Let's Talk about Mr Terrific #1
This is Mister Terrific #1, one of the 52 #1s released by DC on September of 2011 and the ongoing that came was so bad that and it sold so poorly that DC cancel it after just 8 issues
Why is it so bad?
Lets talk about it
First of all
Who is Mister Terrific?
Created in January 1942 Mister Terrific was originally a founding member of the superhero team of the Justice Society of America, his name was Terry Sloan, he was a self-made man, a genius who graduated from college at age 13 and an Olympic-level athlete. after becoming basically the best of the best of the best he gets into a depresion which let him to contemplate suicide but due pure changes he ends up saving the life of a woman who was trying trying to kill herself, this was the first step that lead him to become a superhero until his final days, his motto and pretty much his way of living was "Fair Play"
but of course thats not the guy from the cover, this comic is about the second Mister Terrific, Michael Holt
His origin is somehow similar to the origin of Terry Sloan but with several differences, the main one is possibly the fact that Michael is a more modern character, in the past DC tried to keep its continuity intact in a way that all the heroes of the past like the JSA started at their time period, so someone like Terry in his continuity with Michael actually started being a hero on 1942, while Michael first appearance was in 1997.
Michael was Created by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake basing him on the mold that was Terry Sloan and just like him he is a genius, mastering the most complex concepts at the tender age of 6, he had a "a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes" easily retaining skills that others could take a lifetime to achieve, before even becoming a hero he already had gotten 14 Ph.Ds and was a self-made millionaire in addition to be an Olympic Decathlete
But ofcourse just like with Terry Sloan, tragedy strikes him but not in a form of the incomplacence of not being able to get more achievements in life, but for the lost of his Wife.
Both his wife, Paula Holt and their unborn son die in a car accident provoked by a drunk driver, such a powerful tragedy lets Michael devastated and contemplating suicide but he is save by the hero The Specter, who tells him the story of Terry Sloan and inspired by this he takes up the mantle of Mister Terrific and the title of the 3rd Smartest man in the World.
As Mr Terrific, Michael became a vital member of the new JSA, a leader of it and also the organization of CheckMate and other great accomplishments that let him become an important character in the DC Universe
But ofcourse, The New 52 is about change, this new project essentially separated the JSA and Terry Sloan from continuity so what we have here is a repacked Michael Holt without his really cool jacket and an slightly different backstory
so lets jump in
MISTER TERRIFIC #1 by Eric Wallace and Gianluca Gugliotta
This issue Starts with our hero fighting a biomechanical battle armor in the middle of London and michael says that this is some CEO named Dalton from some random company who is selling weapons(apparently mechs) in the black market.
Now why would a CEO deal with this kind of things himself?
Michael uses his T-Balls(not an innuendo at all) to escape from him and as he flies through the city with Dalton on pursue.
Using his superior intellect and his T-Spheres, he transforms the London Eye(google it!) into a giant magnet to capture Dalton and beats him up
That doesnt really sound like a good idea, wouldnt magnetize it ruin its engines or something?
And then he enters into one of the pods of the london eye to receive his well deserve congratulations
and that ladies and gentleman is the introduction of our hero for the next 7 issues
Why is he angry about this? he is the one who called himself the 3rd smartest man, which even though that has been one of Michael's surnames i dont know of any comic besides this one where he actually refers as such, and the question is legit, who are the #1 and #2, and how is that they are #1 and #2?
and why would the girl would thank him by saying "Thanks Black Guy" thats sounds really mean and an unnecessary use of race here since the other guy in the pod is also black,would it be wrong to think that maybe those 2 know each other? so why would she bother to remark about race?
and finally, Michael didnt save them, they were fine until he let the Homicidal lunatic wearing weaponized body armor to them, so is Michael who should apologize to them for endangering them.
