Tag Archives: Iron Man

What If Blonde Iron Man Teamed Up With Stilt Man?

So this week, we travel back to the 1980s Armour Wars (or Stark Wars as they were originally called to tie in with some popular film franchise of the day.). Tony Stark discovers that his Iron Man technology has been stolen by billionaire industrialist and Sam Rockwell character Justin Hammer. Hammer has, in turn, sold the technology to villains all over the world. Terrifying villains like Stilt Man. And the Beetle. With the world in danger from being Beetled, Tony scours the globe, defeating guys good and bad alike to retrieve his armours.

"Sorry, Steve. Let's never fight again."
“Sorry, Steve. Let’s never fight again.”

In order to do this, Tony hires Scott Lang (AKA Ant Man AKA Paul Rudd AKA Me.) to hack into Hammer’s computer system and retrieve the list of armour buyers. Scott takes a rather unorthodox path to hacking by actually shrinking down into the computer and running around. He eventually finds the list (by using a tiny monitor, I assume.) and escapes. But not before Hammer’s security system catches him. Apparently when you live in the Marvel Universe, it is entirely possible that your computer may be raided by a tiny man which is why Hammer installed Tiny Man Spraying Knock-Out Gas. In the regular universe, Lang escapes and Stark wages his war on everybody in the Marvel U with a robot suit. But in this issue of What If….

Scott does indeed get knocked out and awakens in Hammer’s office in a lovely glass jar with holes poked in the top and a little grass for Scott to sleep in. Hammer begins the interrogation process (Waterboarding is easy when all you need is a thimble and the edge of a hanky.) but Scott refuses to crack until Hammer’s guards come in with Scott’s daughter Cassie held at gunpoint. Then Scott spills the beans like any decent shrinking father.

Please Don't Shake The Cage.
Please Don’t Shake The Cage.

Now knowing that Ant-Man has been working for Stark, Hammer devises a way to take control of Iron Man’s armor much as he did during Demon in a Bottle (AKA Tony Stark is drunk and gross!). He foils Tony’s attempt to stop Stilt Man from robbing a high rise apartment (which is seriously the only thing Stilt Man ever thinks to do with his million dollar armor. “Oh, I’ll get really tall and then steal some TVs. I’m an incredible super villain. I hope the Punisher never shoots me in the fucking face.”) and forces Tony to fly to his office.

After some hilarious fun and games controlling Tony’s armor (“Jump! Dance! Touch your nose! Oh, never mind. This armor has no nose.”), he forces Iron Man to unmask and learns his secret identity because this was back when all superheroes had them, not just Spider-Man.

If you thought a billionaire weapons designer had better things to do with his time, you were wrong.
If you thought a billionaire weapons designer had better things to do with his time, you were wrong.

Hammer then forces Tony to put on some sort of slave collar thing so he can control Tony’s speech as well as his body. Then he forces Iron Man to destroy a number of important buildings like SHIELD headquarters and the home of the West Coast Avengers. (They’re the LA based Avengers led by Hawkeye, if you can believe that. Fucking Hawkeye. Dude can’t take care of a fish, never mind lead a team.) Finally, he forces Tony to go on national TV, reveal his identity, take full responsibility for all this destruction and murder and finally blow his own head off with a repulsor blast. Or at least he’s about to when AIM busts into Hammer’s home and kill or possibly knock him out.

Either way, Tony uses the confusion to rip the slave collar off and escape. He goes on the run, dyeing his hair and shaving his trademark moustache. He also destroys his armor in a trash can like so much depressed Spider-Man. Tony tries to reach out to the Avengers or the Fantastic Four but he discovers that some sort of post-hypnotic message from the slave collar has forced him to be unable to turn to his friends for help. Or possibly all of this is bullshit to force the story along. Whatever. Instead, Tony begins contacting all the criminals wearing his armor, telling them their lives are in danger.

