Journeying through the Dark Knight’s early crime fighting days.
We saw Batman begin his journey into crime fighting, and having a rough time at it, on Batman: Year One. A lot has changed since then, we have some new bad guys terrorizing Gotham City and we also have some new friends, if you could even call some of them that. The difference with these next two installments is that we are beyond meeting Batman, he has made his mark and he has placed his fear upon the villains, but of course, in a city overtaken by criminals, some of them don’t want to comply with the Dark Knight. In other words, we are done with the origin story and into the crime thrillers. Let’s see how Batman does with these felons.
Batman: Long Halloween
The classic Batman detective stories define the Dark Knight, and Long Halloween is regarded by many of the biggest Batman fans as one of the best among the many. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sales team up for this 13-issue comic book thriller to create a perfect world of words and color, from the tones that shape Batman’s baddest antagonists to the shades that hide Batman himself in the darkness of Gotham City. What most people take away from this (and the following series by the same team) is how creative and thought-out the crime thriller actually is. Batman is wrapped up with trying to find the mysterious Holiday, who kills only on holidays, all the while working with Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to calm the war between Gotham crime families Maroni and Falcone. Not to mention the Calendar Man, who almost works as a Hannibal Lecter type prisoner here, giving away hints but not the identity of Holiday, for sake of staying relevant himself (since Holiday and Calendar Man kill almost in the same fashion).
Classic Batman enemies make their appearances throughout the series. Fan favorites like The Joker, Poison Ivy, and The Riddler have their say, all while we witness the transformation we all thoroughly love of Harvey Dent into his ultimate demise: Two-Face. If you want to read the best Batman origin story, go read Year One, but if you’re looking for the model Batman crime thriller, pick up Long Halloween right away.
Batman: Dark Victory
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sales do it again with the 14-part Dark Victory, a follow-up to the Long Halloween series. Batman is now dealing with The Hangman, Two-Face, and the Falcone mob, all intriguing threads to this story, but what I love most about Dark Victory is the re-telling of how Robin joined the dynamic duo. Much like the previous Batman series by Loeb and Sales, we have a perfectly produced crime thriller, with vital art to go along with it, but what stands out most is the emotions felt once Dick Grayson is adopted by Bruce Wayne. Here we see a side of Bruce, of Batman, that was missing.
Batman starts the series off by taking blame upon himself for what has happened with Harvey Dent in the Long Halloween events, blaming himself for seeing a friend turn into a villain. We start to see less of Bruce Wayne and a lot more of the Dark Knight, we see a lot less of the personal side from Bruce, he shuts himself off, becomes a loner, and beats himself up over events he can’t control himself. Bruce always toils with the conundrum of having a partner, having allies, or staying alone, staying unknown. It’s a difficult line Bruce always tiptoes, especially during this series. We see large growth from Bruce from the beginning of the series till he runs into Robin, and this is one of my favorite aspects from the Dark Victory series.
– Nahuel F.A.