Tag Archives: Human Torch

What If The Second Richards Kid Lived And Was The Messiah Or Possibly An Evil Alien Maybe?

This week we’ve got a special treat for everyone! It’s a double feature based around Sue Richards’ miscarriage! Doesn’t that sound fun? For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the Fantastic Four children, and who could blame you if you were, there have been two Richards kids: Franklin, who had prophetic dreams, joined Power Pack, created the Heroes Reborn universe and was thoroughly unlikeable until Jonathan Hickman started writing him and Valeria Richards who was named after the woman Doctor Doom loved and then skinned to turn into magic armor. Less well known was the middle Richards child who died after pregnancy complications due to… I think cosmic rays or something. I remember Reed hired Doctor Octopus to help with the delivery but then he saw a billboard featuring Spider-Man and freaked the fuck out. Probably for the best, I’d hate to see Doc Ock try to yank the baby out with his tentacles. Wait, no. I would LOVE to see that.

"You keep suggesting a caesarian, Octavius! I don't think it's neccesary!" "Sorry, I'm just really into the idea of cutting open a super hero."
“You keep suggesting a caesarian, Octavius! I don’t think it’s neccesary!” “Sorry, I’m just really into the idea of cutting open a super hero.”

Anyway, this week we’re addressing two stories about the Richards baby living. In the first one, Sue’s pregnancy is difficult from the start. She spends the nine months physically drained and eventually discovers she is unable to turn invisible. While this is happening, Franklin watches from the shadows in a suitably dramatic fashion. When the baby is finally born, not even the combined genius of Doctors Richards, Octavius, Morbius, Langowski and Banner can save Sue’s life. Of course, the fact that only one of these guys is a medical doctor and none of them have been trained to deliver a baby probably didn’t help. In mourning, Reed names the new baby after Sue and offers it to Franklin who runs off terrified. That’s okay, kid. I had a similar reaction when my siblings were born.

Gaaah! A horrible monster!
Gaaah! A horrible monster!

Years pass, little Suzie grows and gosh, wouldn’t you know it, friends of the FF just keep dying. First it’s Alicia, then a number of Suzie’s baby sitters, teachers and school chums all succumb to a bizarre wasting disease. What on earth could be causing it? Franklin obviously suspects Suzie which results in a lot of Reed yelling at him. I guess it’s tough being a single dad. When Franklin realizes that Johnny Storm has started to succumb to the wasting sickness, he goes to his father again. Reed, in his role as loving father, slaps the kid in the face. Okay, I think it’s time for a little less sympathy for the single dad. Anyway, Johnny fucking dies.

Here you go, Matt. Make a funny joke about horrible child abuse!
Here you go, Matt. Make a funny joke about horrible child abuse!

Reed assumes that all this death is a result of the FF’s cosmic rays, although he apparently doesn’t try to limit anyone’s contact with himself or the Thing to prevent more dying. Speaking of the Thing, that dude’s energy has drained enough that he is no longer permanently orange and rocky. His disease has actually cured him. Which is too bad because then some asshole shoots him like eight times. Ben is rushed to the hospital where he may recover. Until Suzie decides to pay him a visit…

So much trouble might have been avoided if ANYONE in the Baxter Building had just watched the Omen.
So much trouble might have been avoided if ANYONE in the Baxter Building had just watched the Omen.

With most of the FF dead and his father clearly fucking insane, Franklin travels to Latveria… somehow and contacts the only person left who can help: Doctor Doom. Doom isn’t exactly overcome by the love of the common man to help Franklin out but Franklin does mention that Suzie could eventually become a threat to Latveria. And also that Doom will get the chance to observe a stark raving mad Reed Richards whom he can then prove wrong. That’s like Latverian christmas. If Doom hadn’t banned christmas in Latveria six years ago.

"Well, she certainly does suck."
“Well, she certainly does suck.”

Team Frankledoom arrive back at the Baxter Building to find Reed in full-on freak-out mode.

“How DARE you turn against your wonderful perfect sister! How DARE you contact my greatest foe to help you!”

