Thanks for stopping by and checking out my review of the following books in this Classic Marvel Series. I did a review of the first volume of What If? and it was a blast to go over my collection in that run. I did the same for the second volume of What If? and found that I forgot that some have great stories and key topics that took place in this series. In order to cover everything, I have to break this run down into three columns. This way I can get them all in and without overwhelming you, the reader. I hope you enjoy my take on what I got out of each issue. As always, thanks for checking my column out!
Issues #0 to #4
Issue #0 is What If Bishop? by Ben Raab with art by Ariel Olivetti and Pier Brito. In the first issue we have a race to stop Fitzroy from changing the past of X-Men and making sure they never form. It is up to Bishop who can travel time to stop this from happen. This is not a bad story.
Issue #1 What If the Avengers Lost The Evolutionary War? is by Roy Thomas with art by Ron Wilson and Mike Gustovich. The Evolutionary War crosses over most of the Marvel Annuals in 1988. This is the first and only time Marvel did a story run crossing over in the Annuals. Issue #2’s title What If Daredevil Killed The Kingpin? is by Danny Fingeroth with a rt by Greg Capullo, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. This is one of my favorites in this second series. We see Matt cross the line, but Matt being Matt wants forgiveness. He changes the life choices of Richard Fisk (Kingpin’s son).
Moving forward, Issue #3, What If Steve Rogers Had Refused To Give Up Being Captain America? is by Jim Valentino with art by Dave Simons and Bob Downs. In this story we get to see what happens if Steve keeps the shield and refuses to work for the government. This involves John Walker to bring him in. But we get the President of United States saying that the Super Patriot (John Walker) will be the government agent with Steve being a free agent. This story has a preview of what happens to Steve in Captain America vol. 5 #25, where he is killed. There is a backup story, What If Ben Parker’s Nephew Was Galactus? by Sholly Fisch with art by Rod Ramos and Chris Ivy.
As a bonus we have two other short stories: What If Franklin Richards Had Found The Hammer of Thor? and What If Wolverine Got A Real Job? by John Rozum with art by Vince Miekcarek and Chris Ivy. Issue #4 is What If The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man? by Danny Fingeroth with art by Mark Bagley and Keith Williams. This is the high-end book in the series because it has a great story. Peter is taken over by the symbiote. Next, it makes its way to possess other Marvel heroes in this story. Again, this book is in high demand, and I do not see the value going down. This is a must have book if you are going after any in this series.
Issues #5 to #8
Issue #5 is What If The Vision Had Destroyed The Avengers? In this issue we get two stories and the first is, What If Wonder Man Had Not Died? by Jim Valentino with art by him along with Sam de la Rosa. This story it is quite simple. Wonder Man does not die and gets married. The second story is, What If The Vision Had Destroyed The Avengers? with the story and art by the same team in the first story. The second story is a continuation of the first story. We get to see Ultron control the body of Vision.
Issue #6 follows with What If The X-Men Lost Inferno? by Danny Fingeroth with art by Ron Lim and Keith Williams. This is from the cross over story in all the mutant titles in 1989. Here Madelyne Pryor becomes Goblin Queen and Illyana Rasputin into Darkchylde. Both open a doorway to Limbo that allows the heroes to become taken over by demonic spirits. This is a great story because we get Dr. Strange helping and asking help from an unlikely source!
Issue #7, What If Wolverine Was An Agent Of SHIELD? is by Jim Valentino with art by Rob Liefeld and Scott Williams. This is a fun story. It starts right after Wolverine fights the Hulk (Incredible Hulk #181) and is recruited by Fury to join SHIELD. He is followed by other tough missions. Later he becomes the director of SHIELD. There are three other truly short stories. One is What If Aunt May Was A Mutant With Claws? by John Rozum with art by Jim Valentino and Robert Campanella. The other, What If Captain America Hadn’t Been Thawed Out? is by Gary Fields with art by Vince Mielcarek and Harry Candelario. The last one is, What If The Punisher Didn’t Use Guns? by Dave Simons.
Issue #8 follows with, What If Iron Man Lost The Armor Wars? is by Danny Fingeroth with art by Greg Capullo, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. This story is taken from Iron Man Vol. 1 #225 to #232. The war saga was a good story. In this story we get to see Tony lose the war and the outcome that follows from it.
Issues #9 to #13
Issue #9, What If the X-Men Died On Their First Mission? is by Roy Thomas with art by Rich Buckler and Sam De Le Rosa. In this story we get to see what happens when the original X-Men and new X-Men, which include Wolverine, die on their first mission on the island of Krakoa. In this issue there is another two short stories. The first is, What If Black Bolt Talked In His Sleep? which is by John Lewandowski with art by Vince Mielcarek and Chris Ivy. The second story is, What If The Thing’s Body Kept Mutating? by Gary Fields with art by Gary Fields and Joe Sinnott.
