[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan, Glapion
Colours: Michael Spicer
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Terrifics…terminated! The team has called it quits and gone their separate ways—with less-than-terrific results. Plastic Man meets his estranged wife and son, now developing his own plastic powers; Metamorpho is still stuck in his human form as Rex Mason, unemployed, unqualified and going broke; Phantom Girl’s stuck in an arranged marriage back on her homeworld of Bgztl; and Mr. Terrific hunts the escaped Doc Dread, who travels the Multiverse collecting alternate Mr. Terrifics for murder-sport.
This issue follows the newly disbanded Terrifics as they go their separate ways and going solo is not working out well for any of them. Mister Terrific is following Doctor Dreadful’s grisly trail through the Multiverse. On each world, Dreadful has hunted and killed that world’s analogue of Mister Terrific. When he finally catches up to the villain, he finds that he has gathered evil doppelgängers of the Terrifics together into a team he calls the Dreadfuls.
Rex Mason attempts to find work to support him and Sapphire Stagg now that they have cut ties with Simon Stagg. However, with no powers, Rex finds he has no other relevant job skills, as there is little call for former adventurers with experience in tomb raiding.
Phantom Girl has returned to Bgztl, where she has difficulty fitting in and fulfilling her duties as a member of the royal family. Even worse, she learns that she is about to be pushed into an arranged marriage so that she can produce an heir.
But the most tragic is Plastic Man’s long-awaited reunion with his ex Angel McDunnagh and their son Luke. After having dropped out of their lives for the last several years, neither are pleased to see him, with Luke especially angry with his absentee father.
I am glad that Lemire has chosen to follow-up on Joe Kelly’s superb story in JLA #65 (2002) that first introduced us to Luke and Plastic Man’s reluctance to be part of his son’s life. It seems that reluctance has come full circle, and it’s now Luke that wants little to do with his father. Plas’ plight gives shows a deeper, more complex side of Plastic Man that often gets overlooked by writers that play the character for laughs. I look forward to seeing this more human side of Plastic Man being explored further.
In an interesting turn, we also discover that Earth-23 doesn’t have a Mister Terrific, but rather has a Ms. Terrific, who is that world’s analogue of Michael’s deceased wife Paula. This is an interesting twist that should provide for an interesting meeting of the two heroes.
Each of the former teammates find themselves in negative situations, but that does not equate to a negative in terms of storytelling, as each hero’s plight is ripe with story potential. Each of their stories leaves the reader longing for the next issue so that they can find out what happens next. Lemire has given us a great issue of a team book despite the fact that the lead characters do not spend a second together as a team in its pages.
DC has seem to catch lightning in a bottle with this series. They have found the exact right combination of characters, writer, and artists to produce a truly wonderful reading experience. I just hope that DC appreciates what a gem they have in this title and allows the magic to continue unimpeded.