WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Marvel 2-In-One #11, by Chip Zdarsky, Ramón Pérez, Federico Blee and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Following 2015's Secret Wars, Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Sue Storm/Invisible Woman and their children -- Franklin and Valeria Richards -- disappeared. The loss hit Ben Grimm/The Thing and Johnny Storm/The Human Torch particularly hard, and the early issues of Marvel 2-In-One focused on the two trying to find the broken team's lost members. Now, writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Ramón Pèrez, Federico Blee and VC's Joe Caramagna will use the upcoming Marvel 2-In One #11 to tackle why the Fantastic Four never returned after Secret Wars in the appropriately titled "Past Tense."
Writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli’s Fantastic Four has already explained what Marvel's First Family has been doing since its disappearance, showing that Franklin Richards, Reed Richards and Molecule Man united to create thousands of new universes. However, Slott and Pichelli's comic didn't touch on the psychological reasons that drove Reed and his family to remove themselves from the events of the Marvel Universe.
The preview starts with Reed and Ben apprehending the Mad Thinker, who attempted to take the mantle of Mister Fantastic in Reed's absence. To carry out his nefarious purpose, the Mad Thinker enlisted Lumen, Goodfire and Smash to help him make a new Fantastic Four. However, while trapped on an alternate world run by an evil Spider-Man, Thing and Human Torch defeated the Mad Thinker and his alternate Fantastic Four in Marvel 2-In-One #10.
The two friends have a tense conversation in a diner before Mister Fantastic takes Thing to the planet Hyzor in Universe F-266, which features sentient water in a symbiotic relationship with the world's plant life. As Reed explains the complex relationship between the two systems, Ben imagines Reed trailing off into pseudo-speech about how much he loves science.
Frustrated with Ben's lack of focus, Reed explains that he and Sue were "done with being... super heroes," stating that the Fantastic Four "was supposed to be about being explorers, but it ended up being about putting out fires." Reed continues on to say that he and Sue wanted to show their children the multiverse and study the science behind it. Ben gets upset when Reed explains that he chose not to include him because of his disinclination towards the types of science Reed wished to pursue.
Reed Richards' emotional callousness has been a driving force behind a lot of conflict in the past, so it seems that his time journeying through the multiverse hasn't changed him in that way. Although Reed, Sue and their children are back, it seems that Ben's hurt feelings about being left behind aren't going anywhere any time soon.
Zdarsky mentioned in August that, following Marvel 2-In-One #12 in November, the series would undergo an unspecified reinvention so as to allow the the Fantastic Four comic "some room to breathe." It's not entirely clear at this time what that reinvention entails.
Marvel 2-In-One #11 releases on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from Marvel Comics.