In Review: Marvel 2-In-One #3

A decent comic team up, but if it continues to look like this, this series won't last long.

The covers:  A trio to collect for this appropriately numbered third issue. The Regular cover is by Jim Cheung & Frank Martin. The Human Torch and the Thing are being swallowed by a vortex of water. In the distance the Fantasticar can be seen being consumed by this water maw. Great work by Cheung on the water that’s colliding with the characters, with Johnny’s hair increasing the speed of the torrent. The colors by Martin are also good, with the water looking realistic because of the colors. Excellent shading on the characters, too. The Hulk Smash Variant cover is by Mike Hawthorne and has the Hulk and Thing grappling as they emerge from the seventh story of a skyscraper. The figures look great, with the Thing holding the emerald giant’s head, while the green goliath pushes aside one of the Thing’s arms as he prepares to bash Ben with a right. The debris behind the pair looks fantastic and the street below them slick. The coloring also makes the pair stand out. This is great! The Young Guns Variant cover is by Mike Del Mundo and it’s a pretty calm piece compared to previous Young Gun variants. Ben stands in the mountains with rocks below and behind him. He’s holding an oddly shaped rock up to his face and wonders how it came to look that way. Cute, but not a jaw-dropping cover. The colors do have the hero popping out well. Overall grades: Regular A, Hulk Smash Variant A, and Young Guns Variant B+

The story: The Mad Thinker stands before several large computer screens that feature the words “Where is Reed Richards?” He talks to himself, unable to discover where Richards has gone. A voice behind him simply states, “Richards is dead.” Doctor Doom is in the room and he wants to know what the Thinker is up to. Chip Zadrsky then moves the story to Brooklyn, New York where the Thing and Johnny Storm are bickering. Johnny wants to use the Multisect to go to a different New York, but Ben shoots it down, “‘Cause you’re broken.” This throws a wet blanket on Johnny’s mood, but Ben is going to take him to someone who knows something about regaining one’s super powers: Hercules! The god is in a bar and recounts how he got his abilities back. In fact, he volunteers to take them to the spot. Four hours later, the trio are in Jack Pine, Wyoming before a house that contains a familiar face. Who is there is fun, why she’s doing what she’s doing is fun, and whom they find there is a blast. The villain of the issue is great; he’s definitely a grade-D baddie, but he comes close to taking out all the heroes and the individual responsible for giving him back his powers. There are some really funny moments during the fight, with a great response from Ben on Page 11, a proper godly challenge on the same page, followed up by the greatest exit and exit line in the history of the villain on 13. Once the antagonist is gone, Ben and Johnny get some bad news and a new travelling companion. This was fun. The final three pages return to Doom and the Thinker with a solid dispatching of one character, while the other makes a bizarre reveal. I liked the hero parts, but didn’t care for the opening and closing villains. Overall grade: B+

The art: Valerio Schiti is the artist on this issue and it’s really hit or miss. The Mad Thinker does not look good in any panel he appears: he’s got a clay face and the final page is just silly looking. Doom has too much of his figure in black, giving him an even smoother than usual appearance. The Zipatone effect on him doesn’t help. Better are Johnny and Ben, unless they’re at a distance from the reader. They first appear at the top of Page 3 and Johnny is incredibly simplistic: no eyes, nose, or mouth. Ditto goes for the Thing. Close up, they look fine, from a distance, not so much. The same can be said of every character that’s some space from the reader — they’re simple suggestions of characters. Take a gander at the people looking at Johnny and Ben as they cross the street. Even the city is simplistic. When the pair meet Hercules they look good, as does the god. Though look at Johnny in the second panel on 4 and the second panel on 5 — just a blob of a face and blob outlines for hands. The wilds of Wyoming are as simple as the city, sadly. Look at the characters when they walk downstairs on 8, the same issues exist. And good heavens what’s up with Herc’s shoulders? When the villain breaks loose and uses his abilities things look good especially on the baddie’s face and Johnny using his powers. The character whose house this is has something on her left hand that isn’t clearly enough illustrated for the reader to understand it visually. It’s explained what it is, but the art isn’t helping. The shading on the villains on the final three pages is overdone and the final reveal is just strange. The way the panels are set up the character looks to have used his bare hands to achieve that look, which I’m not buying. Schiti’s art is neither consistent nor detailed. Overall grade: C-

The colors: The book does have some pretty colors though due to the efforts of Frank Martin. The greens and blues for the villains’ pages look good, giving their appearances an underground and techie feel. Within the bar the colors of the heroes are sedate, because bars don’t have a lot of light. The background even explodes into muted reds when Hercules bellows while speaking. The reveal of Wyoming uses beautiful blues and greens. Blues become the key colors when the villain goes into action and they look terrific. The final scene involving the heroes is before a giant computer projection and violets and blues combine to make this look great. Sounds also have some smart coloring on this book. I’m liking what Martin is doing. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, sounds, Doom’s dialogue, scene settings, Hercules’s robust proclamations, some neat distorted underwater dialogue, the fantastic font for the villain’s exit, and the tease for next issue. The book’s credits look fantastic, they give the book a visually epic feel from the start. Doom’s dialogue is just different enough from the regular dialogue to stand out. The antagonist’s exit line is stunning — appropriate and hilarious looking. I’m not liking the name of the team on the final page — please say this isn’t going to stick. It looks weak. The rest of the book looks fine. Overall grade: A

Where’s Wolverine Page: Carlos Pacheco (penciler) & Rafael Fonteriz (inker) illustrate the one page that shows where the iconic mutant is. It quickly shows some involvement with this issue’s villain. The setting looks better than the one close-up on the villain’s face. This page is okay, but is completely unnecessary to this issue. Overall grade: B-

The final line: The quality of the visuals undermines a generally fun story. The villain is good, as is the extra hero involved in this tale. Sadly, distant characters are suggestions of individuals, and they appear so often. A decent comic team up, but if it continues to look like this, this series won’t last long. Overall grade: B

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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