Batman: Haunted Knight is three tales of Halloween fun featuring everyone's favorite Dark Knight detective. All three take place early in The Batman's career (post Year One, Pre-Robin). The first story, entitled "Choices," is about Bruce Wayne's struggle with his choice of becoming Batman. When Bruce Wayne has a chance of becoming happy in a romantic relationship, will Batman have to disappear? Can Batman catch and overcome the Scarecrow so Bruce Wayne can put his silly Batman costume into the closet? The story revolves around Halloween, which in Gotham, means "all hell breaks loose", which means Batman's strength is all ready taxed. How does this change Wayne's perception of himself and his alter ego?
The second story, "Madness" is about parent-child relationships. One relationship is Commissioner Gordon and his niece Barbara's relationship, which is rocky as the events of the story unfold. Barbara is headstrong and willful, just like her adoptive parent James Gordon. After a shouting match she runs away on Halloween night, and Gordon frantically searches for her. Meanwhile, Batman battles the Mad Hatter. The Hatter brings to his mind memories of his mother reading him stories on rainy days, especially a reading of Alice In Wonderland on a fateful day. It also brings to mind Wayne's adoptive mother, Dr. Leslie Thomkins. The stories collide when Barbara, along with a number of Gotham's trick-or-treaters, is kidnapped by The Mad Hatter.
The final story, "Ghosts", is a cross between Dickens' A Christmas Carol and crime story. After foiling a robbery attempt by The Penguin, Bruce Wayne goes home for a good night's rest. He's tired, moody, and in a foul mood as he goes to bed. He's visited by a ghost in chains (his father), the ghost of the past (Poison Ivy), the ghost of the present (the Joker), and the ghost of the future (a skeletal Batman). They warn his what his obsession with Batman's work will lead too. When Wayne wakes up it is Halloween day, and Wayne vows to try to be a positive force for Gotham as Bruce Wayne. He hires Luicius Fox to head "The Wayne Foundation" a charity to help the less fortunate.
All three stories shareTim Sale's atmospheric artwork and Jeph Loeb's talented storytelling skills. Sale's use of shadows and light are extremely effective. Gotham's architecture looks dark and foreboding. His renditions of Batman's foes are unique. Jeph Loeb's characterizations of these heroes and villains are right on, his stories always probing at the internal conflicts of the man behind the cape and cowl. And, thanks to these stories, the way was paved for The Long Halloween.
All text (C) 2000 LCB
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