WIP – The What If Podcast Christmas Special on YouTube!

The What If Podcast wishes you a Merry Christmas as we recall days of yore. Beast Machines, Ninja Turtles and whether or not Santa wraps his presents, we discuss everything great from the early 90s Christmas style!


WIP Episode 20 “A Strange Movie” on YouTube! (What If Podcast)

On the heels of the confirmation of Benedict Cumberbatch portraying Dr. Strange, the What If Podcast returns to discuss the fine doctor, the tremulous-handed, arrogant, mustached magician, Stephen Strange. What If Doctor Strange were a Disciple of Dormammu? What If Tony Stark was Sorcerer Supreme instead? Find out! Also, The Nanny returns!

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Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Micronauts #1 (1978)

From Wikipedia

When site admin and contributor Turner told me he had a box of free comics for me to paw through, I was skeptical, a justifiable suspicion as I saw issue after issue covered in foil and 90sness. However in the recesses of this box was a run of Micronauts, As a kid enamored with “Captain Universe Spider-Man” who popped up on trading cards, action figures, and the like,  I knew that Captain Universe, a transient power that bounces from host to host, first appeared in, of all places, Micronauts #8. Wouldn’t you know, there was a pretty sharp copy of #8 in the collection. Only I already had it. Still, I took it anyway, in case it was in better shape than my copy (it was, so there you go). For posterity’s sake, I decided to also take the copy of Micronauts #1, to see what the whole thing was about. Based on a toy line (a fact which is hard to come by in the book itself, which is good for storytelling, bad for marketing), Micronauts features a mishmash of sci-fi characters (including “Bug”, Princess Mari, something called Acroyear, and Arcturus Rann, a space commander) as they band together to take on the autocratic Baron Karza, ruler of the Microverse. Generic sci-fi action ensues as the group evades some low level flunkies (literally named “Dog Soldier”, though not looking like the Beagle Boys) and head toward “the fringe” in their spaceship, toward…EARTH! See ya next issue (not really, I’m not getting issue 2 or any more Micronauts).

One issue this issue raises is…what’s the Enigma Force, and is it the same as the Captain Universe power? The Enigma Force is mentioned by name here by some energy being thing named “Time Traveler”. Some Wiki’s list “Enigma Force” as the real name of Captain Universe, along with naming it the “Uni-Power”. Are they different? Are they the same? Should I keep issue 1 in case it actually is the first real appearance of Captain Universe? The thing is, those same wikis universally list the first appearance of Captain Universe as Micronauts #8, so I’ll probably just stick with that. As for the Micronauts in general…if you like sprawling sci-fi, maybe, but I’ll pass.

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Paradise X #12


From Marvel.Wikia

When I found some loose Paradise X issues in a dollar bin recently, it was the culmination of an entirely too long 15 year journey, similar to what I experienced with Venom 2099 in the pages of Spider-Man 2099. When the very first preview of Earth X was packed in with an issue of Wizard all those years ago, I was instantly intrigued by the haggard Captain America and other wacky character designs (wacky character re-designs are half of why I love Marvel’s What If series). The series came and went, and though I thought the designs were awesome, this series came at a time where I was getting out of comics as a teenager (to get into…professional wrestling…more on that at a later date), and so I didn’t pick up any of the issues. Flash forward 9 0r 10 years, I’ve graduated college and have returned home to the geekery of comic books. I pick up the Earth X graphic novel and I’m…underwhelmed. Perhaps I built it up in my mind too much over the years, as the last thing that I was interested in before I “left” comics for a while, but it didn’t do it for me, to the point I even sold the book back on Amazon. A few more years later, I pick up both volumes of the Universe X series, and for whatever reason, I liked it much more than Earth X. I think what stood out the most to me was its efforts to try and tie all of Marvel’s versions of “the devil” into a coherent train of thought, as well as trying to explain why Marvel’s earth is so wacky, and why there are multitudes of “all powerful” devices, each more “all powerful” than the last. If you’ve ever looked at comic book mega-events and thought for a second “why is everything so crazy for this universe all the time?”, Universe X might be worth checking out.

As for Paradise X, while I’m intrigued by Universe X, I’m hesitant to drop $50 or more to try and track down both volumes of the graphic novels. So when I found issue 12, I thought to myself “Hey, this is probably near the end of the series, I’ll just read the end and see what’s been happening.” Lo and behold, we get some of what I liked about Universe X: an allusion to the fact that Galactus is eating Celestial embryos inside of planets when he “eats worlds”, and a plot thread about Excalibur, the sword of legend, and how it fits in the schema of “all powerful” weapons in the Marvel Universe. The overarching plot is about Captain Mar-Vell creating a “paradise”, a purgatory free from death, that is expanding and slowly consuming the universe as its numbers grow. While these plot threads do entice me, I’ll probably hold off for now and concentrate my money on hockey tickets. Tis the season!

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Monday Morning Master Mold (Pt 2)

Last time on the MMQB, I reviewed Uncanny X-Men 246, detailing how the previously anti-hero-inclined Nimrod touched a piece of the Master Mold and became a big giant amalgamated robot, facing off against the Ms. Marvel-uniform-clad Rogue, with Robert Kelly’s wife, Sharon, injured in the initial blast.

