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Comic Book / The Terrifics

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Our fantastic foursome.

The Terrifics is a comic book series that began in February of 2018, created by Ivan Reis (Blackest Night, Aquaman, Justice League of America) and Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Green Arrow, Old Man Logan), published by DC Comics. It spins out of the Dark Nights: Metal event and is part of the Dark Matter (2017) line. Beginning in April 2019, the creative team changed, with the comic being written by New Super-Man's Gene Luen Yang and drawn by Stephen Segovia (later Sergio Davila). This was due to Jeff Lemire wanting to focus more heavily on his creator-owned work. The comic was cancelled, very suddenly, in 2020, with the last three issues being digital only due to difficulties with physical publishing caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, though they were included in the last trade paperback.

The series features a team of superhero explorers who will come to regard each other as family. The team consists of:

  • Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) - The third smartest man in the world, recently returned from Earth 2.
  • Metamorpho (Rex Mason) - An adventurer who has the power to alter his body to become other elements, chemicals and forms.
  • Plastic Man (Patrick "Eel" O'Brien) - A former criminal who, after exposure to an unidentified chemical, gained the ability to shapeshift, as his body has become malleable.
  • Phantom Girl (Linnya Wazzo) - A woman from Bgtzl who has the ability to phase and travel between dimensions. She shares her codename and surname with Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo) from the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The team forms when Michael Holt attempts to stop Stagg Industries from interfering with the Dark Multiverse, a dimension where nightmares are made real for a time before dying. Assisting Stagg Industries is Rex Mason, and brought along by Holt is a dormant Plastic Man. After a mishap causes all three to fall into the Dark Multiverse, Plastic Man is revived by its energies, and reveals that he'd been stuck in his dormant egg form for "a few years". One of Holt's T-spheres detects a multiversal distress signal, and the trio go to investigate. They encounter a Bgztlian, Linnya Wazzo, who has the ability to phase through objects and between dimensions, but is currently stuck in her intangible form and has been trapped in the Dark Multiverse for quite some time. All four eventually find the distress signal, left by Tom Strong, saying that they may be the last chance for the universe.

Both the series and team are DC Comics' equivalent of Marvel's Fantastic Four, who were not being published at the time of the series' announcement and debut (at least not in the traditional sense).

