Frank Miller Holy Terror Review By Deffinition
In 2006 Frank Miller announced Batman Holy Terror. A new graphic novel in which The Dark Knight would take on Al Qaeda. He summarised the work as “a piece of propaganda… Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things comic book characters are there for.”
The title of the graphic novel is a reference to the War on Terror as well as the catchphrase(“Holy [something], Batman!”) used by Burt Ward (Robin) in the 1960s Batman television series.
Miller stated that the work was “bound to offend just about everybody”. This of course was a bad move. DC are one of the world’s largest publishing companies, and they didn’t get there by offending people. Due to this,The following year Miller announced that the series, would no longer feature Batman. “As I worked on it, it became something that was no longer Batman,” he clarified. “It’s somewhere past that and I decided it’s going to be part of a new series that I’m starting.”
A series that we all know didn’t go beyond this book.
But why is that?
Is the book so offensive that it’s unable to be enjoyed? Is this further confirmation of Miller’s madness, continuing his fall from grace? Is this still really a Batman book!!?? Is the book actually not that bad it just has so much controversy surrounding it that it just adds to pointless questions being asked?
Well…I suppose I’ve already answered that with that last one. The others though remain unknown…TILL NOW!
It’s time to dive into Frank Miller’s Holy Terror and see if it really deserves all the bad press it get.
Definitely Not Batman
Opening on the quote “‘if you meet the infidel, kill the infidel’ – Mohammed” it’s clear this book wants to give you an excuse to hate Muslims from the off. It instantly struck me as a really left field and shallow way to open a story. The best villains are written with complexity and often you can see method in their madness. This book just wants you to take all of the fear mongering that was wrought forth from 9/11 and apply it immediately to the majority of the enemies within. It’s lazy writing and will probably leave most readers shaking their head from the off.
Miller doesn’t try to understand the extremists at any point. They have no morale value, no ambition, no humanity. Instead they are evil to the core, wanting to destroy all life, including their own. Miller tries to justify that since they wanted to die it’s ok to murder them, which falls completely flat and is one of the least compassionate stances I’ve ever seen taken from a so called ‘artist.’
I’ve always thought that in destroying monsters, you should make sure that you don’t become one as well. Miller doesn’t have any ideologies like this. There is no regret from the extreme measure the characters have had to take and due to this they are very…VERY one dimensional.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
No matter what Miller says, this book is still definitely a Batman Book. Whether you view it as an original tale or not there are huge similarities between The Fixer and Batman. Both are dark vigilantes with scrappy sidekicks, both scour the streets tackling criminals and both have Commissioner Gordon.
I tried to cast my prejudices aside but it became more and more difficult the further that I got into the work.
The first five pages contain no dialogue other than a character continuously saying ‘huff.’ This let’s you know straight away that it is Mad Miller in full effect.
The Fixer chases down a feline Cat Burglar (hmmm where have I seen that before) and after one of the most awkward sex scenes in comic book history we are thrust forward (no pun) into the main plot.
The Empire City Strikes Back
As they canoodle on a rooftop a suicide bomber detonates their package in the adjacent building. The explosion is huge. Ripping through the panels it can be quite disorientating and feels like a lot of wasted space, especially in a book so short.
In the aftermath We are treated to every Goddamn character saying Goddamn a Goddamn lot because this is Goddamn Frank Miller and nowadays it seems to be the only Goddamn word that conveys Goddamn emotion in his Goddamn vocabulary. I really found it hard to like the characters due to their one dimensional portrayal and clearly racist agenda. If you’ve even been in the same bookshop as a Quran The Fixer thinks you should die and I hated this ideology throughout.
Whilst this may have been a mind state that may have been acceptable in the midst of 9/11, in 2017, it just seems racist.
Lazy Frank Miller
I’ve often thought the older that Frank Miller got the lazier he became. This is a guy who made The Dark Knight Returns and Batman Year One just years apart, who nowadays can’t do Dark Knight 3 on less than 2 years notice and the book Holy Terror is a testament of not caring.
Several pages contain no dialogue, just poor cartoon parodies of political figures. It’s completely style over substance. They are given no voices, no depth and due to this don’t showcase any insight into what they are thinking. They are just set dressing. Often satirical moments like this are intelligent due to the dialogue, the likeness letting you know who is who. Here, it’s just likeness sake for likeness sake. You may go ‘oh that’s Putin’ but that’s it. There’s absolutely no depth to the characterisation and when the Fixer throws dialogue in the middle like ‘no you creep’ it’s hard not to want to start an Isis book burning session with your favourite Frank Miller Fiction.
‘Give my regards to those 72 virgins’
The book ends with the Fixer and ‘Cat Woman’ (only thing I can call her) taking down the terrorist threat. The art is a wash of black to the point that it’s often difficult to tell who’s silhouette is who and the only joy that you will take from it is happiness that it’s over. It’s finally over.
I never thought a book that you can breeze through in 20 minutes would have such poor pacing but Holy Terror somehow manages to do it. Ending on Commissioner Gordon-light realising that the city feels Terror I put the book down. The same feeling of Terror filling my veins knowing that Frank Miller is allowed to have full creative control over Dark Knight Four.
This isn’t Holy Terror, it’s a Holy Error on Miller part and ranks up there as his biggest disaster since The Spirit. Terrible
Normally when I review a book with a bad reputation I am often left saying ‘it’s not that bad.’ Well, Holy Terror has beaten me into complete submission. The book is atrocious, some of the art saves it from being a coffee coaster but there’s not much else here that warrants you picking up. Unless you want to know how bad it is. Or are suicidal.
I wouldn’t wish Holy Terror on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t wish Holy Terror on the terrorists who orchestrated 9/11. Perhaps Bin Laden read this book and just though ‘F**k it I’m just gonna wait here till they come.’ Who knows.
This book is bad from start to finish. Bad bad bad.
It doesn’t even sit on a book shelf correctly. I’m not even joking.
I don’t know when Frank Miller was switched out with his Bizarro World version but I wish that the hero we need would come back from the darkness.
The only positive that I can take from this is that I doubt it will receive a second printing…so maybe it’ll be worth something in a couple of decades.
And that’s why Holy Terror gets a…