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Time. Space. Reality. Comics. This is more than a linear guide. Welcome to the world of What If, where we ponder the question “What If…?”

As we travel deeper into the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, now is the perfect time to wrap our minds around the prisms of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities: What if the Fantastic Four were bananas? What if Aunt May was Ant-Man? What if all the Watchers watched Watchers watching Watchers?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these deep, thought-provoking questions, then this is the guide for you. Gathered below are the answers to the above and more, along with over 500 hokey hypotheticals to inspire your multiversal meditations!

What If…? Comics Recommendations:

  • What If…? (1977)
    • #1, 3, 7, 12, 19-20, 22, 24-25, 27, 29-36, 39, 42-45
  • What If…? (1989)
    • #1, 4, 7, 13, 16-17, 23-26, 30-31, 34, 37, 44, 46-47, 49, 51-52, 55-56, 58, 60-62, 64, 87, 94, 105, 114
  • What If…? One-Shots
    • What If… Aunt May Had Died Instead of Uncle Ben? (2004) #1
    • What If… General Ross Had Become the Hulk? (2004) #1
    • What If…? Spider-Man: The Other (2006) #1
    • What If…? Planet Hulk (2007) #1
    • What If…? Annihilation (2007) #1
    • What If…? Civil War (2007) #1
    • What If…? Spider-Man vs. Wolverine (2007) #1
    • What If…? Secret Wars (2008) #1
    • What If…? Iron Man: Demon in an Armor (2010) #1
    • What If…? Venom/Deadpool (2010) #1
    • What If…? (2010) #200
    • What If…? The Punisher (2018) #1
    • What If…? Spider-Man (2018) #1
    • What If…? Magik (2018) #1

Other Recommendations:

  • Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe (1995) #1
  • Marvel 1602 (2003)
  • Marvel Zombies (2005) #1-5
  • Bullet Points (2007) #1-5
  • Hero Initiative: Mike Wieringo (2008) #1
  • Secret Wars, Too (2015) (collection)
  • Exiles (2018) #1-12

That might look like a lot, but that’s just because they’re all so good! The best What If comics are Marvel masterpieces that re-examine the heart of a well-known story or character through a new lens. But with so many relaunches and renumberings, it can be confusing to keep track of all these wacky What Ifs!

In the guide below, we will try to make sense of the nonsense. Many of the issues have multiple stories, which are all marked below. Many of these stories also have sequels in other comics, which have been marked as well. And remember, these are just imaginary stories… But aren’t they all?

For more related to What If comics and the multiverse, check out our other reading guides, including Multiverse of Madness, Kang the Conqueror and the Spider-Verse!

“Ponder the question….”

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What If…? (1977)

Before What If, Marvel tested out a number of satirical series which turned the Marvel Universe on its head (these issues have been included in the “What The–?!” parody section below). The official What If comics series wouldn’t debut until 1977… and while it started out earnestly, the series quickly devolved into wacky chaos. One of the most famous examples is What If #34, a single issue bursting with seventy-five absurd realities. For actual stories, two major standouts include What If #32 and #44.

Meanwhile, Mark Gruenwald & Ron Wilson pushed the bounds of What If comics by connecting issues #23-28 into a cinematic saga featuring The Eternals!

For What If comic collections, check out What If…? Classic (reprints the full 1977 run), What If…? The Original Marvel Series Omnibus (reprints the full 1977 run), and Best of What If…? (reprints material from 1977 #1, 8, 24, 27-28, 32,  34, 36). Our full list of recommendations is at the top of this guide, but I’ve marked a few special issues below in bold.

  • What If…? (1977) #1-47
    • #1: “What If… Spider-Man Had Joined The Fantastic Four?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #21, 35, and Paradise X: Heralds (2001)
    • #2: “What If… the Hulk Had The Brain of Bruce Banner?”
    • #3: “What If… The Avengers Had Never Been?”
    • #4: “What If… The Invaders Had Stayed Together After World War Two?”
    • #5: “What If… Captain America Hadn’t Vanished During World War Two?”
    • #6: “What If… The Fantastic Four Had Different Super-Powers?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #39
    • #7: “What If… Someone Else Had Been Bitten By The Radioactive Spider?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #76 and What If…? Spider-Man (2018) #1
    • #8: “What If… The World Knew Daredevil Was Blind?”
      • “What If… The Spider Had Been Bitten By a Radioactive Human?”
    • #9: “What If… The Avengers Had Been Formed During the 1950’s?”
    • #10: “What If… Jane Foster Had Found the Hammer of Thor?”
    • #11: “What If… The Fantastic Four Were the Original Marvel Bullpen?”
      • Continued in Paradise X: Heralds
    • #12: “What If… Rick Jones Had Become the Hulk?”
    • #13: “What If… Conan the Barbarian Walked the Earth Today?”
      • Continued in What If? (1977) #43
    • #14: “What If… Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos Had Fought World War II in Outer Space?”
      • Continued in Paradise X: Heralds
    • #15: “What If… Someone Else Had Become Nova?”
    • #16: “What If… Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, Had Remained Loyal to Fu Manchu?”
    • #17: “What If… Ghost Rider, Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel Had Remained Villains?”
    • #18: “What If… Dr. Strange Had Been a Disciple of Dormammu?”
    • #19: “What If… Spider-Man Had Not Become a Crimefighter?”
    • #20: “What If… the Avengers Had Fought the Kree-Skrull War Without Rick Jones?”
    • #21: “What If… Sub-Mariner Had Married the Invisible Girl?”
    • #22: “What If… Dr. Doom Had Become a Hero?”
    • #23: “What If… Hulk’s Girlfriend Jarella Had Not Died?”
      • Eternals: “The First Celestial Host” 
      • “What If… Aunt May Had Been Bitten By the Radioactive Spider?”

