Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Terrifics #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Worst Family Reunion

Storytellers: Doc Shaner & Jeff Lemire 
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn 
Letters: Tom Napolitano 
Cover By: Doc Shaner 
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino 
Editor: Paul Kaminski 
Group Editor: Marie Javins 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: May 23, 2018


With the introductory story arc in the bag, it’s time to see what this series is really all about. Will it really be the wry send-up of Marvel’s Fantastic Four that everyone expects? Or will it be…less wry? Time to jump in with both feet and find out by reading my review of The Terrifics #4, commencing now!

Explain It!

There is a mantra in comics: “don’t show Spider-Man with a boner.” There’s another, lesser-quoted mantra that goes: “show, don’t tell.” Perhaps because for the first couple of decades of comic books, creators did, in fact, tell and not show pertinent points of action (or, even more commonly, show and tell in the same panel) that this form of comic book storytelling was eschewed, particularly as interior artists got better and better, and the drawings became clearer and easier to comprehend. Since at least 1962, however, comics have moved towards more visual representation than literal; you no longer get captions for every panel explaining what it is you’re looking at.
Curious, then, that issue #4 of The Terrifics would begin with such a contrived infodump about a bunch of important developments that, frankly, I might have liked to see. It’s all presented as Phantom Girl writing in her brand-new diary, complete with the explanation that Mr. Terrific figured out a way to pass physical objects—for instance, a diary and pen—to Phantom Girl non-corporeal form for her use. How does he do it? None of your business, that’s how! Phantom Girl further goes on to explain that Hal Jordan helped to point The Terrifics in the direction of her home planet Bgtzl so she can see her parents. We don’t actually see Hal Jordan or any Green Lanterns in this issue, which is sort of a bummer.
So The Terrifics are off in their, uh, Terrific-Sphere to Bgtzl, when they get caught up in a junk ship and have to re-enact some of the scenes from Star Wars. Namely, when our heroes got caught in the waste disposal unit of a Star Destroyer. This splits them up into unlikely pairs, and we get some character interaction and development here. A madcap race around this spaceship fully of scallywags and malcontents culminates in the team fighting a giant space squid, which I thought was hilarious because “giant space squid” is literally my go-to phrase for Superman-level world threats. Using some cool teamwork, they dispatch the squid and make their way to Bgtzl where Phantom Girl is happily reunited with her parents—who have aged thirty-two years for the ten years Phantom Girl spent in the Dark Multiverse! And also, her dad is dead. Also, Mr. Terrific knew this would be the case all along. Looks like he’s got some ‘splaining to do!
This issue features Doc Shaner on the visuals, and let me tell you it is very effective. I expected a more classic, “Golden Age” look, but Shaner is able to handle every character with total aplomb, and even crazy scenes—for instance, a baby giant squid thrashing about in a pile of garbage—are very easy to understand. The story, however, just isn’t firing on all cylinders. I wonder why we were excluded from seeing Mr. Terrific develop that technology for Phantom Girl, or their interaction with Hal Jordan, and yet much of the issue was given over to a fairly pointless romp through some criminals’ junk spaceship. The dialogue is pretty snappy and often worth a chuckle, but this series feels like something that still hasn’t found its feet yet. I hope that will happen soon…the clock is ticking on The Terrifics.

Bits and Pieces:

This story hits the ground running by excising some interesting bits that are expressed rather than shown, and though the action is fast-paced, the story seems to crawl. I think this is one that should be enjoyed more on the merits of having included a giant space squid, more than on the beautiful truths revealed by its artistry.



  1. This was the first issue that I actually liked the team for being a team. And it's great to know we are not going to be stuck to Stagg, earth or anywhere really. This team should have free range to go anywhere and I actually liked this team in space.
    I've gotta agree with Reggie, this is a solid 7/10, but with a side of hope going forward that we can have good issues.

    1. Yeah, I liked the interactions and the general story, but the way it began, telling us a bunch of developments instead of showing them, bothered me.

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    3. I think that's the way Lemire writes, very exposition heavy, it's not like say a Scott Lobdell who lives to write for the smaller Character moments. For this one issue I think it's fine since I wasn't feeling the status Quo of the last issue.