Review – Holy Terror
It’s so hard to write the review for Holy Terror for multiple reasons. The fact is, no matter his politics, Frank Miller is a legend. The second is, the comic is a jumble mess. In fact it’s a holy mess that will only inspire terror in the readers. Five years in the making this hateful, revenge fantasy, propagandist comic was originally envisioned as Batman vs. Al Qaeda. An interesting concept there. But, instead, replace Batman with The Fixer, who really is just a racist (he calls all Muslims Mohammed). A character who is clearly Catwoman references the fact it’s good she has nine lives. Which shows another problem with this graphic novel. It was supposed to be Batman vs. Al Qaeda, that idea lingered in the back of my head the entire time. I couldn’t help but read it through that lens and Miller either just doesn’t give a shit anymore, or no one stood up to tell him he probably should take out references that only make sense in that setting.
The story is simple, while doing his normal thing protecting Empire City from Natalie Stack (not-Catwoman, no really, ignore the nine lives line) a female suicide bomber sets herself off and numerous other explosions follow. This leads into a twisted tale of revenge porn as The Fixer wages a war against Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda’s plot against the city is because they see it as too decadent, as if the real world motivation is that simple. Religious and racial slurs fly as The Fixer unleashes revenge wrapped up in fascist glee upon those he deems to be evil, aka all Muslims.
I can drone on about the constant bashing of Islam, referring to it’s beliefs as those of the Dark Ages, and what Miller doesn’t address is, like many other religions, Islam does have nuance and not all those who practice are evil terrorists.
The plot has numerous issues, throwing it’s two main protagonists into scenario after scenario that conveniently features items needed for plot points. A helicopter is met with Stinger missiles as if they’re magically in the right area. A headquarters just randomly is thrown into the mix along with three other characters that make no sense. Terrorist some how have jets to blow up this version of the Statue of Liberty which is supposed to be Lady Justice. The irony being The Fixer forgoing justice and killing anyone he thinks involved, even a cop that he has no proof, only a hint, is involved.
Throughout the book Miller attempts to contrast Muslims and the non-Muslim world. A child watches a robot cartoon show, Muslims stone a woman. Through those panels stereotypical drawings abound crossing the line into racist caricature.
And that brings us to the art. It’s a mixed bag, and at some times I enjoy the rough drawing with what looks like splashes of paint. But, it also reminds you at times this book used to involve Batman. You can almost see where ears had to be erased.
There’s nothing new here, in fact others have done a similar story and much better. In fact this comic only makes me think how far Frank Miller has fallen. Instead of remembering him for his fantastic works of the past, I’m only left with a nasty taste in my mouth from the present. That taste is the bile that built up while reading this, matching the dark place this filth spewed up from.
Story: 3 Art: 7 Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Legendary Comics provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.