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    • #24: “What If… Gwen Stacy Had Lived?”
      • Eternals: “The First Eternals”
    • #25: “What If… Thor and the Avengers Battled the Gods?”
      • Eternals: “The First Uni-Mind”
    • #26: “What If… Captain America Were Elected President?”
      • “What If… The Man-Thing Had Regained Ted Sallis’ Brain?”
      • Eternals: “Outpost on Uranus”
    • #27: “What If… The Phoenix Had Not Died?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #32-33
      • Eternals: “Kree Encounter!”
    • 28: “What If… Daredevil Became an Agent of SHIELD?”
      • “What If… Ghost Rider Were Separated from Johnny Blaze?”
      • Eternals: “New Life”
      • “Wonders of Nature “
    • #29: “What If… The Avengers Defeated Everybody?”
      • “The Search for the Great Refuge!”
      • “What If… The Sub-Mariner Never Regained His Memory?”
    • #30: “What If… Spider-Man’s Clone Lived?”
      • “Moving Day!”
    • #31: “What If… Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #50
      • “What If… There Was No Fantastic Four?”
    • #32: “What If… Avengers Had Become the Pawns of Korvac?”
      • Continued in What If…? (1977) #43
    • #33: “What If… The Dazzler Had Become the Herald of Galactus?”
      • “What If… Iron Man Had Been Trapped in King Arthur’s Time?”
    • #34: “What If… The Watcher Were a Stand-up Comedian?
      • Comedy special with 75 ridiculous scenarios!
    • #35: “What If… Elektra Had Lived?”
      • “And Thus Are Born the Cat People!”
      • “What If… Yellowjacket Had Died?”
    • #36: “What If… The Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Powers?”
      • Continued in What If…? (1989) #39
      • “What If… Richard Rider Had Not Lost the Power of Nova?”
    • #37: “What If… The Thing Had Continued To Mutate?”
      • Continued in What If…? (1989) #9 
      • “What If… The Beast Had Truly Become A Beast?”
      • “What If… Galactus Had Turned The Silver Surfer Back Into Norrin Radd?”
    • #38: “3 Stunning Sagas of Alternate Futures!” (Wanda & Vision, Captain America, and Daredevil)
    • #39: “What If… The Mighty Thor Battled Conan the Barbarian?”
    • #40: “What If… Dr. Strange Had Never Become Master of the Mystic Arts?”
    • #41: “What If… Destiny Had Not Destroyed Atlantis?”
    • #42: “What If… Susan Richards Had Died in Childbirth?”
    • #43: “What If… Conan the Barbarian Were Stranded in the 20th Century?”
      • “Behold…”
    • #44: “What If… Captain America Were Revived Today?”
      • Continued in What If? (1989) #67-68
    • #45: “What If… The Hulk Went Berserk?!”
    • #46: “What If… Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben Had Lived?”
    • #47: “What If… Loki Had Found the Hammer of Thor?”

 

Extra material:

  • Marvel Team-Up (1972) #137 (“What If… Aunt May Was the Herald of Galactus?”)
  • Gates of What If…? (1986) (Game)
  • Paradise X: Heralds (2001) #1-3
    • Revisits What If…? (1977) #1, 9, 11, 14, 40

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What If…? (1989)

What If  was relaunched for the 1990s and ran for a whopping 114 issues. Like the original series, the new What If comics also included a comedy special in #34. This was immediately followed by the multiverse-breaking Timequake crossover, which explained the details of Nexus Beings for the very first time. The full series is currently being reprinted for the first time in What If…? Into The Multiverse Omnibus. Some of the issues were previously reprinted in 1996 as X-Men: Alterniverse Visions (#40, 59, 62, 66, 69).

Some of the best issues of the run include What If #13, 44, 64 Major highlights are marked in bold. But with so many great stories, why not read them all?!

The final issue shows an alternate future based on Secret Wars where the heroes’ kids become the next generation of heroes. Could this be the Young Avengers’ future in the MCU?

