Tag Archives: X-men

What If Phoenix STILL didn’t die but it’s a what if so somebody fucking does?

So we’re back after a week off so I could continue to make the hideous climb from early to mid-thirties. Maybe taking a break during a two parter wasn’t my best decision, but I have the second annual “wacky” What If next week, so trust me. I will be punished. Last time, as you’ll recall, Jean Grey of the X-Men was lobotomized by the Shi’ar to remove her Phoenix powers. This is the cosmic equivalent to slapping a band-aid on a gaping head wound, and it worked just as well. Unfortunately, Jean’s powers arrived just in time for her baby to be kidnapped by Mastermind who was possessed by the Shadow King so we can have an “X-Men Villains Matt Doesn’t Particularly Care For” twofer. Then Jean realized she was actually the Phoenix Force in the form of Jean and went to visit the real Jean’s sleeping cocoon. And accidentally vaporized her. Well, not even immortal fire goddess are perfect, I suppose.

Anyway, Jean mounts an attack on the Shadow King. Unfortunately for her, Shadow King has found and used former X-villain Erik the Red’s Aging/Deaging Device* to turn Baby Rachel into Excalibur Rachel. Complete with weird spiky bodysuit. That she wouldn’t get until the dark Days of Future Past Future. But whatever. Jean tries the whole “Listen to me, Rachel! Remember who you are!” but Rachel still has the brain of a nine month old, so the only thing she remembers is that time she shat herself this morning. This is not at all useful in a superhero battle.

Perhaps Jean's creepy baby arm will save the day,
Perhaps Jean’s creepy baby arm will save the day,

With no other options, Jean takes the battle to the Shadow King’s home on the Astral Plane and then burns him to fucking death. Hey, she killed a whole planet. One bodiless douche canoe is not a big fucking deal. With that done, she’s left with a sixteen year old Rachel Summers with the brain of a nine month old. Luckily, the power of the Phoenix can be used to completely rewrite the Rachel’s DNA, returning her to infanthood. And while we’re messing around with her on a molecular level, let’s just tweak that hair colour a little, make her good at piano and maybe not cry so fucking much when Mommy’s had a long day. What mother could do less for her kid?

"I'm gonna remake you into someone who isn't a constant disappointment."
“I’m gonna remake you into someone who isn’t a constant disappointment.”

Jean returns to the X-Mansion with the kid in tow and decides… no, I don’t think my teammates, family and husband really need to know about my returned powers, my baby’s brief adolescence or my latest murder. Instead, Jean decides to fake it and just be a mother. Which is a wonderful plan that works just plain great for eight years until an anti-mutant president enters the White House, starts stirring up anti-mutant hate and the rest of the Marvel Universe fall in line. Thanks a lot, guys.

Worried about her family, Jean decides to finally bring the Phoenix out of retirement for one last job. She sneaks into the White House and lobotomizes the President into a more mutant friendly type of guy.

“Mr. President, what are your thoughts on the ongoing tensions in Russia?”
“Mutants are good.”

“That doesn’t really answer my question, sir.”

“MUTANTS ARE GOOD!”

So THAT plans goes absolutely perfectly for about eight seconds before the President is assassinated by anti-mutant terrorists. And because the President had… you know, a Vice President with pretty much the exact same opinions, we’re back at square one. And square one is a Presidential Order to kill all mutants with Sentinels. Shit.

Alas no one could have seen this coming.
Alas no one could have seen this coming.

So because Sentinels are the absolute most stable giant robot monsters in the Marvel U, they quickly decide that the thing to do is wipe out everyone with powers. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four both bite the dust, leaving the X-Men on the run. It’s around this time that Wolverine gets his shit together enough to realize that Jean still has her powers. And then he punches her a bunch of times until her powers manifest. Because violence is the only way Wolverine knows how to solve his problems. The Phoenix Force does indeed emerge and Jean unloads her eight years of lies to Logan before she wipes his brain. Like a friend would. Unfortunately, Cyclops and Professor X were listening at the door like so much Mr Furley and they kick Jean off the team.

"I probably should have packed or something."
“I probably should have packed or something.”

While Jean goes to mope on her giant rock in New Mexico, the X-Men and Magento mount an attack on the Sentinals’ home base in the Baxter Building. It… doesn’t go great. The Sentinels are tipped off by Magneto’s magnetic powers (“Lousy powers! You sold me out!”) and then they paralyze him. Then Jean stops moping and comes back to help out, murdering hundreds of Sentinels with an effective AOE attack. While that’s going on, Colossus chucks Shadowcat into the Master Mold, where she re solidifies, choking the robot making robot with her intestines. I guess that’s one way to do it.

SPLUTCH
SPLUTCH

With Master Mold and the Sentinels destroyed, the X-Men return home to count their dead. And then a suspiciously Mole Man looking Destiny tells her that if she stays on Earth, she will eventually destroy it. And so the Phoenix leaves behind her husband, her daughter and all that make her human to explore the galaxy. And probably blow up some planets that we personally do not live on.

 

*Totally a real thing. They used it to turn Magneto into a baby. Which also totally happened.

What If The Phoenix Didn’t Die And Also We Never Did This Particular What If Before?

So here we are again at the most obvious What If story ever: What if Jean Grey AKA Marvel Girl, Phoenix, Dark Phoenix and according to her 1994 Marvel trading card just Jean Grey hadn’t been replaced by the Phoenix force, stuck in a cocoon and impersonated for like eight years? So we start with Jean’s heroic sacrifice on the moon completely fucking up and instead the alien Shi’ar cut out a sizable portion of Jean’s brain so she can’t access her mutant powers anymore. Then they kick the X-Men out which is probably a good choice for the entire Shi’ar empire in the long run.

Congratulations! You survived the experience!
Congratulations! You survived the experience!

Back on Earth, Scott and Jean have the saddest wedding ever, the Angel buys them a house on a cliff and Jean gets into some serious full time moping.

“You can’t understand what it’s like to lose your powers, Scott!” she cries.

“Jean’s right.” Scott thinks. “But doesn’t she know I’d give anything to lose my accursed optic blasts. With a glance, I could level a building…”*

I don't know what exactly is raining on these guys but it is disgusting.
I don’t know what exactly is raining on these guys but it is disgusting.

And then Magneto shows up and kidnaps Jean to his Asteroid Base where she can at least complain in a vacuum. Once there, Magneto offers Jean some new clothes and such but she’d much rather spend half the issue in her underwear so whatever. Then Mags offers Jean her heart’s desire. He can restore the Phoenix Force to her and all it will cost… is her very SOUL. MOO HOO HA HA. No, but seriously, it’s not going to cost anything. Mostly Magento is just hoping once she’s repowered, he can get her on board with his whole pro-mutants agenda.

Imagine you're sitting next to Wolverine on this space flight and he just starts snarling and shaking his claws at nothing. I imagine it was very interesting to be friends with Wolverine in the 80s.
Imagine you’re sitting next to Wolverine on this space flight and he just starts snarling and shaking his claws at nothing. I imagine it was very interesting to be friends with Wolverine in the 80s.

Meanwhile, Scott’s grabbed the X-Men and they’re all heading to Asteroid M to beat up Magento because this is how the X-Men solve their disagreements. Real mature, guys. While they distract Magneto by punching his face, Jean has a crisis of conscious, remembers the billions of people she killed when she was Phoenix, realizes she probably got off pretty lucky and then smashes up Magento’s power restoring chamber with a big stick. Fuck you, Magento and fuck your gifts too! Annoyed by her vandalism, but respectful of her in that weird way Magneto always is, he lets Jean and the X-Men go. Jean eventually puts on some pants.

Things slowly return to normal back at the X-Mansion. Jean graduates from a college that isn’t secretly a paramilitary cult and starts teaching the New Mutants at Xavier’s. She and Scott have a baby who they name Rachel, drawing a direct line from here to the Days of Future Past universe so no matter what, we know this is all going to end well.

whatif8004
“Also don’t form X-Force if you can help it.”

One fine afternoon, while the rest of the X-Men are teaching the Beyonder to poop over in Secret Wars II, Jean and Rachel are attacked by gross pervert Mastermind again, who uses his Castle of Illusion, I mean powers of illusion to torture her for a while. Jean gets pissed and fights back and then it turns out it isn’t Mastermind, it’s Mastermind possessed by the Shadow King because stacking villains is definitely the way to go here. And because the Shadow King isn’t super into the idea of long protracted revenge plots, he shoots Jean like eight times in the chest and she dies. Huh. Guess we should have called this one what if the Phoenix died slightly later in the year.

