Frank Miller's long-awaited Batman graphic novel dumps Batman

Frank Miller's been talking up taking on Al-Qaeda for years. Or at least he's been talking up having the Dark Knight do the job for him, in a 120-page graphic novel that was going to be called Holy Terror, Batman! But now that he's almost done with his years-in-the-making revenge tale, it turns out Batman won't be the star of it.

"It's no longer a DC book," Miller told Hero Complex. "I decided partway through it that it was not a Batman story. The hero is much closer to Dirty Harry than Batman. It's a new hero that I've made up that fights Al-Qaeda."

Instead of setting the story in Gotham City, it will take place in Empire City, and its hero will be not the Batman but the Fixer.

"He's been trained as special ops, and when his city is attacked, all of a sudden all the pieces fall into place and all this training comes into play," said Miller. "He's very different than Batman in that he's not a tortured soul. He's a much more well-adjusted creature even though he happens to shoot 100 people in the course of the story."

As for why the project will be published as Holy Terror, without Batman, Miller says it has nothing to do with DC Comics being leery of the political nature of the project (though he says they were), but instead with his realization that his protagonist had grown beyond Batman.

"I had a talk with [former DC president and publisher] Paul Levitz, and I said, 'Look, this isn't your Batman,'" Miller said. "I pushed Batman as far as he can go, and after a while he stops being Batman. My guy carries a couple of guns and is up against an existential threat. He's not just up against a goofy villain. Ignoring an enemy that's committed to our annihilation is kind of silly; It just seems that chasing the Riddler around seems silly compared to what's going on out there. I've taken Batman as far as he can go."

Miller won't seek out a publisher for Holy Terror until he's completely finished with the project. But once he does, we know we'll be there. Will you?

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