Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)

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Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)
The Modern Age Mister Terrific on the cover of JSA # 76
Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Spectre (vol. 3) #54 (June 1997)
Created by John Ostrander
Tom Mandrake
Based upon the Terry Sloane character by Charles Reizenstein and Everett E. Hibbard
In-story information
Alter ego Michael Holt
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Checkmate
Notable aliases White King, White King's Bishop
Abilities Genius-level intellect
Olympic-level athlete
Master martial artist
Cannot be detected by modern technology
Extensive nanotechnology in mask and costume for a variety of sensory, communication, and database retrieval functions
T-Spheres that function as a computer, holographic projection unit, projectile weapons, and numerous other uses
Mister Terrific
Series publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing
Genre Superhero
Publication date September 2011 – April 2012
Number of issues 8
Creative team
Writer(s) Eric Wallace
Artist(s) Gianluca Gugliotta, Scott Clark, James Taylor

Michael Holt is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics. First appearing in Spectre (vol. 3) #54 (June 1997), he is the second character to take up the Mister Terrific mantle.

Fictional character biography[edit]

At a very young age, Michael Holt showed remarkable intelligence, reading and assimilating the works of Bohr, Einstein, Planck and Feynman, the pantheon of theoretical physics, at the age of six. He studied advanced science, space, and time "while other children struggled through Sesame Street".[1] Michael grew up with his mentally challenged older brother, Jeffrey, whom Michael loved dearly. When Jeffrey died at the age of 15, Michael was devastated.[2]

Holt displayed "a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes", as he called it, easily picking up and retaining complex skills and abilities that other men spent their entire lives perfecting. Before he began his career as a superhero, he already possessed 14 Ph.D's (two in engineering and physics—including doctorates and masters degrees in law, psychology, chemistry, political science, and mathematics),[3][4] was a self-made multi-millionaire[1] with a high tech firm called Cyberwear (subsequently sold to Waynetech[5]) and was a gold medal winning Olympic decathlete.

The accidental deaths of his wife and unborn child were a devastating blow to Holt- particularly since he considered himself responsible for the accident as he made his wife late for church by arguing with her about the value of religion- and while contemplating suicide, he was met by the Spectre, who told him about Terry Sloane, the Golden Age superhero known as Mister Terrific. Inspired by Sloane's life story, he took the name Mister Terrific[6] and later joined the current Justice Society of America, eventually serving as its chairman.

He initially wore ordinary clothes and a leather jacket with Sloane's "Fair Play" emblem on the back. He then wears a T-shaped mask composed of electronic nanites, a black and white costume with red trim, and a collarless jacket in the same colors (the black sections of tunic and jacket forming a "T") with "Fair Play" written on the sleeves and "Terrific" across the back.

For a time he acted as spokesperson for Tylerco and consulted that company on industrial espionage and security matters in exchange for that company helping fund a youth center Terrific had started.[7]

Holt has a friendly rivalry with Batman, his opposite number in the Justice League of America (in his identity as Bruce Wayne, Batman owns Holt's business). Michael Holt has encountered Terry Sloane twice through time travel, with Sloane expressing pride in having so worthy a successor. Holt has been noted as the most intelligent member of the JSA in its history, surpassing his predecessor. He is also known as the third smartest person in the world,[8] and this notion now appears to be widespread within the DC Universe.[9]

Justice Society of America chairmanship[edit]

During a conflict over leadership of the Justice Society between former chairman Hawkman and then-current chairman Sand, Terrific was elected as the JSA's new chairman by his teammates, despite not actively seeking the office.[10] He served in this capacity until the team disbanded following the Infinite Crisis.

