This week’s Marvel 2-In-One Annual #1 from writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire reestablishes a recent element of Fantastic Four lore and sets the stage for the return of the Fantastic Four – and the next evolution of Doctor Doom.
Spoilers ahead for Marvel 2-In-One Annual #1.
As Doctor Doom and Ben Grimm separate from Johnny and Rachna, they venture to another multiverse world with a Richards family energy signature. While there, they discover another incredibly powerful incarnation of Doom who had succeeded in killing the Fantastic Four.
The two Dooms quickly come to blows, with the main Doom eventually convincing his multiverse doppelganger to remove his armor to continue the fight. But main Doom is still losing – until he finds a small gadget on the body of Reed Richards that is stretched all over alt-Doom’s castle. Activating it, Doom is transported to an extra-dimensional space, where he encounters a new incarnation of the Council of Reed Richards.
Chastising the assembled Reeds for rebuilding the ill-fated council, Doom learns that the device he activated creates a duplicate of the user that can attend the council meetings, while their original form remains behind to live their usual lives. Doom argues with the Council while watching himself lose the fight to alt-Doom. Accusing his own arch-enemy Richards of altering his mind following the events of Secret Wars, Doom submits to using a machine that will restore his memories of the event.
Doom’s memories reveal that all Reed did in the aftermath of Secret Wars was repair Doom’s face and let him believe Richards to be dead. With Doom’s hatred of Reed removed, he became a hero on his own. Realizing his Richards actually is still alive, Doom admonishes the Council again and returns to his original body, newly formed memories of both timelines intact, and defeats his doppelganger.
Doom does not reveal to Ben that he now knows Reed is alive – but does warn him that Rachna is up to something surreptitious. With Ben, Johnny, Doom, and Rachna reunited, they move on to their next destination.
Back with the council, the Reeds lament that Doom may fall back into his villainous ways, and commit to redoubling their mission – a multiverse that does not allow people to suffer the same things that twisted Doom to evil.
Marvel 2-In-One Annual #1 takes place prior to the events of Invincible Iron Man #600 in which Doom’s face was re-scarred. With Fantastic Four #1 launching on August 29, the combined stories may re-establish Doctor Doom as the FF’s arch-foe once again. Marvel Two-In-One #7 is due out on shelves June 27.