Friday, December 29, 2017

REVIEW: Marvel 2-In-One #1 (2017)

MARVEL 2-IN-ONE #1 (2017) —
Regular cover by Jim Cheung. The issue
had seven variant covers. ©Marvel
Marvel Comics, $3.99, 28pgs.
On-sale December 20, 2017

"Fast Burn"
20 pages, Read Time – 11:25

by Chip Zdarsky (writer), Jim Cheung (penciller), and John Dell with Walden Wong (inkers)

 BOTTOM LINE: Familiar tropes are handled with such deftness, it feels like the first and most important time we’ve ever gone searching for a missing FF team member.  

Oh, wow, this was a really good issue! 

I mean, count me among those who misses the Fantastic Four, but the search for a missing FFer trope has been done to death, as has Johnny Storm's penchant for pity parties. But here the transition from two family members who have not always gotten along, and have since gone their separate ways, reuniting to regroup Marvel's first family, is handled so deftly, that every panel feels like the very first and most important time we've ever covered this kind of narrative ground. And not only does Zdarsky nail the scope and tone of the story, he also perfectly depicts a pair of characters who, in less capable hands, are among the easiest in all the Marvel pantheon to let slip into stereotypical, two-dimensional dialogue and personal motivations. 

And let's also give a tip o’ the fantasti-cap to the artwork of Jim Cheung. Fabulous. It’s detailed without being too photo-realistic, expressive without feeling cartoony. I also appreciate the cross-hatching he (or more correctly, inkers Dell & Wong) uses for texture, rather than leaving that part of the artwork to the colorist, as so many comics do these days, and the fact that even when there is a lot of linework, every line serves a purpose — it's not just scratching in filler in the classic Image style, to hide weaknesses in the art.

I also have to say, I appreciate the handling of Dr. Doom here. He was written so well that I absolutely believed every word he said, and every feeling he expressed. And for that reason, the last panel shocker registered as the true shock it was meant to be.

So, yeah, while I still don't get why this was a #1, instead of #101, given the line-wide legacy numbering — and that kind of stuck in my fanboy craw — I really, really enjoyed this issue. If this issue is any indication of things to come, then, please, please, please, Zardasky & Cheung on a new, ongoing FANTASTIC FOUR series!   

Actually, it just occurred to me why the Merry Marvel Bean Counters didn’t pick up 2-in-1 at #101. They’ll probably count the first four issues of this series as an FF comic — notice the indicia title is "2-in-one," not "two-in-one" — allowing them to relaunch FANTASTIC FOUR at #650.



COVER: 7.25 | PLOT: 9.00 | SCRIPT: 9.50 | LAYOUT: 9.00 | ART: 9.75 | EDITS: 8.00

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