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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Batman: The Long Halloween

Title:
Batman: The Long Halloween







ISBN:
9781563894695


Price:
$19.99


Publisher/Year:
DC,
1998


Artist: Tim Sale


Writer:
Jeph Loeb


Collects:
Batman: The Long Halloween #1-13





Rating:
4/5





There
are a handful of iconic Batman stories, and The Long Halloween is counted
proudly among them. This landmark tale written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim
Sale captures a side of Gotham that no other story has accomplished.





Taking
its lead from Frank Miller's classic Year One story (which, while never so
dramatic as The Dark Knight Returns, has far more staying power), The Long
Halloween revolves around the untouchable Falcone crime family and the efforts
of Gotham's justice triumvirate -- police Capt. James Gordon, crusading
district attorney Harvey Dent and, of course, the Batman -- to bring crime lord
Carmine "The Roman" Falcone to justice. Their task is hampered by the
appearance of a serial killer, dubbed "Holiday" by the media for his
propensity for killing on, you guessed it, holidays, who systematically takes
apart the Falcone empire.





This
dark and noirish story avoids the gimmicks employed by so many Batman writers,
instead concentrating on the grim and often frustrating task of following
leads, searching for clues and, at times, suspecting friends of terrible
crimes. Besides a crackerjack murder-mystery, Loeb has written an exemplary
Batman and has set a new high in his characterization of Gotham's peculiar
population. Interactions between Batman, Gordon and Dent, as well as his trusty
butler Alfred and a colorful array of villains from the Joker, Riddler and
Scarecrow to Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter and Solomon Grundy, simply spark with
energy and highly believable dialogue. Batman's relationship with Catwoman --
as well as Bruce Wayne's relationship with Selina Kyle -- are particularly well
handled with a one-two combination of sensuality and menace.





Sale's
art is sometimes not to my taste, and yet for this story it is dark and twisted
perfection. (OK, I'm not sure what he's doing with the Joker's teeth, but I
suppose he can slide on that one artistic quirk.)





Mystery
lovers may squawk because the reader is never actually given enough clues to
solve the crime, and the final twist seems to come out of nowhere. Still, The
Long Halloween is a classic story that belongs in the permanent collection of
every Batman fanatic and deserves to be read by anyone with even a passing
interest in the Bat.

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