Mr. Terrific currently remains a member of the reformed Justice Society of America. He resumed his chairmanship from the last incarnation of the team,[11] but his leadership responsibilities in Checkmate eventually prompted him to relinquish the position to Power Girl.[12]

Infinite Crisis[edit]

Main article: Infinite Crisis

Mr. Terrific was part of the team assembled by Batman for an attack on the Brother Eye satellite responsible for controlling the OMACs. He played a critical role as his invisibility to technology allowed him to reach the satellite's propulsion system, sending it crashing to Earth. On this meeting he met and befriended another African American superhero - Black Lightning.

One Year Later[edit]

Main article: One Year Later

As part of "One Year Later", though Holt is still a member of the JSA, he has also become part of the United Nations Security Council's intelligence agency Checkmate. He initially held the position of White King's Bishop, but when the previous White King (Alan Scott) was forced to resign, he became Checkmate's new White King, complicating his relationship with Sasha Bordeaux, Checkmate's Black Queen. He has also given up his chairman position, which has been taken over by Power Girl. Mr. Terrific has also established an ill-defined mentorship with Firestorm, over the missing year. The specifics of their meeting are yet to be documented.

Final Crisis[edit]

Main article: Final Crisis

During the Final Crisis of Humanity, the war between Darkseid and the human world, Mister Terrific, along with Cheetah and Snapper Carr, are left trapped in the ruins of Checkmate headquarters, unable to get past the brainwashed metahuman, and caring for Sasha, who preferred using her OMAC programmation to shut down her bodily functions rather than falling prey of the Anti-Life Equation. Forcefully waking up Sasha, thus condemning her, Michael Holt is forced to activate a new OMAC population, programmed to obey him rather than Brother Eye, and protect the last few humans against the new Justifiers.

Death and return[edit]

In Justice Society of America vol. 3 series, Mr. Terrific takes over the research, just as the low-level villain Tapeworm appears on the news, taking hostages and demanding that Wildcat show himself. All-American Kid and King Chimera must remain in the brownstone, Mister Terrific retreats to his lab, and the rest of the team leaves to help Wildcat. All-American Kid goes into the lab and stabs Mister Terrific in the back.[13] Justice Society members arrive back at headquarters to discover Mr. Terrific has been attacked, and Dr. Mid-Nite tends to his wounds.[14] In the end, Mister Terrific succumbs to his injuries and Alan Scott reports that he has died.[15] However, Scott is able to use the power of the Green Flame to slow down time around Mister Terrific's body in the hopes that he can be healed before brain death occurs.[16] Michael is restored to life by the magic of the new Doctor Fate, and attacks All-American Kid, revealing that he is actually the teenage psychopath known as Kid Karnevil, and subdues him.[17] For a short time during his recovery, Michael is forced to use a wheelchair, although he still found time to upgrade Mister America's whip.[18]

The New 52[edit]

In September 2011, Mister Terrific received a self-titled ongoing series written by Eric Wallace and drawn by Roger Robinson as part of DC's The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe).[19] Holt began sporting a new costume designed by Cully Hamner.[20] He is also in a relationship with Karen Starr.

On January 12, 2012, DC announced that they will be ending six of the lowest selling New 52 titles in April and replacing them by six different titles in the revamp's second wave.[21] Mister Terrific was cancelled with issue #8 in April 2012.[22] The series ends with Mister Terrific being displaced to a parallel universe, where he continues to appear in the Earth-2 series.[23]

Religious beliefs[edit]

While being held captive by Onimar Synn on an adventure with the Justice Society on Thanagar, Holt first expressed his disbelief in souls and how he was uncomfortable with the notion of reincarnation after witnessing the return of teammate Hawkman. Holt states, "when my wife, Paula, was killed in a car accident... she was gone. I didn't feel her 'soul' around me. Didn't feel anything."[24] He later elaborated on this by explaining that his lack of faith extended back to before his wife's death, even stating that he blamed himself for her death as he delayed her going to church because the two of them argued about the merits of faith, Holt believing that she would have avoided the accident if she hadn't been arguing with him. He acknowledges the irony of this given such factors as the Spectre's role in his origin and his encounter with the likes of the Spirit King, but he still maintains his skepticism about faith and religion.

