I picked up “Batman: The Long Halloween” alongside “The Arabian Knights”, “The Idiot” by Dostoevsky and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and its sequel by Lewis Carroll sometime in January, although I didn’t read it until this month. I’ve always preferred books that have been turned into films and like comparing the two, especially if the film was extraordinary. This graphic novel, written by Jeph Loeb, illustrated by Tim Sale and published in 1996, was the basis for “The Dark Knight”, particularly the story concerning the origin of supervillain Two-Face.
Gotham City, held in a tight grip by gangster Carmen “The Roman” Falcone and the Falcone mafia family, is suddenly alerted when a serial killer begins striking their victims on holidays and leaving behind a holiday-theme memento at the crime scene (consequentially dubbing them “The Holiday Killer” in Gotham City media), starting on Halloween. As Batman, Captain Jim Gordon (usually known as Commissioner Gordon), and District Attorney investigate the crimes and search for the serial killer, the downfall of regular mafia thugs as the city’s main villains progresses while the “freaks” or insane and unorthodox antagonists begin to rise, and Harvey Dent’s patience and sanity get put to the ultimate tests as the investigation stretches and burdens his home life and morals.
The graphic novel definitely kept my interest in reading. As the reader begins each chapter, a new super villain is introduced and investigated for the whereabouts or the howabouts of the The Holiday Killer. As a new clue is deducted or another killing takes place, the mystery was refreshed and intrigue was certainly renewed, making me want to continue the story every train or bus ride home from work (as opposed to me sometimes just listening to my iPod and not wanting to trudge through a boring part of whatever I’m reading at the time). The dramatic writing, as in the dialogue in between character and the story-telling (not the plot) itself was a little dry and uninteresting. I suppose someone would tell me that that is the nature of a comic book and has been for years, but I think Alan Moore has come in and raised the standard on the aspect.
I read online that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale purposefully left the ending of this collected series of issues open-ended and ambiguous………which is not the feeling or thoughts that I got when I finished the book. Of course, I felt lost in a few parts and come to think of it, I’m not really sure if a certified confession of guilt or presentation of evidence is clear. At any rate, the book is definitely entertaining and will get a second reading from me in the future.