I thought the New Age of Heroes at DC was all about shining a spotlight on the artwork, and yet almost a year later, The Terrifics, as with a few other of this line of books, has been a revolving door of artists with very different drawing styles which, after 9 issues, is beginning to grate. It’s all beginning to feel like a failed experiment that DC is either embarrassed about or simply wants to forget. Having regained Jeff Lemire as a DC writer away from Marvel, I was initially thrilled at the announcement of this project and, in particular, The Terrifics. Indeed, I’ve gushed about many an issue with the early few really shining through.
It’s still a great book, story-wise, and this issue is no different giving us an action packed adventure as The Terrifics are all scattered about the place and we dip in and out of each sub-teams adventures as they team up with the newly found Tom Strong and family, Swamp Thing, funny animals that talk (No, not Captain Carrot, but close) and even find the time to reveal the true identity of Lemire’s Doctor Doom inspired villain, Doctor Dread. There’s still that tongue-in-cheek bravery of Lemire to keep this title nodding to it’s fantastic friends over at Marvel, while developing the crew – Mr Terrific, Plastic Man, Phantom Girl and Metamorpho – as characters in their own right.
This should be a comic that DC is pushing, but it would seem with new titles to shout about, initiatives such as the New Age of Heroes has languished and been allowed to slowly die. What this book is crying out for is a regular, consistent art team – even for two issues in a row at this point – not only to show fans that they haven’t given up on this book, but to support one of their most talented writers, Jeff Lemire, before he decided that creator-owned is far more worthy of his time. I do hope not, as I’ve always enjoyed the weird and wonderful new places Lemire has taken DC’s characters.
I loved his take of The Atom for DC’s first reboot of this decade, back in 2011, with Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and I’ve enjoyed his take on this gang of adventurers too, but for how much longer? Tom Strong’s re-emergence into the DCU should have been something far more special. Yet, it wasn’t. What should have been bragged about at DC has been left to crawl out from under a rock and exist with only us hardcore fans picking the book up regularly and keeping it alive. On life-support, but still alive. Just. But, in an increasing expensive expenditure on comic books, can I still afford to buy a book that isn’t even taking care of itself? The OCD part in me wants to, at least, give it a few more issues (up to the magic #12 and the first year’s worth of stories), but after that? We shall see.
The Terrifics should be just that – terrific – but it isn’t. Not anymore. Which is a real shame as this had the potential for being a very different kind of book, once it did away with the FF reminders, and still has potential. I just don’t think that potential has the time left to be realised. Shame on you DC for giving up so quickly on this book. Tell me I’m wrong, someone. Ivan Reis stuck around long enough to get my juices following, Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner would have been a great replacement, but even he didn’t stick around for too long, and Dale Eaglesham threw out one issue before, presumably, setting his sights on Shazam, with Geoff Johns. I’m not dismissing Jose Luis’s artwork in this issue – it’s certainly in the same ball park as Eaglesham’s from last issue – but it’s the initially high quality artwork that DC set, and has not been able to maintain, that’s letting this book down and implying they’re not really into it anymore, like a cowardly boyfriend too frighted to break up with his partner and continuing to go through the motions to no-one’s betterment or enjoyment.
Here’s hoping someone at DC realises what they have here and do something about it. Before it too gets cancelled and the Age of Heroes becomes nothing more than a distant memory. You know, like DC’s Bloodlines annuals.