Fans of Marvel’s deep history should prick up their ears for Fantastic Four: Reckoning War Alpha #1, which kicks off Dan Slott’s universe-shattering event. It’s been 15 years in the making ever since writer Dan Slott revealed in She-Hulk Vol. 2 #3 Jennifer Walters is the reason for the annihilation of everything. It’s more than that too, of course, as Slott and artists Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteeriz, and Carlos Magno weave in characters and alien species new and old into a massive tableau of chaos coming together.
This review won’t get into spoilers outside of what we know from the preview or what has been revealed so far in interviews. What we do know is at the start of this story the moon has been properly exploded with chunks hitting the globe. The heroes are distracted as a much larger threat looms over everything, literally. This issue brings the high stakes and then some, especially for a Marvel-caliber event.
It’s also worth noting how many characters Slott has injected into this book with the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four all working together at one point in the story. There are so many heroes that pop up, including some cool ’80s and ’90s faces we don’t normally see. It’s a proper event because of how many characters show up here. There’s even more than that too as Slott is reaching into the Marvel encyclopedia which goes a long way in showing the rich tapestry of the Marvel universe.
At its base, this is a story about Watcher and where he and other Watchers originated from as the Unseen, meaning this issue also delves into stories of the past. There’s a very large concept introduced that further expands the Marvel universe which could mean new and interesting cosmic stories are in our future. Regardless of how good it is, it’s impressive to see Marvel adding new ideas to a universe that’s already quite large.
The most impressive thing about this issue is how good it is at containing the chaos of attacks on Earth and in space. There are a lot of characters involved and it’s never confusing or disorientating. That’s thanks to the art team, who supply a clean and detailed style. In the same vein as classics drawn by George Pérez, the art team gives us the many character panel shots throughout the book.
If you’re looking for the visual wow factor, however, this issue is a little light on those. There are a few splashy moments, but this is a talking heads sort of drama rather than a shock and awe big twist story. It sets up its high stakes but does so with characters talking through things.
Fantastic Four: Reckoning War Alpha is good at setting up a universe-ending event while also adding new details and plot threads to hang its hat on. More importantly, it controls the chaos of many characters fighting at once while never feeling confusing. For that, it’s a good start to an event that will likely change everything.
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