X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review

The first big crossover between the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the post-House of X/Powers of X era got off to a strong start. Centering this event around Franklin Richards status as an Omega Level mutant has given two of Marvel’s biggest franchises strong motivations for what they are doing in this event. Franklin Richards being in the middle of this crossover gives added attention to the current status quo for the young teen at an important point in his life. Especially considering that Franklin is struggling to maintain his current powers there are a lot of possible directions this X-Men/Fantastic Four event can take that could shake up both franchises. Let’s see how things go down once Doctor Doom makes his entrance with X-Men/Fantastic Four #2.

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Terry Dodson

Inkers: Rachel Dodson, Karl Story and Ransom Getty

Colorist: Laura Martin

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Cyclops speaks with the Fantastic Four through a communicator and assures them that they did not kidnap Franklin and Valerie Richards. As he does that Cyclops tells them Krakoa is Franklin’s birthright if he wants to live there but not Valeria. This sets Sue Storm off as it sounds like Cyclops and the others value Franklin’s life more than Valeria. Cyclops becomes at a loss for words and before he can figure out how to defend what he said Sue destroys the communicator.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Cyclops conversation with the Fantastic Four hurts rather than helps. Click for full-page view.

On Krakoa, Magneto asks Cyclops if this will be a problem. Cyclops believe it will be.

Back at 4 Yancy Street, Reed Richards tries to calm Sue down. Sue reminds Reed that Krakoa is the home of people like Sabertooth and Apocalypse that make the X-Men different from who they once knew. Reed still does not want to risk starting a war with Krakoa. Sue says she is only looking to get her kids back. Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm side with Sue and tell Reed they have to get the kids back together.

Somewhere in the middle of the sea Kate Pryde leads the Marauders against Doctor Doom. Kate is quickly knocked out during the fight.

Sometime later Kate wakes up and is stunned to find herself sitting at a dining table with Doctor Doom, Franklin and Valeria. Doctor Doom reveals he already knows she and her team were looking for mutant refugees. He goes on to reveal that the mutants are home in a spot invisible to the world: Doom Island.

Valeria and Kate bring up that Doctor Doom seems to be hiding something. Doctor Doom reveals that on Doom Island he is able to do things that he wishes to not involve Latveria in to keep it safe. This is the reason he brought those mutants and Franklin to the island to help them.

Elsewhere Multiple Man reports back to Charles Xavier and the others that the Marauders, Franklin and Valeria are nowhere to be found on the boat.

Everyone believes this can’t be a coincidence as Xavier talks about how the Marauders mission was to rescue mutants not registered by Cerebro. As Xavier searches for where the Marauders last location was Emma Frost comments on Cyclops being in the meeting with the Quiet Council.

Eventually Xavier discovers where Cyclops and a team can search. Magneto tells Cyclops he will be joining this mission.

Cyclops reminds everyone that they still need to discuss the Fantastic Four situation as they believe Krakoa took Franklin and Valeria. Cyclops says he can relate to Reed and Sue because if it was his children he would move heaven and Earth to get them back safely. Emma agrees with Cyclops concern while Magneto believes in Krakoa’s power if the Fantastic Four try to do something. Nightcrawler backs Cyclops up because Mr. Fantastic can do just about anything and Invisible Woman is incredibly powerful.

Being reminded of Invisible Woman’s power Magneto realizes something and uses his powers to send water around the Quiet Council room. The water reveals some silhouettes that end up being the Fantastic Four hidden thanks to Invisible Woman. 

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Nightcrawler reminds everyone how dangerous Invisible Woman is. Click for full-page view.

The Thing quickly knocks Magneto back. At that same time Cyclops fires a wide optic blast that is able to hit Invisible Woman, knocking her out and breaking the invisibility of the Fantastic Four. With Invisible Woman knocked out the rest of the Fantastic Four are quick to retreat.

Back on Doom Island Kate, whose powers aren’t working, questions Doctor Doom if he depowered the mutants in his care like he once did to her. Doctor Doom assures Kate he has done no such thing.

Doctor Doom then says he knows about Franklin’s power problems and how Reed was trying to control him. Valeria asks Doctor Doom how he was able to negate Kate’s powers. Doctor Doom reveals thanks to their last encounter (Fantastic Four vs X-Men #1-4) he knows a lot about how Kate’s powers work, including things Kate doesn’t even know about them.