Yes, that IS a baby with a spike through it's eye. Kids love X-Men!
Yes, that IS a baby with a spike through it’s eye. Kids love X-Men!

So Shadow King steals baby Rachel to be his new host (Why do demonic forces always want to live in babies? Being a baby sucks almost as much as having to spend time with a baby.). Meanwhile, Jean who is actually the Phoenix Force discovers that while her host body’s dead, she’s the Phoenix and therefore can’t really die. She also realizes that she’s replaced the real Jean Grey and flies off to Jamaica Bay where Real Jean is cocooned. And then Phoenix accidentally kills her. Whoops. Well, this is going to be a fun story to tell Cyclops next week.

 

*Man, writing like Chris Claremont is fun!

What If The All-Old All-The Same X-Men Stuck Around?

So we open our story with the X-Men’s attack on Krakoa, the Island That Is Like A Land! However, unlike in the classic Giant Sized X-Men Number One, the original X-People (That’s Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Havok and Polaris, true believers!) are actually able to defeat a stupid fucking island. Nice job, guys. Unfortunately, that new line-up was all that was preventing you guys from getting cancelled so… see you around. The End!

"There will be absolutely no fun on this mission, Iceman!" -Cyclops, always probably.
“There will be absolutely no fun on this mission, Iceman!” -Cyclops, always probably.

Okay, maybe not. So the classic X-Men reunite for more exciting adventures. Eventually. First they fight Count Nefaria and his Ani-Men and those guys are 100 percent pure garbage. The X-Men make such short work of those losers, it doesn’t even take a panel. Then they go on to fight Erik the Red and his two sidekicks, Nightcrawler and Proudstar (which I realize is Thunderbird’s actual last name but makes him sound like a She-Ra character.). Luckily for the X-Men, they are on a serious roll lately and they kick additional ass, arresting Erik and James. Nightcrawler escapes because that is what he is good at and also swears revenge for some reason.

"--It shall be completely unexpected and at the end of the book!"
“–Probably at the end of the book!”

The X-Men unmask Erik who is revealed to be some dude from the Shi’ar Empire who is messing with them pre-Phoenix Saga. After some discussion, the X-Men decide that local law enforcement is probably too busy to deal with… you know, an alien criminal so they have Erik illegally detained with Moira Mactaggart on Muir Island. Apparently, they’ve been keeping a lot of X-criminals there including Baby Magneto. This is probably a good time to remind everyone that Magento was a baby for a while. And not in the way we were all babies for a while. Like… again.

Nobody ever tells you how much fun being Erik the Red is. It's why Cyclops has been so depressed since then.
Nobody ever tells you how much fun being Erik the Red is. It’s why Cyclops has been so depressed since then.

While they’re sticking Erik in the mutant version of Guantanamo Bay, the X-Men get a phonecall from the Beast. Apparently, he and Professor X are being attacked by Sentinals. Again. Once again, the X-Men kick ass off panel and eventually end up in space. Somehow. They have to somehow land their spaceship but it’s flooding with radiation and only Jean can use her telepathic powers to pilot the ship and save the day at the cost of her own life. Until Polaris reminds everybody that she has magentic powers and everyone should shut up and stop trying to sacrifice themselves, you bunch of noble idiots.

Polaris instantly becomes my favourite character.
Polaris instantly becomes my favourite character.

Having safely returned to Earth, the X-Men are home about six seconds (Long enough for Beast to rejoin the team. Good to have you back, Hank.) before Lilandra of the Shi’ar brings them back into fucking space for more adventure. Now they have to protect the M’Krann crystal from Emperor D’Ken before he can bring about the universal apocalypse. Which is a bad thing. Probably.

The X-Men team up with the Starjammers briefly (Just long enough for Cyclops to glance at Corsair and think “Man, that guy sure looks like if my dad was a space pirate…”) and are then absorbed into the M’Krann crystal where Jean’s psychic rapport with the team keeps them from being hypnotized or whatever. Cyclops uses his eye beams to keep the crystal from cracking and everyone goes home pleased over a job well done. Good work, X-Men. Way to survive the experience!

Fingers crossed for Polaris and this robot fellow hanging out.
Fingers crossed for Polaris and this robot fellow hanging out.

Back on Earth (yet again), the X-Men do some more stuff the All-New X-Men did in an original X-Men manner. They battle Mesmero, Warhawk and the awesomely named Moses Magnum in Japan. They meet Canada’s terrible Alpha Flight and Cyclops is inspired by a short Canadian guy who smokes too much hitting on the daughter of a Japanese crime boss to ask Jean Grey to marry him. She almost agrees before she’s overcome by some Deanna Troi style psychic pain. She believes she is marrying some 18th century creep. Unlike in the real reality, where Jean quietly goes insane, the couple go to Professor X who tells them that Jean is being psychically manipulated. Well, we should probably check that out right away. Or alternately meet up with Kitty Pryde and Dazzler. Who do not appear in this comic but DO lead the X-Men to the Hellfire Club.

"Wolverine's so cool. I bet we'd be really good friends if he joined the team."
“Wolverine’s so cool. I bet we’d be really good friends if he joined the team.”

 

The X-Men enter the club through Angel’s membership and encounter Mastermind, whom Jean recognizes from her crazy person dream. The X-Men prepare for a final legendary showdown when… they’re kidnapped back into fucking space by Lilandra. You couldn’t have waited five minutes, Lil? Mastermind SUCKS.

Lilandra’s basically swung by as a courtesy.

“Hey,” she says. “You know your sun?”

“Yes?” answers Cyclops who does.

“Well, it turns out that the ancient chaos bringer Phoenix lives in there and it’s preparing to return and destroy the universe. So we’re just gonna put a pin in that and blow your sun up. That’s cool, right.”

“Um.” says Cyclops.

‘“Don’t worry, we’ll happily move your population to another planet.”

I feel like "Waaaaaaaaaiit a minute" should never come before "Are you going to blow up our sun." You lose your credibility.
I feel like “Waaaaaaaaaiit a minute” should never come before “Are you going to blow up our sun.” You lose your credibility.

Luckily for anyone who enjoys living on Earth, Cyclops is able to convince Lilandra to give him twenty-four hours to save the planet. After some research, Cyke discovers that the Phoenix can use a person as a host to stop it from rampaging. Which will also kill the host. Realizing that he’s almost gotten to the point of having a pretty good life and eager to put a stop to that, Cyclops volunteers.

Cyclop's idea of chaos bringing is staying up until 10:00pm on New Years with a box of wine and a cone shaped party hat.
Cyclop’s idea of chaos bringing is staying up until 10:00pm on New Years with a box of wine and a cone shaped party hat.

Unfortunately he never gets the chance because fucking Nightcrawler appears out of nowhere on this FUCKING SPACESHIP and bonks Scott on the head before stealing his shuttle and heading out to meet the Phoenix instead. He sends a quick phone call to the X-Men to say “Sorry about fighting you at the begining of the issue. I’ve been spying on you for months and realized you’re actually good people so I’m going to sacrifice myself in your place.” As the fuzzy german hero burns in the infinite fires of eternity, Scott gazes on and thinks “What a nice guy. He’d have been great on this team.”

Here is a man who knows he will never be in "The Draco."
Here is a man who knows he will never be in “The Draco.”

What If Professor X Was Evil And Cyclops Had A Stupid Hat?

We open on a strange and wondrous new world. Well, okay, not so much strange and wondrous as strange and mostly shitty. A group of renegade humans are chased through the streets of New York by the X-Men! But these are X-Men as never seen before. Mostly because they allow Unus the Untouchable within their ranks and seriously? That guy sucks. Also Cyclops is wearing what I will charitably call a samurai influenced hat. It’s… this is not a good look, Scott. At all. While the X-Men beat up the human gang for their crimes against mutants (insulting graffiti, rude language, bruising a superior mutant’s fist with one’s face.), Charles Xavier watches from his home atop the Empire State Building, safe in his red Juggernaut armour.

Seen here: Cyclops' amazing new hat and X-Juggernaut chasing John Byrne. Good for him.
Seen here: Cyclops’ amazing new hat and X-Juggernaut chasing John Byrne. Good for him.

Yes, friends. In this universe, bald jerk Charles Xavier found the crimson gem of Cyttorak before his asshole half-brother Cain “No, I don’t know the Sandman. Stop Asking.” Marko. It happened back during the Korean War which, canonically, Xavier and Cain and also I believe Ben Grimm and Reed Richards fought in. Cain decides to give this whole war thing a rest and hide out in a mysterious cave for a while and Chuck follows him in because “Come on, Cain! We’re not supposed to be hiding! There’s a war on.” You seriously cannot take Xavier ANYWHERE.

