This week, we travel back to that most well-known of crossover, Atlantis Attacks. And I honestly have no idea how this issue of What If could possibly improve upon it. Mostly because I had no idea what Atlantis Attacks was about, except for the stray issue that floated through the comic store I used to work at. Apparently, it begins with the Silver Surfer (a popular fellow around here recently.) battling some dude called Ghaur, some kind of blue… space wizard with an incredibly difficult name to spell. Ghaur had been turned into an intelligent gas and was briefly stole the Surfer’s power so he could become human again. But, like a blue human. I guess this is how Ghaur rolls.
Once he has returned to Earth, he sets about attempting to summon the giant snake demon Set by convincing the current leader of Atlantis Attuma to attack the surface. As if Atlantis ever needed an excuse to attack the surface. Most of the time, “Prince Namor has a winged boner* and wants to take another shot at the Invisible Woman.” will do in a pinch. The second part of Ghaur’s plan involves him kidnapping seven lady superheroes to be Set’s seven brides. You may recall the musical that was based on these events: “Seven Brides For Seven Screaming Demonic Snake Heads.” It won a Tony!
Next, Ghaur begins building his army by getting a bunch of drug addicts and infecting them with a serum that turns them into snake people. Unfortunately for him, there is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the grips of a serious snake god cult serum.
Finally Ghaur succeeds in summoning Set to Earth by uniting all of the Serpent Crowns in the multiverse which blesses him with a giant seven headed snake monster. Nice job, Ghaur! Why on Earth did you want this?
Problems arise and our reality sharply turns to this new one when
- Namor is killed in a boating explosion like someone took out a mob hit on him.
- The Punisher and Moon Knight fail to stop Ghaur from infecting New York’s drug fiends with Serpent Crack and are indeed themselves turned into snake men.
- Thor fails to get his naked half-brother to help him protect Thor’s mother Gaea, the spirit of the Earth and the character Whoopi Goldberg played on Captain Planet.
- Dr. Strange, the Thing, Thor and Quasar travel to Set’s home dimension hoping to lure the big gross jerk home but the Thing is eaten by a giant slug, Quasar is cast into eternity and Dr Strange is burned to death by slug fire. Yes, these giant slugs breathe fire. This is the worst place in the entire universe.
Back on Earth, the Avengers take a run at defeating Set and fail utterly. The Beast and the Wasp are both burned to death and then Set goes all Hungry Hungry Hippos, devouring Hank Pym and Ghaur. So at least that’s one problem solved! And also Ghaur is dead! Yeah, fuck you, Hank Pym.
The remaining superheroes mount an attack on Set and its remaining minions under the sea and they get their ASSES KICKED. Like, this shit is embarrassing. Somebody stabs Captain America in the back with a giant tuning fork. That is not how Captain America dies. He gets shot with a time bullet, obviously. The only survivor is Thor who gets his ass beat so badly he is cast out of the ocean
Back in New York, the armies of Set have infected the city’s water supply, transforming everyone into hilarious snake-headed monsters. Seriously, look at these guys. They’re ADORABLE.
In the Baxter Building, Thor regroups yet again with Rachel Grey, Doctor Doom, Wolverine, Sabretooth, the Grey Hulk, Cloak and somebody who I am told is the Aquarian but who I am pretty sure is Jesus Christ**. Most of these guys have been protected from the Snake Serum because of their healing factors and in Doom’s case because he only drinks his own urine, purified through his armour. This is my personal head canon. Deciding they have no other options, the remaining heroes resolve to kill Set’s brides so that they cannot birth Set’s unholy snake babies and also defeat Set once and for all. It’s not a great plan but let’s face it, aside from Doom and maybe Rachel, we aren’t talking a team of great thinkers here.
Meanwhile, in eternity, Quasar has been falling for several days. He eventually decides that this plan isn’t working the way he hoped, and stops falling, returning to the place of the giant slug battle. There he finds the remains of the Thing and also Dr Strange’s Eye of Agamotto. Then he yells for a while which helps nobody.
Back on Earth, the heroes make their two-pronged attack. Wolverine leads his squad to assassinate the brides of Set when they are attacked by an army of snake-headed superheroes and it is going to take a real effort not to just post pictures of these guys because they are hilarious. Look at snake Colossus. That’s just wonderful.
While the snake army is not much of a threat, the mind controlled brides pretty much ruin our boys. Storm incinerates Sabretooth with a lightening bolt, proving that Storm is the shit and Sabretooth is garbage. The Invisible Woman cuts off the Hulk’s air supply which forces him to return to Bruce Banner after which She-Hulk and Andromeda beat him to death. The Scarlet Witch changes Wolverine’s molecules into anti-matter and then throws him at Jesus and they both explode. Try coming back from that, Jesus! And finally, Cloak is bombarded with light energy and is sucked into his own shadow dimension. He looks sad but Cloak always looks kind of sad, so maybe this is okay for him.
Meanwhile, Thor and his buddies make their attack on Set. It doesn’t go well. Doom is burned to death by the serpent’s fiery breath but he goes out like a champ so it’s still pretty damn awesome.
While Rachel uses the Phoenix Force to blind and weaken Set, Thor tosses his hammer, splattering one of the monster’s seven heads. Then the Phoenix Force craps out and Rachel falls to the ground, shattering every bone in her body. Whoops.
Thor attacks Set some more but only ends up covered in fourth degree burns all over his body. He’s grabbed at the last second by that giant hand from Cabin in the Woods and dragged into the center of the Earth by his mother Gaea who keeps him frozen in carbonite for all eternity where he will be safe. Thanks, mom.
Then, because everyone else is dead or swallowing bird eggs whole, the Silver Surfer arrives and blows off another of Set’s heads. Nice one, Surfer. Where the hell was the amazing sense of timing twenty minutes ago when everyone was still alive?
Set knocks the Surfer for a loop and then Quasar shows up, fifty feet tall and pissed. He’s combined the Eye of Agamotto with his Quasar powers and also his Captain Universe powers and he’s also activated Rita Repulsa’s growth staff so now he’s ready for Whacking Day. Unfortunately, all he succeeds in doing is sucking himself and Set into the Eye where they will battle for all eternity. But Set is defeated! So that’s good, right?
Not so much. Each of Set’s seven brides give birth to a giant snake monster of their own who promptly devour their mothers and then set about eating every other snake hybrid on Earth, before slipping into other dimensions to begin the cycle again! So thanks for your heroic sacrifice, Quasar!
*Editor’s Note: Another name for Namor’s penis is Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Feathered Serpent!
**First appearance: The Bible, True Believers! In God!