They call him MISTER Terrific…

I’ll admit it, I was never a really big fan of Mister Terrific. Sure he is smart and can probably punch the bad guy in the face real good, but his identity can’t be too secret, ‘cause he has a giant painted T on this face, which probably explains why he is only the third smartest guy on the planet.

Writer: Eric Wallace
Penciller: Gianluca Gugliotta
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: J.G. Jones
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
(This review is based on the electronic copy sold through the comiXology app on the iPad.)

Previously in Mister Terrific: Something, something, cartoon series, Checkmate, Barry Allen – FLASHPOINT! KABOOM!


If you are going to relaunch a universe, you’re going to need to spend some time making sure the histories and backstories of the characters are in place. This is one of those issues. After defeating Miles Dalton and his giant mechanical suit from wrecking havoc on the streets of London, Mister Terrific decides to pull a Kevin Arnold and tell us how he went from the third smartest man in the world to Mister Terrific, the guy with the floaty ball things.

Readers learn that Michael Holt had everything, a billion dollar company, an Olympic medal, degrees from all the highfalutin universities, and even a wife whom he loved. Too bad she died. The set up and murder of Holt’s wife is done so quickly (one page) that we hardly get a chance to experience any connection between the two. Eric Wallace expects us to take Holt’s word for it, and because this is a first issue, we as readers, are expected to go along for the ride, which means Michael becomes so distraught that he is willing to kill himself by turning his latest experiment on himself. And that’s the moment that changes his life… forever!

Of course it looks like Michael was able to get over his loss, as in the present day it appears as though Holt and a certain Karen Starr (of Starrware Industries) like to partake in some afternoon delight. Boom-chicka-wow-wow indeed.
In order to move the story forward and show the reader how Michael is doing all the amazing things he does today, we’re introduced to the issue’s bad guy, which forces Mister Terrific to show off his laboratory located in the Ninth Dimension, and his fantastic silver balls, which are apparently called T-Spheres, but I think you’d really impress those around you if you changed your battle cry to “Behold my giant silver balls!” Just a suggestion…

But we don’t get to see Mister Terrific get to do much on the terrific side, as the mysterious force that triggered this issue’s killer also appears to have affected Michael Holt, and the sudden rush of insight has turned hero in to potential killer, as Holt decides it best to kill a Senator who is running for President. It’s interesting that the present day story starts out with a lot of people not knowing who Mister Terrific is, and thus the “Thanks black guy” comment that appears in the issue. And because few people know about Mister Terrific, it makes it harder for the reader to appreciate the character, too.


On the art side, Gianluca Gugliotta’s art isn’t bad. There are a few times when the proportions of the bodies get a little out of whack from panel to panel, and the facial features tend to change ever so slightly that it may be difficult to remember that the person talking isn’t Michael Holt, but the Senator who wants to be President. Save for those few moments (and they are few) there are moments when the issue shines as far as the art goes.

Ever since word got around that Karen Starr was going to be in Mister Terrific, I was wondering how many times we would see references to Power Girl. Fortunately, those moments are kept to a minimum, with the only in your face bit being in how Gugliotta drew Karen’s dress for the party she attends with Michael. Yup, a big peekaboo window just like her costume. While that is a nice nod, what is even more interesting is the Fantastic Four shout-out that appears in the issue. Karen, with short blonde hair, a stunning blue dress, and white gloves, does bare a resemblance to Sue Richards, but it isn’t until one of the party guests and other possible love interest for Michael, says she might as well be invisible that everything comes together, as it is in that panel where we get Karen in her full gown, right in front of the reader. It’s the neat little bit of art and words aligning that I like.


The story is simple in its execution, and has moments that are brilliant, but overall, I’m left with a feeling of, “Huh?” While I’m board for the entire first arc of this series, unless there is something that comes out of left field, I’m having a hard time identifying with the title character. This wasn’t a terrific issue, but it also wasn’t terrible. Mister Terrific #1 earns a middle of the road rating of 2.5 Stars from this reviewer.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Mystery Woman appears on page 4.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. KevinpBreen
    September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm — Reply

    A coinkydink that I just set this book down and pulled up Major Spoilers in time to catch the review!

