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Handling comic book superheroes is a little bit like having sex, no matter how insanely incompatible the two might seem. With both fictional heroes and sex you have to occasionally mix it up, try new things, get a third person in there in full clown makeup and a lime green tutu, or something. Otherwise the experience ends up stale and you have to invent some bullshit excuses about being tired and not in the mood. That’s why we have alternative versions of the world’s most popular superheroes out there. Stories that ask questions like:
What if Superman was a commie?
Do you realize how fortunate we were that Superman’s spaceship landed in some empty field in Kansas, USA? What if it was, like, the South Pole? People, we would be living under a brutal penguin dictatorship by now. Actually I would much rather read that story, but I guess a commie Superman is equally interesting. To be honest, the Superman in Red Son isn’t that much different from the regular Superman, only that he really digs Stalin and wants to create a world utopia for the proletariat... By eliminating individual liberties and giving people forced lobotomies. So, yeah, not really anything like the regular Superman… This one is actually badass.
What if Batman was an anti-Soviet terrorist?
The fan squabbles over who could whoop whose ass, Superman or Batman, are so strong that they have even made it into the alternative stories. And thus we get a Cossack Batman, whose parents get murdered by Stalin’s son and who for a short time acts as the commie Superman’s nemesis. It truly speaks volumes for the badassery of a character when he can make a fluffy Russian hat look THAT intimidating. This Batman however strays a little bit from the original. He still has his toys and that indomitable iron spirit but, and careful cause there be spoilers ahead, he goes a pretty out of character way when he kills himself in the second book. Still, he did it with a bomb implanted in his chest, so we guess we can let that one slide.
What if Iron Man existed in the 17th century?
1602: New World is a sequel to the acclaimed 1602 limited series which transplants popular Marvel Comics characters into the year 1602. That bit of information took months to gather, costing us the lives of countless field agents, so we hope you appreciate the effort. In 1602:NW a Spanish man by the name of Lord Iron acts as the series Iron Man, a genius weaponeer and inventor who builds an advanced armor powered by electricity to kick the ass of his world’s Bruce Banner, the man who incidentally tortured the crap out of him at one point. Also, and it might be just me, this Iron Man sort of looks like the bastard love child of the Soldier from Team Fortress 2 and a toaster.
What if Batman was the Earth’ Green Lantern?
Now, you might be thinking that offering a ring of godly Power—limited only by the user’s will and imagination—to Batman of all people might be a tad unfair to every criminal in existence. Because let’s face it, once you get the Green Lantern ring on Bat’s finger you can easily classify “crime” as “pointless insanity.” But that’s what actually happens in the Elseworld one-shot “In Darkest Knight.” Of course, to make it even a little bit challenging for the main hero, Batman receives the ring at the beginning of his crusade, when he wasn’t yet the absolute peek of all that is humanity. This type of ploy is known in writing circles as a ‘cop out.’
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