Comic Book Review – What If? Fallen Son (February 2009)

What If? Fallen Son

Written by Marc Sumerak

Drawn by Trevor Goring

In the Marvel Universe, Captain America fought Iron Man in the war over the Super Human Registration Act. Captain America surrendered to end the fighting. As he was being led to the Federal Courthouse in New York City, Steve Rogers was shot and killed. But What If Iron Man was killed instead?

Captain America is tried, convicted, and sentenced to 36 months under S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. New S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark delivers the news to the crowd outside the courthouse. Tom Foster, Goliath’s nephew, blames Tony Stark for his uncle’s death during the war. Tom also believes Tony should be the one hauled to prison, and not Captain America. Tom grows to gigantic size and smashes Tony Stark repeatedly. Tony Stark dies in the hospital after this attack.

Tony’s death causes a ripple effect in both sides of his life: Stark Enterprises stock begins to drop, affecting other major tech companies that use Starkware. Henry Peter Gyrich takes control of the 50 States Initiative, which rubs War Machine James Rhodes the wrong way. The New Avengers are caught and captured by Tony’s Mighty Avengers.

The future of Stark Enterprises is discussed among its board members. Alexander Lukin, CEO of Kronas Corporation, arrives to the meeting and drops a bombshell: he is now the majority shareholder of Stark Enterprises. He offers to buy out the rest of the shares from the men and women in attendance and offers them cash on the spot. Pepper Potts is fired from her job at Stark Enterprises.

On the day of Tony’s funeral, Steve Rogers is permitted to attend the service. While the heroes gather to remember their fallen friend, Lukin is revealed to be possessed by the Red Skull and looks over the armory of Iron Man suits now in his possession. Jarvis is revealed to be a Skrull and he sends a message to the Skrull homeworld that with Tony dead, they can start their invasion much sooner than anticipated.

The issue ends with Tony Stark’s casket launched into space. The casket reads “Tony Stark- He Watches Over Us.” As it floats over the Earth, a massive armada of Skrull ships is seen headed towards the planet. The Watcher sees this and says, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

Some What If? stories are well known for their endings; some good, but mostly bad. I loved the final panel of the Skrull ships headed towards Earth. A nice tie-in to Secret Invasion. I would have liked to have seen a sequel to this one-shot to see what happened after the Skrulls take over Earth.

I was always a fan of the What If series and I was sad to see the title discontinued. The series has returned as one-shots. I’m not a fan of the one-shots that are directly tied into a past event. I followed the Civil War event series, so I was able to pick up on this one-shot from the beginning. What if other people didn’t read the event the What If was based on? I miss the one-shots based on heroes’ origins like What If Rick Jones became the Hulk? or What If Flash Thompson became Spider-Man?, for example. I am looking forward to the animated What If? Series on Disney Plus. I’m hoping Marvel Comics brings back the series in comic form on a monthly basis. This would be a great way to promote the animated series, while also giving a readers a look at different Earths and new changes to their favorite heroes and villains. Here’s hoping!