Tuesday, August 10, 2021

What If...? - Episode One

Since it first debuted back in 1977, Marvel Comics' What If...? has asked the question what might have happened if events had turned out differently. With decades of comic history to pull from, the on-again/off-again series examined both big and large changes and what ripples they might have caused. The Disney+ series takes the concept and applies it the MCU (meaning it has far less history to diverge in creating alternative timelines). The first episode asks the question of what might have happened if Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) had received the super-soldier serum rather than Steve Rogers (one of the most prominent characters not voiced by the actor who played him in the films)? It turns out to be a fun idea that the series will repeat in the next episode which uses a very similar set-up of swapping characters.

One of the fun things about What If...? storylines, is you can basically go anywhere you want. Captain Carter gets to kick some serious ass in the half-hour episode. And the capture of the Tesseract allows Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) to build the first Iron Man long before his son is ever born. Most of the major events play out similar to those of Captain America: The First Avenger as Red Skull once again proves to be the only person interested in killing Nazis during WWII, Captain Carter rescues the Howling Commandos, and tragedy strikes on the railroad. Things get a bit weird in the final act as the Red Skull turns his attention to a new power source as the episode moves into more foreign territory while still managing to keep mirroring events to the original movie. All in all, the episode works well introducing the concept of the series while leaving audiences curious about what other alternate realities we might see.

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