One of the smartest men, on Earth, Michael Holt is the head of a multibillion-dollar tech company located in Los Angeles. He was inspired to be a hero after the death of his wife and unborn child in a car accident. Depending on who you ask (pre-New 52 or the New 52), he was either visited by The Spectre or his yet-to-be-born son from the future. Either way, this visitation inspired Michael Holt to don the identity of Mister Terrific.
Using his intelligence, his fighting skills, and his patented “T-Spheres,” Mister Terrific fights for the good of the world. As Michael Holt, he strives to educate the world.
For this character, I have to discuss both the pre-New 52 and the New 52, because both histories are the reason I like Mister Terrific so much.
Before the reboot of the New 52, Mister Terrific was a chairman of Earth’s first super hero team, the Justice Society. He followed in the path of the original Mister Terrific, Terry Sloan. His level head and determination were a boon to the team. During one of the last adventures of the Justice Society, he lost his intelligence. This put him on the verge of spiraling depression. However, with the support of his teammates, Michael Holt was determined to build his knowledge from the ground-up once more. He was going to regain it the old-fashioned way, by picking up a book.
In the New 52, Michael Holt worked alone exclusively. The grief over his loss manifested itself in more anger than in his previous incarnation. This anger is something he struggles to overcome, because he knows it isn’t a part of who he is as a hero. He used his wealth to fund multiple education initiatives, because he knows that knowledge is what will save the world. His adventures took him to other dimensions and, eventually, to Earth Two. This Earth is where the Justice Society originated from in years past. He was held captive by Steppenwolf, a follower of the alien despot Dark Seid.
From here, little is known about his adventures in the New 52 universe. Which is to say, no one has really written anything about this character since then. In the story, Futures End, he is complicit in the hostile takeover by the super A.I, Brother Eye. Facts are facts though, and the fact is that I didn’t really care for that story very much. As a result, I don’t really hold it against Mister Terrific.
The intelligence, optimism, and old-school heroics are what make Mister Terrific one of my favorite DC Super Heroes. With characters like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, and Reed Richards, the intelligence makes them jaded and cynical. However, with Michael Holt, it makes him more determined to see the world made into a better place. He looks for the best in people, and he knows knowledge is a gift. He wants to share this gift with everyone.
His determination to regain his intelligence was one of the major stories that drove me to like this character so much. This was one of the lowest points in his life, and he wasn’t going to allow it to keep him this low.
Plus, the skills and the suit are both pretty cool too.
So that’s my Number 9, Mister Terrific. Check back tomorrow for the next warrior to make the list. You won’t be disappointed, or maybe you will. Who knows.