Review – Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1 – The Next Trick

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The Long Halloween Special #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1 – Jeph Loeb, Writer; Tim Sale, Artist; Brennan Wagner, Colorist; Richard Starkings, Lettering and Design

Ray – 9/10

Ray: It’s been a long time since we entered the dark Gotham of Loeb and Sale, and their two masterpiece Batman stories finally have a follow-up. Picking up a year after the events of the last series, Halloween is coming around again—and Gotham’s most notorious holiday-themed villain has a plan. Calendar Man has been pulling off heists around the city of gemstones—naturally, birthstones—and his minions made the mistake of pulling a heist at the jewelry store where Martha Wayne bought her famous pearls. But while Calendar Man is the main threat, Batman’s thoughts are more occupied by another villain—Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, who disappeared after being scarred. He currently lives in the sewers with Solomon Grundy, but his wife Gilda—who, as we know, is not the innocent woman she appears to be—has searched for him and intends to bring him back home and recreate their old love.

Credits. Via DC Comics.

While this is a pretty dark story, there are some surprising moments of lightness. Robin is becoming a bigger part of Batman’s world now, although Bruce is still hesitant to trust him with dangerous missions at first. We get a fun subplot about Barbara Gordon wanting to go trick-or-treating with Robin—she’s wearing a Batgirl costume, but I don’t think she’s actually Batgirl yet. Amid this, Gilda gets kidnapped by Calendar Man, who has figured out her secret and hates her for taking his gimmick of the holidays away from him. That forces an awkward team-up between Batman and Two-Face, with some surprisingly clever twists. I had forgotten how brutal Loeb and Sale’s Batman could be, or maybe this is a new edge to the character, but some of the fight scenes and beatdowns are brutal. This is a gorgeous comic, minimalist but almost as good as the originals. I don’t know if we’ll ever get more, but this is a fitting capper to the previous installments.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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