A serial killer who dispatches with his victims on notable dates of the calendar gets nicknamed "Holiday" by the media, but he's killing Falcone's gangsters - the organised crime group who hold Gotham to ransom - he may be inadvertently cleaning up the city but he's still breaking the law. The trinity guardianship of James Gordon, Harvey Dent and the Batman make a pact to find Holiday, but it takes longer than expected and there are twists along the way.
The almost cinematic, noir look is striking straight away, the visual quality of this graphic novel give it a unique and mature feel. The gangster 'baddies' are sometimes grotesquely drawn and it reflects their influence on the city, overall the artwork is of a consistently high quality with some black and white pages accented by a single colour feature - it's effective and looks quite beautiful. It's not just the artistic qualities which give this a level of maturity, the pathos between Gordon, Dent and Batman has a real gravitas to it. Each respect and trust each other (though with a healthy amount of reserved suspicion). Their relationship underpins the entire story and neither is ignored or under-developed. The domesticity of Gordon and Dent's lives are shown as we see them juggling their jobs with home life, their wives too play an important part in fleshing out the strains that their work (and obsession) has on their own families. This is easily one of the most the most developed incarnations of Batman I've seen, he has an emotional depth and an anger unlike any other Bats. We see a grown Bruce Wayne cry at his sense of guilt over his parent's death, he feels directly responsible and instead of going out on a costumed jolly he is genuinely haunted by the evil in the city. Some of the older comics (and definitely the TV series) depicted Batman as camp, but he's certainly not in The Long Halloween - this is a stubbly, gruff Batman who looks aggressive, a perfect vigilante.
Joseph Loeb shows how great a writer he can be by creating a very long story (this is three times the length of Year One) which is episodic but linked by constant story arcs. Practically the entire Batman Rogue's Gallery makes an appearance but it doesn't feel as though they are simply being crammed into the story for the sake of it, each is there for a reason and even when you start to think that they perhaps aren't adding much, you are then shown why they are there. Each chapter represents a 'holiday' from the year and that adds to the uniqueness of the book, it is segmented by Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc, rather than the usual numbered chapters. This portrays the movement of time and the year-long span of the whole story - it's epic and the timeline enhances the sense of desperation and menace experienced by the main characters. Long Halloween is also a two-face origins story and it's easily the most heartfelt telling of his creation, it spends time making sure you understand his motives. The dialogue steers clear of cheesy one-liners and flows naturally, you can hear the voices in your head and along with the visuals you'll feel as though you've just watched a highly stylised film!
In a nutshell: This story set a year or after Year One still covers the early part of Bruce Wayne's 'career' as Batman but it's made clear that he's encountered a lot and been on a steep learning curve. Gordon and Dent are equally as important to the story and this is easily one of the best and most grown up Batman titles available. The very first chapter is probably the most engrossing piece of Batman I've ever read, and this graphic novel never really loses momentum, it's obvious why this was has been so influencial on subsequent books and the Chris Nolan films.
on 22 January 2002
Let me start of by saying, "What a fantastic book."
The plot follows Batman as he tries to solve the mystery of the identity of "Holiday", a serial killer striking on public, you guessed it, holidays.
This is a story of the early years of Batman and done very much in the style of "Batman: Year One" although knowledge of this title, or indeed any Batman continuity, is not required. The writing is superb as it follows a positively Machiavellian plot, with twists and turns whenever you least expect them. This one will keep you guessing to the very end - and even then questions remain.
The art, whilst not breathtaking, services the book very well as an overly detailed or coloured approach would not be in keeping with the story being told.
Next to the seminal Dark Knight Returns, this is the best Batman tale I have read to date, largely due to the fact it is so different in pace and content to the more traditional Dark Knight stories.
