Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)

Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)
Mr. Terrific
JSA # 76: Modern Age Mister Terrific by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Spectre (vol. 3) #54
(June 1997)
Created by John Ostrander
Tom Mandrake
(based upon the Terry Sloane character by Charles Reizenstein and Everett E. Hibbard)
In-story information
Alter ego Michael Holt
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Notable aliases White King, White King's Bishop
Abilities Genius level intellect, Olympic-level Athlete. Cannot be detected by modern technology. Extensive nanotechnology in mask and costume for a variety of sensory, communication and database retrieval functions. T-Spheres that function as a computer, holographic projection unit, projectile weapons and numerous other uses.

Michael Holt is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics. First appearing in Spectre (vol. 3) #54 (June 1997), he is the second character to take up the Mister Terrific mantle.


Fictional character biography

At a young age, Michael Holt showed remarkable intelligence, reading and assimilating the works of Bohr, Einstein, Planck and Feynman, the pantheon of theoretical physics, at the age of six. He studied advanced science, space, and time "while other children struggled through Sesame Street".[1] Michael grew up with his mentally challenged older brother, Jeffrey, whom Michael loved dearly. When Jeffrey died at the age of 15, Michael was devastated.[2]

Holt displayed "a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes", as he called it, easily picking up and retaining complex skills and abilities that other men spent their entire lives perfecting. Before he began his career as a superhero, he already possessed 14 Ph.D's (two in engineering and physics -- including doctorates and masters degrees in law, psychology, chemistry, political science, and mathematics),[3][4] was a self-made multi-millionaire[1] with a high tech firm called Cyberwear (subsequently sold to Waynetech[5]) and was a gold medal winning Olympic decathlete.

The accidental deaths of his wife and unborn child were a devastating blow to Holt and while contemplating suicide, he was met by the Spectre, who told him about Terry Sloane, the Golden Age superhero known as Mister Terrific. Inspired by Sloane's life story, he took the name Mister Terrific and later joined the current Justice Society of America, eventually serving as its chairman.

He initially wore ordinary clothes and a leather jacket with Sloane's "Fair Play" emblem on the back. He then wears a T-shaped mask composed of electronic nanites, a black and white costume with red trim, and a collarless jacket in the same colors (the black sections of tunic and jacket forming a "T") with "Fair Play" written on the sleeves and "Terrific" across the back.

For a time he acted as spokesperson for Tylerco and consulted that company on industrial espionage and security matters in exchange for that company helping fund a youth center Terrific had started.[6]

Holt has a friendly rivalry with Batman, his opposite number in the Justice League of America (in his identity as Bruce Wayne, Batman owns Holt's business). Michael Holt has encountered Terry Sloane twice through time travel, with Sloane expressing pride in having so worthy a successor. Holt has been noted as the most intelligent member of the JSA in its history, surpassing his predecessor. He is also known as the third smartest person in the world,[7] and this notion now appears to be widespread within the DC Universe.[8]

Justice Society of America chairmanship

During a conflict over leadership of the Justice Society between former chairman Hawkman and then-current chairman Sand, Terrific was elected as the JSA's new chairman by his teammates, despite not actively seeking the office.[9] He served in this capacity until the team disbanded following the Infinite Crisis.

Mr. Terrific currently remains a member of the reformed Justice Society of America. He resumed his chairmanship from the last incarnation of the team,[10] but his leadership responsibilities in Checkmate eventually prompted him to relinquish the position to Power Girl.[11]

Infinite Crisis

Mr. Terrific was part of the team assembled by Batman for an attack on the Brother Eye satellite responsible for controlling the OMACs. He played a critical role as his invisibility to technology allowed him to reach the satellite's propulsion system, sending it crashing to Earth. On this meeting he met and befriended another African American superhero - Black Lightning.

One Year Later

As part of "One Year Later", though Holt is still a member of the JSA, he has also become part of the United Nations Security Council's intelligence agency Checkmate. He initially held the position of White King's Bishop, but when the previous White King (Alan Scott) was forced to resign, he became Checkmate's new White King, complicating his relationship with Sasha Bordeaux, Checkmate's Black Queen. He has also given up his chairman position, which has been taken over by Power Girl. Mr. Terrific has also established an ill-defined mentorship with Firestorm (Jason Rusch), over the missing year. The specifics of their meeting are yet to be documented.

