Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: The Long Halloween is one of the most famous Batman stories ever made. Told through thirteen issues from 1996 to 1997, the story was written by Jeph Loeb and the artwork done by Tim Sale. A sequel to Frank Miller’s 1987 Batman: Year One. The Long Halloween has Gotham’s Dark Knight dealing with the mob families that rule over the city with the help of District Attorney Harvey Dent and James Gordon, just a police captain at the time.
After mob boss Falcone’s nephew kills the president of a bank, the nephew becomes the first victim of an unknown assailant on Halloween that people eventually dub as the Holiday Killer. Due to the targets all being killed once a month during a specific holiday while leaving behind a holiday trinket, an untraceable pistol, and a baby bottle nipple used as a silencer.
Holiday’s targets are all associated with the mob, going after both the Falcone and Maroni families, though Batman still plans to capture him. When not dealing with the mob or finding the monthly serial killer, Bats tackles with the rise of his iconic enemies such as Joker, Solomon Grundy, and Catwoman, with many of them being hired by Carmine Falcone to find the Holiday Killer.
As Batman, Dent, and Gordon continue to fight the mob, Batman starts to suspect that the district attorney is Holiday, while Dent suspects that Bruce Wayne is tied to the mob due to believing his father owed the Falcones. After they manage to capture Sal Maroni and put him on trial to testify against Falcone, he uses a vial of acid to disfigure Dent and thus turn him into Two-Face.
In the search for Holiday, Batman goes to Arkham Asylum to question Julian Gregory Day, known as Calendar Man, on any way of finding the unknown killer with a similar theme. Deducing that the next target will be Sal on Labor Day, Batman and Gordon use Maroni as bait and are able to capture Holiday, revealing it to be Falcone’s son Alberto who had faked his own Holiday murder on New Years.
The Usual Suspects
A year after Holiday’s first attack, during Halloween, Two-Face resurfaces and releases most of the Arkham prisoners and they all kill the remaining Falcone and Maroni mob members. With the entire mob destroyed, the former district attorney turns himself in while revealing that there was more than one Holiday.
Alberto, confessing he was behind all of the killings, pleads insanity and is sentenced to Arkham with a cell in front of Calendar Man. In the end, Dent’s wife Gilda is revealed to have started the murders so as to end the mob’s hold on Gotham and reduce Harvey’s workload. She believes that Alberto is lying and that her husband took part in it starting on New Years, but still believes in him and that he could be cured one day.
One of the Best Batman Stories Ever Told
The miniseries is one of the best Batman stories ever told, with great writing and a story that has inspired numerous adaptations. I was confused at first when reading the first few issues of the limited series, since it kept going from the Holiday murders to the introduction of certain well known villains like the Joker and Poison Ivy which felt random.
It wasn’t until the end of Long Halloween that I realized how clever it was since the whole point isn’t so much the murder investigation but how Gotham goes from being ruled by the mob to being terrorized by the iconic rogues gallery when they all murder the last remaining mob boss of the city.
The artwork is very interesting, such as with Batman’s large cape or the Joker’s large smile with his huge teeth. You can tell what’s going on and it really is unique, though its sometimes not consistent such as Riddler drawn more cartoonish than everyone else. While the narration and dialogue are great, there are too many times when certain lines and descriptions are repeated constantly causing Bruce to repeatedly remember his parents’ death. Even with these small issues, you have to remember how influential Long Halloween is, specifically in the elements present on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and the Gotham TV show.
You can grab the full run of Batman: The Long Halloween from your local comic store or via Comixology.
How did we rate Batman: The Long Halloween series? 5 Sodas
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