  • What If…? (1989) #1-114, -1; Special #1
    • Special #1: “What If… Iron Man Had Been a Traitor?”
    • #1: “What If… The Avengers Had Lost the Evolutionary War?”
    • #2: “What If… Daredevil Had Killed The Kingpin?”
    • #3: “What If… Steve Rogers Had Refused to Give Up Being Captain America?”
      • “What If… Ben Parker’s Nephew Was Galactus?”
      • “What If… Franklin Richards Had Found the Hammer of Thor?”
      • “What If… Wolverine Got a Real Job?”
    • #4: “What If… The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?”
      • Continued in Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow (2021)
    • #5: “What If… Wonder Man Had Not Died?”
      • “What If… The Vision Had Destroyed the Avengers?”
      • “What If… The Incredible Hulk Had Become a High School Monitor?”
    • #6: “What If… The X-Men Had Lost Inferno?”
    • #7: “What If… Wolverine Was an Agent of SHIELD?”
      • “What If… Aunt May Was a Mutant with Claws?!”
      • “What If… Captain America Hadn’t Been Thawed Out?”
      • “What If… The Punisher Didn’t Use Guns?”
    • #8: “What If… Iron Man Lost the Armor Wars?”
    • #9: “What If… The New X-Men Had Died On Their Very First Mission?”
      • “What If… Black Bolt Talked in His Sleep?”
      • “What If… The Thing’s Body Kept Mutating?”
    • #10: “What If… The Punisher’s Family Had Not Been Killed in Central Park?”
      • “What If… The Living Recorder Had to Find Work on Earth?” (Part 1)
        • Continued in What If…? (1989) #17
      • “What If… The Thing Were an Elvis Presley Impersonator?”
      • “What If… Hawkeye Used Golf Clubs Instead of a Bow and Arrows?”
    • #11: “What If… The Fantastic Four All Had The Same Powers?”
    • #12: “What If… The X-Men Had Stayed In Asgard?”
    • #13: “What If… Professor X Had Become the Juggernaut?”
    • #14: “What If… Captain Marvel Had Not Died?”
    • #15: “What If… The Fantastic Four Had Lost The Trial of Galactus?”

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    • #16: “What If… Wolverine Battled Conan the Barbarian?”
    • #17: “What If… Kraven The Hunter Had Killed Spider-Man?”
      • “What If… the Living Recorder Had to Work on Earth?” (Part 2)
      • “What If… Daredevil Had a Dishonest Tailor?”
    • #18: “What If… The Fantastic Four Battled Dr. Doom Before They Gained Their Powers?”
      • “What If… The Puppet Master Used Real Puppets?”
      • “What If… The Punisher Got Funky?”
    • #19: “What If… The Vision Had Conquered the World?”
    • #20: “What If… Spider-Man Had Not Married Mary Jane?” (Part 1)
      • Inspired Spider-Man: One More Day!
      • “What If… Spider-Man Had a Son?”
      • “What If… Ghost Rider Hit a Puddle”
      • “What If… Namor Worked As a Stunt Double for Mr. Spock?”
    • #21: “What If… Spider-Man Married the Black Cat?” (Part 2)
    • #22: “What If… The Silver Surfer Had Not Escaped Earth?”
    • #23: “What If… The All-New All-Different X-Men Had Never Existed?”
    • #24: “What If… Wolverine Had Become The Lord of the Vampires?”
      • Continued in What If…? (1989) #37
    • #25: “What If… The Marvel Super Heroes Had Lost Atlantis Attacks?”
      • “What If… Set Had Come to Earth?”
      • “What If… The Punisher were a Herald of Galactus?”
      • “What If… The Human Torch and Iceman were Partners?”
    • #26: “What If… The Punisher Killed Daredevil?”
    • #27: “What If… Namor Had Joined The Fantastic Four?”
    • #28: “What If… Captain America Had Led an Army of Super Soldier in World War II?” (Part 1)
    • #29: “What If… Captain America Had Formed the Avengers?” (Part 2)
      • Continues in What If…? (1989) #103!
    • #30: “What If… The Invisible Woman Had Her Second Child?”
      • “What If… The Fantastic Four’s Second Child Had Lived?”
      • Inspired the character of Valeria Richards!
    • #31: “What If… Spider-Man Had Kept His Cosmic Powers?”
    • #32: “What If… Phoenix Had Lived?” (Part 1)
    • #33: “What If… Phoenix Rose Again?” (Part 2)
    • #34: “What If… No One Was Watching the Watcher?”
      • Comedy special with 23 ridiculous scenarios!
    • #35-39: Timequake
      • #35: “What If… The Fantastic Five had invaded the Negative Zone?”
      • #36: “What If… The Cosmic Avengers Battled the Guardians of the Galaxy?”
      • #37: “What If… Wolverine Had Been Lord of the Vampires During Inferno?”
      • #38: “What If… Thor Was a Thrall of Seth?”
      • #39: “What If… The Watcher Saved the Multiverse?”
    • #40: “What If… Storm Stayed a Thief?”
    • #41: “What If… The Avengers Had Fought Galactus?”
      • “What If… The Fantastic Four Was Led By Keith Richards Instead of Reed Richards?”
      • “What If… Wolverine! Was the Worst There Was At What He Does?”
    • #42: “What If… Spider-Man Had Kept His Six Arms?”
    • #43: “What If… Wolverine Had Married Mariko?”
    • #44: “What If… Venom Had Possessed the Punisher?”
    • #45: “What If… Barbara Ketch Became Ghost Rider?”

