I must say, I was pleased to see that the same art team from the last issue of The Terrifics is back again for this issue and the second part of Jeff Lemire’s last story arc on this Fantastic Four-inspired team book. Although, as I am aware, it’s clearly a fill in gig before the new – and hopefully – permanent creative team of writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Stephen Segovia takes over with issue #15.
The Terrifics have effectively disbanded, what with Phantom Girl having gone back to reunite with her parents and family on Bgztl and Rex Mason back to being…well, Rex Mason. But for this book to survive where other New Age of Heroes titles have fallen, they will have to put the band back together, and pretty quickly given that Mr. Terrific is getting his ass handed to him by a very twisted version of The Terrifics, gleaned from across the Multiverse and led by manservant and Stone Ager, Java, revealed last issue to be the Doctor Doom-lite, Doctor Dread.
Luckily, it would seem that the various members of the team aren’t having the best of times of it either and any excuse to take up arms seems welcome. Well, almost. Rex Mason isn’t too keen to get involved, but once again we witness what it takes to be a true hero in the DCU. Selfless sacrifice has always been up there as a quality superheroes share. Meanwhile, Plastic Man discovers that you can buy a son’s love. Not the best of life lessons this book includes, but there you go. This is Plas, after all. He doesn’t always have the best of ideas, nor the most ethical of solutions to a problem. But, it’s always fun watching him get out of any situation, even if this is one of of a more domestic variety. If nothing else, Lemire has grown these characters, focussing a good deal of his run on their relationships and building bridges and new friendships. They may still be an odd bunch, but I feel this newest adventure, and Lemire’s swan song, may see a healthier, united team emerge once the dust has settled.
Viktor Bogdanovich’s art style is quite cartoony compared to previous artist on this series, reminding me of an early Tony Daniels or Brett Booth, and some of the Image work they cut their teeth on back in the day. But it works. He illustrates a very animated Plastic Man and something tells me the recent Gail Simone fronted book missed a trick not bringing him on board. Sill, there’s always a next time, I hope. This style also works well when depicting a wide-eyed Phantom Girl. And on a book that is a fun take on the aforementioned first family of Marvel, Bogdanovich is a good choice as we move from the hyper detailed, grandiose cinematic artwork of Ivan Reis, through the retro stylings of Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner (who continues to provide the covers for this series, and what a great cover this one is, homaging the iconic ‘With The Beatles’ black and white album as it does) and now, on the final lap of Lemire’s fun run, a more animated style.
While all these artists have been nothing but amazing, I still feel DC aren’t taking this book as seriously as it once did. That lack of artistic consistency could well cost them in the long run, unless the new guys can be persuaded to stick around and make The Terrifics the book it always had the potential to be. The DCU is a smorgasbord of parallel universes and grand opportunities to really delve into that rich tapestry. I just hope there’s more of that, as this issue strongly suggest there will be, in the comic’s future. I still think this book lives up to its title, I just hope there’s enough readers out there that feel the same way. With a new team announced for issue #15, I can only hope there is.
The Terrifics #12 is available from DC Comics now.