If you're a big Batman fan, or just love a good mystery, add a star to the five given as you really cannot afford to miss this!!
on 12 August 2012
I have read many reviews about batman the long halloween first edition of the quality of the book itself. but with the new edition ( a dark blue cover with the title running along the side). the new edition is excellent quality and i have had this copy for many months the book and have had no problem with this copy. with all other reviews i have read, they all say =, as i that the story is excellent and it is one of the best batmans i know of. the art work however may not be to every ones tastes but if you are a batman fan then this should not diminish your enjoyment of this story, and this is why i gave this ( the New Edition) 4 stars.i hope this review was helpful, thanks for reading my review.Batman - The Long Halloween (New Edition)
Batman - The Long Halloween (New Edition)
on 19 May 2015
It says something about a book when it hasnt got a single 1 star review out of nearly 100 reviews. Ive read this book multiple times and really looked for reasons to hate the book trying to be as pessimistic as i possibly can. But i cant... i just cant it really is too good on so many levels. even the art which i would have thought i would have hated really works with the tone of the story and really works for the reader aswell drawing them further and further into this dark and extremely tense environment these characters are living in.
The story is major point in Batmans career set after Batman: Year One and a few of the Legends of the Dark Knight stories (if you consider them canonical). Marking the creation of Two-Face and the passing of the baton from regular gun toting gangsters of old Gotham to the new psychotic super criminals of Batmans Gotham. Anyone who is a fan of this book in my opinion should really hate the TV series Gotham which destroys so much of Gotham cities history and character.
The story is perfectly written, incorporating tense drama and thrilling action scenes, building characters up, just to slowly and almost cruelly rip them back down off of their pedestal. A very tense who dunnit that has you guessing right up the very end and then some, with unpredictable twists and surprise revelations of characters you barely give a second look first time through reading.
We all know that innoying somebody who sits on wikipedia every night and says things like "oh i knew who the killer was before the end becuase im the batman in my way too much free time" Anyone who says they guessed correctly who the Holiday killer was before they had read the full book or looked it up, is a liar and they know it.
The characters as said earlier where deep, with real lives going on throughout the story and each with their own thing they feared to lose whether it be family, power or their humanity and each character is tested and pushed to his/her limits throughout. Batman is at his best here using intimidation and detective skills to save his city but i did have to stop and have think about him using knuckle dusters at one point, im not sure he really needed them for the job in hand. Catwoman acting as an enigma throughout, we never actually find out what it is shes up too or after with Carmine Falcone even at the very end (the loose ends are tied up in Catwoman: When in Rome). She ats her deadliest seducing and teasing Batman throughout the book intriguing him more and more and although Batman would never admit it (Yet) gaining his affection. Calender Man is at his scariest and creepiest, despite being shut in a cell the whole book and a real treat for Arkham City fans who paid him a visit. The worst character by far is the Riddler. I dont get why the Riddler is wasted so often in Batman novels and treated as a joke. He is a genius, cynical, manipulative and resourceful. Yet Once again here hes a bumbling fool being out smarted and pushed around by everyone he comes across. When are we going to get the full on Jigsaw Riddler that everyone wants to see? (Certainly not in Zero Year.. urg)
The art... now I hate cartoony stretchy art without clear lines and accurate colours... and I tried to hate the art in this book.. but I couldnt. It works perfectly with the story. It just clicks and meshes together creating a great atmosphere and drawing the reader in deep to the fictional world. Writing and art bouncing off of each other and adding to the experience of an already great story. I especially liked the scenes of Batman chasing Catwoman across the roof tops, its drawn beautifully and really adds ambience and even sexiness to a Cat and Mouse game in the shadows between the pair.
Overall this will long live on as a classic. Setting the stage for its two sequels Catwoman: When in Rome and Batman: Dark Victory (And Maybe even three being Batman: Haunted Knights?) i cannot express enough how all Batman fans must read this book. and even if your not a fan you just might be after reading this.
