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Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween

Review

Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween may be the crowing achievement of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s career. It may be the crowning achievement of the Batman universe, depending on whom you ask. It is such an absolutely fantastic snapshot of the character of Batman, his rogues gallery, and storytelling that it’s no wonder Christopher Nolan drew heavily from it in creating his universe for Batman Beginsand The Dark Knight.

That alone makes it a book worth picking up nowadays for movie fans who want to learn more about where the character came from. More than that, it’s just a fantastic story, with brilliant art, which has never looked greater than in DC Comics’ Absolute release of the title.

For those unacquainted, Batman: The Long Halloween takes place in the early days of Bruce Wayne’s time as Batman, in the Year: One universe, as it has become known. He is confronted by a criminal mastermind known only as Holiday, who murders on a holiday each month. At the same time, each of the 13 chapters brings in classic Batman villains, keeping things fresh throughout.

But at the core of the story, which is where The Dark Knight took from the most, is the three-way relationship between Batman, Lieutenant (and later Commissioner) James Gordon, and District Attorney Harvey Dent. The tragedy of the story comes in Harvey Dent’s transformation into the villain Two-Face. And the Falcone crime family also plays a large role in the story. At the same time, Long Halloween is a noir-ish crime tale, with an archetypal Batman arc.

The Absolute edition is a perfect fit for any hardcore collector’s bookshelf. Like the Absolute editions before it, Long Halloween comes in a hardcover slipcase, featuring a great Tim Sale Batman on a blue background, with an orange bar down one side for the title. Under the slipcase is a beautifully oversized hardcover. On the front, a matted section features the same Tim Sale illustration, but with an orange background. The back of the book has a more traditional hardcover feel, and is totally black save for a white stencil of Batman.

Inside, it’s got the usual bookmark attached to the binding. But it is what’s just under the cover that might be the most impressive. Over a two-page spread, readers get to see the Batman shot from the cover, but from left to right, it changes from early sketch material to full-blown color, finished product. Then comes a conversation between Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer about the influence the book had on them.

Over the course of the book, the oversized pages do incredible justice to the entire book and its art, but especially to the fantastic covers that were created for this series. The end of the book features two pages on the DC Direct figure concepts, an interview with Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the original proposal for the book, and an incredible gallery depicting the progression of cover art.

Batman: The Long Halloween is one of the best Batman comics ever written, an essential for any fan, presented in one of the best Absolute editions DC Comics has released to date.

Reviewed by William Jones on July 2, 2012

Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween
by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

  • Publication Date: April 7, 2007
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • ISBN-10: 1401212824
  • ISBN-13: 9781401212827