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Wha. . . Huh? #1

Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2005
By: Michael Deeley



Writers: Brian The Productive Bendis, Mark The Overrated Millar, Ed The Crime Doctor Brubaker, Brian The Manless K. with Teenaged Vaughn, Marc The Guy Who Writes Manhunter Andreyko, Nick The Guy I Never Heard of Thompson, Mark The Next John Byrne Waid, Tom The Formerly Popular Peyer, and Stan The Man Lee

Artist: Jim Sell-Out Mahfood

Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99


This long-delayed humor special finally answers the most pressing questions in comics fandom. What if. . .

Stan Lee never broke into comics?
Mark Millar wasnít a comic book writer?
The Avengers all had beards?
The Black Panther wasnít black?
Identity Crisis happened in the Marvel Universe?
The internet existed in the 60ís, 70ís, and 80ís?
There were Ultimate versions of the Ultimate Marvel comics?

The results vary from the silly to the hilarious. This is 40 pages of writers goofing around with help from Jim Mahfood, and Mahfood is the star. His cartooning has a punk-rock quality thatís amateurish yet skilled. You will have to re-read this book slowly to see every little doodle and joke crammed into the panels. And your efforts will be rewarded.

Wha Huh? comes from guys who take their work seriously, but can still poke fun at themselves. The book feels light and breezy, which works against it in one respect. $4 is a lot to pay for something with so little depth. Itís like buying a $20 box of Ding Dongs. You get 2 dozen Ding Dongs, but you still spent $20 on Ding Dongs, you fat bitch! Thatís a lot to pay for fun.

The story everyone was looking forward to, and the one blamed for the comicís delay, was the Identity Crisis parody. Itís a dead-accurate satire of Brad Meltzerís writing style in that comic. The anguish over the death of a minor character is also cruelly mocked, as well as the transformation of a loser villain into a murderous psycho. But the punchline comes from the tradition of creating short-lived series and characters from crossover events. And Identity Crisis/Infinite Crisis hasnít done that. Yet.

If What If came back as a continuing series, stories like these would be perfect as back-up features. In fact, Iíd wager such features would be a big selling point of the series. There are many clever jokes and outright silly bits that will make you laugh out loud. $4 is a lot to pay for fun, but in this case, itís worth it.



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