Thursday, November 4, 2021

What If... The MCU Kept Getting More and More Like the Comics.

I've been a big fan of the What If comic series for most of my comic collecting life. There have been several runs and I have favorite stories in all of them.

I like DC's sort of version as well. Alternate takes are a cool way to do character studies and get to the core of the heroes, villains and supporting cast.  Both Marvel and DC have imaginary stories, (Yes, Alan Moore and Dad, I know, "Aren't they all?")  DC's Elseworlds are, in general, more about putting their icons into different time periods and settings.  Marvel's What Ifs are about a change in a key moment of a past story and its effects on the characters.

Sadly, most of my favorite What Ifs from the comics could not be adapted for the TV series, because the characters and situations don't exist in the MCU.  (For some reason, while not my favorite Marvel group, the X-men What If's were among the one's I liked the best.  The Fantastic Four ones usually were great too.)

And the comic series gave us the launching point for the awesome Spider-Girl and her entire MC2 universe!

This animated show was fun, pulling points from the films and extrapolating what could have happened following a deviation.  Getting as many of the movie actors as they did to reprise their roles was a fantastic touch.  This is especially true of Chadwick Boseman. It was extremely heartwarming to get a last chance to hear him as T'Challa, in a couple of different versions.

The comics have the effects of entire storylines pushed into one issue. By the same token, the series had the effects of a whole movie, sometimes several films, squeezed into a little over a half hour.

Both are compressed, and give a general feel for events rather then fully realized stories.

As with the comics, many outcomes showed the "real" versions were preferable given the tragic endings.  Being me, I always preferred the happy ending or funny ones, but some of the dark ones were also satisfyingly well done.

This was true of the show, and the "Party Thor" tale was therefore my favorite, using Chris Hemsworth's and Tom Hiddleston's comic abilities excellently once again.  However, the end of that "issue" gave me concern. 

With "Infinity Stone Ultron" showing up, the series showed the MCU yet again following in the footsteps of the comic books. In this case with the idea that every story has to eventually lead to a huge cross over.

Let me state for the record, once more, that, in comics, Ultron is my favorite Avengers villain. 
Also, the Ultron What If episode premise was far closer to the "Age of Ultron" comic story that I greatly enjoyed, than the movie with that title was.

Let me also state, that while that episode was spending much of it's run time setting up the season finale, I fell asleep three times.

I waited much further past the final episode's release date to watch it than I did for the others, because I wasn't impressed with the idea of connected "What If"s.

However, I was wrong. The final episode delivered everything a the best multiversal crossovers can in the comics.  The limited run time may have actually helped, reducing the amount of padding and side stories unrelated to the main tale, which modern crossovers are plagued with.

And anything increasing the chance of bringing Haley Atwell back into the MCU proper is a good thing.

I hope it gets renewed, and I hope they bring in more of the actual actors to voice their characters.

I also hope they don't feel the need to crossover every season, or return to these timelines.  I want new stuff.

Finally, my biggest hope is we get an animated version of one of my favorite comic books of all time What If  issue 34 from 1977- the all humor issue.

Filled with short gags, running from single panels to full pages, the idea would be perfect for thirty five minutes of hilarious black out gags.
And part of it should be animated in Fred Hembeck's style, because that could lead into evetually making an episode based on another of my favorite comics of all times, 1982's Fantastic Four Roast.

"Don't squeeze the Shaman, eh?"


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