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    • #46: “What If… Cable Had Destroyed the X-Men?” (Part 1)
    • #47: “What If… Magneto Took Over The USA?” (Part 2)
    • #48: “What If… Daredevil Saved Nuke?”
    • #49: “What If… Silver Surfer Possessed the Infinity Gauntlet?”
      • Continued in What If…? (1989) #104
    • #50: “What If… The Hulk Killed Wolverine?”
    • #51: “What If… The Punisher Became Captain America?”
    • #52: “What If… Doom Became Sorcerer Supreme?”
    • #53: “What If… the Iron Man of 2020 Had Been Stranded in the Past?”
      • “What If… Rick Jones Remained the Hulk?”
      • “What If… Spider-Man Killed the Lizard?”
    • #54: “What If… Minion Had Not Killed Death’s Head?”
    • #55: “What If… The Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm?” (Part 1)
    • #56: “What If… The Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm?” (Part 2)
    • #57: “What If… The Punisher Became an Agent of SHIELD?”
    • #58: “What If… The Punisher Had Killed Spider-Man?”
    • #59: “What If… Wolverine Led Alpha Flight?”
    • #60: “A What If… X-Men Wedding Album”
      • “What If… Scott Summers and Jean Grey Had Married Earlier?”
      • “What If… Scott Summers and Jean Grey Had Never Fallen in Love at All?”
      • “What If… Phoenix Had Fallen for Wolverine?
    • #61: “What If… Spider-Man’s Parents Destroyed His Family?”
    • #62: “What If… Logan Battled Weapon X?”
    • #63: “What If… War Machine Had Not Destroyed the Living Laser?”
      • “What If… The Living Laser Committed Suicide?”
      • “What If… The Living Laser Saved Stark Enterprises?”
      • “What If… The Living Laser Worked for Stark in Space?”
    • #64: “What If… Iron Man Sold Out?”
    • #65: “What If… Archangel Fell From Grace?”
    • #66: “What If… Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor?”
    • #67: “What If… Captain America Were Revived Today?” (Part 1)
    • #68: “What If… Captain America Were Revived Today?” (Part 2)
    • #69: “What If… Stryfe Killed the X-Men?”
    • #70: “What If… The Silver Surfer Had Not Betrayed Galactus?”
    • #71: “What If… The Gamma Bomb Spawned A Thousand Hulks?”
    • #72: “What If… Spider-Man Became a Murderer?”
    • #73: “What If… The Kingpin Owned Daredevil?”
    • #74: “What If… Mr. Sinister Formed the X-Men?”
    • #75: “What If… Blink Had Not Died?”
    • #76: “What If… Peter Parker Had to Destroy Spider-Man?”
    • #77: “What If… Legion Killed Magneto?”
    • #78: “What If… The New Fantastic Four Had Remained A Team?”
    • #79: “What If… Storm Had the Power of Phoenix?”
    • #80: “What If… The Hulk Had Evolved Into the Maestro?”
    • #81: “What If… The Age of Apocalypse Had Not Ended?”
    • #82: “What If… J. Jonah Jameson Adopted Spider-Man?”
    • #83: “What If… Daredevil Was The Disciple of Doctor Strange? (For the Love, Honor and the Soul of Elektra)”
    • #84: “What If… Shard Had Lived Instead of Bishop?”
    • #85: “What If… Magneto Ruled All Mutants?”

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    • #86: “What If… Scarlet Spider Had Killed Spider-Man?”
    • #87: “What If… Sabretooth Was Loose in the X-Mansion? (Screams in the Night)”
    • #88: “What If… Spider-Man Had Evolved into a Spider-Monster? (Arachnamorphosis)”
    • #89: “What If… The Fantastic Four’s Powers Were Out of Control?”
    • #90: “What If… Cyclops and Havok Were Not Orphaned?”
    • #91: “What If… Bruce Banner Was Savage and the Hulk Intelligent?”
    • #92: “What If… Josh had discovered a Sentinel?”
    • #93: “What If… Wolverine Became Savage?”
    • #94: “What If… The Juggernaut Had Killed Xavier and the X-Men? (Kingdom of Cain)”
    • #95: “What If… The Ghost Rider Was Different?”
    • #96: “What If… Magneto Had Raised His Children?”
    • #97: “What If… Doctor Doom Had Conquered Camelot? (Starring Black Knight)”
    • #98: “What If… Mystique Had Raised Nightcrawler? (Starring Rogue)”
    • #-1: “The Traitor (Starring Bishop)”
    • #99: “What If… Black Cat Was a Celebrity? (Starring Spider-Man)”
    • #100: “What If… 100th Anniversary Spectacular”
      • “What If… Mr. Sinister Learned the Greatest Secrets of the Marvel Universe?”
      • “What If… The Fantastic Four Went to Oz?”
    • #101: “What If… Archangel Had Killed X-Factor and the Horsemen?”
      • “What If… Gambit Was a Card Hustler?
    • #102: “What If… Matt Murdock Had Become a Boxer?”
    • #103: “What If… Captain America Had Awoken in a Dystopian America?”
    • #104: “What If… The Impossible Man Possessed the Infinity Gauntlet? (Starring Silver Surfer)”
    • #105: “What If… Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s Child Had Survived?
    • #106: “What If… Marrow Had Killed Gambit?”
    • #107: “What If… Thor Had Assumed the Throne of Asgard?”
    • #108: “What If… The Avengers Battled the Cosmic Carnage (the Silver Surfer)?”
    • #109: “What If… The Thing Was Human Again? (Starring the Fantastic Four)”
      • “What If… Rogue was Ugly?”
    • #110: “What If… Colossus Had Joined the U.S.S.R.’s Soviet Super-Soldiers?”
      • “What If… Doctor Doom Had Succeeded in Conquering the World?”
    • #111: “What If… Wolverine Was a Horseman of War?”
    • #112: “What If… Thanos Turned Manhattan into a Savage Land? (Ka-Zar: Brave Old World)”
    • #113: “What If… Tony Stark Had Become Sorcerer Supreme?”
    • #114: “What If… Secret Wars Never Ended? (25 Years Later)” 
    • Quasar (1989) #30
      • “Wandering the Worlds of What If…?”
      • Revisits past What If stories! (What If…? (1977) #32; (1989) #1, 4, 14, 24-25, 32) 
  •  

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What If…? (2000s)

The 2000s saw the What If…? comics shift in approach. Instead of a regular ongoing series, Marvel began publishing annual What If…? miniseries. The new comics revisited major events in Marvel history, both new and some old. Many of them also feature backup stories, some of which connect (Venom/Deadpool and Runaways/Young Avengers) and some of which were purely for fun (Say What?).