After a near-death experience where he sees his wife and unborn child (whom he decides to name 'Terry' after the original Mister Terrific), Holt's atheism is shaken and he agrees to attend a church service with teammate Doctor Mid-Nite.[25]

However, this attempt to find religion apparently wasn't satisfying as Holt is also seen getting into a theological discussion with Ragman during the Infinite Crisis (Ragman is Jewish while Mr. Terrific describes himself as an atheist). When asked if he had faith in anything, Terrific answered, "Sure I do. I've got faith in my team."[8]

During Thy Kingdom Come, when Power Girl is sent back to the Earth-2 pre-Crisis universe, she meets her world's Michael Holt, who is ironically a priest after he had a religious experience.

Powers, abilities, and equipment[edit]

  • Holt is described as having "a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes"; picking up complicated skills quickly and retaining them, such as performing emergency surgery on teammate Alan Scott after reading about the procedure in a medical text book and subsequently becoming Dr. Mid-Nite's assistant. As Holt himself put it, "everyone has a talent... Mine is learning."[26][27]
  • Holt is also known as the third smartest man on Earth.[8]
  • He is aided by his "T-Spheres", floating robotic spheres with multiple functions, holographic projection,[28] projecting laser grids,[29] and recording, communication, linking with and manipulating other electronic devices, from satellites to electronic locks.[30] They allow Terrific to fly by bearing his weight,[31] and can be used as weapons, both by exploding with enough force to send Captain Marvel flying back,[32] generating powerful electric charges,[33] and strike as flying, projectile weapons.[34] They respond to his mental and vocal commands.
  • He is invisible to all forms of electronic detection. Despite a claim to Black Lightning in Infinite Crisis that "I've got one superpower: I'm invisible to technology," in all other instances this ability is tied to nanotechnology woven into his specially designed "T-Mask" (which is molecularly bonded to his face and can appear and disappear at will) and costume. Mr. Terrific was apparently the only superhero whom the OMACs could not detect. The only exception to his invisibility however, is that of the Red Tornado, who for reasons yet unknown, is capable of seeing Terrific, despite being an android. Red Tornado's status as a sentient wind elemental merely occupying an android body likely explains his ability to see Holt.
  • Through his mask, Holt can change instantaneously into costume and back again.[35] His mask also protects his face from chemicals.[36] The mask works in conjunction with an earpiece to act as a communications system, and also doubles as an encephalic broadcaster, picking up aggregate thought-waves, allowing him to communicate with his T-Spheres and even project a speaking hologram of himself, even if he is injured or too weak to speak.[37] The mask can also form and transmit images on low- or high-band light frequencies visible to his teammate Doctor Mid-Nite.
  • He is a black belt in 6 different martial arts disciplines and an Olympic Gold Medalist in the decathlon.[5][38]
  • Holt is also a polymath who has specialized in multiple fields of medicine, engineering, and science. He possesses 14 Ph.D's (two of which are in engineering and physics).[3]
  • Along with teammate and friend Doctor Mid-Nite and Batman, Mister Terrific is one of the three main superheroes with medical training in the DC Universe. Although it is not known if he has an M.D., he did participate in the autopsy of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis.[39]
  • Holt is also multilingual, though the extent of this hasn't been revealed. He has been shown to speak the languages of the fictional nations of Kahndaq and Bialya. Given Holt's propensity for learning, it likely that he speaks several other languages as well.[40]

Other versions[edit]

Earth-2[edit]

