The Terrifics: Meet the Terrifics by Jeff Lemire

details
Title: The Terrifics.
Story-Arc: Meet the Terrifics.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Illustrator(s): Ivan Reis , José Luís, Joe Bennett & Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: October 16th 2018.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401283360.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.

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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.

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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.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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28 comments

  • Oh dear this sounds bad 😂. How you describe Lemire’s writing reminds me of his series ‘Sweettooth’. Man that had some writing that tried to hard to be deep. To me, that serie started interesting but ended terrible

    Liked by 1 person

    • It surprisingly really was! Ohhh, I’ve seen that series around but I couldn’t tell if it would be something worth trying out. Clearly you’re making it hard for me to ever want to give it a shot now hahahaha 😛 I’ve read Jeff Lemire’s Descenders series, just the first volume, and found that pretty fascinating though! 😮 Have you ever tried that one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sweet tooth started good! I really liked the first volume, but after that it started to annoy me more and more to the point I was loudly complaining to people while I was finishing the series. Rarely a book has made me that mad :-P. It started with an intersting dystopian setting, but the story was dragged for way too long and a lot of things just did not make sense to me. This combined with the ‘deep’ writing trying to make the story make sense was a real turn of for the story. I like some of Lemire’s other work though, so maybe this book is a bad example of his work. Essex country is nice for example. I’ve read the first volume of descender and liked it a lot, but seeing how my opinion of Sweet tooth changed I am scared to keep reading… 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ohhh, okay. You’re giving me hope for that series then. I’ll give the first volume a try whenever I get the chance, and if it rots at any time, I’ll either blame you or blame you. 😀 😀 Okay, okay, I’m kidding! But it really does sound interesting though. And I’m with you on continuing Descender. I didn’t continue out of fear that it might venture into territories that might ruin its originality; and also because I just never got around to getting my hands on the next volumes. I am still willing to try it at some point hahah! 😛

          Liked by 1 person

  • Okay…wait for it…wait for it: I guess this wasn’t so….terrific? 😂😂
    The Fantastic Four was pretty much the same thing that sprang to mind when I read this as well. I guess DC is now trying to do the same thing wiht their comics as when it comes down to their movies, trying to beat Marvel, and going about it the wrong way. But I didn’t know that was necessary with their comics line up. Too bad this was such a disappointment. Hopefully the next series will be better. At least the art was cool and hey the review was great as well 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, man. Far from terrific. It was terrible hahaah

      I wish it was clearer when it comes down to what exactly the goal of these Marvel-like heroes were, but so far, there’s nothing convincing about the direction they went for this line-up. We could have easily lived on with all the other great series that are ongoing right now for our other heroes… I’m dreading the next volume too, as the character reminds me of another Marvel hero… Just physically… Hopefully he has a story, powers and what not that make him different! To be determined. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • To copy someone else’s work is sometimes considered the ultimate compliment, but in this case, it is just lame.

    There was an anime a few years back called ‘Batman Beyond’. One episode featured ‘The Terrific Three’, an obvious copy of the Fantastic Four. They were Two-Dimensional Man’, Ephemeral Girl’, and LavaMan. 2-D man and E-girl were just that, 2 dimensional and ephemeral, but LavaMan was heavy, and smoldering with a rage of revenge.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I mean… If there was any real originality to it, I’d have more appreciation, but so far it has been messy and mediocre…

      I loved Batman Beyond!!! One of my favourite animated superhero shows as a kid. 😀 I actually look forward to the day they make a live-action movie with that particular Batman!

      I don’t exactly remember that particular episode, which makes me want to revisit the whole series now hahaah But I can assure… The Terrifics is a FAR worse copy of the Fantastic Four and they don’t even TRY to hide the similarities… It’s that bad…

      Liked by 1 person

  • Damn! I hate it when the writing is not good enough to match the drawing. I need both in my comics really. Sorry it was not what you wanted Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, some might let the artwork save the mediocre story for them, but I just can’t let that be… If I only wanted art, I’d go to an art gallery! Or scower the Internet for awesome pin-ups/artwork hahaha 😀

      Like

  • I’m glad you directly addressed the seeming direct copying of the Marvel characters. This is one of the reasons I just cannot get into new comic book characters any longer. I feel like most of them are just repeats of characters and stories we’ve seen before. The only newer comic from DC/Marvel I’ve been able to really get into lately is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! I love me some Squirrel Girl…

    Liked by 1 person

    • A pretty sad initiative for this line of comics, but far from an indicator of the quality of some of their other series though. I understand that feeling you have regarding comics, especially superhero stories, but I find myself understanding why they’d sometimes retell stories, especially after a couple of years, since they want to appeal to new fans and get them hooked on these stories. I also like to see how they’d retell these stories, and let these new ones point me towards the original stories that I might not have all read (after all, I have not yet read all of the classic story arcs of all these heroes)! 😀 I’ve never tried Squirrel Girl but I’ve only seen people fangirl’ing over her! 😛 Glad to hear your love for her!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d love to be able to compare the retellings of these stories to their original counterparts. Unfortunately, my brain does not have a good mind for these sorts of details. All I end up thinking is, “Wait. Didn’t I read this already somewhere else?” The characters are easier to recall, thankfully.

        I guess I’d be more open to this repetition if it was easier for my brain to store all the little details about the stories and keep things in order. Most comics do so much crossing over and back that I cannot keep a single storyline straight! XD Ah well, this is why I tend to reach for manga and stand alone series.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I am somewhat surprised by Jeff Lemire, I just finished another volume of Descender and I like that series and in general I hear good things about him….But I will be skipping this one. Great review 🙂

    Like

  • This is a case when perhaps superheroes are just getting a little old. Time to come up with a dystopian world populated by people that have not evolved the same way. Some more moronic than others while some even more moronic and a handful that were born with increased IQs. You’ve inspired me to write something . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah I doubt superheroes will ever die, there will always be a cycle that will refresh old content and give new readers the opportunity to enjoy them as much as hardcore fans have. 😀

      Sweeeet!!! 😀 I’m glad to spark ideas for you and definitely look forward to reading just about anything you come up with.

      Liked by 1 person

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