DC Comic’s The Fantastic Four riff is one the newest, strangest, mainstream super hero teams off to a (Tom) strong start.
**Spoiler Alert: Plastic Man is discussed often in this review**
Music groups can often be like super hero groups; a “super group” comprised of the most talented, most sought-after, or most popular does not always make an interesting, or even good, album…or comic.
The Terrifics is the newest, quirkiest, DC superhero team forged from the events of DC’s latest crossover event Dark Night: Metal where the Dark Mulitverse crosses-over to the current DC Multiverse to create “dark” chaos and wreck “dark” havoc.
(No, I haven’t read the series, so do your own fact checking on your own time).
As a comic fan, I’ve always been drawn to the secondary, B-characters. Growing up, my favourite series was All Star Squadron, the 1940s Earth 2 version of the present day 1980s Earth 1 heroes. When Infinity Inc.was released, the Roy Thomas written / Todd McFarlane drawn comic of the offspring of the All Star Squadron’s couples, the misfit team of new unknown heroes, was my new favourite title until Batman and the Outsiders was published which was (you guessed it!) another book with unknown, quirky secondary characters.
Looking back, I’ve also been drawn to comedic characters (Plastic Man, Ambush Bug, John Byrne’s She-Hulk). My first foray into gritty independent comics were the original black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Reid Flemming, The World’s Toughest Milkmen, action packed dark comedy books of wonder.
So imagine this fanboy’s utter joy to find out that Plastic Man and Metamorpho are going to be on the same team as the DC version of the Fantastic Four. Having Plastic Man and Metamorpho on the same team is like discovering Green Tea Kit Kat bars, something you never knew you wanted until you got it, then wonder how you lived your life without it.
The Terrifics, drawn by Brazilian-based, Neal Adams influenced, Ivan Reis (Ghost, Action Comics) and written by Canadian superstar Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Trillium) is a fast paced, beautifully drawn, expository heavy Fantastic Four-type story with more outer space and more quirkiness starring the least of the lesser known heroes.
**Did you read my Trillium review yet? Get to it!!**
The hero selection is what makes this book work. The team consisting of Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Phantom Girl (not the Phantom Girl readers expect) and Metamorpho, (Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, Invisible Girl, and the Thing, respectively) is an expansive story taking on a weird, unimportant urgency, the events are simultaneously cosmically huge and singularly specific.
The framing of Plastic Man as this all-powerful enigma at the onset is quick yet wonderful, referencing Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, where Plastic Man is being trapped and contained until needed for an Earth saving event. Plastic Man is a character whose power seems untapped, as Batman says in DK2, that Plastic Man is “immeasurably powerful” and “absolutely nuts,” a crazed Green Lantern of flexible, malleable, seemly unstoppable skin.
(Wait, they also have Plastic Man contained in Dark Night: Metal #5, in the same egg shape as DK2? Allusion appreciated, but Miller did it first!)
One odd choice is the addition of long trunks added to Plastic Man’s outfit. Is he going surfing or did he pick up the trunks that Superman dropped?
Issue #1 promised cleanly beautiful, dynamic perspective art (including an amazing Plastic Man reveal), classic sci-fi references including a Princess Leia style cameo, and more B-movie fun than modern comics. With twists and turns and team-ups abound, The Terrifics is settling up to their promises.
The Terrifics is a fun, off-kilter, dizzyingly unveiling origin story with universe to spar! Reporting for continued zaniness, sirs!
The Terrifics is available monthly at your local comic book shop through DC comics.