Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Penciller: Declan Shalvey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 06/13/18
Plot: Victor Von Doom and the Thing track the energy signature of another Reed Richards to an alternate Castle Doom. However the duo discovers this Earth’s Doctor Doom murdered his Reed Richards. While battling his counterpart, Victor discovers a device that transports him to a new Council of Reeds.
Story: Even though this title is called Marvel Two-In-One, this annual mainly focuses on Victor Von Doom. Since this series has been building up the return of Marvel’s first family, it makes sense for them to have a story that focuses on their main antagonist, Doctor Doom. Putting this story in an annual makes the most sense since this won’t detract from the title’s ongoing story. Plus we get an amazing scene where Victor confronts a version of himself who successfully murdered the Fantastic Four. What follows is a great revelation about Victor, after chasing ultimate power and conquering worlds, Doom’s greatest challenge is being human.
One of this issue’s best surprises was the return of the Council of Reeds. The council is made up of numerous alternate versions of Reed Richards. This idea was one of the best things to come out of Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four run (also inspired a recurring element in Rick & Morty). However unlike the first council, this one figured out how they could still work together while being with their respective families. While this new council may seem less deadly, the issue’s closing pages alludes to their greater plans of ridding the multiverse of Doctor Dooms.
Ultimately the best part of this issue is also it’s biggest revelation. While meeting with the Council, Victor discovers Reed altered his memories at the end of Secret Wars. One of the Reeds uses a device to restore Victor’s proper memories. What follows is the revelation that when Reed healed Victor’s face he planted the idea in Victor’s head that Reed, Sue, and their children were dead. Reed told Victor he did this so Victor could move past their rivalry and become a better man. This is definitely something Reed Richards would pull off because he’s the smartest guy in the Marvel Universe. Usually this leads Reed into executing an idea without thinking of the consequences. However from a story standpoint this is a great way to set up Doctor Doom’s involvement in the upcoming Fantastic Four title and a potential return to villainy.
Art: The artwork in this issue is fantastic. There’s a great visual sequence where the Thing and Victor are tracking Reed’s trail and they find his extended arm. The duo then decide to ignore the tracker and just follow the arm. This was a funny thing to see and expected given Reed’s powers.
Also the best examples of the artwork come from the Council of Reeds. When Victor finds their base, it’s a white building in a black void and it’s inside is completely white with no background features. This is a perfect base for the council because it emphasizes the Council’s desire to focus on their work during meetings. Plus the differences between the alternate counterparts was enjoyable. For the council scenes there was a fun variety. Also seeing a version of Doom in classic armor next to his “Iron Man” design helped add more emotion to the scene.
Verdict: While this issue doesn’t emphasize the two in Marvel Two-In-One, it does deliver an excellent Doctor Doom story. It shows the changed Victor Von Doom facing off against the Doctor Doom fans know and love (as a villain). Plus this story takes a moment from Secret Wars and uses it to help set up Victor’s role when the Fantastic Four return in August. Overall, if you’re a Doctor Doom fan you should read this story.
Rating: 4 out of 5