THE TERRIFICS #9 is the third part of the Tom Strong crossover, and it’s been an exciting one! The Terrifics have been dealing with their new foe Doc Dread, who has always been one step ahead of him. Dread has decided to bring the fight to Tom Strong and his family. At first, the two groups were scattered across the multiverse; THE TERRIFICS #9 brings them all together, and sets them on a final showdown with their mutual foe!

Dreadful Outcomes In The Multiverse

THE TERRIFICS #9 is the third part of this crossover, and continues from the previous issue. The Terrifics and Tom Strong split up through the Multiverse to find Tom’s lost family. The groups eventually locate all the Strong family members, and the reunions, especially between mother Dhalua and daughter Tesla, are heartwarming. The reunited heroes return to the prime DC Universe, where Tom Strong and Mr. Terrific are.

Tom Strong and Mr. Terrific end up in a swamp outside of Gotham City, and in the clutches of Swamp Thing. Apparently, Swamp Thing has had a previous encounter with Doc Dread. He gives the pair a valuable clue: a keycard for Holt Industries’ Gotham branch, which is Mr. Terrific’s company! The two head there, only to find another Doc Dread trap. The two teams come together in the end. Meanwhile, Rex’s love interest — Sapphire — discovers the true identity of Doc Dread, which is the cliffhanger setting up the next issue!

Terrific’s Journey

Terrfics #9
THE TERRIFICS #9 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The plot of this series has always been solid, but the characterization of the Terrifics is especially strong here. The Terrifics’ team dynamic has been grown organically through the first eight issues, and it shows in THE TERRIFICS #9. This issue covers a lot of ground, but the majority of it’s dedicated to recounting Mr. Terrific’s life and what had brought him to this point. As the leader of the group, Michael Holt has held the team together with his genius, courage, and charm, but he’s got problems of his own.

Holt’s been through a lot: losing his wife, moving to Eart-2 to work with the heroes of that world, and coming back to find his company bought out by the Staggs. Walking through the empty halls of his old building gives Michael a moment to breathe, to decompress. It also let us — the readers — in on his internal thoughts and struggles. Having Tom Strong, who is himself a “science hero,” act as Michael’s sounding board was certainly a great choice by Lemire. Tom is someone who can identify with Michael’s ambitions as a super-scientist. Yet he doesn’t know the pain of losing his family, like Michael has, which is just another example of Lemire’s great understanding of these characters.

Classic Team Up, Expert Storytelling by Lemire and Jose Luis

Writer Jeff Lemire has done a very good job of not only continuing the overarching plot of the Terrifics, but also introducing Tom Strong into the main DCU. It’s hard to judge the entire story by this one issue, but this individual installment paid off a lot of the events of the previous ones. The reconnection of the Strong family is a feel-good moment, and is an exciting reversal of fortune for our heroes.

The portrayal of Doc Dread is also another excellent part of this series. Doc Dread is a very good mastermind character. He’s managed to confound one of the smartest men in the world. Dread also holds his own against the brains and brawn of Tom Strong. The revelation of his identity may seem surprising but, if you’ve been paying attention, Lemire has dropped hints about the identity of Doc Dread and it made a lot of sense once the truth was revealed.

THE TERRIFICS #9 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Artist Jose Luis was the artist for THE TERRIFICS #9, and his work in this issue is exemplary. Luis’ art style strikes a great balance between cartoon and realism. This is important in a book with characters like Plastic Man, who can be inhuman in proportion, and Mr. Terrific, who requires a more realistic touch. The book looks and feels like a classic 80’s adventure comic, with the clean lines yet still intricate details. The art is reminiscent of stars like John Byrne and Dan Jurgens. There’s also good use of negative space, Luis lets the characters sell certain panels instead of busying the background with unnecessary clutter.

Final Thoughts on THE TERRIFICS #9

THE TERRIFICS #9 does a great job of creating tension for the inevitable climax. It’s difficult to hold this story apart from the previous issues, but it tells a tale of reunions and revelations ably. Lemire and Luis have done an amazing feat by keeping readers in suspense for the upcoming installment. The next issue should be an explosive finale to this particular arc, and possibly to the Doc Dread storyline itself. There’s also the development in previous issues in regards to the dark energy entaglement that the Terrifics have dealt with. If dark energy no longer bounds the Terrifics togather, what does it mean for the future? Lemire’s keeping us in suspense as we wait to find out!

THE TERRIFICS #9 by Jeff Lemire, Jose Luis, Jordi Tarragona, Michael Atiyeh, and Tom Napolitano
Lemire and Luis deliver an exciting issue of THE TERRIFICS! A stunning revelation is made, and the issue ends on an exciting cliffhanger!
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Dreadful Revelations!
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