"Today I am Iron Man no more! Now and forevermore, I am Underwear Guy!"
“Today I am Iron Man no more! Now and forevermore, I am Underwear Guy!”

The Armor Brigade meet up with Tony outside of LA in one of those old caves where they used to film Star Trek. He tells them that Justin Hammer and also apparently AIM will be looking to murder them all and they eventually agree to allow him to fit their armor with anti-getting controlled by AIM and killing a bunch of people discs.

That night, Tony and the Armor Brigade attack Hammer’s mansion and of course find it jam packed with AIM troops. Minus their customary beekeeper helmets, alas. The Armor Brigade does quick work on AIM, thanks to Stilt Man’s ability to kick people from across the room, probably.

He was truly the best of us.
He was truly the best of us.

Meanwhile, Tony sneaks off, first finding AIM’s new giant Firepower armor, which he steals and then Ant-Man and his daughter whom he frees. Scott and Cassie escape and call for help from Hammer’s nearby phone booth, I guess, while Tony and the Firepower armor join the Iron Brigade in mopping up the rest of AIM.

Unfortunately for Tony, the smug blonde asshole currently leading AIM has already leaked Tony’s armor technology across the world. It’s become public domain and now anyone can use it to make weapons. Tough luck, Tony!

With nothing else to do, Tony insists that his armored buddies ditch their armor (which can now possibly be controlled by anyone in the world) and turn themselves into the police. Oddly enough, this group of thieves and communist heroes have a problem with this plan, turning on Tony and beating the everloving crap out of him.

"How did I not see this coming? HOW?!"
“How did I not see this coming? HOW?!”

Luckily, the Avengers (responding to an emergency call from Ant-Man’s daughter, thank God!) arrive and quickly defeat the remaining Armor Guys. They arrest them all and also Tony who’s been acting weird and blowing places up. As they take him into custody, Tony laments the loss of his technology which will probably be used to make cheap VCRs or something.

What If Radioactive Man Wasn’t?

This week, we explore the wonderful, murderous origins of Tony Stark, the cool exec with the heart of steel. As we have no doubt discussed before, and if not there was a whole damn movie made about it, Tony builds weapons for the government. While visiting… apparently China although I could swear it used to be Vietnam, Tony is exploded in this amazing panel.

WHOOO!
WHOOO!

Stark regains conciousness back at Evil China HQ with shrapnel on its way into his heart and is forced to work for the villanous and pouch covered Wong Chu (Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar.). Chu sets Tony up with a lab and an assistant and tells him to get cracking building some sort of pro-communist weapon. Instead Stark and his assistant build the original Iron Man armor and luckily for them, Chu doesn’t notice. (“That sure looks like a glove that shoots beams out of it.” “This? Nah. It’s a… bomb. Shaped like a hand. Hand bomb. Super big in the West.” “Ahh, of course. Carry on.) As the Iron Man armor is finally activating, Chu busts in. In our reality, Tony’s assistant sacrifices himself, giving Tony the extra minutes he needs to turn on the armor but here, Chu arrives a little too early, leaving Tony stuck on the table like a… plate. That’s been nailed to a table. Look, similes are hard.

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“You’re dirty, Lips. Ya need a bath.” “No, no! Not the bath, Big Boy! NOT THE BATH!”

After some brief torture, Tony’s shipped to Even More Evil China HQ at the request of Chen Lu (Better known in our reality as Radioactive Man seen here with his eyes safely protected by goggles.).

Chen tortures Tony a bit more because it’s become a very popular passtime in China and then ships him back to the states with a “little” communicator (It’s only coaster sized.) wired into his brain. Chen’s plan is to use the billionare industrialist as a spy and possible assassin. Tony protests of course. For one thing, nobody is paying him. Also he keeps getting tortured for some reason. But Chen activates a device in Tony’s chest plate that deactivates it, forcing the shrapnel closer to his achey breaky heart. Eventually, Tony comes around and gets sent home. After some additional farewell torture.

whatif4803
Apparently Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko did the breakdowns on this. But like… this is some bad fuck-off art.