Issue # 10 follows with What If the Punisher’s Family Hadn’t Been Killed? The story is by Doug Murray with art by Rik Levins and Bob McLeod. A good story in which Frank’s family does not get killed in Central Park, and he decides to follow a different path in life. In this issue we get three short, silly stories. The first one is What If The Living Recorder Had To Find Work On Earth? (Part One) by Gary Fields with art by Rodney Ramos and Tim Dzon. The second and third stories are, What If the Thing Were An Elvis Presley Impersonator? and What If Hawkeye Used Gold Clubs Instead Of A Bow And Arrows? by Steve Ringgenberg with art by Ramos and Harry Candelario.
Issue #11 brings us What If the Fantastic Four All Had The Same Power? by Jim Valentino. This issue has four chapters to show what the team would be like with each four powers. The art is by Chris Ivy, Hilary Barta, Steve Montano and Jeff Albrecht.
Issue #12 is What If The X-Men Had Stayed Asgard? by Jim Valentino with art by Sam De La Rosa and Jim Valentino. In 1985 there is a two-issue series, X-Men And Alpha Flight, and Uncanny X-Men Annual #9 where the mutants become a part of the Asgardian Wars. In this story we get to see what happens if a group of mutants decide to stay in Asgard and how their lives would become.
Issue #13 follows with What If Professor X Of The X-Men Had Become The Juggernaut? by Kurt Busiek with art by Vince Mielcarek, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. Fun note is that the cover is done by Jim Lee! This story is a long time coming because a ton of fans want to know what happens if the great mind of Charles has the unstoppable force of the Cyrrorak Ruby to become the Juggernaut. This is story is a true treat and a must for all X-Men fans to check out and see what happens.
Issues #14 to #18
Next, Issue #14 is What If Captain Marvel Had Not Died? by Steve C. Ringgenberg and M.J. Jorgensen with art by M.J. Jorgensen, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. This is an intriguing story because we have Dr. Strange, Reed Richards and Dr. Blake trying to cure Captain Marvel from cancer that ends up making him a carrier for a spreadable cancer killing a ton of humans and aliens.
Issue #15, What If The Fantastic Four Had Lost The Trial Of Galactus? is by Roy Thomas and R.J.M. Lofficier with art by Greg Capullo and Sam De La Rosa. This story is taken from The Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #262, where Reed is taken to a court by the Shi’ar to plead his case for letting Galactus live instead of ending his life.
Next up is Issue #16 with What If Wolverine Battled Conan The Barbarian? In this issue we get stories that are almost the same title and the same concept. The first is, What If Wolverine Had Lived During The Age Of Conan The Barbarian? by Glenn Hearding with art by Gary Kwapisz, Ian Akin, and Brian Garvey. In this story we see Wolverine thrown back in time during the Phoenix Saga in Uncanny X-Men. The second story is, What If Wolverine Really Met Conan The Barbarian? which is by John Rozum with art by Armando Bill. Not a bad second story. However, as a true Marvel fan you know they are both working on the same known as The Savage Avengers.
Issue #17 brings us What If Kraven The Hunter Had Killed Spider-Man? with the story by Richard Howell and art by Marie Severin and Richard Howell. The title says it all. We get to see how things turn out after Peter is gone. A good story and there are also two other silly stories in this issue. The first is What If the Living Recorder Had To Work On Earth? (Part Two) with art and story by Gary Fields. The second story is, What If Daredevil Had A Dishonest Tailor? by Harry Candelario with art by Rod Ramos and Chris Ivy.
Issue #18, What If The Fantastic Four Battled Doctor Doom Before They Got Their Powers? is by Dwayne McDuffie with art by Luke McDonnell. A good story to see how the unpowered FF can take on Doom and the ending of the story is great as well.
Issues #19 to #23
Issue #19 follows with What If Vision Of The Avengers Conquered The World? (Part One Utopia). The story is by Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc Lofficier, and Randy Lofficier with art by Ron Wilson and Sam De La Rosa. In part one we get to see how Vision decides to lead the world into a new golden age. The second story is What If Vision Of The Avengers Conquered The World? (Part Two Dystopia). Here we get to see what happens when Vision becomes more of a dictator than a leader.
Issue #20, What If The Amazing Spider-Man Had Not Married Mary Jane? is by Danny Fingeroth with art by Jim Valentino and Chris Ivy. This is a fun story because we get to see how life would be for both Mary Jane and Peter if they did not tie the knot. Also, this would happen later in a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada called One More Day. A deal that Peter makes with Mephisto that is covered in Amazing Spider-Man #544 and #545, The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 and Sensational Spider-Man Vol 2 #42.
