Marvel Knights: 4 #27

Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Story Title: The Resurrection of Nicholas Scratch Part Three: Threshold of Revelations

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Penciller: Valentine Delandro
Colorist: Avalon’s Dan Kemp
Inker: Batt
Letters: VC’s Dave Sharpe
Editors: Michael O’Connor, Warren Simons, & Joe Quessada
Publisher: Marvel Monsters Group!

How’s this for an oddball assortment of super villains? In this current arc we’ve got Salem’s Seven a group of half-witch/half-mutants who haven’t popped up in 20 years, Diablo an evil alchemist who’s practically the only character I’ve seen Stan Lee describe as a failure, and pulling the strings is none other than the diabolical sorcerer Nicholas Scratch. Previously Scratch has incapacitated the sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange and played his own children the Salem’s Seven and the Fantastic Four as pawns against each other. But for what foul purpose has he done this you might ask?

To revive Shuma-Gorath!

That’s right, Shuma-Gorath! There’s an entire generation who knows him as a weird character from the Marvel vs. Capcom games that few people use, but he’s actually the Marvel Universe equivalent of Cthulhu. A horrifying elder god of chaos who’s possibly the only villain who can say he’s fought both Doctor Strange and Conan the Barbarian.

Anyway with this overwhelming array of guest stars one can expect an exciting finale and there’s plenty of action and plot twists going about in this issue. In the face of pending starfish elder god induced apocalypse some strange allegiances can be formed and who knows this may actually mark a heroic turn for some characters.

The problem is with this relatively short arc is that well… it honestly doesn’t feel much like a Fantastic Four book, it feels like a Doctor Strange story in which the FF guest star or even a trial for a Salem’s Seven series. In a rare occurrence of Marvel over-condensing a story line this wrap-up feels way too neat and quick. In fact one of the biggest fight scenes happens off camera.

On the bright side there are some nice flourishes of good characterization in here, as Scratch comes off a gleefully evil bad guy, and Shuma-Gorath comes across as an appropriately unworldly terror. I just wish we saw the F.F. taking on a more proactive role in the story.