What If... Wolverine Battled Conan the Barbarian?

Or more properly "What if Wolverine had lived during the age of Conan the barbarian?", which doesn't obligate them to fight each other. Of course, they WILL. This IS a Marvel comic after all. And a 90s Marvel comic at that. Ergo, Wolverine headlines.

What If vol.2 #16 (August 1990)
Based on: Uncanny X-Men #137
The true history: The Shi'ar are putting the X-Men on trial (they really are the galaxy's D.A.s, aren't they?) on the Moon for suffering Phoenix to live. While Phoenix goes Dark during their battle with the Imperial Guard, Wolverine gets lost in the Watcher's moonbase, gaining access to various "realities". The Watcher throws him out of there, putting him right where he can throw Colossus (Reverse Fastball Special!) at Phoenix, knocking Jean Gray back into alignment long enough for her to commit suicide.
Turning point: What if the Watcher had not kicked Wolverine out of his place?
Story type: Conan Crossover
Watcher's mood: Asymmetrically simian
Altered history: Uatu, realizing his base is full of Space Lawyers, chooses to follow the Watchers' non-intervention code to the letter, allows Wolverine to get lost among the various realities, landing the short-statured mutant in the ancient days of Conan. He's quick to adapt despite not knowing the language. Well, by adapt I mean steal clothes. He doesn't meet Conan right away though. He first comes across Red Sonja, though he first thinks she's Jean Gray.
I guess this proves all redheads in comics look exactly the same. It keeps Mary Jane Watson in the superhero movie business, anyway. Sonja is a sucker for anyone who can beat her, so they hit it off. Their first date is going well until Conan makes an appearance. They fight for the girl.
That's gotta hurt. Conan breaking a sword on your hide? Oh yeah, for sure. Conan leaves Logan for dead, but that night, the mutant rises, healed but for his mind which has regressed to savagery. He hunts down Conan who is in the middle of a negotiation for Sonja's soul with a dual-class magic-user/cleric and his pet demon. Wolverine's interference makes him open a portal back to standard continuity.
But in the ensuing demon-fighting, crap happens and Conan falls through the portal instead, and after Wolverine chops the spellcaster's head off, the whole dang temple falls on their heads. From then on, Logan takes Conan's place at Sonja's side and in the Hyborian legends.
But what of Conan and the X-Men? Well, the Cimmerian pops out on the Moon and fights the assembled aliens and mutants there. When he sees him attacking Sonja's lookalike, he knocks Cyclops out. And when Cyclops' psychic link to Phoenix is broken, and without Wolverine present to improbably pitch Colossus at Jean, she goes Dark for good and the Phoenix Force consumes the Earth. Yay!
Books canceled as a result: It's an Everybody Dies story disguised as a Conan Crossover! All of them except Wolverine books that replace Conan's. Marvel's output is reduced to Logan the Barbarian, King Wolverine, and the magazine-sized Savage Claws of Logan.
These things happen: The reverse happened when the Hyborian Age came to modern day New York, transforming it into a sword & sorcery version of itself. Though the X-Men fought the wizard Kulan Gath, they never met his archenemy Conan in that adventure (Uncanny X-Men #188-191).

Next week: What if Kraven the Hunter Had Killed Spider-Man?
My guess: Taxidermy gone wrong.


Steve said...

I've still got this comic somewhere!

Lazarus Lupin said...

Congrats! You've won a prize!!


Anonymous said...

Why do I tend get the feeling from these that Conan always get the short end of the stick in What ifs?

Siskoid said...

To be fair, there are a lot of short sticks in What If.

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

i used to have this issue and there was one point where Logan fights Red Sonja and defeats her with out really hurting her. she for reasons which i can't remember is inclined to offer her self to any guy that can defeat her in combat and so she does to Logan but he turns her down out of some misplaced sense of chivalry. i would have gladly taken her up on the offer.

Bully said...

If I'm remembering correctly, there's a very funny one-page gag at the end of the issue where WOlverine and Conan just sit in a bar and drink.

Volgadon said...

I loved the What If Series... Never have i read this one though. I can remember the first What if I ever read was "What If... Spider Man Had Saved Gwen Stacy" I was hooked ever since.

Siskoid said...

Bully: Much more realistic.

Volgadon: I hope you saw my recap of that one.

Sergio said...

Wolverine in the hyborian ages of sword & sorcery would be unstoppable with his crazy healing factor and claws that can cut through steel like butter. With no superpowered people around and weapons limited to swords and lances, and only a few poor man's wizards with shitty tricks around, who could seriously stop him? No wonder Sonja jumped his bones


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