One of the first big comic events of 2022 will be Marvel Comics' The Reckoning War, and as writer Dan Slott tells us it's a story that's been brewing since mid-70s.
Originally announced in August 2021 as part of a massive rollout of eight Marvel "tentpole" titles for 2022, Newsarama can confirm The Reckoning War will be a major storyline in Slott's current Fantastic Four run, kicked off by a lead-in one shot, Fantastic Four: The Reckoning War Alpha #1 drawn by Carlos Pacheco.
The spring 2022 event will feature the Fantastic Four, She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, Jack of Hearts, the Watcher, and the original Nick Fury - who has been in a purgatory of sorts as the Unseen for the past few years.
The storyline will then continue in the ongoing Fantastic Four book beginning with January's Fantastic Four #40, with an arc drawn by Rachael Stott.
Originally teased as a rekindling of Marvel's "original secret war," Slott says they're not referring to any of the Secret Wars fans know of, but something much, much older.
"This is connected to the first war in the Marvel Universe, waaaay before Secret Wars," Slott tells Newsarama. I'm trying to shard not to spoil anything, but if you track the Marvel timeline all the way back to the Stan Lee days of Marvel Comics, you can figure out what the first war is.
"Our series, The Reckoning War, is that war being rekindled. The cause of that war, which nearly destroyed everything, has been re-ignited."
Slott is being purposely vague on precisely what the first war is, and even the antagonists in this event are - with the goal to hold it off until a reveal apparently in January's The Reckoning War Alpha one-shot.
"These are characters that have not really been around since their original appearance. The very fact that they're back, is something," says Slott. "The minute they walk onto the comics page... once people realize who they are and what they've done in the past, every part of your body will clench. These characters should not be back. The very fact that they are back means doom."
Newsarama did manage to suss out that these antagonists have some connection to the apparently new characters who appeared in the recent Fantastic Four #25, Cormorant and Helmsman. They made a shocking entrance, destroying the Baxter Building and Doctor Doom's Latverian Embassy in New York.
In fact, the breadcrumbs leading towards 2022's The Reckoning War have been dropping here and there in Marvel Comics for nearly two decades - specifically, in the Marvel comics written by Dan Slott, a longtime Marvel fan-turned-intern-turned-writer. Incredibly, the name "The Reckoning War" was first mentioned back in December 2005's She-Hulk #3 by Slott and artist Juan Bobillo.
But according to Slott, you don't need to know any of the backstory breadcrumbs to get The Reckoning War.
"You do not need to read any of the previous appearances of these characters, or my work on them like in She-Hulk, Avengers: The Initiative, Silver Surfer, the Great Lakes Avengers, etc," Slott says. "But if you have been reading my stuff for the last 18 years, you have got all the pieces. But if you haven't, you can jump in and be fine."
The Reckoning War is a story Slott has been building to since he was eight years old, and in some ways it's a culmination of his Marvel fandom and his Marvel career.
"When I was eight years old I read a particular Marvel comic that struck me. It got me thinking 'If this happened, and that happened, then the whole Marvel universe would be in trouble,'" says Slott. "Every facet would be in danger if this conflict happened again, and I've sat back and waited since I was eight years old and no one ever touched on this. And that made me happy."
(No, Dan wouldn't tell us what that comic was as that too would spoil the secret villains of the Reckoning War.)
"The Reckoning War is me finally being able to answer the question an eight-year-old me had: What if those guys showed up again?" says the writer. "It's chaos, madness.. A fight for your life. This is my Star Wars."
The Reckoning War begins this January with The Reckoning War Alpha #1, followed that same month by Fantastic Four #40.