and this was the first 4 pages
With this introduction, we cut back in a form of a flashback to his origin as a superhero, it is basically what i said back there, he is a genius, an olympic level athlete, a self-made millionaire, CEO of his own enterprice, Holt Inds, and he sadly loses his pregnant wife in a car accident... by a GPS
how does someone dies because of a GPS? you might ask
well the GPS helps someone find a way to go, its practically a digital map navigator, not an autopilot so how can it kill?
well it does kill, there are several reported cases in the US where people followed the instructions of a faulty GPS and let them to a wrong turn that end in a car crash or even get lost on the desert with no gasoline and die because of it. but ultimately its never going to be the entire fault of the GPS, there is certain responsability for the driver who used it, and that makes Paula partially responsible for own death, it just diminish the impact of this tragedy and is almost, with all due respect, a ridiculous way to die. her GPS system went haywire and she died, you almost have to think hard about that, while with just a drunk driver, is something that anyone can accept as a sad random inevitability of life.
Of course with the death of Paula Michael gets depress and contemplates suicide but instead of being visited by not the specter, but a vision of a young man, who says its his son, and tells him to not give up and EDUCATE THE WORLD, and then the young man disappears.
I really dont know how putting on a mask and fighting lunatics in Mech suits educate anyone but he does become a hero for the people.
we cut again to Los Angeles where we meet the first useless supporting character in this book, Karen Starr, i might add that she is Powergirl from another earth but right now is not relevant at all, she is the CEO of Starrware a hightech company and she is wearing nothing but a lakers t-shirt and what we establish in this scene is that Michael and Karen were a couple sometime but not now and are good friends, also that they will go to a party tonight for fundraiser
we cut to another scene on a dinner on LA were some guy(Edgar) is eating soup and suddenly he gets flashes in his eyes, then he insults the waitress until she makes her cry and leaves without paying the meal, while he leaves he sees a homeless person asking for money on the street, the manager(I think is the manager) of the dinner goes outside with a baseball bat obviously to kick his ass for not paying for the food and insulting the waitress when he sees Edgar killing the homeless man while saying "problem solved".
then he gets arrested and the police calls Mr Terrific cause Edgar is now writing highly complex equations and since this is the kind of thing that Mr Terrific deals with he called him
Ok, first of all, i will say that the whole notion of a random guy gaining high intellect out of the blue and then acting as a jerk because of such intelligence is a little forced, as we will learn later, this involves some level of mind control that fell just random, why was edgar turn into this? no explanation and we will never get one, he never reappears in the book and he is never "cure" from his condition, and it is a very forced why to bring Mr Terrific into the story, he could just have looked in the news, i fail to see why the police needed to involve him breaking procedure, This is the DCU, there are organizations that the police contact before they contact a hero, thats why Gordon contacts Batman in secrecy.
but enough of that, we cut, AGAIN, to michael investigating the mystery in his lair on the 9th dimension
and once that is established we cut again to the party
In the party we meet Jamal, a 16yo with a 192 IQ who will in no way be important on this book, we see Aleeka a coworker of Holt Ind, who is secretly in love with Michael, we see Michael talking with a senator to establish the fact that michael is republican(this is not important at all) and Karen is there of course
But during the party Karen notice that Aleeka has been staring at her, and she calls her about this, she tells her that she and Michael are ONLY Friends and that she doesnt want a tuft war with Aleeka, she responds that is not that, and Karen replies this:
and Aleeka responds
This is really stupid.
I guess you can say that is was to establish the fact that Aleeka and Karen cant stand each other and be used later to make her be friends or enemies in a future, but No is not that, they never get close to each other or anything remotely like that.
This is literally a conversation that goes absolutely nowhere, but is impossible to avoid cause of how big of an impact it causes, the close up to the eyes of Karen almost make the line more important for the scene.
The sole response of Karen, "Its because im a white girl" really makes no sense at all, why would that be the problem, at this point we havent established anything on either of this characters and we dont even get to know how well do either of them know each other, so why would Karen think that Aleeka is racist?