An alternate version of Michael Holt appears on the new Earth-2. This version is a college professor, who had a religious experience after his wife was nearly killed in an accident; while contemplating suicide, he saved another man who was preparing to jump off the same bridge, took him to a church that was the nearest illuminated building, and the man he saved prayed for him. After his wife regained consciousness the following day, this Michael Holt went on to become a devout Christian. He helps the Power Girl of New Earth to return home.[41] When the Justice Society arrives on Earth-2, Professor Holt confronts his counterpart Michael Holt from New-Earth. Professor Holt introduces the Justice Society to his wife, Paula, although New-Earth Michael just introduces himself as Mister Terrific rather than reveal his true name.[42]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Mister and Missus Terrific were framed for unknown crimes when they discovered Outsider's illicit schemes, and were attempting to assassinate him. Mister and Missus Terrific were both killed by Outsider's guardian statue.[43]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Mr. Terrific on Justice League Unlimited in the episode "Destroyer".
  • Mr. Terrific appears in Justice League Unlimited voiced by Michael Beach. He made several non-speaking appearances in the animated TV series before being moved to a more prominent role in the series' final season by becoming the League's Coordinator and being responsible for assigning tasks to the various heroes after J'onn J'onzz resigned from the job.
  • Michael Holt is mentioned in the Smallville episode "Absolute Justice" (which featured the Justice Society) in the second half by Lois Lane, who mentions that she skipped an interview with him. He is described as a Nobel-winning scientist and tech guru.

Video games[edit]

  • Mr. Terrific makes a background cameo in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. He can be seen in the reactor level of the Watchtower stage. He flies and works on the computer in the center where he is keeping the reactor in check.

Toys[edit]

  • Mr. Terrific was the third figure released in the eighth wave of the DC Universe Classics line. His accessory was his T-Spheres, which could be placed into his back.
  • Mr. Terrific has also received a figure in the Target-exclusive Justice League Unlimited line, packaged on a single card.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b JSA #13, pg.1
  2. ^ 52 #39, pg.22
  3. ^ a b JSA # 28, pg. 11
  4. ^ JSA #53, pg. 8
  5. ^ a b JSA # 28, pg.11
  6. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The Spectre ongoing series was nearing its end, but that didn't stop writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake from pooling their creative forces to create one of the DCU's newest shining stars...An inspired and reborn [Michael] Holt then picked up the mantle of Mr. Terrific. 
  7. ^ JSA #5, pg.6
  8. ^ a b c Infinite Crisis # 5, pg. 1
  9. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) # 2, pg. 3
  10. ^ JSA #27, pg.17-18
  11. ^ 52 #39, pg. 22, Backup Origin
  12. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) # 4
  13. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #29 (July 2009)
  14. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #30 (August 2009)
  15. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #31 (September 2009)
  16. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #32 (October 2009)
  17. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #33 (November 2009)
  18. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #34 (December 2009)
  19. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/02/the-new-justice/
  20. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/09/project-up-up-and-runway/#comments
  21. ^ Albert Ching (January 12, 2012). "Six Titles In, Six Out in 'Second Wave' of DC's NEW 52" (Press release). Newsrama. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ DC Comics. "On Sale April '12" (Press release). DC Comics. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  23. ^ http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-comics-June-2012-solicitations.html
  24. ^ JSA # 26, pg. 8-9
  25. ^ JSA # 62, pg. 17-21
  26. ^ JSA # 17, pg. 1
  27. ^ JSA # 53, pg. 8
  28. ^ JSA All-Stars # 7, pg.4
  29. ^ JSA # 61, pg.6
  30. ^ JSA: Classified # 29, pg.11
  31. ^ JSA # 78, pg.3
  32. ^ JSA # 41, pg.19
  33. ^ JSA # 31, pg.16
  34. ^ JSA # 71, pg.4
  35. ^ JSA # 84, pg. 8
  36. ^ JSA All-Stars # 7, pg.6
  37. ^ JSA # 49, pg. 5-6
  38. ^ JSA # 12, pg.6
  39. ^ JSA # 67, pg.2-6
  40. ^ Hawkman (vol. 3) # 24, pg. 10
  41. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #19
  42. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #20
  43. ^ Flashpoint: The Outsider #1 (June 2011)

External links[edit]