Batman: The Long Halloween

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Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: The Long Halloween TPB
Art by Tim Sale
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
No. of issues 13
Main character(s) Batman
Jim Gordon
Harvey Dent
Carmine Falcone
Catwoman
Creative team
Written by Jeph Loeb
Artist(s) Tim Sale
Letterer(s) Comicraft
Richard Starkings
Colorist(s) Gregory Wright
Editor(s) Archie Goodwin
Chuck Kim
Collected editions
Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween ISBN 1-4012-1282-4

Batman: The Long Halloween is a 13-issue American comic book limited series written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. It was originally published by DC Comics in 1996 and 1997.[1] It was the follow-up to three Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Specials (which were reprinted in Batman: Haunted Knight) by the same creative team. The entire series has been collected in trade paperback, part of the DC Comics Absolute Editions and the DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection. The series' success led to Loeb and Sale to reteam for two sequels, Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome, which are set concurrently.

Taking place during Batman's early days of crime fighting, The Long Halloween tells the story of a mysterious killer named Holiday, who murders people on holidays, one each month. Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Captain James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month, while attempting to stop the crime war between two of Gotham's most powerful families, Maroni and Falcone. This novel also acted as a re-introduction to the DC Universe for one of Batman's most elusive foes, Calendar Man, who knows the true identity of the Holiday killer but refuses to share this with Batman. He instead riddles and gives Batman hints from his Arkham Asylum cell. The story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman's enemy, Two-Face.[2] Enemies such as Scarecrow, the Joker, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, and the Riddler, among others, also make appearances.

In continuity terms, The Long Halloween continues the story of Batman: Year One. It also revolves around the transition of Batman's rogues gallery from simple mob goons to full-fledged supervillains. It also tells the origin of Two-Face, incorporating elements of the story in Batman: Annual #14.

Background[edit]

The project was sparked when group editor Archie Goodwin approached Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale at the San Diego Comic Convention and asked if the two of them wanted to do more Batman work.[3]

Jeph Loeb has stated that the genesis of the story was influenced by writer Mark Waid, who, when told that Loeb was working on a story set in the Year One continuity, suggested focusing on Harvey Dent's years prior to becoming Two-Face, as that had not been depicted in depth since the original Year One story.[4]

Plot[edit]

At a wedding in June, Gotham City mob boss Carmine "The Roman" Falcone tries to pressure Bruce Wayne to help launder money, but Bruce refuses. Bruce leaves the party with his quasi-girlfriend Selina Kyle, but they find Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent, who has been beaten by some of the Falcone mob, and help him escape. Bruce, as Batman, investigates Falcone's penthouse, but finds Catwoman investigating as well. Batman is called by the Bat-Signal to meet with Dent and police Captain Jim Gordon. The three agree to enter a pact to end Falcone's reign, bending but never breaking the law.

Bruce, on the board of the Gotham City Bank, uses his sway and his influence as Batman to oust the current president, Richard Daniel, and take over as to rid the bank of the Falcone money it has. Falcone orders his nephew Johnny Viti to fix the problem; Viti assassinates Daniel. Viti is killed on Halloween by an unknown assailant, leaving behind an untraceable pistol, a nipple from a baby bottle used as a crude silencer, and a jack-o-lantern. Batman, Gordon and Dent discuss the murder when Batman sees Catwoman lurking nearby. She leads Batman to a warehouse where Falcone has been forced to stash his cash money, over $20 million. Batman and Dent agree to set fire to the warehouse and destroy the money. Falcone hires "The Irish", a gang of hitmen, to get revenge on Dent, who has been promoted to district attorney. The Irish destroy his home, though Dent and his wife Gilda survive. On Thanksgiving, the Irish are killed by an unknown agent, but leaving the same type of pistol and silencer behind along with a Thanksgiving decoration. Milos Grappa, Falcone's bodyguard, is killed in a similar manner on Christmas. The unknown assailant is given the name "Holiday" and believed to be a Falcone rival.

On New Year's Eve, Batman stops the Joker from using deadly laughing gas to kill everyone in Gotham Square, as the Joker believes Holiday will be among them, and asserts there's not enough room for two homicidal maniacs. Meanwhile, Dent's assistant Vernon Fields finds evidence linking Falcone to Wayne. Aboard the Falcone yacht, Falcone's son Alberto is killed by Holiday and pushed overboard, his body apparently recovered on Little Christmas. The next few months, Holiday's targets change to that of the Maronis, a rival crime gang in Gotham. A war between the Falcones and Maronis breaks out, and Falcone is forced to turn to Gotham's "freaks" like the Riddler and Poison Ivy to hold his ground. The Riddler becomes the first target that is spared by Holiday on April Fool's Day, which Batman comes to suspect that is a message from Holiday to show Falcone wants to bring in Holiday.

Meanwhile, the pistols left by Holiday are traced to a Chinatown neighborhood, but they find the gunmaker dead, Holiday's victim on Mother's Day. On the following day, Dent follows up from Vernon's investigation and has Bruce arrested, claiming that as Bruce's father Thomas Wayne saved Falcone's life after he was shot, that Bruce is loyal to the Falcones. Bruce's butler Alfred testifies that Thomas' report never came to light due to police corruption, embarrassing the prosecution and declaring Bruce innocent.

