Deconstructed: What If… Vol. 2 #23

The appeal of Marvel’s What If… series has never worn off on me. The parallel world books launched in the 70’s when the big question was: What If… Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four? Which supplied the obvious answer that they would be the Fantastic Five… Growing up during the 90’s the What If… books were some of my favourite reading. Some of the most memorable reads I still vividly recall include What If… Professor X became the Juggernaut?, What If… Venom had possessed Punisher, or What If… Silver Surfer had never betrayed Galactis? Each new issue shaking the foundation of everything I knew of the Marvel Universe. Essentially, these books are what would happen if Uatu the Watcher messed things up.

On this Deconstructed we are taking a look at issue 23 of the 90’s volume, titled What If… the All-New All-Different X-Men had never existed? Which would be absolutely devastating for X-Men fans. I mean, we are talking no Storm, no Colossus, no Thunderbird, no Nightcrawler, and Wolverine never joining his mutant brethren. This teams first appearance in Giant Size X-Men #1 also involved them saving the original teams lives. Does that mean that without the All-New All-Different X-Men all the X-Men die? Let’s find out…

The Cover-

This cover by Rodney Ramos and Bob McLeod is an obvious reference to Giant Size X-Men #1, of which there have been many takes and variations. This version reversing the roles and putting the classic team in the foreground. You can see Uatu the Watcher making his appearance in the corner box, a staple for this 90’s run of What If…



The Credits-

Marvel Comics
What If…
Volume 2, #23
“What if… the All-New All-Different X-Men Had Never Existed?”
March 1991
Cover Price: $1.25 USD $1.75 CAN
Today’s Worth: $3 to $5
Written by Kurt Busiek
Pencils by Rodney Ramos
Inks by Doug Hazlewood
Colours by Tom Vincent
Letters by Janice Chiang
Edited by Craig Anderson

The Story-

This book starts where the original X-Men team landed on Krakoa, with much of the same outcome as they meet their match-

Of course in this book Uatu is here to show us a different outcome.

This time it is all up to the X-Men to fight this battle on their own. Luckily they have some untapped power in Lorna Dane, Polaris. Professor X has Jean crack open Lorna’s magnetic powers.

Polaris goes all super-power crazy and lifts the entire island of Krakoa into outer space.

Without the X-Men being captured their was no reason to recruit new members. And, the X-Team returned home to business as usual. For the mutant group it can never be so simple and they face some new enemies-

In the original story line Eric the Red was able to defeat a new team of untrained X-Men. Unfortunately for him, this is the classic X-Men practiced in kicking butt and they easily defeat Eric and team. Except the young angry Nightcrawler who escapes with his natural abilities.

As Nightcrawler ditches, the team unmasks this new Eric the Red. Proffesor X decides the only place to keep this man is Muir Island.

As they try to probe Eric the Red for his origins there is another attack-

A battle with sentinels classically strands the X-Men in space. A moment in X-History that saw the death of Jean and the rise of the Phoenix. However, this team has a different member in space with them-

Things settle out for a bit. Until of course Lilandra shows up in her classic hunt for her enemy brother.


Win a Jet Ski with a custom Silver Surfer paint job! Yes, please! All you had to do was get the highest score in the Silver Surfer Nintendo game. Which if I recall properly was a terribly difficult game. I tried to Google what happened in this contest to no avail. But there is some cool Silver Surfer Jet Skis out there.

Obviously the X-Men agree to help Lilandra and classically transfer to the Shi’ar empire-

They join forces with the Starjammers and that whole story basically takes place with a different cast. In fact this original team holds together and handles most of the classic story lines-

Basically, this What If… is telling us that if the X-Men hadn’t expanded their numbers than the original team would’ve still kicked butt… Kinda boring actually. Until the Shi’ar call again looking for a Chaos Bringer to prevent the coming of Pheonix. This time a different member takes the sacrifice-

But, in the last minute Cyclops is over taken by a shadowed figure who takes his spot-

Who is this unknown hero, ready to sacrifice himself for the X-Men and the Universe?

Nightcrawler had been stalking the X-Men through all of there adventures. He learned that they are heroes fighting for mutant freedom. Instead of seeking his revenge, he wants to make things right. And it is Nightcrawler who becomes the Chaos Bringer saving the universe.

And with that, Uatu leaves us with his ominous words.

Fan Mail-

Most the fan mail is talking about the crazy last issue of Wolverine vs. Conan the Barbarian. But, there is a sneak peak at the next issue as well. This one letter bellow is signed by a man known as Uncle Elvis.


A submarine discovers a giant anomaly rising from the ocean. Obviously it is a giant 3 Musketeers bar! I wonder if they got a giant fine for littering the ocean?

Thanks booknerds, what if… this book was better?


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy says:

    Marvel in the 90’s had a much better aesthetic than Image during the same time frame. While this issue is certainly retro, my eyes aren’t rolling out of my head like they were recently when I read some early 90’s nostalgic Image titles of Wild C.A.T.S. & Savage Dragon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Green Onion says:

      Oh I know Savage Dragon was a brightly coloured slop show! Somehow Marvel has always managed to make characters like Spider-Man look great

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nancy says:

        I hope Walt (Comic Reviews by Walt) doesn’t read your comment on calling Savage Dragon a slop show!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Green Onion says:

        Oh there was worse. 90’s Ninja Turtle Comics!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    Man, I loved the What If… series. Still have the 2 issue part of Spiderman and Silver Sable. Somewhere in a box anyway…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      Ah, is that part of the What if Spidey had never married MJ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bookstooge says:

        That sounds right. He ends up w silver sable. She was always my favorite heroine. No powers, just guns, guts n skills!


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