Marvel What If…? Episode 3 Review
We all know the story of the Avengers by now. A group of remarkable people come together to become Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and fight the battles others never could. That’s how it goes in most of the comics, and how it went in the MCU.
At least, in the main MCU timeline. But in the Multirverse, anything is possible. Like, for example, a timeline where someone offs the Avengers before they even have a chance to assemble. This week, What If…? asks the question of what would happen if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes never got off the ground.
Fury’s Worst Week Ever
Fun fact: in the MCU, the events of Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and a good part of Iron Man 2 all took place in the span of a single week. That week wound up proving key to the creation of the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Or, it was supposed to.
In this week’s dive into the Multiverse, the Watcher shows us a universe where that never happened. Instead, Tony Stark suddenly croaks in the donut shop while talking to Fury and Black Widow. Thor gets shot by an arrow that Hawkeye supposedly misfired. And then Hawkeye’s found dead, too!
It soon becomes clear that someone’s going around targeting all the names on Fury’s list for the Avengers Initiative, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Loki shows up with an army demanding justice for his brother’s death and wants Earth to either pay up, or burn!
Who is killing the heroes, though? The answer…will be told right here and now. It’s Hank Pym.
Why Hank Killed Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
There’s a reason why I just spoiled who the killer is, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, I think it’s worth talking about why Hank went nuts like this, and how it’s not as jarring as you might think.
In this universe, Hank’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne, wound up becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, only to die on a mission. Coupled with the seeming loss of his wife, this was enough to send Hank over the edge. And instead of getting revenge on Fury himself, he just went around killing people who had nothing to do with his daughter’s death. Hank claims it’s because he wanted Fury to suffer like he did, but in truth, it’s nothing more than a jerk move. He’s spitefully robbing Earth of its mightiest heroes and risking everyone, a fact made all the more clear when, after all’s said and done, Loki conquers the planet.
Again, this is not surprising when you look at Hank’s comic book history. He’s had years of mental instability. He even hit his wife at one point. So, him being a serial killer here is, ironically, bringing him more in line with his comic book history.
Weakest Episode To Date
Whereas the two previous episodes were fun and imaginative, this episode was, in a word, dark. Everything that could go wrong for Nick Fury did go wrong, with him losing most of the Avengers roster before they ever meet up. If it had ended like that, then it might have been slightly better. However, Disney then reminds us of the fact that the Avengers were just a few heroes in a universe that would soon be sprawling with them. Captain America was still on ice, Captain Marvel returns from deep space, and I’m pretty sure War Machine could fill in for Iron Man at this point. Bottom line, the Avengers would assemble, albeit with different members.
It doesn’t change the fact that this was my least favorite episode of the series to date. Then again, in the Multiverse, we were bound to find versions that would suck like this. Regardless, this is one branching timeline I don’t think I’ll want to re-visit anytime soon.
I Give “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” a 2/5
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