The Terrifics provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Previously, the modern ancestor of Tinya Wazzo's (well, as originally conceived) was Enya Wazzo, who went by Phase. Here, she's called Linnya Wazzo and uses the Phantom Girl codename.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: To Marvel's Fantastic Four, which even the name invokes. Character-wise, Mr. Terrific is a strictly rational scientist in the vein of Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man (who already has Mr. Fantastic's power set) is a wise-cracking man-child evoking Johnny Storm, Linnya is an inexperienced young woman not unlike the Silver Age Invisible Woman (even bearing the word "Girl" in her superhero name), and Metamorpho is a brooding monstrosity similar to the Thing.note  The second storyline introduces a masked, Powered Armor wearing villain called Doctor Dread.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In one of the later issues, Mrs. Terrific becomes something like an angel, breaks through the fourth wall and rips a page of the comic book itself to grant Boyzarro's wish.
  • Catchphrase: "Go, Terrifics, Go!"
  • Chained Heat: The detonation of Tom Strong's antennae bound the Terrifics together with a strange otherworldly energy and if even one of them is far away from the rest by more than a few dozen feet, they will all experience excruciating pain.
  • Crossover: Tom Strong had not been tied to the DCU in any way prior to this book besides having been bought by DC.
  • Epic Fail: When a portal into the Dark Multiverse threatened to swallow the ship of Linnya and her family, her parents tried to shoot her to safety in an escape pod, but a miscalculation on her father's part caused the ejection to push the ship away from the rift while firing Linnya directly into the Dark Multiverse.
  • Fingore: The massive tips of the zombified Galactus stand-in's fingers are sliced off when the Terrifics close the portal to the Dark Multiverse.
  • Gamebook: Issue #25, The Adventure You Ch∞se, is written like one: Mr. Terrific's "infinity sphere" allows to revert time back to a previous point when the team fails their mission. The reader's ability to use knowledge from previous attempts is represented in-book by Mr. Terrific having a form of Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, which provides him with the inspiration on how to reach the best possible ending.
  • Intangibility: Linnya's primary ability.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Everyone on the team besides Linnya is this.
  • Power Incontinence: Linnya is stuck in her intangible form, which is probably also why she can't go home.
  • Predatory Business: Stagg Industries is portrayed as this... kind of. They bought out Terrifictech... but it's stated to have been legal, and Michael wasn't exactly around anyway.
  • The Psycho Rangers: At the end of #11, Java (Now dead-set on being Doctor Dread), gathers a team from the multiverse of Alternate Universe counterparts of Metamorpho, Phantom Girl, and Plastic-Man to form his own team: The Dreadfuls.
  • Retcon: The series retcons that Batman had Plastic Man enter the Dark Multiverse, which reverted him into his egg form for what's said to be years. Previously in the New 52 timeline, Plastic Man had only gained his powers about two years ago at best and had no involvement with Batman, or superheroes in general (he literally only got his powers).
  • The Rival: Rex and Eel are this to one another as they have superficially similar powers, but clashing personalities.
  • Rubber Man: Well, plastic, but yeah, Plas.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the Chained Heat is undone, a team that barely tolerate each other takes the first chance to disband, despite how much good they did together.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the team is in the Dark Multiverse, the first surface they land on is actually a gigantic being with its chest tollowed out. When Plas looks at it from a distance by stretching, it resembles Galactus, which is fitting given The Terrific's status as DC's Fantastic Four.
    • Issue #20: The team is subjected to a time travel alteration by Bizarro, and are caught back in The '90s. Their superhero uniforms change to reflect the decade, or, better yet, the fashion of The Dark Age of Comic Books: shoulder pads, endless pouches, and random head protection.
    • Also in issue #20, the team is again affected by the time jump, and their T-Spaceship is turned into a giant Voltron-esque Mecha. Metamorpho mentions he watched an "afterschool cartoon" with a similar robot when he was young. In the following issue, Plastic-Man also lampshades that their T-Spaceship has turned into the robot of an '80s cartoon.
  • The Singularity: One arc dealt with them fighting an AI with a god complex called Noosphere. Created from stolen T-Sphere tech by Simon Stagg, the Noosphere wants to assimilate the minds of every living thing in the world. Apparently this has happened across multiple planets at some point of technological development, and the consciousness of the Biosphere from each one attempted to fight back but failed.
  • Superhero Team Uniform: Plastic Man changes his outfit to white and black to match Mr. Terrific after they become a team. In Phantom Girl's case, she is already wearing white and black, while Metamorpho doesn't bother because of his shapeshifter powers.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The team is literally unable to separate by more than a mile without exploding which exacerbates the fact that none of them particularly like each other, especially Rex and Eel.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Linnya is the only female member of the Terrifics.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Linnya's costume is very obviously based on Phantom Girl's Retroboot costume, but Tinya's shutter-style Cleavage Window has been filled in with black.
  • Token Minority: Michael is the only non-Caucasian member of the Terrifics.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While not on the team per se, Simon Stagg, the epitome of Corrupt Corporate Executive in the DCU, is hosting the team on his grounds. Rex, his usual Arch-Enemy, is not happy about it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • The team's male characters are noticeably more mean and standoffish than usually seen elsewhere, especially Mr. Terrific, possibly as an effect of the team's inability to physically go their own way. This is probably meant to be the original FF's prickliness with each other turned up to eleven.
    • Even more so with Dr Silas Stone's appearance as part of the T-Council. Normally shown as a workaholic who isn't always a great father to Cyborg but tries his best, here he's presented as outright contemptous of the whole concept of human connections.
  • Touch of Death: In the regular Multiverse, Linnya can turn tangible, but anything she touches while corporeal will spontaneously combust.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Linnya looks almost exactly like Tinya, her descendant from the 30th century.