Title: The Terrifics.
Story-Arc: Meet the Terrifics.
Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Illustrator(s): Ivan Reis , José Luís, Joe Bennett & Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: October 16th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
Following the events of the cosmic DC universe event in Dark Nights: Metal, new and old heroes are making an appearance and looking to put on a show of their own. Eight new line of comic books with various writers and illustrators are launched and they all look to introduce new stories for everyone to devour. Characterized by a rocky start, Damage and Silencer each showed us their strengths and weaknesses in their own way, but also left something to be desired. With an emphasis put on the artists rather than the writers, these new series have a lot to prove since the results so far have been underwhelming. Do The Terrifics have what it takes to turn things around for this New Age of Heroes?
Who are the Terrifics? Bringing together Mr. Terrific (a billionaire genius), Plastic Man (a very stretch shape-shifting wise guy), Metamorpho (a huge and ugly fellow capable of becoming any element) and Phantom Girl (a young lady who is nothing more than a ghost who blows up anything that she touches if she ever decides to become tangible), these heroes are brought together out of pure fate as they are thrown into the Dark Multiverse after a tragic incident initiated by Simon Stagg. Their colourful adventure into this realm brings into play brand new threats and they have no other choice but to stay together and work as a team.
Coming from someone as renown as Jeff Lemire, the writing was mediocre at best. I had a hard time even understanding how the dialogue could be so infantile and void of any authenticity. Mr. Terrific alone made me face-palm a few times with his less-than intelligent ways and his monotone behaviour. For someone that they kept on reminding us as the third smartest man out there, he showed no proof of it at any point in this story arc. And then there’s the banter between these four heroes. You could not imagine the amount of cringe that went with it. I wasn’t sure if the relationship between these characters was forced or was meant to be awful anymore.
If there’s one silver lining to this story, it’s Ivan Reis artwork for the first issues. It’s dynamic, colourful and convincing in its tone. Oddly enough, the later issues features other artists who all have slightly different styles, but still relatively similar to Reis’ art. The most confusing part of this constant change of artists is how the whole New Age of Heroes line-up was meant to showcase artists and put the spotlight on them, but here we are with more than two artists in the same story arc without giving them the chance to shine. So far, the only recurring theme I see is that the first couple of issues of each series features an all-star artist who then later disappears. It’s as if they were just meant to be baits.
I’m trying really hard not to see it, but another thing that has been screaming at me, gnawing at my face and tearing away at my insides is the similarity between these new line-ups and Marvel’s property. At first, when they initially announced these new and old heroes getting new series with new creative teams to work on them, I found myself skeptic at how they’ll successfully catch the attention of new and old readers. There’s no easy way to sell the idea of new heroes to root for, especially when you already have all the other amazing superheroes that have lived longer than most of us already out there and doing strong on their own canonical series. But now that I have read the first story arcs for our first heroes who are part of this New Age of Heroes line-up, I’m kind of disappointed in DC’s marketing strategy.
Why did they have to go for straight-up rip-offs of Marvel’s classic heroes? With Damage being the Hulk of DC Comics, the Silencer being the Punisher and now the Terrifics being the Fantastic Four, I fear that there is no hope for these heroes within the DC universe. Even the supervillain that appears at the end of this volume to give us a James Bond’esque monologue on his great plan was similar to one of the Fantastic Four’s greatest villains—a villain that rhymes with Doctor Gloom. From cute to ridiculous, I’ve tried to think of reasons why they’d go in that direction, but nothing reasonable came to mind. Maybe they were trying to create an illusory bridge between DC Comics and Marvel? Maybe it’s their attempt at creating their own Deadpool (noting that he has similarities with one of DC’s greatest villain, Deathstroke)? Maybe it is an experiment to evaluate the gullibility of readers who are completely oblivious to all the superheroes that exists out there? Maybe it is just a joke within the organization to see if anyone will realize it and laugh along? We’ll never know.
For what it is, The Terrifics: Meet the Terrifics was somehow saved by Ian Reis’ artwork as well as the popcorn flick fun that came with the silly plot and dialogues. Could the similarities with Marvel’s superheroes be any more plain and obvious? I don’t know. But if this series lives any longer, I hope it finds a better identity than the mockery it decided to be.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!