"I'm calling time-out on this war. I need a smoke and a Twix."
“I’m calling time-out on this war. I need a smoke and a Twix.”

Anyway, Cain stumbles upon a red gem upon a fancy pedestal and goes to grab it before Xavier pushes his brother out of the way. During the conflict (A word which here means “To be knocked over by one’s larger and more formidable half-brother.”), Chuck brushes up against the gem and begins to swell with muscles. The cave crumbles around Chuck as his brother flees from the cave complaining that it should be Cain Marko who possesses a magic gem and then is buried alive. Jealously is a hell of a thing, my friends.

"You'll pay for exploding your own pants and getting buried alive!"
“You’ll pay for exploding your own pants and getting buried alive!”

X-Juggernaut remains buried in the remains of the Korean cave for many years and because the calming influence of Charles Xavier is not around, nobody ever gets around to forming the X-Men, leaving Wolverine an unpopular Hulk villain and forcing the Fantastic Four to battle Magneto in his first appearance. And the FF kick his ass because those guys could seriously do no wrong in 60s Marvel. Unfortunately, with no positive mutant influences in the Marvel Universe, mutant racism hits harder than ever. Worse, there’s nobody to prevent Magneto and his Brotherhood of Misunderstood Mutants from conquering the small fictional country of Santo Marco. The BMM give humans the boot and proclaim the country to be a haven for mutants everywhere. Like Genosha but without the slavery so thumbs up there!

"Come on back when ya got yer weird flyin' car, ya helmeted mook!"
“Come on back when ya got yer weird flyin’ car, ya helmeted mook!”

Soon Santo Marco is home of almost all the world’s mutant population and the Brotherhood has become an Army of Misunderstood Mutants. Magneto’s army marches on the UN intending to kidnap representative from all over the world and ransom them for total world domination (which doesn’t sound like a great plan to me but I don’t have Magneto’s keen strategic mind.)

People FREAKED OUT when Angel switched from bikini briefs to bicycle shorts under that little skirt of his.
People FREAKED OUT when Angel switched from bikini briefs to bicycle shorts under that little skirt of his.

Unfortunately for the United Liberated Mutant Front or whatever the hell they’re calling themselves, it’s at this point that Xavier finally returns. It’s taken him years to finally dig his way out of Korean and then walk back to the States but now he’s here and he’s not happy. Chuck’s spent all his time underground scanning the minds of everyone on Earth and he is not one bit pleased by humanity’s treatment of mutants nor by Magneto’s plans for world domination. He takes one look at the Master of Magnetism and then smooshes his helmet and boots him out the door.

The scene where Charles dangles the helmet over Magneto's head and snatches it away at the last moment was mercifully cut.
The scene where Charles dangles the helmet over Magneto’s head and snatches it away at the last moment was mercifully cut.

X-Juggernaut returns to his familiar home in Westchester and, after evicting his half-brother and giving Cain an ACTUAL reason to hate him, Chuck rechristens Magneto’s army the X-Men. Because Charles Xavier is a deeply proud of himself.

Alas, the world governments are still worried about this gathering mutant threat for SOME reason and attack the Westchester mansion with sentinels. Although these sentinels are a step-up from the usual fair, they’re still purple dudes in balaclavas and Xavier makes short work of them. With the sentinel plan a failure, the Fantastic Four attacks but Xavier uses his psychic powers to link with every genius on Earth, combine their intellect and create a cure for the FF’s cosmic powers. Which he then sprays them with. And as readers of Forbidden to Interfere will know, the FF without powers are completely useless so they all fuck off back to meaningless lives.

The Fantastic Four are finally destroyed by a bug bomb.
The Fantastic Four are finally destroyed by a bug bomb.

Nex Xavier takes his battle to the rest of the Marvel Universe’s heroes, bankrupting Iron Man and sending him deeper into the bottle, curing Daredevil and the Hulk, shrinking Ant Man and the Wasp out of existence, freezing Captain America and, in a truly diabolical move threatening to tell Spider-Man’s aunt on him. Jesus, Xavier. You’ve done some nasty things but TATTLING on a guy? Beyond the pale.

"Oh jeez, Mr. Juggernaut! Don't TELL on me!"
“Oh jeez, Mr. Juggernaut! Don’t TELL on me!”

With Earth’s heroes beaten, powerless or sobbing into a pillow late into the night, the Earth is in dire straights. The Soviet Union launches nuclear missiles at America (specifically Xavier’s house.) but even that cannot stop the Juggernaut. Xavier once again uses his gigantic brain to conceive of a plan to clean up the excess radiation from the very brief World War III. He announces to the world that mutants are under his protection and the world pretty much gives up. Nothing can stop Big Red X and his giant thighs.

We jump forward a few years to where we came in at the beginning of the book. X-Juggernaut rules with an iron fist, the excess radiation from WWIII has spiked mutant births and humans have been forced into ghettos. Where gangs of teenage mutants can harass them like it’s Dark Knight Returns. Luckily for the terrorized humans of New York, my man Cyclops don’t shiv.

Cyclops, you are ruining our class photo.
Cyclops, you are ruining our class photo.

Cyclops returns home to his wife Jean and tells her he’s had all he can stands, he can’t stands no more. He gathers together the X-Men army and announces that he is leaving to find a better path for humanity. A handful of mutants join him but most prefer to stay behind, beat up humans and act a fool. Xavier arrives and tells them he respects their decision but once they’re gone, he doesn’t want to see them again. Then he sheds a mighty tear.

Cyclops and friends have barely taken a step outside the door when they’re accosted by a dickish human wearing a weird headband. It’s that asshole Cain Marko! He tells Cyclops that he’s been looking for a way to get revenge on Chuck since his douchey eviction. But as much as getting kicked out of his house sucked, Cain has found a new home. SPACE! Specifically Asteroid M where he’s been kicking it with Magneto.

"With my power over magnetism and your jerkishness, Xavier is doomed!"
“With my power over magnetism and your jerkishness, Xavier is doomed!”

Since his embarrassing defeat, Magneto’s been looking for a way to defeat X-Juggernaut and with Marko’s help, he’s found it. He’s developed fancy metal headbands that can block Xavier’s psychic powers and he’s willing to join with Cyclops to finally save the world. Mostly so Magneto can conquer it but STILL…

Colossus' beard is like a frickin' bullet.
Colossus’ beard is like a frickin’ bullet.

Cyclops and the… C-Men? No, that’s a terrible name. Cyclops and the People Cyclops Knows return to Earth and attack Xavier’s base. After a bunch of fighting, Chuck captures Colossus and his sweet metal beard. He strips the Russian metal man of his fancy psychic crown thing and then is able to track the People Cyclops Knows to their base. A spaceship just outside of town which they cunningly have baited with a box of Xavier chow. They fire up the rockets and blast Xavier out into space where he can float forever like a trapped Superman villain. With X-Juggernaut gone, Magneto prepares to take over the Earth but Cyclops shakes his fist and everyone decides maybe NOT to fight today.

"How could I make my helmet dorkier?" "...mouthpiece?" "I LOVE IT."
“How could I make my helmet dorkier?” “…mouthpiece?” “I LOVE IT.”

What If the X-Men and Thor Got Super Fucking Metal?

This week, we go back to a recent favourite of mine: The X-Men Asgardian Wars. This tells the tale of Loki kidnapping Storm and the vacationing New Mutants to Asgard where he and the Enchantress can screw with them all one on one for some stupid thing the original X-Men did to Loki a few months back. Loki’s revenge takes weird and winding paths which makes sense because he is the god of dickery. Oh, excuse me, that says trickery. Well, I’m still right.

And this is just THE COVER.
And this is just THE COVER.

Anyway, after some adventures, weird wolf sex and EXTREME weight loss, the New Mutants are joined in Asgard by the X-Men. Despite many of our heroes wanting to stay in this mythic land of thees and thous because it’s the 80s and everyone isn’t annoyed by this concept yet, Marvel’s merry mutants eventually all return to a world that hates and fears them where I think almost all of them get killed at some point or another.

As a comic reader, I am a big fan of anyone saying "The Die Is Cast!"
As a comic reader, I am a big fan of anyone saying “The Die Is Cast!”

But in THIS reality, (he wrote for the 60th time.) our heroes are crippled by indecision! Or more accurately Wolfsbane is overcome by indecision because she wants to stay with her Wolf Prince. Which is understandable because young love but it does ignore everyone else on the team’s responsibilities back on earth. So thanks a heap for that, Wolfsbane.

