The Terrifics #4 – Jeff Lemire, Writer; Doc Shaner, Writer; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The Terrifics has been the crown jewel of this new line since its first issue, but the irregular art and plot-heavy first few issues maybe held it back a bit from being up to the level of Lemire’s usual brilliance. That’s over, as a new artist – the fantastic Doc Shaner, last seen regularly on Future Quest – takes over with The Terrifics #4, and seems to lift Lemire’s writing with him. The first scene, showing the four team members running from a giant squid monster, is already the best art piece of the series, but the issue as a whole is excellent. From that great first visual, we flash back to the team traveling through deep space. Phantom Girl narrates the issue, which I think was a great move – although she’s the character who has had the least attention paid to her so far, she has the most compelling narrative, and this issue is the first one that really pays attention to the fear and isolation of her current condition – which Mr. Terrific is working to alleviate.
The team, in a giant T-Sphere, is traveling to her home planet, but they get waylaid by a space vacuum, which is where they encounter the giant squid of the first page. Although I think Phantom Girl is probably the most compelling character in the series, I’m becoming a big fan of Lemire’s take on Metamorpho and Plastic Man as well, as they make a great comic team. Where the issue really takes off, though, is in the final segment, as Phantom Girl and the rest of the team return to her home – with the unspoken conflict that if she chooses to stay with her family, they’ll be stuck there as well. However, Phantom Girl’s return home comes with massive complications, as it turns out that the time she spent in the zone was very different from the time on her planet,. However, as the last scene also proves, it’s the one place in the world where she’s not isolated anymore. This issue sets up some fascinating conflicts and developments that make me think this is turning into one of DC’s best books.
Corrina: I would never diss Doc Shaner–he’s probably my favorite current comics artist–but the first three issues of this series were quite good and, of the New Age of DC Heroes books, the one I’d recommend the highest.
However, yes, this is a helluva good issue and Shaner helps make it so. I know we talk a great deal about plotting and character in these reviews but you can see the difference between very good artists in the first three issues and a legendary one on this issue.
But what impresses me the most about The Terrifics is that the first three issues set up the team, why they had to stick together (literally stuck together), and each individual character, and then resolved what could have been a long-running plot–Phantom Girl’s need to come home–in the fourth issue. And, like all great resolutions, it makes things worse because she can’t stay there, and her parents aren’t as she remembers, in any case.
Add in two comic characters who shouldn’t work together–Metamorpho and Plastic Man–but do, brilliantly, and Michael Holt’s reticence to show how much he cares, and this could turn out to be a classic in the making.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.