    I wasn’t going to get any New 52s, but I decided to read them with a tabula rasa mindset, not comparing them to what I knew (and most of that was in the 60s), and look at them as one of the new readers DC hopes to attract. MR TERRIFIC did not come off well in that regard. Yes, it was clear that he’s smart, rich, liberal, dedicated to science, and his superhero origin was explained (I lost track of JSA for a while so I’m not sure if that part is new). Whether Karen Starr is Power Girl in this DCnU or not is a nice tease for longtime fans while it doesn’t affect new ones’ enjoyment of the story. I disagree with you on the art, especially since we kept seeing – randomly – a short, dumpy body type; Michael Holt himself displays this in panel 1, page 10, when he’s standing talking to Starr, and this is especially bad as he’s supposed to be athletic as well as smart. A lot of panel layouts have a slanted perspective, which gives a confused look to the page (panel 2, page 11, the street seems to be canted at a different angle from the background buildings, and why is it canted at all since the figures are standing upright?) Figures and props are undetailed enough that this would have been considered fanzine art in the day. Some necessary things were not explained, like what the T-spheres are or do, whether Karen has a relationship with Holt (vaguely implied by her on the couch and him shirtless, but denied by her on page 17, then re-implied by her “white girl” comment. And why is Karen outright accusing Aleeka of racism? Mixed couples are so common today (just watch DOCTOR WHO) that it’s a jarring thing to even bring up; besides, she just said they’re not a couple, so why would Aleeka care that Holt has a white businesswoman as a colleague? In all, though background was established and new readers shouldn’t feel like they’re coming into the middle of a story, I think they’d still find it confusing and incomplete. Don’t think it’s a good idea to switch the hero’s mindset to evil in the first issue, even though I didn’t get the impression as the reviewer did of a “sudden rush of insight” so much as mind control. I understand that comics are written for tpb now, but the threat could have been more clearly established in the initial issue.

  2. TaZ
    September 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm — Reply

    Of course, I will have to wait to find out the answer to my question of how having Michael Holt as part of the Flashpoint U with no connection to the JSA or the original Mr. Terrific affects the make-up of the Earth-2 JSA that’s supposed to be relaunched in 2012 (supposedly).

  3. fire hazard
    September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm — Reply

    I myself am not very familiar with Mr. Terrific’s character. The draw for me to pick up this issue was to see what Karen Starr was doing in the DCnU. Very disappointed in this issue. Felt the story was like a episode of a tv show where they have no real story so they throw a bunch of old clips together and present as something you’ve never seen. I personally give this a 1 out of 5.

  4. Ian
    September 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm — Reply

    I always thought the T-spheres a “invisibility to machines” were stupid and crutches for the character. Was hoping he wouldn’t need them in the DCnU.

    • September 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm — Reply

      I always thought the T-spheres a “invisibility to machines” were stupid and crutches for the character

      How can the character’s basic powers be crutches? I’m confused. Without that, he’s basically just another Batman-type, and god knows we’ve got enough of those.

      • Ian
        September 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm — Reply

        In my opinion, his “basic powers” are being the smartest guy on the planet (or 3rd, whatever) and being in peak physical condition. There are lot’s of non-Batman ways to portray this (Amadeus Cho is a good example). The original Terry Sloane was the Anti-Batman with his positive outlook/attitude.
        IDK, having to put random extra crap like “invisibility to machines” just seems like lazy writing.

        • September 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm — Reply

          IDK, having to put random extra crap like “invisibility to machines” just seems like lazy writing.

          I guess I don’t see it, since those powers have been with the character since his first appearances way back in the John Ostrander Spectre comics… I suppose it’s good that the character has reached the point where he is able to support multiple interpretations of his character.

  5. Kirby
    September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm — Reply

    I’m going 50-50 on this book, I didn’t hate it, but for me I really want to see how they handle Karen Starr. Her & Mr. Teriffic becoming a couple, no problem, but if she got derailed to just being a love interst, I think that’s unfair for her. Will be picking up issue 2 & maybe 3 to see if it really hooks me.

    Was anyone else going ‘really?’ At the “A simple thank you black man” line or was it just me?

    • September 16, 2011 at 8:45 am — Reply

      No, it was pretty bad…

      • Noobian74
        September 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm — Reply

        Yeeeeeeeah. The line was like a snowblower in Las Vegas: unnecessary.

