Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Batman: Holy Terror

Go To

Batman: Holy Terror is an Elseworld story, one of DC's first official forays into the genre, written by Alan Brennart and drawn by Norm Breyfogle.

On an alternate Earth where Oliver Cromwell lived another ten years and the Commonwealth of England spread to the Americas, creating a brutal theocracy, Bruce Wayne launches a crusade of his own to avenge his parents, who were killed by the government.

Not to be confused with Frank Miller's Holy Terror, which was originally going to be a Batman story titled Holy Terror, Batman!.


This comic contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: On this world, Oliver Cromwell didn't die of malaria in 1658 (technically, he didn't die of it here, either, but that's beside the point.) He lived for another decade and his Commonwealth spread to the Americas, creating a theocracy.
  • And I Must Scream: Some of the Project Green Man experiments had terrible results:
    • Joshua, one of the speedsters, is a three-year-old boy whose speed powers cause him to age three years for every week. After six months, he looks like an old man, and Barry speculates that he'll probably be dead in another month.
    • Corinne, another speedster, has hyper-accelerated thought processes, but her body moves at regular speeds.
    • Gus, a third speedster, gained actual speed powers, but his bones grow at an accelerated rate to the rest of his body.
    • One of the amphibians has a human brain trapped in a manta-like body.
  • Advertisement:
  • Artistic License – Religion: The theocracy featured in Holy Terror looks more Evangelical than Puritanical. Of course, Dr. McNider does mention that the government has strayed a long way from Cromwell's vision.
  • Badass Preacher: The Batman in this universe is an Episcopalian priest by day, and a vigilante by night.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bruce's quest to find the people who ordered his parents' death is ultimately unsuccessful, but he instead resolves to wage war against the Commonwealth, and it's implied that he might set up this universe's equivalent of the Justice League.
  • Broken Bird: In the Commonwealth universe, Arthur Curry was found by the government and tortured in the hopes of forcing him to serve them. Instead, he became catatonic.
  • Cure Your Gays: The Commonwealth actively persecutes gay men and women. Some are subjected to brutal treatment to try and "cure" them. Others are just plain killed off.
  • Category Traitor: Dr. Saul Erdel is a Jewish man who works for the Antisemitic regime. Batman is flabbergasted by the revelation.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Commonwealth employs a number of those who it would otherwise persecute, including Dr. Saul Erdel (a Jew), Zatanna (a witch), and Matt Hagan (a thief).
  • The Cowl: By the end of the story, Rev. Bruce Anthony Wayne becomes this world's version of Batman.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the amphibians ended up with human intelligence trapped in a manta-like body. Unable to cope with what he's become, he's tried repeatedly to kill himself by bashing his head against the glass of his tank.
  • Elseworld: This was one of DC Comics' first official forays into the Elseworld genre.
  • The Empire: In the world of Holy Terror, the United Kingdom and the Americas are all under the control of the Commonwealth, a brutal theocratic regime. Its also ruthlessly expands its territory throughout the Western Hemisphere and not even other Christian nations are safe from them.
  • Grand Inquisitor Scene: Towards the end of the book, Bruce confronts a magistrate in the star chamber and demands information about who ordered the deaths of his parents. The old man informs him that the star chamber doesn't work that way - the twelve magistrates of the secret council all vote by secret ballot, so that no one magistrate knows how the others voted.
    "You want to know who's responsible? The answer is — Everyone. And no one."
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Homosexuality is a crime in the Commonwealth.
  • Holier Than Thou: Catholicism is considered "heathen" by the Commonwealth. According to the news segment at the start of the story, Brazilian Catholics are said to be losing after a fierce war with the Puritans, and Peru is the last country in the Western Hemisphere outside of the Commonwealth's yoke.
  • Messianic Archetype: Superman, much more than usual. He's introduced seemingly dead in a Crucified Hero Shot, and just looking at him causes Bruce to mourn his loss and know that he was "our greatest hope", murdered as a threat to the state. Erdel's bullets even hit his side and bounce off in the same pattern as Christ's spear wounds, killing Dr. Erdel and saving a grateful Batman's life. Given the theological nature of the book, this is justified somewhat.
  • Mythology Gag: The title is likely a hod to Robin's "Holy [object], Batman!" catchphrase from the 60s TV series.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Given that it's run by Saul Erdel, who in the "normal" DC continuity brought Martian Manhunter to Earth, one would assume that the "Green Man" referenced by Project Green Man is J'onn himself. It's actually Kal-El, who was executed when Dr. Erdel deemed him too rebellious, using such a concentrated amount of Kryptonite radiation to do so that it caused Kal-El's body to turn a sickly green color.
  • Rapid Aging: The speedster Joshua is cursed to age at a rate of three years every week. By the time Batman and Barry find him, six months later, he looks like an old man and Barry says he will be dead in a month. Joshua, by the way, is three years old.
  • Wicked Witch: The version of Zatanna that appears in this story probably qualifies.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Terry, one of the speedsters, has speed powers, but can't control the vibrations that his body goes through when he uses them, resulting in him constantly exploding and reforming himself. The psychological effects have left him with persistent mania.