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‘The Terrifics #5’ (review)

Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Evan “Doc” Shaner
Published by DC Comics


“Is that – an Element Dog?!”

Oh, it so is.

I’ve said before that one of Jeff Lemire’s talents is his human touch.

Characters in Lemire’s hands take on depths of dimension that sneak up on you, as he quietly lays down the tracks that pull you in and get you to care for them, until suddenly, wow, he’s created magic and an enduring imprint on characters you think you know but maybe don’t quite fully.

That effort is still underway.

Understandable given the zany amount of action adventure our Terrifics foursome contend with almost by the hour it seems.

Not to mention the almost deliberate disparity between our heroes, each of whom has a backstory that’s rarely been given much airtime in previous incarnations.

But that’s just not Lemire’s style. It may have seemed startling to ping pong from the dark multiverse into the depths of interstellar space, but now that we’ve brought some substance to Phantom Girl’s own origins, we’re finally it seems, going to start seeing some of the layers being pulled back in the stories of our other heroes.

It’s gratifying, and helpful too, to be reminded that before the bizarre sequence of events that bonded our quartet together, they each belonged to other families, however dysfunctional or tragic.

All of which of course pales before the immediacy of their current unasked-for situation. One which it appears, may just be what they all in fact need.

That point drives home when the mystical origins of Metamorpho’s freakish transformation suddenly takes on a significance of grave magnitude. One that demands a call for heroism and pulls him forcefully into an unforeseen fate that he would almost certainly otherwise face alone.

But he’s not alone, not now. Now, where goes Metamorpho, the Terrifics go as well.

Hard to say what impact his new compatriots will have on the outcome, but whatever comes next is sure to shake the status quo of Rex Mason’s life to the core. Good thing Lemire is there to lay down the tracks that may just make it all a little more bearable for him.

Arf, Arf.

Doc Shaner’s pencils are growing on me, which is good if he’s going to continue, and create some artistic continuity for the book. His lines are a bit more neat and orderly than I’d prefer, but he has great eye for design and a great feel for spatial perspective and physical motion which is an absolute necessity in this book. He’s particularly warming up to Plastic Man, which is a lot of fun to see. Helpful as well to see a little fire in Plas himself.

All in all, it seems it’s all coming together.

Well, except in Belmont, Michigan apparently. Uh boy.

Next Issue: It’s the Orb of Ra!

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