The combination of author Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is one of the most fun duos in comic books, in my humble opinion. I have written about their work before with this Batman: Haunted Knight review. Well with Halloween approaching, and being the theme this week on the Green Onion Blog, it is time to review follow up Batman series The Long Halloween.
Originally published from 1996 to 97, Batman: The Long Halloween was a 13 issue mini series. As far as continuity goes, the series is a continuation of Batman: Year One, continuing the trend of reimagining the rise of Batman enemies to full-out supervillains. Specifically, this run incorporates the origins of Two Face, and the damage of District Attorney Harvey Dent. For the noir-ish murder mystery elements, The Long Halloween has gained high praise as one of the greatest Batman stories available. It is those mystery-detective stories that Batman comics typically lack, but is one of the strongest uses of the character. That is why this series earned a spot at #4 on IGN’s list of the best Batman graphic novels. Also noted as one of the major influences for Cristopher Nolan’s Batman film trilogy.
After Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle discover Harvey Dent beaten nearly to death, the District Attorney, Commissioner Gordon, and Batman swear an oath to take down the mob family, the Falcone’s, bending the rules if necessary, but never breaking them. Through out the year members of the major mob families begin to be assassinated on each major holiday. As Harvey Dent works hard to take down the mob families, a thug throws acid in his face at a major trial. Leading to Dent going into hiding and inevitably losing his mind. As Two-Face, he causes chaos throughout the city which through a chain of events causes the mystery of the Holliday killer to be unraveled. But did Batman and Gordon get the right man, or are there two killers?
The stylish real world plot of taking down criminal families helps this story have a true tone. The addition of the serial killer adds depth. But, when you mix in cameos of the Dark Knights rogue gallery like, Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy and even Calendar Man this book takes the stage as a great Batman tale. Each issue focusing on a different holiday, and adding more to the intensity and mystery. Culminating on Halloween, the ending is a shocker that is impossible to see coming, but brilliantly handled.
One of the greatest works of big name writer Jeph Loeb, the story line and plot keep you enthralled to the end. Mixed in with Tim Sale’s definitive style, the graphic novel has a unique and dark feel. Easily one of my go-to Batman reads, and making Mr. Sale one of my favorite illustrators. 5/5, you have to love the dark murder mystery. If you are looking for a definitive Batman plot, this should be at the top of you to-be-read pile. It’s stories like these that make the Dark Knight one of the greatest names in comics and kept him relevant in modern pop culture.
Thanks booknerds, have a safe Halloween.