Killmonger Returns at his Absolute Best in “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”

I’ve been a bad, busy boy lately. I haven’t been able to sit down at my trust laptop and vomit out my uninvited thoughts on the latest episodes of What If…? a show that, after a shaky first episode, has only improved into “Must Watch TV” tier.

So, let’s get to this:

“What If… Kilmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”

In an alternate timeline, Kilmonger, the antagonist from Black Panther, saves Tony Stark from the terrorist ambush at the beginning of the first Iron Man movie thus creating a reality where Tony never became a hero and Kilmonger became his right hand man.

Of course, this is all Kilmonger’s plan to get into Wakanda and claim his birthright.

I really enjoyed this episode. Killmonger is one of the MCU’s best bad guys and to see him here, voiced by Michael B. Jordan, and at his absolute most cunning is a true treat. In this episode, Kilmonger isn’t just relegated to arcane fights for the throne, he is manipulative, intelligent, and outthinks everyone around him.

The story here is more complicated and more enthralling than a simple “let’s switch out these characters” story and, to be honest, the darker tone of What If…? served the story well as it gave an air of uncertainty to the plot. In these stories, the bad guy can win and I like that. It makes the universe(s) a lot more complicated.

I would have liked to have seen more nuance to Killmonger this time around as we’re privy to his machinations and his cunning, there’s very little of Killmonger’s relatable motivations to go along with it. True, he continues to use the plight of black people around the world as a, let’s face it… excuse for his actions, but I really wanted to see more. I wanted to see how some of these injustices affected Killmonger personally because, let’s be honest… it seemed like an excuse. I never really believed that Killmonger believed in any of it himself. He just used it.

I did have an issue with the ending as it was a cliffhanger than seemed born more of a need to end the episode on a positive note which, to be frank, seemed to come out of nowhere as if the writers were unsure of their own ending.

Still, it was a great episode. Great character. Great adventure.

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