Marvel: What If? Season 1 Review

What If? has official been put on ice after season 1 concluded on October 6th, 2021 with a bang but it’s time to ask the question, what are the best episodes? Today I wanna take a personal dive into each episode, ranking them from least favorite to the Creme de la Crumb. I am The Musical Hippie, I am your guide through this creative review, to help answer the pondering question of, What If?

What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger

Now while this episode wasn’t horrible, compared to the rest of the season it was very lack luster in my opinion. In this multiverse Peggy Carter ends up getting the super-soldier serum rather then Steve Rogers. Peggy ends up becoming Captain Carter, the story plays out very similar to Captain America’s all the way until the rescue of the Howling Commandos where Bucky hasn’t been tested on by Hydra. After the rescue Howard Stark also creates the first Iron Man suit for a skinny Rogers who becomes the Hyrda Stomper, hailing from Brooklyn giving the smack down in Germany. The biggest takeaways, Bucky never becomes the Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers never goes on ice, Kraken ends up killing Red Skull which was pretty dope. Past all that this was just a very simple tale with some nice changes.

What If… Zombies?!

Now while Captain Carter’s What If? may have been very familiar, What If… Zombies had a very different take on an already established universe in the comics. My issues with this episode start with Spider-Man, Tom Holland couldn’t voice this character due to Sony so we had Hudson Thames as our Parker. We start off with Hank Pym seeking Janet van Dyne but all he finds is a monster which he brings back, The former lovers attack Scott Lang while Wasp escapes, then a very familiar green asteroid lands in Sanctum Sanctorum, only it is abandoned by its current residents. As Banner roams the streets he runs into the Children of Thanos who also ran into some less then friendly faces, Wong, Dr. Strange and Tony Stark pop out and slip on some black Air Forces, the zombified trio would turn Cull Obsidian and Ebony Maw but all of them got washed by Wasp. That beginning had me really hyped, but then after Spider-Man saves Bruce we get our supporting cast which was Winter Soldier, Happy, Kurt, Sharon Carter and Okoye. Why is Kurt here… seriously like his existence in this episode is nonsensical. A lot of my issue came with the cast, Winter Solider is a good pick along with Okoye who I will touch on in a bit, Spider-Man and Wasp are also great additions but past that the rest our there to die. Now Okoye is here to search for T’Challa who was with the Avengers as they landed down to help rescue and eliminate former New Yorkers. Why did they land in the middle of a hoard…Iron Man can literally fly and picking Black Widow for this mission was a foul play. They all get picked off starting with Captain America who is munched on by the former Ant-Man, how Iron Man got eaten still lives in my head rent free. There is just multiple times in the episode where I just get taken out due to a poor writing choice, for instance when Happy is turned Hawkeye is shooting arrows at Carter, he misses many but nailed Happy no issue and even pinned Sharon too the wall. Then there’s when Hope gets infected, instead of maybe running off to go elsewhere after helping the group she just stays at her gigantic form and later in the episode nearly ends the last hope on Earth. Some highlights however are Cap and Winter Soldiers fight, Hulk verses zombie Wanda who is just a dope introduction during the last act of the episode and the nod towards the original comic by having Black Panther be used as food. The theme here for me is disappointment, this episode is won that I had high hope for but was let down by at the end of the day.

What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?

Episode 2 was the first time in the series where I fully enjoyed a story from The Watcher. Rather then Peter Quill be abducted by the Ravagers in Wakanda. This is one of the two very fun episodes in the series, rather then remind us of doom and dread we see a world where T’Challa now Star-Lord has brought some peace, helping turn the Ravagers into a creditable group that help those in need. From helping Drax who now is a bartender to converting Thanos by simply having a conversation, T’Challa is colder then ice with the ability to do no wrong. The Collector is our villain, yolked from the power he gained after Thanos became soft he rose fill that void in the galaxies underworld. The show really does well with handling Chadwick Boseman’s voice, his lines really hurt when you watch the full series since we lost such a talented personality at a young age.

What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

This was a very spicy episode, the big question is who killed the Avengers. The episode starts off with the intro to Iron Man 2 except the needle poked into Starks neck packs a bigger punch and kills the playboy before he can finish his coffee. After this the episode plays out like Clue, one hero after another is killed until we are left wondering who would do this. Well after some clutch recording by Black Widow, Nick Fury has an idea and leads charge in getting the culprit. Meanwhile Loki is invading Earth due to Thor’s murder at the hands of “Hawkeye.” Fury ends up making a temporary alliance with Loki as he sets up a trap to catch the killer who turned out to be Hank Pym, seeking revenge for his love Janet van Dyne who was killed in battle while working with Shield. Hank blames Fury for her death which leads to a fight where Nick Fury showcases remarkable skill, yet it seems God like. Loki reveals himself as he tricked Pym and captures the scientist to bring back to Asgard. Loki ends up taking over but heroes lie in wait to dethrone him. Solid episode, this was a great idea by the writers with a wild twist.