There are four other stories. Two of them are short. The first is What If Spider-Man Had A Son? Here, the art and story by Darren Auck. The second story is, What If Ghost Rider Hit A Puddle? The story is by John Lewie and art by Armando Gil. The third does not have a title, however, the fourth is What If Namor Worked As A Stunt Double For Mr. Spock? Both are by Dutter, Auck, McLauren with art by Gary Fields and Keith Wilson.
Issue #21, What If The Amazing Spider-Man Had Married The Black Cat? is by Danny Fingeroth with art by Jim Valentino and Chris Ivy. In this story instead of Peter marrying a beautiful redhead model he marries a hot cat burglar. Peter has the worst luck with the ladies. The is s fun story because we read that the Vulture finds out Spider-Man’s secret identity and how Peter must fight to keep it a secret.
Next, Issue #22 is What If The Silver Surfer Had Not Escaped Earth? The story is by Ron Marz with art by Ron Lim and Terry Austin. In the original story line, the Silver Surfer is banned to Earth by Galactus, but in this story, he is not released. In this event he joins the Fantastic Four but is later given a choice by Mephisto to join him instead. The ending is of this story is great and a good ending for all on Earth.
Issue #23 is What If The All-New All-Different X-Men Had Never Existed? and is by Kurt Busiek with art by Rodney Ramos and Doug Hazlewood. This story looks at the X-Men world without Wolverine, Storm, and rest of the new team from Giant Size X-Men #1. They seem to do better in some aspects of the mission they do. However, without the new team, or new blood in the X-Men world, it would be hard to have the adventures and stories that come later with them.
Issue #24 to #28
Issue #24 brings us What If Wolverine Was Lord Of The Vampires? by Roy Thomas and R.J.M. Lofficier with art by Tom Morgan. In this story we see Wolverine take over and become the Lord of Vampires. It has almost every single hero at the time in this book! The battles are tough, and the story is a blast to follow. The ending is something I will not give away, but it is worth reading this issue.
Next is Issue # 25, What If the Marvel Superheroes Had Lost Atlantis Attacks? The story is given the title, What If Set Had Come To Earth? which is by Jim Valentino with art by Rik Levins and Ralph Cabrera. In the annuals of Marvel titles in 1989 there is a battle, Atlantis Attacks, where the return of a seven headed Elder God called Set the Serpent is returns because of Llyra, leader of the Lemurians. In this issue everyone dies who is in the path of Set’s return. This issue has two other stories. The first is What If The Punisher Were A Herald Of Galactus? and What If The Human Torch And Iceman Were Partners? They are by Lazellari, Witterstaetter, Moede, and Wilson with art by Jim Valentino and Danny Bulanadi. Again, these are short, one-pagers and silly, but that is part of the fun in this series!
Next, Issue #26, What If The Punisher Had Killed Daredevil? is by Kurt Busiek with art by Luke McDonnell. This story is taken from Daredevil vol. 1 #291 to #193. In these stories, the Punisher takes Daredevil out by using tranquilizer darts. However, in the What If? story, he makes a mistake costing Daredevil’s life to end. The hero world is out to bring Frank down. That also includes Spider-Man, which leads to more death. In the end, heroes die and the Kingpin is taken out with style.
Issue # 27 is What If Namor Had Joined The Fantastic Four? which is by Ron Marz and art by Gavin Curtis and Sam De La Rosa. This is a good story where we see Namor taking charge of the Fantastic Four and Reed decides to do other things such as finding a new love. Namor and Susan end up together and both couples have a child that starts the next generation of heroes.
Rounding out this installment we have Issue # 28, What If Captain America Had Led An Army Of Super Soldiers In World War II? The title inside is What If Captain America Were Not The Only Super Soldiers In World War II? The story is by George Caragonne with art by Ron Wilson and Ralph Cabrera. So here we go: Steve in this story was able to stop the Nazi spy who shot Dr. Erskine, the creator of the super serum. This leads to him creating more super soldiers like Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan and other Howling Commandos. Because of this he does not need Bucky to be by his side, so he does not die or become the Winter Soldier. The war is tied up by 1941.
While saving Jewish people in a concentration camp he meets a young Magnus. After talking and helping him, he grows up not becoming a hero not a villain known as Magneto. But, the key to the story is when he returns to America by boat it is sunk, and he is the only survivor. He becomes the head of SHIELD and later as President of the United States.
In addition, the story takes a turn where only Rogers picks who becomes a super soldier and the genetic defect in serum only makes white people super soldiers. That should be a clue to what is happening here. By being in control other heroes are not created because of accidents or going against the rules. The Fantastic Four are shot down for stealing a rocket, Bruce’s experiments of gamma are stopped, and Peter is killed off because he may be a threat. The ending is great because we get Namor who finds the truth about what is going on. A must read for Marvel, and Captain America fans!
That is my take on the first 28 issues of What If? Vol. Two. Be on the look out for my other two columns that break down issues #29 to #58 and then issues #59 to #114! Please remember to take a look around our great site for other stories, columns, and videos.