What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?
** Warning! This review contains spoilers for episode 3 of Marvel’s What If…? Series **
This episode focuses on Nick Fury’s big week, where the events of Iron Man 2, Thor & Hulk take place in the same week. In this universe, when Fury and Natasha Romaoff try to recruit Iron Man, he dies when they give him an injection. SHIELD arrests Romanoff for the crime, but Fury helps her escape from a SHIELD truck.
At Mjolnir’s landing site, Thor wrecks SHIELD agents and finds Mjolnir. Clint Barton is aimed at Thor, and he twitches and shoots. He says he didn’t shoot, but Thor is dead with an arrow through the heart. Barton is in prison and when Fury checks in on him, Barton is dead as well. That’s three Avengers down before they even begin.
Halfway through the week, Romanoff approaches Betty Ross for help. They find out a tiny projectile was fired from the needle, so it wasn’t poison. Romanoff gets a call from Fury and learns Barton is dead. She finds Banner, and they hit the road.
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Coulson is coming back to Shield, the bifrost emerges and it’s Loki with an Asgardian army. Loki is here to get vengeance for the murder of Thor. Banner gets shot and becomes Hulk while Romanoff runs from him.
Both big fights happen with Hulk smashing and Loki freezing people. Something happens to Hulk where he starts expanding more and more until he literally bursts. Fury convinces Loki to let him help, but Loki gives him a day ultimatum or else he’ll destroy the planet. Romanoff is accessing the Avengers files, and she finds something. She starts getting attacked by someone she can’t see. She calls Fury and says “Fury it’s Hope. It’s all about Hope”.
Fury looks like he’s going to call in Captain Marvel, until he has a realization and goes to see Loki.
Fury goes to see Hope Van Dyne’s grave, and is confronted by Hank Pym! Pym went evil after Hope died on a mission. Both Janet & Hope died while working with Shield. Pym used his shrinking ability to kill all of the Avengers. Turns out it wasn’t just Fury, it was him and Loki who was using his power. The Asgardians take Pym away, and Loki wants to extend his stay on Midgard.
By the end, Loki goes to the UN and the world’s governments are going to be led by him. Fury looks to form a new Avengers team. He finds Captain America frozen in the ice, and Captain Marvel is there as well. They’ll form the new basis of an Avengers team!
This episode has the best cliffhanger of any we’ve seen so far in What If. A world where the Avengers never formed is so mind-boggling to the viewer, and now a new team is being formed. What will a team led by the two Captains look like? Here’s hoping that we get another episode soon to see what this team would look like.
I love the choice of Hank Pym as a villain. In this world, where Hope and Janet both were lost to SHIELD, it makes sense that Pym would be furious. His world was destroyed, so he wants to destroy Fury’s as well. The use of the original Ant-Man made for a creative way to kill off the original Avengers, and I want to see more of Pym as a villain. It shows how one thing could turn your favorite villains into heroes and vice versa.
Is it a cop-out to say it was a bummer to see all of the original Avengers (save for Cap) get killed? It was a bummer though. The death of Thor seems unbelievable as well. He’s arguably the strongest avenger, and to have him taken out by just one Hawkeye arrow? Hard to believe that being the case.
Clark Gregg kills it in his return as Coulson. He’s always had the ability to deliver with comedic lines, and he does that in this episode. His delivery on lines about how great Thor’s hair is and his Steve-Rogers-Fan-Club password were both excellent. Nick Fury, voiced again by Samuel L. Jackson, is of course the common thread throughout. It’s Coulson who manages to steal the show.
What If…? has episodes dropping every Wednesday on Disney Plus.
Evan Gomes is a freelance pop culture & sports writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsEvanGomes, and check out his two podcasts: Crossbody of Work and The Pop Capsule Podcast.