From Marvel.Wikia

First off, I love the magenta-hued cover, which plays off of what is to come in the issue, as well as Nimrod/Master Mold’s fuchsia-face. We open with a big ol’ splash page of Havok, Dazzler, and Storm blasting Master Mold. Excellent, this is comics. We get a POV from Master Mold, all digitized, telling us he is having trouble identifying the X-Men. Of note, we get forgettable X-Man Gateway telling Robert Kelly she can’t save his injured wife. I’m sure that’ll go over well with his anti-mutant agenda.

More battling with the giant Master Mold ensues, including a nice panel “looking through dust” at the encroaching robot. The X-Men think they have it beat with some good ol’ fashioned butt-whooping, but it couldn’t be that easy, right?

Cut to Jubilee (pre-90s Jubilee, so no April O’Neil jacket) in Dazzler’s Australian bungalow? I’m not sure, and I don’t feel like researching this plot thread.

The Master Mold reassembles! Drawing from the construction site where Nimrod touched to the piece of Master Mold, the big giant robot reconstitutes itself, bigger, stronger, and better able to adapt to the mutant powers of the X-Men. This cause Dazzler to be knocked into a hole, prompting the ever caring Rogue to remark “Can’t worry about her now, Spunky. Got probs of our own.”

Soon Colossus rips off one of Master Mold’s legs, but it does little, and he knocks Colossus out. Knowing a death knell is needed, Rogue absorbs Colussus’ power (just a bit) and we get this amazing image:


A tri-amalgamation of Colossus, Rogue, and Ms. Marvel?! Absolutely!! Ms. Roguelossus flies up to space for an orbital fastball special, crashing down into Master Mold from on high (how she didn’t create such a shock as to collapse at least the surrounding city block is another of those comic physics mysteries).

Its severed head now down in the hole containing Dazzler, Dazz attempts to use the Siege Perilous on Moldy, but it takes Rogue with him! Somewhere in this, the anti-hero side of Nimrod takes over again, telling the Master Mold to destroy itself because it’s “mutated” by amalgamating with ‘Rod (Master Mold’s “Prime Directive”, kill all mutants, itself mutates to a Futurama-like “kill all humans” after it realizes humans are the progenitors of mutants, and because Mold itself has mutated, it must destroy itself as well).

Is Rogue still alive somewhere? How will Robert Kelly be affected by the death of his wife in a mutant-related skirmish? Who is this egg-person on the last page? Alas, I’ll probably dip out of the late 80s X-Men timestream for now, so those will have to wait for some other time.

Much like the last issue, this is a “buy it if you can find it cheap” recommend on my part. Big giant robots, stealing powers, and more big giant robots make this a fun issue to read, and the team of Claremont and Silvestri add a sense of credibility to what are ostensibly utterly ridiculous premises.

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Monday Morning Master Mold (Pt 1)

For some reason, I’ve always been a fan of the Sentinel overlord, Master Mold. Maybe it’s because he looks like a cross between Galactus and a Sentinel, or maybe it’s because he’s a walking factory that somehow produces raw materials to make Sentinels within his person, but the bigger, more menacing look of the monolithic Master Mold has always made me take pause and go, “Cool.” That being said, his first appearance is wrapped up with early Sentinel tales and in the early days of the silver age X-Men, so that’s out of my price range for the time being. However, I did track down a two issue story with him recently at the Boston Comic Con for a scant buck apiece.

From Marvel.Wikia

Uncanny X-Men #246 has a bold (inaccurate) color scheme for the Master Mold, looking something like a leftover redesign of Megatron or Iron Man. Written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Mark Silvestri, it opens with the Dazzler looking into the Siege Perilous  (ironic because the Boston Comic Con already introduced plenty of Dazzler into my life) and seeing her own death. We also see Nimrod acting as a sort of anti-hero(?) taking out some crack dealers (remember guys, this is the 80s), as well as Wolverine talking about going to do his own thing because that’s what Wolverine does about half of the time in team books.

Another key subplot to this is Rouge dealing with the inner struggle of the absorbed memories of Carol Danvers taking over her body from time to time, including a seemingly out of nowhere salute to veterans plopped into the middle of the book. Meanwhile, Senator Robert Kelly is making deals with Sebastian Shaw (the cad!) while his trampy wife plays provocateur.

To get back to the Master Mold portion of the story, Nicholas Hunter, the anti-hero Nimrod’s alter ego (something I never knew existed until this point in my life), is working at a construction site and accidentally touches a buried piece of the Master Mold, which is enough to cause him to revert to being full Sentinel and become some sort of Master Mold/Nimrod amalgamation, a super-Sentinel, if you would. We close with Master Mold looking giant size, Rogue rocking Carol Danvers’ Ms. Marvel outfit (the lightning bolt one), and Robert Kelly’s wife (Mitzy? Wait, Sharon, it’s Sharon) getting squashed in a limo.

