What If? Spider-Man #1 Review

by Olivier Roth on October 03, 2018

Writer: Gerry Conway

Artist: Diego Olortegui

Ink Assists: Walden Wong

Colorist: Chris O’Halloran

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Published by: Marvel Comics


What if Peter Parker wasn’t bit by that radioactive spider, but one of his classmates was. And what if that classmate was Peter’s eternal tormentor and bully Flash Thompson? And not Flash Thompson who learned to be a good person (as we’ve seen in the past decade plus), but a Flash Thompson who was that hot shot athlete in high school who was not the greatest of people. How would that affect the Marvel Universe as we know it?


Well, that is the answer that Gerry Conway and company seek to answer within the pages of this issue and after reading it, I would say they were somewhat successful.


The whole point of the What If? line of books, in my opinion, was to explore what could have been and in this regard, Conway does a masterful job of showcasing exactly what a world it would be if Flash Thompson, he of the exceptionally high ego, would handle becoming a superhero. The answer, to no one’s surprise I would think, is he would love it, embrace it, and because of it, his worse qualities would be amplified.


Because who is Spider-Man without the sense of responsibility? That was explored half a decade ago with Superior Spider-Man, but here we get to see how a teenager would handle it.


I really enjoyed that Conway gave a nice little class on what this series is about, having The Unseen (the original Nick Fury now in The Watcher’s role) explain the concept. It’s maybe a little heavy-handed and maybe a little too omni-present throughout the issue, but it gives readers completely unfamiliar with the concept a good intro - something that severely lacking in the X-Men entry this week.  


I feel like I say this a lot these days with a lot of Marvel artists, but I’m unfamiliar with Olortegui as an artist in general, but he does a marvelous job in this issue. I think he would have been better served with a different colourist, as O’Halloran’s colours don’t properly showcase the line-art and drown out a lot of the pages. I think with brighter colours, this book would have been a treat to look at it.


All in all, this issue is an okay entry into the What If? series of tales. Conway’s overreliance on The Unseen made it that the actual story being told was often overshadowed throughout the issue.

Our Score:


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