Review: Terra #4

by

In which things get wrapped up too quickly

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I’ve been digging the Terra mini-series from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray.  The introduction of a new character to the DCU is a fresh one, full of interesting adventures.  Sadly, the four issue run has come to a close, and I can’t help but wonder why this wasn’t a six-issue mini-series.

terra4cover.jpgWhy should this have been six instead of four?  In order to wrap up the major plot points, the story is rushed along to the point that it seems the reader is just getting into the meat of one story, before it all suddenly changes to something completely different.

Take for example Crazy Richard.  The guy stumbled upon the city where Atlee is from, and instantly starts attacking because he believes these creatures are responsible for his girlfriend’s current statue status.  Geo-Force and Atlee of course fight back, but it all seems forced.  Why did Crazy Richard suddenly become an evil villain bent on destroying the civilization?  How does he know how to control his powers so soon after his transformation?  Why is he convinced that the inhabitants of this underground city won’t help him, and thus need to be wiped out?

There’s no time for answers as Geo-Force and Atlee take him down after a 10 page fight.  The Stratan leader (witch doctor?), in an attempt to see if she really can pull the human DNA from Richard’s moll, goes on to explain the origin story of all origin stories – the humans and Stratans are the result of a giant astronaut god crashing to Earth and the essence from his space suit building each civilization.  In fact, the Stratans are currently living in the shell of this god’s space suit with the liquid Crazy Richard touched the remaining life blood of this being.  Of course Geo-Force will never be allowed to remember any of this, but before his mind-wipe, he tells Atlee that she’s free to use Terra’s name as her own.

That wraps up three major plot points in 13 pages.  The remainder of the issue involves Terra back on the surface, meeting Power Girl again, as the two hook up and become fast friends.  Cue the montage featuring silly civilian clothes shopping, a sushi tasting gone wrong, and the the type of fun both these heroes can get into – kicking bad guy butt.  You can almost hear the theme to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father playing in the background through this sequence.

I’m all for shortened story telling.  Back in the day, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby could whip up a story of galactic proportions, and have it reach its conclusion by issue’s end.  Today, we’ve all been conditioned to accept time decompression, so when a naturally paced story appears, it’s a lot to wrap our heads around.  That’s not to say this is a bad issue because of story compression, it just takes something away from what could be an excellent series.
The big question that remains is “now that Terra is on the scene, will DC do anything with her?  Will she be wasted, appearing as a recurring guest star throughout the various DC titles, or do the higher ups actually have something planned?”

If Palmiotti and Gray were told to wrap this issue up in four, I can totally get behind their method.  The art, by Amanda Conner once again rocks, and readers will really want to pay attention to the sight gag humor in the civilian clothing sequence.

As I previously stated, this isn’t a bad issue per se, it just isn’t a great issue to conclude a mini-series.  Terra #4 had a lot of potential, but ultimately earns 3 out of 5 Stars.

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75/75