A new team of established DC Comics characters comes together, as The Terrifics debuts in the publisher’s NEW AGE OF HEROES line coming out of Dark Nights: Metal. And you know what? It’s pretty terrific.

The Terrifics 1
Written by Jeff Lemire 
Pencils by Ivan Reis 
Inks by Joe Prado 
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo 

With my admitted love for all things written by Jeff Lemire, this was obviously the book I was most excited about in the NEW AGE OF HEROES lineup. But it wasn’t just Lemire writing the book that had me hyped. Plastic Man and Mr. Terrific – two woefully underutilized characters – are in lead roles, and that helped amp up my excitement, too.

I was definitely not disappointed in the first issue, which feels like it has more of a direct connection to the METAL line than the releases in the NEW AGE line from previous weeks. Both Terrific and Plastic Man have (or had… I’m trade waiting at this point) heavy involvement in that miniseries, and the maiden voyage of the team, rounded out by Metamorpho and Phantom Girl, has direct connections to the Nth Metal threats.

There are the obvious parallels to Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four – from the make-up of the team’s powers to the team being “bound together by a tragic accident” and sent out to explore the unknown, but the team doesn’t feel like a ripoff and the creative team gets you fully invested in the story by the time Plastic Man comes out of stasis to save Terrific and Metamorpho. Of course, my love of Plastic Man may leave me biased.

In an issue filled with intriguing concepts to set up future stories, the thing that will keep everyone talking here is the reveal of Tom Strong at the end of issue, saying it’s up to the Terrifics to save the universe. Strong is a product of America’s Best Comics, an imprint of Wildstorm, which is an imprint for DC Comics. And, of course, Tom Strong was co-created by Alan Moore, so his use here will likely cause people to boycott the story for no good reason whatsoever.

Has Tom Strong been swallowed into the DC Universe proper? Or is his appearance here in this opening arc – in a series that will likely traverse dimensions and far corners of the multiverse – simply a red herring to lead the Terrifics on their way to bigger and better things?

The Terrifics is easily my favorite of the NEW AGE OF HEROES books, and I hope it has a good, long run as a series. Though I hear the inclusion of the Legion of Super Heroes’ Phantom Girl puts a bit of an expiration date on the book as it is right now. But since there are no concrete plans for an LSH series as of yet – which would likely play out of DOOMSDAY CLOCK, whenever that finishes up – we hopefully have some time to enjoy what’s happening with the adventures of Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Metamorpho and Phantom Girl.