Marvel 2-In-One: Volume 1:Fate of the Four
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Jim Cheung and Valerio Schiti
While I’ve loved watching the Marvel movies coming out like clockwork for the last decade, a major exception has been the Fantastic Four films. Produced by Fox, not Marvel Studios, the first set of films was campy but fun, but also rather cheap looking. The reboot had a young cast that was unlikable and an unnecessarily dark tone. Neither version did anything right with Doctor Doom. As Marvel and Fox Studios became more greedy in their IP wars, Fantastic Four was cancelled by Marvel with Reed, Sue and the kids no longer in the Marvel Universe, and the Thing and Human Torch stuck in bad fits like Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thankfully, Marvel’s first family is back in a new series by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, but part of what brought the team back may have been this excellent on-going series by writer Chip Zdarsky and various artists telling a story about Ben and Johnny’s quest for their missing family. The premise is that Reed has left a multiverse hopping device behind for Ben to find, and a message to keep adventuring with Johnny. Johnny has been increasingly self destructive since losing the rest of the Richards clan, and Ben ends up telling Johnny that the device is to find Reed and Sue who are still alive (Ben believes they are dead).
The series also features appearances by Doctor Doom in every issue, at this time labeling himself as a superhero but certainly never to be trusted. The universe hopping leads to a story straight out of The Exiles, where the original Fantastic Four failed at stopping Galactus, and Doctor Doom had to take care of business on his own. Even with the outcome of this story already spoiled by Fantastic Four #1, this first collection of issue was a lot of fun. It feels a bit placeholdery, as no major changes are going to take place in a Marvel 2-In-One book with these characters, but I really missed the ones that are in the book and the family feel that the best issues of Fantastic Four always had. (For anybody new to the characters, I’d recommend reading Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF runs in their entirety.)