Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1
Uatu the Watcher has broken his oath and interfered one time too many! Now, he faces judgement at the hands of his people in this "Reckoning War" tie-in that could only be called... "WHAT IF THE WATCHER HAD NEVER INTERFERED?"
Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher is a fun little “What If…?” exercise. That eponymous comic has been an off-and-on staple of Marvel’s diet for decades now, and is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to its Disney+ cartoon iteration – so, why not dust it off every so often, take ‘er for a spin, and see what happens? And although Trial of the Watcher doesn’t explicitly have the words “what” or “if” in its title, that’s exactly what this story is.
Brief recap for those currently not reading Fantastic Four: some millennia ago, the Watchers (pre-non-interference oath) gave their technology to a primitive race, hoping to boost them up into harmonious, glorious awesomeness. The opposite happened, and “the Reckoning” tore all over the universe and killed people by the planetful. They were banished, so the Watchers took that instance to institute their whole “no interference” rule, and that was that… until it wasn’t, and the Reckoning returned, pissed off and ready to take their banishment out on the whole universe. Of all the Watchers, only Uatu sought to intervene (as per usual!). Problem is, the rest of the Watchers ain’t having it!
The word “trial” being in the title is a bit of a misdirect, as this issue picks up with Uatu already being found as guilty and punished. Is father, Ikor, leads the procession: Uatu must watch an endless parade of “what if?” scenarios plucked from the multiverse detailing what would have happened had he not broken his oath, starting with his original sin during Fantastic Four #48-50, “The Coming of Galactus.”
Writer Dan Slott is not only a master study of old-school Marvel continuity, but he’s also a wise enough writer to throw curveballs in favor of the unexpected. So while an unprepared Fantastic Four struggle with Galactus without Uatu’s timely intervention, the end result is absolutely not expected, and ultimately wrings a “I was the monster all along!” -style ending in the classic Stan and Jack style.
Trial of the Watcher is a fun comic, but likely won’t prove to be indispensable to the “Reckoning War” story. However, Javier Rodriguez’ art is indispensable. The man can do no wrong, detailing his pages as starkly as possible for maximum visual impact. His sense of inventive page layout is second to none, lending to a comic that feels like crucial reading even when it isn’t. It isn’t a stretch to say that any comic graced by his art should be purchased for the art alone. Thankfully, though, Trial of the Watcher is a fun enough story (that manages to feel like it has actual stakes!) that on both fronts it succeeds.
Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1 is a fun story wrapped up in flawless art. Grab it even if you aren't reading FF... and if you aren't, shame on you!
ADVANCED REVIEW! Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1 (Spoiler-Free!)
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10