Batman: Holy Terror

Cover of Batman - Holy Terror one-shot
Publication information
Publisher Elseworlds (DC Comics)
Format One-shot
Genre , alternate historySuperhero
Publication date 1991
Number of issues 1
Creative team
Writer(s) Alan Brennert
Artist(s) Norm Breyfogle
Letterer(s) Bill Oakley
Colorist(s) Lovern Kindzierski
Editor(s) Dennis O'Neil
Kelley Puckett

Batman: Holy Terror is an Elseworlds one-shot comic published by DC Comics in 1991. The story is written by Alan Brennert and illustrated by Norm Breyfogle. The graphic novel is significant in that it was the first to bear the Elseworlds logo.


  • Batman: Reverend Bruce Wayne of Gotham, who becomes the Batman to take down the government responsible for murdering his parents.[1]
  • James Gordon: An Inquisitor who was the investigator for the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. James learned who was responsible, but was threatened by his superiors to overlook it. Twenty years later, James finally told Bruce the truth to ease his guilty conscience.
  • Joseph Chill: A convict who was released by the government to kill Thomas and Martha Wayne and make it look like a mugging. He dies in a prison fight after James Gordon finally identifies him.
  • Thomas and Martha Wayne: Parents of Bruce Wayne. Thomas worked as personal physician to the Privy Council, but both he and his wife worked against the government in secret.
  • Barry Allen: A former forensics expert who gained super-speed abilities in a freak lab accident over a year ago. He is turned over to Dr. Saul Erdel as an experiment.
  • Saul Erdel: A Jewish scientist who oversaw "Project Green Man", who is portrayed as amoral and mildy sadistic character within this story line.
  • The Green Man: An alien man who was a ward of the state for many years, until they finally had to kill him for being too difficult to handle.
  • The Witch: An unnamed witch who spoke spells backwards. She was converted to the state and tried to kill Barry Allen and Bruce.
  • Charles McNider: A blind old man who was friends with Thomas and Martha Wayne. Charles was blinded by an agent of the state, and later lost his wife, Myra.
  • Alan Scott: A former friend of Charles McNider. Alan was executed for running an underground radio station.
  • Carter and Shiera Hall: Former friends of Charles McNider. They were archaeologists who tried to smuggle weapons into the country and were executed for it.
  • Rex Tyler: Former friend of Charles McNider. Tyler was executed for manufacturing drugs for the Waynes' clinic.
  • Alfred Pennyworth: Former butler to the Waynes. Leaves when Bruce sells Wayne Manor to join the clergy.
  • Lemuel Brown: Former member of the Privy Council which Thomas Wayne worked for. After Bruce interrogates him, he dresses Lemuel in a maid's uniform to discredit any testimony he might give regarding the Batman's existence.
  • Judson Caspian: A bishop who Bruce works with in the clergy. Bruce refers to him as a good and honorable man, and hates having to betray his trust to get information on the state.
  • Arthur: One of the many human guinea pigs belonging to the state. Arthur could breathe underwater and had limited telepathic abilities. They succeeded in breaking him, just not in the way they wanted. They even tried mating him with another merwoman named Lori.
  • Matthew: Dr. Erdel's mindless servant. Was once a smuggler who was exposed to a weird protoplasam which turned him into a malleable clayface.
  • Victoria Vale: An anchorwoman for Newsbreak.
  • Oliver Queen: An industrialist who was hanged for treason.

Plot summary

In a world where Oliver Cromwell lived ten years longer than he did in our world, the United States of America is a commonwealth nation run by a corrupt theocratic government.

Twenty-two years after the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne has moved on and is planning to join the clergy, when he is visited by his friend James Gordon. Gordon was the inquisitor who was investigating Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder, and has come to tell Bruce the truth about what happened. Their deaths were not a random mugging, but a state-planned execution. Despite Thomas' position as physician to the Privy Council, both were anti-government radicals who ran a clinic for the many victims of the government's brutality and brainwashing. Those they treated were men and women who were subjects of experiments to alter their sexual orientation, women who tried to perform abortions on themselves, and prostitutes psychologically scarred by aversion therapy. Bruce consults a former friend of his parents, Dr. Charles McNider, who confirms the truth about his parents, and that of many others who were killed by the state. McNider, a broken man who lost both his wife and his eyesight, tells Bruce about a government conspiracy called "the Green Man", but warns Bruce that nothing good has come of fighting the system.

Bruce, unsatisfied, starts a crusade to hunt down those who killed his parents. After his ordination as a priest, Bruce unearths a costume his father once wore in a passion play, a garb shaped like a bat. Hacking into government files, he hunts down one of the Privy Council members for information, and learns that the ones who arranged the death sentence were actually the Star Chamber, the highest court in the government.

Doing more detective work, Bruce finally finds out the Star Chamber's location, and in the process finds a government testing facility filled with human guinea pigs. He helps free a man with super-speed named Barry Allen, and Bruce learns more about what the government is capable of. There are men and women who were put through the same process that gave Barry his speed abilities, but none of the results were successful. There are victims of gene-splicing and people exposed to radiation. The two are then attacked by a witch converted to the state, a woman who pronounces spells backwards. The fight costs the life of one of the experimentees, and Barry is killed by the head scientist, Dr. Saul Erdel, Erdel having developed a means of negating the protective aura that allowed Barry to run at superspeed without being destroyed by the friction. Erdel has another of his agents, a man named Matthew with clay-like abilities, capture Bruce and bring him to see "Project Green Man". Project Green Man was an extraterrestrial child found in a rocket ship by a couple in Kansas, who was raised by the state and studied. The older he became, the stronger and more difficult to control he became, until they had to kill him with an irradiated rock they found in the rocket ship. Bruce is filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness when he sees this dead alien, as if the world's greatest hope was destroyed. Enraged, Bruce breaks free and attacks Erdel. Erdel tries to shoot at Bruce, but the bullets bounce off the alien's corpse and kills Erdel.

Bruce, at long last, finds the Star Chamber, and confronts one of its members about his parents. But the chamberman tells him that everyone ever sentenced to death by the Chamber were put to death by nameless vote. Bruce no longer finds a reason to kill the chamberman, because it was the system that was responsible for the deaths of his parents. He vows to bring it down once and for all, no matter how long it will take.

With a new cause, and motivated by God, Bruce continues to fight against the government as the Batman, but wonders if everything might have been different if his parents had truly been the victims of a random mugging, all those years ago.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Batman: Holy Terror


Category:1991 comic debuts Holy Terror Category:English Civil War fiction

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