The events of Batman: The Long Halloween follow the events that occur in Batman: Year One. Few creative teams can hold their own against the team of Frank Miller and whoever he's collaborating with at the time, but Loeb and Sale not only hold their own, but in many cases surpass the excellent Year One.
Tim Sale doesn't try to mimic Mazzucchelli's artwork, but rather maintains he own art style while giving subtle allusions to the earlier work. Similarly, Jeph Loeb remains true to the events set by Frank Miller, while embellishing them here and there to progress this monster story.
The story begins with Bruce Wayne telling mob boss Falcone, "I believe in Gotham City." He is in a darkened room; the light coming through venetian blinds behind him are the only source of illumination. It immediately sets the film noir tone of the story. Falcone wishes to use Gotham's bank to lauder money. Bruce Wayne can help him do that, since he is on the bank's board, but of course Wayne refuses. Falcone is preparing a wedding for his nephew, Johnny Viti. When Viti is murdered the day before Halloween, a gang war ensues between Falcone's gang and that of his arch rival, "Boss" Maroni.
Beside Viti's corpse a jack-o-lantern and the murder weapon are left. It becomes the first of the serial "Holiday" murders (each chapter centers around a different holiday). A different "major player" in the wars between Falcone and Moroni dies during the ensuing year on a holiday. The murder segments are drawn in black and white, again adding the film noir flavor of the story. Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, and Harvey Dent try to find this serial killer.
Added into the mix is Catwoman, who borders between common thief and crime fighter, the domestic lives of James Gordon and Harvey Dent, and Dent's transformation into the being known as Two-Face. Batman's quest leads him to Gotham's other criminal element, "the freaks". The freaks include the Joker, Riddler, Calendar Man, Solomon Grundy, and Poison Ivy. As in Batman: Haunted Knight, Tim Sale's rendition of these characters are unique while staying true to the characters.
The events of The Long Halloween conclude a year later on Halloween night (hence the title), sort of. I won't give too much away but Loeb's script will definitely keep you guessing. The story ends as it began, with a declaration of faith, but faith can often be misplaced and, as the story emphasizes, can culminate into disastrous results.
All text (C) 2000 LCB
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