Marvel Studios “What If…?” Premiere: Looking at the Hydra Stomper

The following may contain spoilers for the premiere episode of What If…?.

Disney+ has dropped the next series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe… or I should say, Multiverse. Picking up after the events of Loki, the multiverse is now upon us and variations of events and characters we know are now popping up with What If…?, basically sharing the same premise as its comic book counterpart.

Headlining the premiere episode is an alternate reality where instead of Steve Rogers, it’s Peggy Carter who receives the super soldier serum to become Captain Carter. Now I’ll leave the review of this episode to the plethora of resources already online. What I’ll focus here instead, and because I’m an Iron Man collector, is its variation in this universe, the Hydra Stomper.

Made by Howard Stark for Steve Rogers using tech of the 1940s, the Hydra Stomper is essentially a mech suit powered by Tesseract. Unlike Tony Stark’s Iron Man armors, this one is larger than your average human thanks to the older technology used to build it. Not to mention its pilot is still the small and skinny Steve Rogers who never got the super soldier serum. I really like how they made callbacks to the original Mark 1 with the head design, but obviously doesn’t have the made-from-scrap look. Instead, its a humanoid tank with the camo colors, rivets, and markings of those times.

As seen with the Marvel Legends figure reveal, two large booster units are attachable to the back of the Hydra Stomper, allowing it to have incredible flight capabilities rivaling and even exceeding those from period-contemporary aircrafts. You’ll also notice the single handle bar at the top for the sole usage of Agent Carter during their missions.

Another nice nod to Iron Man is how the internals look. They show Steve framed in the same way as you’d usually see Tony within his Iron Man suits. But instead of digital HUDs and projections, Steve is surrounded with analog gauges and dials as they are decades ahead of holograms and digital displays.

Outside of its brute strength, its weapons are mostly the Tesseract-powered cannons on its forearms, an analogue to the Repulsor blasts from its more modern counterparts.

So there’s the Hydra Stomper. I doubt it would make more appearances in the series, but I’m still getting the merch. You can easily say it’s a way earlier prototype for modern Iron Man armors and I would love to see this guy along let’s say the upcoming Marvel Legends Iron Monger figure. Speaking of Marvel Legends, Hasbro has had their version up for pre-order while Hot Toys has had a 1/6 scale prototype on display recently.

Thoughts?

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