Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The What If? Top 5: What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers?

Welcome to the What If? Top Five, a look at my personal favorite issues of Marvel's long-running What If? series.

This time around, we're talking about number four in our countdown, What If?#36 by John Byrne:

What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers? was the rare issue that saw a story by the lead characters' regular creative team. His misanthropic ways more than any notable drop in the quality of his artwork have diminished John Byrne's profile, but he was red hot at the time, writing and drawing the regular FF title. Byrne's alternate take on the team's origin had cooler heads prevail before the fateful unauthorized launch that created Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl the Human Torch, and the brutish Thing. In this tale, Reed waits a few weeks, enlists some actual astronauts to accompany Ben and he, and successfully completes the interstellar flight.

Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben are called in by the authorities to investigate mysterious tunneling incidents worldwide. The story then follows the familiar path of FF#1, as the team confronts and defeats the Mole Man, albeit without the benefits of super powers. Interestingly, these "Challengers of the Unknown" have an easier time of it than their powered counterparts in many ways. All in all, its a nice, straightforward tale that illustrates that powers or not, the Fantastic Four are heroes.

Next: Number Three! Be there or be somewhere else!


Siskoid said...

Yes, it was a great take.

The Nova story was pretty weak, however.

Mark Engblom said...

Definitely one of the more daring issues of What-If, in that its essential premise was "What if nothing happened?"

I'm also a big What-If fan, and I look forward to the rest of your series.

mavericstud9 said...

What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers?"
One of my favorite Marvel titles from years gone by was the "What If?" series. In it, the Marvel "Bullpen" hypothesized what would happen if certain key aspects of Marvel continuity were changed. For instance, the premiere issue asked "What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four?"

Which brings me to another issue featuring the FF. In 1982, the book asked "What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Super-Powers?" The story is mildly interesting, sustained only by great John Byrne artwork.

But the answer to the issue's question is simple: The book would've SUCKED!

Plain enough? I mean, who the hell would want to read about four average joes taking on the likes of Dr. Doom, the Silver Surfer and Galactus? Not me!

Posted by Hube at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Intelligently written,this might have made an interesting series.Think what it would have like if the Fantastic Four went through career without the superhero crutch of silly superhero powers.Most idiots would they would be dead,but I think Reed and compny would do ok-things would be just a bit harder just not to rely on