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The Root Of Mr. Terrific's Rivalry With Batman Boils Down To Business

There is no shortage of super-geniuses within the pages of the DC Universe. While some are very well-known, villains like Lex Luthor and Brainiac use their brilliant intellects to pit them against the much more powerful Superman, evening the playing field. Other heroes like Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, and Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, use them to put themselves on the same level as their superpowered cohorts. Other DC characters fly under the radar; the ones that people forget are on the same level as the above-mentioned characters.

One of the main examples of this is Michael Holt, who fights crime under the alter ego of Mr. Terrific. Holt is a brilliant inventor and businessman, who created the tech firm Holt Holdings Inc., and turned himself into a millionaire. After the devastating death of his wife and unborn child, he contemplated ending his life until the spirit, known as Spectre, visited him. Inspired by Spectre's representation of the Golden Age Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloane, Holt took up the mantle and joined the Justice Society of America. While he doesn't have any superpowers of his own, his intellect allows him to rival fellow human geniuses such as Wayne and Palmer by using tech to best his opponents.

He has been a mainstay in the DC since his first appearance in 1997, when he became one of the longest-running Black superheroes in DC, alongside John Stewart's Green Lantern, Victor Stone's Cyborg, and Jefferson Pierce's Black Lightning. Another aspect of his character is his friendly rivalry with Bruce Wayne. But what about these two makes them so eager to compete with each other?

Their rivalry is based on similarities

On the surface, the two don't seem to have much in common other than being super-powerless heroes using their intellect to fight crime. However, they are both brilliant businessmen, which is one reason they see each other as friendly rivals. While Wayne was bequeathed Wayne Enterprises, already a global corporate juggernaut, Holt created Holt Holding Inc. and gained millions on his own. The eventuality was Bruce Wayne purchasing the smaller company and folding it under his umbrella — perfect fodder for the rivalry cannons.

Another point of competition between them is their intellect. Both of them are brilliant in their own right, but the two of them together could battle it out in the most epic game of Jeopardy the world has ever seen. Per DC Fandom, Mr. Terrific possesses a whopping fourteen PhDs in subjects like engineering, physics, law, and medicine, and has an eidetic memory, so he never forgets what he learns and has perfect recall. Wayne (via Fandom) is also a genius-level intellect with an eidetic memory, and he has numerous degrees in criminology, engineering, medical science, and forensic pathology. He also focused on more physical training, like 127 different martial arts disciplines, lock-picking, investigation, etc. While Wayne would be able to best Holt in a financial battle, a battle of wits would come down to the wire as they are considered two of the smartest people in the entire DC Universe.

Batman and Mr. Terrific have a lot in common

Finally, their rivalry may come down to team spirit. While Batman is a founding member of the Justice League with Superman and Wonder Woman, Mr. Terrific holds down and even leads the older and more storied Justice Society. The teams have occasionally interchanged members, but a friendly rivalry between resident geniuses is good for growth. It's up to fans to decide, but the Justice League appears to have the edge when it comes to the more powerful team, which puts Bruce ahead yet again.

Of course, all friendly rivalries can push the participants to farther reaches. When you see a friend succeed, you believe it is possible and push yourself harder. That is even more important when you get to the top. A man as accomplished as Bruce Wayne may feel he has no one who can understand him, then he meets Michael Holt, and that all changes. The two counterparts on their respective teams may be rivals on the outside, but they find solace in the fact that they are not alone and that there is someone else in the universe who can give them a run for their money.