A Look Back at What If #44 (1992)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Are you a fan of Venom and you want to find out how he was presented within the realm of alternate realities within the Marvel Comics universe as told through their What If? monthly series?

Join me in exploring something new in What If #44, written by Kurt Busiek, drawn by Luke McDonnell and published in 1992 by Marvel Comics.

The key scenario here: What if Venom had possessed the Punisher?

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Venom already armed with guns moving around the city. In broad daylight, he stalks criminals walking down the street. Using the symbiote’s ability to alter his looks, Venom approaches a certain Mr. Vance (accompanied by bodyguards) and kills him quickly in public.

It turns out, Venom is actually Frank Castle/Punisher already with the symbiote. With his intent to eliminate crooks, this new Venom daringly goes up against the gangs even without the usual hardware (weapons) since the symbiote already provides him with uncanny weapons.

Elsewhere in the city, Spider-Man (wearing his black suit that shared the same style as Venom) swings by a lady who begged him not to hurt her. This sparks Spider-Man’s curiosity since he believes that he succeeded in killing the symbiote that tried to possess him.

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Punisher/Venom goes against the criminals!

In another part of the city, Daredevil senses Venom passing by and recognizes the heartbeat as that of Frank Castle. He also senses other readings that something is odd. He decides to take a close look at Venom/Punisher.

Quality

Let me start with the core concept of this comic book: it’s a bold and great concept to explore, and it was well executed! To put things to perspective, I personally witnessed the debut of Venom in 1987 and back then seeing Eddie Brock/Venom as a new mortal enemy of Peter Parker’s was a tremendous event of its own. On top of that, having Brock already with the symbiote forming Venom together established an undeniable consequence that goes back to the alien world in Secret Wars where Spider-Man first got the symbiote. Gradually through the years in real life, Venom became one of the greatest super villains of not only Marvel but in superhero comics in general.

That being said, to show the Punisher getting possessed by the symbiote made a nice alternate reality. Frank Castle lost his family and this alone drove him to become a vigilante and often used lots of guns and explosives in his one-man war against crime. To see him have the symbiote and become the new Venom is both interesting and intriguing. I won’t forget how the Punisher used the symbiote to organically form guns on his arms and actually fire bullets.

One of the things I like most in this comic book was the presentation of the encounter between Spider-Man and Punisher/Venom. It’s a great alternative to the classic first encounter between Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom!

Ultimately, Kurt Busiek’s storytelling is strong and engaging. Art by Luke McDonnell is serviceable at best but he really exerted effort to add impact on the action scenes which are plentiful to see. Lastly,

Conclusion

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Punisher/Venom and Spider-Man!

I really enjoyed reading this comic book. To put things in perspective, What If #44 was released several months before the Punisher and Venom actually appeared together in Venom: Funeral Pyre #1. This comic book was also released before Venom got his own mini-series with Lethal Protector.

If you are serious in collecting a hard copy of What If #44 soon, be aware that as of this writing and based on the ratings of Mile High Comics online, a near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $51 while a near-mint newsstand copy costs $153.

Overall, What If #44 (1992) is highly recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #35 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

When Marvel Comics first launched the 2099 imprint of comic books showcasing many futuristic versions of their present-day characters – like Spider-Man, Ravage and Dr. Doom – it was inevitable that the same treatment will be applied to their popular supervillains.

In 1993, the 2099 version of Vulture was introduced and he sure proved to be one tough opponent for Spider-Man 2099. Even back then, there already was clamor for a futuristic version of Venom which at the time was riding high with readers being the featured anti-hero in several limited series (starting with Lethal Protector) of comic books.

Then in 1995, after doing a creative teaser in issue #34, Marvel formally introduced Venom 2099 by releasing Spider-Man 2099 #35. This is my review of the comic book written by Peter David and drawn by Andrew Wildman (X-Men Adventures).

Cover
The cover drawn by Rick Leonardi.

Early story

Picking up from the events of issue #34, the story begins in Washington, DC with Dana freeing herself only to find out that Alchemax’s CEO Tyler Stone was down suffering from a gun shot and losing blood. Minutes later, emergency personnel take Stone’s body for immediate treatment.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara) encounters the SHIELD flyboys in New York. After almost getting into trouble together, Spidey gets informed that US President Doom 2099 ordered them to leave him alone for a period of seventy-two hours while he considers a cabinet offer. Back in Washington, Dana gets interrogated by one of the authorities. President Doom enters the scene telling Dana that she will join Tyler Stone immediately in the medical center.

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Andrew Wildman’s take on Spider-Man 2099 and the future was really nice to look at.

In New York, two guys sitting on the sidewalk witness a moving black liquid coming out of the sewer. The thing turns out to be a living symbiote (or alien costume) forming into a human-like shape – Venom 2099!

Quality

As with other comic books of this particular series, the writing by Peter David is pretty deep and engaging. The usual balance between dramatization, character development, plotting and spectacle is here once again but with a slight touch of horror in relation to the introduction of Venom of 2099. Speaking of dramatization, the portrayal of Venom 2099 as a vicious villain is similar to the 20th century Venom (Eddie Brock) but with a very powerful obsession to kill Miguel O’Hara and Tyler Stone.

Here’s an excerpt from the dialogue of Venom of 2099: Miguel O’Hara…and Tyler Stone…together again. We…I get to kill you…at the same time…how awfully…awfully…considerate. To show my appreciation…I’ll kill you slowly.

What makes this comic book unique is the artwork by Andrew Wildman who temporarily replaced regular illustrator Rick Leonardi. For comparison, I find Wildman’s art style a welcome thing in this comic book mainly because he draws with a lot more detail per panel and per page than Leonardi ever could. Instead of seeing the usual sketch-like art style of Leonardi, Wildman’s style is livelier and more expressive to look at. I also enjoyed Wildman’s visual take on Spider-Man 2099/Miguel O’Hara, Lyla, Tyle Stone, and the other established characters. Their facial expressions are also livelier to see.

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Venom 2099 appears! Take note of the “liquid” at the edges of the page.

More on visuals, Wildman’s take on Venom 2099 is unforgettable. Like 20th century Venom, he has a dark suit, elongated jaw with rows of sharp teeth and an elongated tongue but with green acid dripping all the time. There are also those tentacles-like things that stretch from his body until the arms. Also his white-colored mask with large eyes make him look horrific.

Conclusion

Despite being shorter than the usual 22-pages, Spider-Man 2099 #35 is still a very engaging and fun old comic book to read. Its purpose was to build-up anticipation leading to the introduction of Venom 2099 was achieved nicely and the respective qualities of the writing and visuals are very good even by today’s standards. More on the presentation of Venom of 2099, it seems like Peter David took inspiration from movie director James Cameron on building-up tension and suspense before showing the villain. That’s a move I enjoyed in this comic book.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #35 is highly recommended. If you plan to acquire an existing and legitimate hard copy, be aware that the near-mint copy of it is over $100 for the newsstand version while the Rich Leonardi-drawn “Venom 2099 AD” cover version is priced at over $80 at MileHighComics.com as of this writing.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com