Spring begins officially today. Outside the sound of lambs bleating and duckies quacking is deafening. No? You live in a different headspace than me, then. My spring break is in the rearview. Bryon and I took a small junket into Chicagoland with a couple of friends for an overnight and an eating tour. We had a great time at some places we knew were good, and discovered an awesome little Greek place we’ll be sure to visit again.
There has been a little bit of writer action. On Wednesday last, I read the first draft of a new short story, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It will be critiqued tomorrow, and then sent off to the anthology it will appear in later this year thereafter. If you’re interested in seeing me read, plus hearing another wonderful writer, Juliet Kemp, you can go right here.
Now, finally, some discussion of Marvels’s What If?. For those of you not interested in animation, What If? is a cartoon anthology that takes its cue from the Marvel anthology comic of the same name. Because the show was created on Disney +, it riffs on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The star of the cartoon series and the titular comic is Uatu, the Watcher. And of course, I’ve borrowed this image from Marvel.
Uatu is a super cool character. He is a member of a powerful alien species, but they’ve taken vows to not interfere in the manipulations of the multiverse. That’s right. One of the cooler powers of Uatu is that he can see all the multiverses AT THE SAME TIME. Sort of like a Netflix streaming super power.
In the comic, Uatu would usually see something cheesy, like WHAT IF Tony Stark had been evil, or WHAT IF the Fantastic Four all got each other’s powers. The answer to these questions in the comic was often a). Nothing would change or b.) The world would be destroyed. I was a little skeptical that this series would yield contemplative fruit with the comic as its template, but I was happy to be wrong.
Two episodes of the What If? anthology were my favorites. The first one was when Peggy Carter gets injected with the super soldier serum herself, and becomes Captain Carter. Steve Rogers ends up with a very big version of Stark armor called the Hydra Stomper, and the two of them become the darlings of the Allies, fighting the Axis, until Captain Carter is whisked away to the future by interdimensional exploits. the second one is when Dr. Strange gets this idea that saving Christine Palmer is worth any sacrifice, including super dark magic. Predictable results? You betcha. BUT character growth? You betcha.
There are other interesting turns. What if Prince T’Challa became Star Lord is great, and the most significant event in the universe IS NOT that Yondu gets to keep all his teeth. What if Ultron beat the Avengers? What if Uatu could no longer just watch?
The good news if you haven’t watched What If? yet, is that you can easily fill in a few spare moments with an enjoyable 25 minute episode. And no previous knowledge of Marvel is required to enjoy it, although you can enjoy the twists better if you’ve at least seen the movies.