Doctor Doom then takes Kate, Franklin and Valeria to one of his labs. There he says he can fix the problems Franklin is having with his powers. Franklin doubts Doctor Doom’s motives based on their history. Doctor Doom admits that his help does come with one condition.

Back on Krakoa, the Fantastic Four rush to take Invisible Woman back to the Fantasticar. Before they can get back to the Fantasticar Nightcrawler teleports to their location. Cyclops is not far behind and more fighting commences.

As the other X-Men arrive the Fantastic Four are quickly surrounded. Mr. Fantastic realizes something and removes the visor on Invisible Woman’s helmet. Emma Frost detects this and uses her psychic powers to take control of Invisible Woman. 

Mr. Fantastic is quick to notice this when Invisible Woman wakes up and he quickly closes the helmet’s visor, revealing he used Emma’s powers as a psychic jump-start so Sue can regain consciousness. Invisible Woman immediately creates a large barrier that sends all of the X-Men flying. She then creates a bubble to fly the Fantastic Four back to the Fantasticar.

Cyclops contacts Xavier to let him know that the Fantastic Four are heading to the coordinates he told him about. Xavier knows this and tells Cyclops to assemble his team to rescue the Marauders and mutant refugees. Xavier then mentions that they will need to explain to the Fantastic Four answer how things work on Krakoa.

Back on Doom Island, Kate finds the rest of the Marauders. She reveals to her team that Doctor Doom has released them in exchange he will fix the problems Franklin is having with his powers.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Kate Pryde finds her captured Marauders teammates. Click for full-page view.

Elsewhere Franklin asks Valeria if they can trust Doctor Doom. Valeria reminds Franklin that Doctor Doom likes taking every opportunity he can to prove he is Reed’s superior.

Hearing this in his command center Doctor Doom asks Victorious how things are going in Latveria. Victorious says the rebuild project is going as planned and asks if Doctor Doom needs her assistance on Doom Island. Doctor Doom says all he needs is preparation and he is always prepared.

He then watches as his crew builds an army of Doombot version of the Sentinels. End of issue.

The Good: When you pick up a comic book and immediately sense the special aura around it is awesome. That special aura is felt as soon as you open X-Men/Fantastic Four #2. With each page of this crossover the creative team of Chip Zdarsky, Terry and Rachel Dodson, Karl Story, Ransom Getty, and Laura Martin show you why the X-Men and Fantastic Four are so iconic.

One of the most impressive elements of X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 is how seamlessly Zdarsky integrates the history of the teams share with one another. Even as someone who has admittedly never read Fantastic Four vs. X-Men I never felt lost each time a character references that or other stories. The reason for that is Zdarsky’s ability to create dialogue that gives a natural flow to the conversation characters are having. The X-Men, Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom all act and say things that you expect from these characters.

All of the scenes on Doom Island are great examples of that. Zdarsky made sure that the conversations between Kate Pryde, Franklin and Valeria Richards, and Doctor Doom kept the plot moving forward. This especially helped Doctor Doom’s character portrayal throughout X-Men/Fantastic Four #2. Zdarsky tapped into what makes Doctor Doom such a master manipulator is the words he speaks. Even when he is deflecting Kate and Franklin’s concerns you get the feeling that he has an end goal in mind that most benefits him.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Doctor Doom offers to help Franklin Richards with his power problems. Click for full-page view.

Portraying Doctor Doom in this way made the situation Kate, Franklin and Valeria were in as “visitors” to Doom Island more intense. On Kate’s side of things she showed that she is still concerned over the mutant refugees she was sent to find. Having that mission at the forefront was a good way to have Doctor Doom establish the fact that not every mutant on Earth lives on Krakoa. The fact that some mutants have found a safe haven on Doom Island was an intriguing revelation for Kate to discover. It provides motives for why Doctor Doom was able to sway Kate to understand his position by the time she finds her Marauder teammates.

Building that understanding made the hook of the Doombot Sentinels to conclude X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 that much stronger. This is an ending when you get to it comes across as obvious but exciting nonetheless. That is because Zdarsky is using the fact Jonathan Hickman has been building other threats over on the core X-Men books to make the Doombot Sentinels come across as unique. There is now this new force Doctor Doom is create that may not only affect the X-Men but Fantastic Four as well.

