Writer: Ivan Reis, Jeff Lemire / Artist: Joe Padro, Marcelo Maiolo / DC Comics
It’s a classic formula: you have a dashing, relentlessly brilliant leading man. You put him on a team with a happy go lucky comedic man and a not-entirely human brute (who may or may not actually be human than anyone else on the team). Round it off with a single female character whose power set you’re not entirely sure off and set them off on an adventures.
It sounds familiar, but Reis and Lemire get to fill those roles with Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Metamorpho, and Phantom Girl and get to stage their plot against the backdrop of the Dark Universe. Like the other New Age of Heroes titles, the characters have been plucked from the pages of Metal, one of the most ambitious crossover events ever, and get to have their own mini adventure.
The entire creative team takes all of two pages to set up the premise before moving at a break neck speed. If you’re not as familiar with the histories of the characters, you only get a vague sense of their powers, although Lemire and Reis leverage the dialog to impart a lot of personality very quickly. And while Mr. Terrific and Plastic Man don’t need too much explanation, Metamorpho is one of those characters you have a coin flip’s chance at remembering, and requires a bit more inference to understand why he’s in play. To say nothing of Phantom Girl sneaking into the last act.
Yet, the pieces fit together well once they are all in place. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous. Plastic Man’s odd shapeshifting completely steals the shows, and light cosmic horror atmosphere and elements help distinguish the series. I wish there was a little more room to let characters and moments breathe, but it’s a fun start to a fun mini-series.
8.3 “Portals to Otherworldly Horrors You Shouldn’t Have Opened” out of 10