Is ‘What If…?’ on Disney+ Really Darker than the Comics?

What If…? is a Marvel Studios collection in contrast to something followers have ever seen earlier than. There’s the truth that it’s MCU’s first animated collection, clearly, however the distinction between What If…? and all the pieces that got here earlier than is far more, uh, intense. What If…? is darkish as hell.

For a franchise that tends to err on the aspect of household pleasant, What If…? has solely gotten more and more extra distressing over the previous few weeks. The primary two episodes have been enjoyable! Agent Carter turns into a superhero! Black Panther goes to area! After which we noticed a serial killer take out the Avengers’ beginning lineup, witnessed Physician Unusual destroy his actuality, and visited a world overrun by zombies… and watched a number of of our faves get ripped aside. What If…?’s darkness is barely enhanced by the truth that these surprisingly sinister tales are being instructed by way of animation. The present might look all Disney-esque, however the vibe is far more Stephen King.

What’s going on right here? The place does What If…? get off being so horrific? What’s with all of the demise? These are legitimate inquiries to ask in the event you haven’t learn Marvel’s volumes of What If…? comics. If in case you have, then you definately’ve most likely spent the previous few weeks pondering, “Yeah, this bloody mayhem checks out.”

What If - Zombie Wanda
Picture: Disney+

So, is What If…? (the animated collection) any darker than What If…? (the comedian ebook collection)? To search out out if the comedian collection actually was as darkish as I keep in mind it being once I was in elementary faculty, I turned my very own type of Watcher and visited dozens of alternate realities by way of my iPad. Along with studying 50 What If…? comics printed between 1977 and 2018, I additionally analyzed information from all 219 problems with the franchise and counted deaths. Somebody needed to do it!

When it launched in 1977, the primary What If…? ongoing collection (47 points) was a spot for the kinda tales instructed within the first two episodes. “What If Spider-Man Joined the Improbable 4?” “What If the Hulk Had the Mind of Bruce Banner?” “What If Jane Foster Had Discovered the Hammer of Thor?”—these positively weren’t at all times completely happy tales and loads of them had twists, however they didn’t finish with mass homicide. Because the collection has progressed, beginning with the second collection in 1989 (115 points) and persevering with with the semi-regular launch of one-off tales since 2005 (57 points), the What If…? style has gotten more and more apocalypse-ish.

What If - Doctor Strange using powers
Picture: Disney+

Let’s use Disney+’s What If…? as a baseline. Individuals began to surprise why the present was going darkish with Episode 3, “What If… the World Misplaced Its Mightiest Heroes?” That episode featured the deaths of 5 superheroes (Iron Man, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow). Episode 4, “What If… Physician Unusual Misplaced His Coronary heart As a substitute of His Palms?”, obliterated a whole actuality. And Episode 5, “What If… Zombies?!”, was, uh, an apocalyptic zombie bloodbath. The primary two episodes had zero hero deaths in them, so primarily any What If…? comedian concern that comprises a giant superhero demise is darker than what viewers thought they have been getting with the animated collection. So, with that metric in place:

  • Quantity 1: 36% of the problems are as darkish or darker than the animated collection
  • Quantity 2: 51% of the problems are as darkish or darker than the animated collection
  • Quantity “3”: 75% of the problems are as darkish or darker than the animated collection

That’s fairly broad, since any concern with not less than one massive (normally violent) hero demise is counted. For instance, “What If… the Avengers Had By no means Been?” ends with Iron Man dying of a coronary heart assault; and “What If… the Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?” reveals Peter Parker getting the youth sucked out of him by an alien symbiote and left an aged husk.

Iron Man dead
What If…? #3 (1977) by Jim Shooter (author), Gil Kane (artist), Klaus Janson (inker), George Roussos (colorist), Denise Wohl (letterer)Picture: Marvel Comics
What If - Spider-Man dying of old age
What If…? #4 (1989) by Danny Fingeroth (author), Mark Bagley (artist), Keith Williams (inker), Tom Vincent (colorist), Ken Lopez (letterer)Picture: Marvel Comics

Now let’s drill down even additional! What about points which are as darkish or darker than Episode 3, the one with the serial killer and not less than 5 lifeless heroes?

  • Quantity 1: 8% of the problems have 5 or extra hero deaths
  • Quantity 2: 24% of the problems have 5 or extra hero deaths
  • Quantity “3”: 42% of the problems have 5 or extra hero deaths

Clearly “What If… the Hulk Went Berserk?” and “What If… the X-Males Died On Their First Mission?” fall into this class. The physique rely is virtually within the title. Then there are the surprising ones, like when the obscure Marvel UK bounty hunter Dying’s Head stabs Mr. Improbable by way of the cranium, decapitates Namor, and explodes Luke Cage and the Factor.

What If - Namor decapitated
What If…? #54 (1993) by Simon Furman (author), Geoff Senior (artist), Sarra Mossoff (colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer)Picture: Marvel Comics

In some instances, the physique rely goes manner increased than 5 however stops wanting complete annihilation. “What If… Legion Had Killed Magneto?” concludes with Phoenix turning Washington, D.C. to ash and killing 100,000 folks.

Additionally on that degree are a couple of tales the place possibly the physique rely isn’t so excessive, however the endings are bleak AF. “What If… Captain America Have been Revived At present?” results in the USA turning into a full-blown, “America First” fascist hell-scape. And will you are expecting that Kraven the Hunter efficiently killing Spider-Man would result in the tip of the Avengers and the criminalization and vilification of all superheroes?

What If - Zombie Cap
Picture: Disney+

There are many tales that descend into the type of insanity seen in Episode 4, “What If… Zombies?!” The moon will get destroyed, nearly all of Earth’s inhabitants are changed into Skrulls after which exterminated—there’s a difficulty titled “What If… Marvel Comics Went Metallic with Ghost Rider?” that ends with demons taking on the Earth!

That brings us to the darkest of all endings: complete obliteration, as seen in What If…? Episode 3. Chaos on this scale is definitely uncommon within the line, with solely 17% of all What If…? tales ending with a state of affairs the place everyone is lifeless.

What If - Earth destroyed
What If…? #55 (1993) by Len Kaminski (author), Craig Brasfield (artist), Frank Turner (inker), Bob Sharen (colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer)Picture: Marvel Comics

“What If… Phoenix Had Not Died?” and “What If… Vulcan Gained the Energy of the Phoenix?” are two of these. One other one is, hilariously, “What If… Phoenix Had Fallen for Wolverine?” One flawed hook-up and all of actuality is destroyed!

Whenever you crunch the numbers, What If…? was a fairly darkish comedian ebook franchise. In the event you choose up any random concern of What If…?, there’s a 50/50 likelihood you’re gonna see not less than one superhero get killed, and there’s a one-in-three likelihood that you simply’re gonna get a massacre.

What If - Phoenix blowing up Earth
What If…? #27 (1981) by Mary Jo Duffy (author), June Brigman (artist), John Stuart (inker), Carl Gafford (colorist), Artie Simek, Janice Chiang (letterer)Picture: Marvel Comics

It’s too quickly to inform if Disney+’s What If…? goes to comply with that precedent. We’re gonna want a couple of extra tales that lean extra in the direction of cold and weird than bloody and weird simply to steadiness issues out after the previous few weeks. However proper now? Yeah, What If…? is doing what What If…? does finest: wreak havoc.

Stream What If…? on Disney+ | Is ‘What If…?’ on Disney+ Actually Darker than the Comics?


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