Since your sun burned hot in the sky and also since I started writing this thing lo those many years ago, there has been one standard in What If comics. The Watcher hangs around and doesn’t do anything. Except when he sent Wolverine back in time and accidentally ended the universe for no fucking reason. (Nice one, Watch.) All of that changes TONIGHT in What If’s very first ever five issue arc: TimeQuake! Which I read the last issue of when I was eight and thought was the coolest thing ever. And if the first issue is anything to go by, the old saying is true: Eight year old Matt was an idiot.
We open with Uatu doing his usual spiel about the multiverse and forbidden to interfere and then he starts going on about Nexuses. Apparently a Nexus is a particular person who has the power to change reality through… like, time travel or something. Apparently Kang is one. Immortus is another. Or possibly the same. Also that fucker Rick Jones because he can’t stop playing his harmonica on the multiverse dick. God, I hate that guy.
Uatu senses some kind of disturbance in the multiverse or whatever and sends his consciousness into the future and also an alternate reality where three giant cloak dudes called the Time Keepers watch over a bubbling cauldron and prepare to name Franklin Richards Thane of Cawdor. Actually, they’re just going to cause a very, very late abortion for Frankie Says Relax. It turns out Franklin is this universe’s Nexus and by killing him, the Time Keepers can continue to influence this reality. Or something to that effect. I don’t know, I stopped paying attention. Anyway, Uatu asks if he can watch because it’s what he does and the Time Keepers have no reason to question him so we jump back to the universe where Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four from What If 1*. Except that Sue divorced Namor, Namor undid his making her a permanent no-take backs fish person and then Sue hooked up with Reed, rejoined the FF and got pregnant. No, it isn’t confusing at all! Shut up!
Anyway, Sue’s having birth complications delivering Franklin so the FF travel to the Negative Zone to find the Cosmic Control Rod which can Cosmically Control Sue’s womb into not killing her or her enchanted baby. Of course Reed doesn’t actually tell Spidey, Ben or Johnny any of this, so when Spidey is captured by green armor jerk, Annihilus and accidentally steals the Cosmic Womb Wrangler, it’s a real lucky break for everyone.
Anyway, Spidey fights Annihilus and then the rest of the FF show up and they also fight Annihilus. The Time Keepers quickly realize that they are going to fail at killing this baby (Easily the simplest thing in the world! I mean, it’s like babies WANT to be dead.) so they send Doctor Doom to go fight the FF and steal the rod. Telling Doctor Doom what to do rarely works very well, but it seems to go pretty darn fine this time until a ghost steals Doom’s soul out of his body. Seriously. The ghost in question is a big scary cloak called the Whisperer so he could really be anyone. My money is currently on Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. The Ghost tells Doom that if Sue and Franklin die, Reed will lose his damn mind (in the west) and bathe the world in nuclear fire. Which is a perfectly rational thing to expect from Mr Fantastic. Doom agrees and tosses Reed the control rod and then he pushes Annihilus into the Antimatter Negative Positive part of the Negative Zone and they both get erased from reality except Doom is secretly saved by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
The FF return to Earth and use the cosmic control rod to save Sue and the baby… somehow. And then they celebrate the birth of this kid and the death of their greatest enemy. Hooray!
Meanwhile in space, Uatu gloats and the Time Keepers prepare to kill another Nexus or whatever and we TO BE CONTINUE and GOD, I hope this thing gets better. That was a twenty-eight page punch comic. Yeesh.
*Not to be confused with the other reality where Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four, Sue married Namor, Spider-Man quit, Reed tried to destroy Atlantis and failed to identify a pregnant woman.