Just What The "DOC" Ordered
"The House Of Ideas Brings Out The Photocopier — Again"
By Chris "DOC" Bushley
Our latest column to hit Cosmic Book News comes from Chris "DOC" Bushley who will be taking a look at the less "cosmic" characters in comic books, and sometimes some of the more obscure, with his "Just What The Doc Ordered" column!
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1411:]]With all the hype revolving around Marvel's newest summer crossover, Avengers vs. X-men, it makes one ponder how drastic they will go to ensnare readers back into the fold. Marvel has lost it's footing in the market place and top ten sales charts are a virtual whose who of DC talent. Fans have begun to flock elsewhere, and the mighty pockets of a certain mouse, doesn't seem to be helping! There are rumors that A vs. X will bring many significant changes to the Marvel Universe, possibly including some very important deaths! While I except these rumors with a smile and a wink, my mind started reeling about a book I read as a kid that had all the same factors we will be seeing throughout the coming summer — What If? The X-Men Lost Inferno!
Yes, there is some division between the two ideas, A vs. X is solely Avengers versus X-Men — I get that! But there are an awful lot of comparisons between the tales too big to be ignored. The core ideas of both stories revolve around the exact same issues! Heroes vs. heroes...Check! Fighting for the very existence of the world...Check! The Phoenix Force used as a catalyst for the story...Check! The only thing missing is the apparent death of heroes in A vs. X, but you can believe me — What If? #6 is chock full of them!
What If (vol. 2) #6 was the first "What If" book I ever picked up, and probably the best one as well! In November of 1989, after the Inferno storylines had all wrapped up in their respective monthly titles, Danny Fingeroth and the amazing Ron Lim converged on an alternate reality tale that shook the world to its foundations! The characters of the Marvel 616 Universe may have come out of Inferno relatively unscathed, but in the realm of "What If" — anything goes!
Wolverine is a possessed human enslaver that eats newborns, the Hulk is a cousin killing machine of destruction, and Reed Richards and Dr. Doom work together to expand the influence of Inferno to other planes of existence! Now this is a story with ramifications! Especially when a band of heroes tries to stop the demonic influence from destroying the earth itself. But like every good story of defiance in the face of superiority — heroes must fall! Hulk snaps poor She-Hulk's neck, the Human Torch is betrayed by Baron Mordo, Thor is blown up, Wolverine eviscerates The Captain (Steve Rogers), skewers Spider-Man like a shish kabob and kills Kitty Pryde, as well as Baron Mordo! Even after his flesh is burned away from his bones, Wolverine guts Madelyne Pryor when his skeleton is manipulated by the nearly deceased demon S'ym! Talk about a rage problem!
Finally, Dr. Strange finds that the Phoenix Force has been residing in the body of Rachel Summers, who has been transformed into a mannequin! He revives her, and the Phoenix Force is unleashed, burning all demonic influence from the face of the earth! The world has been reborn in the wake of the Phoenix, literally, as Alicia Masters-Storm gives birth to the first child of a simpler planet. As Dr. Strange holds the baby up to it's mother, she names him Jonathan in respect for his father. In the distance, the Phoenix Force returns to its own master, the Living Tribunal, until it is needed once again!
Now, the battles did not require a separate mini-series in order to showcase all the intricate nuances between the combatants. Hell, most of them didn't last a single page — but they didn't need to! It was visceral, cunning and above all else — didn't try to take all of your money to see who wins! Not that I'm not completely salivating for the next A vs. X, I just hope it delivers half as much excitement that What If #6 did — and a lot more than New Avengers #24, the first AvX tie-in!
So, the rumors are out about the possibility of Avenger and mutant blood being spilled this summer. I'll believe it when I see it! But if you want to see some serious carnage between heroes, hit the long boxes at your local shops and look for What If? The X-Men Lost Inferno! X fans and Cosmic fans can finally sit down and enjoy a book together, one that sees some of the greatest Avengers get taken out — hard! Now let's hope that will happen again in A vs. X! I stand with the X-Men, what about you?