For the first time, the hero known as Mr. Terrific gets his own comic beginning next week.
Writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson will launch the book, which will focus on the character's scientific genius while also highlighting the diversity of the DCU.
"This is a smart, sexy, and cosmic series," Wallace told Newsarama. "And even though the book gets pretty cosmic very fast, there are elements to the world of Mr. Terrific that are specifically designed to ground the book in an identifiable reality."
Mister Terrific is Michael Holt, an Olympic athlete with superior intellect. In fact, he's commonly known as the "third smartest man in the DCU." (Wondering who the first two smartest men are? Keep reading...)
In this comic, Terrific will be based out of Los Angeles, and although the comic takes him into space, he also deals with the West Coast and Hollywood.
The character was previously associated with the Justice Society of America, but that team is getting a separate treatment in a later comic by James Robinson and Nicola Scott.But one other former JSA member will show up. Since the last time Newsarama spoke to Wallace about the new series, DC has confirmed that Karen Starr will also star in the book. In the past, she wore the mantle "Power Girl," but there's no word what her role will be in Mister Terrific.
As we continue our "New 52 Take 2" series, Newsarama talked with Wallace to ask a few follow-up questions.
Newsarama: Is there anything you couldn't talk about or detail before, when we first talked about Mr. Terrific, that you can tell readers now?
Eric Wallace: The biggest element of Mister Terrific that I couldn’t talk about before involves Karen Starr. Her appearance in the series was supposed to be a surprise. Readers were supposed to open up our first issue in September and go, “Whoa! Karen Starr? What’s she doing here?!” So you can imagine my shock when a fan told me he already knew about her presence in the book during a DC panel at SDCC. I was so stunned that I asked the fan, “Uh, how did you know about that?!” Apparently, somehow word had gotten out the previous day. Oh, well. That’s Comic Con! But you know, it’s probably for the best. Keeping that secret was really driving me up the wall.
Of course now the question is, what will Karen’s involvement be in the book? Sorry, no spoilers here. Beyond confirming her presence as an integral part of Michael’s journey, I can only say that you’ll have to wait for issue #1 to find out how it all begins.
Nrama: Now that you've seen the reaction from fans to the news about your comic, what are the top three things you want to clarify about it?
Wallace: The first thing readers should know about Mister Terrific is that, yes, we will be answering the question, “Who are the first and second smartest people in the DCU?” That’s the number one question I’m constantly being asked. Now we’re not going to reveal that answers immediately. We’re going to roll them out over the course of the first batch of stories. But yes, I know who one and two are and eventually so will everyone else.Secondly, I’ve heard that some fans think I’m under a lot of pressure as a Black writer to tell “Black” stories in Mister Terrific. Let me make something absolutely clear. The only pressure I’m under is to tell awesome stories, and that’s coming from me. Not DC. Not the fans. Not my peers. I’m a major A-type personality and trust me, I lose sleep over all of my creative endeavors. Lots of it. This series is no different.
Thirdly, I’ve heard that my comments about the book’s “cosmic” side are a bit confusing to some. I specifically read somewhere that certain fans think Mister Terrific will need a team of superheroes to help him get to outer space, because he can’t fly. Well, that’s simply not true. There are a lot of ways to get into space when you’re the third smartest man on Earth. We’ll see one of them very quickly in the series.
Nrama: Now that you're further into writing the comic, how would you describe the direction your title is taking?
Wallace: It’s becoming an unpredictable combination of action and psychological character drama. In writing issue #3, the series went to an emotional place that took me completely by surprise. So the series is becoming an incredible ride for me, creatively speaking, because the characters are starting to dictate the direction and emotional landscape of the stories, not me.Also, I’m very happy that the book’s cosmic elements feel right at home with Michael’s more earthbound adventures. It’s as if Mister Terrific can go anywhere and tell any kind of story. This was my goal all along, but I didn’t think the series would be able to accomplish this so soon into Year One, which I’m now almost halfway through writing.
Nrama: What character(s) in your comic do you expect to become beloved by fans? And why?
Wallace: That’s difficult to say, because I don’t like to anticipate what readers may or may not respond to. I can say, however, that Michael’s second-in-command, Aleeka Okafur, is quickly becoming my favorite character (after Michael himself, that is!). Her inner strength is matched by an emotional vulnerability that’s wonderfully human. I hope people fall in love with her as quickly as I have.
Nrama: Most important thing you want readers to remember about your comic?
Wallace: That Mister Terrific is a great frakkin’ superhero comic book. Period. So they should run out and buy it, as soon it’s available. Multiple copies, preferably.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
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