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Comic Book / Mister Terrific

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Michael Holt and Terry Sloane
Mister Terrific is the name of a pair of DC Comics characters, the first of which made his first appearance in Sensation Comics # 1 in January, 1942. Terry Sloane was a brilliant polymath and Olympic athlete who by the age of twenty, had succeeded in everything he had ever wanted to do, and was left so much at a loss that he was nearly suicidal. Seeing an actual suicide, however, he instinctively saved her and used his abilities to rescue her brother from a life of crime. Realising there was more he could do in the world, he took the identity of Mr Terrific, "The Man of 1000 Talents", wearing a green and . He was a reserve member of the Justice Society of America, and was eventually killed in one of their team-ups with the Justice League of America (JLA Vol. 1 #171, "The Murder Among Us: Crisis Above Earth-One", October 1979).

His successor was introduced in The Spectre Vol. 3 #54 in June 1997. Like his predecessor, Michael Holt was a polymath genius and Olympic athlete. Also like his predecessor, he is introduced as suicidal, in this case owning to the death of his wife and their unborn child. He is told Terry Sloane's story by the Spectre, and is inspired to instead follow his example as a superhero. He subsequently becomes a core member of the new JSA, eventually being made their chairman.

A version of the Michael Holt version of Mister Terrific appeared in Arrow as Curtis Holt.

The name was used as the title of a comic-book series published by DC Comics, one of the first of their New 52 initiative. The series follows the adventures of Michael Holt, the third-smartest man in the DC universe, who uses his scientific mind to fight crime and improve the world. After the series' cancellation, Mister Terrific was packed off to Earth 2, but later returned in The Terrifics.


Notable appearances Terry Sloane:

Notable Comic Books

Notable appearances Michael Holt:

Notable Comic Books

Mister Terrific I (Terry Sloane) provides examples of:

  • The Ace: He's a master of the arts and sciences. He's also athletic and a great fighter.
  • Arch-Enemy: Spirit King, who eventually killed him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Despite being a superhero in comics once he was strangled to death by an old foe, he only returned in scenes of the afterlife.


Mister Terrific II (Michael Holt) provides examples of:

  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Prior to the advent of the New 52, Michael Holt was the second person to call himself Mister Terrific, with the original being a white man, Terry Sloane.
  • Badass Normal: No powers, just an incredibly smart, well-educated, tech genius martial artist.
  • Civvie Spandex: In his initial appearances, his "costume" consisted of a leather jacket with Sloane's "Fair Play" insignia on the back.
  • Drone Deployer: He developed little all-purpose satellites called T-Spheres that he can command to do whatever he wants.
  • Genius Bruiser: He is a super genius and has also a black belt in 6 different martial arts disciplines.
  • Loony Fan: The first Mr. Terrific had a fan obsessive enough (with hints of racist undertones) to hate Michael Holt for taking on his name. He schemed to remove Holt's intelligence and then destroy all evidence, up to including the information in his head by suicide, so it couldn't be reversed.
  • More Popular Replacement: Holt is far more well known than Terry Sloane.
  • Super Intelligence: He is also known as the third smartest man on Earth. Michael 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. As Holt himself put it, "everyone has a talent...Mine is learning".

This series contains examples of:

  • Black and Nerdy: Mister Terrific is the third-smartest person in the entire DC universe.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Mister Terrific is frequently depicted as an atheist and skeptic of all things supernatural. This despite him having met gods, demons, spirits as well as the Spectre, the personification of God's wrath.
  • Insufferable Genius: The first arc of the Mister Terrific series involves the supervillain Brainstorm randomly boosting people's intellects at the cost of turning them homicidal.

How well does it match the trope?

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