The Terrifics #15 – Gene Luen Yang, Writer; Stephen Segovia, Artist; Protobunker, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Solid Start!
Ray: One of the hardest acts in comics has to be following Jeff Lemire, and most people expected The Terrifics to be canceled after Lemire mic-dropped on this title last month. Into the breach steps New Super-Man writer Gene Luen Yang, no slouch in the talent department himself, to take over for a new arc with The Terrifics #15. The results are good right out of the gate, mainly because Yang wisely doesn’t change too much to make his stamp on the run. Some characters like the Strong family and Offspring are missing in action this issue, but the core team dynamic is the same and the focus picks up directly from the surprise twist in Lemire’s last arc that brought an alternate version of Mr. Terrific’s late wife Paula into their dimension. A happy reunion paves the way for an awkward attempt at a first date when they’re both forced to acknowledge that this isn’t quite the person they each lost.
Yang has some heavy issues on his mind, tackling Mr. Terrific’s atheism. That trait of the character has been key since Geoff Johns introduced him, but he’s never quite had a counterpart like Paula – a faithful woman whose belief wasn’t shaken by the loss of her husband. The initial tension between them exposes a few ugly traits in Michael’s personality and it’s clear they have a lot to work out – something they start doing while dealing with threats including a giant snake and a video game gone wrong. These two disparate threats turn out to have a lot more in common than expected, tying into an overarching threat that calls Mr. Terrific’s atheism into doubt. I do think the other three Terrifics got short shrift this issue, but Yang has a lot of time to develop everyone in the team. I’m just happy that one of DC’s best books looks like it’s going to stay strong under a new hand.
Corrina: Gene Luen Yang did a wonderful job with group dynamics in New Super-Man and he shows that deft touch in The Terrifics #15 as well, picking up nicely where Lemire left off. What he’s done is keep Lemire’s essential foundation, and now he’s building his own take on the characters, especially Michael and Paula.
Plus, the new creative team also includes Stephen Segovia on art. His style may be absolutely perfect for Plastic Man and Offspring and it works well too in the scenes with Mr. & Mrs. Terrific. I root for this couple, yes, but I love that this series is going to explore what it would be really like to date the person you love but…not the person you love. They’re almost identical copies but, still, a copy, not the original that one that you fell in love with. Add to that the trauma each had in losing their loved one, and that’s a ton to unpack. Paula does better than Michael, in some ways, still having hope for a positive outcome, whereas Michael seems to have doubled-down on cynicism. I hope we get to see this play out among all the super-science stuff in future issues.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.