Saturday, March 6, 2010

What If? Civil War

It seems as if I keep contradicting myself. Several times I have claimed to not care for alternate universe stories, yet here I am again talking about another alternate universe story. To further refine my stance: the What if...? comic books are an exception since they are alternate universe stories contained in one issue. The stories do not carry on in ongoing titles or from issue to issue. They are one and done tales of possibilities; thus, I can like them.

In What if? Civil War, a writing team lead by Ed Brubaker confronts what the Civil War event would have been like if Tony Stark (Iron Man for you non comic or movie or pop culture or basic knowledge that children know types) had died before the events leading up to the Super Human Registration Act. Also, a second possibility of Captain America and Iron man finding common ground based on genuine honesty is explored. Basically, we learn if Tony was never involved then things would have been much worse. More superheroes would have died and the government would rule by way of an aggressive hammer. If Tony had lived, and been very honest of his intentions to Cap, things would have gone very well. Goliath would not have been slain by a cloned Thor, and the Avengers would be the great team of heroes it was always meant to be.

The alternative universe time lines are shown, as always, by a Watcher. The Watcher shares the stories with a distraught Tony Stark at Captain America's grave. When Tony hears the news that there was a way for peace, and for Cap to still be alive he becomes more grief-ridden than ever before. He could have saved his friend's life. Bummer.

The wrap around cover on What if? Civil War is done by Marko Djurdjevic and looks amazing. The cover was a large factor for me buying this comic of the day. I also wondered at what point in the Civil War story this "What if..." would split from reality and show what could have been. I find that often the "What If..." adventures do not live up to my expectations. With that said, they are still kind of cool. But I think there is a simple way to make them better...

Choose Your Own Adventure comics! You can fit several tales into one issue and readers can find out how things may have happened if they made the hard decisions. The comics could be larger issues or possibly even trade paper backs. Either way, I may be on to something.

Hint: Do not choose the door down the hall to the left on page 11. It's a trap door sending you down a shoot to a pit filled with liquid adamantium that hardens when a person falls into it. Your story is over and you've been Han Soloed in adamantium. Unfortunately, before you die, no one says, "I love you."

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