Comic Review – The Terrifics #1

The Terrifics #1 Cover

The Terrifics owes its existence to Marvel Studios trying to spite 20th Century Fox. Shocking but true! In all the feuding over film-rights over the past few years, Marvel Comics stopped publishing a monthly Fantastic Four comic book series so as to deny Fox any free publicity at their expense. Given how utterly un-Fantastic the 2015 Fantastic Four movie turned out to be, they shouldn’t have bothered. Still, the last few years saw Johnny Storm mostly hanging out with The Inhumans and the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing joining The Guardians of the Galaxy.

This apparently led to writer Jeff Lemire asking “Why, apart from the threat of lawsuits, don’t we create a team for DC Comics that will tell the same sorts of weird stories involving fantastic powers and scientists exploring the unknown that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby used to tell in Fantastic Four?”

Enter… The Terrifics!

The parallels between the two groups are immediately obvious. Leading the team we have Michael “Mister Terrific” Holt – a gold medal athlete and doctor of many disciplines in the Mister Fantastic role. Rex “Metamorpho” Mason is our stand-in for The Thing – a salt-of-the-earth adventurer transformed into a hideous monster. Patrick “Eel” O’Brien aka Plastic Man is our Human Torch analog – a wise-cracking smart-alec more concerned with the fun aspects of being a superhero than the serious side of things. And Phantom Girl who is… well, a girl that can walk through things and become kinda see-through.

It’s not a perfect analogy but it is an interesting one. It should be noted though, for the benefit of those Legion of Super Hero fans awaiting the group’s return to DC Comics, that the Phantom Girl pictured here is not the heroine from the classic team, but her ancestor. She’s also the least-developed character in this first issue – a preview of which you can view below.

The Terrifics #1 Page 1 The Terrifics #1 Page 2 The Terrifics #1 Page 3

The Terrifics #1 Page 4 The Terrifics #1 Page 5 The Terrifics #1 Page 6

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

Though spinning out of Dark Nights Metal and making references to events in books that we haven’t seen yet, The Terrifics does a fair job of introducing its protagonists and exploring their powers. It’s somewhat less skilled, however, in how it handles its supporting cast and more care could have been taken in introducing Metamorpho’s corrupt boss Simon Stagg, Stagg’s right-hand caveman Java and Metamorpho’s girlfriend, Sapphire, for the benefit of new readers. The action flows somewhat more smoothly after the semi-awkward opening, once Mister Terrific, Metamorpho and Plastic Man begin searching for the source of a mysterious distress call from within The Dark Multiverse.

The artwork is similarly mixed in terms of its results. Ivan Reis is a fantastic penciler, whose past work on Green Lantern, Aquaman and Action Comics has been rightly praised. Reis varies his usual style up a bit in this first issue, with many panels that evoke the spirit of Jack Kirby even before the trio of heroes discover the corpse of a giant god in an ornate helmet in deep space. Unfortunately, the inks by Joe Prado do more to obscure the pencils in some panels than they enhance them and many of the lighting effects introduced by colorist Marcelo Maiolo leave the final artwork looking washed out.

It’s hard to judge The Terrifics one way or the other by this first issue. While not the slam dunk DC Comics had hoped for, there is not enough wrong with it to merit it being completely written off either. Fans of pulp adventure and classic superheroes will find it enjoyable enough, but there’s little so far to suggest the sense of wacky fun the premise suggests. Still, it serves as a tribute to the classic weird science superheroes of The Silver Age.


The Terrifics #1 releases February 28, 2018.

Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Hawkman Found #1

Hawkman Found #1 Cover

There are few heroes in comic book history who have a history and lineage as confused and conflicted as Hawkman. First appearing in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), the first Hawkman was Carter Hall – an archaeologist who discovered that he was the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince. Using ancient artifacts made of an “nth” metal that defied gravity as well as the ancient weapons in his museum’s collection, Hall became a savage champion of justice and a founding member of The Justice Society of America.

