Way back in 2012, with The Avengers on the cusp of release, mere months away from fans having their minds blown, Marvel released an official tie-in mini series called Fury’s Big Week. This 4-issue series (originally published as 8 digital chapters) follows Fury over a particularly tumultuous week.
From losing resources to locate Captain America’s frozen plane, to discovering that his best shot at a super secret boy band was dying, to finding out that a jolly green giant was back in the U. S. of A., this week in question was probably Fury’s worst one… since losing an eye to a cat. And there was also that business about some unliftable hammer in New Mexico.
Like most other tie-ins, very little of this actually impacted the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe–which makes sense, since the MCU was already an adaptation of 50 years’ worth of comic stories–but, it offered some interesting insight for the audience who wanted to know more. For example, Fury’s Big Week helped confirm something some of us had figured out in 2010: that 2008’s Incredible Hulk occurred roughly around the same time as 2010’s Iron Man 2… and by “some of us” I mean people who watched both movies more times than we should have.
It also further embellished on aspects made clear in the movies–like the events of Thor overlapping with Iron Man 2, as well–and led right up to an epilogue set days before the arrival of Loki as seen in the opening moments of 2012’s The Avengers.
Which is all a really long-winded way of me saying that this episode of What If…? is an amazing pay off for the longtime fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only does this episode homage elements of Fury’s Big Week, like Black Widow being present when Hulk rampages through New York, but it also poses an interesting what if–which, well, is kinda the point of this series.
But while every episode has been somewhat standalone (though the endings of the previous episodes do hint to bigger things to come), this one leans heavily into “What if… there were no Avengers?” After all, the absence of the Avengers wouldn’t mean the absence of Thanos. In fact, it’s possible that we’re about to see a whole new big picture with the upcoming episodes of What If…?
And that’s exactly how we like it.
For more on What If…? head over to our review here!