Friday, January 7, 2011

Best of "What If...?": #18

One-Shot (2006)
The devil who dares

CoverWritten by Rick Veitch
Drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards

If the multiverse is as vast as the all-seeing Watcher leads us to believe, then it should come as no surprise to learn that some Earths differ vastly from our own. Another Earth’s 19th-century Japan could even resemble present-day New York.

The blind hero Daredevil could be the son of an aging samurai. The evil Kingpin of Crime could be a corrupt Shogun. And the femme fatale Elektra could be the daughter of a man merely posing as an ambassador from Greece.

On one improbable Earth, this is all precisely the case.

The year is 1857, and Old Devil is walking home with his infant son, Masahiro, when he is halted by the Shogun’s messenger pigeon: a masked man known as the Owl. Old Devil would sooner die than assist the Shogun, but the Owl has come prepared for this. Removing a radiant stone from his belt, the Owl punishes Old Devil as only the Shogun could have devised: by casting this ore into Masahiro’s eyes, he blinds him completely. While Old Devil succeeds in killing the Owl, he may never restore his son’s sight…

“How brave you are, little Masahiro. Too young, perhaps, to yet know the meaning of fear.”

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