Thursday, February 22, 2018

Reader's Diary #1741- Jeph Loeb (writer), Tim Sale (artist): Batman The Long Halloween

For a non-Batman fan, I sure do find myself reading a lot of Batman titles. The thing is, there are a LOT of Batman fans and so whenever you see a "Best of" comics list, inevitably there will be a Batman book on there, whether it's Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, or The Long Halloween.

I'd already read the first two in that list and wasn't thrilled with either. Early into The Long Halloween, I thought I was finally being won over. The story was more straightforward and engaging and Jeff Loeb wasn't trying too hard to show how gritty he be. It's basically a murder mystery as Batman, commissioner Jim Gordon, and district attorney Harvey Dent try to stop the serial killer dubbed "Holiday" who has been targeting a mafia family whenever there's a, you guessed it, holiday.

Alas, my enjoyment started to wane about halfway through. Not only did each chapter bring a new holiday and murder, but also a visit from a different member of Batman's rogues gallery: the Joker, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, and so on. It suddenly dawned on me how crappy of a superhero Batman really is. He's somehow a part of the Earth/Universe saving Justice League, yet he can't even keep Gotham City safe? Gotham is a crime infested hell hole.

With that gnawing at me for the remainder of the book, it didn't help that the resolution to the mystery turned out to be a convoluted mess.

Tim Sale's art work though is good; characters with an exaggerated appearance and thin, fluid lines that seemed to be influenced by the jazz age and fit the noir, gangster storyline.

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