Mark Waid (Writer), Jim Cheung & Paco Medina (Pencilers), Justin Ponser (Colorist).
The Story: Sam Alexander bonds with Uatu the Watcher over their paternal issues.
The Review: Daddy issues, all of my favorite heroes from Jon Snow to Scott Summers have them. I would never have listed Uatu and Sam Alexander as part of that group before reading this fantastic issue that sets up Marvel’s big summer event with a quiet, character driven prelude.
I’m not entirely sure how much of Uatu’s origin that was revealed in this issue was the invention of Mark Waid and how much (if any) had already been established but this story injected a lot of pathos and tragedy into a figure that has always been slightly lacking in depth of characterization. Much like with his stellar work on Daredevil, Waid shows a fantastic knack for taking the established framework of a character’s history, personality and powers and putting a unique spin on it. Throughout this issue Waid concretely explores the background of Uatu and his race, explains why the Watcher’s watch, the reasons behind their vow of non-interference as well as the why of Uatu’s seemingly constant struggle to uphold said vow.
Another unexpected treat within these pages was the inclusion of Nova, I’ve been following the Nova book with varying degrees of interest as it’s gone on but assumed that his inclusion in this #0 issue was just part of Marvel’s attempt to promote the character. While that may be true to an extent, his inclusion in this issue feels organic and vital as seeing the Watcher through a relatively fresh set of eyes allows the reader to view him in a different light.
The awkward moments of understanding between the two characters feels genuine, as does Sam’s elation when Uatu breaks his vow for the last time at issue’s end. Going into this crossover many readers probably found themselves asking ‘why do I care’ in regards to the murder that kicks off the event, after finishing this issue I would be amazed if there aren’t many who find themselves conflicted about it. Uatu, we hardly knew ye…
The art in this issue is absolutely phenomenal; the double page spread of the Watcher’s observatory is breath taking in the amount if detail included and its use of perspective. The character acting in this issue is also really slick, Sam is all teenage bravado and awkwardness that makes him very endearing and easy to root for, even the mysterious Uatu is highly expressive despite often being draped in shadow.
I have no idea how the art chores were broken up between Jim Cheung and Paco Medina, the whole book looks like it was produced by a single artist which is high praise for the art team indeed. I can’t think of a recent Marvel book that had two separate artists that were more simpatico, if it allows Cheung to produce more of his iconic looking work then may I vote that he continue to work with Medina indefinitely? Beautiful, beautiful art and top notch story telling.
Stray Thoughts: No offence to Jason Aaron (I love him and his beard) but can Mark Waid please write the next big Marvel event? Please? Pretty Please?