Fair Play is the motto of the men who call themselves Mr. Terrific. Who are these terrific men who went from the very bottom of despair to the highest points of heroism? Who are these men of 1,000 talents? Who is the third smartest man on the planet? Let’s find out!
The first Mr. Terrific was Terry Sloane, a man who could give Mary Poppins a run for her money for the title “practically perfect in every way.” Sloane was an Olympic-level athlete, and wealthy and successful businessman all by his early 20s. This would lead to Sloane finding himself bored with life, there were no challenges for him, he was ready to commit suicide when he saw a young woman about to jump from a bridge. Sloane would save her and learn of her brother’s plight with a gang, and take care of the situation by donning a costume. Mr. Terrific and the power of Fair Play was born.
Sloane would begin fighting crime with his many skills and start an organization called Fair Play to help the city’s youth stay out of gangs (this is a nice thing to see in a hero since most of them tend to fight the symptoms and not the disease). Sloane would join up with the Justice Society and the All-Star Squadron, where he’d pretty much spend most of his time.
When the House of Un-American Activities Committee demanded that all heroes of the Justice Society reveal their identities to show they were loyal to America, the team dispersed and retired rather than risk their loved ones’ safety. Sloane would remain retired and probably took care of his companies in that time, until an old villain called the Spirit King returned.
Sadly, during this battle with the Spirit King, Sloane would be killed, but that does not mean Mr. Terrific was dead.
Decades later, another man of terrific skill, Michael Holt, was struggling with his own tragedy. Having been an Olympic-level athlete and successful businessman, Holt was ready to kill himself after his wife died in a car accident. Before jumping off a bridge, the Spectre (an ally of Sloane’s back in the old Justice Society who is also the physical embodiment of God’s wrath) appears to Holt out of something like It’s A Wonderful Life. The Spectre tells Holt of a man in a similar situation, successful and with nothing to live for, who took it upon himself to help his fellow man by spreading the idea of Fair Play and becoming Mr. Terrific. Holt is inspired to follow in Sloane’s footsteps, dons a T-shaped mask, and begins promoting Fair Play.
Armed with his T-spheres (floating spheres with all sorts of gadgetry, imagine a floating utility belt that also hacks) and able to be invisible to technology, Holt would become Mr. Terrific for a new generation in need of Fair Play. Holt would bring a lot of technical might along with him as he had plenty of skills, such as 14 academic degrees and several doctorates, to fight crime.
Joining the JSA and becoming chairman for a time, Holt would work with the team and act as consultant for the JLA for several cases, and in general be a scientist among superheroes. Holt would even get a chance to team up with Sloane when he and the rest of the JSA got sent back in time. Terrific and Batman have a friendly rivalry since they both have similar abilities, and Holt is considered the third smartest man in the world, with Batman being first and Lex Luthor being second (at least that’s where I’d rank those two).
Eventually, Holt would go on to also join Checkmate, the covert ops agency made of heroes and villains, and Holt would be the White Bishop, and then eventually the White King. When Batman would have trouble with his satellite system, Brother Eye, Holt was one of the first people he wanted to aide in stopping the rogue machine. Holt would be killed by All-American Kid (a supervillain who was masquerading as a hero), but saved and revived by Alan Scott and Dr. Fate. Michael would be responsible for stopping the Fourth Reich from taking over the planet; you know, no big deal.
With the new 52, Holt was dealing with keeping his company in order while it was being threatened from within to be taken, he traveled in space and united prisoners to freedom, and he even learned more about his wife’s death. Due to a collection of weird dimensional tech, Holt found himself on an earth where Terry Sloane was alive and young and just starting out, along with many new Justice Society members. What will happen with two Terrific men fighting fairly? We’ll have to wait and see.
Sensation Comics #1
Justice Society of America