It looks like the Fantastic Four may be preparing to make their return to the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Comics released its May solicitations this week and among them was the solicitation for Marvel Two-in-One #6. Marvel Two-in-One in the closest thing to a Fantastic Four comic book that Marvel has published since 2015. The series reunited the Human Torch and the Thing as they finally try to face the future without the Richards family.
Reed and Sue Richards are believed by most inhabitants of the Marvel Universe to have died nobly, sacrificing themselves to stop the final cataclysmic incursion of another world into Earth-616. In truth, the Fantastic Four did not stop the incursion. Instead, Doctor Doom recreated the universe as Battleworld and ruled it as a monarch (see the Secret Wars event for details). However, the Fantastic Four and the other heroes of the Marvel Universe were able to defeat Doom. While most of the heroes returned home to the remade Marvel Universe, Reed, Sue, Valeria, and Franklin – along with the other children who were part of the Future Foundation – stayed outside of the universe in order to help remake and bring order to the Multiverse.
Since then, the Thing has been a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and an agent of SHIELD while the Human Torch has been an Avenger and a liaison to the Inhumans. Those storylines recently concluded and the two wayward members of the Fantastic Four reunited only to find that their powers are fading.
The name of the story taking place in Marvel Two-in-One is “The Fate of the Four.” Naturally, everyone presumes that this is the Fantastic Four they’re talking about, and the solicitation for Marvel Two-in-One #6 suggests big revelations:
“THE FATE OF THE FOUR – REVEALED AT LAST! A mad final gambit against the death of a universe! Ben and Johnny join forces with familiar friends, but will DOOM ruin everything? THE FATE OF THE FOUR will be determined here!”
Could those familiar friends be Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman? It seems possible. If the Fantastic Four return at the end of this issue, that’d make a perfect six issues of Marvel Two-in-One to be collected into a trade paperback edition, which would clear the way for a relaunch of Fantastic Four as part of Marvel's “Fresh Start” in 2018. It should be noted that the Thing was one of the characters featured on Jim Cheung’s promotional art for this “Fresh Start.”
Marvel has also been teasing the Fantastic Four’s return since Marvel Legacy #1 was released last year. In that issue, Valeria Richards was seen exploring the multiverse with her family, but reaching out to her own universe and wishing to return home.
ComicBook.com spoke to Marvel’s executive editor Tom Brevoort about Marvel Two-in-One as the series was about to launch, and he made no attempt to hide the fact that this series is a Fantastic Four story going by another name.
“Well, make no bones about it, while this may say Marvel Two-In-One on the package, this is really a Fantastic Four book, in spirit as well as content,” Brevoort said. “So yes, it’s definitely a series that’s about that missing element that people have been longing for within the Marvel Universe. In a very real sense, Johnny and Ben’s feelings about their seemingly-departed family echo the feelings of the audience all these months. And the fact that, even though Ben thinks he’s lying to Johnny we know that he’s accidentally on the right track means that there’s every possibility that our terrific two might inadvertently stumble over the breadcrumbs that will lead them and the rest of the Marvel Universe towards the reunion that everyone has been waiting for!”
It's also worth noting that there are three different Fantastic Four omnibus collections also solicited for May. Some may see that as suggesting that Marvel is preparing for their return with a lot of fanfare.
Marvel Two-in-One #6 goes on sale in May.
MARVEL 2-IN-ONE #6
CHIP ZDARSKY (W) • JIM CHEUNG (A/C)
Deadpool Variant Cover by Gerald Parel
THE FATE OF THE FOUR – REVEALED AT LAST!1comments
A mad final gambit against the death of a universe! Ben and Johnny join forces with familiar friends, but will DOOM ruin everything? THE FATE OF THE FOUR will be determined here!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99