One of the most important comics from this era is the landmark What If…? #200!

  • What If…? Why Not? (2004)
    • What If… Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? #1
    • What If… Magneto Had Formed the X-Men With Professor X? #1
    • What If… Karen Page Had Lived? #1
    • What If… Aunt May Had Died Instead of Uncle Ben? #1
    • What If… Doctor Doom Had Become the Thing? #1
    • What If… General Ross Had Become the Hulk? #1
    • Wha… Huh? #1
  • What If…? Mirror Mirror (2005)
    • What If… Captain America #1 (“What If… Captain America Fought in the Civil War?”)
    • What If… Wolverine #1 (“Public Enemy Number One”)
    • What If… Fantastic Four #1 (“What If… The Fantastic Four Were Cosmonauts?”)
    • What If… Sub-Mariner #1 (“What If… Prince Namor of Atlantis Grew Up on Land?”)
    • What If… Daredevil #1 (“The Devil Who Dares”)
    • What If… Thor #1 (“What If… Thor Was the Herald of Galactus?”)
  • What If…? Event Horizon (2006)
    • What If… Avengers Disassembled #1 (“What If… the Scarlet Witch Hadn’t Acted Alone?”)
    • What If… Spider-Man: The Other #1 (“What If… Spider-Man Had Rejected the Spider?”)
    • What If… Wolverine: Enemy of the State #1 (“What If… Wolverine Was Never Deprogrammed?”)
    • What If… X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #1 (“What If… Legion Had Killed Xavier and Magneto?”)
    • What If… X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 (“What If… Xavier’s Secret Second Team Had Survived?”)

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  • What If…? Civil War (2007)
    • What If… Planet Hulk #1
      • “What If… The Hulk Died and Caiera Lived?”
      • “What If… The Hulk Landed on the Peaceful Planet Reed Richards Promised?”
      • “What If… Bruce Banner Had Landed On Sakaar Instead of the Hulk?”
    • What If… Annihilation #1 (“What If… Annihilation Reached Earth?”)
    • What If… X-Men – Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire #1 (“What If… Vulcan Gained the Power of the Phoenix?”)
    • What If… Civil War #1 (“The Stranger”)
    • What If… Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 (“The Spider Who Went Into The Cold”)
    • Hero Initiative: Mike Wieringo #1 (“What If… THIS Was the New Fantastic Four?”)
  • What If…? Secret Wars (2008)
    • What If… House of M #1 (“What If… Scarlet Witch Said ‘No More Power?'”)
    • What If… Fallen Son #1 (“What If… Iron Man Had Died?”)
    • What If… Newer Fantastic Four #1 (“What If… There Was a Newer Fantastic Four?”)
    • What If… Spider-Man Back in Black #1 (“What If…Mary Jane Had Been Shot Instead of Aunt May?”)
    • What If… Secret Wars #1 (“What If… Doctor Doom Kept the Beyonder’s Power”)
    • What If… The Runaways Became the Young Avengers? (B-stories)
  • What If…? Secret Invasion (2009)
    • What If… Secret Invasion #1 (“What If… The Skrulls succeeded in their Secret Invasion?”)
    • What If… World War Hulk #1 (“What If… The Heroes Lost World War Hulk?”)
    • What If… Daredevil vs. Elektra #1 (“What If… Daredevil Died Saving Elektra?”)
    • What If… Astonishing X-Men #1 (“What If… Ord Resurrected Jean Grey Instead of Colossus?”)
    • What If… Spider-Man: House of M #1 (“What If… Gwen Stacy Survived The House of M?”)
    • Say What? (B-stories)
  • What If…? Dark Avengers (2010)
    • What If… Iron Man: Demon in an Armor #1 (“What If… Tony Stark Had Become Doctor Doom?”)
    • What If… Wolverine: Father #1 (“What If… Wolverine Was a Father?”)
    • What If… Spider-Man: Grim Hunt #1 (“What If… Spider-Man Killed Kraven the Hunter?”)
    • What If… Dark Reign #1 (“What If… Clint Barton Killed Norman Osborn?”)
      • See also: Dark Reign: The Cabal #1
    • What If… Venom Possessed Deadpool? (B-stories)
    • What If…? #200
      • “What If… Norman Osborn won the Siege of Asgard?”
      • “What If… The Watcher Killed Galactus?”

what-if-comics-2000s-iron-man-demon-armor-secret-wars-doom-daredevil-elektra


 

What If…? (2010s-2020s)

In the 2010s, What If…? comics focused mainly on revisiting seismic events like Avengers vs. X-Men, Age of Ultron, and Infinity. In the 2020s, Marvel shifted to a more character focused approach, like with What If…? Miles Morales, What If…? Dark, and What If…? Venom.

One of the major standouts of this era is Leah Williams’ What If…? Magik #1, which used the What If…? format to bring an all-new perspective to fan-favorite mutant Illyana Rasputina.

