che Gueverra impersonator, Jacinto Morez invites President Cap to visit. Cap arrives, sans guards, secret service or… really anyone else. Which turns out to be a real problem when Morez reveals himself to actually be the Red Skull in disguise. Ugh… THAT guy.

You’d think those weird brow bones would stick out of the face mask but no.

The Skull takes Cap out and then threatens America with a solar ray satellite of hate. Luckily for all Americans who do not want to be dead, Cap is able to escape the Skull’s insidious prison by hitting it very hard. He reprograms the satellite’s computer (again, by hitting it.), drawing its deadly heat beam away from Washington, Distinguished Competition. Good news for fans of monuments everywhere.

Sorry, vaporized tourists!

Less good news is that the beam is now being drawn back to its source. No, not the satellite, that’s ridiculous. It’s headed back to San Pedro where Cap and the Skull duke it out. It vaporizes the two battling presidents, making this the most exciting politics has ever been. Back in America, an army of super heroes gather to mourn at Cap’s grave while the once again Christian Watcher drops a bible quote on us. Oh, Uatu. Always beliving in Jesus.

I’m sure Cap would appreciate the giant painted statue.

Next, we have a short story about the Man-Thing. If you’ve never heard of the OTHER muck encrusted mockery of a man with the hilarious name, let the Watcher and I refresh your memory.


Scientist Ted Sallis was working on a version of the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America when mob guys attacked him. Sallis injected himself with the serum and then drove his car into the swamp because everyone knows mobsters are afraid of swamps. Also it turned out this swamp was the Nexus of the Universe because OF COURSE it is. Anyway, the combination of the super serum, the nexus of the universe and Marvel wanting to write Swamp Thing stories turned Sallis into a big green monster with a weird fly face who sets fire to people who are afraid of him. Simple, right?

Completely missed catching the bullet. You’ve SEEN Watchmen, right?

So, the number one difference between Man-Thing and Swamp Thing is that, while Swamp Thing would go out into the woods and write poems about his weird sex life, Man-Thing is kind of an idiot. Ted Sallis’ intelligence is pretty much gone. In this story, we explore the question of what if Man-Thing wasn’t an idiot?

Ted Sallis’ old buddy, Doctor Oheimer (Great name there, by the way.) has been working on restoring Sallis’ brain. Unfortunately, at a key moment the FBI shows up to kill everyone. While Oheimer normally dies, in this universe he survives and the FBI offers him a job instead. For some reason.

Sorry about almost killing you. You want a job instead?

Manuel-Thing and Ohemier head to a lab in Miami where Ohemier can run his experiments and Man-Thing can be cruel to caged animals in a fake swamp. Meanwhile, some government dude named Bendix plots to steal the soldier serum from Man-Thing and create an army of Men-Things. Because America’s military needs slow moving flamable muck men.

“Good god, I love being an evil businessman.”

Oheimer continues to work with Man-Thing, restoring his intelligence and teaching him to use the tools of humans like computers, chairs and clip boards. Here we see the Man-Thing in his natural habitat, stealing MP3s.

“Dear Strong Bad, how do you type with boxing gloves on. Your pal, Man-Thing.”

Little does Oheimer know that, while Man-Thing’s intelligence has returned, Ted Sallis’ humanity has not. The evil Man-Thing plots to return to the Nexus of All Reality and… do the obvious thing to it. Whatever that is.

“Oh, Oheimer. I could never stay mad at your smiling face.”

Meanwhile, Bendix’s evil government types think they have managed to replicate the Soldier Serum. They realize that they also need access to the Nexus of All Reality so they decide to close down Oheimer’s project. They fire Oheimer, set Man-Thing ON fire and ship the whole deal back out to de swamp.

Oheimer is shipped off to a mental institution but Man-Thing escapes and follows the government guys back into the swamp. At one point, he manages to destory one of the government’s jeeps. Luckily, Bendix is an idiot who doesn’t care if his jeeps randomly explode.

“Look, sometimes cars just explode for no reason. It’s not a big deal.”

The government scientists are happily running tests on some poor alligator when Man-Thing busts in and starts killing dudes. He strangles Bendix to death with some weeds and is about to leave when the alligator, infested with swamp magic, grows arms and legs for some reason. Man-Thing and Manigator fight it out in the swamp but Man-Thing is quickly defeated. For, while his former inhumanity protected him, the newly intelligent Man-Thing knows fear. And whoever knows fear burns at the self-touch of the Man-Thing. Also Manigator becomes the new king of the swamp.

Not for nothing, this is pretty frickin’ cool.

*One time the Serpent Society turned Ronny in a snake monster.

What If the Hulk Needed A Place To Hang Out?


What If Rick Jones had become the Hulk?

Okay, I was fully expecting to hate this one. First because, goddamnit, I was promised a tale of Conan walking the earth in the 1970s and that sounds fucking awesome. Secondly, because seriously fuck Rick Jones. My dislike of this character has been fully documented in a couple of these things so I basically went into What If 12 with a bug up my ass, ready to hate it. Luckily, this turned out to be one of the better issues I’ve read so far.


