Batman The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

“I made a promise to my parents to protect this city from the evil that took their lives. If I am to succeed, I must be willing to deal out — the punishment.”

– Batman in The Long Halloween

            It’s been a while since Batman has come knocking on Bookidote’s doors. But here he is at last with another quintessential volume that all fans of the world’s greatest detective should have on their bookshelves. The Long Halloween stands as one of the most important story arcs in the dark knight’s legacy as it explores the famous story behind district attorney Harvey Dent while continuing the adventures of characters that Frank Miller has introduced back in Batman: Year One (check out the review of that comic on our blog). This trade paperback published in 1999 collects 13 original issues written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale. Marking the beginning of a creative and legendary duo, these two legends put forth the classic story of a murderer who goes by the name of Holiday and who kills people on famous holidays. Surprising, isn’t it? As Batman teams up with Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent, The Long Halloween explores the deep dark corners of the noir murder-mystery genre in comics and embarks readers on the hunt for a deadly killer.

“Saint Patrick’s Day. We all think of green. Now. It’s red. Blood red. Saint Patrick’s Day is coming and we’re no closer to finding out who this madman is. ‘Holiday.’

– Commissioner Gordon in The Long Halloween

            I’ve been wanting to know the famous origin of Two-Face ever since I’ve started reading comics. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale does exactly what I’ve wanted for so long and delivers a story that blows any bat-fan’s brains out. Brilliantly written, the plot has a dark noir’ish vibe. It’s structured as a murder mystery worthy of Batman’s time and has more blood throughout his adventure than ever before. Although the plot revolves around the hunt of a mysterious killer, a.k.a. Holiday, there are several villains that also make their appearances. From Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter to the infamous Joker, this trade paperback doesn’t lack in villain appearances. What’s truly appealing is that they aren’t portrayed as simple criminals that are making their debuts. Jeph Loeb, with the help of illustrator Tim Sale, manage to depict these villains as supervillains. Criminals that should make any simple mortal crawl to a corner and shiver as they grasp their knees and sob. As Batman seek to neutralize these characters, he also teams up with Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent in the hunt for Holiday. Seeing that his modus operandi is similar to the famous Calendar Man, the three protagonists never need to fret on missing clues and suspects throughout the story. The Long Halloween also has Solomon Grundy growling his famous sentence “Born on a Monday…” without flirting with his own origin story.

            While on the hunt for Holiday, we also discover the whole family tree behind the Maroni and Falcone families. Ruling over the crime life in Gotham City, these two families sets the foundation to the criminal activities in Gotham and also ties together every villain appearances in The Long Halloween. They are also Harvey Dent’s prime target as he vows to get rid of them from the streets of Gotham. Throughout the story, fighting alongside our favorite superhero, we slowly see the evolution of a friendship between him and Batman. The Long Halloween shows the various obstacles that Batman and Harvey Dent come across while they try to bring justice to the crime ridden Gotham City. These obstacles also set in motion huge plot points that come into play in these two characters relationship. As Batman puts upon Harvey Dent the burden of taking down the Maroni and Falcone families as legally as possible, the district attorney becomes a huge glowing prey to the eyes of Mafiosos. The Long Halloween does an amazing job in playing on this friendship between Batman and Harvey Dent. As we read we get a good look to the dark knight’s lonesome and full of hardship life.

“I might only point out that in one’s quest for justice — I have seen someone even as sane as yourself… Behave in the most… surprising ways.”

– Alfred Pennysworth in The Long Halloween

            The artwork is one that can leave some readers bitter. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea. One thing’s for sure, it definitely does its job. In my books, I believe that Tim Sale does an amazing job in playing with shadows and achieves great heights in artwork. The whole volume is basically set in darkness and rarely sees light and manages to capture a noir’ish vibe throughout the whole story. This was brilliantly done. Batman was drawn in a way to mix the shadow and darkness with the color of his cape and it really does come out pretty good, scary-good. He comes out of the shadow like some evil rodent from the dark. He has his cape drawn like the inside of a bats mouth. He definitely manages to inspire fear with his presence. That’s when you know the artwork was really well done. Some panels does get me to wonder if the art couldn’t have been done better, but seeing that I couldn’t have done better myself, I was still pretty impressed. While keeping the volume pretty dark and gruesome, while also using some contrasts to a have a strong effect in the storyline and to put emphasis on certain key elements, Tim Sale manages to do some nice work on some villains. In fact, I thought Scarecrow, Mad Hatter and Two-Face had some interesting portraits. Adding the fact that Jeph Loeb does an excellent job in making those characters truly seem insane, these villains look pretty evil through the trade paperback.

