Next week marks the return of Marvel’s First Family – The Fantastic Four – to monthly comics. To prepare for this occasion, the team of Chip Zdarsky, Jim Cheung and Valerio Schiti have revived another classic title that previously featured The Thing and a different guest star each month – Marvel 2-In-One.
With their family gone, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm reunite in a bid to find their new place in the Marvel Universe. But something is very wrong with the Human Torch, and only the Thing can help him! Yet what monumental secret has Victor Von Doom been hiding since the end of Secret Wars – and how will it completely change the lives of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm?!
Right from the start, this series hits all the beats you’d hope from a Fantastic Four related comic. The strong family bond between Ben and Johnny you’d expect is there, and Zdarsky’s witty writing style is a perfect fit for the familiar bickering the pair are known for. This works equally well with the usage of Doctor Doom who – like Johnny – has found himself a bit lost in a world without Reed and Sue Richards, and his usual grandstanding has a slightly snarkier edge.
There’s also all the cross dimensional sci-fi adventuring you’d expect depicted by two of the top artists working in comics today. However, there is a much stronger feeling of urgency permeating the book than one would expect. Ben’s main reason for their current mission is to bring some peace of mind to Johnny especially with his powers fading. But when it is discovered that Ben’s powers are fading too and it is due to all the powers of the original team being tied together, the Fantastic Four reunion suddenly becomes a lot more important. New character Rachna Koul acts as a great inbetween, who brings the scientific aspects of the series into focus whilst also being able to match wits with The Human Torch and The Thing.
As you’d expect from Jim Cheung, the art is amazing. Basically, all of Marvel is second nature to him at this point with everything maintaining an epic quality fitting for a story bringing back Marvel’s First Family. But there is also plenty of subtlety and human moments which really enhance the family theme that runs through the series. Valerio Schiti also makes some strong contributions. Having spent several issues on Guardians of The Galaxy, he is a perfect match for the sci-fi and space opera directions the series takes.
This is a brilliant return of a classic series and the perfect lead-in to the return of the comic that launched the Marvel Universe as we know it. Any fans who appreciate classic Fantastic Four or Marvel in general have to pick this up.
Marvel 2-in-One Vol. 1: Fate of The Four is out 31 July 2018 from Marvel
9781302910921 – P/B £14.99