Nightcrawler, THIS IS YOUR LIFE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. Maybe a little more thought?
Nightcrawler, THIS IS YOUR LIFE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Maybe a little more thought?

Weirdly for him, Loki is totally down with sending everyone who doesn’t want to stay in Asgard back to Earth because Loki is a character totally known for his love of compromise. He sends most of the X-Men and a couple of New Mutants home where they form a new superhero team and Loki never bothers them again!

In this grim reality, there's only ONE X-Men book to read. And I guess the Wolverine book but still!
In this grim reality, there’s only ONE X-Men book to read. And I guess the Wolverine book but still!

Meanwhile, in Asgard, everyone is deliriously happy. Cannonball marries a dwarf princess, Cypher studies Asgard’s many lost and forbidden tomes, Wolfsbane sniffs her princes’ butt in the tradition of all animals in heat, Nightcrawler is overjoyed that he can just use a sword to solve his problems and Rogue makes out with Green Arrow.

"YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY."
“YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY.”

But what of Storm, whom Loki has blessed with the powers of Thor and a brand spanking new hammer? Well, she spends most of her time really fucking dazed by Loki’s mind control powers. Unbeknownst to her, Loki has recently turned Thor into a frog, and with Odin currently dead, Loki plans to prop Storm up as the new ruler of Asgard. Which absolutely nobody should have a problem with, what with her being a mortal and also black.

Asgardian racism!
Asgardian racism!

In fact, at least one person DOES have a problem with this: The Norn Queen, a character I know almost nothing about because I haven’t read all of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor and am a little out of my depth with these characters. From what I can tell, the Norn Queen is trying to set up Thor’s buddy Balder as the new ruler of Asgard. She strikes a deal with Hela, Asgard’s death goddess, to kill Storm whom Hela is pissed at because Storm prevented her from killing Wolverine. Apparently nobody told her that NOTHING can kill Wolverine and yes, I am aware that Wolverine is currently dead as of this writing.

Apparently none of this currently matters anyway because as Loki is presenting Storm to the Asgardian people, Loki is kidnapped by a terrifying green demon monster dressed like Thor. Actually, it’s Frog Thor who has retrieved Mjolnir and returned to Asgard for revenge. Frog Thor and Human Storm have themselves an old fashioned hammer fight until Hela shows up to claim Storm’s soul because Hela is a jerk in a huge hat.

The road to Hel is paved with good intentions and the doors are double sized.
The road to Hel is paved with good intentions and the doors are double sized.

At this point, the X-Gardians arrive to defend Storm and she fucking vaporizes Sunspot. So much for your dreams of glory and bar brawls, Bobby.

Meanwhile, Volstagg breaks something valuable which causes the frog curse on Thor to be lifted. You’d think this would calm everybody down and solve some problems but nope. Instead, Loki summons his army of giants because the time for subtlety is fucking over. This causes Hela to summon her army of the undead to arrive and then the Norn Queen arrives with her army of Norns (whatever that means.) and suddenly there’s a massive battle in the middle of this canyon with the X-Gardians and a few Asgard guys caught in the middle. It’s an epic heavy metal mutant clusterfuck featuring angry skeletons! This comic is awesome!

Soundtrack provided by Led Zeppelin.
Soundtrack provided by Led Zeppelin.

Hela takes a shot at murdering Storm again but then former New Mutant and current Valkerie Danni Moonstar arrives on her flying horse and arrows her former boss. Then Cannoball arrives with an army of dwarves and Wolfsbane with an army of wolf… dudes and now we have a giant battle featuring evil skeletons AND werewolves and flying horses and they might as well have painted this issue on the side of a van!

I saw a werewolf getting a mead at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
I saw a werewolf getting a mead at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect.

During the battle, Cannonball’s father-in-law and Wolfsbane’s husband are both killed which sucks for them. What sucks less is a massive team-up with Thor, Danni, Magik, Storm and a bunch of others to straight up murder Hela. Danni tells everyone that Hela will rest in Valhalla which I’m sure she’s overjoyed about and then Danni takes her place as the Goddess of Death. Actually, with the giant insane war over, it’s promotions for everyone. Thor returns to Earth* but leaves Storm in charge, Cannoball becomes ruler of the Dwarves, Wolfsbane queen of the Wolf Dudes and Nightcrawler joins the Warriors Three when Fandrall quits to marry Rogue. And if you think I wouldn’t kill to read comics about the Warriors Three that featured Nightcrawler, you do not know me at all.

"Hey, Nightcrawler, aren't you a devout Catholic? Isn't it kind of weird that you basically gave all that up to hang out with Viking gods?" "Dude. SWORDS."
“Hey, Nightcrawler, aren’t you a devout Catholic? Isn’t it kind of weird that you basically gave all that up to hang out with Viking gods?” “Dude. SWORDS.”

And finally, Loki gets a promotion as well. He is brought before the thrones of Those Who Sit Above In Shadow, the Gods of the Asgardian Gods. This whole dumb deal with the X-Men came about because the Those promised Loki power to rule the nine worlds if he would do a good deed on Earth. That seems pretty simple, right? Like, pull a kitten out of a tree or something? But Loki decided to use it to screw with the X-Men instead. He stands before Those and tries the whole “Check it out, humans be ruling Asgard now. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?”

“It sure is, Loki. You did a great job and aren’t an asshole at all, so we’ll give you dominion over the whole Nine Realms.”

“No foolin’?” Loki replies.

“Nah.” Those say. “We cool.”

And then they send Loki to the end of time where he can rule the desolate remains of the ravages of the universe for what remains of Eternity.

“Suck a dick, Loki!” Say Those Who Sit Above In Shadows.

 

*Midgard.

What If Charles Xavier Managed To Kill TWO Generations of X-Men? (Three If You Count the Deadly Genesis Team.)

We begin our tale this week in Scotland where genetic expert and yellow jumpsuit enthusiast (That’s a full club featuring her and 80’s cartoon era April O’Neil.) Moira McTaggart receives an urgent telegram from America. It’s not, as she assumed from her old boyfriend Charles Xavier but it is about him. He’s fallen into a deep depression, possibly due to so many people telling that he is a jerk. Moira leaves for the states at once, stopping only to grab the young and adorably check-dressed Rahne Sinclair before her asshole adopted father can utterly ruin her. It’s sort of like the last scene in Matilda.

Little Rahne is adorable!
Little Rahne is adorable!

“Ye canna take me adopted daughter, Lady Moira. She’s moine ta do wit’ as ah please. An tha’ includes beaten ‘pon her with yon shillelagh.”

“Aye, ‘tis yoor right as her guardian, Father Craig, abusive and awful though ye are. But let me ask ye this: Whut if oi were te donate a huge amoont ‘a money te ye and buy yon child straight out.”

“Wull, that’d prob’ly be just foine.”

So ends Horrible Accent Theater. Until we do another Claremont comic. Anyway, Moira and Rahne travel to America, eventually arriving at the Westchester home of Charles Xavier and apparently Hank McCoy, the Beast. We find Xavier in a deep depression with Hank as his only caretaker. Hank is also weirdly normal looking so the whole scene is pretty much exactly like the beginning of the Days of Future Past movie, minus the flagrant drug use. That I am aware of.

See, what Chuck really needs is a hug but he won't abide it any longer.
See, what Chuck really needs is a hug but he won’t abide it any longer.

It turns out that Hank is indeed still big, blue and beastly, he’s just been wearing a rubber mask to disguise his features, a plan which literally only works in comics. Listen, you met a giant gorilla man wearing a rubber mask to look like a normal person, you would be utterly terrified. That is some Uncanny X-Men Valley shit right there.

Picture a latex replica of Hank's real face pulled over that head. Terrifying. Also Rahne is identifying Hank as grey rather than blue in this scene. She can see his blue fur just fine but Father Craig taught her that identifying colours was sinful.
Picture a latex replica of Hank’s real face pulled over that head. Terrifying. Also Rahne is identifying Hank as grey rather than blue in this scene. She can see his blue fur just fine but Father Craig taught her that identifying colours was sinful.

Xavier is still in a mope, so Hank explains that the original X-Men (minus Hank, who has been off Avenging and occasionally Defending when the mood strikes.) were sent on a mission to Krakoa THE ISLAND THAT WALKS LIKE A MAN AND ALSO FLOATS IN THE OCEAN LIKE AN ISLAND. Krakoa whipped the OG X-Men’s asses and then Cyclops home to get some more chumps. Or Cyclops escapes. It depends on what retcon you’re reading. Anyway, Xavier formed an all-new, all-different team of X-Men. And it turned out that they were also all-ineffective because now they’re all-dead.