Maroni, having been captured earlier, offers to testify against Falcone. During the trial, he throws a vial of acid, given to him by Vernon while in transit to the courtroom, at Dent, disfiguring half of Dent's face. Dent is rushed to a hospital, but stabs a doctor and escapes to the sewers, calming Solomon Grundy when he encounters him. Gordon deduces Dent may be Holiday, but Batman refuses to believe it until he can talk to Dent himself. Batman ends up questioning Julian Day, the Calendar Man, on where to find Dent; Day suggests since that it is Labor Day, that Holiday will try to kill Maroni. Batman stages a plan with Gordon to move Maroni, giving Holiday the opportunity. During the transfer, Holiday appears and manages to shoot Maroni, but Batman is able stop him, and unmasks him as Alberto, who had staged his death.

On Halloween, Dent resurfaces as Two-Face; he releases the prisoners from Arkham based on a coin flip, seeks out and kills Falcone and his daughter Sofia, and Vernon despite Batman's attempts to stop him. His revenge complete, Two-Face turns himself in to Gordon and Batman, but tells them that there were two Holiday killers. Gordon is confused as Alberto confessed to all the killings and has been sentenced to death. Alberto is able to reduce his sentence by declaring insanity and is imprisoned along with the recaptured prisoners and Two-Face back in Arkham.

On Christmas Eve, Gilda is packing boxes to move away from Gotham, but takes one box to her furnace, containing a pistol and a disguise. As she burns the items, she monologues to herself that she took it upon herself to start the Holiday killings to try to end Falcone's hold on Gotham and reduce the workload Dent had to do. She suspects Alberto was lying and Dent himself had taken up the killings on New Year's Eve. Knowing that Dent can be cured, she states she still believes in Harvey Dent.

Critical reaction[edit]

Batman: The Long Halloween has received widespread critical acclaim and is praised as one of the definitive Batman stories to date due to Jeph Loeb's involving storyline and Tim Sale's dark, moody art.

Hilary Goldstein of IGN Comics praised Loeb's story as "tight, engrossing, and intelligent writing that never betrays the characters", adding that he "mixes Batman and Bruce Wayne's lives as well as anyone has, and brilliantly demonstrates the bond of brotherhood shared by Batman, Jim Gordon and then District Attorney Harvey Dent."[5] Goldstein later ranked The Long Halloween #4 on a list of the 25 best Batman graphic novels.[6]

Yannick Belzil of The 11th Hour said that "Jeph Loeb has crafted a story that is unique to the characters. It's a complex murder mystery, but it's also a Batman story." Belzil added: "Buoyed by a film noir-ish plot that features a Gothic twist on the gangster/murder mystery plot, terrific character-based subplots, and beautiful, cinematic art, [The Long Halloween is] an addition to your collection that you won't regret."[7]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Films[edit]

  • The Long Halloween was one of the comics that influenced Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, particularly The Dark Knight (2008) which featured Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face.[9]
  • When asked about the possibility of a Batman: The Long Halloween movie in 2010, Bruce Timm said the story arc serves a comic better than a film, but that Batman: The Long Halloween could also serve as a TV series.[10] In 2013, DC Universe Animated Original Movies producer James Tucker expressed interest in adapting the story into an animated feature film.[11]

Video games[edit]

  • The 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City has an unlockable skin for Catwoman based on her appearance in The Long Halloween.[12]
  • For the 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins, a pre-order bonus pack contained an optional suit for Batman based on his appearance in The Long Halloween.[13]
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, upon finding the third victim in the "Perfect Crime" side mission, Alfred will tell Batman that the events of this mission resemble a serial killing case he conducted early in his career as the caped vigilante that coincidentally also occurred on Halloween, recalling that it was "a long one". This is a reference to The Long Halloween, more specifically the events of the Holiday killings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The acclaimed team of writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale reunited to chronicle a dark year of the Dark Knight's past with Batman: The Long Halloween, a thirteen-part limited series. 
  2. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008), "Batman", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 40–44, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5 
  3. ^ Brady, Matthew (August 1997). "Delivery Room". Wizard (72). pp. 56–60. 
  4. ^ Mark Salisbury. Writers on Comics Scriptwriting 1999. Titan Books. Pages 152-165.
  5. ^ Batman: The Long Halloween review, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, June 1, 2005
  6. ^ The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, June 13, 2005
  7. ^ Comic Reviews - Batman: The Long Halloween Archived August 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Yannick Belzil, The 11th Hour
  8. ^ Ridgeley, Charlie (March 8, 2018). "'Gotham' Star Confirms 'No Man's Land' and 'Long Halloween' Arcs This Season (Exclusive)". ComicBook.com. Retrieved March 8, 2018. 
  9. ^ This is mentioned inside the front cover of the Batman Begins mini digest comic book that reprints portions of these three stories that comes with the DVD.
  10. ^ "Green Lantern, Wonder Woman Animated Sequels," MTV
  11. ^ "NYCC 2013: Justice League War Roundtable Interviews," Toonzone
  12. ^ "Batman: Arkham City Cat woman Alternate Skins Revealed". 
  13. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (August 7, 2013). "Batman: Arkham Origins skin pack adds alternate timeline costumes". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.