What: Batman: The Long Halloween

Who: By Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

When: Originally published in 1996-97 as single issues.

Where: Fat Jack’s.

Why: I don’t usually read any of DC’s super-hero characters. When I want super-heroes, I read Marvel. But I’ve had an itch for something different lately, and Loeb and Sale are one of the most celebrated collaborations in comics. Did I like this book? Yes and no. I liked the plot. Batman, Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon make a pact to bring now notorious gangster “The Roman” while a serial killer uses the theme of holidays to dismantle his organization over the course of a year. Is it The Roman’s chief rival? Is it Dent himself, finally lost his patience with the system? It’s a decent mystery story leaving you going back and forth over your list of suspects and second guessing previous chapters. And most importantly, my favorite part of a Batman comic; the rogues gallery! Loeb makes sure to cram this story with plenty of Batman’s best villains who get pulled into the plot in creative ways that make perfect sense for the story. The Joker stand for another homicidal maniac in Gotham? Heaven forbid.

The art of Tim Sale is a bit off. I kind of forgot what his style looked like back then. Let me clarify; he’s a master. He knows exactly how to compose and design a comics page. But if you’re comparing 1996 Tim Sale to 2010 Tim Sale, you notice a gap, and I was a little thrown. That said, his takes on all of the Gotham City characters are fantastic. You can’t wait to see who’ll turn up next, and what they’ll look like to match the atmosphere of this book. And the fact that this story is set earlier in Batman’s career, giving us the blue and black costume, is also a treat for a guy like me who gets a little sick of the ├╝ber-dark, Johnny Cash Batman we get from time to time.

Did I like this book? Absolutely. Did I love every aspect of it? Absolutely not. If you want a nice, long, evenly paced Batman story with a good mystery and plenty of villains, then you can’t go wrong with giving this book a read. And I’ll definitely pick up their next book Haunted Knight sometime in the future.