There are three stories in The Terrifics annual. All of them are good, none of them are on par with the regular series. Quite likely this is because none of the three are by the book’s creative team.
The lead story is set during a Halloween party for Stagg Industries, at which the Terrifics are party guests. Stagg has been working on creating his own heroes, drawing off the abilities of Mr Terrific and Plastic Man. But of course, things all go terribly wrong.
While there are some good moments in this story, mostly centring on failed romantic interests, and the action is fun, the art does let the story down. With so many entities using Plastic Man’s powers one must expect a lot of insanely dynamic visuals. And yes, there are some good fight scenes. But nothing that reaches the excess that the story ought to have.
The second story is quite interesting, given the developments in the most recent issue of the book. It delves into the past of Java. I don’t think we have ever seen his life before becoming Stagg’s minion before. Here we get to see him as the strong leader of his tribe. There are moments of absurd humour, but overall this is the most serious portrayal I have ever read of the character, giving him a gravitas that makes his current position all the more pitiable.
The final story is actually a Tom Strong tale, which makes me wonder if he will become a regular supporting character in the book. It’s the briefest of the lot, but with the most powerful art. I am going to avoid any sort of plot summary, because the tale is really one big spoiler. But it’s a good one, I will leave it at that.
I do wish there had been at least one story by the real team behind the Terrifics, but the annual is still an entertaining read.