What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands

This was the first episode of What If… too really catch my eye, causing me to re-watch it 3 times due to the storyline. Dr. Steven Strange’s love interest, Dr. Christine Palmer dies in a “absolute point” which simple means unchangeable. 2 years go by and Strange, trying to use the Eye of Agamotto to reverse her fatal end is unable to, so after a warning from Wong and the Ancient One he sets of to the Lost Library of Cagliostro. Here he meets librarian O’Bengh, the keeper of the library and learns that he can amass enough power to break an absolute point by absorbing magical beings. Strange becomes wicked, I mean dude straight goes on a power trip, killing creatures to absorb their power like a mystical vacuum until he finally sees himself fit to save Palmer. O’Bengh dies but tries to tell Strange that the past is the past, but he is so gone it doesn’t matter, so after trying to mess with space and time the Ancient One splits Strange into to while buffing the side of him that moved on for the epic duel that awaits him. Supreme Strange is formed when he defeats his lighthearted self and combines him back, but unfortunately the damage is done and his world is collapsing while Palmer watches, eventually disappearing with it. This would mark the first time The Watcher appears to someone, as he ridicules Strange for his actions, ultimately trapping him in a bubble to use for later. This was a great episode, the raw emotions is what left this one being such a great story as we see what love can force a powerful person to do, similar to Injustice by DC or in Marvel’s latest movie release, Shang-Chi.

“What If… Thor Were an Only Child?”

This episode was fun but simple, Thor is now an only child without his adopted brother Loki in his life 24/7. Odin defeats the Frost Giants but rather then take Loki he returns him to Laufey who has traditional disregarded the tiny giant. Thor is now a party major, drinking to his hearts content while avoiding responsibility at all cost with his bros. The events in this story follow the first film and Dark World with Jane still being a love interest and Darcy Lewis having a hook-up with the boy, Howard the Duck. Loki is now a Frost Giant but now has a deep friendship with the God of Thunder. Honestly this episode is best described as a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off parody taking place in Vegas.

“What If… the Watcher Broke His Oath?”

This was probably the top episode for many, not however for me. The conclusion to the issue started in Episode 8, The Watcher has assembled his team, the Guardians of the Multiverse which contained Captain Carter, Star-Lord T’Challa, King Killmonger, “Party” Thor, Supreme Strange and Titan Slayer Gamora who was a big let down since her character specific episode was cut due to COVID-19. But this group was assembled to protect the Multiverse from Vultron, sadly due to copyright we can’t claim that name but it is Vision with the Ultron tech and Infinity Stones. Now the battle sequence was dope, from Marvel Zombies having a call back, especially the Scarlett Witch to an Avengers like beat down, this episode had a lot of good momentum but wasn’t as good as the setup. I do however love the betrayal of Killmonger who takes the stones and tries to flip them, his golden tongue tries to persuade everyone to band together to use the stones for a better tomorrow as The Watcher only had one use for them. The ending was sweat as all characters get a happy ending, the best being Peggy who comes back to discover the Hyrda Stomper with a unknown occupant.

What If… Ultron Won?”

This is literally Terminator, Ultron ends up defeating Vision and snagging his Mind Stone like Lil Uzi Vert’s forehead jewel, using that power to erase the Avengers excluding Black Widow & Hawkeye who were off planet. This sets off a nuclear catastrophe that Thanos enters afterwards where he gets mopped by Ultron, which gifts him the Infinity Stones. Honestly this episode was very interesting since we saw only the second time The Watcher was spotted by someone, this time though Vultron starts to beat his backside until he has to escape to the little bubble Supreme Strange lives in. That’s the majority of the episode but there is much more I’d rather let someone who is behind find out.

“What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”

This was the best episode hands down for me, Killmonger is a character I wanted more of in the MCU so when this premiered I was excited. Eric Killmonger comes to save Tony Stark from his near doom thus earning a spot into Tony’s inter circle. Once in he starts his plan to help his people while crushing the people of Wakanda who sat by and watched their own struggle while they lived with a vibranium spoon. Killmonger would set up a meeting with Ulysses Klaue for vibranim and brings James Rhode along, Black Panther tries to shut it down but Killmonger would emerge from the shadows using a cannon version of the paralyzing device from Iron Man. Killing both Rhodes and T’Challa he then takes this chance to take start a war between Wakanda and the US. There is much more that happens but without giving it away this is arguably the best episode from the whole series. Michael B. Jordan does a fantastic job at reviving Killmonger, he is one of the best characters in the MCU that I hope gets to come back to the big screen.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was an okay beginning to what will become huger later down the road. I wasn’t also a huge fan of the animation, at times it looked cheap which shouldn’t be coming out of my mouth especially with a Disney/Marvel product but I’ve watched YouTube animated shorts that flowed better, especially when you compare the talents used for Star Wars: Visions which had multiple studios work on their own episode. I do hope they revise the Zombies story which I am confident will get a follow up because of the ending but Season 2 really needs to deliver. I would still recommend watching the series but this is a once and done type deal for me, maybe watch the top 3 episodes I named.

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