REVIEW: Marvel Two-In-One #9 – “Down But Not Out”

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Marvel Two-In-One #9
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Penciller: Ramon K. Perez
Colorist: Frederico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 08/29/18
Rating: T

Marvel Two-In-One

Plot: Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm discover the Mad Thinker’s new Fantastic Four have invaded their town. Fortunately Johnny and Ben prove they’re still formidable opponents even while powerless. Ultimately the duo end up retreating into the dessert where an old ally makes a surprise return.

Story: The main takeaway from this issue is Johnny and Ben are still badasses while powerless. Since the Mad Thinker based his team’s powers on the FF, Johnny and Ben easily think of strategies to knock out their opponents. There’s a really great sequence where Ben’s able to use Smash’s temper against her (sound familiar?). Also Johnny going after the Mad Thinker sets up a nice comeback for Ben which helps disprove the Mad Thinker’s monologue about how Reed and Sue were the real power behind the Fantastic Four.

This issue also shows us more about the Mad Thinker’s version of the Fantastic Four. While he perfectly duplicated Mister Fantastic’s elastic powers, the other members have similar but different powers of their counterparts. While Lumen is able to turn invisible, it’s only a product of his light wave bending. This creates an advantage when Goodfire tries to attack Ben and Johnny but ends up hitting a wall. Given the Mad Thinker’s track record, it makes sense that he couldn’t perfectly duplicate all of the FF’s powers. Plus these imperfections really sell the idea that these are just FF wannabes not replacements.

Of course this issue’s real surprise arrived on the final two pages. While in the desert, Johnny and Ben’s powers start to return and they’re greeted by (SPOILER ALERT!) Sue Storm. The reason Ben and Johnny lost their powers was a product of their separation from Reed and Sue. Since their power started to come back, this Sue could easily be the 616 version. Plus if this is their Sue then the next couple of issues could help tie Marvel Two-In-One into the newly relaunched Fantastic Four title.

Art: This issue’s artwork is fantastic. The fight scenes between Ben and Johnny with the Mad Thinker’s team are dynamic and full of action. Also they created some tension as to whether or not Johnny and Ben will win. Plus the facial expressions for Johnny and Ben were well drawn. In each scene the reader can easily see their determination and drive to win or go down fighting.

My favorite sequence was Johnny saving an unconscious Ben from their burning truck towards the end of the issue. At the beginning, Johnny and Ben are driving into town and Johnny says Ben’s dead to him because of the fallout from last issue. The ending sequence is a nice parallel to the beginning because as Johnny’s saving Ben he reaffirms their friendship. Plus when we start to see Ben’s rocks and Johnny’s flame return it makes Sue’s appearance more special.

Verdict: This issue had some amazing fight scenes that show Ben and Johnny don’t need their powers to be fantastic. Also Sue’s surprise appearance was unexpected and it helps create a nice transition into the Richards family’s return in Fantastic Four. Overall, if you’re reading Fantastic Four then you should also read Marvel Two-In-One if you want the whole story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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