It was the darkest day in Avengers history. A number of Avengers lost their lives running a gauntlet of foes and sudden catastrophes and in the end it was one of their own who was ultimately responsible. When the dust cleared, Earth's Mightiest Heroes were no more. This was the premise for one of the biggest and most controversial Avengers stories ever, "Avengers: Disassembled," and this November the events of that story will come back to haunt the Avengers, as writer Jeff Parker and artist Aaron Lopresti reexamine that dark day from a different perspective in the one-shot special "What If? Avengers: Disassembled" from Marvel Comics" CBR News spoke with writer Jeff Parker about the book.
November will see the release of two other "What If?" specials that will also reexamine the events of two other huge Marvel stories from recent years, "What If? Spider-Man: The Other" and "What If? Wolverine Enemy of the State." "Editorial thought it would be fun to poke into the recent big events for the current 'What Ifs?' and I was asked to tackle 'Disassembled,'" Parker told CBR News. "So the mission this time: Would you like to go back into a wildly popular and controversial storyline and smack the bees nest again to see what happens- oh, and get that all across in thirty-six pages this time? So I said yes."
The Marvel Universe of Parker's thirty six page tale will be a familiar one to most readers. "It's the 616, and as with most 'What Ifs' there's a key moment when it diverges," Parker explained. "Or possibly not, in this case. I'm going to let the readers decide that."
The title of Parker's story is called "Witch Hunt" and the possible divergent point of the tale happens in the aftermath of "Avengers: Disassembled." "Well, as we know, the Scarlet Witch's power started getting the better of her, she began to lose her grip on reality, and some beloved heroes ended up dead. Dr. Strange shows up to help as the
Avengers' whole world falls apart, and shuts her down. Then Magneto bears her off, and the team calls it quits for a while," Parker stated. "Our story picks up from that point, when Hank McCoy decides that's just not enough information to end on. The curious Beast starts poking into matters further as our Sherlock Holmes, finding evidence and questioning people involved with the help of Ms. Marvel. Or as I call her, the world's hottest Watson as drawn by Aaron Lopresti. Beast becomes convinced that Wanda Maximoff didn't act alone, and as their investigation progresses, it becomes clear that the threat isn't gone at all."
As The Beast and Ms Marvel's investigation into the actual threat progresses, they will face opposition from both friends and foes. "We get to see some neat things like Ms. Marvel trying to protect Dr. Strange's body from a disgusting demon, but the main obstacle is probably the surviving Avengers themselves," Parker said. "As far as they're concerned it's all over, and digging back into the horrible day is just going to make things worse."
Parker chose to make his story a mystery because it allowed him to tell a different type of "What If?" tale. "I wanted to do something different with the 'What If?' format, which usually skips through time showing how events changed, the old 'and so he became Spider-Thor' type of development," Parker explained. "It's hard to avoid that because in a 'What If?' you're always dealing with a whole sequence of developments, often over the course of years. And you have to show what happened before, because you have to show what you're veering from. By treating the 'Disassembled' storyline as a murder mystery, we get to bring up the story from other characters' points of view and keep a lot of the developments in real time."
Some of the developments in Parker's story could actually fit into the "616" Marvel Universe quite easily. "Strangely, it doesn't contradict the original story at all, but I have a feeling Marvel isn't going to bring our key revelation into canon!" Parker said.
Although his artistic collaborator may be drawing a story that is non-cannon, Parker feels that Aaron Lopresti is doing an amazing job depicting the various Marvel heroes that get caught up in the story's plot. "Readers are going to really enjoy seeing how Lopresti breathes life into the Avengers and X-Men," Parker stated. "That guy is really firing on all cylinders."
Some "What If?" style stories leave room for sequels and return trips to the unique world of that story, but Parker feels that his tale has a nice, solid conclusion. "I think it works best if it ends here," he said. "But considering that I'm writing a miniseries based upon an issue of 'What If?'(#9 of the original series featuring the Secret Avengers that became 'Agents of Atlas'), I would never say never!"