Sunday, September 26, 2010
Graphic Novel Review: The Long Halloween
I've covered my love of Batman before. More than once. So, it may shock people when I say I've never read the comics. Like, at all.
Well, I haven't I love Batman, but I've never read the comics. I've just never really been able to get into comics. Something about the format doesn't appeal to me as much as it does to a lot of other people, only getting one chapter of the story a month, I dunno, I've never been able to get into them. Perhaps I will some day, perhaps not.
The other day however, I purchased a used copy of "The Long Halloween" graphic novel, from a nearby bookstore. And the graphic novel format appeals to me a LOT more than the comic format.
For those who don't know, a graphic novel is basically just a collection of a complete series in one tome when a series has run it's course. "The Long Halloween" for example was a 13-part storyline that ran in 1997.
The comic begins with some quick plot exposition. Carmine "The Roman" Falcone (A name that may sound familiar to fans of The Dark Knight, who haven't read the comics, such as myself.) is a mobster who essentially controls Gotham. His "Roman Empire" rules the city with fear, and an iron fist. Much to the dismay of three of the only good men left in Gotham, Jim Gordon who is one of the last good cops in Gotham, Harvey Dent the Gotham District Attorney, and of course, Batman. And so the three make a pact to take down Falcone. Gordon makes sure to tell the two others that they "Can bend the rules, but [they] can't break them."
This pact is put to the test, when a criminal nicknamed "holiday" begins picking off Falcone's men one at a time, each murder on a holiday. What follows is an exciting murder mystery that will not only keep you guessing, but features a large portion of Batman's rogue's gallery. The Joker, Poison Ivy, Solomon Grundy and many more are all featured in the story arc spanning over a year.
This murder mystery itself is interesting, and all of the characters involved in the mystery are fleshed out in a way that gives almost every character in the comic motive, and the murders themselves are shown in a way that you never know who it is until the very end.
The art is gorgeous, the characters all feel very much like themselves, and... Well... It's Batman!
The only shortcomings are that with as many of the villains as are featured, a few of them feel a bit wedged in, as though they were just trying to get the villain into the arc somehow, when it really would have been better without them in it. Particularly Poison Ivy. She appears for all of 5 or 10 pages before disappearing into obscurity. However, this is a minor complaint, as a lot of the villains were given their due, while still focusing on the Holiday murder plot line.
And the Holiday murder plot line is extremely well done. It not only kept me unsure of who Holiday was until the very end, but even at the very end it surprised me. More than once, actually. There was one detail I was a bit sketchy on, which I can't mention without giving away a MAJOR plot point, but overall it was still an extremely well done plot line.
Overall, The Long Halloween is a great graphic novel that's most definitely worth your time.