It’s the conclusion of the Year of the Villain storyline putting the Terrifics against the Terribles in a another time-spanning chapter.
I’ve not read this book for awhile; I have been buying it, but I wasn’t very keen on the too-long Noosphere storyline, and then saw Year of the Villain was coming up, and kept putting it off.
Looking for something to cheer me up after the latest issues of Justice League and Justice League Dark – two ‘conclusions’ to ridiculously long storylines, one of which ‘ended’ with a massive loss for the heroes, the other with only a partial win – I decided to catch up.
And I’m so glad I did. Where other YotV stories were nothing more than Underworld Unleashed-style upgrades villain tales, or overstretched, rambling entries >cough Flash<, The Terrifics #19-#24 have been models of imaginative superhero comics. The springboard for the storyline is Bizarro’s desire to get rid of technology on Htrae. Using a time machine gifted to him by Lex Luthor of Earth – the half-Martian version – he goes back in time to prevent the invention of Mr Terrible’s life-improving T-Glob, only to find that human ingenuity – even Bizarro variety – will simply produce an equivalent. Again and again Bizarro goes further back into the past to stop the advent of technology, even un-inventing the wheel, but the result is always the same, his present is somehow a technological paradise.
Cue Bizarro backwards logic; if his plan won’t work on Htrae, it must work on Earth, where everything is the opposite. Aided by best foe Mr Terrible and new partners Change-O-Shape-O, Figment Girl and Disposable Man, Bizarro sends regular DC Earth further and further back in time. The Terrifics, as they try to set things right, are changed into Nineties, Eighties and Seventies versions of themselves, becoming everything from amazing tots to Mystery Inc homages, in ever madder shenanigans. Also dragged into proceedings is Bizarro’s son, Boyzarro, who’s been living in the small town of Hamilton since being abandoned by dad Bizarro in the superb Tomasi/Gleason Superman series a couple of years ago.
So here we are in The Terrifics #24, by which time our heroes — Mr Terrific, Metamorpho, Phantom Girl and Plastic Man – and villains are at the end of time, where they encounter some very scary, and familiar, figures – The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse. Sensibly, Terrifics and Terribles forget their differences.
Surviving the battle, the Terrifics are shocked to come across an old enemy, the Noosphere, a bit of Simon Shagg tech that became sentient, went mad, plagues the good guys but was ultimately allowed to leave on a journey of self-discovery. Mr Terrific pleads with his former energy to send them home so that a) he can heal Boyzarro and b) everyone can avoid dying along with the universe. Unfortunately, that’s beyond Noosphere’s capabilities. Happily, another way present itself when a show on Mr Terrific’s part brings back someone last seen a couple of issues ago, plunging towards the beginning of time.
I won’t spoil the rest of the comic, I will implore you to buy it, there’s rare creativity as the arc is wrapped up with real style and an unexpected, delightful dose of meta-nonsense.
In these days when ratty much every storyline is collected, writer Gene Luen Yang has produced a yarn actually worthy of going on the ￼ discerning comic fan’s bookshelf. Spinning out of an editorially driven stunt, the last several issues have housed a storyline that’s epic in scope while intimate in effect ￼- the new characters have motivated the regular cast to discover new things about their personalities, powers and place in the world. The philosophical disagreement between Mr and Ms Terrific – each the alternate world dead spouse of the other – gets a new twist as the latter become an Agent of God. There’s a poignant period placed on the saga of Boyzarro doe the time being.