Many classic superheroes were reinvented with a scientific edge, as The Silver Age of Comics started in the late 1950s. Hawkman was no exception, with Carter Hall becoming Katar Hol – an alien policeman from the planet Thanagar, who settled on Earth to study their peace-keeping techniques and lend a hand to a newly-founded Justice League. Thus for a time there were two Hawkmen – one on Earth One and one on Earth Two.

The trouble came following Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986, when both Earths were merged into one Earth with one timeline. While things started out simple with Carter Hall and his comrades fighting crime in the 1940s and the alien Hawkman arriving on Earth in the 1980s, it became complicated by the decision to make Hawkworld – an Elseworlds mini-series depicting Thanagar as a fascist society – the official background of the modern Hawkman. This, coupled with a series of contradictory stories that confused the two versions of Hawkman, resulted in DC Comics merging all their Hawk-themed characters into a single Hawkman character who was supposed to be an “avatar of the hawk god”!

Order of a sort was restored in the late 1990s, when it was decided that Katar Hol was one of Carter Hall’s many reincarnations as an eternal champion compelled to fight injustice, using the hawk as his symbol. It was also determined that the source of the Nth Metal artifacts used by Carter Hall was a Thanagarian ship, which landed in ancient Egypt.

This seems to once again be the status quo of the character in the DC Rebirth reality, after a brief false start in The New 52 where the character was reintroduced as the alien Katar Hol and summarily killed off. The Dark Nights: Metal mini-series has reintroduced Carter Hall as an archaeologist driven by strange visions of the past and a sensation of being connected to something greater. This is the figure at the hrart of the story in Hawkman Found #1.

Hawkman Found #1 Page 1 Hawkman Found #1 Page 2 Hawkman Found #1 Page 3

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

Longtime comic readers hoping for a definitive answer to The Hawkman Question will be sadly disappointed. Jeff Lemire’s script is more concerned with introducing the base idea of Hawkman to new readers than it is unraveling the tangled web of history around him. Indeed, Carter Hall seems just as confused as to his origins as everyone else and the story does a masterful job of walking us through the important facts behind his character. This does, unfortunately, mean that almost nothing happens regarding the basic plot of Dark Knights Metal, so those who come to this special hoping for insight into the ending of Dark Knights Metal #4 will be disappointed as well.

Does this mean that Hawkman Found #1 can be skipped?  It can, but it should not be. If nothing else, the series has fantastic artwork that is well worth appreciating even if the story doesn’t do much. The artwork by Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowland, Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper looks fantastic throughout, full of vivid details, wonderful shading and striking imagery with enrapturing colors. Taken for what it is – an exploration of Carter Hall as a person and Hawkman as a concept – Hawkman Found #1 is brilliant.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – The Flash #33

The Justice League has faced many strange threats in their time together, but the so-called Dark Knights may be the greatest threat yet. Seven alternate-universe versions of Batman with all of his training and none of his morals, each one empowered in the same manner as another member of The Justice League!

In the case of Barry Allen, The Fastest Man Alive, he is countered by The Red Death – a version of Bruce Wayne who, as part of a desperate attempt to save his Earth, killed his world’s version of The Flash in order to steal his powers. However, this action corrupted The Speed Force within him and now The Red Death drains the life energy from the bodies of those around him as he runs.

With The Red Death laying waste to Central City, The Flash is desperate to head home and face his dark doppelganger. But The Justice League needs his help to save the world at large. Specifically, they need him to help Superman breach the barrier between realities so that he can find their Batman while the rest of The League seek out more of the strange metals that are the only thing that can hurt the Batmen of the Dark Multiverse. Thankfully, Barry Allen is good at multitasking and making up for lost time. Unfortunately, The Dark Knights are on the move and two of them are sent to make Barry Allen The Fastest Man Dead!

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

This Dark Nights Metal tie-in comes at a rather odd time for The Flash. The last issue, #32, started a new story-line with several on-going subplots moving forward. Among these were Barry Allen’s difficulties in controlling his powers following the latest attack by The Reverse Flash, Iris West pushing him away in the wake of her killing The Reverse Flash to save him and his starting a new job as a staff CSI at Iron Heights Prison.