“How much longer did you think I would let the Falcone family tear Gotham City in half? Splitting this city between good — and evil. My city.”

– Two-Face in The Long Halloween

            As if the number of villains weren’t enough, The Long Halloween also includes our beloved cat burglar in the midst of all this. Fans get to see the beginning of a relationship between Batman and Catwoman as we discover the flawed chemistry between those two characters. You also come to understand the complexity behind Catwoman’s position in the middle of the whole hunt for Holiday. Is she a protagonist or an antogonist? Where does she stand? Why is she always there when you least expect it? The Long Halloween explores relationships in a really intriguing way. From Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle to Batman, Gordon and Dent. In this 13 issues serie, we get a perfect mix of plot, character and setting. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale definitely created an amazing story arc with The Long Halloween. Being able to capture a dark murder mystery tale of Batman is definitely an objective pretty well achieved.

“My father had an old Dictaphone. He kept it in his study. He would make recordings. I can still hear his voice… ‘When faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem… your only option is to act swiftly, some might even say irrationally. Removing the most dangerous elements first… and methodically attacking each subsequent challenge in a separate, but deliberate manner.’”

– Batman in The Long Halloween

            This quote is probably one of the best ones in this volume. As you might know, Batman’s father was a surgeon and his father was talking about the whole surgical operations he has to deal with. Batman remembers this and applies it to his daily crime fighting activities. He explains how he might act in situations where there’s more than just one problem to face. Isn’t that a nice analogy? Just for people’s curiosity, The Long Halloween is one of the many comics that inspired Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight. Although Nolan took a different approach to Two-Face’s origin, you can still find some elements in this novel in the movie. Especially the relationship between Harvey Dent and Batman.

            As always, don’t forget to share your thoughts on this trade paperback, as well as like and follow us as we continue to get you guys reviews to read and enjoy. So what are you waiting for? If you’re interested in this, you can purchase a copy of Batman: The Long Halloween by clicking on this hyperlink !

My overall rating: ★★★★★/

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.24.49 PM

25 thoughts on “Batman The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Big kuddos to my girlfriend for the pictures, she’s a goddess when it comes to picture-taking. They even blend perfectly with the review ! And yeh, the artwork could keep people at a distance, but if you ask me, The Long Halloween is definitely worth the read. You’re sure to find it interesting in the end. 😉

      – Lashaan

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  1. Louis says:

    Really nice review bro! The questions you raised about catwoman couldnt agree more haha it looks like all the entire batman story its going to remain like that. I really liked this spin off story too.What was your fave chapter ? Mine would be April’s Fool and Christmas !

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thanks for the kind words man, it’s really appreciated. Catwoman sure does seem to remain a mystery whenever she appears in Batman. Although there are comics where you get to know her more, they’re definitely worth checking out (especially her origin). Christmas was definitely a sick chapter. I also loved the last one where everything gets unraveled, especially about Harvey Dent’s wife. Man, wasn’t that something.

      – Lashaan

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    • transhaan says:

      A couple years ago, I had this image of comic readers as an isolated geek and I couldn’t get myself to enter that world. Once I did, I have to say that this medium has so much to offer and that a lot of people are missing out if they haven’t ever touched a graphic novel in their lives. I mean V for Vendetta, Watchmen, etc. are such amazing masterpieces. And if you have a thing for superheroes, oh man… You’re sure to fall in love with comics. The amount of material that go unseen when speaking of superheroes is crazy. You learn so much and get to see so much more with graphic novels. Whatever you have on your list, I’m pretty sure their worth the read. 😉

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aneta says:

        I actually have a whole heaps of Batman ones (cos i’m a huge fan), Suicice Squad, V for Vendetta, Bram Stokers Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland! I’m so excited to start an awesome collection! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jacob says:

    One of our guys here read this but the rest didn’t. In case you forgot, we are the Lazy Comics guys ! We must admit that we all want to buy a copy after reading this review. Since we are broke, we probably would steal our friend only copy *sigh #Money. The quotes are so perfect ! That’s what we love the best about Batman. The dialogue is dopee. Neways, you guys should deserve a comics review award for all the variety reviews you guys did..

