Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The Goddamn Fixer...
Frank Miller's 'Holy Terror', as absolutely everybody who has even a passing interest in comics, was originally conceived to be a part of Miller's Batman.
Trouble was Miller's Goddamn Batman got a little bit too blood thirsty. Okay, murderous. And totally way too psychotic to be Batman. So 'The Fixer' was born... and 'Holy Terror' was able to be finished as Miller had intended.
Cleverly, though, Miller knows that you that. And almost rubs your nose in it. Female jewel thieves that like to dress up as cats, who'd have thought?! And when he's got that out of the way. He then does the comic equivalent of taking a sawn-off shotgun and firing it at 120 pages of paper.
The Batman Quest really loves this book. Which was a surprise. As I had convinced myself I probably wouldn't. And debated long and hard whether I should hit the 'BUY' button on Amazon. Why did I decide to buy this book. I reasoned, in the end... Frank Miller, The Batman story that isn't. Oh why not?
It's angry. Really Angry. It's response is to be nasty. Really Nasty.
Politics, and not Miller's politics, are all over the book. For me, this is a classic 'What If...' storyline that takes a real world issue and then places it into the world of the 1990's anti-hero (a genre Miller is partly responsible for creating). My interpretation of this book is that Miller looks at what happened in ten years of political action/reaction in America since 9-11, and then compresses it into 120 pages of quality comics. In short, we have here is a superheroes political commentary on the War On Terror.
You may not like what is being said within, the finger pointing at Saudi Arabia, at Islam. At the Palestinian/Israeli situation. Or even the link between an Irishman being involved with Al Queda. Miller also throws in American Imperialism into this piece ('Empire City', with it's welcoming 'Blind Justice' symbolic statue looking out at the world, c'mon!). By taking a scattergun approach to a massive subject, is trying to cause Us, the reader, to react. And by using the different captions, different cameos, different colours, different images, different set-pieces, he ought to succeed (and by looking at the reviews throughout the internet, he does succeed). This is socio-political thinking, by one of the greatest comic book creators, who is able to say and express whatever he wants to say and does it by not saying anything overtly.
For those who're are more frustrated by the sparse artwork over the pages, and the way that book's captions read (sometimes top down, sometimes from left to right). Guys, I think Miller has designed the book for you to be frustrated with it!
This is the same reason as to why he doesn't hide the 'The Goddamn Bat'. Miller wants you frustrated and engaging with the work (indeed, comparing it to Frank Miller's Batman), before the terrorist attack. Then he knows that you'll be still reading it, right to the end.
The genius is that 'Holy Terror' is supposed to be, and designed to be, divisive. It's designed to provoke debate. Because that's exactly what any major, shattering event (whether it be economic, man-made, or natural) does to an educated populations politics. It makes you think. And helps create your own opinion. It helps shape your own politics.
And to be truthful here, if Batman had been 'The Fixer', I think my interpretation of the book would have been lost. This story, and 'The Fixers' actions would have been very much against those practiced by what my understanding as to how Batman operates. Also, I feel if this was a true 'Goddamn Batman' book, I feel that Miller's central message would have been diluted.
On top of all of this, the book looks really cool sat next to a copy of '300'. Which let's face it looks so out of place with the rest of trades...
'Holy Terror' is awesome. It's simply recommended by me. Buy It. And then get Angry.