First of all, just to be clear, this story has it all. Taking place early on in his career and following on from Batman: Year One we see Batman attempt to solve a case over the span of a year.
The story begins with Batman, Harvey Dent, and Jim Gordon working together to take down Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone, one of Gotham City’s biggest crime bosses. What ensues is a new killer named Holiday committing murders during national holidays. In the pursuit of this mysterious killer, Batman runs into many villains in his rogues’ gallery such as Catwoman, Solomon Grundy, and the Joker.
In true detective form, this story continually has you guessing who Holiday is. One of the lead suspects is Harvey Dent who at the beginning of this story has not yet become Two-Face. What this story portrays brilliantly is that Harvey Dent didn’t become Two-Face because of half of his face being horribly scarred but because of several factors and events that chipped away at his soul. Seeing Harvey fall from grace and become a monster makes for an interesting read and one of the key plot threads in this story.
Another key character in this story is Selina Kyle and her romance with both Bruce Wayne as herself and Batman as Catwoman. Her duality of being both friend and foe are depicted well here. In most cases, she gets in Batman’s way but in others, such as Batman’s run-in with Poison Ivy, she pretty much saves the day and deals with situations that Batman cannot handle.
As this story is set over the span of a little more than a year we get to see how busy Batman’s life is. While juggling between taking down the Roman and finding Holiday we get to see how other crimes that are unrelated are dealt with swiftly so that Batman can get back to solving the big cases. The best example of this is when the Joker makes an appearance and causes all of his usual brand of trouble.
This story is perfect for both new readers and long-term fans of Batman. It has a steady paced plot that keeps you guessing and a selection of characters from Batman’s Rogues’ gallery. This story is a must read for any fan.
Purchase Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman & The Monster Men
Batman: Dark Victory
In this collection of Stories, we see Batman early in his career butting heads with several enemies from his rogues’ gallery.
In the first tale, Batman must confront the scarecrow again as he has begun to experiment on animals with his fear toxin. The plot is similar to most scarecrow stories, using his fear toxin, he terrorizes the city on Halloween night. What makes this story a little different is Bruce Wayne’s romance with a mysterious lady named Jillian. One of the highlights of this story is Batman’s weakness as Bruce Wayne. As a man, in reality, he misses things that he would otherwise notice as Batman but that is where Alfred shows his true worth as he does a little detective work of his own. Its this action by Alfred that illustrates that sometimes even Batman may overlook something and may at times, require the help of others.
In the second tale, we witness Barbara Gordon in her teenage years (before taking up the mantle of Batgirl or Oracle) fall victim to a kidnapping committed by the Mad Hatter. In his insane attempts at recreating wonderland, he dresses Barbara Gordon up as Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) and insists she attend his tea party. This story brilliantly shows us how manic and disillusioned the Mad Hatter really is. One of the stories sub-plots also connects the story of Alice in Wonderland to the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents indicating that whenever he fights the Mad Hatter he is reminded of that night and consistently puts the blame on himself for their death.
In the third story, Batman has to deal with his very own Scrooge moment. Just as it happened in Charles Dickens ‘A Christman Carol,’ Batman is visited by three ghosts of the past, present, and future. These ghosts show Batman how his obsession with taking up the mantle of Batman affects Bruce Wayne. We see aspects of Batman’s personality and fears that are very rarely shown. The tale is very simple but also very enjoyable.
This whole book connects and references famous works, stories and children’s rhymes while maintaining the theme of Halloween throughout the whole book. All three tales are enjoyable to read and give greater depth to the character of Batman.
Purchase Batman: Haunted Knight
Batman: The Long Halloween
Superman and Batman