I’ve liked the character of Mister Terrific ever since he showed up toward the end of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s “The Spectre” run, and his addition to the pages of “JSA” all those years ago was a stroke of genius. So when DC announced a “Mister Terrific” ongoing series, my first thought was one of excitement.
Sadly, “Mister Terrific” is many things, but it is most definitely not terrific.
Eric Wallace’s script is a jumble of technobabble and unwieldy dialogue. “Leave my deceased wife out of this,” is hardly a sentence that flows off of the tongue, let alone spoken by anyone. Still, it’s better than, “Flooding the room with Bose-Einstein condensates. I’m going to create a density inversion inside the C.E.E.N.’s resonator.” Worse, if you strip out the dialogue clunkers and the pages upon pages of fake science, you’re left with a dull story. None of the characters (including Mister Terrific) are interesting enough to grab your attention, and the plot itself just sort of meanders along.
Gianluca Gugliotta’s pencils are unfortunately the low point of the comic, though. It’s improbable pose after improbable pose, to the point that you start to wonder if Gugliotta is using action figures to figure out how his characters should look on the page. Look at the top of the second page, where Karen is managing to thrust her head, chest, and left hand forward, while her right arm and left elbow are yanking themselves backwards at the same time. Or, a couple of pages later, when we see people outside as the earthquake hits and Aleeka is pushing her butt backwards while karate-chopping the air. Never mind that it’s a pose that you’d never be able to hold in reality, it just looks ridiculous.
Even stranger, Gugliotta seems to be modeling a lot of parts of characters on the same pose. Look at Mister Terrific’s head on page one, then Karen’s on page two; they’re eerily in the same position. Or later, on page 11, where we’ve got tight zoom-ins on people’s faces and you realize that while he rotated the bottom head 90 degrees, they’re the exact same face, save that one has lighter skin and different hair. Same gaze, same expression, even the same ears.
“Mister Terrific” is a gawky-looking, dull-reading comic. We already had an artist change on “Mister Terrific” before the series even debuted, but if this comic is going to stick around, everyone save for cover artist J.G. Jones probably needs to change. This is a creative team that, unfortunately, is misfiring from start to finish.