Evil Geek Book Report – Batman: The Long Halloween

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I know what you’re thinking. First Superman now Batman. What’s going on, Biff? Well it’s no secret that I’m a Marvel zombie. Awhile back, I had the geeks recommend some DC Comics for me to expand my horizons. What better place to start than Batman?

The Long Halloween (which boasts a killer Film Noir type title) is set shortly after the events of Year One by Frank Miller. That’s where we see Bruce Wayne’s transition to Batman. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins used that as its foundation. Similarly, The Dark Knight would mine some of its story and themes directly from The Long Halloween.

Our story at its core is an old school pulp murder mystery. It centers around Carmine “The Roman” Falcone, a prominent Gotham City mob boss. His influence over the city continues to grow but members of his inner circle and his family are being killed one by one always on a holiday. Batman is working with Commissioner Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to solve the spreading crime wave. With Batman, Gordon and Dent have a person who can step outside the law for them so they can keep their hands clean (much like lawyer Matt Murdock and his alter ego Daredevil).

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Dent becomes engrossed in the case and his inability to crack it. It begins to affect his marriage and his day to day life. Batman is having a similar problem, which is complicated by the fact that Catwoman is showing up at many of the crime scenes but appears to be directly involved. To make matters worse, Selena Kyle seems to be falling in love with Bruce Wayne or at the very least seducing him.

I won’t reveal too much more because this is a story with many twists and turns and its share of surprises. You do see a small cavalcade of Batman’s famous rogues gallery. The Joker, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, The Riddler, Poison Ivy even Solomon Grundy all make appearances. We see Harvey Dent become Two Face, which interestingly enough the main story in this book isn’t his origin, but rather his origin is a byproduct of the Holiday killer’s story. I think they rush it a bit and don’t really do a good enough job showing Dent’s over the top obsession with the case. One thing I always wondered was where the hell did Two Face immediately get that crazy suit that has two different sides?

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This was my first Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale comic I’ve checked out. I know they’ve done a few more Batman stories together as well as a handful of the Marvel color series. Generally speaking, they are a good team. Loeb’s writing was tight and Sale’s art for the most part was alright. He draws a good Batman and handles the dark crime scenes excellently (all the murders happen in black and white panels) but some of his art is a little too cartoony. What’s up with the Joker’s teeth? Every time I see it, I feel like some Hannah Barbara cartoon character should be playing them like a xylophone.

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The Long Halloween is a good read. A nice murder mystery that’s a real page turner with a few surprises packed in there. If you’ve seen The Dark Knight, don’t worry this storyline is still vastly different. The only used a few handpicked ideas from this.  One thing they agree on is that, I believe in Harvey Dent.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on April 29, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love Tim Sale’s artwork, especially on Batman

    Like

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