In the aftermath of 2015’s Secret Wars, a new Marvel Universe was born from the ashes of the old, but a number of its defenders suddenly found themselves in unfamiliar situations. The Thing and the Human Torch were in a particularly strange place, with half their family members in the Fantastic Four missing and their old foe Doctor Doom trying to atone for his years of evil by becoming a hero. The duo coped with their bizarre new reality by going their separate ways, both of them embarking on adventures with new teams. This December, though, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm will finally reunite and, much to their chagrin, Victor Von Doom is coming along for the ride.
The reunion comes courtesy of writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung, who are reviving the classic series Marvel Two-In-One for a new volume featuring the Thing, his best friend the Human Torch and a number of guest stars. The series’ initial stories will find Ben, Johnny and company searching for their missing family members and getting back to doing what the Fantastic Four does best: Exploring the Marvel Universe.
CBR spoke with Zdarsky about his protagonists, their dynamic and status quo, and his take on the Infamous Iron Man, better known as Victor Von Doom
CBR: In Marvel Two-In-One you're reviving one of Marvel's most classic friendships between The Thing and the Human Torch. What do you find most interesting about Ben and Johnny's relationship? What's it like for them to come back together after having adventures with other allies these past few years?
Chip Zdarsky: They’re both reminders of what’s happened to their family, so it’s hard to come back together. Their relationship’s always been one of brothers, with all that entails: Love, friendship, irritations and fights. It’s a wide spectrum for Ben and Johnny, which makes them an incredibly fun duo to write. But it’s time to get back together.
I understand part of what brings Ben and Johnny together is the mystery of what happened to their family. Can you talk at all about how this story unfolds? Will we see Ben and Johnny playing detective, and is that a role they're even suited for?
They’re not the most likely detectives, which definitely leads them astray. There’s a lot wrapped up in this quest, but it’s on shaky ground and potentially volatile, which you’ll see right away in issue one.
They start off apart and not particularly eager to see each other again. But then Doom shows up.
Speaking of the atonement-seeking Victor Von Doom, what's your sense of the character’s current motivations? How big a role will he play in this book?
Doom is trying to be good. He’s really trying. But he can get wrapped up in the end justifying the means. He’s still the smartest guy out there, and he knows it, so he knows what’s best for everyone, and that includes Ben and Johnny.
He’s such a fun character to write, especially with what Brian “Dead 2 Me” Bendis and Alex “Alive 2 Me?” Maleev have done with him. His arc has been amazing, and, honestly, only a writer as skilled as Bendis could’ve made it possible and plausible. I LOVE YOU BRIAN.