In the aftermath of Civil War comes RECONSTRUCTION, the beginning of a stunning new era of fantastic adventure. The team has been rocked to its foundations by the controversial events of the last several months. Now Reed and Sue have announced their plans to take some time off to work out their marital problems, leaving Ben and Johnny to hold the fort. But they won’t be doing it shorthanded. Two new members join the team, Black Panther and Storm. Epoch says that the events that occurred are beyond their comprehension. The Fantastic Four make to land on her but she begs them to leave. She says their energies she’s releasing are detectible and she fears being discovered by the Herald. With that, the Silver Surfer arrives.
The Black Panther and Storm join the Fantastic Four and renovate the Baxter building to be more like home. After a press conference they meet with Deathlok who has them investigate the mystery of Gravity’s missing body. They manage to visit the Watcher and get the information they need.
Tracking Epoch the living planet they discover she has Gravity’s body and she refuses to hand it over. A fight ensues and the Silver Surfer arrives.
Cover-We have the ever loving blue eyed thing in the foreground, followed by the human torch with our favorite married couple Storm the mutant weather goddess and Black Panther the most dangerous man alive.
Believable- McDuffie manages to put Storm and Black Panther on the Fantastic Four and even have the costumes changed to match Black Panther’s black motif in a very natural and convincing manner. He also makes a point of having Storm reconcile her normally volatile relationship with the press by having her acknowledge that as queen she must now comport herself like a queen as she no longer has the benefit of being a mutant outlaw.
Future Portents- This issue references the watcher attending the wedding of Black Panther and Storm back in Black Panther (2005) # and also makes reference to the children they will have…….now by my calculation that would mean Sky Panther, Azari from the cartoon Avengers Next, Panther who joined the exiles, The children from the “dune like” future T’chaka who marries Luke Cage’s daughter Danielle, Twari, the unnamed son, the twins…..yeah that’s all I’m aware of so far. But me thinks there must be quite a few more that should eventually pop up!
Humor- Quite a few chuckle worthy moments in this one, my favorite had to be where Black Panther went into his exposition about the watcher and Storm nips it in the bud. Pity Reggie Hudlin didn’t take note that this was the proper way to write a marriage.
Art- Paul Pelletier’s art is a visual feast. Everything has a good balance of details, smoothness and cartoon aesthetic. Storm in particular is beautiful, with full luscious lips, charming eyes and well defined African nose. The art also manages to give all the characters even the rock like Thing very expressive facial features.
Team- McDuffie manages to lay all the personalities at his disposal very well. Storm is warm, comforting and friendly with Ben and Johnny yet very loving though not submissive to Black Panther. Storm steals the ultimate nullifier off panel thanks to her thieving skills, Johnny is the typical hothead mess and Ben shows that he’s not the dumbest member of the team by piloting the new ship easily and also grabbing the information the tea needed from the Cycloedia Universum (the Watchers Wikipedia) while everyone else was overwhelmed. This is simply bloody good writing!
Action- This issue is very light on the fisticuffs, which will surely prevent a great many from digging into this feast.
Thief- This was an aspect of Storm’s characterization and continuity that Hudlin all but ignored. I would have gotten a kick out of seeing how Storm got the nullifier but that probably just me.
Dwayne McDuffie RIP this is by far one of the most enjoyable tales that feature the Black Panther & Storm. It shows them taking over the spot of Invisible woman and Mr. Fantastic with great ease while adding their own unique flair. Overall I must say this issue is a solid 4/5