    Liked by 1 person

      • transhaan says:

        We’ll definitely keep in mind the Marvel vs DC post. We still have so many other reviews we wanna share with everyone. As for your interest in making that award happen, man we’re really happy to know people like you actually roam around our blogging world. We’re really happy that you take the time to get on WordPress, even without an account, just to comment and show your appreciation for our reviews. We’re really grateful for that. We’re working on that cute little award you’ve already made for us. We’re sure to get that up and running on our blog soon enough. Thank you again for passing by, it’s really appreciated ! 😉

        – Lashaan

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    • transhaan says:

      Man, I’m so glad to hear from you/you guys. You guys always make my day by appearing so randomly on our reviews. Dialogue is sure as hell dope in Batman. So many issues/graphic novel have amazing lines and tend to always leave a mark on readers. It truly is amazing how they push the limits to the comic medium. Thank you so much for the kind words again man. Just mentioning the fact that we deserve a comics review award made us happy. For someone who claims to be lazy, the fact that you even bothered to comment is honorable. It really is appreciated. Beating the laziness out of you to take the time to read and comment on our review. Really, really appreciated. Hope to see you around on our future posts too bruh.

      – Lashaan

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  3. kainzow says:

    I really like this one!
    At first I wasn’t sure about the art,which made everything very ”squary” (compare the art in Long Halloween with the one in Year One,for instance),but the story was extremely good.To be honest,I almost felt as if Batman took the second role,with the main character being Harvey Dent.I like how we get to see Dent’s transformation,and at the end,I was really moved and horrified by what happened to him.
    The dialogues are as good as they can get,and so is the narration.When I think of The Long Halloween,the phrase ”I believe in Harvey Dent” constantly springs to my mind.It’s almost as if Gotham is so corrupt and toxic that even the attorney symbolizing hope is not spared.The few who believed in him as a result are a bit shaken – Gordon,Dent’s wife and Batman.

    The only thing that I didn’t like with Long Halloween is how they copied things from The Goodfellas and The Godfather.In The Godfather,somebody dies in his bathtub and Vito Corleone collapses in his orange orchard – you see very similar scenes in The Long Halloween.Also,there is a bit about a mafiosi called ”SomethingTwo-Twice” as he repeats everything he says – this is a direct inspiration from Jonny Two-Twice from The Goodfellas.There are plenty of other little things like these that are scattered in Long Halloween,but I can’t think of all of them.If I’m not mistaken,there is also an allusion to Donnie Brasco.It is obvious for authors to allude to things or stories that inspired them,but still,Batman is Batman,and Batman has his own universe – if anything,you can add allusions to other DC superheroes.

    Even so,I really like The Long Halloween.For me,it is one of the best reads of 2015,and I can’t wait to read Dark Victory!

    – I also like how everything The Calendar Man said made sense in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Definitely agree with you with Harvey Dent’s role in this trade paperback. Isn’t it something to see how he felt betrayed and hates Batman for what he can’t do.

      As for the references to Goodfellas and Godfather, I actually love those. I thought they brought some extra content for any movie watchers out there that can pick up on the references. I see references as a sign of respect, something to show the appreciation of some writers/directors of other people’s work. As a matter of fact, I heard that Falcone himself was inspired on Don Vito Corleone and that fun fact was pretty nice. Jimmy Two Times was also a pretty nice addition. The whole Falcone and Maroni family have these characters depicting different personas that you might recognize in original movies and set this tone of “typical Mafiosos” among the Mafia families. I just thought it added humor for those who knew about the dude who always repeats the last word of his sentence twice, who knew about the small fat man smoking his cigar and counting the money, who knew about the one who says “Fuggadaboutit”, etc. Otherwise, for those who never knew that these characters are typical in mafia families and are originally from movies like Godfather and Goodfellas will just overlook it and enjoy it for what it is, you know.

      Anyways, I’d really like to thank you for taking your time to read the review and for sharing your own thoughts on The Long Halloween. It sure does have material that gets people to wonder and react. If you haven’t read Haunted Knight, you’re sure to enjoy it. It might not have as much depth as Long Halloween, but it sure does have some fun stories in there. Dark Victory though. That one is a must read. Especially, as it features the origin story of one our beloved sidekicks. 😉

      -Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. killkenny16 says:

    I have literally nothing to contribute to the discussion other than a hearty GOD DAMN IT, I LOVE THIS COMIC!!!! Absolutely my favourite Batman story, by far.



    Also, it’s a million times better than any Batman story Frank Miller ever wrote.
    (Hides)

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Hahahahah you cracked me up with your love for Frank Miller. 😉 I got my hands on The Dark Knight Strikes Again ! Can’t wait to sift through that one and share your passion for the great Miller. I’ll probably get around to reading it soon, certainly before Dark Knight III: The Master Race comes out. I know you’re excited to get your hands on that one ! 😀

      -Lashaan

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    • transhaan says:

      Indeed. The creepy Burtonesque noire style suits this story perfectly. I can’t wait to read Batman Hush just for Jeph Loeb’s talent. Tim Sale might not be in there, but that’s alright.

      – Lashaan

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  5. Pingback: Batman 101 Guide

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