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Our Lives Together – The Living Laser Makes a Classic What If…? Cameo

by  in Comic News Comment
Our Lives Together – The Living Laser Makes a Classic What If…? Cameo

In this feature, I will spotlight some of the more interesting examples of shared comic book universes. You know, crossovers that aren’t exactly crossovers.

In this one, we’ll take a look at a “crossover” I featured in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed that I realized fit so perfectly here that I had to use it again.

In case you are not familiar with the concept of Marvel’s What If..? comics), they were narrated by the Watcher, the cosmic being whose job was, well, to watch. In this case, it is alternate worlds. Here is the set-up from What If…? #1…

In X-Men #137, we see that access to these worlds are housed on The Watcher’s base on the moon (I’m sure we’ve seen that actually established earlier, I just like this usage – the idea of Wolverine just stumbling into the Watcher’s house amuses me)…

So that is the set-up for 1989’s Quasar #6 (by Mark Gruenwald, Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi), where Quasar follows the Living Laser to the moon (in an Acts of Vengeance crossover, so Quasar fights villains he wouldn’t normally fight, including Venom), we see where the Laser heads…

Quasar catches up with him…

Well, that very same month, in What If…? (Volume 2) #9 (by Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler and Sam de la Rosa), in a story about “What If…the All-New, All-Different X-Men had died on their first mission?” the new group of X-Men are caught up in the Nefaria storyline from X-Men #94-95. And…well, just look what happens…

Isn’t that amazing?

If you didn’t know that it was the Living Laser, you’d have no idea!

What was particularly interesting about this crossover is that the two comics did not even share editors or writers (Craig Anderson edited What If..? and Howard Mackie edited Quasar). It was just a cool little Marvel Bullpen crossover between writers Roy Thomas and Mark Gruenwald. Very neat.

Precisely two years later, in Quasar #30, the Watcher contacted Quasar to capture the Laser, as the Laser was bouncing around from universe to universe. Quasar did so, thereby wrapping up that loose end.

If you can think of another example of an interesting piece of shared continuity within a shared comic book universe, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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