A Beginner's Guide to The Terrifics

There is no more highly anticipated series spinning out of the pages of Metal than The Terrifics. This new series was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con and finally hit shelves this week. On its surface, the comic features a brand new team composed of B- and C-list superheroes from the DC Comics catalog. However, there’s a whole lot more happening in these pages than the launch of a new team.

The four members of the The Terrifics each have an incredible amount of history behind their creation. They have all existed, in some form, since the 1960s or earlier. That’s a fitting point of origin since this collection of heroes also bears a striking resemblance to another fantastic team formed in that decade. So if you’re looking forward to reading The Terrifics, it would certainly be helpful to have some additional information. That’s where we come in. Read ahead for info on all of the brand new Terrifics and the heroes to which they pay tribute.

The Terrifics - Fantastic Four
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

The Fantastic Four

Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1

This was the team that launched Marvel Comics and transformed Jack Kirby and Stan Lee into comics legends forever. It’s not just notable for being a launchpad to so many other important elements in superhero comics though. The Fantastic Four represented a paradigm shift in how superhero stories were told. This team functioned as much as a family and team of explorers as they did superheroes. They were flawed individuals who often argued with one another and made mistakes. That realistic take on superheroes has become a standard in comics.

The Terrifics resemble the Fantastic Four in many ways. Each of the heroes resembles a specific founding member in powers, personality, or a bit of both (more to come on that). The team is also being posed primarily as a group of explorers rather than a standard superhero team. In The Terrifics #1, the problems posed are more about entering the unknown than fighting a villain.

It’s even more fitting that DC Comics now has their own version of the First Family when you consider that Jack Kirby created a prototype for Fantastic Four at the publisher. Four years prior to the publication of Fantastic Four #1, Jack Kirby created Challengers of the Unknown featuring a similar group of four adventurers. This team lacked superpowers, but the personalities and style of missions were already in place. Now Challengers of the Unknown is returning in a new volume as well, as their superpowered predecessors are given a new spin in The Terrifics.

The Terrifics - Mr Terrific
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Mister Terrific

Created by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake

First Appearance: Spectre (vol. 3) #54

Mister Terrific was originally created in the Golden Age by Charles Reizenstein and Everett E. Hibbard. The character was reimagined in the 1990s under the new alter-ego of Michael Holt. Like the original, Holt was a talented polymath. He was both physically and mentally gifted, often noted to be one of the smartest people in the entire DC Universe. In addition to that Holt also possesses the ability to go undetected by technology and operates T-Spheres, hovering Swiss Army knives of futuristic technology.

This is the Mister Fantastic role of The Terrifics. It’s obvious in the first issue that Mister Terrific will be leading the team, due to his competence, intellect, and resources. He is also the person most interested in exploring strange phenomena. Mister Terrific’s greatest ability is undoubtedly his smarts and the same could be said of Mister Fantastic. Whether they’re stretching across a room or projecting solid light holograms, it’s the IQ of these leaders that make them truly unique.

The Terrifics - Phantom Girl
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Phantom Girl

Created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney

First Appearance: Action Comics #276

Phantom Girl is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group assembled in the year 3000 with each member representing a unique alien race and ability. Tinya Wazzo comes from the planet Bgztl, a 4th-dimensional parallel version of Earth. This gives her and her species the ability to phase out of reality and move through our own in an intangible form. Phantom Girl’s history is incredibly complicated due to regular reboots and reformats of the Legion. However, much of that history has been wiped away leaving this version of the character something of a blank slate.

This is the Invisible Woman role of The Terrifics. Phantom Girl fills the role into obvious fashions, both as the sole woman on the team and with powers that play on light and subtlety. Big questions remain as to how much she’ll resemble Sue Storm’s character in being the heart and peace-maker of the team, and only time will tell how The Terrifics will redefine the character.

The Terrifics - Metamorpho
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Metamorpho

Created by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon

First Appearance: The Brave and The Bold #57

Metamorpho was transformed by Egyptian magics into a being capable of transmuting his body into any element. It also permanently altered his appearance into something monstrous. This makes him an incredibly powerful superhero when cleverly utilized and a tragic figure as he pursues a relationship with the very human Sapphire Stagg. Much of Metamorpho’s charm over the years has come from his working class personality and sense of humor, remaining a regular Joe in an irregular body.

This is the Thing role of The Terrifics. His monstrous transformation serves as the foundation for a lot of stories, both about a romantic interest and attempting to regain normality in his everyday life. While both characters are very strong and tough, it’s their personalities that bear the greatest resemblance. They are the most grounded men on both teams, coming from blue collar roots and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

The Terrifics - Plastic Man
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Plastic Man

Created by Jack Cole

First Appearance: Police Comics #1

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Plastic Man has been around since 1941, functioning as much as a figure for humor and hijinks as heroism. Eel O’Brian doesn’t simply stretch like Mister Fantastic, he can transform his body into almost any form imaginable, including a fire hydrant or blimp. The character began his career as a criminal, only turning over a new leaf after the accident that granted him superpowers. He is best known for being something of a prankster, undermining his incredible potential by playing jokes on the Justice League or enacting any manner of scheme.

This is the Human Torch role of The Terrifics. While his powers might resemble those of the leader, his personality is pure Johnny Storm. Plastic Man is the wildcard of this group and he’s truly young at heart. There’s no telling what wisecracks he might make or shenanigans he might get up to, but it’s almost certain he’ll get on Metamorpho’s nerves. Unlike the Human Torch, Plastic Man lacks any familial ties to The Terrifics, so it will be interesting to see what motivates him to stick around.