February 19, 2013
As many of you know, I tend to avoid writing negative reviews - part of it is that I would rather worship the good, but I also relish the chance to tear into a piece for how it doesn't work. I'm not the kind of guy who watches deliberately bad movies (unless they're given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment), but I hate destroying when it's so much more fulfilling to create.
But I'm going to break my policy just this once, because Frank Miller's Holy Terror is an unmitigated piece of trash.
I'm not going to discuss the politics of the book - Miller and I disagree, and quite honestly, politics is a straw man when discussing Holy Terror. Originally conceived as a Batman one-shot, Holy Terror takes place in Miller's Sin City universe - a place where (in his own mind, at the very least), Miller wishes to channel his love of Mickey Spillane and similar pulp writers into a solid story of how one man takes on a terrorist cabal bent on destroying our country.
And if you think I'm doing justice to Miller's work, that's the only justice I can do. On every level - art, story, plot - this is a dismal failure. To call it "propaganda" would be an insult to propaganda. (And lest you think I'm partisan, I also believe that much of Michael Moore's work, from Farenheit 9/11 to Sicko to Capitalism: A Love Story, contains similar holes and mistakes, often glossing over their own internal inconsistencies and providing a half-baked rationale for their "truth". But in all honesty, I'm comparing apples to cyanide.)
In short, this is one of the few books I honestly regret checking out of my local library, because Holy Terror is - from start to finish - a total and absolute failure. It's the kind of book that should have been kept as a "rough draft" to be raided for possible ideas (dialogue, situations, etc). As a graphic novel, it's barely readable, and is simply further evidence that one of the great graphic artists of our time has lost it, choosing to substitute shock and melodrama for solid storytelling.
Absolutely worthless. Please avoid at all costs.