What If? #31 (1982, February)
I figured I may as well give this (along with Alpha Flight’s appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #84) its own post. By Rich Margopoulos and Bud Budiansky, What If Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?
Reality diverges when Wolverine refuses to accept a draw. He goes into a berserker rage, slashing away at Hulk’s throat. News soon spreads, and we see various people reacting to the news, including Magneto, who’s apparently formed a Brotherhood that includes Mastermind, Lorelei, Blob and Unus. Magneto’s certain a mutant killed Hulk, and decides to recruit whoever did it.
Wolverine, meanwhile, is getting drunk at a bar, celebrating his victory. Some guys in the bar pick a fight with him, and when one draws a gun, WOlverine kills him. He heads back to base to get help from Hudson, who tells him they’ll have to go through the normal court system. Wolverine refuses, and flees, and is soon grabbed by Magneto. Wolverine joins him.
Later, Xavier detects a mutant in the area. Wolverine shows up and asks to join. He spends a few months getting close to them, gaining their trust, and starts to wonder how he can betray them. That night, he wrecks Cerebro, so Magneto and the Brotherhood can sneak in undetected. Magneto contacts him, and Wolverine confirms he deactivated Cerebro, but says he wants Marvel Girl to go free. The next day, in the Danger Room, Wolverine is annoyed to see Scott and Jean close together, and drops in. That’s when the Brotherhood attacks. Lorelei hypnotizes the men. Jean makes a run for the Danger Room’s emergency alarm. Magneto throws a metal panel at her, but Wolverine blocks it. The X-Men are freed from Lorelei’s singing, and fight back. Before Wolverine can kill Magneto, Cyclops stops him. Magneto makes Wolverine kills himself, then dies.
Not a bad story, as it goes. A reasonably interesting way of going about it. Standard characterization, somewhat uninspired story beats, bland art – it’s certainly not a great story. But few What If? stories really were. Most of the stories in the series, especially this early, tended to be pretty dull and weak.
So now, let’s talk about Marvel Two-In-One #84, with the Thing and Alpha Flight, by Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson. Ranark finds a couple of campers and wrecks their stuff, then leaves. The Thing, Shaman and Sasquatch are at James Hudson’s apartment, where they review the situation. Vindicator goes to call up Aurora, Northstar and Snowbird. Meanwhile, Ranark destroys a couple fighter jets. Northstar refuses to answer Vindicator’s call, but Aurora goes. Ranark lands in Winnipeg, and starts to wreck the place, until Alpha Flight shows up. Ranark causes an earthquake, which causes a building to start to collapse. Sasquatch and the Thing hold it up while everyone inside escapes. Aurora catches a falling child, saying that flight’s only one of her talents, “and you’re too young to appreciate the others!” She just told a kid she’s great in bed. That seems . . . wildly inappropriate.
Ranark’s harassing cars on the highway. Vindicator and Shaman try to stop him, but with no luck. Thing punches him, but it doesn’t work. Sasquatch attacks him one-on-one, but also without success, and he gets dragged into the ground. Vindicator blasts Ranark in order to help out Sasquatch, but then has to pop away from an energy blast. Northstar shows up to pound on Ranark, which distracts him long enough for Sasquatch to break free. Aurora and Northstar clasp hands to create a light to blind Ranark, Thing and Sasquatch throw a couple cars at him to momentarily knock him unconscious, and Shaman throws some magic dust on him to take him out of the fight.
Then it turns out Langowski can’t do anything to help Bill Foster.
This was OK. I do love me some Alpha Flight. But this wasn’t Byrne’s Flight. Which is coming up, though.