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Holiday killer on the loose

It seems like phenomenal duo Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale had a clear mission for Batman: The Long Halloween. It feels like they revisited the material of Frank Miller’s Year One and wanted to pick up and elaborate on the gangster theme. In a way they continued their re-portrayal of the winged crusader as a superclass detective, as they had begun in Batman: Haunted Knight. But they went beyond these 3 previously published Halloween stories. Would this 13-chapter tale then best be known as Year Two (the only true successor to Miller’s subliminal work)? Well, nevermind. The questions is irrelevant as this work has more than enough quality to offer by itself.

I made a promise  – to my parents – that I would – rid the city – of the evil – that took their lives.

There’s a killer out on the Gotham streets. Nothing new so far. Seems to have a murderous appetite to kill on holidays. Likes a riddle. Harvey Dent, district attorney, vigilantly and relentlessly chases the bad guys from the good side of the law. It takes a while for him to accept the big bat as a companion. But together with commissioner Gordon they create a bond to hunt down the head of Gotham’s main gangster family, Carmine Falcone (“The Roman”). A war commences.

Frustration grows with some defenders of the law. The Maroni family gets involved. Things get out of hand as all villains seem to be getting out of Arkham Asylum. In the meantime Bruce Wayne/Batman gets to deal with more than violence with Selina Kyle/Catwoman. He finds himself victim to a strange and dark attraction. The death of Alberto Falcone, The Roman’s son, causes his gigantic aunt to go nuts. And it leaves some questions on whether the poor son was consciously left out of daddy’s imperium. And what links the late doctor Wayne to The Roman?

It all fits together in this tremendous and superb tale of murder and mystery. Giving birth to the notorious Two-Face. Two sides to the end. All’s well. Ambiguous yet. Who’s Holiday? How many are Holiday? Luckily at least Gilda still believes in Harvey Dent.

Batman: The Long Halloween was clearly a major source of inspiration for the first new generation Batman movie Batman Begins.