Well, this is pretty much exactly what I expected. But I really was hoping that Miller would find a way to rise above the clichés and deliver something special. My preview of this gives the relevant background. But the subtle approach and sensitive handling of the subject matter is just not here. Exactly as I thought.
First, the package. I HATE these kind of books. Like Miller’s 300 before it, Holy Terror is in a pseudo-widescreen format that makes the book unwieldy, and easy to damage. Turning the pages is tough on the book as the pages tend to get creases where you touch them. The print quality is good though, and the hardcover books is just large enough to feel substantial in your hands.
The story, not that there is much to it, is revenge fantasy played out as the lead character The Fixer and his “cat burglar” sidekick try to stop a terrorist plot to attack Empire City. That’s pretty much it. The art is very hard to follow. Sometimes that is clearly deliberate but that makes this book no easier to read. There are panels where I just can’t see what is going on. His rendering style, if it has not jumped the shark yet, is not far away. Everyone that was pissed off by the art in DK2, will be sent over the edge with this book. Things get better in the last half of the book, as the art feels like more time was taken.
The real gripe here is that this book, while I’m sure it made Miller feel better, is just uncomfortable. This is material that has no place with us now. It feels like hate-mongering. I understand that this is in some ways intended, that the cathartic nature of this may fill a need for some. This book failed to do that for me. I felt sad that we are still here. Sad that this book is still the way many of us feel. The stereotypes are there, and they need to be, but this book never even tries to rise above them and try to make something coherent and truly cathartic from the story. If just killing lots of bad guys works for you, then this is your book, but I am one of those seemingly rare Americans, that does not see just one Muslim, any more than I see one American. People are good and bad. Muslims are a mix of good people and bad people just like any group. What happens in crises is that the vast majority of the people in the “good” group, fear speaking out to defend themselves and their beliefs and the very small minority of “bad” just manage to grab everyone’s attention and set everyone else on edge. I had hoped that Miller’s better angels and much greater skills would have been on display here. Instead this feels like a terrorist attack on Basin City, and Marv is our hero. Marv can be a hero, but the hero didn’t really show up for this book. Just a hell of a lot of negativity.