Mister Terrific (comics)
Michael Holt and Terry Sloane, both versions of Mr. Terrific.
Cover of JSA #70, art by Dave Gibbons.
|First appearance||Sensation Comics # 1 (January 1942)|
|Created by||Charles Resizenstein
The Golden Age's Mister Terrific was Terry Sloane, a self-made millionaire whose photographic memory, Olympic-level athletic skills, and mastery of the martial arts made him a virtual Renaissance man. After graduating college at age 13, he eventually became a renowned business leader in the community. Having accomplished all his goals, he felt there were no challenges left for him to pursue, leading him towards suicidal tendencies. However, upon seeing a young woman jump from a bridge, Sloane reacted quickly and saved the woman, Wanda Wilson. Sloane assisted her brother, who had been caught up in a gang, by adopting a super hero identity: the Mister Terrific persona. This provided him with what he had been missing; a sense of accomplishment. He then created the "Fair Play Club" to stymie growing juvenile delinquency. He also became an active member of the Justice Society of America until the team was dissolved when the House Un-American Activities Committee ordered them to reveal their secret identities or disband. In the end, they chose the latter to protect themselves and their families from potential retribution from those they had fought in the past if their identities became known. Following the dissolution of the JSA, Mr. Terrific retired along with many of the others.
Years later, Sloane came out of retirement and joined with the reformed Justice Society of America. While attending their annual meeting with the Justice League of America, he was killed by his old enemy the Spirit King, who had possessed the body of Jay Garrick to infiltrate the JLA's satellite headquarters.
In 1997, the mantle of Mister Terrific was passed on to Michael Holt, an equally talented man who holds five black belts, has won the Olympic Decathlon and holds many degrees and doctorates in a wide spectrum of fields. While contemplating suicide after the accidental death of his wife and unborn child, he was met by the Spectre, who told him about Terry Sloane. Inspired by Sloane's life story, he took the name "Mister Terrific" and later joined the current Justice Society of America, eventually serving as its chairman. He is the inventor of the T-Sphere, an artificially intelligent miniature device that he controls with his mask and earpieces. The T-Sphere can fly, create holographic images, project beams of light, release electrical charges, tie into computers and GPS satellites, and constantly cloaks Holt against detection and the recording of his image by any and all technological, non-organic means making him virtually invisible to everything but human line of sight. In the past, he has used them for reconnaissance, infiltration, espionage and information retrieval and storage, often multi-tasking his T-Spheres to all go off on different tasks at once. He can also use his T-Spheres offensively as projectiles and has stated as a threat to an opponent that he can instantly accelerate them to 14 miles per second (50,400 miles per hour) so when it hits them, it would cause a tremendous release of energy, turning around 70% of their corporeal being into super-heated plasma and liquifying the rest. Whether this has ever been tested or was just a bluff is unknown, but considering that his opponent wasn't real, much less alive, Mr. Terrific would have had no moral difficulties in using this option if it came down to it. While in costume, Mr. Terrific has no fewer than three T-Spheres orbiting his body at all times and has had as many as ten. He is also considered the third-smartest man alive.
Holt served as the White King in the restructured Checkmate but eventually returned to full-time duties with the JSA. However, Holt was apparently killed in Justice Society of America #30/31 (Aug/Sept 2009), but returned to the land of the living shortly afterwards.
In 2011, Holt became the title character in his own Mister Terrific comic book, as part of The New 52, but this was a short run, ending in 2012 after 8 issues. He has since appeared in the DC book Earth 2 following his series's cancellation, along with the new incarnation of Terry Sloane.
- In Kingdom Come, Alex Ross portrayed a Mister Terrific with oversized guns, shoulder pads, and other military accoutrements. He sported the "Fair Play" logo, but displays little idea of its true and original meanings.
- Another version was portrayed in JSA: The Liberty File and its sequel JSA: The Unholy Three. Here, Terry Sloane was portrayed as a World War II intelligence agent transferred to desk duty, until the untimely death of his fiance by the story's version of the Scarecrow. He was seen wearing a variation of the classic "Fair Play" costume and using a rapier.
- In the JSA All-Stars mini-series chapter focusing on Mister Terrific, Terry's brother Ned appears at a costume ball dressed in an anti-Mister Terrific costume, calling himself Doctor Nil, in order to irritate his brother.
- In Villains United #5, a new villain calling himself Mister Terrible appears as a part of Deathstroke's criminal army, wearing a variation of Holt's Mister Terrific costume.
In other media
Michael Holt has made several cameo appearances in the animated TV series Justice League Unlimited. He moves into a more prominent role in the series' final season, becoming the League's Coordinator and responsible for assigning tasks to the various heroes after J'onn J'onzz resigns from active duty. The animated Mr. Terrific is voiced by former Third Watch star Michael Beach. It is unknown whether Mr. Terrific retains his invisibility to technology, as throughout the show the image of his face appears on several computer screens. His status as one of the world's smartest men is referred to in his full introductory appearance, and the T-Spheres are used in a subsequent episode.
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer Gerry Conway and artist Dick Dillin crafted a tale of foul play aboard the JLA satellite, during the team's annual get-together with Earth-2's JSA. Mr. Terrific...was murdered before he could expose a turncoat among the heroes."
- Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Dolan, p. 279: "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."