None of this is addressed in this issue, with the exception of Barry talking to Iris for the first time in a long while. It’s a minor point and part and parcel of comic-book crossovers. Still, it does raise questions about just when Bats Out Of Hell takes place relative to the stories in the books tying in to Dark Nights Metal. It also takes the wind out of the sails regarding the current story in The Flash and right after a great jumping-on issue for new readers!

The Flash #33 works somewhat better as a Dark Nights Metal tie-in. Joshua Williamson’s script does a great job of explaining the story to date and catching-up those Flash fans who might not have been reading the crossover. Unfortunately, despite a sense of urgency to the story and Barry running himself ragged for most of the issue, there’s little in the way of actual action. The story here is primarily concerned with exposition and setting up the next big challenge and it manages that task well.

Thankfully, Howard Porter does a fantastic job of depicting what action there is. Porter’s run on JLA with Grant Morrison twenty years ago is still fondly remembered and Porter’s work has only grown stronger since then. The colors by Hi-Fi are brilliantly applied, with a variety of palettes in play as the settings shift. The only real artistic weak-spot lies in the lettering, with the dialogue of The Batman Who Laughs nearly unreadable, rendered as it is with dark red text on a black background.

The Flash #33 is a fantastic continuation of Dark Nights Metal but isn’t a good representation of what the series is usually like. Despite featuring the same great writing and artwork as the usual bi-monthly book, most of the story elements that make The Flash unique are missing here. Those who are curious about what Barry Allen’s comic adventures are usually like would do well to check out The Flash #32 or wait two weeks for The Flash #34.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Dark Nights: Metal #3

There is nothing Batman hates more than a mystery. He became a master detective, not because he relishes solving a puzzle, but because he cannot bear to be ignorant. That was to be his downfall and the downfall of the multiverse.

Because Batman could not leave well enough alone, his efforts to solve a mystery tied into the ancient Court of Owls who had manipulated him all of his life and Gotham City for generations led to Bruce Wayne becoming the gateway to somewhere dark… a multiverse made up of all the worlds where the heroes were a second too late. Where the good guys became greater monsters than the villains they fought. Where evil triumphed in the end and the world fell into oblivion.

Seven Dark Knights came forth. Seven versions of Bruce Wayne that fell to the darkness. Seven versions of Bruce Wayne who had been denied the light and were determined to see it destroyed…


Dark Nights: Metal #3 Page 1 Dark Nights: Metal #3 Page 2 Dark Nights: Metal #3 Page 3

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)


Building off the mythology established in their now legendary run on Batman, it should be no surprise that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have delivered a story as epic as any we could have imagined with Dark Nights: Metal. The most truly miraculous aspect of this third issue, however, is how accessible it is to any reader who failed to pick up the first two issues. Every aspect of the story so far is explained, from how Batman’s actions have caused the current crisis to the events of the related Gotham Resistance story line that ran through the Teen Titans, Nightwing, Suicide Squad and Green Arrow series. It’s a novel touch and one more mini-series should indulge in for the benefit of those readers who were late to the party but don’t want to wait for the trade paperback collection.

Scott Snyder’s script for this issue is a masterwork, easily introducing obscure new characters such as The Nightmaster and Detective Chimp into the narrative with no fuss, muss or confusion at all. While much of the issue is concerned with exposition and setting up the next series of action events, the dialogue masks that fact very well and it’s amusing to read all the characters playing off of one another.

Greg Capullo is also at the top of his game here. Capullo has altered his usual penciling style somewhat, forging a new aesthetic inspired by the works of Frank Frazetta. Despite the generally dark coloration and heavy inks (courtesy of FCO Plascencia and Jonathan Glapion respectively), the general appearance of the book is surprisingly uncluttered. The artwork is detailed yet the line work is largely light and breezy. The colors stand out all the more vividly despite the general muted tone of the finished artwork. One particularly noteworthy aspect is the effects used to create the illusion of flickering firelight on a still page.

Bottom Line – if you haven’t been reading Dark Knights Metal, it isn’t too late to jump in on what will likely be the best event comic of 2017.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.