The strangest thing what if …? Stories from Marvel Comics

Avengers are Earth’s most powerful heroes. Despite their best efforts to keep the planet safe, however, a new threat always emerges to endanger humanity. While it’s the Avengers’ fate to be locked in an endless battle against evil in the Marvel main continuity, 1981’s “What if …?” # 29 imagines an alternative reality where the team manages to get far more permanent results … for a while.

During one of their matches, the Avengers are visited by a creature from the future who calls himself Scarlet Centurion. Centurion informs our heroes that superpowered beings are the cause of every great catastrophe. The only way to true peace, he concludes, is to eliminate superheroes. This thin premise is readily accepted by the Avengers, who spend the next few months capturing heroes and declaring a worldwide ban on superpowers.

This does not actually solve the world’s problems, as Centurion soon reveals to be a supervillain who wants to take over Earth. It’s much easier to do now that most superheroes have retired or been caught. Of course, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and Wasp are forced to retire to stop him. Despite winning the battle, the story ends with the Avengers losing humanity’s trust. Iron Man is alone, the last superhero on Earth to mourn the glory days of Earth’s most powerful heroes.

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