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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If Shawn wrote Comics: Mister Terrific

A couple of years ago Goeff Johns revamped Mr. Terrific by introducing Michael Holt, and African-American. I see a lot of potential in DC Comics Third smartest man, and I have a plan to establish him as a distinct superhero.

The problem with Mr. Terrific right now is that he’s just…Mediocre. A black guy who calls himself Mr. Terrific. Sure he’s got a great look and all these great tools like a nanite mask and T-Spheres, but there’s nothing to make him really stand out in a crowd of other Black superheroes.

As it stands now there’s nothing terrific about Mr. Terrific. He’s still a square boring brotha in a costume. He needs more to help him stand out as a superhero. Something to give him an edge. He has a great power and skill set, but the way writers have been using them doesn’t help him actualize his potential. That’s why he wasn’t able to carry a series as part of the New 52.

No one wants to buy just a Black superhero. No, they want an interesting one.

When I revamped John Haynes for The Temptation of John Haynes back in 2005, I gave him intelligence and street savvy. Then I put him up against Lucifer in a cerebral game of wits where the stakes were high. That storyline proved to be one of the most critically acclaimed and successful novels of my career.

I’d love to apply the John Haynes model to DC’s Mr. Terrific. I believe he needs to be more than the world’s third smartest man, what he needs to be is the World’s most dangerous man.

What makes Michael Holt dangerous? The same thing that Made John Haynes dangerous. He’s an intelligent Black man. As one of the smartest men in the world, he’s a guy and who understands the subtle politics transpiring about him. He knows how to think critically and plan strategies. The deadliest weapon he has is his brain.

In White Supremacist America, a smart black man is dangerous. And smart black man who has power like Michael Holt has is even more dangerous.

And his power isn’t just his brain. It’s the fact that he has personal power, power over himself. He isn’t afraid of these super powered metahumans, aliens, Amazons, Atlanteans, and rainbow colored candy lanterns. He’s the kind of guy to stand up look them in the eye and let them know he will be the last man standing.

That’s something that scares the villains. And it scares some of the heroes. Guys like Batman. Guys like Superman. Powerful people like like Lex Luthor, Dr. Cyber, and Amanda Waller. The Michael Holt I envision is getting the attention of a lot of people with his “fair play”. And they don’t like the fact that he’s a man that can’t be controlled.

Taking a page from my work in The Temptation of John Haynes, I’d love to Make Mr. Terrific a book about a Black man’s view of superheroes, race and politics similar to Christopher Priests’ Black Panther. The way I see it Michael Holt is the world’s most dangerous man. Because he knows that truth, justice and the American way aren’t always the right way.

My vision for Mister Terrific is character who fights not just for justice against villains, but for “Fair Play.” He’s the guy who makes sure that the good guys follow the rules they establish. A man who fights to keep organizations like the Justice League, the JSA, the Titans and other freelance heroes on the side of right.

I feel Mr. Terrific is a great character to explore race and race relations in the superhero community. Everyone out there doing good deeds isn’t as “good” as they think they are and this would be the kind of book to really make characters in the DC Universe take that long introspective look at themselves and the ideals they promote.

If I were writing Mr. Terrific, there would be a storyline about him investigating a case of a superhero using excessive force on people of color. (and No, it won’t be Guy Gardner.)

I’d also like to write a storyline where Superman is scared of Mr. Terrific and we get to see how Truth Justice and the American way are colored by race and politics. A challenge of the Ideals of Superman vs. the realities of race and politics in America. This would be a storyline where Michael comes to understand Lex Luthor’s fears of Superman. As he’s being challenged by Superman and tempted by villains like Lex Luthor Dr Cyber, and Amanda Waller, he has to figure out not only how to fight Superman’s super powers, but his public image.

You don’t spit in the wind and you don’t tug on Superman’s cape. So how does a Black man overcome the American Icon and fight for the real Truth, justice and the American way?

I would also explore the impact of Black superheroes in the Black community. Sure Mr. Terrific is seen as great by Whites but in his community they’d probably call him “Tom Terrific” for acting so “White”. In the ghettos dope boys and gang bangers are considered heroes by some. So how does a superhero show them that he's the good guy who has their backs? That's never been a question answered in the pages of a modern comic book.

A Shawn James run on Mr. Terrific would be a series mixing race, political intrigue action and adventure. I feel a Black superhero has to stand out by not just being Black, but by interesting, multidimensonal and complex as well.

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