Frank Miller’s newest work mixes the world of superheroes with deep political, religious and social commentary. At its core the book is a love story admits one of the worst nights in human history or just Batman beating Al-Qaeda ass. Fans of Miller’s art work are in for a treat as the book is full of his unique style made famous by Sin City and 300. The real question is, can Holy Terror live up to the hype that inevitably surrounds any new Frank Miller work but especially one of this magnitude? The story begins with a chase; a cat burglar has made off with a diamond necklace and is now being stalked by the masked vigilant The Fixer. Her name is Natalie and this isn’t the first time her and the Fixer have done this song and dance. He catches up to her and they begin beating the shit out of each other, and then embrace for a kiss before returning to the fight and shouting about how much they hate one another. As they give in to each other’s attractions they are suddenly over taken by an explosion of nails. One nail goes through Natalie’s leg and the Fixer grabs her and gets them both out of harm’s way.
It becomes clear that the city is under attack by terrorists and the Fixer is none too happy about it. They head out to find someone to murder and low and behold they come across a rooftop full of Al-Qaeda. They make quick work of the group with the exception of one; they keep him to torture and try to get as much info out of him as possible. Unfortunately, he’s been trained to withstand torture so they don’t get much out of him other than the remote detonator he has on him. They throw him off the roof then hit the button blowing him to pieces. It’s been a busy night already, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better as the attempt to clear the terrorists out of the city.
If you’re expecting anything resembling Frank Miller’s previous works then the only place you’ll find it is in the artwork and storytelling style. Miller’s story is rich with social commentary as he basically calls out numerous subjects from religion to political and he’s does it all with Batman. Sure the main character is called the Fixer, but you can’t look at him and not see Batman. You can’t look at Natalie and not see Catwoman and you sure as hell can’t look at his cop friend Dan and not see young Jim Gordon and Miller isn't trying to hide it. Even still, Miller manages to make the characters introduced in the story believable and stand on their own as they take on the worse night of their lives.
This book doesn’t back down for a minute and frankly some are going to be turned off by this story. It takes a hard look at the United States under attack from within, but from a very different way than 9/11 when down. That’s one of the things that Miller does right is that he creates his own terror unleashed on the world rather than try to use real world events to drive his commentary. It was a smart move since one of his goals with the story is to show what real terror can do to someone. This is a stunning tribute to 9/11 in a way only a comic book can be and told in a way only Miller could.
Artistically Miller has grown; the technique for the book is very much that of Sin City, but with a unique look of its own. Miller intentionally clutters the page with extra lines to give the book a different tone and atmosphere than his previous works. He manages to make the book look real even down to the superhero costumes. The art is very balanced keeping a consistent look throughout with very few scenes that reverse the contrast to predominately black or white. It’s great to see Miller’s style continuing to grow as it shows his longevity in the business.
I really don’t know how this book will be received by others. Will it get a free pass because it’s Frank Miller or will there be a backlash as he grows as an artist and storyteller in front the public’s eye. One thing is for sure though, this book is almost guaranteed to be a critical darling and garnish the respect of Miller’s peers in the comic industry, but let’s hope it’s because of what the book accomplishes and not because of the creators name alone.
Will I be picking up Holy Terror when it’s released for purchase? I most certainly will. It is book worth reading, worth owning and most of all worth experiencing for one’s self before passing judgement. Most importantly, if you find yourself offended... then good. At the very least Miller has made you think, feel and consider something that you hadn't before.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Frank Miller Publisher: Legendary Pictures