Collects Batman: The Long Halloween #1 - #13
on 27 April 2014
When it comes to Batman, many people will give their own opinion on just which is the go-to book to start reading about everyone's favourite hero. Most would point you towards the Frank Miler stories; The Dark Knight Returns or Batman: Year One, and rightly so. The former is always mentioned in the same breath as Watchmen or V for Vendetta, and Year One is easily the best iteration of Batman's origins out there. However, there is a chance they could be daunting to new readers who just want a straight-up Batman adventure. TDKR was more of a satire and critique on issues of the time, such as the Cold War and the mass media, and as said before, Year One was about Batman's roots, set before the status quo we all recognise today.
If I were to recommend a Batman tale aside from the Frak Miler masterpieces, it would have to be The Long Halloween, which sits comfortably somewhere in the middle of Batman's timeline, with most of Batman's essential features having already been established. Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, head of Gotham's Falcone Crime Family, begins to see his empire crumbling down around him, when a mysterious serial killer known as 'Holiday' murders important figures of the Roman's Empire - murders that coincide with celebrations, starting on Halloween. Police Captain Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent make a pledge to solve the case and ring an end to the Roman's Empire. However, in such a puzzling case, they must call upon outside help - none other that Gotham's watchful protector, Batman! What follows is a stunning mix of murder drama and superhero fiction in a massive story chronicling the early career of Batman and Harvey Dent's tragic fall from grace int he villain known as Two-Face. Throw in the Joker, Catwoman, Scarecrow, and all the biggest and meanest of Batman's rogue's gallery, and you're all set!
Jeph Loeb is a writer that many people are polarized with. While most of his Batman works are given praise, he is also responsible for Marvel's Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum, both regarded as two of the worst comics of the last decade - if not all time. However, whatever you may think of Loeb's current state, The Long Halloween is fantastic. While Ultimatum had everyone acting out of character, no respect for previously established continuity, and plot elements that stop dead in their tracks without any kind of resolution, everything in The Long Halloween adds up. This is far more of a crime story than a superhero story, and there are plenty of twists and turns and a heartbreaking conclusion to keep any comic fan satisfied. Many elements of this book and its style would make it's way to 2008's The Dark Knight, one of the greatest comic book films of all time.
Tim Sale's art is dark and stylish, while also using a rich colour pallet and somewhat cartoonish flavour to the story. While characters like Gordon or Dent are drawn with more realistic features, Batman is big and scary, Joker is thin, long, and has a terrifying set of teeth in his menacing grin, and these contrasts give us something fantastic to look at.
While my heart will always lie with Frank Miller's Year One, this is definitely up there for me.
This is a great Batman graphic novel and one that should be added to your collection immediately. It was originally published between 1996 and 1997 and although that is nearly ten years after the superb Year One by Frank Miller, it feels like a natural sequel to that seminal work.
The basic premise is that this is Batman still in the early stages of his career and still pursuing the Gotham crime boss - Carmine Falcone (who appears in the Batman Begins film). Batman has strengthened his ties with Jim Gordon, and is also working with a very eager district attorney; Harvey Dent. The three resolve to bring down Falcone, but in the process of doing this there is a problem - a new killer is on the loose called Holiday (as the killer only murders people on well known holidays - St. Patricks Day, Mothers Day etc....).So the storyline covers almost 12 months in the life of the characters and the length of the graphic novel reflects this - at a whopping 370 pages!! But it never feels over-stretched or padded out. I read this in one sitting!
What follows is a very cleverly plotted and executed storyline. I am not going to spoil everything in this review, you will have to read it yourself! But there are crowd-pleasing appearances from the Joker, the Riddler, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. All are given fair amounts of coverage, but it is fair to say that the storyline with Harvey Dent is very well done, and the plotline that will probably grab you the most. Again, it feels like the Dark Knight (the sequel to Batman Begins) has borrowed from some of the storylines contained within these pages - and that is no bad thing. Imitation is definitely the best form of flattery to this graphic novel.
