From 1996 to 1997, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale delivered a thirteen-issue Batman story of epic proportions. Continuing the story timeline of Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween found Batman forming an alliance with Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, in pursuit of a killer who only dispatched some of Gotham’s top baddies on holidays. While trying to stop the villain Holiday from murdering another Gothamite each holiday, Batman and his new partners must also attempt to suspend the violent war between the Maroni and Falcone crime families. Now, Warner Bros. Animation delivers the first half of that storyline (with the second part coming soon!)
In the animated version, Jensen Ackles serves up the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman, with Josh Duhamel (Harvey Dent), Titus Welliver (Carmine Falcone), Billy Burke (James Gordon), and Naya Rivera (Catwoman) in supporting roles. The storyline had some influence on Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, but for those who haven’t ever read the stories Loeb and Sale created (Dark Victory and Batman: Haunted Knight), this is a must watch. [Honestly, even for someone who has read the storylines multiple times, this is great stuff.]
Serving up a story that sets out to explain Harvey Dent’s background prior to becoming Two-Face, providing some history among Batman, Gordon, and Dent, and delivering a whodunit for the World’s Greatest Detective, The Long Halloween wins on multiple fronts. While there are some elements of the deductive reasoning of Batman in the DC movies, for the most part he’s a crime fighter with his fists, tech, and crazy vehicles. Here, Tim Sheridan’s script based on Loeb/Sale’s original story strips Bats back to a simpler time, even a better one.
The Blu-ray combo pack includes the animated short The Losers, the World War II version not the Andy Diggle/Peter Berg one, as well as two Batman: The Animated Series episodes from the vault (“Christmas with the Joker,” “It’s Never Too Late”) and a sneak peek at Part Two.