"Absolute power corrupts absolutely", or so the saying goes. Our favorite nerdy fictions are full of examples of truly good characters who wielded power far beyond anyone else in their world, but refused to use that power selfishly. I'm thinking of Charles Xavier's reluctance to read minds without permission, Gandalf's refusal to touch the one Ring, and Dumbledore's decision to avoid politics and settle into a quiet career in school administration, since everyone knows that schools are never, ever political.
Much like the first episode of "What If...", this week we are revisiting the greatest hits of Phase 1. In 2008 Marvel launched an incredibly ambitious project. In the post-credits scene of "Iron Man", Nick Fury teases the existence of the "Avengers", ultimately culminating in the film of the same name. The timeline in the MCU is always a bit fuzzy, but the comic tie-in "Fury's Big Week" reminds us that the events of "Iron Man 2", "Thor" and Hulk's initial return to the United States all happen within a few days of each other. This episode asks: "What if that week went horribly wrong?"
I definitely felt a lot of things during the second episode of "What If...". There's plenty going on in the episode itself, but most importantly this show was Chadwick Boseman's last performance. He contributed his voice on several episodes, but it seems likely that this will be the one that will centralize T'Challa the most. I wrote about how much I admire Boseman in a tribute to him and in my Black Panther recap, but needless to say his work speaks for itself. Obviously I will get into it more as we go, but Boseman's work in "What If..." is equally as exceptional.
The new MCU show on Disney+ is called "What If..." and the first episode dropped a couple weeks ago. Based on the comic series of the same name, each episode makes minor changes to established MCU lore and then examines how the universe would be different. The first episode asks "What if... Captain Carter were the First Avenger?"
Before the new show launches, I thought it would be helpful to take a moment and reflect on the Disney+ era of the MCU so far. In the spirit of the recently ended Olympics, let's rank each of the three shows based on indefinable qualities that NBC commentators would struggle to explain to laypeople watching at home. And since this ranking is based entirely on my own opinions, you can rest assured that it is 100% objectively correct and no I will not be taking questions.