For an animated show about superheroes, most of the What If…? series has been really dark. It’s absolutely Marvel’s answer to The Twilight Zone and works well in that story structure. But, despite what some critics may say, Marvel rarely plays it safe. Watching this week’s episode which takes a look at a universe where Thor grew up an only child while Loki grew up as a Frost Giant started out as the studio really cutting loose with its animation by doing a story that never would have been filmed.
It turns out without Loki’s influence Thor would have grown up to be a full-blown cosmic frat boy. Partying from world to world and destroying them in the process. He’s not mean-spirited or evil, he just likes to have fun with all the power of a demigod.
The time around, instead of landing in New Mexico Thor aims the rainbow bridge for Las Vegas and literally tears up the strip with a party. Everyone is invited too. There are some deep cuts in the episode but my favorite is still the return of the always amazing Howard the Duck. Marvel really needs to just give him a series already, he deserves it.
Even better, pretty much everyone from the movies has returned to voice their animated counterparts. Where else but What if can you see Jeff Goldblum and Renee Russo in a cartoon galivanting around the universe?
This episode also gives the spotlight to Jane Foster, an element that was badly needed. Of course, this is being fixed in Thor: Love and Thunder, and one can’t help but think there might be some crossover between the show and the movie. That would be awesome.
No spoilers on this one but stay until the very end. As with most things in Marvel, everything you think you know is wrong.