  • What If…? AvX: Avengers vs. X-Men (2013) #1-4
  • What If…? Age of Ultron (2014) #1-5
  • What If…? Infinity (2015)
    • What If…? Infinity: Thanos #1 (“What If… Thanos Joined the Avengers?”)
    • What If…? Infinity: Inhumans #1 (“What If… Black Bolt Betrayed Earth?”)
    • What If…? Infinity: X-Men #1 (What If… The X-Men Were the Sole Survivors of Infinity?”)
    • What If…? Infinity: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (“What If… The Guardians of the Galaxy Tried to Free Thanos?”)
    • What If…? Infinity: Dark Reign #1 (“What If… The Green Goblin Stole the Infinity Gauntlet?”)
  • What If…? With Great Power (2018)
    • What If…? Spider-Man #1 (“What If… Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man?”)
    • What If…? X-Men #1 (“What If… The X-Men Were .EXE/Men?”)
    • What If…? The Punisher #1 (“What If… Peter Parker Became the Punisher?”)
    • What If…? Ghost Rider #1 (“What If… Marvel Comics Went Metal with Ghost Rider?”)
    • What If…? Thor #1 (“What If… Thor Was Raised by the Frost Giants?”)
    • What If…? Magik #1 (“What If… Magik Became the Sorcerer Supreme?”)
      • Continued in Doctor Strange: The End (2020) #1

what-if-comics-2010s-2020s-avengers-vs-xmen-avx-age-ultron-infinity-dark-reign

  • Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher (2022) #1
    • “What If… The Watcher Had Never Interfered?”
  • What If…? Miles Morales (2022) #1-5
    • #1: “What If… Miles Morales Became Captain America?”
    • #2: “What If… Miles Morales Became Wolverine?”
    • #3: “What If… Miles Morales Became the Hulk?”
    • #4: “What If… Miles Morales Became Thor?”
  • What If…? Dark (2023)
    • What If…? Dark: Loki #1
    • What If…? Dark: Spider-Gwen #1
    • What If…? Dark: Moon Knight #1
    • What If…? Dark: Venom #1
    • What If…? Dark: Carnage #1
    • What If…? Dark: Tomb of Dracula #1
  • What If…? Venom (2024) #1-5
    • What If…Venom Bonded With the Marvel Universe?
  • What If…? Novels (2024)
    • What If… Loki Was Worthy? (novel)
    • What If… Wanda Maximoff and Peter Parker Were Siblings? (novel)

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What The–?!, Wha… Huh?, and Now What?!

Not Brand Echh (1967) and Crazy (1972) were Marvel’s first foray into alternate universe parodies, predating the first What If comics. While those early comedy series quickly fell by the wayside, their spirit continued in What The–?! (1988), a long-running parody series that ran in parallel to the second volume of What If comics.

The hijinks of What The–?! continued in Wha… Huh? (2005), Now What?! (2013), and short revivals of Not Brand Echh (2017) and Crazy (2019). Several modern parody specials were reprinted in the trade Secret Wars, Too (2015). What The–?! even inspired an official stopmotion animated series by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube, which ran for over 100 episodes from 2009 to 2017.

In this section, I have also included comics featuring superhero teams of variants gathering together from across the multiverse, such as Secret Wars (2015), Infinity Warps (2018), The Variants (2022), and Avengers Forever (2022). In particular, I think the Exiles might be a potential influence for the multiversal future of the MCU (especially the 2018 series, which features Captain Carter).

And to be complete, I have included The End, a line of hypotheticals about the end of the Marvel Universe.

  • Topps Krazy Little Comics (1967) #1-6
  • Not Brand Echh (1967) #1-14
  • Crazy (1972) #1-3; (2019) #1
  • Marvel Tails (1983) #1
    • Not Brand Echh was originally 13 issues. It was revived during Marvel Legacy in 2017 for an extra 14th issue.
    • Crazy was also revived in 2019 with a new #1 one-shot
    • Marvel Tails introduced Spider-Ham, who starred in What The–?!
  • Hembeckverse
    • FantaCo Hembeck Series (1980) #1-7
    • Fantastic Four Roast (1982)
    • Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #86
    • Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe (1989)
    • Fred Hembeck Sells the Marvel Universe (1990)
    • Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #1
    • Marvel Universe According to Hembeck (2016)
      • Collects some of the above and other issues
  • Alterniverse (1995)

    • Ruins (1995) #1-2
    • The Last Avengers Story (1995) #1-2
    • Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe (1995) #1
  • Exiles
    • Exiles (2001) #1-100; Annual #1, Days of Then and Now #1
      • After #21: X-Men Unlimited (1993) #41
      • After #88: Exiles Annual #1
      • After #91: New Excalibur (2006) #16
      • After #99: X-Men: Die by the Sword (2007) #1-5
      • After #100: Exiles: Days of Then and Now #1
    • New Exiles (2008) #1-18; Annual #1
      • After #16: New Exiles Annual #1
      • After #18: X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks #1
    • Exiles (2009) #1-6
    • Exiles (2018) #1-12

