Or rather "What if the Trial of Galactus Had Ended in Reed Richards' Execution?" Coming up coincidentally around the time the FF have lost a member. I do say LOST because in no way does FF writer Hickman indicate that said member was killed. Only Marvel's press releases ever intimated such a thing. Not that it would have mattered, not in a world where you can come back from being shot by a sniper in broad daylight. This time, did you see a body? I sure didn't. And as blog buddy Bully went through great pains to show, it's not like it's the first time. And though What If stories didn't really "happen", here's another:
What If vol.2 #15 (July 1990)
Based on: Fantastic Four #262
The true history: Brought to trial by the Shi'ar for having spared Galactus' life, Reed Richards was cleared when Galactus showed up as a witness and summoned Eternity to reveal that the Hungry One had a pivotal role to play in the universe's destiny.
Turning point: What if Galactus did not appear at Reed Richards' trial?
Story type: Team Slayer
Watcher's mood: Torn
Altered history: When Galactus fails to show, Reed is found guilty. This one's for you, Bully:
And in case you missed it, here it is again a few pages later:
Got it now? Reed Richards is D-E-A-D, DEAD! Distraught, Sue Richards convinces the Torch and the Thing to get revenge. They load an impounded Skrull saucer with confiscated weapons from all of the FF's greatest villains and fly off to the Shi'ar throneworld. What they didn't count on was Annihilus' rod doing so much damage:
Who needs the Dark Phoenix? The Shi'ar planet and race and genocided but good and the FF return to Earth ashamed and knowing they have invited retaliation. In fact, Gladiator of the Imperial Guard is the lone survivor of the destroyed planet and he assembles an armada composed of every single alien race ever seen to wipe the Earth right off the face of the Marvel Universe.
However, the Skrulls decide that, having suffered the most when they lost their homeworld to Galactus, they should use the stolen Omni-Wave to destroy the assembled alien fleet and then Earth, making them the greatest military power in the galaxy. On Earth, the Avengers and SHIELD prepare to defend their home when the FF take off to head off the fleet at the pass. Maybe they can reason with it. They first hit upon the Skrulls hiding on Mars' moon Phobos, realize what's about to happen and attack, giving their lives to stop the Skrull stratagem. This is all detected by the alien fleet and Gladiator decides that justice served. Here's another one for Bully:
Earth is spared, hooray!
Books canceled as a result: Only the Fantastic Four. Unless Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, etc. want to get together again (for the first time).
These things happen: They keep killing members of the FF and they keep coming back!
Next week: What if Wolverine Battled Conan the Barbarian?
My guess: Business as usual at 1990s Marvel, right?