"What If... Peter Never Died?" (BEYOND THE FRINGE chapter #1B)

"What If... Peter Never Died?" is a really interesting comic; as a B story, it gives us a scenario that might have played out had something happened differently, so much like my "Collapse into Tomorrow" fanfiction does, it gives us a glimpse into a separate parallel universe that is not a part of the TV series. In this universe, Peter never died as a young boy. Perhaps, he was never sick, or perhaps, he was, but Walter and/or doctors either found a cure for his illness or found a way to keep it dormant. At any rate, Peter, now in his teen years, and Walter still don't have the greatest relationship; Walter is dismissive and doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to Peter. For example, when Peter receives news that something that he wrote is going to be published, he tells Walter, and Walter doesn't really seem to care. He just gives Peter money to buy pizza to celebrate by himself, which is really sad. Bell and Nina are in a relationship, as we see them in bed as Walter speaks to Bell over the phone. We also know that apparently, the lab fire never happened, or if it did, it didn't kill Carla, since she is alive. There is, however, an incredibly profound difference in this universe, which I think says a lot, and that is that in this universe, the parallel universe is public knowledge.

In this universe, Walter stands as a public figure; he is famous and appears on television to talk about the parallel universe. Although people cannot travel to a parallel universe, they can look into one using one of Walter's windows, and the primary purposes seem to be to see how you, yourself, are different and also to see people that you may have lost in this universe, to see them living. Peter meets Olivia, and she doesn't think that this is right, and I agree with her. We cannot possibly grow as humans if we have such an ability, to see people that are supposed to be dead, for example, because grief will be much harder, possibly impossible, to surpass. Olivia is an artist, a painter, something that I didn't know about her (is she in either the Blueverse or the Redverse, I wonder?). I love the "white tulip" reference, since Olivia painted a painting of white tulips; apparently, even in this universe, they have special meaning. Also interesting is that Peter seems much more timid and introverted than I would have thought him to be, and he is even bullied; the Peter that we know from the TV series seems like the type that would bully rather than be bullied. The best part of this comic is, perhaps, the scene in which we see Astrid and the Milkshakes and who appears to be Broyles enjoying the show in the crowd.

Olivia really seems quite different, as well. She is not the typically stoic, serious, "down to business" kind of girl that we know her to be (in the Blueverse, that is); she is definitely more of a younger Redverse Olivia. She is sassy, fashionable, preppy, etc., and don't get me wrong; she is a teenager, but I definitely get the impression that Blueverse Olivia has been the way that she is for a long time, which makes me wonder if in this universe, the Cortexiphan trials didn't happen, or if they did, maybe they didn't involve Olivia. Peter discovers that he has done what Walter hasn't done yet; he has managed to develop the window into a portal, so that he can do more than just look "over there"; he can actually go there. He looks "over there" and sees that this particular Peter is not ignored by his father, that he and his father have a great relationship; he also sees that his mother didn't leave Walter (another difference in this universe, which is that Elizabeth apparently didn't die). I love the ending, how instead of going to the parallel universe, Peter goes with Olivia, and Walter finds out what Peter discovered. You get the implication that now, he might pay a little more attention to him. This is a great comic; the animation isn't bad, the story is compelling, and I give it 8.5 Dropkicks. I don't know if comic #2B will follow this storyline, but we'll find out soon enough.

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