What If V2 (1989)

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From July 1989 to November 1998, Marvel published 114 monthly What If issues. The second series revisited and revised ideas from Volume 1. In Volume 2, stories could span multiple issues (the Volume 1 stories were contained within a single issue). Also, sometimes, the Volume 2 stories would offer multiple plots and endings. The reader could decide which to adopt. For example, in What If the War Machine Had Not Destroyed the Living Laser?, three endings were offered. The humorous aspect of Volume 1 was retained through Volume 2 culminating in issue #34, What If No One Was Watching the Watcher? which was humorous throughout. It contained mostly single page gags, with a few longer stories. Volume 2 contains a subtle crossover with the “Acts of Vengeance” storyline. In the pages of the mainstream Quasar, the hero pursues “The Living Laser” into the Watcher’s lair on the moon. He then flees through Uatu’s portal into other universes. In the corresponding month’s What if issue, “The Living Laser” had a cameo appearance as a streak of light. Later, Uatu directs “Quasar” to track down “The Living Laser” through several What If universes. Eventually, “Quasar” arrives in the New Universe, where he receives the Star Brand. The What if format became well known. By issue #87, direct reference to the plot divergence was not required. Instead, the issue cover art closely, but not exactly, resembled the corresponding mainstream story. The What if logo was enough to denote its “alternate universe” status. In issue #105, What If introduced Spider-Girl. The new character was popular enough for a spin off series. From this, the MC2 line of publications were developed.

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