Reading: The Long Halloween

I admit it.  I’m a newbie to the DC universe.  Most of the books that I will review here are some of the most popular books in the DC world and have been for some time.  I just figure some of our readers are long time nerds who can call me out on disagreements. I also figured that other readers are new to comics and these reviews might encourage them to try.

Batman: the Long Halloween is a collection of 13 comics in a limited series format written by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. It was orignally published in 1996-97.

This story is set early into Batman’s career when Harvey Dent is only Harvey Dent. A murderer kills on a Halloween…and then Thanksgiving…Christmas…so forth. The killer gets the nickname Holiday since they are killing on Holidays. Most of the Batman cast is here from Alfred and Jim Gordon to most of the A list villains.

The focus of Holiday’s actions is Carmine “The Roman” Falcone”.  The killer is killing people close the mob boss.  Loeb peppers the dialogue in the mob scenes with plenty of references to The Godfather and a few to Goodfellas. The plot, on first reading, does not telegraph who Holiday is (though a reread will have you smiling a lot at how something so complex can look so simple once the mystery has been unlocked). I literally was guessing until the last page, and actually went back and read the four last pages twice the first time I read it.  Loeb crafts a master crime drama here.  He has fully developed Batman, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent. I am still amazed how well the plot comes together.

Tim Sale’s artwork can be a offputting in that a lot of the characters are just ugly.  However, they are often mirroring what is on the inside.  He creates a great sense of atmosphere here. Classic film-noir and even classic horror help inform his art choices.  While the style at first put me off, I realized how important it was to the story Loeb was telling.

Hush, also by Loeb, was a great Batman story.  This is a great story that happens to have Batman in it.

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