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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 256

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we take a look at the Elseworlds graphic novel, Batman: Holy Terror, by Alan Brennert and Norm Breyfogle…


Now, before be begin, how amazing of a creative team is Alan Brennert and Norm Breyfogle? The one guy has never written anything NOT cool and the other guy is about as dependably awesome, art-wise, as they come! So just on the creative team ALONE you know you’re likely in for a treat!

The concept of the comic (the very first one to actually have Elseworlds on the cover) is that the United States is a commonwealth of England run by a corrupt theocratic government.

Right as he is about to be ordained, Bruce Wayne learns from his old friend James Gordon, who was the Inquisitor at Bruce’s parents murder (seemingly in a mugging gone wrong), that Bruce’s parents were murdered because they were secretly anti-government rebels!

Check out this brilliant little scene with Brennert using DC continuity in a way where knowing who these characters are is nice, but not NECESSARY to the scene…

This leads to Bruce finding an old costume his father had once worn in a passion play and use it to fight back against the government to get his revenge on the person who ordered his parents’ deaths!!

Really dynamic work by Breyfogle.

Bruce eventually discovers that the government has been capturing and experimenting on metahumans for decades. He frees a speedster named Barry who introduces Bruce to some of the captives (I’ve leave most of them for you to discover when you get the comic) but we meet one familiar character just in time to be attacked by a second familiar character…

How amazing was Breyfogle in that sequence? Simply stunning!

I will leave you here, and just let you know that the rest of the comic involves the mysterious captive “Green Man” as well as Bruce learning a thing or two about how sometimes the person you’re after is not really a person after all, but a system!

Great stuff. I dunno if it is print or not, but you should still be able to find a copy somewhere!


Dammit I got to get this!

This was an absolutely amazing book. The “Green Man” reveal gives me chills every time.

I highly recommend this for everyone! DC should put out a collected of several of the the early Elseworlds.

Let me see if I have this right. There was no Restoration after the death of Cromwell, and Britain and her overseas offshoots are ruled by a tyrannical church militant. Since this church dominated state traces its origin to the violently anti-Catholic Protestant militants of the 1640s, why do we see the following:

Inquisitors: Granted, a Protestant dominated state would probably have some kind of office akin to that of Inquisitor, but they would almost certainly not give it a title associated with the hated papists.

Burning witches: English witches were hanged, not burned.Again, I’m not quite sure why Anglo Protestants would import a continental practice.

The architecture and vestments are, at the very least, quite High Church in style, if not Roman Catholic. Again, this is more than a little incongruous for a polity that was founded by the Puritan wing in the English Civil War.

Looks good. Is the Zatanna smiling close-up on the final page Norm’s homage to Bolland? It just screamed “Bolland woman” to me!

Best of the Elseworlds in my opinion by a mile. A lot of the later ones simply took Batman villains and modified them into whatever schtick the Elseworld was about (such as Joker-Luthor in “Speeding Bullets” and Joker-Sinestro in the GL take off). What sets this apart for me is that the characters developed differently but in a way that matched the world that they were in (so the JSA/Green Arrow are in an underground resistance, Zatanna is a villain, and so on); the Elseworld felt like something different and not just Batman as Green Lantern with his villains in Green Lantern costumes…a lot of the Elseworlds fell victim to this formula.

Highly recommended.

Forgot: The inner conflict about what Bruce is doing is fun to read as well; his motivations and resolve about going after the system , what the system means, and where his non-Batman identity belongs in it is great. Main universe Bruce could care less about his playboy persona; the Bruce in this world cares a great deal about his civilian identity (for other reasons) and it makes for some great character moments.

I’ll stop now…

Such an awesome little book. The first time I read it though, I had never heard of “Erdel,” so I thought all the Green Man references were hinting at Swamp Thing.

I was wrong.

As well as his comics work, Brennert did a beautiful prose story about Superman titled “Steel.” It’s available in his collection “Her Pilgrim Soul.”

Whatever happened to Breyfogle? He coulda been a contender.

@Smokescreen – I completely agree with you about the lack of imagination in so many of the Elseworlds books like Speeding Bullets.

This one was the first really good Elseworlds book.

“Kal” was also awesome. I hope to see it covered as a “cool comic.”

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