Hank’s been taking care of Xavier for a month now, which is really enough of a mourning period after causing the deaths of thirteen people so he contacted Moira to try to snap Chuck out of it. It doesn’t work because nobody on Earth funks like Charles Xavier. Except maybe Spider-Man. Moira agrees to stay on as housekeeper and also because it keeps Rahne away from her piece of shit father. Win win.

What follows are a few quiet weeks, as Hank teaches Rahne about Cerebro and they bond. Everything is going depressingly fine until a worldwide video message appears on the TV from Count Nefaria! Yes, Count Nefaria! He’s not a well known villain but he dresses impeccably. Nefaria proclaims that he has captured NORAD (“Never mind how.”) and will launch America’s missiles at every country on the globe unless they “a ransom from each nation on Earth. The amount determined by each nation’s ability to pay.” Which I always thought was really considerate. Nefaria expects the little shitty countries to do their part but he certainly understands that they can’t all pay American ransoms.

"It's none of your fucking BUSINESS how I took over NORAD, okay? Stop asking."
“It’s none of your fucking BUSINESS how I took over NORAD, okay? Stop asking.”

As a true hero, Beast prepares to spring into action but Xavier is having none of it.

“Let the Fantastic Four and the Avengers handle it. I’m sick of killing people. Except for the seven billion people who will die in nuclear fire since I refuse to help. God, I AM a jerk.”

Beast tries contacting the Avengers and the FF but alas they’re both off planet and the Enterprise is the only ship in the Quadrant so it’s up to him. Hank uses Cerebro to find some new mutants (Not to be confused with the New Mutants, much as I was hoping the rest of them would show up.) to save the day. He’s eventually able to contact the Scarlet Witch on her honeymoon with the Vision, jerk-ass speedster Quicksilver, Namor’s cousin and future New Warrior Namorita, Sean Cassidy’s daughter Siren I mean Banshee II and Thunderbird’s brother New Thunderbird who only wears a loincloth and a headband for the entire book because “Indian.”

Incidentally, pants and no shirt is my favourite Beast Costume.
Incidentally, pants and no shirt is my favourite Beast Costume.

Beast uses Cerebro to teleport all the mutants to Cheyenne Mountain because I guess Cerebro can do that now. Beast says it has something to do with Cerebro having Nightcrawler’s teleportation powers on file but let’s face it, he’s just making shit up at this point. He also accidentally brings Rahne along. But that’s odd, Cerebro was only supposed to teleport mutants.  I WONDER WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED.

Well, there’s no time for that MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY because the X-Men have to save the world and also do battle with Nefaria’s ridiculous animal men. My favourite is Cat-Man, the purple cat looking motherfucker with antenna. Dude is amazing. There’s an extended fight scene because of course there is and then Dragonfly Girl uses her hypnotic vision (A power shared by all dragonflies, of course.) to stun the X-Men.

Xavier, who has finally snapped out of his depression enough to be fucking useful, notices this and contacts Rahne, who has been waiting outside. He tells her that she’s a mutant and that he has known since he met her. He just never told her because, well, Professor Xavier is a blah blah blah. Xavier uses his psychic powers to activate Rahne’s powers early, causing her to turn into a wolf. She then runs into the main room where everyone is fighting and wrecks up the place, breaking Dragonfly Lady’s control over the X-Men.

I was desperately hoping for Rahne to turn into a puppy but no such luck.
I was desperately hoping for Rahne to turn into a puppy but no such luck.

While Xavier cancels the countdown to armageddon (Helpfully displayed in your nearest copy of Watchmen.), Nefaria escapes in a fighter jet to live and polish his monocle another day. Unfortunately for him, Banshee II arrives just in time to blow his fucking plane up with a sonic scream. This also knocks her out but she’s saved by New Thunderbird so it all works out.

The All-New All-New X-Men return home where Xavier meets them to congratulate them and offers to start a new team of mutants with them. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver leave because they’re really Avengers characters but will return if they’re needed or if the X-Men movie that they are offered to appear in is really good. The rest of the team stays behind as the X-Men including ten-year old Rahne which is probably illegal.

Fat Watcher getting sassy.
Fat Watcher getting sassy.

What If Wolverine Ate Some Babies?

We open right smack-dab in the middle of Inferno, a demonic invasion of New York that, to cut a very, very long story short, resulted because Cyclops is not a great husband. The combined teams of the X-Men and X-Factor battle Cyclops’ ex-wife, Madelyne Pryor and S’ym, a demon who is definitely not the Earth-Pig Born, that’s for darn sure.

Easily the most dead babies every to appear in Marvel book.
Easily the most dead babies every to appear in Marvel book.

Whilst in our regular reality, Maddie is defeated by Jean Grey because that always happens (Poor Maddie.), in this new universe FUCKING EVERYONE FUCKING DIES. Except Wolverine because even S’ym knows how much of a money maker THAT dude is. Instead he gets a much pointier mask, standard evil accoutrements and oh yeah, STARTS EATING BABIES. The earth is overrun by demons, monsters and evil building with mouths.

"I'm the best there is at what I do and what I do is probably the worst thing ever."
“I’m the best there is at what I do and what I do is probably the worst thing ever.”

While this is going on, we cut to the Federal Bank Reserve which has so far remained untouched by Maddie’s demonic army. I guess demons hate… finance? A small resistance cell made up of Dr Strange, Baron Mordo, the Human Torch,Thor, Kitty Pryde, She-Hulk, Spider-Maaand never mind the rest of them just got massacred.

whatif5403
“HULK SMASH FOR GLORY OF SATAN.”

 

A bunch of demonic soldiers led by Wolverine and the Hulk bust through the vault, having finally overcome their fear of gold. Good for them! After some fighting and a whole lot of people getting stabbed through the back by Wolverine so their costume bulges out the front but there’s no blood or anything (an attack that was extremely popular in the 90s.), Thor provides a distraction by exploding himself and what’s left of the team escapes.

"Whosoever hold this hammer, if he be pink..."
“Whosoever hold this hammer, if he be pink…”

Next we cut to the Baxter Building where a demonically possessed Reed Richards and Dr Doom are finally getting along. They’ve been working on a device for Maddie and S’ym to spread Maddie’s demonic influence across the multiverse (Making this a much less interesting column to write unless you REALLY like Inferno.) and extinguish male lights throughout the universe. Unfortunately for them, they’re on a bit of a time crunch, due to the inevitable arrival of the Living Tribunal who you may recall bailing on an entire universe back when Korvac annihilated literally everything. If he arrives before S’ym can enslave the universe, the Tribunal will destroy the entire Earth. Which sucks for people who live there.

Meanwhile, the unstabbed remnants of Team Strange have set up shop at the Daily Bugle, hoping for sanctuary now that Spider-Man is dead. Luckily for them, it doesn’t particularly matter since J Jonah Jameson is now digging for building cavities in City Hall’s new teeth. Strange detects an incredibly powerful new source of energy. It turns out it’s Rachel Summers, Cyclops and Jean Grey’s daughter from an alternate future where that makes sense! She’s apparently been transformed into a mannequin by S’ym, lord of hell and also weird fetishes. Luckily Strange has a counter spell for that. For some reason. He returns her to normal and they reunite with the team.

This is gonna get me so many hits from the Mannequin TF Boards.
This is gonna get me so many hits from the Mannequin TF Boards.

Now that they have Rachel on their team, Strange explains his plan to summon the Phoenix Force back to Earth, a plan which has never failed ever in the history of the Marvel Universe. Once Rachel has control of the Phoenix, she can burn all demonic life from the planet. Which, yes, will likely kill billions of possessed people but it’s the Phoenix Force so this isn’t exactly news.

Unfortunately, at this point we get a complete repeat of act one as Evil Wolverine, S’ym, Maddie and an army of more demons bust in and start slaughtering people. Again. (I get the feeling this is a comic I would have really enjoyed when I was ten. Evil Wolverine. Demons. Kitty Pryde. Stabbings. Everybody getting murdered. Maddie wearing almost nothing. It’s like a Spawn comic without the disadvantage of having Spawn in it.) It turns out that Baron Mordo has sold the team out because of course he has. He’s Baron fucking Mordo, the Starscream of the Marvel Universe. Mordo murders the Human Torch who sacrifices the last of his energy to attack his foes with a Nova Blast. Which does not work even a little.

whatif5406
“No! It’s impossible! We literally just did this!”

 

Rachel manages to contact the Phoenix Force, not realizing that there’s someone else on Earth with a bit of a passing familiarity with that thing. It’s Maddie! And the last thing she needs is control of a genocidal murder bird in addition to everything else.