Back in the States, Tony premiers Iron Man for everyone to see. Of course, he doesn’t tell anyone that he’s the guy in the suit. This was set back in the sixties when everyone had a secret identity, not just Spider-Man. Anyway, Iron Man is welcomed into the brotherhood of superheroes with open arms and Tony spends the next few months doing hero crap and eating Burger King. Problems arise when a pre-eye patch Nick Fury drops by. Fury has this crazy idea that Iron Man’s working for the Chinese, possibly because he read the cover of this comic. Unfortunately, he can’t actually prove it because he has literally no proof. So he mostly just yells and gets angry.

Nick Fury looks good as hell in a thin tie.
Nick Fury looks good as hell in a thin tie.

Soon after, Tony is contacted by some military dude. The government has been working closely with Stark on the formation of SHIELD* and they drop off their recommendation for its first director, Fury. Chen sees this and passes the information on to Hydra who try and assassinate Nick at the eye doctor. (Did you know Nick Fury only wears the eye patch to keep his vision from getting worse? This is the worst trading card fact ever!)

This is the worst origin for Fury's eye patch ever.
This is the worst origin for Fury’s eye patch ever.

Meanwhile, Chen begins observing strange changes in Stark. He’s taken to meditating and touching his belt a lot. “Well,” thinks Chen. “That’s weird but however this dude wants to handle my forcing him to be a traitor to his country is fine by me.” This lax attitude towards meditation will once again be Chen Lu’s undoing.

"Listen, just because you're my exact double doesn't mean you can waste my time."
“Listen, just because you’re my exact double doesn’t mean you can waste my time.”

Fury drops by the Fantastic Four’s appartment to let them in on the fact that Iron Man might still be up to something so a poorly drawn Ben and Johnny swing by Stark Industries where they get into one of their hilarious fights. And then secretly bug the place. They quickly learn that Tony is indeed working for the bad guys and Sue Storm invisibly informs Fury. Unfortunately, Chen has also bugged Fury because espionage is complicated. He sends Iron Man to kill Mr Fantastic at the  Baxter Building because throwing away your top secret super hero spy on a hit mission is a great fucking idea.

Could this be the worst drawing of the Thing I have ever seen? No, because I have attempted to draw the Thing.
Could this be the worst drawing of the Thing I have ever seen? No, because I have attempted to draw the Thing.

Iron Man arrives at the Baxter Building, easily disabling the security. Luckily for him, Reed knows he’s coming and has sent the rest of the four to see a movie. It’s that version of Terminator 2 with Sylvester Stallone from the Last Action Hero because alternate realities are weird. Tony and Reed fight some before Tony escapes, leaving a tape behind for Reed to find. Reed plays it and discovers that it’s a super slowed down message from Tony. Turns out Tony’s meditation has actually been extremely slowed down words begging for help. Reed realizes that Tony’s not actually a traitor, just a prisoner and lures him into some super magnetized room that shuts down his armor.

What the fuck is actually happening here?
What the fuck is actually happening here?

Tony lives but he’s completely paralyzed for some reason. Meanwhile, Reed loads the Iron Man armor with TNT and fires it at China, blowing Chen Lu up. Yeah, seriously.

And that's how America won the war.
And that’s how America won the war.

 

 

*Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

 

What If The Hulk Got Mad? …wait, seriously?

This week we explore the Hulk, the implications of the logical conclusions of angering said Hulk and whether or not these implications will be found palatable. Or to put it simply, what if the Hulk got really, really, REALLY angry. Like, message board angry.

Let's all just take a moment to admire this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz cover. And applaud me for spelling his name correctly on only the third go.
Let’s all just take a moment to admire this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz cover. And applaud me for spelling his name correctly on only the third go.

