WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Terrifics #2 by Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis, Jose Luis, Vicente Cifuentes, Joe Prado and more, on sale now.
Spinning out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal, The Terrifics are DC's newest superhero team, made up of Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Phantom Girl. The publisher's description of the first issue described the group as being "bound together by fate," and "literally bound together by a tragic accident." As of The Terrifics #2, we finally have the answers as to how, exactly, the four heroes are "bound" together...and it's not good.
After finding their way into the Dark Multiverse, the team touches down on a giant, rotting corpse (which bears a remarkable resemblance to Marvel's Galactus) in search of a distress signal. That signal eventually led them to a machine that generated a message left by the cosmic adventurer Tom Strong. Mr. Terrific, in his infinite wisdom, decided to take the machine's antenna with them in order to study it once they escaped. That decision blew up in their faces, literally, and the four heroes caught in a massive explosion.
Once the heroes manage to escape the reanimated Galactus-style zombie and find their way back to Earth, it is clear that Terrific has no intention of teaming up with these guys on a longterm basis. Interested in figuring out who Tom Strong is and what they have to save the world from, he leaves them to head back to his lab. Unfortunately, as soon as he departs, all four members experience some kind of painful energy feedback, and Terrific's T-Ship crashes back down to Earth.
As they recover from... whatever it is they just experienced, Terrific realizes that what happened to the group when they removed the antennae from the massive corpse in the Dark Multiverse has literally bound them together with some kind of dark energy. For the time being, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Metamorpho and Phantom Girl are stuck with each other. This might be a team bound together by fate, but it's also a group of superheroes working together by force thanks to an unintentional adventure on the rotting body of an unknown galactic being.
Since the title was first announced, parallels between this team and the Fantastic Four have been constant. It's not just fans, though, it's been the creative team as well. DC clearly views The Terrifics as its way of tapping into the kind of wild cosmic adventures the Fantastic Four used to experience at Marvel (and will again once Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli relaunch the FF this summer). This isn't the same sort of team dynamic, though. In fact, this is barely a team at all, and Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis, and Evan "Doc" Shaner know it.
Instead of starting off with a loving family that goes on wild adventures and works together to make the world a better place, The Terrifics are composed of acquaintances and strangers who don't really get along. Plas and Rex constantly butt heads, mostly over their somewhat similar power sets, and Mr. Terrific looks down on them all for their seemingly pedestrian intellects. The only way to get these guys to work together is to literally force them to do so, and that's what they will do for the time being.
The story is ongoing, and the mysteries are only getting started. If DC truly sees this as its answer to the Fantastic Four, The Terrifics will need to learn how to work together, tolerate each other, and perhaps actually learn to care for one another. The seeds have already been planted for a true family to grow from tragic circumstances. Maybe they can start by figuring out why Phantom Girl is unable to turn corporeal without blowing everything up -- ten they can face whatever threat Tom Strong is trying to warn them about.