This issue spins out of Marvel Two-in-One Annual #1 (which did a lot in the way of Dr. Doom character writing), dropping our heroes into yet another world in order to find their Mr. Fantastic and Sue Storm. The purpose? Not only to find their lost family, but also because Johnny and Ben are losing their powers without their cohesive unit. Added to their pack is Dr. Doom who was recently reformed, but if the annual issue is any indication Thing and Human Torch better watch their backs.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
This has been a fun series that has been able to take chances due to the dimension hopping. Zdarsky has revealed a Dr. Doom Galactus for crying out loud. It also, presumably, is all leading to the Fantastic Four getting back together (finally). Who doesn’t want that?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue has close ties to Secret Wars much like the annual issue did before it. I won’t spoil it, but the planet they go to may have some familiar faces (or maybe not depending on if you read all of Secret Wars). Zdarsky is clearly having fun with Dr. Doom who gets another test this issue. There’s some major table setting taking place in this issue, presumably to wrap things up soon. That’s a good thing since up to this point the story has somewhat meandered to an unpromised finish line.
Drawn by Ramon K. Perez, this issue has a certain amount of grit that suits the gladiatorial narrative. That, and the magic is on point and looks dazzling. Color artist Federico Blee really nails the glow of Dr. Doom’s suit and the necessary lighting where required.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue is a bit all over the place, cutting back to the characters’ home Earth to check in on characters while delivering a bit of a half-baked experience. We’ve known for a while what Rachna was up to and so the reveal to the other characters isn’t impactful. It just is. The cliffhanger doesn’t leave you wanting either since we know it’ll eventually work out for our characters. Add in the fact that there are no consequences when you use alternate dimension characters and you have a rather tepid experience.
The line work changes a bit during the actual gladiatorial games, getting thicker and slightly unfinished looking. This reduces the impact of the action sequence. The first five pages are sharp so it’s a disappointment to see the work fall off after that.
Is it good?
An okay issue that does more to set things up than one might hope. It feels a bit unfinished and all over the place. Collected, this will fit right in with the chapters before and after, but read on its own it leaves you wanting way more.