What Is Marvel’s What If…?

Marvel’s new TV show drops on Disney+ in exactly week, but what exactly is What If? Where did it come from? And are there any comics about it?

In today’s blog post, I’m answering those questions and more!

What Is What If?

What If is a series of Marvel comics where they ask one question: What if one thing changed? For example, What If Jessica Jones Had Joined The Avengers? From there, it explores what would have changed in that storyline, and how things would have been different.

What If Magneto And Professor X Formed The X-Men Together? cover by Jim Cheung

When Did It Start?

What If started in 1977, and has been going long enough to have 13 bind ups to its name. The series is not like a regular Marvel series, in the sense that it doesn’t have any sort of regular update schedule. It more pops up a few times a year with a new one-shot/collection.

Who’s Involved?

Everyone in the Marvel Universe! To be honest, it depends on the story being told – What If doesn’t cover one singular set of characters. That being said, in the first few volumes, one character was always involved, and that was Uatu, the Watcher.

Who Is Uatu, The Watcher?

Uatu is a Watcher, an alien race tasked with watching over the Multiverse, and banned from interfering. Uatu, specifically, is tasked with watching over the Earth and our solar system. I will go into more detail next week when What If officially starts, but for now, think of him being a bit like He Who Remains in Loki, only one who doesn’t interfere, only watches.

What If? Avengers Disassembled cover by Aaron Lopresti and Chris Sotomayor

What Is Each What If Story About?

Each story covers a different scenario, like as I said above, What If Jessica Jones Joined The Avengers, or What If Norman Osborne Had Conquered Asgard During Siege?

Usually, each story is based on another comic event, so there’s What If’s related to Siege, Avengers Vs X-Men, Age Of Ultron, etc. Or, sometimes, it’s focusing on smaller stories, or just changing the team line up.

Basically, most of the time a What If story focuses on changing one thing from a previous, established comic, which means you can read whichever ones take your fancy.

What Are The Comics Called?

Simply, each one starts with the title of ‘What If?’ which means them really easy to find. There are two sort of ‘sections’ though – the classic runs, and the newer runs.

The classic section has the simplest naming system, they’re all called What If? Classic Complete Collection Volumes 1-4. These will cover everything from 1977, hence the name ‘Classic.’ I’d recommend having at least a little idea of the original event before heading into any of these, but luckily, Uatu does do a quick run down of what happened originally before each comic begins.

After that, the newer What If collections go by separate titles, those being: Why Not? Mirror Mirror, Event Horizon, Civil War, Secret Wars, Secret Invasion, Dark Avengers, Avengers Vs X-Men, Age Of Ultron, Infinity and With Great Power. Each of these covers a several different scenarios within the event in the title, so it’s best to read these after reading the event itself.

What If? Age of Ultron cover by Chris Stevens

Is What If The TV Show Covering The Comic Events?

What If the TV show is covering the MCU events, so as long as you know the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which I’m assuming you do, because you’re reading this blog!), you’ll be fine watching the show! And, if anything does pop up that needs some comic know-how, you’ll be sure to find out the answers to your questions on this blog!

And with that, I think that’s about everything I need to cover! I hope this helped, and if you have any questions, please do leave them down below!


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