Marvel's What If...? debuts a sinister world without The Avengers
Burbank, California - The third episode of Marvel's What If...? brings back Earth's mightiest heroes in a twisted, murder-mystery tale.
What if Thor never picked up the Mjolnir?
What if Hawkeye was arrested for murder?
What if Loki became Earth's ruler?
But, is this animated series spinning a web that can't be untangled?
The most recent chapter took a big leap by opening up old wounds for Marvel fans.
The original Avengers have finally made their debut in the show, but before they can even meet each other, each member meets a horrific demise.
Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is left to "avenge" the death of his heroes and uncovers a sinister plot conducted by an unexpected foe.
The whodunit storyline showed definite promise, yet ultimately only added to the confusion of this new universe.
Intriguingly, the new episode explores what the world would be like without The Avengers.
What if the world never met its mightiest heroes?
The episode's story begins on a Monday and follows a week-long plot, similar to the 2012 film The Avengers.
Nick Fury has begun recruiting a team for the Avengers Initiative, but before they can even agree –they're all mysteriously murdered.
While attempting to woo Tony Stark/ Iron Man, played Robert Downey Jr., Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, played by Lake Bell, gives him an injection to alleviate his hangover. But the dosage ends up being fatal.
Natasha is arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. but escapes, thanks to Nick, and sets out to uncover Tony's killer.
Meanwhile, Thor arrives to Earth to retrieve his fallen hammer. Yet before he's even able to even lift the weapon, he's accidentally killed by Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner.
Elsewhere, Natasha tracks down Dr. Betty Ross to uncover what killed Tony. The scientist deduces that nanotechnology was involved, and the ladies are later joined by Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, who was hiding in a closet nearby.
Things get hectic when Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, arrives in New Mexico to avenge his brother's death.
Nick, being the smooth talker he is, strikes a deal with the God of Mischief that he'll hand deliver his brother's killer by sunrise.
As the focus switches back to Black Widow and Bruce, the two are ambushed by General Thaddeus Ross, brought to life by William Hurt. The attack causes Bruce to transform into The Hulk, but the moment is short-lived, as he's soon shot.
Natasha later uncovers who's behind the attacks and leaves a message for Nick, telling him, "It's all about Hope," before she's also murdered.
The clue is all Nick needs to confront the killer, Hank Pym/Ant-Man, played by Michael Douglas. He had a past falling out with S.H.I.E.L.D after his daughter Hope was killed in the line of duty.
Nick forms an alliance with Loki, who tricks the tiny assassin and takes him as prisoner.
In a hopeful conclusion, Nick comes across the frozen Captain America/ Steve Rogers and also meets up with Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, bringing back some trusty heroes.
Will What If...? explain this madness or continue the chaos?
The daring series deserves major kudos for it's Agatha Christie-like spin on the origins of The Avengers.
It also does a decent job of showing how cruel the world would've become if The Avengers never assembled.
Still, the plot misses out on the heart of what the team stood for. Plus, it also serves as a painful reminder that Earth's heroes are no more – in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least.
The trippy series still has its kinks to work out, and a lot of explaining to do. Hopefully, Marvel doesn't continue to make too much of a mess and can tie up everything neatly.
Marvel's What If...? is now streaming on Disney +.
Cover photo: IMAGO / Everett Collection