No one escapes Element World! The Terrifics find themselves out of their, uh, element in a battle to save a town turned into elemental monsters. With Metamorpho and Mr. Terrific out of commission, Phantom Girl battles the Kingdom of Gas (insert joke here), while Plastic Man tries to survive the Domain of Rock by turning it up to 11.
Author: Joe Bennet and Jeff Lemire
Artist: Sandra Hope
Cover Artist: Dale Eaglesham and Mike Atiyeh
Publisher: DC Comics
What you need to know: The town of Belmont, Michigan has been metamorphosed by Algon the Ancient Elemental Man. He has taken Rex into the Element World and the other Terrifics followed him in. Separated they are forced to face the elements or Rex will be trapped in the Element World forever.
What you’ll find out: The Terrifics are trapped in the different elements within Element World. Plastic Man battles the Domain of Rock, encountering huge golems and destroys them by crushing them with his body and he makes his way through a gaseous green area. Meanwhile, Mr. Terrific is trapped and suffering from hallucinations. He hears a voice and walks towards it discovering his dead wife Paula in a crashed car. He holds her in his arms as she tells him to let her go and to help his teammates and he’s the only one who can fix them. As she says this, she fades away. As e is left struggling to comprehend his wife eve being there, Plastic Man finds him and together they look for the rest of their team.
Phantom Girl has found a friend in an Element Dog, and they are attacked by an army of gaseous men. She is cut, believing they cannot hurt her given their state. The Element Dog fights back and together with her exploding abilities they fight off the gaseous men. As she pets him she realizes that she can touch him without him exploding. She continues onwards and finds a pyramid where Rex and Algon are battling. She and her dog join the fight against Algon, followed by Plastic Man and Mr. Terrific. Mr. Terrific grabs the Orb of Ra, an object that allowed Algon a portal to their world and the thing that caused Rex and Algon to get their Elemental Abilities. They run through the portal and Mr Terrifics holds the orb to the sun, causing all people to revert to their human form, including Rex and Element Dog! As the portal is sealed, a new villain emerges in Dr. Dread, who claims to have been behind every attack on their team including the war wheel and giving Algon the Orb of Ra, and he is on another earth about to kill Tom Strong.
What just happened: The issue starts with each of the Terrifics separated and forced to deal with each of their problems. Phantom Girl is given a friend in a dog and can become tangible again. Her issue is that she feels alone and the Element World has given her something to connect with while fighting her with the gas army.
Rex is fighting a version of himself who has been left in his elemental state for too long and risks becoming him if he loses, and Mr. Terrific is faced with his dead wife. While this is an emotional touch I feel that the effect is lost as there is not enough attention made to this uptight hero being broken down into a normal human. Plastic Man is the only one who is not faced with a personal challenge and is just there to fight golems and look cool while doing it. The final moments with Dr. Dread feel out of place as he is not referenced at all and all the information regarding Tom Strong is dumped in the reader on the last page. Bennet and Lemire are making this team into a spoof of the Fantastic Four which is disappointing as they all have so much character and originality that could be brought to their issues.
Final thoughts: This issue is fairly weak for a Terrifics story and thought the four panel per page layout is a neat element, I felt out of touch with the characters themselves as I was reading about all of them at the same time.