Marvel Two In One #3
Chip Zdarsky and Valerio Schiti create an engaging issue with MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3. I highly recommend it for Fantastic Four fans, since Zdarsky does an exemplary job writing Ben and Johnny.
90 %
Fantastic Fun

Chip Zdarsky is an international treasure. Each issue of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE he writes, the truer that becomes. In MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3, Zdarsky takes Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm to the doctor to find out why their powers haven’t been working too well. Zdarsky writes another hilarious issue that, finally, brings us just a bit closer to reuniting the Fantastic Four. Valerio Schiti takes over for artist Jim Cheung for this issue, and while his art is not quite as breathtakingly beautiful as Cheung’s, it’s still a worthy fit for this tale. Find out why MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3 is so fantastic below.

Herc Joins the Fray in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3

In the first two issues, Johnny and Ben, AKA The Human Torch and The Thing, receive a message from Reed Richards imploring them to find a device he made to travel the multiverse. Reed implies that he may not have survived, and he wants Ben and Johnny to take over his job exploring and rebuilding the multiverse. With the help of the newly reformed Doctor Doom, they find the device, the Multisect, but Ben is wary to use it immediately.

Marvel Two In One #3
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3 page 10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

In MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3, Ben takes Johnny to his good friend Hercules. Herc leads the Fantastic Two to Rachna Koul, a doctor who helps super-powered individuals either regain or increase their powers. After the trio briefly fights a recently re-powered Hydro Man, Koul makes a hypothesis as to why Ben and Johnny’s powers are faltering.

Zdarsky and Hercules: a Dream Team

Zdarksy’s characterization of Herc hearkens back to Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente’s great run on THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES, which is my favorite version of the character. That book changed Hercules from a borderline joke to a serious character with depth. In recent years, between Dan Abnett’s HERCULES series and Mark Waid’s AVENGERS series, Herc has been a bit toned down because he recently stopped drinking copious quantities of alcohol.

Zdarsky brings back Herc’s more boastful and jovial side for this issue, while smartly retaining Herc’s sobriety, making him, in my opinion, a more interesting character. Herc works best when he’s a loud, but friendly, braggart who seems endlessly joyful and ready to give vile villains the gift of battle. Zdarsky also fills in a continuity gap by explaining how Hercules got his powers back in between 2011’s HERC series and 2015’s HERCULES series. I love when creators fill in gaps like that. Kudos to Chip Zdarsky for doing the proper research before writing this issue.

Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS Co-Creator and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN Writer, interview at C2E2 2017

A Fantastic Friendship in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3

Zdarsky also writes Ben and Johnny quite well. A lot of times writers will portray Ben as a big, dumb lug with a heart of gold. In reality, most of Ben’s Fantastic Four appearances show that he’s not as dumb as he lets on. Zdarsky must have noticed this when writing this series. In MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3, Ben takes the calm and collected role when he and Johnny learn that Dr. Koul also treats supervillains. Johnny freaks out. Ben, however, decides to hear her out anyway after they dispose of Hydro Man.

In the past, Ben was always quick to fight villains, especially in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s seminal run on FANTASTIC FOUR. Ben’s take-charge attitude shows important character growth which comes from potentially losing loved ones (Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Valeria). He matures and becomes a natural leader, like Reed was. Johnny shows the opposite side of grief. His hot-headed nature is ramped up after that tragedy. Now, he’s even more headstrong and reckless while bottling up his true emotions about the loss. Zdarsky shows two different realistic ways of dealing with grief. For that reason alone, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3 is a great issue. The exciting story just elevates it.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1 Review: Nostalgic Fates

Schiti Shines in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3 may not have Jim Cheung, but Valerio Schiti is a worthy compromise. His art style reminds me a bit of Kevin Maguire’s, especially when it comes to facial expressions. While Maguire is the king of expressive facial expressions, Schiti isn’t a slouch. On this page, you can see a variety of emotions on the character’s faces. Herc looks legitimately joyful to see Ben show up. Johnny looks annoyed, even disgusted in the fourth panel. Even Ben, a rock monster, has an expressive face.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3 page 6. Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

If Cheung officially leaves the book, Schiti should absolutely be his replacement.

Final Thoughts: MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3

I’m a sucker for well-written Fantastic Four stories, so of course, I love this book. If you’re like me, I recommend MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3. If you want to read a legitimately funny book, I recommend it to you as well.

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