What If? Classic, Vol. 1
by various writers & artists
(Marvel Comics, 2004)

When Marvel Comics launched its first What If? comics series in 1977, I was a very young fan. I remember the astonishing scene on the cover of that first issue staring me in the face: "What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four?" Already familiar with the first confrontation between Spidey and the FF from reprints of the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, I was ecstatic at what I was about to delve into -- a retelling of a classic tale that goes in a completely different direction to satisfy the questions to which many of us didn't even realize we wanted answers.

The rest, as they say, is history. History, however, has never been more fun than it is in the first volume of Marvel's What If? Classic. Within its pages are tales that thrill the reader, tickle the imagination and show off some impressive work by creators who helped write a very important chapter in comics history. Among those notable figures of such sensational sequential savvy are Roy Thomas, Jim Shooter, Herb Trimpe, Jim Craig, Pablo Marcos, Gil Kane, Klaus Janson, Frank Robbins and George Tuska, all very talented and long-admired industry veterans.

By now, I hope you're getting the idea. This tome would be worth the price of admission if it were run-of-the-mill superhero fare. But with concepts like a world without the classic Avengers (and the consequent birth of the Armored Avengers), a post-World War II world WITH the Invaders, a Fantastic Four with wildly different superpowers and the aforementioned Spider-Man/FF tale, this book is a must for Marvel fans, or any fans of good ol' knock-down, drag-out superhero action! Even those who aren't strict comics fans but are familiar with Marvel's heavily optioned-out properties could find this collection entertaining.

by Mark Allen
7 July 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.