By Garrett Hanneken
Space travel mixed with an attack by a giant squid, The Terrifics must work together if they want to reach their destination. With that said, the team is still getting their footing, and the same can be said for the script.
The Terrifics #4 begins with a journal entry by Phantom Girl, who is the main focus of the issue, as she informs us that the team is on their way to her home planet Bgztl. However, before they can think of reaching their destination, they are hijacked and must find a way to get back on track.
Having Phantom Girl as the focal point for this issue was a good idea since it can allow us to get familiar with the character before the sentimental reveal at the end. However, this issue could have done a much better job at giving Phantom Girl more time on page before that reveal. As a reader, I didn’t care as much as I should have when I finished the comic and I attribute this to the lack of familiarity this issue set up for Phantom Girl.
Instead the comic wanted to give equal time to each of the other characters which is great for a team comic, but it didn’t seem to work this time around. A bit more narrative dialogue from Phantom Girl’s journal could have fixed this problem, and I expected Jeff Lemire to handle the situation better. Lemire is a writer who can deliver heart-rending moments, but the end of the issue flatlined.
Besides the lack of attention given to Phantom Girl, each of the other characters are still given their unique voice. From Plastic Man and Metamorpho’s playful bickering to Mr. Terrific learning to play well with others, the issue worked to further develop each team member even if it was just a tad.
On another plus side, artist Doc Shaner does a solid job illustrating both serious and lighthearted moments. On the lighthearted note, Shaner is able to play around and utilize Plastic Man and the various forms he can take. It is even more of a plus when the art can make the audience chuckle at Plastic Man’s fluid morphing abilities. With that said, I feel that The Terrifics would be incomplete if we didn’t have Plastic Man shapeshifting, whether it be during a fight or for fun because it is becoming a mainstay in the series.
Although The Terrifics has done a good job of balancing characters, this issue would have succeeded further if it spent more time focusing on Phantom Girl. With that considered, this issue’s greatest strength begets its greatest weakness.
The Terrifics #4