Richard's thread doesn't really seem to address the second issue so here's a new thread that does.
I loved it. One of the best comics I've bought in quite a long while. I had never heard of Zdarsky but after just two issues of this series he has joined the ranks of the very few 21st century writers whose names alone will get me to at least think about buying a comic - and all the others (Abnett, Parker, Hester) work for DC.
As for the art, Chelung, Dell, Wong, and Martin are doing a bang-up job. Perfect for the story being told.
Loved Ben and Alicia having one of their classic conversations while she sculpts the latest of her never-ending series of Ben statues.
Loved the banter between Ben and Johnny in the Fantasticar (bathtub version, which is my favorite) on their way to Monster Island, which Ben at this point thinks is the site of Reed and Ben's first adventure.
Loved the banter as Ben and Johnny try to find the precise spot on Monster Island.
Loved the weird goings-on (Mole Man and Googam, Son of Goom) that Ben and Johnny stumble upon. It made me think of the fact that there are surely always weird goings-on involving the Mole Man and no one on the surface ever knows.
Good fight scene only marred by Johnny's power failing. I'm not a fan of this plot element. I think probably none of us are. But it took up only one panel so whatever. Surprisingly, Doom shows up and saves Johnny. Some vicious dialogue - and when Doom realizes that Ben has told Johnny the quest is to save the Richards clan, Doom mocks Ben but does not tell Johnny the truth. I think it's important to note that. Doom could have caused Ben untold heartache with a few words, and didn't.
The monsters decide Doom is their new ruler and all Doom does is have Mole Man and Googam carried deeper underground. Doom then takes his leave after exchanging more vicious words with Ben - and his last words turn out to be a clue to where the doohickey actually is. In my opinion Doom did this on purpose. He knows where the doohickey is because he experienced (from his own perspective) the situation Reed was alluding to. I don't recall if we know for sure that Doom knows what Reed said to Ben via the time capsule message last issue - but it doesn't matter because I'm convinced, regardless, that he does. He's Doom. Master of technology, magic, and schemes. He knows.
The lightbulb goes on in Ben's head and he realizes what Reed was alluding to. And then we get a flashback that surely ranks as one of the greatest Fantastic Four vignettes ever published. This vignette alone should earn Zdarsky and friends an eternal place in FF lore. This was one of the greatest things I have ever read.
Victor Von Doof. 'Nuff said.
Five pages long. Five. Pages. Long. And it has enriched FF lore far more than all the pages that have been published this century put together.
Buy this issue for the vignette if for no other reason. You cannot live your life without reading this.
Ben and Johnny find the doohickey and are about to embark to - somewhere. Need to wait for next issue to find out where they go.
This issue began to show some of the concerns I had when Zdarsky was announced as the writer. The three main plot points (scenes) I found cringe worthy have now added up to a clear impression that Zdarsky doesn't know these characters and has no intention of writing them with any sense of accuracy.
* Reed Richards is NOT a prankster. The point that this was done once is nullified by the point Zdarsky chose to insert that (a) Reed would supposedly re-apply the "F" to the medal whenever it was removed, and (b) he and Ben would supposedly chuckle at it time after time when they faced off against Dr. Doom over the years. This is the most egregious case of a writer not understanding these characters since Matt Fraction was on the Fantastic Four title.
* Johnny's flame now works as a cleaning agent against bacteria and plaque?!? Really? That's beyond ridiculous - and needs to be retconned away asap.
* Johnny's "power loss" - sigh....here we go again....clearly Zdarsky never bothered to checked on what the previous writer of the Fantastic Four title did otherwise he'd realize (or have the characters realize) that Johnny just had a power loss sub-plot during James Robinson's shortened run on the Fantastic Four.
Granted this is only one issue...but having issue #2 be just a drop in quality from the writing from issue #1 is a bad sign. Zdarsky seems to be trying to mold the FF into what I've seen over in the pages of the new Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man in terms of bad humor and bad science (even by comic book standards). If this continues, i doubt this title will last very long.
Note: I have nothing but positive things to say about the art - it's consistently great...too bad it seems to be wasted on sub-par writing.