Since the last Secret Wars event (these things can’t be that “secret” if they keep having so many), the Fantastic Four has largely disappeared from the Marvel Comics landscape. While the official stance is usually that “the books just weren’t selling”, I’m of the mindset that Fox owning the Fantastic Four movie rights (before Disney, in turn, owned Fox), and the fact that the last movie was awful.
So Reed and Sue Richards were pushed out of the picture. For the most part, so was Doom. Thing joined Guardians of the Galaxy, and Human Torch joined the Inhumans.
And yet, with Marvel Legacy, we are starting to see hints of a possible return to form by bringing back the Fantastic Four! Well, 50% of them, anyway, which is better than what we’ve had for the last few years.
Enter Marvel Two-In-One #1.
The Thing (Ben Grimm) is trying to preserve and uphold the legacy of the Fantastic Four. The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) is trying to bury his grief of their missing past by performing multiple dangerous stunts in his free time. Both are lost in their own ways without their namesake team, and the first part of this “Fate of the Four” storyline is the two remaining heroes establishing connection with each other again.
Their bridging of said gap, no matter how benevolent his claims, is Doom. This will likely not go well.
At its heart, the Fantastic Four has always been a “family exploration” story. The group is at its strongest when they are whole, and half a team leaves them vulnerable and broken. They do, however, have extended family. Spider-Man makes a cameo to offer emotional support to Ben, while expressing his concern over Johnny’s increasingly reckless behavior.
Marvel Two-in-One #1 is a good start to the series. It’s more heartfelt than depressing. Ben remains the heart and soulof the team, and he longs for his missing friends. It’s no surprise that he would be the one to risk a meeting with Doom for answers. What the repercussions of that meeting, however, will undoubtedly be explored in later issues. There is always a price to pay for Doom.
I was very impressed with this first issue, and this early entry of the Legacy reboot. It’s not simply a new direction, it’s a feeling. These characters work best when written less as a franchise property and more as people. And in these current times, we need heroes that we can look up to and stand with.
I’d definitely recommend Marvel Two-n-One #1. The artwork (from Jim Cheung) is sharp, and the story (from Chip Zdarsky) reminds you of the empty void that was present in the Marvel Universe when Disney/Marvel essentially booted comics’ first family from their continuity. Hopefully, this intro (and the recent Disney/Fox merger) will allow the group to get through their rough time and restore them to the sense of wonder that they were once known for.
In any case, this is a very promising first step.