Our story begins, as it often does in tales of intense rage with Rick Fucking Jones. Of course, in this case the rage is mine but that isn’t important. We follow the usual chain of events as the dumbest teenager in the Marvel Universe drives Archie’s jalopy out to an atomic bomb testing site so he can play the harmonica and win fifty cents for an egg cream. Fortunately for him and unfortunately for anyone who owns property in New Mexico, Dr Bruce Banner races out to save Rick’s life. In this case, he fails to knock Rick into the radiation proof trench that all nuclear test sites feature and the two are both belted by gamma rays.

Kidnapped by mindless ones!
Kidnapped by mindless ones!

The military takes the two radioactive idiots back to Gamma Base and they’re both put to bed and given all the ice cream and ginger ale they could want. Problems arise when Bruce realizes he wants more vanilla and Rick telepathically reads his mind. Then, angered by indescribable pain and lack of that peanut butter stuff you drizzle on the ice cream and then it hardens, Banner freaks the fuck out and turns into the Hulk. He kicks a wall down and runs out into the desert.

When General Thunderbolt Ross arrives seconds later, Rick tries to cover for the man who saved his life. “Uh, yeah. Bruce WAS here. But then a giant… green guy busted in and kidnapped him. I think he was a robot.” Fortunately, in a post-Kirby Monster Comics universe, this is completely plausible and so the Army begins its search for a green, scientist kidnapping robot. Arch Hall Jr and a jeep with a shovel in the back are mobilized at once.

"Son, I fought in the Fin Fang Foom wars and what you're saying makes complete sense to me."
“Son, I fought in the Fin Fang Foom wars and what you’re saying makes complete sense to me.”

Meanwhile, the Hulk is absolutely hysterical, feeling nothing but pain and also really worried about the annoying teenager that apparently lives in his head. He tangles with the army a few times before Rick can convince him to go into hiding. Unfortunately, Ross observes Rick slipping the Hulk mental mash notes and realizes that they two are mentally linked. Desperate to hush up the unstoppable rage monster before the public finds out, Ross decides his best course of action is to start torturing Rick. General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, ladies and gentleman. The man who never met a hornet’s nest he couldn’t poke with a stick.

"HULK HAVE DEEP PERSONAL EMOTIONS."
“HULK HAVE DEEP PERSONAL EMOTIONS.”

Surprising literally no one, inflicting pain on the guy whose brain is psychically linked to the strongest scariest motherfucker on earth is a TERRIBLE idea. Hulk starts freaking out worse than ever, throwing around tanks and actually killing people. And since that isn’t bad enough, Ross goes ahead and tortures Rick to death. Now, personally, I have no problem with this but the Hulk oddly takes issue.

Whoops.
Whoops.

After a devastating attack on Gamma Base, Ross calls in the only people who can possibly help him: The Fantastic Four in their 43rd What If appearance. Unfortunately, the FF have little effect on the Hulk as Johnny fails to burn him, Reed almost gets torn in half and Sue fails to confuse him by turning invisible. Which is not a very good plan. Finally, the Thing takes a crack which would have been my first go-to but whatever. Unfortunately, then the Hulk hits the Thing with a nuclear missile.

With a single puff, the Hulk ruins children's birthday parties across America.
With a single puff, the Hulk ruins children’s birthday parties across America.

Everyone thinks the two monster men are both dead until a human Ben Grimm carries an unconscious human Bruce Banner out of the giant crater. So it looks like everything’s going to be fine, right? Not so much.

Bruce regains conciousness, is flooded by the mental anguish of Rick’s death, turns back into the Hulk and snaps Ben’s neck. This causes Johnny to attack and the Hulk swats him like a fucking fly, reducing the Fantastic Four to the Fantastic Fiancees. “Well, I’m out of ideas.” Says Reed.

