The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Time Sale was rather epic, a full-on noir murder mystery starring Batman. A killer is murdering members of the Gotham City underworld on holidays. Hence, the killer receives the name “Holiday.” This takes place during the early years of Batman’s reign over Gotham, set in the same world as Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Batman, Jim Gorden, and Harvey Dent are all working closely together to clean up Gotham.
Bruce Wayne is juggling his business, his alter ego, and his relationship with the beautiful (though woefully non-Michelle Pfeiffer) Selina Kyle. At the same time, Batman is struggling with identifying the holiday killer, dealing with a rise in the “Freak” population (Freaks are supervillains such as The Joker, Solomon Grundy, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter), as well as trying to bring down the Maroni and Falcone crime families, all while enduring tantalizing taunts from the enigmatic Catwoman.
The atmosphere of the book truly captured me. It takes some of the few good aspects of Miller’s contribution to the Batman reboot, like the atmosphere and mood, and utilizes them to great effect. Joker is terrifying, Two-Face is tragic, and Batman is intense and alone. These carry through to the sequel, Dark Victory.
I had a good guess as to the killer’s identity about halfway through, and I was partially correct. It was populated by some of the scariest Batman villains, making me wonder who was truly behind the year-long “holiday” killings, as there were so many contenders.
I can also see the influence (at least in tone and characterization) on Christopher Nolan‘s Batman franchise, such as the Falcone family, Harvey Dent/Two Face, the relationship between Batman and Gordon, and Batman’s status as truly Other, outside of the world–alone.