[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Tom Napolitano
The Terrifics find themselves stuck up a cosmic tree with the newly rediscovered Tom Strong—and the fire department ain’t coming to rescue them! The team gets split up while trying to escape this devious trap set for them by a mysterious enemy known as Doc Dread, and they wind up in a bunch of weird dimensions trippier than a spin on the “Yellow Submarine”! Is there a cure awaiting our afflicted adventurers at the end of this other-dimensional adventure? Or will Plastic Man, Metamorpho, Phantom Girl and Mr. Terrific be trapped in Tom Strong’s stronghold peddling snake oil instead?
The Terrifics have finally found Tom Strong in the Forest of Eternity. There they discover that they are no longer tied together by dark energy, allowing them, Tom Strong, and his robotic servant Pneuman to split into teams to track down Strong’s allies.
I wonder if the dark energy bond is gone for good, or just temporarily. It would certainly open some avenues for future stories, allowing them to pursue lives outside the team. But would they still want to stay together as the Terrifics?
The alternate dimensions the team travel to are somewhat interesting. Metamorpho and Phantom Girl land in a high-tech version of the Aztec Empire, while Plastic Man and Pneuman find themselves in a “funny animal” world, where they the rather daffy Ducktor Dread.
After dealing with Dread, they find Strong’s assistant, King Solomon and a rabbit version of Tom called “Warren Strong”.
Meanwhile, Mister Terrific and Tom Strong find themselves on the main DC Universe’s Earth. They land in Gotham City, where they encounter an angry Swamp Thing.
We also are treated to a scene where Simon Stagg’s Neanderthal servant Java reveals to Sapphire that he has feelings for her. She recoils from this, but how might this revelation affect Rex an Sapphire’s already rocky relationship?
Also, this issue also explains that Java has had his intellect enhanced by Stagg. In the pre-Flashpoint era, Java had been always portrayed as rather mentally deficient, so for him to be smart makes for an intriguing change. Also, Java seems to a somewhat more sympathetic character than previously. Could this version of Java prove to be a true rival to Rex for Sapphire’s love?
I have to commend Lemire for using Tom Strong and his supporting cast in a way that doesn’t make it hard for people unfamiliar with the character to follow the story. I have never read any Tom Strong comics, and I have had not had any difficulty in figuring out the gist of Tom Strong’s world.
I also like how Mister Terrific finds himself bonding with Tom Strong. He opens up to Strong about the tragic loss of his wife. With Strong being more or less on the same level of intelligence as Michael, perhaps there is the basis for the two to form a lasting friendship.
There’s not really any nits I could pick with Lemire’s story, and Eaglesham’s art is superb. So, I am left with another issue that I cannot find anything to fault. I hope the creative team can maintain this level of quality.
The Terrifics is always a treat to read and is easily one of the best titles in DC’s current lineup. I look forward to watching the characters grow together as a team.