Due to the character's popularity, Wolverine would eventually become an ubiquitous regular character in What If? (volume 2), but this is his first. And it's absolute bollocks. So the trend begins here, eh? Not much of a turning point. Big fight scenes that could have happened in any X-Men comic. An unconvincing ending. Oh, and a complete misunderstanding of what Canada is (always a favorite for me). Those responsible: Rich Margopoulos, Bob Budiansky and Mike Esposito. What does it say when only the inker's name rings any bells?
What If Vol.1 #31 (February 1982)
Based on: Incredible Hulk #181
The true history: Canadian agent Wolverine is sent to stop a fight between the Hulk and Wendigo in Southern Quebec. After Wendigo is defeated, the Hulk and Wolverine knock each other out.
Turning point: What if Wolverine killed the Hulk?
Story type: Slayer
Watcher's mood: DC Universe imp entity
Altered history: In this other reality, Wolverine disobeys his orders to capture the Hulk and deliberately tries to kill him. Being the best at what he does, he successfully manages it. If you wonder what impact that has on the Marvel Universe, this issue won't help you much. This is the extent of what we see:
Everybody's shocked, and that's about it. Betty Grant cries a lot too. No really, we're not interested in the Hulk's people. Wolverine celebrates his big victory by going on a bender near Dept. H's base "on the outskirts of Quebec".
You mean, like, Ontario? THOSE outskirts? Because they can't mean Quebec City's suburbs. For one thing, there wouldn't be a Canadian flag flying, much less a tavern with an English name (or that much wilderness). The obligatory bar fight features one Quebecker at least, Jean-Paul, who doesn't like Wolvie touching his women. The banter is colloquial English, but the attitude is all Quebec. Then again, Wolverine follows that up with the manslaughter of a guy called McKenzie. So this is Cliché Canada, then. I shouldn't worry about it not being anything like the real place. Anyway, that puts Wolverine on the run from the law, and on Magneto's radar. He recruits Logan for his Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants.
He puts a telepathic scrambler on him, and thanks to the Canadian government sweeping the murders under the carpet (always protect your black ops guys), Wolverine goes undercover at the X-Men school. But it's the usual story. He bonds with them, and falls in love with Jean. And eventually, he'll be ready to betray Magneto. The only real difference is that these aren't the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Wolverine has actually joined much earlier (1974, looks like). As Magneto lay dying in a pool of his own blood, he lashes back at the redeemed Wolverine:
And both mutants DIE. Yeah right. Like the next issue wouldn't start with Wolverine getting out of his coffin, all healed up. From what we know of his powers, there is NO WAY he would be rendered dead-dead from sticking his own claws through his throat. I bet Magneto survives too. It's the X-Men, after all.
Books canceled as a result: Incredible Hulk is goners. Marvel's many Wolverine titles are pretty safe, however. I guarantee it!
These things happen: Since the Hulk is still around, I have to conclude that they do not. I don't even believe them HERE.
Next week: What If There Was No Fantastic Four?
My guess: Simple... Mole Man's New York.