My first graphic novel of the year, and of course it had to be a Batman one. The Long Halloween is a quintessential Batman story, doing a really solid job of blending 'Batman: Kickass Superhero' with 'Batman: World's Greatest Detective'.
In TLH Batman's crime fighting career is still in it's relatively early days, and Gotham's wackier antagonists like Joker are small time weirdos, as opposed to big bad super-villains. Batman's main fight is with the various gangs of Gotham, and a mystery killer who, beginning on Halloween, carries out a series of murders on public holidays. There are also elements of this story line that can be seen reflected in the second installment of the Dark Knight trilogy, and it's a lot of fun to see how the story and ideas were picked apart and reshuffled and translated into the movie for a different genre and audience.
One of my favourite things about the Batman franchise is seeing how different characters are portrayed in different stories; their outfits, abilities, personality etc. TLH features most of Batman's adversaries including The Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy (who is particularly interesting,) and Riddler and it's always a nice surprise when a character is dressed differently or taken in a different direction from what you're used to.
My favourite thing about this story is that Batman gets it wrong, and at a serious cost. All too often Batman and other heroes like him become basically invincible, Any trap they fall into was all part of a bigger plan, everything ends with some incredible victory. In The Long Halloween Batman has to come to terms with his own failings, and deal with the guilt that comes with the hurt he causes.
The artwork is pulpy and scratchy and to be honest not my favourite. It reminds me of the sheer crock of shit that was Batman Gothic (0/10 do not recommend). It's not terrible but Selena Kyle looks a little bit like Michael Jackson dressed up as a creepy fortune teller and Joker's teeth look like baleen. I've seen versions of Bruce Wayne I liked much better too. Boy doesn't suit a widow's peak.
Batman The Long Halloween isn't my favourite graphic novel by any means, but I enjoyed it and it's definitely a classic must-read for any fans of the Bat.
I'm hoping to get another two book reviews in by the end of January! Stay tuned!
Thank you for reading