Although I had some reservations about the subject matter compounded by the "quality" of Frank's recent work, there's so much he's done right (albeit more than 15 years ago) in comics that I have remained willing to give him another, then another, chance to make good on his early promise.
"Holy Terror" is puerile garbage of the lowest order. Miller's "art" has devolved from his last outings (hard to imagine!), and although the earliest pages are invested with some kind of experimental energy, they are also the least comprehensible in a book that makes little sense. But at least they have a spark, even if the actions depicted are near-impossible to follow and the writing/dialogue is shameful.
I assume these early pages were done almost a decade ago, when this was originally envisioned as a Batman vehicle for Miller to funnel his 9-11 anger into. Vengeful anger may not be the best motivation to tell a story, but those emotions have fueled some powerful art in the past. This isn't one of them.
This opening sequence has "Batman" (I read it this morning and cannot even remember what the lead's name was changed to after DC declined to publish it) pursuing "Catwoman" (did this character even get a name here?) after she commits a theft. They engage in a brutal extended acrobatic/arial battle, before becoming aroused and "Batman" admits he loves her - In what world does this make sense? They appear to have (or be ready to have, who can tell?) post-battle sex when a terrorist's nail bomb goes off, catching "Catwoman" in the leg.
Apparently Miller doesn't think we readers would understand that A NAIL IN THE LEG HURTS because she keeps talking about it for what seems like four pages. I assume Miller stepped on a nail sometime around the writing of this part and was surprised at how much it hurt. There's no other explanation for this much exposition regarding such a minor detail (which is never mentioned again, btw).
In the overall scheme of things it's a distraction that stalls the story so much that the reader is taken out of the moment entirely. That this book is full of moments like that ought to be a huge source of embarrassment for both writer and editor. Furthermore, the sexual psychology of the superhero psyche is well-trodden ground that has been done to death by more talented creators than Miller. His attempt here is just embarrassing and adds nothing to the story, as both characters are ciphers, devoid of personality.
After this, it looks like Miller stopped working on the book for a while and the next part has all the bad writing, art and editing of the first, but with none of the energy. We are introduced to a mysterious Jewish character who has known the terrorist act would happen but either no one would listen or he couldn't stop it or something (??) because he walks away and is never seen again, which makes you wonder WTF he was put in at all. How do I know he's Jewish? Star of David painted on his otherwise nondescript face, of course!
I forgot to mention that two fetish-dress sword-wielding Asian girls make an appearance in this scene as well, but they also leave without having any impact on the story, which again, makes you wonder why they are here. Of course, they may have wandered in from a 1987 Zalman King Skinemax fantasy vignette or Sin City - either is as likely as the other.
Finally the last part of the book, which one presumes was finished after Miller's Spirit movie bombed and his Flash Gordon movie reboot was canned by the studio, leaving little options for income but to finish this mess. I'm guessing the anniversary of 9-11 was looming and someone told him to wrap the book or he'd never see the rest of the advance.
The ending makes the first two parts look like a meticulously structured Shakespeare epic -it's THAT BAD. The heroes(?) end up in battling Jihadists in Al Quaeda's UNDERGROUND SECRET HEADQUARTERS! It's like Miller was channeling his 80's Batman for the first part of the book, but then switched to 60's TV Batman, with all the trappings of outlandish, personality-less minions and tilted panels.
Who edited this? Obviously no one, because this is an unrestrained ego cranking out a hackjob - with no regard for the reader, story, art or even page to page flow.
A colorist is credited, but, like many of Miller's recent books this is a B&W book - but with some spot reds this time! This color scheme has been used effectively in say, the Grendel comics, but here it's overuse only serves to distract from the story - leaving the reader wondering "why are 'Catwoman's' boot soles red while the rest of the page is black & white?
Also, what's up with all of the portraits scattered throughout the book? The original use - showing the losses of innocents is cliche, but tolerable. After that, they become nonsensical - as various political figures are mixed with (terrible) drawings of nobodies (at least as far as the story is concerned). I guess it fills space...
To Sum Up:
The writing and plotting is trite and insulting. Miller's phony-baloney "hard-boiled noir" style is the work of a deluded creator - it's so hackneyed that it stops the story instead of propelling it.
Miller's artwork has degenerated to the point that it seems to be an afterthought - while I appreciate that it's highly stylized, it shouldn't be so stylized as to fail to tell the story. It looks like there are panels that Miller spilled ink on, and rather than re-draw them, he just brushed it over most of the panel underneath. This is laziness, not an effective way to tell a story.
Overall, there are so many things that should have been fixed but were left in that the book unfolds like an FU to readers/victims who are left with the feeling that Miller & his publisher have so little respect for them that the content doesn't matter.
I assume the publishers were well-aware of the quality of the book and published it as an expensive (but slight) hardcover in order to take advantage of Miller's aging fanbase before word of mouth entirely kills sales. No one could read this and think it would've been published if it wasn't by Miller. And if someone else had done this, you'd never had heard of it...
This is putrid - another black mark on Miller's once-promising career, and the last work of his I'll be picking up. Avoid at all costs.