“Richards,” Doom replies. “You’re not yourself. Look, you’re making me seem calm and collected and I regularly refer to myself in the third person.”

This is the part where Suzie reveals her true self, turning into a giant energy devouring monster that was clearly cribbed from Alien. Reed realizes he may have made a mistake or two in the last few years. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late and the creature drains Reed of his energy, killing him.

At this point, I'd like to address the fact that it's never revealed WHY Sue and Reed's child is a weird monster. Is it a demon? An alien? Just born evil? Good fucking question!
At this point, I’d like to address the fact that it’s never revealed WHY Sue and Reed’s child is a weird monster. Is it a demon? An alien? Just born evil? Good fucking question!

Doom attacks the creature, hoping to give Franklin time to escape. It works too, but Suzie is still too much for Doom and she drains first his armour and then him. His last words are a futile “Curse you, Richards and your cosmic sperm!”

Suzie then stalks Franklin into the depths of Reed’s lab, taunting him. Suddenly, Franklin bursts in with a big… Ghostbusters looking backpack gun and shoots Suzie in the chest, knocking her through an open portal into the Negative Zone in a way which is nothing like the end of the first Alien movie which this comic is in no way like. So stop asking.

Yeah, this will never be a problem again. Nothing EVER comes out of the Negative Zone.
Yeah, this will never be a problem again. Nothing EVER comes out of the Negative Zone.

Franklin pauses over the body of his father. His entire family and everyone he knows is dead. But he WAS proven right in the end so I  have no choice but to label this one a HAPPY ENDING. Hooray!

That's a good Batman Year One homage, Franklin.
That’s a good Batman Year One homage, Franklin.

Meanwhile, in a less depressing reality, a baby Richards is also born. This one is named Mary because Sue doesn’t die so we’re already off to a better start. Reed and Sue carefully observe Mary for any signs that she might have also inherited powers from  her parents so they aren’t totally shocked when she starts flying around her crib.

"Listen, Reed. I just read that first story. Things could be a lot fucking worse."
“Listen, Reed. I just read that first story. Things could be a lot fucking worse.”

From there, Mary has a pretty normal childhood with absolutely no mysterious deaths surrounding her. When she’s fourteen, she goes on a walk with Ben and Johnny and watches a dog get hit by a car and is able to save its life by touching it. Which is good because it’s really hard to summarize comic when I am hysterically weeping over a dead fictional dog.

Guys, I can't even go to doesthedogdie.com because the crying dog logo makes me sad.
Guys, I can’t even go to doesthedogdie.com because the crying dog logo makes me sad.

Mary learns that she has incredible healing powers which she uses to save as many people as possible. She also starts working with environmental groups to save more lives and going on equality marches in Washington. Because the only way to enact real change in the world is if it’s led by a pretty, blonde white girl with rich parents.

The evil US president isn’t particularly thrilled by this development and orders the Avengers to have nothing to do with anyone speaking out against the status quo. This results in the Avengers disbanding, except for Captain America which is weird considering that dude is always the first guy to speak up when the government is getting too evil.

"No one will believe in things as long as I am Evil President."
“No one will believe in things as long as I am Evil President.”

Eventually, the evil President orders well-known Marvel sleazebag Henry Peter Gyrich (Boo, hiss) to assassinate Mary which he does by dressing up as Captain America and stabbing Mary at a huge rally. As far as assassination plots go, it’s pretty goddamn terrible but it does manage to spark a massive riot. Luckily, Mary is able to stay conscious just long enough to spray the crowd with her peace powers and calm everyone down. Then she faints.

Mary awakens from a coma a week later to find a vigil outside of her hospital, waiting for her to lead them as the new messiah. According to the Watcher, she eventually overthrows the corrupt government and saves the world. Meanwhile, the real Captain America beats the ever loving shit out of Henry Gyrich.

Wait, so is Cap possessed by Lil' Suzie? Is that what's happening? What the hell is going on?
Wait, so is Cap possessed by Lil’ Suzie? Is that what’s happening? What the hell is going on?

 

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 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.