It’s been almost 40 years since the ‘What If’ comics debuted.
The first issue asked “What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?“, presenting an alternate version of events from 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man #1. Of course, this isn’t the comic where the Bombastic Bagman is introduced, but I digress. With 13 years of film and TV under their belt, the ever-growing library of Marvel reaches out to this series so it can ask the same question of its universe. And in episode 1, it goes back to the start of it all:
“What if Agent Carter took the Super Soldier serum?”
Jeffrey Wright introduces this premise as The Watcher (not yet confirmed as our boy Uatu), drawing us into a moment of change; One where familiarity diverges into something new. Thanks to Loki, our idea of the multiverse is growing more and more and What If? continues to help build on this in sumptuous, playful ways. What if Peggy Carter took the serum instead of Steve Rogers? With Hayley Atwell reprising her role as everyone’s favourite British agent, it’s answered in similar ways to Steve’s. Except she’s much better at the job than he was. Of course when Erskine was looking for this ‘Super Soldier’, they didn’t want the perfect soldier. They wanted a good person.
Captain Carter is both.
Action scenes set the stage for how capable our Captain is, presented through stylised 3D animation which benefits them hugely. In the more quiet moments though, the slight changes in frames kind of make it feel slightly more jankier than the action set pieces. This means it ends up as some sort of intentional symbolisation of change in pace (or maybe more intentional than I thought).
The change in story is wonderful, with a revised romp through times past. There are legitimately moments where Peggy excels as Captain, simply due to their experience in the field compared to Steve. Reliving these with a stronger Captain sees outcomes changed ever so slightly, especially when you factor in the likes of Sebastian Stan‘s Bucky Barnes.
Overall, it’s fun!
And it’s more Marvel. It’s old made new in bizarre ways, which is something I hope the universe gets closer and closer to doing. If the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel does indeed live up to being a horror, then maybe What If? is the start of the crazy. And if it is, I can’t wait to see what the next 9 episodes will be like!
XENOJAY.COM was supplied access to a review screener of Marvel Studio’s ‘What If’ by Disney+. Marvel Studio’s ‘What If’ is set to screen Wednesdays on Disney+.