Thursday 29 September 2011

Swoon Now! Holy Terror

Whilst not wishing to post a full and detailed review, I would like to add my pennyworth over Holy Terror (Legendary) as it seems to be getting quite a serious backlash that focuses as much on Frank Miller as it does the book.  I found the book to be a seemingly raw, energetic piece, as if Miller had seen/heard/read about something and charged over to his desk to spill his guts on the page.  It doesn't appear to be measured in its exploration of its subject of holy war, in fact it doesn't feel as if it's bothering to explore the topic at all.  It feels reactionary; as if Miller had lost a loved one in the 9-11 attack and was full of a vaguely directed vengeful spirit that sees the enemy as Muslims as a whole rather than any ultra-violent fraction. 

The opening pages - several pages in fact - could be pastiche Miller with the tough-talking monologue, the grunts and the seemingly endless and nondescript rooftop 'dance' between The Fixer and Natalie Stack.  But the scenes are scratched and faded, as if we're looking at an old, badly worn comic.  The ridiculous love-hate relationship, so obviously Batman and Catwoman, is given a short sharp shock when a terrorist bomb sends nails raining down upon them.  Real life crashing in on fantasy?  It's the beginning of the real topic here for me: fact and fiction; what is real when it comes to a war founded on terror?  One of the most important panels in the book shows, in silhouette, the two wounded heroes next to a gargoyle in the shape of a unicorn - a stark symbol of hopeful fantasy.

In light of this, suddenly the criticism in my first paragraph fall into a different light.  Or maybe not.  The point is that there is a point.  Yes some pages are a little confusing to follow and the book does leave a bad taste in the mouth, but there is more at work here.  Some pages have as much detail as his work on Elektra Lives Again (Marvel); there's symbolism, energy and, whether it's channelling or mocking an extremist response, it's coming from an honest and brave place - maybe we're not used to seeing that too often.

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