We’ve seen this opening before, way back in Incredible Hulk 1 or possibly less way back in Forbidden to Interfere 2. This time around, Doc Bruce Banner drives out to save shitty teenage Archie stand-in Rick Jones only to have the little shit save him instead. Rick knocks Bruce into safety of the gamma radiation proof five foot deep concrete trench and is bathed with green radiation. He seems fine so Bruce drives him back to the military base to see how much of Rick’s body is now pure cancer.
Turns out to be none. None cancer. In fact, Rick seems fine until the sun goes down, at which point Rick turns into the Hulk. Specifically swinging sixties this-is-what-Stan-and-Jack-thought-teenagers-sound-like Hulk. It’s hilarious.


Seriously, I had to fight hard to not just have every picture in this thing be shots of Rick Hulk calling Banner a square.


Anyway, Rick Hulk escapes into the night and Bruce gives chase. The Rick is spotted by General Thunderbolt Ross but he sneaks away using all the stealth power of a giant green greaser and hides in the desert. Banner eventually finds him but Ross never does. He’s eventually shipped back to Washington to fill out paperwork, dreams of wasting taxpayer money throwing tanks at the Hulk washed away.


Meanwhile, the Rick is about to smash the holy hell out of puny square Banner when the sun comes up. Bruce takes Rick to a secret underwater base out in the desert(?) where he can keep Rick stashed during the night while Bruce works on a cure during the day. It would actually be a pretty good plan if not for the fact that Loki decides that the best way to get revenge on Thor is to free the Hulk and then get him to blow up a bridge. Apparently Loki tricking the Hulk into blowing up a bridge is pretty standard across the multiverse.


Anyway, long story short. Hulk joins Avengers, beats up Loki, beats up Space Phantom, quits Avengers. At exactly that moment of Avengers quitting, Banner shows up and zaps Rick Hulk with his new cure laser. It turns Hulk back into Rick permanently. That done, Bruce ditches Rick to return to the exciting field of comic book science.

We jump forward a couple of months to Rick randomly wandering around New York when he happens to come across Captain America getting his ass whipped by Hydra* Agents. But while these mighty foes may be a threat to the Living Legend of World War II, they’re no match for a whiny harmonica player. Rick helps Cap defeat them and in return Cap agrees to train Rick to be the new Bucky. This seems like it’d be an important twist in the story but don’t be fooled. On a mission to fight more random Hydra guys, Rick Hulks out again and runs away. The fact that this issue of What If does not feature the Hulk dressed as Bucky is a huge missed opportunity.


So Rick runs away again and we jump forward another couple of months (Does Captain America come looking for his new sidekick? No, he does not.) to more random wandering. Say what you will about this issue, it certainly keeps alive the tradition of sad Hulk wandering. Suddenly, an image of Captain America appears guiding Rick to some strange bracelets. He puts them on because this is a superhero comic and is instantly contacted by Kree hero Captain Marvel. Marvel tells Rick that he must bang the bracelets together and when he does, Rick is transported to the Negative Zone. Which is basically space but you can breathe there. Which is lucky because Rick needs to breathe.** Marvel goes on to explain that Rick will only have to stay in the Negative Zone for three hours before he is swapped back and that he will be safe in the Negative Zone. Which is an outright lie because then Rick is attacked by giant metal bug monster Annihilus.

Huh. Really? Annihilus is in my googledocs spell checker? Alright then.


So Rick is getting his ass whipped by Annihilus when he suddenly blasts the ugly sonnuvabitch with new mind powers and is then rescued by a hideous giant green head. It’s the Supreme Intelligence! Ruler of the Kree Empire and gross thing! The Supreme Intelligence needs Rick’s special brain to stop a war with the Skrulls! Which happens off panel and ends with Rick bushed out on the ground. Rick finally returns to Earth and hooks up with a foxy lady named Lou Anne. He also tells Captain Marvel where to stick it because he’s frankly tired of always having to go to space. And frankly I don’t blame him. Kid’s been having a weird year.


Eventually Captain Marvel is forced to return when Rick is attacked at the lab of Professor Savannah (No, not the one you’re thinking of. Different Captain Marvel.) by a large gold man. He too is defeated off panel and Rick returns to the Negative Zone. This time, Lou Anne visits with Dr Banner and the two of them go to get help from Reed Richards, the only guy who knows anything about the Negative Zone. Bruce brings his giant Hulk shooting laser again.


Back in the Negative Zone, Rick has ended up in another fight with Annihilus, who is clearly stalking the little bastard. Rick turns into the Hulk again and he and Annihilus beat on each other for a while. Eventually, Bruce and Reed are able to zap Rick with the Hulk Laser, this time seperating Rick and Hulk into two people. While Rick is rescued by Reed and his gross stretchy arm, Hulk uses the martial arts he learned from Captain America to kick Annihilus into an asteroid where he explodes to death.


Rick returns to Earth, freed of the Hulk, Captain Marvel, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and various other Marvel super heroes and is able to freely date his attractive lady-friend, while playing the harmonica in places a harmonica ought not be played. In the Negative Zone, Hulk is worshipped as a hero and gets to jump around on flying rocks. A solid win for everybody!


*Hydra does not stand for anything.

**Rick’s needed to breathe oxygen since his first apparence in Irritating Baby Comics #1, True Believers! -Marvelous Matt


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.