Still Terrific: Reviewing The Terrifics #14

by Olly MacNamee

Talk about synchronicity. At a time when Marvel refused to publish a new Fantastic Four comic, DC Comics cheekily put out their own version, The Terrifics, as part of their now defunct New Age of Heroes. In recent issues, The Terrifics have been tackling DC’s very own Doctor Doom parody, the manservant Java’s alter-ego, Doctor Dread and his Dreadfuls (which even The Terrifics acknowledge is a – ahem – dreadful name), just as Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben take on the original and best in their own book. And now, in both these books, a very similar tact is taken up by the speared teams to take down the two different doctors they face. Have Jeff Lemire and Dan Slott been passing notes in class, I wonder?

Either way, as this is Lemire’s last issue, part of his responsibility is to leave the incoming creative team with something of a fresh start, and in tying up this current multiverse spanning story arc, Lemire brings the team back together again and even expands their numbers. Is this in an attempt to put the comparisons with Marvel’s first family to rest now that Marvel are actually publishing the FF again? It would make some sense, but whoever they head off to next, they’ll still be a family of sorts. Like Friends but with superpowers. And multidimensional adventures, one hopes. And, with the cameo of Justice Incarnate and the House of Heroes from Grant Morrison’s Multiversity. This isn’t the only time in recent weeks we’ve seen these guys, and here’s hoping that they will begin to appear more and more. Justice Incarnate was a legacy Morrison bequeathed DC Comics and since then, they’ve been slow to do anything with them. But, with the Source Wall’s collapse and the slow death of the DCU being plotted over in Justice League, I suspect they will be returning in the near future and more prominently too.

While my biggest bug bear on this series was the increasing rotation of artists on a book sold on the art, as all the New Age of Heroes books were, I have been happy to see some semblance of consistency on this recent story arc and have enjoyed the much evolved art of Joe Bennet, with inks from Dexter Vines and Scott Hanna. Together they create a highly textured sock-out showdown between The Terrifics and The Dreadfuls with beautiful lifework fleshing out the different characters and adding depth and dimension to this all-out battle.

Overall, looking back over Lemire;s run, I feel this was a book that had such great potential that was never fully realised. The potential fo multi-dimensional adventures has only recently been realised, and I do hope that this is explored by the new incoming creative team of Gene Leun Yang (who worked on The Terrifics annual, as a warm-up) and new artist Stephen Segovia. Hell, here’ simply hoping it survives to be able to do that, given the cancellation of the other New Age of Heroes titles. Fingers crossed. I’m not done with this series yet. Are you?

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