At this point, Thor and Iron Man, who have been watching the whole thing unfold on TV, arrive. Thor uses his lightening powers to overcharge Iron Man’s transistors (Silver Age Iron Man was always solving his problems with transistors. The only thing they couldn’t cure was alcoholism.) hoping to make the Golden Avenger stronger. What it mostly does is make Iron Man’s armour light up like a pinball machine when the Hulk twists his spine backwards.

The best part is that this headbutt comes out of fucking nowhere.
The best part is that this head butt comes out of fucking nowhere.

Finally, with no other ideas, Thor just fucking grabs the Hulk and breaks his neck. Which probably would have saved time in the long run. As the Hulk dies, he turns back into Bruce Banner and Thor zaps the corpse with lightning, giving a proper burial to a fallen foe. And disposing of the corpse of the guy he just killed. Meanwhile, Ross is digging his own grave behind Gamma Base for that sixteen year old civilian he tortured to death. Whoops!

 

What If Disco Tamed The Heart Of Galactus? Also Iron Man Just Can’t Wait To Be King.

Back in the 80s, Disco sensation and X-Man Dazzler was kind of a big deal. Shocking, I know but here we are. Apparently, Dazzler (AKA Alison Blaire who, with her mutant ability to convert sound into light defends a world that hates and fears her as a member of the Uncanny X-Men! Sorry, Claremonting a bit there. Won’t happen again.) was such a big deal that she was actually kidnapped into space by Galactus’ computer.

Definitely as impressive a power as shooting lasers out of your eyes or controlling the weather.
Definitely as impressive a power as shooting lasers out of your eyes or controlling the weather.

According to the computer, there was nobody more likely in the entire fucking universe to defeat Galactus’ former herald-turned-world-conquering-asshole Terrax*. Yeah, I wouldn’t have pinned all my hopes on a pop star who can create strobelights either but I also haven’t been alive since the universe before this one so what do I know?

whatif3302
“Alright, Terrax! Now YOU’RE gonna feel the beat of the tamborine!”

In regular continuity, after Terrax has his ass whipped by Dancing Queen, he resumes working for Galactus at reduced pay and Dazzler gets sent home to her surprisingly popular solo series. Seriously, I have no idea how this thing sold back in the day. She got an ongoing series before fucking WOLVERINE did.

Anyway, then an uncharacteristically stout Watcher shows up to reveal our alternate reality of the week. What if Galactus took a shine to Dazzler and made her his new herald? So Galactus kicks Terrax into a black hole because seriously fuck that asshole and his big stone beard. Terrax’s axe disappears and will definitely not be important later on so don’t worry about that. Then Galactus turns to his robot buddy, R-11 and tells him to start fitting Dazzler for a company uniform.

whatif3303
“I feel like it’s hard for you to take me seriously when I have to yell at your ankle.”

Surprising no one, Dazzler’s not particularly interested in helping giant purple spaceman (Have I used that one before? I’m running out of ways to make fun of Galactus and he shows up in What If a LOT.) murder trillions of people. R-11’s able to convince her to stick around when he mentions that, if she becomes the new Herald, Galactus probably won’t eat Earth. Which has been a recurring problem on Earth for a while now.

Galactus endows Dazzler with the Power Cosmic, which allows her total control over all light as well as the ability to roller skate across the universe. I’d like to stop and mock this concept here, but is this really any stupider than a silver bald guy who surfs through space?

whatif3304
Still cooler than the Black Racer though.

Yes. It really is.

So time (a LOT of time) passes and Dazzler travels the universe, finding uninhabited planets for Galactus to eat. Galactus begins to soften in his demeanour, at one point refusing to devour a planet that Dazzler picked out before she knew it had life. Everything is basically going as well as it possibly could for a planet eating space god and his disco-clad best friend when a fleet of warships piloted by remnants of races Galactus had murdered shows up seeking revenge.

