THE TERRIFICS #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee
Anticipation is a hell of a drug. There’s something about me that gets completely antsy about a nerdy thing when it’s on the cusp of arriving into my hands, like an addict greasing up their palms to perform handies HJs for the finest of crack rocks. I am currently waiting for two boxes of the newest Magic: The Gathering Masters set to hit next Friday the 16th and, despite the set only looking pretty okay, I kind of want to take enough Nyquil PM that I sleep the time span between now and then because I’m still always dumbly giddy about opening Magic boxes. Now take that level of anticipation and apply it to my actual favorite thing in the world that isn’t my kitty, comic books, and I’m like a kid on Christmas who knows the outline of that box in the corner is totally a PS4. And when you talk anticipation level on something, a book where Jeff Lemire is basically doing a rendition of “most ragtag version of the Fantastic Four ever” like in THE TERRIFICS is so eclectically amazing I can’t help but be amped.
It ended up being okay.
That’s also the thing about extreme levels of anticipation is not letting it get the best of you. I think Jeff Lemire has consistently been one of the three best writers in comics for something like half a decade now, and his throwing together some of my favorite second tier DC characters to do a rendition of comic books’ First Family (presumably because he wasn’t allowed to do the real deal) is giddy making material for me. But you can’t let that kind of stuff cloud your opinion of a piece of work, especially when doing this kind of critiquing, and I have to admit that instead of minds being blown I just thought this debut was alright. Full of potential and fun decisions and character interactions, but it was definitely more of a pilot issue designed to get this oddball group together and present a glimpse of the kind of shenanigans they would be departing upon. But main takeaway from the issue is that personalities are on point and that Lemire has some big but not totally unexpected plans for the “team” if you paid attention to the solicits.
Mr. Terrific is a very apt replacement for a Reed Richards between his brilliance and stoicism but Michael Holt also has the benefit of being a more physical character and more sociable. In that vein, Plastic Man as the goofster of the team is next level beyond what practical jokester aesthetic Johnny Storm brings to the table for his role in the FF, though Metamorpho is pretty one-for-one as a Thing in their being a “monster” with a heart of gold. The real wildcard here will be Linnya Wazzo, the new Phantom Girl, who officially has one appearance as a character and it’s in these pages. How she’ll be as a catalyst for the team beyond being someone they found under very weird circumstances in the dark parts of the Multiverse will remain to be seen but it’s definitely the step THE TERRIFICS needed to make to just not be a complete FF knockoff.
Overall, the plotting of this debut is pretty straightforward but, again, just interesting enough. That this team is haphazardly thrown together instead of already being a decently knit together assembly like the FF will add another dynamic and their being explorers/attempted survivors of something as expansive and nebulous as the “Dark Multiverse” leaves a lot prospective adventuring. In this issue alone we see an interdimensional whale, the hollowed out corpse of some dead cosmic being on a Galactus level size scale, and then the goddamn hologram of Alan Moore creation Tom Strong himself, which was one of the more brilliant science pulp creations of the past few decades. All of that and gorgeous Ivan Reis art on top of it all means there’s a lot of great pieces here and definitely the promise of all that pant expanding anticipation I had in the months leading up to this series, but right now it’s just off to a pretty jaunty and entertaining start instead of being something that skyrockets immediately to the top of my reading pile.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to AICN COMICS and now at MLMILLERWRITES.COM. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to – funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He’s a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn’t the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.