Dan Slott’s “Reckoning War” event carries on in a new one-shot out this week called Trial of the Watcher. The book is exactly what it sounds like, as the Watchers have had enough of Uatu who has meddled in Earth affairs for far too long. As the threat of a race called the Reckoning looms over the entire universe, what tortures will Uatu suffer, and will he realize the errors of his ways?
This issue is an interesting aside in part because so often when real conflicts occur there are those who focus on the wrong things. That’s the case here, as the Watchers force Uatu to see an alternate past, or specifically, as they say, a “What If…” scenario surrounding the Fantastic Four’s first conflict with Galactus. Sure, an unimaginable threat is coming for the Watchers, but they probably feel more comfortable ignoring that for now and instead of putting Uatu through anguish.
The preview certainly doesn’t shy away from the fact that this really is a What If… comic. While we see Uatu suffer in the present, much of this issue is an alternate take on that Galactus confrontation. If you like What If… tales, you’re going to love this.
Something Slott and Javier Rodriguez get very right is how the Fantastic Four look and act. They feel straight out of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby era of comics. The color is more modern, of course, but the entire vibe of the story is straight out of 1966’s Fantastic Four #48. Rodriguez’s art is very clean and simple in its approach, lending itself to the flashback sections.
The story is good too. Slott is clearly in love with this era of the Fantastic Four and it’s fun to see how the events facing Galactus play out without Uatu’s interference. The story also goes in some rather dramatic places with real consequences, ending in a place where your own imagination will run wild thinking about what the 616 universe would be like if it played out this way. It all builds towards an effective way to possibly change Uatu’s point of view.
For a character who isn’t supposed to intervene, it has gotten comically out of hand how often Uatu has installed himself into Marvel history. One can imagine this issue is hugely important to the character as it may mean a new direction going forward.
Rodriguez captures the epic moment so well here. There are many, and it’s never lost on readers that doomsday is only moments away as Galactus attempts to eat Earth. There’s also a lot of heart in our characters conveyed well by Rodriguez’s facial expressions. You’ll be right there with them every step of the way.
Fantastic Four: Reckoning War – Trial of the Watcher is a great What If… story, and if you like alternate takes on tales you’ll love this. It also has the heart and grit of the classic comics with a modern sensibility thanks to the art and color. The story itself even adds weight to Uatu, making the events matter in the main universe, too.
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