Telepathic laser bird battles in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
Telepathic laser bird battles in the Mighty Marvel Manner!

Kitty attacks Wolverine who claws her fucking stomach open. As he watches his friend die, Wolverine feels the last of his humanity drain away (One would have thought a steady diet of newborn babies would have done the trick but what do I know?) He goes into a berserker rage and murdors Mordo just as Mordo kills S’ym in a double reverse Starscream. Unfortunately for our baby devouring hero, Mordo takes Wolvie with him, burning the flesh from his adamantium skeleton.

This is the dickiest looking skeleton I've ever seen.
This is the dickiest looking skeleton I’ve ever seen.

Rachel attacks Maddie but then Maddie gets backstabbed by S’ym possessing Wolverine’s skeleton because not even total disintegration can stop THAT sales juggernaut. Rachel manages to finally take control of the Phoenix Force and wipes out all demonic influence from the earth (including Ghost Rider probably.) Then the Phoenix leaves Earth forever, briefly meeting up with the Living Tribunal who was just on his way over to kill everybody.

Meanwhile, Earth has returned to a stone age level of technology and Dr Strange and Rachel deliver Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters’ baby. Oh! And Strange has an eyepatch for this entire story for some reason. Nobody mentions it but it looks cool as hell.

Eyepatch!
Eyepatch!

 

What If The Thing, The Beast And The Silver Surfer All Continued To Mutate? But The Surfer Mutated Into A Bald Guy With No Powers.

This week, we discuss the Thing’s path from lumpy orange rock monster to cancerous green rock monster. After the usual Uatu spiel, we get a quick recap of the now legendary ‘Marvel Two-In-One’ #81. As if we’d need it! Everyone remembers the story of Ben Grimm’s capture by MODOK* and the forces of AIM** and his infection with the insidious Virus X***. Ben escapes and meets up with the FF again and he’s eventually saved by Captain America and the Bill Foster version of Giant Man (You have no idea how impressed I was that they didn’t call him Black Giant Man.). Giant Man briefly considers taking the cure himself after learning that it will cure his cancer but instead sacrifices himself and dies. For a while. Ben is cured and returns to a life of not wearing shirts and yelling.

What If Jonah Hex was the Thing?
What If Jonah Hex was the Thing?

But what if, true believers? What if instead of returning to his oldest friend and smartest man on the planet Reed Richards, Ben stole a flying scooter and went and hid in a cave? That ought to add some conflict to this whole thing, right?

A vroom vroom vroom with a zoom zoom zoom!
A vroom vroom vroom with a zoom zoom zoom!

Back at the Baxter Building, a hideous drawing of Sue Richards attempts to comfort Ben’s long time girlfriend Alicia. Luckily, Reed’s built a giant Thing-tracking rocket ship for just such an occasion. And because Ben takes one of these hissy fits every couple of months (Sooner if the Human Torch hits him with enough pies.) The FF head out in the Fantasticar to find him.

Is that Sue or Johnny with boobs?
Is that Sue or Johnny with boobs?

Meanwhile, Captain America and Giant Man attack MODOK’s base, searching for the cure. Giant Man manages to get the cure (Luckily stored in an enormous cure firing gun!) and then defeats MODOK by shaking him like an particularly large and ugly baby. Afterwards, he cures himself with some of the anti-virus and they take it back to FF HQ.

If you shake him hard enough, soda foams out of his Moe haircut.
If you shake him hard enough, soda foams out of his Moe haircut.

Back at the Thing’s hideous ravaged face, problems are occurring.  Ben’s body continues to mutate.  It also turns green and starts giving off radiation. Oh no, he’s turning into the Hulk! Actually, no, he’s just dying horribly.

LEGITIMATELY UPSETTING.
LEGITIMATELY UPSETTING.

The FF and Alicia arrive but Reed warns them not to approach because of the Thing’s high levels of radiation. Alicia, having somehow never heard of radiation and what it can do DESPITE LIVING IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE WHERE RADIATION IS LITERALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED SINCE THE SIXTIES enters the cave. She eventually convinces Ben to come out to get help from his friends. Which is great news until he explodes.

Well, there's certainly no way THIS can end happily...
Well, there’s certainly no way THIS can end happily…

Yes, no longer able to control the swirling mix of radiation and cosmic energy inside of him, the Thing goes off like an atomic blast. Only Sue’s invisible force field saves the team. Reed tells everyone to look away as the force of the blast is blinding but Alicia is already blind and terrible at following orders and refuses to cover her eyes.

It’s a good thing she does because this is a magical happy ending explosion that somehow restores her sight for some reason. It also turns the Thing back into a normal human without a trace of radiation in him.

No sense. Whatsoever.
No sense. Whatsoever.

Despite the fact that he literally exploded. So Ben and Alicia get married and Giant Man joins the team but refuses to wear the FF uniform because I guess he’s a jerk. I’d watch my step if I were you, Giant Man. You piss off Mr Fantastic, he’ll kill you with a Thor clone, wrap you in chains and bury you in the backyard.

A real thing that happened in a real comic that is not even ten years old.
A real thing that happened in a real comic that is not even ten years old. That is getting a movie adaptation.

Next up, we have another terrifying tale of tragic transformation as we take a step into the Wayback Machine with Marshmallow Fluff Uatu (Behold! For he has observed an infinite number of pies!) to visit the best of the All-Old X-Men: The Beast!

This week's celebrity Watcher: Alfred Hitchcock!
This week’s celebrity Watcher: Alfred Hitchcock!

So once upon a time, Hank McCoy AKA the Beast left the X-men for an exciting career working for a chemical company and not being murdered by giant racist government robots. Eventually Hank discovered the chemical cause of mutations in human beings and then drank it to prevent The Man from getting a hold of it. Which is a great plan unless it turns you into a big furry monster man. It all worked out for the best though and Beast ended up joining the Avengers. And then less best when he joined the Defenders.

"It's a good thing I found underwear that perfectly matches my fur."
“It’s a good thing I found underwear that perfectly matches my fur.”

But imagine a world… a world where Hank McCoy continued to mutate. First into a grey monster. And then a blue monster. And then a cat. And then whatever the hell this is.

I miss you, Kitty Beast.
I miss you, Kitty Beast.

Oh wait, that all did happen. Alright, screw it. What if Hank got all monstery?

So, after mutating, Hank escapes from his science lab, retreating to Central Park like all crazy people in New York (Please be aware that all of my knowledge of New York City comes from Home Alone 2 featuring Tim “The Tool Man” Curry.) Fortunately, Professor X has been psychically monitoring Beast since he left the Xavier Institute. Because once you’re an X-Man, you’re an X-Man for life. He sends Angel out to look for Beast, knowing Warren’s natural ability to fly and see things will make him an asset. For the first time in his life, Warren Worthington knows what it is to be a useful member of the team.

whatif3710
I imagine Hank talking like Beast Man from here on.

Angel corners Beast, who chucks rocks at him like a common park pigeon. A fight ensues and Hank wrestles Warren to the ground, almost killing him and then waving his junk in Warren’s face like a Full Monty cast member. He’s chased away by the arrival of Cyclops and Marvel Girl.

Just picture a box spinning on his dick.
Just picture a box spinning on his dick.

After an unfortunate encounter with a tossed cornice, Beast easily defeats his fellow X-Men. He’s just about to smother Marvel Girl in Jean Grey Poupon when Professor X arrives. Seeing him, Beast momentarily regains his senses and begs the Professor not to let him turn into an animal.

Yeah, this is exactly what one of the smartest men in the Marvel U wants to happen to him.
Yeah, this is exactly what one of the smartest men in the Marvel U wants to happen to him.

But, of course, Charles doesn’t listen and instead of consulting Reed Richards, Tony Stark or one of the other genius in the Marvel U about curing Hank, the Professor carts Hank’s furry ass out to the savage land where he can be free, running, playing and remembering dimly a time when he was one of the most brilliant men on the planet. Then the Watcher pops up to declare this a happy ending. Fuck you, Uatu.

"So long, buddy! This was the easiest solution we could think of!"
“So long, buddy! This was the easiest solution we could think of!”

Finally, we return to Fantastic Four 50 and the Galactus trilogy (Sadly not nearly so well known as Marvel Two-In-One #81.). In our original continuity, the space faring Silver Surfer betrayed his master Galactus to save the earth. As punishment, Galactus exiled the Surfer to Earth where he could fly around moping all the time and mourning his vanished junk. But just imagine… I mean, uh, what if… Galactus removed the Surfer’s powers, returning him to boring bald Norrin Radd?

