D’oh! It totally slipped my mind that I was supposed to do a Top Five this Tuesday! Ah well, you folks can get it today! Today’s topic is courtesy of Kirayoshi, via the Top Five Recommendation Thread on the Comics Should Be Good forum on CBR, and it is “The Top Five Issues of of What If..?” This was a real tough one, and there are lots of good choices that could easily make the top five, so I’m sure I’ll hear from plenty of you folks on your picks – but here are what I think are the Top Five Best Issues of What If…? (both volumes 1 and 2).
*This two-parter holds a special spot for me just because it is actually based on Chris Claremont’s actual plans for what he was going to do originally before Jim Shooter told them to kill Phoenix. So it is interesting stuff, but while both issues are good, I think they are a bit rushed, because there was SOO much continuity to be squeezed into the two issues.
Anyone familiar with George Caragonne? Has he written anything else? Rod Ramos did a good job with the pencils.
*This was the very first What If…? issue, and it is a good one, but this is also one of the dorkiest ones, as Roy Thomas manages to explain almost everything in Marvel continuity up until the time this issue came out. Jim Craig had great art on it, though (and the issue IS good, just not as good as the other ones, I think)!
5. What If…the Avengers fought Galactus?
What is some times lost in the fact that he was one of the Image founders is the fact that Jim Valentino is a big-time Silver Age nut. Therefore, he was well equipped to write this Roy Thomas-esque story, which is a very detailed account of what would have happened if the Fantastic Four were killed on their space flight, and the Avengers had to pick up the slack.
And, after all, one of the annoying little bits of continuity over the years has been “What the heck were the Avengers doing during Galactus’ first visit to Earth?” Well, now Valentino is giving us an interesting version of Galactus’ first visit, only with the Avengers facing off against him.
Very nice artwork by Valentino, and an overall very fun story.
4. What if Daredevil Became an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Frank Miller contributes another fun issue with this one [commenter John noted I forgot to mention Mike Baron co-scripting this story. Sorry, Mr. Baron! I meant to credit you!], which tells the story of Matt Murdock being recruited as an agent of SHIELD (something Scott Lobdell later did for real in the last issues of Daredevil Volume 1).
It’s hurt by the weaker first story that took up the majority of the issue, about Ghost Rider, but still, a very good issue of What If…?
3. What If the Fantastic Four had not gained their super powers?
Like the Miller issue, this issue was helped by the regular writer of the title tackling the story and really embracing the fun idea. John Byrne really got into the idea of what would happen if the Fantastic Four never gained powers.
The end result is a nicely illustrated by Byrne story of the Fantastic Four basically becoming the Challengers of the Unknown. Good stuff.
The other story, about Nova’s powers? Not so good.
2. What If…Spider-Man’s daughter grew up to become Spider-Girl?
In context, this issue would EASILY be the #1 pick, because What If…?, by the time this Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz issue came out, had become an awful, awful comic book series, with dreadful stories from Marvel staffers and art from not-ready-for-Prime-Time artists.
So when this strong issue detailing the adventures of Peter Parker’s daughter came out, it was such a breath of fresh air.
And the issue was a lot of fun, leading to the equally fun ongoing series about Spider-Girl.
1. What If…Elektra Lived?
Frank Miller really threw himself into this issue, taking on a real twisted approach of really digging the knife into Matt Murdock’s back by showing how happy things would be if Bullseye hadn’t killed Elektra. It is twisted, but awesome. And the art by Miller is obviously quite good.
Well, those are my picks!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know!