What If... the Marvel Super-Heroes Had Lost Atlantis Attacks?

The interior fixes the syntax-optional title to "What If Set Had Come to Earth?", but the event referred to is Atlantis Attacks, which ran through Marvel's 1989 Annuals, resurrecting the Serpent Crown as an extinction event. We won that one, but what if we hadn't? Not only that, but what if our heroes had SPECTACULARLY bungled it?

What If vol.2 #25 (April 1991)
Based on: Iron Man Annual #10, Punisher Annual #2 and Thor Annual #14
The true history: After the Lemurian Deviant Ghaur returns to Earth, he allies himself with Queen Llyra of Lemuria to bring about the return of the Elder-God Set from his prison dimension. It's a plan in four stages: 1) Sacrifice the Atlanteans by manipulating Attuma to attack the surface world; 2) turn humans into serpent men thanks to an addictive drug supplied and distributed by Tyrannus; 3) create a giant serpent crown from all the gathered serpent crowns; and 4) turn the Marvel Universe's seven most prominent heroines into Set's seven brides. Needless to say, they are stopped at every turn by the Marvel heroes.
Turning point: What if the Sub-Mariner dies in an explosion in the Panama Canal, AND Moon Knight and Punisher fall prey to the serpent drug, AND Thor is unable to convince his brother Atum to help?
Story type: Everybody dies
Watcher's mood: Buggin'
Altered history: Namor is unable to stop the Atlantean invasion, the street level heroes are turned into serpent men, and the final battle against Set's larval form goes badly. Suddenly, it turns into one of those stories where enduring heroes get killed like chumps, starting with Ben Grimm!
Dr. Strange also gets killed, and Thor retreats. Set is born into our dimension as a giant seven-headed snake, and it doesn't go any better. You can add Wasp, Beast and Hank Pym to the memorial wall. Ghaur and Llyra too, and after all they've done. Tsk, tsk. The Avengers try to free the brides from the Deviant and Atlantean hordes and get massacred as Lemuria collapses. Only Thor makes it out alive (again). By then, humanity (including mutantdom) has been turned into serpanity, and only a few hold-outs have resisted the metamorphosis.
Yes, that's Wundarr the Aquarian, the bane of my existence. However, we've also got Dr. Doom and the Joe Fix-it version of the Hulk. Phoenix and Cloak are interesting additions. And of course, Wolverine and Sabertooth. This IS the 90s. Half the team will go after the brides, the other Set himself. Because the characters know instinctively they're in a What If?, there's absolutely no hope of restoring their old friends to normal. Consequently, the superhuman serpents guarding the brides all die violent deaths.
They needn't have tried, since the brides are way more powerful than they are. Couple of pages later, the brides have massacred team Alpha.
Improbable that Wolverine's atoms would turn into anti-matter? That's why your discerning Elder-God marries the Scarlet Witch! Not that team Bravo does all that better. Though they manage to cut a couple heads off the monster (with the help of the Silver Surfer), they still get burned to a crisp, even Thor who winds up in a healing womb in his naked mother Gaea's cave.
A helping hand comes from Quasar, buffeted into the nether-dimensions during the larva battle, and now returned with both the Eye of Agamotto and the power of Captain Universe.
He traps Set and himself in the Eye, in a never-ending battle, and all is well. Well, until the brides give birth to Set's sons anyway. Sons who immediately gobble up their mums.
And of course, we're all mindless serpent men, slaves without a master. AND Set's sons start looking to slither into other dimensions... PERHAPS EVEN OUR OWN! (Oh Watcher, you're such a fearmonger.)
Books canceled as a result: All of them. But we serpent men don't care about comics, do we?
These things happen: As with most stories of this kind, it is so extreme, it would never happen. Though the Ultimate Universe might want to watch out.

Next time: What if the Punisher Had Killed Daredevil?
My guess: One step closer to the Kingpin.

4 comments:

Lutherfoodshaver said...

Luther Shaver, marvel fan, and avid iron man collector. I loved the what if stories as a youth, Atlantis Attacks being my favourite. Keep up the good work. Good to see maritimers in the marvel world.

Siskoid said...

I like to think of myself as straddling all possible worlds, but I like the Maritimes best.

Rob Malone said...

I prefer to imagine that the sons of Set try to slither into one universe, only to find Galactus with a big stick waiting to go a-whackin' on their heads.

Siskoid said...

I like that image.

 

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