With some immediate dire results in the early stages of the battle, you get an immediate sense of what is truly at stake. In the original story, there was the feeling of a grand story but it never really felt like there were huge possible circumstances to worry about until the end. Jimmy Palmiotti hit the ground running in the first issue. We're seeing casualties already and that gives a more meaningful feeling to the story. At the same time, we also see some more concrete voice of reasoning as some characters realize how serious the situation is.
There were some comments over the feeling that the original story took too long to tell. Palmiotti is fast-tracking it all in order to deliver the final results. There is simply a different feeling to this 'universe' as the characters are allowed to make different and more drastic decisions based on what's going on. In the regular comics, it almost feels as if they are held back by what they can and cannot do.
Often What If? stories just feel as if they are retellings with a slight change here or there. That isn't the case here. We're already seeing big changes and different characters in other locations that are causing the story to veer off from the original. By the time you get to the end, you will be surprised at what happens and have no idea what is coming up next.
The art really works here. We get some really nicely laid out scenes. One or two characters may sometimes look a tad different but with so many, it's great to see the detail put into everyone in each panel. The attack scenes and that last page are really something.
The faster pace is good but it's almost happening too fast. This was originally a twelve-issue miniseries along with several tie-ins but now it's happening in four. It's hard not to associate the events here with the original story so it can become easy to start wondering why the other changes in the story are occurring so quickly.
As sometimes the case in WHAT IF? stories, the characters sometimes veer off in different directions due to the changes in the event. It does create a new feeling to the story but you also have to accept that this is not the proper Marvel Universe and could be considered 'desperate times' for the characters.
WHAT IF? stories can often be tricky to pull off. It's easy for them to feel as if it's simply an opportunity to tear apart the Marvel Universe and create extreme situations for the characters. Jimmy Palmiotti is giving us a well crafted story which thankfully is getting four issues rather than the usual one. Even in this format, you can feel the events speeding along as the action has already kicked in in big ways. One of the best things about this is not knowing how it will end. That may have been the case originally but with the freedom of the WHAT IF? format, anything can happen. With Jimmy in control, it's a fun ride seeing what he has cooking for all the characters involved.