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What If #26: Review

Apr 1981
Mike W. Barr, Herb Trimpe

Story Name:

What if Captain America Were Elected President?

Review & Comments

2 stars

What If #26 Review by (November 3, 2010)
Review: Another lame story, with Cap’s election becoming merely the pretext for a tired Red Skull tale adding the standard trope of the hero dying in the end. At least the Man-Thing tale manages to kill off the hero with some irony.

Comments: First story is based on CAPTAIN AMERICA (Vol. 1) #250. Marvel cameos include the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson, Nick Fury, and at his funeral, Falcon, Iron Man, Wasp, Yellowjacket, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Beast, Wonder Man, and the outline of Thor. Real-life cameos include Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and newscaster Walter Cronkite. For some reason Ronald Reagan is depicted with red hair. Second story is based on MAN-THING Vol. 2 #1. Third story is part of a history of the Eternals in issues #24-28.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

What If #26 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In our reality, Captain America was courted as a third-party candidate for President but ultimately declined. The Watcher now shows us an alternate reality in which Cap accepted the nomination, choosing as his running mate Andrew Jackson Hawk, an African American Senator. Once Hawk is convinced that he is not being added to the ticket as a gimmick he accepts. The two Major Party candidates, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, frame the issue as one of experience, yet on election day, Cap wins with over 50% of the popular vote. On Inaugural Day, the new President keeps his first promise…and unmasks on the spot (shocking Bernie Rosenthal, watching at home). An assassin immediately fires a shot a Cap but the hero outraces his Secret Service protectors to capture the man personally….

The trust the American people place in him leads President Rogers to a number of early successes, including funding and building an orbiting solar collecting station to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Rogers also supports the rebels in the South American country of San Pedro, leading to a democracy in that nation under Presidente Jacinto Morez. Against Vice-President Hawk’s advice, Rogers visits San Pedro as the guest of Presidente Morez. At the Presidential Palace, Morez unmasks to reveal he is…the Red Skull! Explaining that, as Captain America’s natural counterpart, he needed a country of his own, he blasts Steve with a handy weapon and locks him in a dungeon. The Skull hijacks the solar collector (which he has converted into a weapon using technology shared with San Pedro) and uses it to hold the people of America hostage while showing them their President as his prisoner. The villain announces he will use the orbiting weapon to destroy Washington D.C. and SHIELD can’t stop him. Cap manages to escape from his cell and sabotages the machine, redirecting its beam at the capital of San Pedro. As the beam reaches their location, Captain America and the Red Skull die together, locked in hand-to-hand combat. The story ends with Cap’s funeral and a Bible quote: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (the Apostle Paul’s last words, 2 Timothy 4:7).

Story #2

What if...The Man-Thing had Regained Ted Sallis' Brain?

Writer: Steven Grant. Penciler: Herb Trimpe. Inker: Bob Wiacek. Colorist: N. Dowedswell.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dr. Karl Oheimer had been duped by foreign agents into attempting to restore to the Man-Thing the mind and memories of Ted Sallis, the human he once had been. In our reality, US soldiers put an end to the project, inadvertently killing Dr Oheimer in the process. Here, the Watcher shows us what if Oheimer had been able to explain to the FBI what he was doing? And they continued the project with their funding? Eventually Oheimer would have restored the Man-Thing’s human mind but enemy agents, having stolen a sample of his tissues, created a bigger, fiercer swamp-monster. When Man-Thing faces his opponent, Ted Sallis’ mind knows fear…and whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch. Therefore, Man-Thing accidentally immolates itself, leaving the other monster to rule the swamps.

Story #3

Outpost on Uranus

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Penciler: Bruce Patterson. Penciler: Ron Wilson. Inker: Bruce Patterson. Colorist: Ed Hannigan.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rebellious Eternals are exiled to another world but find it a Kree outpost. Defeating the Sentry posted there, they are unaware they have called down on their heads the fury of the Kree Armada.

Herb Trimpe
Mike Esposito
Carl Gafford
Marie Severin (Cover Penciler)
Marie Severin (Cover Inker)
Plot: .


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)


Plus: Bernie Rosenthal, Kree.

> What If: Book info and issue index

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