Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Rachael Stott
Color Artist: Erick Arciniega
Cover Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz & Jason Keith
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Universe is at war! An ancient alien species who were uplifted by the Watchers have returned with a vengeance and have plunged the cosmos into total war. However, the Fantastic Four are on the case, but it won’t be that easy for them as they divide themselves to tackle the conflict on multiple fronts. In Fantastic Four #41, we see Mr. Fantastic and his team take on warriors of the Reckoning while the Human Torch faces the dreaded Annihilus once again.
So far, the Reckoning War has been an underwhelming story as Dan Slott repurposes the origin of the Watchers from Original Sin #0 to make this story. However, despite the Independence Day-like beginning with the Badoon invasion and the Moon getting destroyed, the story struggled to established a solid conflict until this issue, where we finally see the Reckoning in action.
The story picks up with Uatu assembling the Watchers to convene on the matter, serving as Mr. Exposition to recap what’s happening in the storyline. However, that goes nowhere and it is painstakingly predictable what happens to him. From there, the comic shifts back to Mr. Fantastic’s team of The Thing, She-Hulk, and Jack of Hearts in Shi’ar Space facing two members of The Reckoning (the space orcs). We learn that one of them is Rapture, the alien female warrior that was shown in one the Griever’s possible futures that showed how Ben Grimm would die.
This portion of the comic with the fight between Reed’s team and the two Reckoning warriors is where readers will get their money’s worth. It’s mostly fun action with some engaging moments and fun dialogue for fans of the Thing as he faces off against the alien warrior Rapture while She-Hulk and Jack fight Rapture’s brother. The art and colors are on full overdrive here as we get some dynamic action, great facial expressions, nice paneling, and seamless scene transitions. The characterization of these Reckoning warriors is fine and they’re distinguished from each other. Rapture herself isn’t too bad but she’s not that great either, she’s serviceable for the role she fills and so is her brother.
Then the comic gets to Annihilus’ invasion of the planet Spyre, where Sky and her people try to fend off his newly acquired ships from The Reckoning. This is by far the weakest part of the comic as Annihilus’ invasion is as short as it is underwhelming, and it gets shorter when the Human Torch arrives. There’s no epic fight between the bitter enemies, rather a confrontation that lasts only two pages. After reading this comic, I would say Dan Slott doesn’t know how to write Annihilus well and probably shouldn’t without another writer around. However, his resolution between Johnny and Sky was handled surprisingly well (as it could be) since he doesn’t drag it out and has both characters healthily move on so he can advance the wider story.
Quick spoilers. The comic’s synopsis does promise some guest-stars showing up in the comic, and readers do get two out of three with Silver Surfer and Thor, but no Dr. Doom. Their appearance is mainly tied to the Surfer’s sub-plot of searching for the one force that can seemingly take on the Reckoning to save Eternity and the Universe – Galactus! Too bad Donny Cates killed him in the first story arc of his Thor run, but that’s not stopping Slott, or rather the heralds, from resurrecting him.
Fantastic Four #41 continues the Reckoning War as the Fantastic Four face threats on two fronts. The most engaging part of the comic is with Mr. Fantastic’s team facing off against the two warriors of the Reckoning, Rapture and her brother. They’re not great villains, but they’re distinctive and serviceable for the story, and it’s where readers will get the most action and entertainment. Sadly, the portion dealing with the Human Torch and Annihilus is pretty underwhelming by comparison.