What if…?

Staff writer Charles Fick discusses Marvel’s new show, What If…?, an exploration of what the Marvel universe could have been.

Though a cartoon series, What If...? has all the action and adventure of the Marvel world.

Though a cartoon series, What If…? has all the action and adventure of the Marvel world.

Explosions and gunfire rock the laboratory, and Agent Peggy Carter stands with a steely determination to stop the chaos. An injured Steve Rogers buckles beneath his own weight and after a moment of hesitation, she climbs into the injection chamber.

Marvel’s new show, What If…? explores what events could have happened if something was different in the Marvel universe. The series kicked off with an alternative to an early Marvel blockbuster: Captain America: The First Avenger.

In this episode, Steve Rogers (Captain America) is injured in a surprise attack by Hydra before he is supposed to undergo the process that created America’s first super soldier. Against the wishes of military command, Peggy decides to take the serum after seeing Steve lying injured on the ground. After becoming a super soldier, Carter wishes to fight on the front lines, but is denied because she is a woman. Despite this, she goes on two missions against orders, and proves herself in battle. She assembles a team of friends she found during her missions to the compound where the tesseract, a powerful artifact, is and frees a captured Rogers while she is there. After defeating the Red Skull, the villain guarding the tesseract, she and her team have to combat an interdimensional monster summoned by the use of the tesseract.

One of the episode’s strong points is that all of the events make sense. For example, Steve didn’t get shot just out of nowhere, he got shot because in this timeline, Carter wasn’t fast enough to stop the attacker. Also, the fight scenes were well animated and thought out. It was like the characters were alive on the screen.

Despite this episode’s successes, I was disappointed by the similarities with The First Avenger. Replacing Rogers with Carter wasn’t enough to make the episode feel unique. The plot remained relatively the same for an episode detailing the changes a single action could make in the Marvel universe. However, the big tentacle monster at the end is one difference from the movie and was pretty cool, but the rest seemed very similar.

Overall, if I had to give this episode a rating out of 10. I would give it a 7.9. The story seemed just a little too similar to the movie, but the events did come together and made sense that they were there. In addition, the dialogue did seem a little too fast paced, with not enough pause in between lines. Even with all of its flaws, this first episode of What If was exceptional, and I would watch it again.