Fantastic Four - Trial of the Watcher - a Marvel Reckoning War preview

Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher panel
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Fresh off his return from the dead (not to mention a starring role in the Disney Plus series What If...?), Uatu the Watcher will be the featured player in Marvel Comics' 2022 event 'The Reckoning War.'

Fantastic Four: Trial of the Watcher #1 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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Fantastic Four: Trial of the Watcher #1 is a March one-shot by 'Reckoning War' architect Dan Slott and artist Javier Rodrìguez that follows the event kick-off Fantastic Four: Reckoning War Alpha #1 in February and that continues in the pages of the Fantastic Four. 

"One of the key players in all of this is Uatu," Slott told Newsarama in November. "Something about this is incredibly tied to something so fundamental in the Marvel universe that the Watchers bore witness to."

According to Marvel, Uatu confronts his greatest fear while readers get to see a different side of him in the special. And a newly-released gallery of unlettered preview pages seems to show that Uatu's actual 'Trial' will be over his interference in Galactus' original arrival on Earth decades ago.

The 'Reckoning War' event will detail the first Marvel Universe war that preceded even ancient MU entities like Asgard and Galactus, what Slott calls "the original secret war." That war will now reignite and only the FF can protect the universe from its collateral chaos. 

Check it out:

Fantastic Four: Trial of the Watcher #1 will tell Uatu's "shocking" role in the story. It involves a "What If" world he has avoided watching and never wished to see. But now it will be revealed and could damn Uatu forever as well as change everything in the Marvel Universe.

If 'Trial of the Watcher' sounds familiar, good ear - it's the same title as the 1974-5 Captain Marvel arc (opens in new tab) in which Uatu was put on trial by his fellow Watchers for breaking their vow of non-interference several times. He was ultimately found guilty but didn't receive much in terms of punishment. How many times has he broken that pact? Well in 2008's Eternals #3 (opens in new tab), the Dreaming Celestial says Uatu has broken the vow over 400 times.

In 2014's Original Sin (opens in new tab), Nick Fury kills Uatu the Watcher and is held accountable for his actions by his fellow Earth heroes. In an odd turn of events, Fury is cursed to live  on the Moon, watching but not interfering as 'The Unseen.'

Captain Marvel #36 cover

Captain Marvel #36 cover (Image credit: Al Milgrom (Marvel Comics))

Uatu is resurrected in 2020's Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four #1 (opens in new tab), in reaction to the news that the Empyre event's big bad, the Cotati, received weapons from 'The First Race.'

"There shall be… a reckoning," Uatu says upon his resurrection, hinting at a connection to The Reckoning War.

How did Uatu come back from the dead? He eventually learned that he was able to return because part of him was merged to Nick Fury by his fellow Watchers when he was cursed to be 'The Unseen. Fury, still seeking penance for his actions, agrees to act as Uatu's herald to further investigate these aforementioned weapons of 'The First Race' the Cotati used in Empyre, and their apparent connection to the upcoming The Reckoning War.

"[The original secret war] is something the Watchers have been keenly aware of it, and the possible thought of it happening again [as The Reckoning War] brought Uatu back," says Slott. Maybe it's time for the Watcher to stop watching and start doing."

This could all be connected to the brief preview of The Reckoning War that Slott included way back in 2005's She-Hulk #3 (opens in new tab) - with She-Hulk traveling into the future to see a portion of The Reckoning War.

She-Hulk #3 excerpt

She-Hulk #3 excerpt (Image credit: Juan Bobillo (Marvel Comics))

In that brief moment, she sees a Watcher named Zoma (and presumably, Uatu) comforting a fallen fellow Watcher named Xavi who was dying due to something relating to an unnamed enemy.

Fantastic Four: Trial of the Watcher #1 goes on sale March 16.

Meet the new (old?) villains of The Reckoning War.

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)