  • Cap Lives (2003)
    • Captain America (2002) #17-20 (“What If… The Nazis Won World War II?”)
  • The End
    • Incredible Hulk: The End (2002) #1
    • Marvel Universe: The End (2003) #1-6
    • X-Men: The End (2004) #1-6; (2005) #1-6; (2006) #1-6
    • Wolverine: The End (2004) #1-6
    • Punisher: The End (2004) #1
    • Fantastic Four: The End (2007) #1-6
    • Iron Man: The End (2009) #1
    • Spider-Girl: The End! (2010) #1
    • Daredevil: End of Days (2013) #1-8
    • Captain America: The End (2020) #1
    • Captain Marvel: The End (2020) #1
    • Deadpool: The End (2020) #1
    • Doctor Strange: The End (2020) #1
    • Miles Morales: The End (2020) #1
    • Venom: The End (2020) #1

what-if-comics-2000s-2010s-multiverse-marvel-1602-zombies-exiles

  • Marvel 1602
    • Marvel 1602 (2003) #1-8
    • Marvel 1602: New World (2005) #1-5
      • Hulk: Broken Worlds (2009) #2
    • Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four (2006) #1-5
    • Spider-Man 1602 (2009) #1-5
      • Free Comic Book Day: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) #1
      • Spider-Verse (2014) #1
      • Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1
      • Extreme Venomverse (2023) #2
    • Marvel 1602: Witch Hunter Angela (2015) #1-4
  • Bullet Points (2007) #1-5
    • “What If… Steve Rogers Became Iron Man?”
  • Wha… Huh? (2005) #1
  • Marvel: Now What?! (2013) #1
  • Secret Wars (2015) #1-9
    • Secret Wars: Battleworld (2015)
    • Secret Wars: War Zones (2015)
    • Secret Wars, Too (2015)
  • Infinity Wars: Warp World
    • Infinity Wars (2018) #1-6
    • Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Iron Hammer #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker #1-4
    • Infinity Wars: Weapon Hex #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Arachknight #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Ghost Panther #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Infinity Warps #1-2
    • Infinity Wars: Fallen Guardian #1
    • Secret Warps: Soldier Supreme #1, Weapon Hex #1, Ghost Panther #1, Arachknight #1, Iron Hammer #1
  • Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow (2021) #1-5
    • “What If… Peter Parker Became Venom?”
  • The Variants (2022) #1-5
    • Features Jessica Jones and her variants!
  • Avengers Forever (2022) #1-15
    • Features Captain Carter!
    • Prologue: Avengers Forever Infinity Comics (2022) #1-4, Captain Carter (2022) #1-5
    • With #1-15: Avengers (2018) #51-66
    • After #11: Avengers Assemble Alpha #1
    • After #15: Avengers Assemble Omega #1

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Uatu the Watcher

Here are some additional stories featuring Uatu the Watcher outside of Marvel’s traditional What If…? comics. I’ve highlighted The Fantastic Four titles, since these are the consistent throughline in Uatu’s comics history. Enjoy reading!

  • Fantastic Four (1961)
    • Fantastic Four #13, 20, 29, 48-50, 60, 72, 113-116, 188, 204-205, 211-213, 240, 261-262
    • Annual #3, 11, 18, 21; Giant-Size #2
  • Tales of Suspense (1959) #49-58
  • Avengers (1963) #14, 101, 118, 173, 177; Annual #2
  • Strange Tales (1951) #134
  • Tales to Astonish (1958) #73-75
  • Silver Surfer (1968) #1-7 [B Stories]
  • Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #23
  • Thor (1966) #165; Annual #12
  • Marvel Team-Up (1972) #7, 127
  • Captain Marvel (1968) #36-40
  • Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #20; Annual #1
  • Uncanny X-Men (1963) #137, 201, 203
  • Marvel Graphic Novel (1981) #1, 29
  • Incredible Hulk (1962) #279
  • Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #246
  • Phoenix (1984) #1
  • Secret Wars II (1985) #6
  • Web of Spider-Man (1985) #34
  • Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #17 [C Story]
  • Fantastic Four (1990s)
    • Fantastic Four (1961) #369-375, 387, 397-400, 415-416
  • Saga of the Serpent Crown (1989)
  • Quasar (1989) #6, 24-25, 30-31, 47, 54, 56
  • Excalibur (1988) #25
  • New Warriors (1990) #6
  • X-Factor (1986) #68
  • Damage Control (1991) #4
  • Impossible Man Summer Vacation (1991) #2 [B Story]
  • Avengers (1963) #334, 337-339, 344, 357, 363; Annual #20
  • Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #3-6
  • Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992) #1
  • Slapstick (1992) #1
  • Infinity War (1992) #4-6
  • Infinity Crusade (1993) #2-3
  • Deathlok (1991) #29 [B Story]
  • Starblast (1994) #1-4
  • Marvels (1994) #3
  • X-Men Adventures (1994) #1; Adventures of the X-Men (1996) #12
  • X-Men (1991) #40; Uncanny X-Men (1981) #335-336; 
  • Marvel: Heroes and Legends (1996) #1
  • Cable (1993) #35
  • Onslaught: Marvel Universe (1996) #1
  • Heroes Reborn (1996) #½; Remnants #1
  • Fantastic Four (1990s)
    • Fantastic Four (1996) #7; (1998) #7, 46, 49; Annual 2001
    • Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Comics (2000) #6-8, 11-12
  • Captain America (1996) #12
  • Ka-Zar (1997) #10
  • Deadpool (1997) #11, 24
  • Marvel Team-Up (1997) #5
  • Spider-Man (1990) #94
  • Marvel: The Lost Generation (2000) #12
  • X-51 (1999) #12
  • Avataars: Covenant of the Shield (2000) #1
  • JLA/Avengers (2003) #1-2
  • Thor (1998) #37-38
  • Marvel Universe: The End (2003) #4-6
  • Marvel 1602 (2003) #3-8
    • Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four (2006) #5
  • Marvel Knights 4 (2004) #8-9
  • She-Hulk (2004) #7

