Metamorpho, Phantom Girl, Mr Terrific and Plastic Man must start coming to terms with the fact that a strange accident has bound them together. If one of them strays more than a mile from the others, theorises resident scientist Mr Terrific, they’ll explode ‘in a flash of dark energy’.
Given the three male heroes haven’t exactly been getting on like the proverbial house on fire, they’re more than a little dismayed. Sweet-natured Phantom Girl Linnya, who was rescued from the Dark Multiverse by the other three, isn’t thrilled, but there’s something else playing on her mind. She wants Mr Terrific to help her contact her home world of Bgtzl, and learn if her parents died at the start of her nine-year exile. Mr Terrific, though, just wants to squirrel himself away in a lab and find some way to end the threat of exploding super-people.
You know, you’d think a guy who names himself after a superlative might be able to multi-task.
One wrinkle that’s annoying Mr Terrific is that while he was off superheroing, slimy entrepreneur Simon Stagg legally bought all his scientific assets, so if he wants to work on reducing separation anxiety, he’s going to have to do it on Stagg premises. Stagg’s daughter Sapphire, meanwhile, isn’t taking Rex’s distrust of her father well
And as for Plastic Man, having just gotten out of some weird egg state he’d been in for awhile, he’s able to be the glass-half-full type.
Sadly, the swanky new pad is soon threatened by a sci-fi nightmare.
Oh, I do love the War Wheel, which originated in the Blackhawk comics of the Fifties. This new model has no ties to that era, but it is a credible threat that shows how easily these four very different characters can snap into a superhero unit. And one of them recognises it immediately, and suggests an official team...
Works for me. They could be the Plastic Fantastics. Mind, the FF comparisons that come with this series - just look at the font style Plas chooses - are sidelined as Plastic Man and Metamorpho give us their version of the X-Men’s familiar Fastball Special.
That is one ugly catapult.
Speaking of ugly, while Metamorpho is having his heart to heart with Sapphire, a monstrous - OK, more monstrous - doppelgänger is on the loose.
This issue is enormous fun. Writer Jeff Lemire sets up the new relationships and character dynamics with zingy dialogue and the type of omniscient narration we rarely see these days, while adding a sub-plot in, er, Mega-Morpho and giving the supporting characters room to breathe (Stagg’s treatment of unfrozen caveman aide Java actually has me feeling sorry for the big guy).
I would, though, like to see more actual changing into elements by Metamorpho - currently Rex is doing the kind of things Plas specialises in, turning into giant balls, and the like; if the power sets aren’t sufficiently differentiated, there’s not much point having them both around. Sure, the personalities are different, but a team of four needs as much variety on the abilities and tactics front as it can get.
Big name launch artist Ivan Reis is already off the interiors, though he does contribute a cover which, sadly, fails to show us the War Wheel... did he somehow forget a logo was going on there? The inside artist is no disappointment, though, as Joe Bennett’s strong storytelling is always a joy. There’s real life in his characters, and the action scenes are a delight. He leans a little too far into Ramona Fradon’s original Metamorpho facial design for me, replacing Rex Mason’s admittedly small nose with a cavity... it looks like Rex has an ape skull for a head. Seriously, it’s freaking me out!
It’s a small complaint, though, and while I’m dying to see how incoming regular artist Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner approaches the series, I’m glad Bennett is coming back for at least one more issue before he starts a Hulk run for Marvel. His work isn’t harmed by having three inkers as they’re all great - Sandra Hope, Jaime Mendoza and Art Thibert - while colourist Marcelo Maiolo and letterer Tom Napolitano only add to the visual feast.
The Terrifics seems to be the one series of the so-far launched Metal spin-offs everyone likes. It’s easy to see why.
The Terrifics #3 review, Jeff Lemire, Joe Bennett, Sandra Hope, Jaime Mendoza, Art Thibert, Marcelo Maiolo, Tom Napolitano