Which all makes what Doctor Doom’s plans in offering to help Franklin with his power problem that much more intriguing. Franklin is understandably hesitant to take Doctor Doom’s offer. That is once again in line with the rocky history Franklin has with Doctor Doom compared to his sister. Franklin has been around long enough to doubt Doctor Doom’s help is due to some benevolent nature.

The dichotomy of Franklin’s hesitance to Valeria being open to Doctor Doom’s help was a good way to show readers not familiar with the Fantastic Four the sibling relationship between them. That is an important thing to provide since half the readers of X-Men/Fantastic Four likely aren’t overly familiar with who Franklin and Valeria are and the differences between them. Valeria is much more open to figuring out how Doctor Doom can help her because of the natural curiosity she has with genius-level intellect. 

Establishing that fact made the influence Valeria had with her brother be that much more convincing. Having their trust they have based on Doctor Doom’s sense of being superior to Reed Richards was a nice touch. This gave a greater impact to when we see Doctor Doom hearing all this talk about his ego lead him to show us what he is truly working on. How the Doombot Sentinels relate to helping Franklin was another way to keep interest high going into the next issue of X-Men/Fantastic Four.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Doctor Doom shows off his version of the Sentinels. Click for full-page view.

On the other side of things, Zdarsky does a fantastic job continues to develop the animosity between the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Even when both sides make questionable decisions you understand where they are coming from. Whether it’s the X-Men’s search for the Marauders or Sue Storm leading the charge to find her children, you understand both sides of the conflict both teams are in the middle off.

Opening X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 with Cyclops trying to keep the peace with Sue Storm and the other Fantastic Four was a perfect way to set this up. While Cyclops did not intend to be antagonistic the beliefs of only mutants being able to live on Krakoa made him put his own foot in his mouth. Sue was understandably pissed off when she heard Cyclops unintentionally look down on her daughter just because she is not a mutant like her brother. This adds another layer to how difficult things are for Krakoa when talking to other nations as their leaders have not developed a way to get their message across without sounding unintentionally antagonistic.

At the same time, Zdarsky does a great job showing that both the X-Men and Fantastic Four share a great deal of respect for each other through the way their fight went down. On the Fantastic Four side of things Reed Richards developing psychic canceling suits shows how well he understands they can’t have a straight up fight. Adding Invisible Woman using her powers to hide their presence furthered that fact. 

Meanwhile on the X-Men side of things, Nightcrawler and Cyclops being the ones to emphasize how Xavier and Magneto should be concerned about the Fantastic Four’s involvement was a good use of their superhero status. Both Cyclops and Nightcrawler have fought alongside the Fantastic Four during other events so they have a understanding of how good of a team they are. 

The fight between the X-Men and Fantastic Four also further emphasized the strength of both teams. The X-Men being more united than ever is tough for even the Fantastic Four to overcome. At the same time, because of Reed’s intelligence and Sue’s power level they can quickly turn things around. We see that with how Reed quickly realized they could use Emma’s psychic powers to help Sue regain consciousness and allow them a way to escape.

With how this clash went down it’ll be very interesting to see what Charles Xavier meant when he told Cyclops they will need to explain to the Fantastic Four how they do things. With how Xavier has been developed as a cult leader in this new direction for the X-Men there was a underlying sinister tone to the dialogue. How their relationship with the Fantastic Four ends up turning out to be by the end of this crossover could dictate how the X-Men’s eventual meeting with the Avengers could go.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 Review
Invisible Woman powers up against the X-Men. Click for full-page view.

The art team of Terry and Rachel Dodson, Karl Story, Ransom Getty, and Laura Martin gave X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 solid artwork throughout. Dodson knows how to make every page dynamic with every character reacting in a way that enhances the dialogue Zdarsky is writing. The action is also mostly smooth with the X-Men and Fantastic Four’s powers on full display. The only thing that kept the artwork from reaching the normal high level you expect from the Dodson is the multiple inkers working on this series being noticeable. It did not distract from what was going on but you could tell when the switch between inkers happened.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 delivers on everything fans of both franchises could hope for when these two teams meet up. Chip Zdarsky does a fantastic job using the history between both teams to create a compelling story around Franklin Richards’ power problems and the X-Men’s current direction. How Doctor Doom factors into what is going on between the X-Men and Fantastic Four added greater interest in how things will turn out by the end of this crossover.

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