The warships zap Dazzler with a ray guy built from the remains of Terrax’s tear axe, badly injuring her and forcing her to return to Galactus to warn him of the attacking fleet. Who are trying to get justice for their butchered worlds. I’m not really sure I’m cheering for the right team here.

whatif3305
“Have to… warn my… genocidal boss…”

The fleet catches up to Galactus but their attempts to zap him with the Terrax gun fails miserably because it’s fucking Galactus. The only thing that can kill him is shitty comics writers trying to make their new bad guy characters look impressive by having them take out the scariest guy in the universe, Mark Millar I’m looking at you. Galactus destroys the fleet (Again, why is this a good thing?) and then revives Dazzler. After Dazzler chews him out for killing all those people, Galactus fires her and sends her home to Earth. Unfortunately for Dazzler, Earth is an utterly destroyed long dead wasteland with not a single record store so she returns to her work with Galactus, hoping to someday make him a better person, despite his many genocides.

whatif3306
“I refuse to live on a planet ruled by lazy skeletons.”

That done, we travel back to Camelot and a classic Iron Man story (I am told, having not actually read it yet.). During a battle over… I don’t know, land or something, Iron Man and Doctor Doom are sent back in time. Iron Man unites with King Arthur, star of Spamalot! while Doom teams up with Morgana Le Fey (AKA Darkwing Duck’s girlfriend.) Eventually, Stark and Doom are forced to work together and they both return home. But what if Doom betrayed Tony because he’s Doctor fucking Doom and he’s an asshole? What then?

More like "Victor von Douche", am I right? You don't need to answer that. I'm right.
More like “Victor von Douche”, am I right? You don’t need to answer that. I’m right.

What then is that Tony heads back to Camelot with his armor damaged and next to no power. He spends some time wallowing in depression and considering seeing how drunk a man can get on booze from the middle ages. (If you’re wondering at home, it’s drunk enough to write songs featuring the words ‘hey-nonny-nonny.’) Then Morgana Le Fey appears in astral form or possibly as a hologram to let Tony know that barbarians are attacking and giving Stark the much needed boot to the ass to stop sucking so badly.

Demon in a bejeweled flask.
Demon in a bejeweled flask.

After laying into the barbarians and making me wish for a comic where Iron Man fights Conan, Stark returns to Camelot and Arthur knights him. This is by far the best outcome for anyone trapped in time, especially since (somehow) Tony doesn’t end up fucking Arthur’s wife.

"By Crom, I wish I were stalking the 20th century!"
“By Crom, I wish I were stalking the 20th century!”

Not long after, Morganna sends an evil crow with a warning to the round table. Her son Mordred is on his way to overthrow Camelot. Luckily, Camelot has put all of its eggs in a single basket and assumes that Iron Man will easily save the day while the King and his knights watch from a nearby cliff and mock Mordred’s army. It’s obviously the best plan ever until Tony gets stabbed in the ARC reactor with a knife made from Excalibur. Somehow. Tony drops like a drunk mustache guy in an expensive suit of mechanical armor.

Here is a dude who really, REALLY likes skulls.
Here is a dude who really, REALLY likes skulls.

Tony awakens not long after back at Camelot. The kingdom is under siege and Tony’s armor is busted. Luckily for him, there’s just enough time to pull an “Army of Darkness” and cobble together some steampunk armor for himself in the castle’s basement. He also builds a robot hand which makes infinitely more sense than Ash’s ever did.

Armor built, Iron Man attacks Mordred’s army, beating them back. Unfortunately, this is not before Mordred and kill one another. With his dying breath, Arthur makes Tony Stark king of the Britons. Which I don’t think is how royal succession works but whatever. We leave the story with the Watcher assuring us that King Tony’s reign led to over a thousand years of peace in England. Which I don’t really buy considering I remember how the dumbass ran SHIELD.

Many wars and feuds did Tony fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand... And this story shall also be told.
Many wars and feuds did Tony fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… And this story shall also be told.

 

 

*Previously seen being a world conquering asshole in Forbidden to Interfere #27, True Believers!

 

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.

Anyway.

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!