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Batman: Holy Terror

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""Batman: Holy Terror"": In 1658, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell manages to recover from his bout of malarial fever, and strengthen his hold on England. This causes England to enter modern day as a Puritan theocracy encompassing not only the British isles but most o


Quote1 God is not the State, and the State is not God. Defiance of God's self-styled interpreters is not denial of God. I will serve Him in my own ways. By day I shall wear the holy cloth... and by night I will wear a different kind of cloth... a darker shade of vestments. Quote2
-- Batman



Appearing in "Batman: Holy Terror"

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Synopsis for "Batman: Holy Terror"

In 1658, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell manages to recover from his bout of malarial fever, and strengthen his hold on England. This causes England to enter modern day as a Puritan theocracy encompassing not only the British isles but most of the American continent, including Gotham City - or, as it is now known, Gotham Towne.

Some time in the twentieth century, Thomas Wayne, personal physician to Gotham Towne's privy council, is murdered alongside his wife, leaving behind only their son Bruce. The murder is investigated by Inquisitor James Gordon, but swept under the rug by Gordon's superiors when Gordon begins to suspect that the Waynes' deaths had not been a simple mugging. Fearing for his own family's life, Gordon keeps his suspicions secret from Bruce, but slowly befriends the orphaned boy.

Twenty years later, Gordon has become Gotham Towne's Lord High Inquisitor, while the adult Bruce is preparing to join the clergy. Gordon, who had secretly continued his investigation of the Wayne murders, finally tells Bruce the truth: his parents had been radicals with sympathies toward homosexuals, prostitutes, and various other "undesirables", and their deaths had been a disguised execution by the state. Bruce corroborates this information with an old journal of his father's and the last living radical, Dr. Charles McNider, who warns him to give up any hope of avenging his parents, as the state is far too powerful.

Bruce subsequently joins the clergy, but continues to harbor a dream of catching his parents' killer. By day, he spies on and burgles from his fellow clergymen, while by night he disguises himself in a bat-like costume his father had used for passion plays. The "Batman", as Bruce calls his disguise, eventually secures enough secrets to infiltrate the Star Chamber, the state's highest and most secretive court.

In the Star Chamber's detention cells, Batman encounters many metahumans undergoing brainwashing and other horrific experiments, including Barry Allen, a man capable of moving at supersonic speeds. Batman helps Allen free himself, but the two are soon attacked by the Star Chamber's greatest "success" - a powerful witch who speaks in backwards spells. After much difficulty, Batman manages to subdue the witch by throwing a knockout gas pellet down her throat.

Batman and Allen are then confronted by Dr. Saul Erdel, one of the Star Chamber's chief scientists, who effortlessly kills Allen with a signal that cancels out the "aura" protecting Allen from air friction. Batman is then subdued by another of Erdel's enforcers, a protoplasmic creature named Hagen who can change his body to whatever shape he desires. To completely break Batman's spirit, Erdel has Hagen show Batman the corpse of the "Green Man" - once the most powerful and rebellious of the Star Chamber's metahumans, who, in another world, might have been known as Superman.

Instead of being broken, Batman is enraged upon seeing the Green Man's body, and knocks Hagen into a canister of liquid nitrogen. Deprived of backup, a panicked Erdel tries to shoot Batman, only to kill himself when the bullets ricochet off the Green Man's bulletproof skin. After saluting his dead savior, Batman ventures further into the Star Chamber, where he encounters an elderly magistrate. The magistrate explains how the Chamber's executions work: he, and eleven of his peers, vote on the sentence by secret, unrecorded ballot, so that no one man feels the responsibility or the power of taking a human life.

From the magistrate's explanation, Batman concludes that he must hold the entire theocracy responsible for the deaths of his parents, and swears to dismantle it by whatever means necessary. He leaves the magistrate in peace, and continues his double life as clergyman and vigilante, confident that his path is one of true obedience to God.



Notes

  • Holy Terror was the first work DC Comics officially branded an Elseworlds upon publication, though Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is often regarded as the "true" first Elseworlds.

Trivia

  • Vicki Vale mentions that Oliver Queen has been executed for "support of such Jewish pornographers as Isaac Singer." Isaac Singer, while not known for writing pornographic material, died the year the Holy Terror was published.



See Also


Recommended Reading

  • None.


Links and References

Holy Terror reviewed by comicbookandmoviereviews

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