Random House Worlds Putting Out 3 Marvel “What If” Novels
From a recent press release:
“Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, announced today a collaboration with Marvel Entertainment for an adult novel series (World English) carrying on the classic Marvel tradition of “What If…?” storytelling. This officially licensed series reimagines the origins of iconic Marvel heroes and allows readers to discover what can happen when the fabric of reality is altered. Set in their own distinct universes in the Multiverse, each book focuses on a unique twist on an iconic Marvel origin story.”
So it’s officially published and recognized AU fic.
I know that’s my focus talking, but the types of storytelling that franchise owners are willing to officially recognize continues to expand.
In 2024, three titles are planned. In March comes What If… Loki Was Worthy? A Loki and Valkyrie Story, written by Madeline Roux. Seanan McGuire is writing What If… Wanda Maximoff and Peter Parker Were Siblings? A Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man Story for release in July, followed by What If… Marc Spector Was a Host to Venom? A Moon Knight and Venom Story by Mike Chen in October. All will also have audiobook editions.
Note that all of these books feature characters known from recent movies and TV shows, in pairings that cross media. They’ll be released as hardcovers with an apparent list price of $28.99. In the past, I haven’t heard much chatter from fans about licensed tie-in novels; either they tell stories that are already familiar, or if they do new stories, they’re limited by the lack of illustrations, as comic fans tend to like their heroes with pictures. It remains to be seen if these crossovers will seize imaginations and readers.
The Loki/Valkyrie book takes place on Earth after Thor has died, due to events Loki set in motion. (Personally, it sounds a little too “woe is me” to suit the version of the character I like, a dapper, amusing troublemaker.)
Furious and heartbroken, the All-Father banishes Loki to Earth for his crime. Loki finds himself in a realm of boxed wine, instant noodles, and some sort of regional performance troupe known as the “Buffalo Bills”. It’s a meager existence, far from Asgard’s grand courts, but he finds his new friend, Brian the Gecko, a much more engaging companion than the sycophants back home. A true meeting of the minds. Loki is the God of Mischief — but he knows, deep down, that he never truly deserved to stand next to their father’s golden child Thor, as two true sons of Odin.
Yet, he cannot even endure his exile in peaceful isolation. A Valkyrie — Hel-bent on carrying out her oath to Thor — barges into his trailer-home with his brother’s final words from the beyond: a plea to find a certain Dr. Jane Foster and pass on Mjolnir to its rightful heir.
While Loki struggles to fulfil his brother’s last request, the far-reaching consequences of his fatal prank return to haunt him. Blinded by grief from those he lost in the chaos wrought by Asgard, Iron Man vows revenge on those who consider themselves gods. Determined to protect the Earth from the might of this unpredictable alien power, he forges Asgard’s own weaponry into a lethal suit of armor, set on eradicating any tether between their worlds. Consequences be damned. When Asgard looks to Loki for salvation, he must answer the question: Am I truly worthy?