Chip Zdarsky and Terry Dodson’s X-Men + Fantastic Four series is pitting the first family up against the mutants who are the largest family. There are many questions to be answered or at the very least pondered like who will prevail, is Sue Storm right to want to keep her child at home, is Xavier right to manipulate Franklin using Kate Pryde and is Magneto right that all mutants should be in Krakoa no matter what? There are moral and philosophical questions to be answered, but in issue #2 Doctor Doom may be changing what questions we need answered.
This issue opens with Cyclops trying to calm the Fantastic Four family down. The new calmer and more rational Cyclops is an easy character to relate to and enjoy, but soon he finds it’s hard to console a family that blames you and your bosses for him getting lost. Quickly we cut to the characters who were attacked by Dr. Doom on the Marauder and it’s quite clear Zdarsky has a great handle on the character. He’s made even more fun and entertaining thanks to how Zdarsky writes Val who also happens to be Dr. Doom’s goddaughter. This is a good way to remind us the Fantastic Four have a different kind of family you may not have expected.
Dr. Doom serves as a chaotic element of the story mixing things up for both mutants and Sue and Reed. I won’t spoil a thing, but know that real conflict occurs here that will entertain the biggest X-Men fans. Zdarsky and Dodson continue to show us Sue is one of the most powerful heroes on the planet and can go toe to toe with any mutant or even groups of them.
Nestled in the issue is an interesting data page worth noting for all X-Men fans too. I won’t spoil this one either, but it gives us some hard numbers worth pondering.
Terry Dodson and inkers Rachel Dodson (with Karl Story & Ransom Getty) along with Laura Martin on colors continue to tell a deeper story with the art. You see it in subtle moments like when Cyclops speaks to Magneto cast in shadows, or when we see Sue, Johnny, and Ben walk away from Reed who stands alone in a doorway. There is a visual story that backs up the plot very well. I have to appreciate Dodson’s commitment to draw backgrounds consistently. Not every panel has a detailed background, but there is enough there to guide you so you know where characters are and in relation to each other.
This issue and so far this series is tightly written and drawn. Not a single panel goes to waste allowing readers something to reflect on when it comes to characters for every inch of the book. That keeps you emotionally invested in the story every step of the way.