Final Crisis

During the Final Crisis of Humanity, the war between Darkseid and the human world, Mister Terrific, along with Cheetah and Snapper Carr, are left trapped in the ruins of Checkmate headquarters, unable to get past the brainwashed metahuman, and caring for Sasha, who preferred using her OMAC programmation to shut down her bodily functions rather than falling prey of the Anti-Life Equation. Forcefully waking up Sasha, thus condemning her, Michael Holt is forced to activate a new OMAC population, programmed to obey him rather than Brother Eye, and protect the last few humans against the new Justifiers.

Death and return

In Justice Society of America vol. 3 series, Mr. Terrific takes over the research, just as the low-level villain Tapeworm appears on the news, taking hostages and demanding that Wildcat show himself. All-American Kid and King Chimera must remain in the brownstone, Mister Terrific retreats to his lab, and the rest of the team leaves to help Wildcat. All-American Kid goes into the lab and stabs Mister Terrific in the back.[12] Justice Society members arrive back at headquarters to discover Mr. Terrific has been attacked, and Dr. Mid-Nite tends to his wounds.[13] In the end, Mister Terrific succumbs to his injuries and Alan Scott reports that he has died.[14] However, Scott is able to use the power of the Green Flame to slow down time around Mister Terrific's body in the hopes that he can be healed before brain death occurs.[15] Michael is restored to life by the magic of the new Doctor Fate, and attacks All-American Kid, revealing that he is actually the teenage psychopath known as Kid Karnevil, and subdues him.[16] For a short time during his recovery, Michael is forced to use a wheelchair, although he still found time to upgrade Mister America's whip.[17]

Solo series

In September 2011, Mister Terrific received an ongoing series written by Eric Wallace and drawn by Roger Robinson.[18] Holt began sporting a new costume designed by Cully Hamner.[19] He is also currently in a realtionship with Karen Starr.

Religious beliefs

While being held captive by Onimar Synn on an adventure with the Justice Society on Thanagar, Holt first expressed his disbelief in souls and how he was uncomfortable with the notion of reincarnation after witnessing the return of teammate Hawkman. Holt states, "when my wife, Paula, was killed in a car accident... she was gone. I didn't feel her 'soul' around me. Didn't feel anything."[20]

After a near-death experience where he sees his wife and unborn child (whom he decides to name 'Terry' after the original Mister Terrific), Holt's atheism is shaken and he agrees to attend a church service with teammate Doctor Mid-Nite.[21]

However, this attempt to find religion apparently wasn't satisfying as Holt is also seen getting into a theological discussion with Ragman during the Infinite Crisis (Ragman is Jewish while Mr. Terrific describes himself as an atheist). When asked if he had faith in anything, Terrific answered, "Sure I do. I've got faith in my team."[7]

Powers, abilities, and equipment

  • 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 and subsequently becoming Dr. Mid-Nite's assistant. As Holt himself put it, "everyone has a talent... Mine is learning."[22][23]
  • Holt is also known as the third smartest man on Earth.[7]
  • He is aided by his "T-Spheres", floating robotic spheres with multiple functions, holographic projection,[24] projecting laser grids,[25] and recording, communication, linking with and manipulating other electronic devices, from satellites to electronic locks.[26] They allow Terrific to fly by bearing his weight,[27] and can be used as weapons, both by exploding with enough force to send Captain Marvel flying back,[28] generating powerful electric charges,[29] and strike as flying, projectile weapons.[30] They respond to his mental and vocal commands.
  • He is invisible to all forms of electronic detection. Despite a claim to Black Lightning in Infinite Crisis that "I've got one superpower: I'm invisible to technology," in all other instances this ability is tied to nanotechnology woven into his specially designed "T-Mask" (which is molecularly bonded to his face and can appear and disappear at will) and costume. Mr. Terrific was apparently the only super-hero whom the OMACs could not detect. The only exception to his invisibility however, is that of the Red Tornado, who for reasons yet unknown, is capable of seeing Terrific, despite being an android. Red Tornado's status as a wind elemental may explain his ability to see Holt. His mask also protects his face from chemicals[31] and relays mental commands to his T-Spheres by detecting the subtle movements on his face. The mask works in conjunction with an earpiece to act as a communications system.
  • Through his mask, Holt can change instantaneously into costume and back again.[32]
  • He is a black belt in 6 different martial arts disciplines and an Olympic Gold Medalist in the decathlon.[5][33]
  • Holt is also a polymath who has specialized in multiple fields of medicine, engineering, and science. He possesses 14 Ph.D's (two of which are in engineering and physics).[3]
  • Along with teammate and friend Doctor Mid-Nite and Batman, Mister Terrific is one of the three main superheroes with medical training in the DC Universe. Although it is not known if he has an M.D., he did participate in the autopsy of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis.[34]
  • Holt's mask also doubles as an encephalic broadcaster, picking up aggregate thought-waves, allowing him to communicate with his T-Spheres and even project a speaking hologram of himself, even if he is injured or too weak to speak.[35] The mask can also form and transmit images on low- or high-band light frequencies visible to his teammate Doctor Mid-Nite.
  • Holt is also multilingual, though the extent of this hasn't been revealed. He has been shown to speak the languages of the fictional nations of Kahndaq and Bialya. Given Holt's propensity for learning, it likely that he speaks several other languages as well.[36]

