Marvel rewrites one of its greatest superhero triumphs into the Watcher’s biggest failure

Reckoning War is the current big todo of writer Dan Slott’s run on Fantastic Four — full of cosmic battles across the galactic vastness — but the real reason I opened up Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher was Javier Rodríguez’s art.

To my surprise, I found a nice little one-and-done story about Uatu the Watcher (the one who keeps breaking his oath of noninterference to help out Marvel superheroes) being forced, by the other Watchers, to watch the results of the timeline where he never helped any Marvel superheroes. In other words, What If… The Watcher Never Helped the Fantastic Four Defeat Galactus?

The ending, naturally, was a twist! Without the Watcher’s help, the FF would have emerged from the ordeal horribly scarred — but they would have triumphed over Galactus for all time and invented a renewable energy source that would have transformed Earth into a resource abundant utopia. What are the implications of this on the true history of the Marvel Universe? Eh, who cares, it was a neat comic.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)


A spread of characters represents possibilities from other timelines of the Marvel Universe: Doctor Doom as the Sorcerer Supreme, President Steve Rogers, the Fantastic Five, Frank Castle as Venom, and more in Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1 (2022). Image: Dan Slott, Javier Rodríguez/Marvel Comics

Also can I just say that as I was looking across this splash page of “What If…?” possibilities, I didn’t notice the Punisher skull and thought “Venom, but with guns” was being presented as on a level with “Spider-Man joined the FF” and “Captain America became president” and I accepted it.

Catwoman and Onyx walk through a bustling street in Gotham’s Little Tokyo, carrying street food. Selina is thinking about how Onyx is like Batman, “big biceps and big opinions. I have a type,” in Catwoman #41 (2022). Image: Tini Howard, Nico Leon/DC Comics

I gotta say, writer Tini Howard and artist Nico Leon are giving me everything I could want from an anti-hero book: Queer vigilantes walking around in tight fits in and out of costume.

A severed shark head is chained to the front grill of a speeding car. The head is still alive and furiously chomping, in Refrigerator Full of Heads #5 (2022). Image: Rio Youers, Tom Fowler/DC Comics

I’m just going to leave this no-context image, from Rio Youers and Tom Fowler’s Refrigerator Full of Heads, about an axe that keeps heads alive after it severs them, here.

“You killed half the universe, boy,” says the Eternal Uranos, from his prison throne. “Fifty percent? What a lack of commitment. Do something or don’t do it,” in Eternals: The Heretic #1 (2022). Image: Kieron Gillen, Ryan Bodenheim, Edgar Salazar/Marvel Comics

I would love for Eternals to continue with this thing where Thanos meeting older, worse Eternals who immediately dunk on his whole deal.

Alfred Pennyworth listens to a voice male recording, replaying the part where it says “I love you, Alfred,” as he sits alone in Wayne Manor in Batman: The Knight #3 (2022). Image: Chip Zdarsky, Carmine Di Giandomenico/DC Comics

I’m a sucker for an Alfred is Sad and Loves his Son panel and were the character not dead in current continuity I would look forward to seeing many more in writer Batman: The Knight writer Chip putting many more in his upcoming Batman run.