I love how petulant Galactus is here. "Screw you, man. Go ask your new friends for help if they're so great."
I love how petulant Galactus is here. “Screw you, man. Go ask your new friends for help if they’re so great.”

After removing Norrin’s powers, Galactus ditches the poor bastard on Earth like your drunken asshole friend leaving you on the side of the road. Norrin pleads for help in returning him to his home planet of Zenn-La from the Fantastic Four but it’s still pretty early into their series and Reed’s not that helpful yet. It’s at that point that Uatu steps up to the plate and proclaims that “Though I am forbidden to interfere…”

“I CAN let you guys root around in my library for stuff that lets you travel through space super fast. I mean… I probably don’t have anything useful but….”

So while the FF help Uatu clear out his basement, Galactus heads back for Zenn-La. Now that he’s heraldless, he needs to eat a planet and can’t be bothered to look for one so he just heads back to the last place he couldn’t eat. There he’s approached by the Surfer’s ex, Shalla Bal. When Galactus tells her he ditched Norrin, Shalla gets the bright idea to follow in her boo’s footsteps. She figures she can pledge herself as Galactus’ new herald and then ditch him and grab Norrin from Earth.

Lady, he JUST told you he can read your thoughts.
Lady, he JUST told you he can read your thoughts.

Alas, the mighty Galactus is not so easily ditched. He senses her traitorous motives, removes her emotions and transforms her into the golden goddess of the spaceways, Starburns! I mean glow. Starglow.

Adding to a long legacy of gold ladies in bathing suits.
Adding to a long legacy of gold ladies in bathing suits.

At this point, Norrin arrives at Zenn-La in some sort of ridiculous contraption forged from the Watcher’s old sink and encounters Starglow heading the other way.

I think he stole it from a Batman action figure from the 90s.
I think he stole it from a Batman action figure from the 90s.

He eventually recognizes her as Shalla Bal (after first mistaking her for a man.). Of course now, she wants nothing to do with his hairless pink ass. Galactus watches all this and (for some reason) takes pity on Norrin. He returns to Norrin the power of the Silver Surfer and leaves him bound to Zenn-La where he can protect it from… you know, whatever. Mostly, as in keeping with tradition, the Surfer mopes.

 

*Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Espionage Law-Enforcement Division!

**Acronyms are fun!

***X!

What If Wolverine Couldn’t Cover Up ONE LOUSY MURDER? Also: Lumpy Thing Ruins Everything!

So this week we follow the adventures of Wolverine up in Canada in his first appearance. That’s his first official appearance. Starting from Incredible Hulk 181, we’ll be getting Wolverine flashback comics that basically go back to the beginning of time when Logan was a bad-ass assassin for a secret team of Galactus Heralds.

Anyway, this story picks up with Wolverine sent to capture the Hulk and the Wendigo for the Canadian government. Everything’s pretty much going according to plan until the Hulk punches Wolverine in the face one two many times and Wolverine freaks the fuck out. He murders the Hulk and Wendigo and this is treated like a huge deal despite the fact that Wolverine has killed more people than actual old age.

whatif3101
GRRRR!

The news that the Hulk has been mysteriously murdered races across the Marvel universe and a nation mourns the death of an infantile engine of destruction with a history of yelling at people. Also people who were fond of professional bomb builder Bruce Banner, I guess. Honestly? I’m not seeing a downside here.

whatif3102
“In other news, local monster the Hulk was murdered today in a shocking act of random violence. Will this mystery in the super hero community spark a genre defining twelve issue miniseries? Probably not. More at 11:00.”

Back in Canada Logan, drunk on his own sense of self-worth and also about ten thousand weak Canadian beers, gets into a bar fight and accidentally kills some dude. Whoops. He does what the most popular character in Marvel comics and one of the most bad ass characters ever invented always does when he commits murder.

whatif3103
“Crap! This was my 800th murder! I’m supposed to get a free sandwich!”

He runs home and begs his boss to get him out of it. Seriously, he hauls ass back to Department H and begs James McDonald Hudson (AKA Guardian, Vindicator or possibly Weapon Alpha. Guys, I’m from Canada but I do not give a shit about Alpha Flight.) to get him out of this.

“Look, man. You did a bad thing.” says Hudson. “You’re going to have to face the music. But this is Marvel Universe Canada, one of the most powerful countries on the planet. We can get you the best Canadian lawyers and get you off easy.”

Unfortunately, facing the music is not something that interests this universe’s lame Wolverine so he panics and runs off instead. Seriously, Logan. Buddy. You know how to disappear a murder. You’re starting to look like a bit of a chump.

whatif3104
“Feets don’t fail me now!”

At this point, Wolverine is stopped by Magneto and the Brotherhood of Not Going to Be Defined by Your Labels Mutants. Magneto’s been keeping an eye of Wolverine since the murder of the Hulk and he thinks he can slip Wolverine into the All-Old Classic X-Men as a spy. Wolverine agrees because he has no place to go and also is seriously a total chump.

The X-Men welcome Wolverine into their ranks with open arms when he just randomly shows up on their lawn a couple of days later. He dodges their questions and blocks Professor X’s mindscan with some device Magneto gave him.

whatif3105
“Cyclops, you smell like somebody I’m going to be cooler than for forty years.”

Then, because some things don’t change, he starts hitting on Jean Grey. Which is WAY creepier when she’s in her old X-Men costume for some reason. Makes her still look sixteen.

What little worries the X-Men had over Wolverine quickly vanish after he blows up some Sentinals and he’s completely gained their trust in like two days. He’s having conflictions about betraying the X-Men but that doesn’t stop him from disabling their security when Magneto tells him to. Charles Xavier has some of the most high tech security on the planet. The only possible way to disarm it is to stab it with claws.

The next morning, Cyclops and Wolverine compete for Jean’s affections in a variety of different ways (Carving her name into steel, getting rid of your stupid Kitty Whiskers mask.)

"I heard you like giant  engraved steel blocks, Jean!"
“I heard you like giant engraved steel blocks, Jean!”

when the Brotherhood attacks. They make short work of the X-Men which is shocking because this current line-up (Magneto, Mastermind, Lorelei, the Blob and fucking Unus the Untouchable) sucks. The tide turns when Magneto tries to throw a tile at Jean and murder her. Wolverine blocks the attack and rejoins the X-Men. Eventually, the X-Men are able to turn the tide and somehow defeat a guy named Unus.

Gross.
Gross.

Then Wolverine murders Magneto.

With his last breath, Magneto forces Wolverine to cut his own throat with his claws and they both bleed to death on the floor of the Danger Room. With the most popular character dead, this chilling universe’s X-Men are cancelled and kids in the 90s grow up super into Ghost Rider: The Animated Series.

This is so much easier than pulling the adamantium out through his pores.
This is so much easier than pulling the adamantium out through his pores.

So, meanwhile, in an entirely different story, the spaceship containing Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm crashes to earth blessing three of the crew with wonderous powers. And one guy with rock hard scabs all over his body. And when Reed Richards has finished dubbing himself Mr Fantastic and proclaimed that he and his friends shall help to save the world, Scab Guy tells him to go fuck himself. Which, given the circumstances, is understandable. Basically the Thing freaks out and then fucks off.

Well, this is embarrassing.
Well, this is embarrassing.

So the Fantastic Three leave Ben to wander across America wreaking stuff while they return to New York to… something? Look for him? I don’t know, it’s not a great plan.

"Hmm. Yes, we should probably do something about this."
“Hmm. Yes, we should probably do something about this.”

Luckily for them, Ben’s arrived back in New York after walking across the country, being angry. He’s finally decided to go back to Reed for help. Unfortunately, his “giant coat, scarf and sunglasses” disguise doesn’t work particularly well in the middle of August so the crowd (including the Thing’s blind girlfriend Alicia and her creepy uncle, the Puppetmaster) realize there’s a giant rockman in the vicinity pretty quickly.

It's too bad they caught him. That disguise was fooling everyone.
It’s too bad they caught him. That disguise was fooling everyone.

Ben gets pissed off again and starts up another rampage on THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN MARVEL HISTORY. In the course of an hour, he frightens Peter Parker away from his science exhibit and delays Donald Blake from his vacation in Norway. And then Tony Stark is called away from his business trip to Vietnam and Bruce Banner from his bomb experiments to stop the Thing. I assume on this same day, a truck carrying toxic isotopes stays home, an asshole surgeon doesn’t get in a car accident and nobody teaches a motorcycle stunt racer how to summon the devil.

