A little over two years ago, we got the announcement of a new “Terra” mini-series, starring a brand-new woman bearing the name, and helmed by Justin Gray, Amanda Conner, and Jimmy Palmiotti. She appeared in an issue of “Supergirl” a few months later, and then… nothing. Now, the wait is over, and happily, it’s avoiding some of the run-of-the-mill routes that so many other introductory series take.
What immediately struck me about “Terra” #1 was how fully realized the character and her supporting cast and settings were, even though (so far as I can tell) they’re all new. If you’d told me that this was really “Terra” #11 and an extra digit had fallen off of the cover, I’d believe you. The comic hits the ground running, and even if we aren’t familiar with the Illumi-mites, Krull, Prince K’a, or the Necropolis, Terra certainly is. More importantly, though, it doesn’t matter that we haven’t seen any of them before. They’re present to show what a day in the life of Terra is like, and it succeeds perfectly; as she zig-zags across the land dealing with underground threats, in many ways she’s the dry land equivalent of Aquaman, dealing with a part of the planet that most people don’t think twice about.
The more you think about it, the more story potential there really is for an entire series like this. Gray and Palmiotti have a character who has an excuse to be almost anywhere, and (unlike Aquaman) there’s equally an excuse for her to run into other DC Comics characters at the drop of a hat if they ever so wish. That said, her existing rogue’s gallery that forms in this issue alone looks interesting enough that I don’t think it would need to do something like that in order to survive. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely an appearance of other characters here (the JSA’s Power Girl and Dr. Mid-Nite) but it fits in with the story as well as the mystery of the character’s origin and identity. It’s a good story to the mini-series, and after that first cliffhanger I can see why DC Comics decided to ship it twice a month.
Conner and Palmiotti’s art in “Terra” #1 is pretty nice as well; Conner always does a great job with drawing attractive characters and pages, and “Terra” is no exception to that rule. I love the facial expressions on Terra as she’s beset by the media or going up against underground villains; they’re always a tiny bit exaggerated but with a certain sense of glee about them. It’s just fun looking at her art. She handles the smaller details of the art well, too; things like the sphere of rock used by Terra to encase people looks interesting and out of the ordinary, and the mechanical details on Earthmover One make it that much more impressive.
“Terra” #1 is a strong start to this mini-series. Was it worth the wait? I certainly think so. If the remaining issues are as good, I hope a follow-up monthly series doesn’t take as long to show up. It’s hard to bring a brand-new character into their own book these days, but Gray, Palmiotti, and Conner make it look positively easy.