This issue’s a nice setup to what’s to come. We get some characters moving forward (Wolverine), as well as some characters struggling (Dazzler, Longshot having a crisis of confidence, and Rouge wrestling with the specter of Carol Danvers). Throw in some big giant robot, and the character mash-ups of Master Mold/Nimrod and Rogue/Ms. Marvel (mash-ups are something I always like) and you get a solid issue. One last note, Mark Silvestri’s art in this is amazing. Not for any huge splash pages or “redefining the genre” or any somesuch, but for drawing realistic looking characters with realistic hair, in my opinion. With so much hair going on (remember guys, this is the 80s, so the volume’s turned up to 11), it helps you get invested in the characters when it seems like they could actually be real people (right down a quick reference to Wolverine starting to use hair gel). If you can find this one cheap, give it a read.

This is the first part of my multi-part look at Master Mold, in the same vein as my fascination with Venom 2099.

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Hamster Vice

In case last week you though one “mid 80s indy black and white Miami Vice animal parody comic book” wasn’t enough, in the tradition of “Miami Mice”, I present to you Hamster Vice.

‘ From ComicVine

Unlike Miami Mice, Hamster Vice is not a mere replacement of Miami Vice characters with rats and cheese. This is more along the lines of an alternate version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with three hamster characters, Hammy, Ben and Wolph, who fight Rumble Roach, a giant anthropomorphic cockroach. This one has jokes, character development, and actual writing, and better art, so if you’re left with a choice between Miami Mice and Hamster Vice, go with hamsters, all the way, much like you would when choosing between a pet hamster and pet mouse.

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Miami Mice

In Part 1 of our 2 part “Miami Vice Animal Parody Comic” series, we examine the anomaly of “The Miami Mice” comic.

From ComicVine

Our two protagonists, Rocket and Stubo (Crockett and Tubbs) show up, shoot rats and talk about “cheese” in lieu of drugs. There it is. A black and white mid 80’s indy comic from Rip Off press, it’s at least an interesting addition to my collection. However, as a story itself, it’s very shallow, however. The Miami Mice show up, shoot up the rats, talk about cheese. Rather, rinse, repeat. It seems like a joke in premise only. It’s no Spider-Ham, I’ll say that much.

WIP Episode 16 – Ghost Ridering the WIP (What If Podcast)

For the FIRST TIME EVER, site admin Franchise joins the podcast, returning from his pilgrimage to the United Arab Emirates. To celebrate the occasion, we talk Ghost Rider! Nicolas Cage! The unnecessary sexualization of female Ghost Rider! What if Ghost Rider were bad? It’s a question that gets answered three times in this podcast!

All episodes of the What If Podcast are on theslimjames.com/wip

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The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin: Super-Villain Team Up 17

So last week I wrote about not buying up random issues just because they’re “cool” looking or might be “interesting”, yet the allure of a .25 (or 5 for a dollar) comic is a strong one. When I was flipping through the umpteenth copy of SuperPro #2 or some Malibu POS, I found this bad boy, and I had to make an exception:

From marvel.wikia.com/Super-Villain_Team-Up_Vol_1_17

It was Super-Villian Team Up #17, featuring The Red Skull, Arnim Zola, and The Hate Monger worshipping the Cosmic Cube. I’d always been curious about The Hate Monger, and this was my opportunity to see him in action, so I relented and I bought the issue.
The crux of the story is that The Red Skull has stolen the last AIM scientist to work on the original Cosmic Cube, and is looking to use him (the scientist is hilariously named George Clinton, so I instantly see AIM in the Parlaiment Funkadelic) in order to build a NEW Cosmic Cube. They hope to accomplish this by using some sort of mind-sucking device to use combined brainpower to produce some omnipotent “element X”, or somesuch nonsense, that gives the Cube its power. This includes one Yousaf, whose sister is working with SHIELD to infiltrate the Skull’s lair.

Eventually it dawns on Red Skull that once the cube is finished, he and The Hate Monger will no longer by allies but rather enemies looking to ascend to power as the ruler of the fourth reich. The Hate Monger recounts his origin to his creator, Arnim Zola (complete with belly-face), for the benefit of the readers only, and tells us that he’s a clone of Hitler after Zola convinced him to use some sort of machine to project his brainwaves out of his body after The (Android) Human Torch killed him in World War II (an established piece of Marvel world history). Why, after projecting his mind outward, he’d still have a clone of Hitler’s body and not, say, one of the Aryan ubermensches he was so gung ho about is beyond me, but regardless, we have a Hitler clone running around in a purple KKK outfit with a big ol’ H on the front – he looks like Hawkeye after a few years of bad choices. The SHIELD agents eventually storm the place, and Red Skull uses the unfinished cosmic cube to trap Hitler’s mindwaves, end scene.

The upside to this quarter bin find is that it’s a really fun book (if you can look past the questionable use of Hitler as a super villain) and it’s worth well over a quarter, fetching somewhere between $3 and $14. And with only 19 total issues (17 regular issues – the one I have is the ragin’ climax, and there are 2 Giant Sizes), combined with the fact I already owned 1 or 2 in my youth (gotta dig those up), and I might get the complete run somewhere along the line. A good quarter bin find, in my opinion.