Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Andrea Di Vito, Davide Tinto & Rachel Stott
Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
Cover Artist: Cafu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Reckoning War is nearing its end! Just as things moved in the Fantastic Four’s favor, their enemy the Reckoning played their hand and now marshal against the Watchers on their homeworld. Now, it’s up to the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, and their various allies to stop the Reckoning in Fantastic Four #44 before the Universe falls to ruin!
Last issue we saw Dr. Doom go head to head with the alien Cormorant from a dozen issues ago to recruit him to fight the Reckoning. Mr. Fantastic is dying due to having too much Watcher in his mind while Ben’s barely hanging together, Johnny’s building a space force to fight the Reckoning, and Susan’s helping Uatu back on his homeworld with Nick Fury. One thing this storyline has is too many moving pieces, but it all pays off in this comic. Sort of.
See, readers will get payoff from previous issues but barely half of it actually brings satisfying results with the rest bringing functional yet predictable results. Essentially, all of the main story elements are converging together in this issue, but the non-FF build up is pretty poor. For example, readers expecting something cool and epic with Dr. Doom and the Cormorant will get it, but it’s pretty short-lived and barely plays into the Reckoning’s fight later on and the same goes for the Silver Surfer. However, the FF get the emotional payoff to what’s been happening in past issues, especially Reed and Sue.
Also, the mixture of three different artists shows in the comic here and there. The main art by Rachel Stott continues to look good since she was illustrating previous issues. But the inclusion of Andrea Di Vito and Davide Tinto’s art is a little jarring since it was unexpected. However, the art isn’t bad just noticeably different when you see it in the few pages they get to illustrate in the comic.
Of course, there are issues in the storytelling from the dialogue feeling a little inorganic and clunky mixed with some genuinely good dialogue that feels natural to certain characters. Admittedly, there are some good moments here and there, but they lack real emotional kick to them, and this comic partly kills some of that with the lack of satisfying payoff from issues of build up for the main characters and the Reckoning themselves. I can’t personally say if Dan Slott is actually proud of these new villains, but they’re far from compelling and come off as try-hard villains in this comic, let alone the entire Reckoning War.
Quick nitpick: we finally learn the name of the male warrior of the Reckoning who’s the brother of Rapture, the female warrior “destined” to kill The Thing. Turns out his name is Reject. That’s just a terrible name and Dan Slott should be ashamed. It’s not funny, it’s not meta, it’s not creative. It’s just plain bad.
Fantastic Four #44 is the penultimate issue of the Reckoning War and it’s serviceable. It gets all of the main characters together so the Fantastic Four and their allies can finally face the Reckoning. Some story elements have poor payoff to issues of build up while others work well in the comic. The new artists in the book are fine since they don’t take over the whole book, and the pages when the art changes is noticeable but still looks good.