SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Terrifics #1 by Ivan Reis, Jeff Lemire, Joe Prado, Marcelo Maiolo and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
As soon as DC Comics announced The Terrifics — the new team composed of Mr. Terrific, Phantom Girl, Metamorpho and Plastic Man — everyone immediately recognized what it was doing. Marvel is not currently publishing a Fantastic Four comic, so DC has decided to be a bit cheeky and release one of its own, throwing together characters that don’t simply match the power sets, but also the personalities of Marvel Comics’ first family and sending them on a mission into the Dark Multiverse.
Fans responded positively to the announcement, and with the first issue now out, readers are learning that the Fantastic Four comparison doesn’t just end with the team's roster. In The Terrifics #1, the new foursome finds themselves stranded on… something which looks very familiar.
Meet The Terrifics
The Terrifics #1 takes place after Dark Nights: Metal #1 but does a good job of not quite spoiling anything to come from the final issue, which is due out next month. However, we are informed that while Mr. Terrific has been working with Batman to investigate the Dark Multiverse, his company Terrifictech was bought out by evil industrialist Simon Stagg. Luckily, Michael Holt still had access to his labs and was thus alerted when Stagg started to fool around with a portal to the Dark Multiverse. Mr. Terrific arrives at his old facility to discover Metamorpho has been transformed into Nth Metal just by being near the Dark Multiverse. Terrific, of course, brings in the Plastic Man egg as an attempt to counteract the alloy's effects.
However, the three heroes are sucked into the Dark Multiverse where Plastic Man finally wakes up from his hibernation — and is rather angry that Batman and Mr. Terrific left him that way for so long. As the three discuss the predicament they’re in, Holt catches them up on what exactly the Dark Multiverse is. Detecting a landmass below them, Plastic Man lowers the heroes down where they discover the landmass isn’t quite the planetoid that they thought it was, and is, in fact, the hollowed out corpse of a dead space god.
One look at the design — rendered gorgeously by Reis, Prado and Maiolo — and it’s obvious that this being is in some way analogous to Galactus, Marvel Comics’ devourer of worlds. It seems as though The Terrifics team isn’t just content with having the team be DC's answer to the Fantastic Four, their adventures apparently will be, too.
The Galactus analogue also calls to mind a different take on the character, from Warren Ellis, John Cassaday and Laura Martin’s Planetary, where a similarly deceased space god was found on a wandering asteroid. Just like here in The Terrifics, life had blossomed in the corpse of the dead being, who in an ironic flourish, were sustaining themselves on its flesh. It’s certainly a striking image and it really sets the tone for what kind of book The Terrifics is going to be.
The Phantom Thread
The unlikely team of heroes isn’t there long before they encounter the beings living on this dead space god, as well as a young woman who seems to be stranded. This woman is of course the final member of the team, Phantom Girl. However, this isn’t the Phantom Girl we’ve met before, Tinya Wazzo of the Legion of Super-Heroes; this is her ancestor, the rhymingly named Linnya Wazzo. As she explains, all people of the planet Bgztl have intangibility powers but since arriving in this dimension, she’s not been able to turn hers off and has lost track of time, unsure of how long she’s been there.
Thankfully, Mr. Terrific is already on the case and leads them towards the distress signal they picked up. This results in the team discovering a message from the one-and-only Tom Strong, who ominously warns them that if they’re receiving this message then he’s probably dead and the fate of the universe lies on their shoulders. It’s a gripping cliffhanger, let down somewhat by Tom Strong’s involvement having been announced months ago, but it sets up the mission statement of the title rather well.
Tom Strong is, of course, best known as a creation of Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse, a denizen of Earth-ABC but a traveller of the Multiverse, so it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that his path would cross with other Multiversal travelers. Whether he actually shows up or the team follows in his footsteps is up in the air right now, but by the end of the issue we have our team and our call to action, next issue: Adventure!