Other versions


An alternate version of Michael Holt appears on the new Earth-2. This version is a college professor, who had a religious experience after his wife was nearly alive, and is now a devout Christian. He helps the Power Girl of New Earth to return home.[37] When Justice Society entering the Earth-2, Professor Holt is confronts his counterpart Michael Holt from New-Earth. Professor Holt introduces the Justice Society to his wife, Paula.[38]


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Mister and Missus Terrific are attempting to assassinate the Outsider who were framed for unknown crimes when they discovered the Outsider's illicit schemes. Mister and Missus Terrific are both killed by Outsider's guardian statue.[39]

In other media


Mr. Terrific on Justice League Unlimited in the episode "Destroyer".
  • Mr. Terrific made several non-speaking appearances in the animated TV series Justice League Unlimited before being moved to a more prominent role in the series' final season by becoming the League's Coordinator and being responsible for assigning tasks to the various heroes after J'onn J'onzz resigned from the job. Mr. Terrific was voiced by Michael Beach.
  • Michael Holt is mentioned in the Smallville episode "Absolute Justice" (which featured the Justice Society) in the second half by Lois Lane, who mentions that she skipped an interview with him. He is described as a Nobel-winning scientist and tech guru.


  • Mr. Terrific was the third figure released in the eighth wave of the DC Universe Classics line. His accessory was his T-Spheres, which could be placed into his back.
  • Mr. Terrific has also received a figure in the Target-exclusive Justice League Unlimited line, packaged on a single card.


  1. ^ a b JSA #13, pg.1
  2. ^ 52 #39, pg.22
  3. ^ a b JSA # 28, pg. 11
  4. ^ JSA #53, pg. 8
  5. ^ a b JSA # 28, pg.11
  6. ^ JSA #5, pg.6
  7. ^ a b c Infinite Crisis # 5, pg. 1
  8. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) # 2, pg. 3
  9. ^ JSA #27, pg.17-18
  10. ^ 52 #39, pg. 22, Backup Origin
  11. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) # 4
  12. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #29 (July 2009)
  13. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #30 (August 2009)
  14. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #31 (September 2009)
  15. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #32 (October 2009)
  16. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #33 (November 2009)
  17. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #34 (December 2009)
  18. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/02/the-new-justice/
  19. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/09/project-up-up-and-runway/#comments
  20. ^ JSA # 26, pg. 8-9
  21. ^ JSA # 62, pg. 17-21
  22. ^ JSA # 17, pg. 1
  23. ^ JSA # 53, pg. 8
  24. ^ JSA All-Stars # 7, pg.4
  25. ^ JSA # 61, pg.6
  26. ^ JSA: Classified # 29, pg.11
  27. ^ JSA # 78, pg.3
  28. ^ JSA # 41, pg.19
  29. ^ JSA # 31, pg.16
  30. ^ JSA # 71, pg.4
  31. ^ JSA All-Stars # 7, pg.6
  32. ^ JSA # 84, pg. 8
  33. ^ JSA # 12, pg.6
  34. ^ JSA # 67, pg.2-6
  35. ^ JSA # 49, pg. 5-6
  36. ^ Hawkman (vol. 3) # 24, pg. 10
  37. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #19
  38. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #20
  39. ^ Flashpoint: The Outsider #1 (June 2011)

External links

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