Fantastic Fun: Reviewing The Terrifics #1 From DC Comics, Lemire & Reis

by Oliver MacNamee

This is a series, written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Ivan Reis (as ever, inked in simpatico by Joe Prado), that promises thrills, spills and multi-dimensional hopping adventures, and this first issue wastes no time in jumping right into the action with Mr. Terrific rather annoyed that industrialist Simon Stagg has acquired some of his intellectual properties through legal means, albeit on the grounds that Mr Terrific was actually dead.

It would seem that such reports were greatly exaggerated, but when Michael Holt materialises in front of Stagg, his manservant Java and his daughter, the equally alliterate Sapphire Stagg, he is confronted by Metamorpho in chains and being used to open a door to the multiverse. And, because it’s perennial bad guy Stagg’s we’re talking about here, it’s the dark multiverse he’s interested in, naturally. That’s his thing, I guess, and pretty grim looking prospect to be confronted with.

And, it’s this narrative hook upon which Mr. Terrific’s adventures kick off as he is forcefully sucked up by the portal Stagg has opened, along with Metamorpho and Plastic Man, still in egg form, but not for long you’ll be glad to hear, having spent all of Dark Nights: Metal in this vegetative, catatonic state. If not for Plas, they Holt and Metamorpho could still be swaying across the multiverse like a reed in the wind.

By the end of the fast paced, high octane issue, we have our group, The Terrifics, albeit they don’t know this yet, of course. This first arc is clearly going to not only show how they are brought together but also how they bond and come out the other end as a team to rival Marvel’s first family.

Reis is a great choice for the big adventures and epic scale – as well as subtler, more emotional moments –  this series promised to brings and each page is dynamic, dramatic and fast paced, with one of my favourite editions of Plastic Man for a long, long time. In Reis’s hands, old Eel O’Brien has just the right mixture of cartoon-like expressions while still fitting in alongside the more realistic characters like Phantom Girl, whom we also meet along the way. I would describe Plas’s look in this book as one of juvenile confidence. Just the right side of goofy.

Meanwhile, Lemire gives us a story that, if it’s a litmus test of things to come, gives us well paced action, zippy and oft-times humorous dialogue between the different and diverse characters to be found in this book, and a cliffhanger last page that will not only put a huge grin on the faces of long-time DC fans, like myself, but also the promise fo even more adrenaline added action to come as The Terrifics come face to face with…. well, that would be telling. Either way, even though it’s not the best kept secret in comics who is making a return to the DCU, the book had me gripped so much, I did honestly forget and was pleasantly surprised. Surprised enough to wish this was one of DC’s fortnightly comics and I did have to wait a month for the next issue. It’s a storming issue.

Of course this is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Fantastic Four, and why not? In this first issue alone, Lemire and Reis clearly illustrate that there is room for such adventures in other dimensions and across space and time. Although, I didn’t ever need convincing. And, if any comic company was to unleash a title that deals with multiverse travel, it’s DC, surely? And, as a sucker for such things, I can’t wait to see where Lemire takes us in the vast DC multiverse. It’s another comic book that, for me, makes me glad to be reading comics regularly. Even if my wallet isn’t.

This comic seems to be not only DC’s go at the FF, but also a homage too, as the same traits, the same ingredients that made Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben so fantastic are all here under one cover: the peril, the family dynamics, the gigantic, sprawling cosmic scale, and the odd twist and turn too. Plus, the loveable Plastic Man as a stand in for both Mr Fantastic (in terms of powers, although Plastic has always had the upper hand in that department) and the comedic Ben Grimm. Hell, they even have their fair share of Kirby crackling too.

If you’re not buying this comic, I would really have to ask; why not? It’s a great read, a stunning looking book, by this generation’s Neil Adams 9and I defy ANYONE to agree otherwise when it comes to Ivan Reis). Fantastic fun from start to finish. And, if you don’t agree, sue me!