Book Review: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb et al.

Book Review: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb et al. October 31, 2015

Batman: The Long Halloween written by Jeph Loeb and art by Tim Sale

Gotham City is plagued by organized crime, The biggest crime family is the Falcones, led by Carmine “The Roman” Falcone. His father had some relationship with Bruce Wayne’s father, so naturally Bruce is invited to the wedding of Carmine’s nephew Johnny Viti. Carmine tries to recruit Bruce to get the Gotham City Bank to do business with Falcone Imports. Bruce refuses. He runs into Selina Kyle and doesn’t refuse a dance with her. Meanwhile, District Attorney Harvey Dent is taking down license plate numbers in the garage. Later, Batman breaks into Carmine’s office and finds Catwoman robbing the safe. They are both discovered and have to flee. The Roman puts out a million dollar bounty on “the Bat or the Cat.” Batman has a rooftop conference with Dent and Jim Gordon, where they make a plan to take down the Falcone family. Johnny comes back from his honeymoon and is killed on Halloween night by someone who leaves a pumpkin at the scene. Thanksgiving rolls around and more members of the Falcone crime family are killed. The newspapers dub the killer “Holiday” and Batman has a tough investigation ahead of him, dealing with the crime families and his iconic villains like The Joker, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, etc.

The book is well written. The plot has some great twists and the book goes out of its way to make almost everyone look like a suspect (except for Batman, of course). The characters are well-developed–readers see a lot of Dent’s and Gordon’s families and the strained relationship between Batman and Catwoman. The book also does a great job of blending the realistic crime noir storyline with the fantastic Batman villains who keep showing up. The art supports this blend with a lot of shadows and black (giving the noir) and big splash pages of action (letting the villains shine). Fans of the Christopher Nolan movie trilogy will see many parallels and outright ripoffs Nolan took from this book (the book was written before the movies). The ending is tragic but satisfying.

This is easily the best Batman graphic novel I’ve read and I highly recommend it. Happy Halloween folks!

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