Hot off the success of the first instalment of the animated feature, DC has dropped the news that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale will combine their creative powers and return for Batman: The Long Halloween Special. It’s a reason for celebration considering the seminal influence of The Long Halloween on the Dark Knight and comics as a whole.
While Loeb and Sale are returning to Gotham City here, they already did so in 1999 with the release of Batman: Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween. It might not be as fondly remembered as the murder-mystery series that introduced Holiday to comic book readers, but it carried on the story and this version of Batman more than adequately. In fact, it’s disgustingly underrated.
Following the events of The Long Halloween, Dark Victory is a retelling of Dick Grayson’s origin from a young circus performer to Batman’s sidekick, Robin, while introducing a “new” villain named the Hangman, who is central to the conflict between Two-Face and Sofia Falcone. The narrative is packed with enough crime drama as its predecessor, but also showing a more compassionate side to the Dark Knight as he opens his home (and heart) to the Boy Wonder.
While there have been many Dynamic Duo stories over the years, Dark Victory captures their fragile and sometimes fractured relationship. There’s no doubt that Batman cares for Robin like a son, but he’s also probably not the best person to raise a child since he turns him into a crimefighter before he can even drive. Even so, this is the story that manages to encompass all these different emotions and feelings in one coherent arc.
For those looking for a juicy twist and the detective side of Batman, Dark Victory keeps you guessing in much the same way that The Long Halloween did. It’s not just the big reveal at the end that blows your mind, but also some of the events along the way that no one could’ve seen coming. Plus, it’s got a wonderful cast of heroes and foes who all play a part in this storyline.
The news that Loeb and Sale are reuniting for another stab in The Long Halloween universe is undoubtedly exciting and timeous. If you can’t wait until the special’s release in October, though, do yourself a favour and read Dark Victory. It might just become your new favourite Batman story.