      • September 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm — Reply

        I couldn’t disagree more. I liked that line, and it spoke to the character as more than the smart guy that we’ve seen him be previously.

  6. September 16, 2011 at 9:21 am — Reply

    Should it be “BEHOLD MY TERRIFIC BALLS!”

    Makes more sense really, don’t you think?

  7. Jimmy
    September 16, 2011 at 9:31 am — Reply

    I absolutely hated how they handled matters of race in this issue; in my mind, a black superhero should be treated just like any other superhero. Bringing up the fact that the main character is black two or three times in this issue–especially in the brash way they do–just seems really tacky. That combined with the art problems for Michael’s character, I would probably only be able to give this issue a 1.5 or a 2. This is probably the first issue of the entire relaunch I have actually disliked.

    • Noobian74
      September 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm — Reply

      I have to agree, the race-related dialogue came off forced instead of naturally. Even the exchange with Karen (Starr?) and Aleeka was blah.

      • Jimmy
        September 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm — Reply

        Yeah. It was all really really forced and bothered me.

  8. Noobian74
    September 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    I bought it. Wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be.

    If they were going to do a book with an African-American that doesn’t have elecric-based powers (sorry, Black Lightning) , they should’ve done it on the new Tattooed Man. The limited series was great.

  9. Crash
    September 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm — Reply

    Did anyone else just outright HATE the racial overtones in this book? Yes he’s black, yes there is a white girl and a black girl fighting over him. Can we move on now? I see no reason why when he’s saving the first group of people he has to add in the fact that he’s black or why later the two women are arguing over an issue of race when it seems to be a non issue at that point.

    I love strong racial characters in comics. Hardware was one of my favorite comics growing up and it actually tackled some of the issues of race but it did so in an elegant matter.

    • DrNobody
      September 18, 2011 at 5:34 am — Reply

      I think had they JUST left it at the first comment when he saved the group of people, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I found that first use slightly amusing as he just saved a bunch of people more obsessed with his IQ than anything else about him. It seemed more like he was trying to get people off of his being 3rd smartest and trying to focus on him saving their @$$e$… Beyond that, the comments were a bit much. It would be nice to have a comic about an African American hero where we aren’t reminded 100 times in the first issue that yes, they’re black!! I have no problem with Terrific being black… I can clearly see he’s black by the coloring… But why does the dialogue need to reflect that too? Are we trying to remind the colorist?

    • September 18, 2011 at 11:19 am — Reply

      I love strong racial characters in comics. Hardware was one of my favorite comics growing up and it actually tackled some of the issues of race but it did so in an elegant matter.

      Actually, there was a great hue and cry on the nascent intarwebz when Hardware #1 came out due to Curtis remarking “That’s might white of you.” rec.arts.comics.misc fairly EXPLODED with nerdrage when the issue came out, and it was a topic of discussion in the comics press for a couple of years afterwards. The “elegance” you mention was much more divisive than the remarks in this issue.

      • Noobian74
        September 19, 2011 at 10:23 am — Reply

        Hardware, in the long run, was about a man who was angry about his current situation and took steps to try to improve it. His method of taking down his crooked boss? Use his employer’s resources to take him down. The best Hardware story was in Milestone Forever (penned by Dwayne McDuffie), where he realized that the only thing his anger was doing was holding him back and that he had to separate himself from his former life.
        As long as the story has relevant dialogue instead of the old school “just fill up space with words” technique, no problem. “Mighty white of you” worked in that context. “A simple thank you black man?” Nah…

  10. Damascus
    September 21, 2011 at 12:26 am — Reply

    I think the book just felt a little frenetic to me. I don’t like when a book jumps that many times in such a short page span, I had a similar problem with Grifter. I get that he’s supposed to be the 3rd Smartest man (does that include woman too?) but they don’t show that and we’re supposed to buy his pocket dimension and the mysterious T-Spheres which I’m not positive on what they really do in this DCnU. I don’t know why, but I buy that Hank Pym (while often presented as douchey) has the intelligence and ability to create his Pocket Universe with Pym particles and all that, I just don’t get that vibe from Michael Holt… least not yet.

  11. brenton8090
    September 24, 2011 at 8:15 am — Reply

    Eh, I kinda liked it. They better pull something out of their hat quick, though, or it’ll fade fast. Mediocrity will be the death of some of these book.

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