Even more why is that even brought out? Aleeka responds that she could never compete with her, but she does it, just after Karen says that she was just a friend of Michael, why would she need to compete with her if Karen just said is not after Michael?
Personally I think the dialog would had made more sense if it was indeed because she thinks Michael cant be with a white person, it would make her a racist but at least the dialog would make sense and it could even be interesting to develop.
And finally the response of Aleeka regarding being a black woman, if they both had been men this would had been the literal equivalent of Aleeka opening her flier to show that she had a bigger thingy than Karen, Is basically an example, not of racial pride, but almost racial supremacy, she is telling her that because she is black that she can do things that Karen cant cause she is white, and that is in essence better than her cause she is black, you can argue the semantics but thats a way to translate it, still this is completely irrelevant
their races are irrelevant and their whole discussion is irrelevant
This is not only the worst moment in this issue but in the entire book and if Wallace actually wanted ppl to feel awkward while reading this conversation, if he actually did this on purpose, to what purpose?
I was told that ppl who have gone into an interracial relationship sometimes end up in this kind of situation, that this kind of thing of a man or a woman is rejected by the friends of their couple cause of the color, this actually happens but, this is not the same, This has nothing to do with the relationships in the book, or with Mister Terrific, that is an issue that has nothing to do with this conversation, it serves no end at all other than to question the race of the characters for absolutely no reason
Well after that moment we get to Michael showing the Senator the machine that he build.
Its called C.E.E.N. and it basically stops quakes by canceling the wave that they produce with an equal and opposite wave, michael mentions how much hard work went into this machine and how much he is proud of it, when suddenly Michael starts to feel a headache then he starts insulting the senator and activates his machine to instead of preventing a quake is creating one which is destroying the entire building
Ok, if create a machine that can prevent a quake, why in the hell, would you make it, so that it can also creates them, Its a huge logic flaw, Michael practically created a WMD, that can be used for good, but is still a WMD, and there is logic behind how the machine works but i dont think that something like that would work in the real world, i know this is a comic but when the book is trying to so accurate in its science, its just begging to be told that it doesnt work.
and finally considering this ending where he is so obviously attacked by the mastermind being the attack in the dinner, he didnt need to be present in the police department to be informed of the situation, he could had seen it on TV or something, It only served to established the fact that he sometimes works with the police but overall it was unnecessary
and finally the comic ends with michael as just stands in front of the senator telling him that he is going to kill him.
This Comic is a mess.
I think the biggest problem is the fact that Eric Wallace is trying to do way too much in just one issue, there is very little to sink in and too much to choose from, we have the presentation of Mr Terrific, the mystery of whoever is trying to mindcontrol them, presenting the support cast, and also the 9th dimension lair + the origin of Michael, its just too much and every single thing has its own individual flaws
I also need to address the fact that the writer Eric Wallace is black, and he really makes apparent the fact that Mr Terrific is black, its not really a bad thing to have in a comic, to make the race relevant for the comic.
He also made a comic name Final Crisis Aftermath: INK, which was about a black hero/villain living with his family in a hellish city and the comic was really good, its a very intereting portray of the character and an interesting story and ofcourse the race play a factor on it and it feels ok there cause it holds certain relevancy, but here is completely out of place, It keeps being repeated again and again and at the end of the day is completely irrelevant, If Michael was white, it wouldnt make a single difference in the plot, the fact that Aleeka is black is not important, just like Karen being white is not important.
It feels like Wallace tried to construct him as a "black character" before even try to make him a character
Michael Holt is more than just some black hero, he is a genius and a leader of men and I dont see any of those things in this book.
The Art of Gianluca Gugliotta is really bad, body figureslook off in many places and the faces actually look terrible, Michael should be around 25-30 years old, maybe much less, but he looks 40 or 50 just on his facial features
Overall i give this comic 2 Out of 10
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