Not shown: In this universe, Aunt May still becomes Spider-May.
Not shown: In this universe, Aunt May still becomes Spider-May.

 

Where Loki, Ulik, the Midgard Serpent and Ragnarok itself fail, the Mighty Thor is defeated by traffic.
Where Loki, Ulik, the Midgard Serpent and Ragnarok itself fail, the Mighty Thor is defeated by traffic.

The Thing attacks as Stark and Banner prepare their cosmic gamma ray gun in an attempt to cure the Thing. The Fantastic Three try to distract him using their new powers and finally the ray is fired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to actually DO anything aside knocking everyone except Ben out. Ben considers murdering all of the downed normal people but decides he isn’t a complete monster and disappears into the sewer. Everyone regains conciousness and the F3 discover that their powers are gone. For some reason. With no super powers, every one breaks up and goes home leaving the Watcher to wonder how Earth will be defended from alien and Galactus invasions. X-Men had better step the fuck up.

Quick reminder: Classic Thing is fucking ugly.
Quick reminder: Classic Thing is fucking ugly.

 

What If Nobody Cared that Jean Grey Killed Billions of People?

I can’t believe it’s taken twenty-seven issues of What If to get to an X-Men story. On the other hand, we’ve had like fourteen Fantastic Four issue. It just goes to show you how staggeringly different the comics of yesteryear were to today’s. Really makes you think.

Anyway, this week we address the second most obvious What If question ever: What If the Phoenix hadn’t died. We start with a quick recap of the original Phoenix origin as Jean Grey successfully crashes a spaceship into Jamaica Bay, saving the X-Men and failing to splatter herself all over the beach.Instead she’s possessed by the cosmic entity Phoenix, making her into an A Number One Bad Ass.

It’s not actually Jean but I do not have the space to explain what is actually happening with the Phoenix here.

Then we skip ahead a few months to Victorian Dandy and Mega Creep, the Mastermind who uses his mutant powers to make Jean think she likes dressing in bondage gear and hunting humans for sport. It’s a very specific fantasy. Eventually, Jean becomes Dark Phoenix, vaporizes a star and kills billions of people. Which is still the second highest body count on the X-Men behind Wolverine.

Gaze deep into the not-so-hidden sex lives of Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

Professor X psychically strips Jean of her Phoenix powers, returning her to her usual normal powers. At this point, the Shi’ar Space Empire arrives on Earth, pissed about all those dead aliens for some reason. The X-Men are forced to battle the Shi’ar’ Imperial Guard to save Jean but she feels the Phoenix Force returning and elects to vaporize herself instead. Which is the end of Jean Grey. Until it’s revealed the Phoenix really just took the Real Jean’s form, trapped her in an underwater cocoon and impersonated her for years. But that’s not important right now.

This week, we look at that tragic vaporization and wonder what would have happened if Jean survived it. She does dodge it and eventually the Imperial Guard whittle her and Cyclops down, beating the goddamn hell out of Scott. The Guards round up the X-Men and then take Jean away and lobotomise her, utterly destroying her Phoenix powers and her regular psychic powers too. Then they boot the X-Men back down to Earth, tip their hats and fuck off back to the important task of being stuck-up, high falootin’ bird people. Jerks.

“Hey, could we maybe not lobotomize her half-naked in front of everyone?” “Shut up, Scott.”

Back on Earth, the X-men try getting back to life as usual. Professor X brings Kitty Pryde (AKA Sprite, Ariel, Shadowcat and First Girl Matt Ever Fell In Love With) onto the team. He also apparently hires Jean on as a maid, since he has no goddamn idea what else to do with her. Charles, you’ve been training this woman since she was sixteen, she’s an accomplished superhero and original X-Man. Find something better for her to do than making cookies for the boys.

“What if I put on a frilly maid outfit and do the dishes? Would that help the X-men?”

Professor X gets a call from the Shi’ar. “Hey, guys. I know we just finished tearing your friend’s brain out, right after we beat the shit out of you guys but.. uh, we’ve got a minor Galactus problem.” Sure enough, one of the planets in the Shi’ar Empire’s about to be eaten by giant purple man/actual fucking apocalypse Galactus. Professor X tells the team that he’s heard of Galactus from Reed Richards. I assume he was out of town that time that Galactus came by New York a couple years back. The X-Men head out, bringing along auxiliary members Polaris, Havok and Angel. Because when you’re fighting the doom of all civilization, you really want to bring the blonde guy with the wings. Good planning, guys.

The X-men arrive at the attacked planet, discovering Galactus and his current herald, Terrax. So named because he has an axe. Look, sometimes you just take the name that falls in your lap, alright? While Galactus sets up his big “Eat Your Fucking Planet” device, Terrax spends his time being a complete prick to the local aliens, a race of little ball people who are amazingly good at crying. Which is great when your planet is about to die.

I love the little dude on the far right pointing down at Galactus like “Look at this prick!”

The X-Men attack but they are out of their fucking depth, man. They can barely hold their own against Terrax, let alone get the attention of the big purple G-Man himself. (No, not the Grimace.) Finally, only Cyclops is left. Terrax goes in for the killing blow when Jean senses the attack. Her powers come rushing back and she bursts out of the spaceship in a blast of flame. She also almost kills Kitty before remembering that impressionable teenagers NEED AIR TO BREATHE and encases her in a little customized spacesuit.

Jean not doing much to endear herself to the new kid.

The returned Phoenix quickly curb stomps Terrax, returning him to his non-axe owning, naked  form. She then attacks Galactus, who does my absolute favourite Galactus thing ever. Specifically getting his ass kicked while he tells you it’s all part of his plan. “IT WAS TOTALLY MY PLAN TO JOIN YOU IN THE SKY, MORTAL. AND THEN ALMOST GET MELTED AND HAVE TO SCOOP UP MY LITTLE NAKED FRIEND AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE BECAUSE JESUS YOU’RE SCARY. BUT THIS IS ALL PART OF MY PLAN.”

“THIS IS ALL THE WILL OF GALACTUS. C’mon, Terrax, let’s get the fuck out of here. YES, EVERYTHING FOLLOWS THE PLAN OF GALACTUS. No, leave the axe, I’ll get you a new one, just go already. SO LONG, MORTALS.

Jean rejoins the X-Men and the sad ball people just as the Shi’ar Empress Lilandra shows up. “Hey, Jean, two wrongs don’t make a right but saving one planet from genocide TOTALLY makes up for killing another. You go on back to your home planet and nobody worry about a thing. We cool!”

“Oompa loompa doompity dactus, thank you for saving us from Galactus.”

With that puzzling pronouncement done, the X-Men return home where they basically kick the asses of every evil mutant ever because one of their guys is playing in God Mode now. Everything’s going more or less fine (Wolverine keeps hanging around in the shadows like a creep because he wants to bang Jean but that’s no surprise.) when Phoenix starts sneaking out into space to blow up a meteorite or two. “It’s no big deal.” She says. “I can stop anytime I want.”

“Why, it’s so not a problem that I don’t feel even a little guilty about sneaking in at night after everyone’s gone to bed.”

The real problems come when, after an attack by the new and improved Sentinels (This time they have the technology to shove Wolverine in a box!), Jean heads into space and ends up eating an entire star. I mean, okay, it’s not around an inhabited planet or anything this time but …. y’know, that’s still rude. When she returns home, Kitty confronts her on the X-Men’s front lawn like so much white trash. Unfortunately, Jean doesn’t have time for arguments over her dietary decisions and chooses to vaporize Kitty instead.

So much for “surviving the experience.”

Whoops.

Professor X tries to shut down Jean’s mind again but this time she’s in full-on Dark Phoenix mode and isn’t having it. She obliterates his brain before brutally murdering the rest of the X-Men. These include smashing Angel into the side of the mansion like a bird against a windshield, stabbing Colossus WITH Wolverine and burying Storm alive in one of the most brutal scenes I’ve witnessed since I started writing these things.

You know, we have a lot of fun here at Forbidden to Interfere but I just want to take a moment to say that this is fucking horrible.

She finally works her way down to Scott who’s been holding back since he still loves her. He finally opens up with an optic blast but Phoenix barely feels it and blasts him in the face, killing him. That done, Jean realizes what’s happend and her Phoenix force vaporizes first New York, then Earth and finally the Universe. That done, Uatu pops his giant head in to mention that, while Jean dying in our reality was a tragedy, this universe might just be worse. Gee, MIGHT? You think, Watch? MIGHT BE WORSE. Jesus, this guy…

“Hey, who knows, man? I guess the universe where literally everything is consumed by fire might be a little worse than the one where one person dies. But what do I know, I’m just the Watcher.”