Is Terrific Better Than Fantastic?
Welcome, friends, to this week’s column! For u/Ritrezer on reddit, here’s an article about a character who sounds like the Chinatown knockoff version of Mr. Fantastic! Oh boy, I sure hope I haven’t offended anyone with that statement. I wouldn’t want to be talked down to on the internet.
Anyways, Mr. Terrific is, well, a terrific character (you should know me pretty well by now, this shit joke was to be expected). A fairly recent character (in the world of comics, at least) with ties back to the Golden Age of DC, he’s a pretty damn good example of using legacy characters to keep an old name fresh. In a way, he’s sort of Miles Morales before Miles Morales ever happened. Except, you know, barely alike in any manner other than extremely superficial similarities. Well, now that I’ve completely sunk any momentum that I might have had, let’s fake an education in comic books!
I Already Ran Out of Jokes About the Word Terrific
SCENARIO: Ok, so I’m gonna level with you guys here: I always get super nervous when I write about characters outside of my own race/gender/etc, because I feel like I don’t really have the background to make any real points based off their lives, but even more so because I’m terrified that I’m going to say one errant thing that’ll make me look racist or sexist or whatever, and then because I’m a nervous wreck I’ll just keep obsessing over it until I start tripping over my own tongue and digging myself into a hole from which there is no real escape. And sure, I could just keep digging the hole until I come through to the other side, but that’ll probably never happen. Honestly, I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this here, all I know is that my Katana article was fucking terrible and Black Panther could have gone better.
…anyways here’s a dumb article about Mr. Terrific I guess
Step One: Seriously, There’s Like, NO Puns I Can Make
Mr. Terrific, born Michael Holt, is actually the second person to use the name, and also I was wrong, “fair play” isn’t the most anime thing, the fact that it also says terrific on the back of the jacket is the most anime thing ever. Anyways, he’s ranked as the third smartest human in the DC universe, behind Batman and Lex Luthor, which is almost refreshingly modest in a medium where people are frequently the best in their field no matter what. He describes his intelligence and wide array of skills as “having an aptitude for aptitudes”, which is probably the douchiest way to describe your own genius besides most of the words out a second year art major’s mouth. He’s got fourteen fucking Ph.Ds, which is kind of ridiculous, but whatever, that’s what you need to hold your own in a comic book world. So yes, basically, he’s terrific at everything. That is his “power”. “But wait”, you start to say, “that’s super dumb and lame!” Ah-ha! Joke’s on you, because it’s… yeah, ok, that part of it is kinda lame. Mike’s a really interesting character otherwise though, with his signature T-Spheres and, uh, T-Mask (I think?). Basically, he’s a god of technology with those things, being completely invisible to any sort of tech, as well as having three really hard floating spheres of metal poised to ram any evildoer in the crotch at all times. This capability makes him one of the most powerful members of the JSA, and one of the two most prominent doctors in the DCU. Over the years, he would go on to become the chairman of the JSA, as well as both the White Bishop and the White King of the covert organization Checkmate. So basically, Mr. Terrific is more qualified than any person on the planet. Also, he’s got an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, because of course he does.
His jacket, incidentally, actually isn’t the dumbest thing associated with the Mr. Terrific name.
Oh boy, the Golden Age was… it was largely dumb. Like, reeeeeeeaaaalllll dumb. Shit, look at Hawkgirl, she’s a cop from a planet of bird people and/or an ancient Egyptian priestess and even she can’t believe that shit.
Idunno, I really like the jacket anyways.
Step Two: Try T-Flakes! They’re Terrrrrrrrrific!
Oh hey, by the way, just in case you couldn’t tell, Mr. Terrific is an atheist. In the pre reboot cannon, as near as I can tell, it was simply a result of his extensive scientific background. Now, in the DCU, where all kinds of mystical and godly shit just kind of happens all the damn time, that’s kind of narrow-minded, but Mr. T always had some sort of scientific explanation for it, kind of like the lame cop out of the Thor movies moving away from straight up mysticism. Meanwhile, in the New 52, where there was about a fifty percent chance of something turning out as hamfisted and unoriginal as possible, Mr. T was religious up until the point his wife died, causing him to lose faith in god. Also, New 52 Mr. T has a back tattoo that says Fair Play, because apparently that’s cooler than it just being on the jacket?
Frankly, I really don’t feel like picking up a bunch of New 52 Mr. T reading material this whole week so I can get one joke correct. Hopefully you’ll all understand.
You know what, I would ordinarily have a whole thing on New 52 Mr. T here, but… yeah. Not a ton of info to dig up. It’s fiiiiiiiiiine.
Anyways, Mike is a billionaire of sorts, similar to every other genius in the DCU. In fact, he also gets his substantial financial holdings from an amorphous tech corporation of some kind that seems to sell vaguely defined bullshit. Honestly, beyond that he doesn’t have a ton of history to him. He only came about in the late 90s, and he’s mostly in a fairly niche team book or two.
Step Three: But he was in Other Stuff Too, I Guess
So, as I said, Mr. T hasn’t been around all that much. He’s done plenty of time with the JSA, but seeing as how that’s not exactly one of DC’s moneymakers, it doesn’t exactly get trotted out too much. Ditto with Checkmate. Two (admittedly pretty good) books with little to no exposure does not an A-Lister make. He’s also popped up in most event books from time to time, even performing the autopsy on Sue Dibny during infamous event/garbage fire Identity Crisis. Shit, for a B(C?)-Lister, the guy’s got an impressive list of achievements. He dated Power Girl, for Christ’s sake. To handle any sort of sexual encounter with her would require quick thinking and reflexes at the very least, unless he was particularly fond of having his genitals crushed.
He’s been in a few New 52 events as well, including Future’s End, which was basically just a “Where are they now?” segment for stuff that never happened. Beyond that, he’s been in a couple animated series and features, but otherwise… meh.
That’s uh… That’s about it. That’s all I got for this one. Apologies if I’m missing anything incredibly notable. Been a busy week too, so this one’s a short one for reasons more than my own ineptitude/laziness. I’ll try and make up for it next week, promise. See you all next week!
oh hey a plug for my shitty youtube channel whoops how’d that get here