This should be interesting...
Overall- My hatred over the end of the "Civil War" crossover is legendary. OK, maybe "legendary " is overselling it a little, but when Cap surrendered, I nearly put my fist through the wall of my apartment. I was literally too pissed off to talk about that comic for days. Think about that, ME, unable to form coherent words regarding a comic book. Yeah, I hated that ending. I can actually feel my blood pressure rising as I type about Cap's surrender even today, 2 years later! Now that I've clearly made my feelings known about the climax of "Civil War", let's see what this issue of "What if?" does for me. The concept of this comic is, "What if Tony Stark had died instead of Steve Rogers?"
Well, I liked the part where Tony Stark was pounded into hamburger meat by the nephew of the deceased Black Goliath, who had stolen the growth serum that gave his uncle his growth powers. This comic really didn't go anywhere though... Cap was locked up by S.H.I.E.L.D. for 36 months for his role in "Civil War", and we basically were shown a lot of glimpses of people who were important to Stark. War Machine becomes the head of the 50 state initiative and pushes the recruits harder then even Gauntlet, since he wants to keep Stark's dreams alive.
Aleksander Lukin(Red Skull), takes over Stark Enterprises in the wake of Stark's stock prices plummeting after his death. We later see Lukin/Skull walking through Tony Stark's armory, looking over all of the various Iron Man armors. The heroes gather for the Stark's funeral, and his body is sent into space on a space craft, as per Stark's last wishes. Cap is allowed out of prison to witness the funeral, and gives his old friend a salute as he is sent hurtling into the oblivion of space.
Meanwhile, the Skrulls decide to step up their "Secret Invasion" plans with Stark out of the way, and as Stark's coffin flies away from the planet, the Skrull armada fast approaches the Earth. That scene ends this comic.
There were some things I liked here, such as Stark getting his richly deserved just deserts, Lukin hostilely taking over Stark Enterprises, and Cap saluting Stark as he was being blasted off into space. You see, that's the difference between me and Cap. I would have saluted Stark as well, but I would have only used one finger. I'm sure you can figure out which finger I mean.
Most of this comic fell into the bad category though. Tony Stark wasn't the driving force behind the 50 states initiative, Skrull Hank Pym was. The Skrulls used Stark and his technology to instigate their attack on Earth during "Secret Invasion", so why would Stark's death have made them decide to attack Earth earlier? With Stark dead, the Skrulls would have lost out on the advantage of corrupting the Stark Tech, which was one of the most important points to their Invasion...
Besides these flagrantly wrong events, the whole comic was WAY too rushed. Every page basically dealt with a different person/event, and nothing was ever explored as much as it should/could have been. When all was said and done, I'd say this was a mediocre comic book at best. I do however have to bump the score up a little, because there is nothing better than watching Tony Stark get pounded into street pizza by an angry giant. For a score, I'll go with a 5 1/2 out of 10. I'd have gone with a 5, but seeing Stark get killed added that extra 1/2 all by itself. Yeah, in case you haven't noticed, I REALLY hate Tony Stark. Now, I think I'll go back and re-read Stark's death. I just can't get enough of that!