Comic Book Review 05 – Mister Terrific #1

 

Status, here, reporting for duty! My mission is to tell you dudes and dames all about Mister Terrific #1.

YOUR mission is to be briefed on the latest exploits of Michael Holt A.K.A. Mister Terrific.

THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF DESTRUCT IF YOU DO NOT READ IT!

Page 1

 

Mister Terrific #1 is a $2.99 DC Comic, and is another entry in DC’s NEW 52 Initiative. The file I will be reviewing for you today was written by Eric Wallace and contains illustrations by Gianluca Gugliotta, inks by Wayne Faucher, colors by Mike Atiyeh, and letter work by Dave Sharpe. The cover art was done by J.G. Jones and was colored by Lovern Kinozierski.

Mister Terrific is one of the few known African-American heroes operating in the DC Universe. I take a certain personal interest in such cases, as there are not nearly enough of us out there. He is described as having “a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes” and is the third smartest human being on Earth.

Pages 14 & 15

The chain of events you are being briefed on, initially pick up at Dalton Technologies in London, England. Mister Terrific is on site investigating Dalton Technologies and its C.E.O., Miles Dalton, when he is ambushed by Dalton in a suit of “weaponized body armor,” our subject then subdues Mr. Dalton with quick thinking, clever use of his T-Spheres, and application of his EXTENSIVE knowledge of physics. After that whole operation, we go into a four page flashback of exposition where we are made privy to a brief explanation of Mr. Terrific’s motivations, as the locale transitions to Holt Mansion, Michael Holt’s private residence in Los Angeles. We pick up in the present to see, Mr. Terrific has been telling his story to Karen Starr, who may or may not still be Power Girl, post-New 52 relaunch. She is, however, portrayed as Michael’s close friend and sometimes love interest, in this issue. The fact he was telling her some of his most personal life experiences, could be alluding to the possibility she may in fact be Power Girl, and they still have that shared experience of both being superheroes, but at this point, we’ll have to wait and see how that situation develops in future operations.

Holt then asks Ms. Starr to accompany him to a fundraiser for Senator Gonzalez’s presidential campaign as his date – to which, she agrees. We now transition to a café, in downtown Los Angeles, where we come across Edgar Holowitz having lunch like normal, until hearing a “EEEEEEEEEEP” sound, at which point Mr. Holowitz snaps, for lack of a better term. Mr. Holowitz then begins to verbally demean the waitress, before he exits the café, and murders a vagrant right outside the joint. A short time later, we cut to a shot of Mister Terrific and an L.A.P.D. detective, watching Mr. Holowitz sitting in the interrogation room scribbling down Differential Equations, and discussing what may have happened to the man to set him off. Mister Terrific then leaves and enters his inner sanctum, via a dimensional portal.

Our last location to review is the Conscientia Institute, in Santa Barbara, California. The institute is playing host to the function Michael Holt earlier asked Karen Starr to attend with him, as his date. At the party Karen is wearing a blue dress and white forearm length gloves; the Power Girl color scheme is seemingly a nod to who she was, who she is, or who she is going to be. Karen gets into a bit of a verbal dispute with Michael Holt’s friend and colleague, Aleeka, who does not, at all, like the fact that Karen is Michael’s date, and she is clearly jealous. She feels inadequate and invisible with Karen around, because she looks like a model or actress, and also has a “corporate worth of over three hundred forty million, according to Forbes.” Aleeka obviously has some unresolved feelings and/or intentions towards Michael. The next and last event, we have to yet to go over, brings us back to Michael Holt, who is showing Senator Gonzalez around the Conscientia Institute, when suddenly Michael himself hears the same strange “EEEEEEEEEEP” sound that earlier sent Edgar Molowitz off the deep end and turned him into a trash talking bum murdering genius. Michael’s entire demeanor changes, and as the last page of our intel notes, Michael Holt attempts to kill Senator Gonzalez! Now your guess is as good as mine, far as what happens from here, but it looks like it’s gonna be interesting.

I would now like to discuss the images in the file, we have been going over. Gianluca Gugliotta did some decent work, putting the illustrations together. He rendered them with sufficient detail so that we can really get a good feel for everything that transpired. Gugliotta handles illustrating different characters and ethnicity with equal competence, although, I’ve seen much better, when it comes to portraying facial expressions and emotions. Mister Terrific seems to have the same expression on his face, throughout the vast majority of the images in the file. Another detail that is not a deal breaker, but could still be done much better, is Mister Terrific/Michael Holt’s hair. Mr. Holt is a multimillionaire, worth several hundred million dollars, for crying out loud! You would think he could have a decent haircut and a shape-up. Guggliotta clearly hasn’t gotten the knack of drawing African-American hair, yet. He was more competent during the action sequences, which were all fluid, and his sense of flow and storytelling was fair, throughout the file’s contents. Where Gugliotta’s images really shined, was with his renderings of the technology Mister Terrific employs, at both his company and personal laboratories, was quite cutting edge, and this detailed imagery will no doubt help us get a firmer grasp on the subject and his resources, moving forward with future files and cases. Mister Terrific is also shown using his T-Spheres in many varied and useful ways. The colors by Mike Atiyeh are also at their best, when bringing to life the many high-tech devices and contraptions of Mister Terrific’s world.

This first entry into Mister Terrific’s file was pretty well written. Notice if you will, that unlike many of the New 52, this #1 actually behaved like a #1 ought to behave. Eric Wallace actually gives us some exposition and recounts some of Mister Terrific’s origins, where many of the other New 52 take for granted the readers already know the characters, their origins, and back story. Wallace also handles all the high-tech and science jargon present throughout with aplomb. One scenario I really enjoyed was the conversation and confrontation between Aleeka and Karen Starr. I like this little scene and the way it addresses the issue of race between the two women. I have read comments from some white reviewers who seem to think Eric Wallace’s handling of racial issues and dynamics in this file was overly ham handed and completely disagree with that. These folks just don’t get it! Wallace didn’t put that scene in there merely as a contrivance. It’s there because it matters, and it’s real and authentic and well written. Many black women are genuinely bothered by seeing black men with white women – and I know this dynamic well, from real life. It happens… A LOT. Trust me.

In closing, Mister Terrific #1 was well written, but did have a few weaknesses with the art. I did enjoy the read, though. If you’re a fan of the character or a DC fan who has a tough time keeping up with the measly 3 or 4 black characters in their universe, this is the book for you. Considering how very, very few good black and minority characters DC Comics has to offer, I am hoping this title manages to find its niche and does not get canceled after eight or twelve issues.

 

All images are property of Warner Bros. and DC Comics.

STATUS (31 Posts)

James “STATUS” Eaddy is a freelance writer, who enjoys Readin', Writin', and Doin' Stuff! Along with Joe’l Williams, he is also the co-creator and writer of, the upcoming comic book property and characters, “The StreetKeepers”.