I was very excited to have picked this up on the great comicbook retail internet giant known as Ebay. Where would we collectors be without it, eh? Anyway, for those of you don’t know, Batman: Holy Terror is the first DC one-shot with the Elseworlds logo on the cover. And for those of you unfamiliar with Elseworlds, just think Superheroes in alternate settings, universes, garb etc.
Batman: Holy Terror takes place in some Cromwellian dystopia where the Machiavellian elite rule with an iron fist. Bruce Wayne is a priest who is told by Gordon, who himself is an Inquisitor, (nobody, Spanish Inquisition, you know the drill) tells Bruce that the powers-that-be ordered the execution of his parents due to them helping vagrants and miscreants on the sly. Not good.
Bruce is soon upset enough to be Batman and starts an investigation into who precisely is responsible for his parents’ downfall. However, and here’s the however, on his travels he uncovers some kind of underground prison laboratory housing a couple of familiar names and faces that I won’t spoil here. In his attempts to free the inmates Batman comes across the man responsible for everything and to be honest, it is here where the story goes somewhat awry.
The initial premise into uncovered the presumably multi-layered political minefield that enveloped Gotham in this fantastically detailed universe was the beginning of, not only an interesting take on the city itself, but the makings of a damn good detective story. The decision to go all biologically fantastical on us and thus remove the reader from this vividly-imagined, distant-yet-highly-believable other world was, in my opinion, a mistake.
Although I’ve praised it indirectly, hats must go off to Alan Brennert for the historical imaginings, and my undying resect and gratitude goes to my favourite Batman artist of all time, Norm Breyfogle. The movement he conveys in fight scenes have always been unparalleled, and his use of black is menacing and simply down right cool.
For collectors it’s a must have (but then again isn’t everything?) and for the casual reader it’s well worth picking up.