The artwork isn't the best you will ever see(it isn't the worst either), but then it doesn't need to be when the plot and character development is so good.
I would recommend this to anyone who has read Year One or Dark Knight Returns. It is right up with those two classics and stands head and shoulders above a lot of the Batman graphic novels, so this HAS to be added to your collection as soon as possible!
For the person new to the world of the Batman comics i would say read Year One first and then move onto this book, as it is worth reading the origin story. For the casual Batman reader, it is also worth picking this up because you will probably already know a bit about the back story of each of the characters, but this will flesh it out for you!
I can't recommend this graphic novel highly enough - BUY IT NOW!!
on 12 June 2012
I was a bit unsure about getting this, although highly marked reviews, some said that the story and writing wasn't up to scratch!
I would disagree. If you are unsure, still get this!
-Art is different, unique and stylistic.
-Story is lengthy, but that's a bargin for the price!
-Binding is great for a thick book, no spine creases ever!
-Glossy bright pages
It's worth every penny, and you won't regret it.
I'm not saying it's the best out there, but it's as good as!
on 22 April 2014
This is great. I've loved superheros all my life, both in the silver age and now in the modern age. I like Batman, more when he isn't being camp and colourful, and this story is what made the Nolan films so great. Nolan was working from a cheat sheet the whole time.
The story looks at Commissioner Gordon's first proper case with Batman that isn't solved in a night. The Joker is behind bars and criminals like Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter are dealt with too. This is about the mob. It dwells on Gordon as much as a Batman and even more on Harvey Dent. Three men all trying to fix Gotham and taking very different approaches. It is entirely around this conflict that everything can be seen. Each character is well fleshed out, their lives are shown at home, on the streets, at work, with their love interests. You don't want for any details except those surrounding the new and interesting killer that strikes every holiday. These of course come as the story unfolds and well I didn't see it coming (which is more than I can say for the new Sherlock series which I figure out twenty minutes into each episode so this has a good plot).
I would very much get this, it is exceptional and my family wishes I would stop banging on about it
on 31 January 2012
Batman: The Long Halloween was truly where Jeph Loeb announced himself as a top writer, never had he risen so high before (albeit he is now as low as can be possible after the fiasco that was the Marvel Red Hulk story arc).
I can't write anything which hasn't been said before, I can merely emphasise just how spectacular this graphic novel is. Without doubt it would be in most Batman fans top 5 of all time, for me it is only beaten by other classics like Batman: The Killing Joke and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
The fact that parts of the story were used in The Dark Knight says it all, the new back story for Harvey Dent/Two-Face being one such instance; Loeb really does create such a believable Gotham where the crime world has taken over and the 'freaks' like Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy etc are establishing themselves and staking claim to the city. And lets not forget the mystery behind the whole story, 'The Holiday Killer', I like that it was never explicitly revealed who he/she exactly was as it does allow you to draw upon your own conclusion. Finally For me the grandest moments come when Calendar Man is talking to Batman from behind his cell, a great reference to Hannibal Lectar from silence of the lambs.
on 24 August 2015
Being relatively new to comics in general, I wasn't all too sure what to expect when I picked up The Long Halloween. Well, now I can safely say that out of the three batman comics I've read this one is by far the best. The story is gripping and dark with a surprising amount of nods towards The Godfather (compare the opening scene of this comic to the movie-you'll be pleasantly surprised). I would say that it is far more a crime drama than it is a superhero story, which isn't a bad thing. In fact it allows for some very gritty scenes that you wouldn't find in your average hero comic.
The art is wonderful. The heavy use of shadow and the limited colour pallet emphasise how dark and foreboding Gotham is. The bat himself is bulky and imposing, the design of his cape almost coming off as unnatural. I liked this; it gave him a very moody and grim quality-you can definitely see why criminals find him so frightening. Other characters were drawn with a certain noir style that makes them very memorable, particularly the Joker.
Overall it was a very impressive and well-drawn read. Worth every penny.