[Review] Batman: The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale

Title: Batman: The Long Halloween
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Illustrator: Tim Sale
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 384

Continuing my journey on exploring Batman’s classics, I came to Batman: The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween is often mentioned as one of the greatest Batman story arcs of all time. It takes place not long after Batman: Year One. There are murders happening in Gotham city. The victims are members of Gotham crime families and they all are happening only on holidays. One holiday for one murder. Batman then teaming up with Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to try solving the murders.

I must say, I think the art of this graphic novel is beautiful. The edition which I read is the trade paperback edition which collects all the issues into one. Each issue represents a different holiday and the cover is drawn according to the specific holiday theme. Both the cover art and the color tone contribute to the atmosphere of the comic. It is dominated with dark colors such as black and dark blue which I also think is pleasing for the eyes.

The Long Halloween sets a few months after the event in Batman:Year One. While at the end of Year One Batman and Gordon finally come to trust each other and start working together, in the Long Halloween their friendship is on test. With the additional member District Attorney Harvey Dent, they made a pact to bring down the mob families without crossing the line. But as the year progresses there’s no sign that they will be able to bring the mob families to justice. Moreover, the holiday killings are happening, so they became suspicious of each other. They began questioning whether they were still keeping their initial agreement since they all have motives. Because of this case, Gordon and Harvey are losing their family while Bruce is not sure if his Batman persona really does something to turn Gotham into a safe place for its inhabitants.

I want to be clear on this. In our …Zeal… to bring Falcone to Justice. I’ll let you bend the rules, but we cannot break them. Otherwise, how are we different from him?

Besides Batman, Gordon, and Harvey, the center character of this graphic novel is the crime lord himself, Carmine “The Roman” Falcone. When the members of Falcone family were murdered one by one, Roman suspects that the Maroni family is the one who does the deed. As the war between Falcone and Maroni breaks out, he even hires the super-villains such as Poison Ivy and the Riddler to help him out. One chapter even called “the Roman holiday” which happens on his birthday. Apart from the holiday killing happening on his birthday, that day is also when an acid is thrown to Harvey’s face during a trial which then turns Harvey into Two-Face.

One thing that still bothers me is Catwoman’s role in this graphic novel. Although she seems like she’s helping out Batman, she does it suspiciously as if she has a hidden motive behind her action. Until the end of the story, it’s still not explained what was she actually doing or why she did it. Perhaps it’s a set up for a Catwoman spin-off but I’m not sure.

I’m always interested in reading the origin of villains in superheroes comic. It’s fascinating to read what makes them cross to the dark side. If in The Killing Joke we see how one bad day flips a man to become a mad clown, in this graphic novel we see how Harvey Dent slowly degrades until he becomes Two-Face. I’d say the acid disfigurement is the final straw, a final switch that let Harvey to unleash his dark side. 

Reading the Long Halloween, I can see some elements which influence Nolan for his the Dark Knight trilogy. In my opinion, the Long Halloween is a must read for those who love the caped crusader. Even if you don’t, this graphic novel comes off as a murder mystery which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The ending itself is not the in-your-face kind of conclusion. It subtly hints who the Holiday killer that is so unexpected (at least to me). Overall, I highly recommend Batman: the Long Halloween.

No comments :

Post a Comment