what-if-comics-1970s-1980s-1990s-uatu-watcher-captain-marvel-spider-man-avengers

  • Fantastic Four (2000s)
    • Fantastic Four (1998) #531, 544, 550, 562; Wedding Special #1
  • GLX-Mas Special (2006) #1
  • Beyond! (2006) #5-6
  • The Thing (2005) #4
  • Uncanny X-Men (1981) #472-473
  • Civil War (2006) #1, 4, 6
  • Black Panther (2005) #18
  • Marvel Holiday Special 2006; 2007
  • Eternals (2006) #6; (2008) #5-9
  • World War Hulk: Front Line (2007) #4 [C Story]
  • Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel (2009) #3
  • New Avengers: Illuminati (2007) #2
  • Secret Invasion (2008) #7-8
  • Fin Fang Four (2008) #1
  • Incredible Hulk (1962) #606
  • Age of Heroes (2010) #3 [B Story]
  • Fantastic Four (2010s)
    • Fantastic Four (2009) #577; (2013) #16 
    • FF (2011) #3-4; (2013) #13-16
  • Hulk (2008) #4, 26-31, 41
  • Avengers (2010) #11
  • Deadpool Team-Up (2010) #884
  • Captain America Corps (2011) #1
  • Fear Itself (2011) #1
  • Point One (2012) #1
  • Avengers vs. X-Men (2012) #10
  • Dark Avengers (2009) #176
  • Mighty Thor Annual (2012) #1
  • New Avengers (2013) #3, 8
  • Nova (2013) #1-10, 17-18
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #6
  • Mighty Avengers (2013) #2
  • Wolverine (2013) #2, 4, 13
  • Deadpool (2013) #20, 27
  • All-New X-Men (2013) #25
  • Original Sin (2014) #0-8
  • Fantastic Four (2020s)
    • Fantastic Four (2018) #25, 40-45
    • Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four (2020) #1
    • Fantastic Four: Reckoning War Alpha (2022) #1
    • Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher (2022) #1
  • Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey (2017) #1
  • Rise of the Black Panther (2018) #3
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider (2018) #2-3
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History (2019) #1-6
  • Marvel Comics (2019) #1000-1001 (“What Do You Regret?”)
  • Silver Surfer: Black (2019) #4
  • Tarot (2020) #2
  • Marvel (2020) #3
  • Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices (2020) #1
  • Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black (2020) #1, 4-5
  • Thor (2020) #24
  • Hulk vs. Thor: Banner Of War Alpha (2022) #1
  • Hulk (2021) #8
  • Savage Avengers (2022) #10
  • Fury (2023) #1

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What If…? in Multimedia

But the multiverse doesn’t stop with the comics! What if you wanted to watch the Watcher watch watchers in the What If…? watching media below? From animation to video games to even live action, dive into the multiverse of Uatu and What If…?!

What If…? in Movies and TV Shows:

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) S4 E16-22
    • What If… the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Were Agents of Hydra?
  • What If…? (2021) S1 E1-9; S2 E1-9
  • Marvel Zombies (2024) S1 E1-4

 

Extra watching:

  • Super Hero Squad Show (2009) S2 E20
    • S1 E13, E26; S2 E17 feature Uatu!
    • S2 E20 based on Marvel 1602!
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Uatu the Watcher in TV Shows:

  • Fantastic Four (1967) S1 E15
  • X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) S3 E13
  • Fantastic Four (1994) S1 E5-6
  • Silver Surfer (1998) S1 E1-8, E13
  • Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! (2009) E1, E28, E33, E40, Specials E37 
  • Super Hero Squad Show (2009) S1 E13, E26; S2 E17
  • Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (2013) S1 E16
    • Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (2013) S1 E14, E18; S2 E2, E26
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
    • Features the Watchers!
  • I Am Groot (2022) S2 E5

Uatu the Watcher in Video Games:

  • X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants (1990)
  • Spider-Man (2000)
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011)
  • Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (2012)
  • Marvel Heroes (2013)
    • Marvel Heroes: The Chronicles of Doom (2013) S1 E4
  • Marvel Contest of Champions (2014)
    • Marvel Realm of Champions (2020)

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And that’s our guide to Marvel’s What If comics! Are you excited to see more hokey hypotheticals in the MCU? Which episode was your favorite from season one? Let me know on X/Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site on social media @MyCosmicCircus for more multiversal mayhem coming soon!

what-if-comics-who-watches-the-watcher-uatu-marvel-presents

Also check out our full list of comics reading guides here, including Multiverse of Madness, Kang the Conqueror and the Spider-Verse! For more information about Uatu The Watcher, visit the official page.

Multiverse of Madness Reading Guide

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Spider-Verse Reading Guide

spider-verse-reading-guide-03

Are you new to comics? Try our “How to Get into Comics” guide, and find me on X @vinwriteswords if you have any questions!

All images courtesy of Marvel Comics

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Vin

Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Obsessed with the Midnight Sons. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!

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