Marvel Universe

When "What If?" Comes True

The “What If?” comics stories that were incorporated into the main Marvel Universe! Classic run WHAT IF? (1977) was eerily accurate when it came to predicting concepts and stories that came to pass. Take a look back at some of the most memorable moments that came “true.”

"What If?" Picks

What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four?

in What If? (1977) #1

The very first “What If?” story had a memorable premise—Spider-Man finally joined a team! His inclusion turned the Fantastic Four into the Fantastic Five, but it also wreaked havoc on Mister Fantastic’s relationship with the Invisible Woman. In the main Marvel Universe, Spidey didn’t officially join the team until FF (2011) #1 in the wake of the Human Torch’s apparent death. Now, he’s part of the extended family.

What If the Hulk had the Brain of Bruce Banner?

in What If? (1977) #2

Combining Bruce Banner’s intellect with the Hulk’s strength upended everything we knew about the green goliath. And it didn’t take too long for the prime universe comics to follow that example. Banner gained control of his alter ego in INCREDIBLE HULK (1962) #272, and he was so effective and heroic that he was pardoned for the Hulk’s crimes and invited to rejoin the Avengers.

What If Jane Foster Found the Hammer of Thor?

in What If? (1977) #10

Jane Foster proved to be worthy of Thor’s power in this alternate “What If?” take. However, she took the name Thordis rather than carry on the Odinson’s name. Decades later, THOR (2014) #1 introduced Jane as the all-new Goddess of Thunder, although her true identity was initially hidden. Once she had a taste of the heroic life, Jane couldn’t go back. She’s currently fighting evil as one of the remaining Valkyries.

What If Doctor Strange Were a Disciple of Dormammu?

in What If? (1977) #18

In this twisted reality, Dormammu tempted Strange with the lure of dark magic. Strange even surpassed Baron Mordo’s abilities, threatening Dormammu himself! In DEFENDERS (2005), Dormammu claimed victory over Earth and created a new timeline in which Strange was his follower. However, the original Doctor Strange was unaffected by this change, and he fought his evil doppelganger before the Defenders emerged triumphant.

What If Doctor Doom Had Become a Hero?

in What If? (1977) #22

Victor Von Doom seems like he was always destined to become one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains. But he does have certain noble qualities... In this alternate story, Doom tried to take a heroic path and ultimately paid the price. When Doom tried to become a “hero” in 2016’s INFAMOUS IRON MAN, he was seemingly weakened by this course of action, and his face was horribly scarred during a battle with the Hood.

What If the Hulk Became an Off-World Warrior?

in What If? (1977) #23

In the Hulk’s first series, he traveled to a microscopic realm where he met a warrior named Jarella. She and the Hulk fell in love, but her tragic death prevented a happy ending. In this reality, Jarella lived and Hulk thrived in her world as an alien warrior! Years later, a similar story unfolded in the PLANET HULK event, when the Hulk liberated Sakaar. Gladiator Hulk even found love with Caiera, a king’s warrior.

What If the Phoenix Had Not Died?

in What If? (1977) #27

X-fans were stunned by the death of a Phoenix-possessed Jean Grey in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #137. Shortly thereafter, “What If?” offered a world where Grey escaped her fate. As it turned out in main Marvel continuity, Jean was never really the Phoenix! AVENGERS (1963) #263 and FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #286 revealed that Jean and the Phoenix were separate entities, allowing her to return to action in X-FACTOR (1986) #1.