Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mister Terrific #1 - A Review

When I first heard that Mister Terrific would be getting a solo book as part of the New 52, one thought came to mind – It’s About Time! Mister Terrific has been one of the most unappreciated heroes of the past decade. Despite holding command positions in the JSA and Checkmate, he’s never really been a big-name character. With any luck, this book will change that.

Michael Holt is a modern-day Renaissance man, with dozens of degrees and an Olympic Gold Medal. He was happy and content until a traffic accident claimed the life of his wife and their unborn son. Despite his wealth, fame and power, Holt grew depressed and was on the verge of suicide... until he had a vision while working on an experiment to open a dimensional rift. Newly inspired, Holt vowed to use his intelligence, his technology and his fortune to make the world a better place as both an activist and as a masked hero, fighting those who would use science for evil as Mister Terrific.

There’s a lot to like in Eric Wallace’s script, which neatly alters Michael Holt’s background to remove all trace of the supernatural as Holt’s revelation originally was the result of a visit by The Specter. This new origin better fits Holt’s status as a man of science and I think the book is better for it. Wallace writes Michael Holt as a good-humored genius, defying the typical “professor” characterization that usually seems to take over most super-science heroes.

The script also betrays Wallace’s background as a writer for the TV series Eureka, featuring a lot of the same “weird science”. Fans of that show as well as Doctor Who (which gets a shout out at one point) will love this book for that reason alone. Power Girl fans should also take note as Karen Starr has a role in this book as Michael’s colleague and possible love interest. Don’t worry– she may not have displayed any powers yet, but her strong attitude is very much in evidence.

The art by Gianluca Gugliotta is a perfect match for the story. Dynamic is the only word I can think of to fully describe it. Everything in this comic looks lively, from the opening fight/chase scene across the skies of London to the more mundane scenes of Michael’s organizing a gala event at his company. Energy arcs convincingly in the backgrounds of the various labs we see and Gugliotta is able to subtly convey the possession of various characters by an unknown intelligence as the plot of the book thickens..

Simply put, this book lives up to its’ name. If you were a fan of Mister Terrific before the revamp, you won’t find any big changes here that are likely to turn you off of the character. And if weren’t a fan of Mister Terrific before, you more than likely will be after reading this book. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

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