The New Age of DC Heroes is marching ever forward with Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire’s THE TERRIFICS #1, hitting shelves this week. This one is a doozy—not just because it's the first team book in the line so far, but because this one picks up in the wake of DARK NIGHTS: METAL in a totally new, totally wild way. And it pulls it off by using a cast of characters you might actually be pretty familiar with already.
Just in case you haven't been keeping up with Metal, here are the basics: a mysterious and malevolent force known as the Dark Multiverse has invaded the DC Universe using specific elemental metals as a conduit for its power. The Dark Multiverse is, essentially, the dark reflection of the Multiverse that we know, a void full of roiling, churning nightmare visions that shift in and out of focus over time. In short? It's not a very fun place to be.
And it's even less fun for people who have been infected by the various elemental metals the Dark Multiverse is now channeling. People with the metals in their blood, weapons or armor are now struggling against its pull as the invasion grows more and more powerful each day…which just so happens to be where the Terrifics come into play.
The Terrifics is an origin story. We’re witnessing the birth of a new superteam. However, the characters who form the team receive no real introduction in the series. It pretty much assumes you already know them. Fortunately, many of you will. Most of these characters have been around for quite some time. However, they haven’t really been seen for quite some time either. There’s a chance that the last time Rex Mason reared his elemental head, you hadn’t yet gotten into comics.
So, if that happens to the case, or if you’re looking for a memory refresh, allow me to introduce you to the team!
First up, we have the man himself, Mister Terrific. Michael Holt is a brilliant scientist and engineer who has spent the last few years hopping between different Earths before the Dark Multiverse catastrophe brought him to ours to stay. He uses tiny free-floating supercomputers called T-Spheres to do just about everything. They're telepathically connected to him, able to project holograms, act as weapons, shape defenses—you name it. They don't really look like much, but in Michael's hands, they can be as useful as they are lethal.
Mister Terrific is one of the most respected scientific minds in the DC Universe, and someone even Batman looks to for help in the lab when things get really dire, such as in Dark Nights: Metal. Michael’s played a key role in that story since the very beginning. You’ll also find Mister Terrific on TV’s Arrow, though that’s a slightly different take on the character. Still, at their core, they’re pretty close, so if you know Arrow, you pretty much know Mister Terrific.
Next, we've got Metamorpho, the Element Man. Rex Mason's superpower is the ability to literally transmute his body into any element or combination of elements, meaning he's able to shapeshift into just about anything. He's been a little bit off the grid lately, but you can catch up with his origin story in LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. No, not the TV show, but the 2016 anthology series that included new looks at a whole roster of characters, Rex included.
Since the Dark Multiverse invasion, however, Rex's powers have been going a little insane. His ability to transmute himself has been all but overwritten by the pull of the Dark Multiverse's metal-based powers and now he's...well… Let's just say things could be going better for him. (Turns out being a metalhead CAN be a bad thing…)
Moving on to Plastic Man. If you've never heard of Eel O'Brien, chances are you're about to meet your new favorite character. He's basically exactly what it says on the tin—a man whose made of a special compound that allows him to bend, shift and transform like rubber or plastic. He's virtually completely indestructible…and just a little bit off his rocker, but we don't hold that against him.
Good ol' Plas hasn't been around in a while either, but for good reason. It turns out that the Dark Multiverse invasion was affecting his physiology a lot like it was Metamorpho's, and to stop him from losing it completely, Batman has been keeping him locked in an egg-shaped form in isolation for quite some time (something you can check out for yourself in Metal. Seriously, guys, go read Metal!).
And finally, there's Phantom Girl…but maybe not the Phantom Girl some of you might be expecting. If you're a Legion of Super-Heroes fan, the name probably calls to mind Tinya Wazzo, the Legionnaire with the ability to go intangible. You're not totally off, but this version of Phantom Girl is actually a woman named Linnya Wazzo, who has somehow gotten herself into a whole mess of trouble. Her relationship or connection to Tinya remains mysterious as of right now, but then again, so does a whole lot of stuff about Linnya right now, so that's par for the course.
There you have it. Kind of a strange team, admittedly, but they’re on a strange adventure. You can see how the whole thing starts off in this week’s debut issue. And be sure to wish them luck—it looks like they're really going to need it.