Dave Campbell recently featured a post about non-compelling comics covers, and in the ensuing discussion, a lot of people were particularly confused by this cover. Because nobody knows who the Cosmic Avengers are. This is entirely fair, because the Cosmic Avengers never actually had their own comic book per se. I thought I would explain this horribly arcane cover, as I was the sole person purchasing What If back in the late 90s.
(Yes, it was me. Now you know.)
So. Note the little graphic in the bottom. “Timequake! Part two of five!” This was probably the nadir of What If?, where the writers were so stretched for new What Ifs that they came up with this bullshit adventure story featuring Uatu as various alternate universes MOOSHED TOGETHER. There were also this group of people with clocks for faces, none of whom were the Clock King. But I’m getting sidetracked.
For example, two such universes were:
1.) the one where Wolverine became Lord of the Vampires (by killing Dracula when Storm failed to beat Dracula) and then started taking over the world by turning all the mutants into vampires until a fight with the Punisher and Dr. Strange’s ghost brought Logan back to his senses and he read the Montesi Formula aloud (the spell that destroys all vampires, you see, from the climax of the old Dr. Strange-versus-Dracula stories in the early 80s).
2.) the one where the X-Men lost Inferno and only the last-minute teamup of Rachel Summers, Johnny Storm and Dr. Strange (Dr. Strange shows up a lot in What Ifs) could possibly stop Belasco and Maddie Pryor from taking over the world with a demonically enhanced Wolverine.
In “Timequake!”, these two got smooshed together into an alternate universe where the X-Vampires controlled most of North America, and then Mr. Sinister showed up just before Belasco attacked with his demons and cloned a bunch of new X-Men to fight the demons. (I think. I am a little fuzzy on the details. I remember Boom Boom getting decapitated and that is about it.)
So, back to this issue. The Cosmic Avengers are the Avengers from an issue of “What If” where the Kree blow up Earth, and the Avengers (who were in space, you see) fight a guerrilla war against the Kree for the rest of the comic until they, you know, win and stuff. And in this comic, the Cosmic Avengers fight the Guardians of the Galaxy, who I believe are not the canon Guardians but the Guardians from a What If where the Guardians were formed in the 20th century rather than the 30th.
Simple, huh? And people wonder why this book got cancelled!
I think if Roy Thomas were to read the previous passage aloud, his erection would be massive enough to generate gravity.