WHAT IF? #14: What if Nick Fury had Fought World War II in Space? Did it come true? Yes. In the underrated and quickly forgotten Original Sin miniseries, we learned that Nick Fury was up to all kinds of outer space and interdimensional hijinks, for decades. In this case, truth was better than fiction: This issue of What If? was simply not that interesting—especially compared to Nick Fury’s adventures in Original Sin.
WHAT IF? #15: What if Someone Else Had Become Nova? Did it come true? Kind of. I mean, there’s always more Novas. Or Novae.
But what a great issue! Marv Wolfman was always trying to make Nova a big star, and here he gets to work with John Buscema, George Perez, Carmine Infantino and Walt Simonson to see what would have happened if the Nova force was given to a homeless man, Peter Parker, a gangster, and the widow of a man killed by The Kingpin. My favorite sequence from this great issue is the one, above, where Peter says “no matter what I try to do—it always ends in tragedy!” That’s basically the whole concept of What If?…
Anyway, since we’ve had multiple Novas, I’m clocking this one in at a true.
WHAT IF? #16: What if Shang Chi Fought on the Side of Fu Manchu? Did it come true? No. But it’s another great issue—courtesy of Doug Moench and Rich Hoberg. Looks like editor Roy Thomas is finally pairing up What If? stories with the creators most associated with the characters, and the results are much, much better.
WHAT IF? #17: What if Ghost Rider, Spider-Woman, and Captain Marvel Were Villains? Did it come true? No. But now we’re three in a row of good issues, this time by writer Steven Grant and artist Carmine Infantino.
WHAT IF? #18: What If Dr. Strange Were a Disciple of Dormammu? Did it come true? Of course not. But Peter Gillis and Tom Sutton tell a good story. This one is weird, though, because it ends up with Strange being a hero. I guess, like the Parker luck in #15, some things are true in any alternate universe.
So three out of five did not come true, which doesn’t do a lot for my theory that most What If? stories were actually just foreshadowing real Marvel Universe stories, but the series is getting much better so that’s a fair trade.