Marvel’s ‘What If…?’: Spider-Man Led the First Two-Part Entry

Marvel’s What If…? series on Disney+ offers brief glimpses into alternate Earths in the Marvel universe. Sometimes, fans find these episodes too brief and can’t help wanting a part two. However, Marvel wants these to be self-contained; even the comics stories only lasted one issue. At least, they did until a What If…? Spider-Man comic broke that rule.

Interactive Spider-Man from 'Spider-Man 2' in London
Spider-Man | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The ‘What If…?’ Spider-Man comic that broke the mold

The Disney+ show already gave fans a Peggy Carter Captain America, a T’Challa Star-Lord, and even a twisted Dr. Strange. Some of these stories end more definitively, while some leave tantalizing cliffhangers.

Is there any hope of seeing a resolution to these stories?

If referring to the comics, then there could still be hope.

The What If? comics started in 1977 with ‘What If Spider-Man Had Joined the Fantastic Four?’ Running for just under 50 issues, none of these were two-part stories.

Series two looked to change that. Going by the slightly altered title What If…? in 1989, Issue 20 introduced a twist. The What If…? Spider-Man comic ended on a cliffhanger which was continued in the next issue.

‘What If…?’ Spider-Man had not married Mary Jane

Just like the Disney+ show, most of the What If…? comics started with the Watcher pointing to the most seemingly insignificant moments.

On this Earth, officially designated as Earth-901220, Spider-Man was stunned for an extra second during a fight. This resulted in MJ’s near-death and caused Peter to reevaluate his decision to marry her.

Breaking it off to protect MJ, the decision hit him hard. He went after criminals with extreme prejudice until he decided to rekindle his relationship with Felicia Hardy, AKA the antihero Black Cat. They fought villains together like Kraven the Hunter and the Vulture and eventually married.

However, Black Cat let Spider-Man’s secret identity slip while taunting MJ, which led to the follow-up issue.

The What If…? Spider-Man part two saw Spider-Man’s secret identity leak, much like Spider-Man: No Way Home. To remedy the situation, Black Cat killed the Vulture, but the mercenary suspected Spider-Man as the killer.

The two-part story ended with a death, and Peter Parker and Mary Jane never reconnecting. While definitely a sadder storyline, the first two-part adventure in the series told a more intimate tale.

Further two-part ‘What If…?’ stories

Usually, landmark issues and stories that change the structure of a series aim for something huge. The 1990 What If…? Spider-Man comic took another approach, opting for a more somber story.

From there, the second run of What If…? had five more two-part stories and even a five-part run that revisited older issues in a sort of ‘what if What If…?’.

While the occurrence was rare, Marvel showed its willingness to continue stories if they see the potential.


‘Spider-Man’: The Case for Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat to Join the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man will appear in the Disney+ series (not voiced by Tom Holland, however, as his contract is tied to Sony, not Disney). Since Black Cat is not an established character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 90s story is highly unlikely to be adapted.

But, as the Watcher always describes the multiverse, any is possible.