What If? #35 classic comic review – what if Elektra had lived?

January 19, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Comics
5

Summary

With a new cartoon series of What If ready to debut on Disney+, it might be a fun idea to check out some of the classic issues on this book, but I warn you that the quality varies from issue to issue. However, What If? #35 is a stand out affair that fans of Daredevil and Miller have to read.

5

Summary

With a new cartoon series of What If ready to debut on Disney+, it might be a fun idea to check out some of the classic issues on this book, but I warn you that the quality varies from issue to issue. However, What If? #35 is a stand out affair that fans of Daredevil and Miller have to read.

This classic comic review of What If? #35 contains spoilers. 


One of the greatest ever runs on a regular Marvel title came from Frank Miller. Miller’s first ongoing run on a book became a powerhouse title for the publisher. Miller was given free rein on Daredevil, as the book was floundering and not selling well. He started illustrating the title before taking over as writer and artist, and his run introduced us to Elektra, former girlfriend to Matt Murdoch, turned ninja assassin, and deadly enemy.

The character was so popular, that after Miller killed her off and left the title, it would not be long before she would be resurrected and returned to the Marvel universe. Even to this day, Elektra is a huge part of the Daredevil mythos, and as we write this, Elektra has adopted the Daredevil role, while Matt is locked up for murder.

However, way back in 1982, Miller would return to his creation and produce a hidden gem in the pages of What If? #35. What If Elektra Had Lived? is a look at how events would have unfolded if Bullseye had been killed in his escape from prison, leading to their final confrontation never happening, meaning Elektra is never murdered by him.

Miller is on script and art with inks from Terry Austin, producing a What If? tale that feels exactly like an issue of Daredevil from this era.

From the first page, we are with Matt at Elektra’s grave, the brooding darkness and rain-drenched scene a hallmark of Miller’s approach to the book, and when The Watcher poses the title question we are straight into a splash page of Bullseye being taken out by a bullet to the head, in a swipe from his own art on the regular title, replacing Bullseye with DD himself.

Miller then uses more swipes from his run, as we see Elektra kidnapping Foggy in an attempt to assassinate him, before deciding not to carry out her orders. Switch to The Kingpin and the news that she has not completed the contract, leading to Kingpin putting a hit on Elektra for not carrying out his orders. Elektra is hunted down and wounded, making her way to Matts’s brownstone in New York. She asks him the question, “Do you want me to die Matt?” and we jump to three days later, and Matt hasn’t shown up for work, so Foggy decides to go look for him.

By now though, Matt and Elektra have disappeared, his home is up for sale, and we learn that “half a world away” Matt and Elektra are together, happy and hidden on the rocks by the sea,

We return to the opening scene of the book. The Watcher offers Matt some comfort, that in some alternate universe, things work out for them, and the final panel shows Matt still at the rain-soaked gravestone, alone.

This short 16-page What If? is a strange project for Miller. It is so reminiscent of the actual run on DD, that it could almost be part of that run and not a What If? The art and tone are so consistent that it stands above a lot of the other books in the run, as often they would not be done by the creative team originally on the book.

With a new cartoon series of What If ready to debut on Disney+, it might be a fun idea to check out some of the classic issues on this book, but I warn you that the quality varies from issue to issue. However, What If? #35 is a stand out affair that fans of Daredevil and Miller have to read.