The first two episodes of What If…? featured some mash-up characters including Captain Carter and a T’Challa Star-Lord. Though both have been intriguing and entertaining takes, particularly the latter, the series boasts infinite possibilities so it should involve more than simply combining to heroes. This week takes a different approach and we are asked what would happen if the Avengers were taken out before they became a team.
In line with the espionage side of the MCU, the story is a suspenseful thriller. It’s an engrossing mystery of whodunit as members of the would-be super group are picked off one by one. The tension is increased when Black Widow is the prime suspect and it becomes a race against time to find the killer before she is next to be taken down.
Much has been made about the majority of the actors returning to voice their animated counterparts, however, Scarlett Johansson didn’t join the cast of What If…?. The show finds a more than suitable replacement in Lake Bell. She has an established career in animation, most recently in Harley Quinn, and the character doesn’t miss a beat with her. Bell captures all the vocal mannerisms and runs the gambit of serious, attitude, and comedy. Funny enough, she has voiced Black Widow before for an episode of Robot Chicken.
The episode does a good job of keeping you on your toes. Early on there are misdirects and it’s easy to play into MCU biases based off of what occurred in the proper timeline. Only when Black Widow nears the end of her investigation do we receive a bit of a clue who the culprit is. It’s also a pleasant surprise to see the different character’s that appear. Particularly going a bit into Bruce Banner’s past because his solo film can be easily overlooked since it’s not owned by Disney.
In pure What If…? fashion, the episode takes a dark turn in the very end. There are political ramifications regarding Thor and if the Avengers never came to be, that would leave our world vulnerable. As much as there are endless likelihoods, there are still some things you can count on with certain characters regardless of the multiverse. At least it’s not all doom and gloom as we’re left with a glimmer of hope. These two factors really make the conclusion and I wish we can revisit this story to see what happens next.
The third episode is a captivating murder mystery done Marvel style with a twisted turn and an open ending that could be worthy of pursuing on its own.
New episodes of What If…? are released Wednesdays on Disney+.
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