The Reign of the Queen!
Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Carey Nord & Yancey Labat (pencilers), Andrew Pepoy & Scott Elmer (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Gina Going (colors)
Summary: The Goblin Queen mentally enthralls Vice President Robert Kelly, Larry Trask, and Reed Richards. Using their political power and scientific genius, she soon rules New York with her teammates. Havok and Elektra retreat to the X-Men’s abandoned mansion with Scotty. When Havok realizes the extent of Madelyne’s destruction, he sneaks into New York to confront her. She catches him and throws him out of a skyscraper.
“That’s Crazy Because They’re Different”: Robert Kelly is the American Vice President in this world, and the true power behind the mysterious President Starr. Larry Trask is the Sentinel Prime, after long ago sacrificing his humanity to be closer to his creations. Cerebro is revealed as an alternate version of Warlock. According to Cerebro, the X-Men and Magneto are in space aiding the Shi’ar.
Continuity Notes: The Thing is apparently killed by the Goblin Queen, while the remaining Fantastic Four members have possibly been killed by Reed Richards. There’s also an unresolved scene that has the Goblin Queen frantically searching for the Sorcerer Supreme, but not being able to find him. (Why do I have a feeling that this world’s Sorcerer Supreme is not Stephen Strange?)
Better Than X-Factor?: Eh…no. It seems as if Mackie’s already fallen into the What If…? trap of rushing through a series of dramatic events and not giving any of them dramatic weight. In just a handful of issues, Madelyne’s gone from a possible threat in the background to the absolute ruler of New York. The transition has happened so fast, it’s too surreal to be taken seriously. Rather than fearing for Havok’s safety, I just assume that some equally wacky event will happen next issue and save him. Will it be Ka-Zar and his wife Dazzler riding on a pack of pterosaurs? Will it be Jubilee, newly endowed with Captain Universe’s powers? Perhaps the middle-aged and pudgy Power Pack? Who knows, Mackie could make anything up and it wouldn’t be much more ridiculous than the story so far. Alternate reality stories obviously offer creators a lot of freedom, but abusing the freedom to do anything at the expense of solid storytelling is just a cheat.