Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Joe Prado, Ivan Reis, and Marcelo Maiolo
Published By DC Comics
Released February 28, 2018
When DC’s latest addition to the “New Age of Heroes”, The Terrifics, was announced it instantly drew comparisons to Marvel’s Fantastic Four. The announcement of the book had also come at a time when Marvel had recently revealed that they would no longer be publishing any more Fantastic Four books. It is undeniable that the characters who make up the team do, on some level, share surface-level connections to members of the First Family, but those connections are definitely surface level at best. The Terrifics is a team comprised of Mr. Terrific (in my opinion the smartest man in the DC Universe), Plastic Man, Metamorpho, and the teams most interesting inclusion Phantom Girl.
The first issue of the Terrifics picks up some time after Dark Knights Metal, but it does a great job of tellings its own story without spoiling anything from Metal. The entire initial conflict and catalyst for this issue centers on Simon Stagg using Mr. Terrific’s tech to open up a portal to the Dark Multiverse which results in Metamorpho being transformed into a berserker Nth metal form. In an attempt to shut the portal Mr. Terrific uses one of his T-Spheres to summon Plastic Man in his egg form. The issue definitely establishes that the Dark Multiverse and the events of the Metal event will have long-lasting effects on the DC universe.
Upon passing through the Stagg’s portal something begins to happen, Plastic Man begins to awaken from his egg shaped slumber. Being the natural leader and fast thinker that he is Mr. Terrific directs Plastic Man to use his powers to help protect them from the energy of the Dark Multiverse. Plastic Man quickly responds, expands, and tosses Mr. Terrific and Metamorpho into his mouth, forming a protective sack around the two. It’s during their time in Plastic Man’s mouth that some of my favorite moments from the book take place as this is the section that’s got the most exposition. Metamorpho is back to normal and Mr. Terrific explains that is because of Plastic Man shielding them from the energy of the Dark Multiverse. Mr. Terrific then explains to Plastic Man, who has no memory from his time as an egg, how he came to be in a hibernation state. He explains that Batman knew that Plastic Man’s “unique molecular structure had a superconductive reaction to the energies of the Dark Multiverse” made him the best option for a probe into the Dark Multiverse. However, after coming into contact with the energy it became too much for Plastic Man and he retreated into himself resulting in his egg form. Mr. Terrific explained that coming into contact with the energy again may have been the spark that woke him up. At this point, Plastic Man is none too pleased about finding out that Batman and Mr. Terrific allowed him to stay asleep.
Now, here is where an already high energy and interesting issue truly gets even more interesting. When a T-Sphere begins alerting the group to a beacon in the multiverse, the group quickly exits Plastic Man’s mouth/protection and find themselves on a “planetoid” in the dark multiverse. While Mr. Terrific is doing his thing and trying to figure out not just where they are but where the beacon is coming from, Metamorpho notices something which triggers Plastic Man to stretch and investigate. In one of my favorite pages from the book, we see Plastic Man stretch hundreds and hundreds of feet and confirm that our trio isn’t actually on a planetoid, but rather on the rotting corpse of a massive celestial being.
Out of nowhere our trio is attacked by what seems like alien, crab-like parasites. They appear out of nowhere in a swarm and overwhelm the budding team. Then we get our introduction to the team’s final member Phantom Girl when she orders the galactic corpse crabs to stop. When she sees the team it’s almost as if she is in disbelief to the point that she has to ask if they’re even real. Apparently the Phantom Girl that becomes apart of the team isn’t Tinya Wazzo, the original, but instead, she is potentially her ancestor Linya Wazzo. She tells the team that she isn’t sure how long she has been trapped there and that since being there shes been stuck in her intangible form. She tells the team that the beacon they’re tracking down isn’t from her.
The most surprising thing about the issue is that upon finding the actual beacon in true sci-fi fashion the group discovers a holographic message from a character that hasn’t been seen in comics since 2013, Tom Strong. This page essentially heralds Tom Strong and his entire family into the current DC universe.
Overall the first issue of the Terrifics was a fantastic read that greatly reminded me of the classic comics that I grew up with. The book had a grand sense of adventure and scale that it managed to maintain from start to finish. The book wasted no time jumping right into the adventure and throwing our heroes into the fray, it manages to have a pretty quick pace without losing itself or feeling rushed. Issue one features stunning art that’s full of bright vibrant colors that perfectly suit the cosmic inter-dimensional focus of the story. Writer Jeff Lemire does a fantastic job of fleshing out the personality of each character for new readers and bringing together this extremely unlikely team of individuals to form what may just be one of DC’s best new creations. What I loved about this issue so much more than its story is the idea behind the team and the way they are brought together. Unlike the Fantastic Four, they aren’t a family and rather than choosing to come together they are thrust together in an adventure that will most definitely forge them into a well-oiled unit.
Overall, I’d give The Terrifics 9 T-Spheres out of 10