[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: José Luís, Jodi Tarragona
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Tom Napolitano
The Terrifics struggle to escape their respective plights while trying to save members of the Tom Strong family as chaos reigns across the Multiverse! But as Doc Dread’s true identity is revealed, that unmasking hits especially close to home for Sapphire Stagg, who’s in mortal danger after she learns the fateful secret. And she’s not the only Terrific in trouble—just wait until the team finds what threat awaits them back at their Gotham City headquarters!
In this issue, Tom Strong recognizes some kinship between himself and Mister Terrific in that they both have trouble finding the balance between following their scientific pursuits and the desire for exploration and adventure. However, it seems that Strong has managed to forge himself a much happier life, with a wife and daughter to join him on his adventures. Perhaps this is the spur that Michael needs to stop dwelling on his tragic loss of his wife and move forward with his life.
I quite enjoyed Plastic Man’s encounter in Funnyland with Warren Strong and his arch-enemy Ducktor Dread. The pair is somewhat reminiscent of a certain other duck and rabbit owned by Warner Bros. This makes for an interesting contrast to Mister Terrific’s more morose musings.
It’s also quite the contrast when the two groups reunite. The Strong family are overjoyed, engaging in a group hug, while the Terrifics just sort of awkwardly stand together, with Phantom Girl saying, “Um, hey, Mr. Terrific. Glad you’re okay.” This makes it painfully obvious that the group is still little more than four strangers thrown together by fate. Perhaps someday they too will become as close-knit as the Strong family.
As for Doctor Dread, Mister Terrific announces that he has deduced the identity of their foe. But we don’t get to hear his guess. But Sapphire Stagg stumbles onto Dread’s secret, discovering that Dread is really Java. This is something as a surprise, as Java hasn’t historically been smart enough to be capable of having Dread’s technological ability. It seems that the enhancements Simon Stagg has made to Java’s intelligence have worked a little too well.
Other than the interesting friendship of forming between Tom Strong and Mister Terrific, I don’t really find Strong or his supporting cast to be terribly engaging. This is my first encounter with Strong and company, so I don’t know if their earlier comics were more interesting, or if they aren’t being used to full effect here, but on the whole, I find myself somewhat bored by them. They definitely seem to have potential, but it isn’t being tapped here. It seems to me that it would be best for the Strongs to return to their home universe for now and let the story continue on without their presence.
What other comic can offer Plastic Man’s antics, a guest appearance of Swamp Thing, and a nod to classic Warner Bros. cartoons, and still tell a pretty good story? Plas and Metamorpho are what originally drew me to this book, but I am quickly growing attached to the rest of the cast. The Terrifics is one of the most fun comics currently being put out.