Batman: The Long Halloween. This, like many other of the books we've covered, is essential reading for the Batman enthusiasts out there.
This series of books was originally released in 1996 through 1997 in 13 books. Written by Jeph Loeb with artwork by Tim Sale. This true Dynamic Duo would go on to create many good comic series. Many of which were Batman related. This story takes us back to Batman in his early days. The books were released in "chapters". Each book has a theme. So we'll review them one by one just like when they were originally released.
Chapter 1: Crime
This series opens in a very Godfather esque fashion. Introducing us to one of the book's antagonists, Carmine "The Roman" Falcone. He is the Vito Corleone of the story. "The Roman" is meeting with Bruce Wayne at the wedding reception of Falcone's nephew, Johnny Viti. He's trying to influence Bruce to do business the way his father used to with the Falcones. To help Carmine with a bank deal since Bruce sits on the board. This was "The Romans" way to launder money. Bruce refuses and storms out of the meeting. As he's outside The Roman's office trying to listen to the talk that ensues after he leaves, Bruce approached by The Roman's son, Alberto Falcone. Truly the picture of Fredo from The Godfather.
As he chats with his son, The Roman notices someone on lurking by the parked cars on the surveillance monitor. It's a young district attorney Harvey Dent, trying to gather evidence on The Roman and his "family". He's writing down plate numbers when he is approached by "The Romans" men. He is beaten mercilessly. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, who met after Bruce left the meeting with "The Roman" find Harvey and help him up. Harvey brushes off his rescuers as basically being snobs and not caring about the problem The Roman represents.
Selina asks Bruce if he has plans for the night to which Bruce replies that he's had a busy day and yawns. For Bruce, there's work to be done as Batman. Of course, Catwoman has business too. They both show up to inspect The Romans safe. Batman stops Catwoman from stealing all sorts of valuables but alerts goons who are outside. Batman dispatches of them rather quickly and as chase between the Cat and the Bat ensues. This scene, like many others, would be done again and again in books and movies.
The Roman, who hears the gunshots comes into his office which is destroyed by bullets and the melee, utters another Godfather line "in my house, where my children sleep". After being questioned by rival mob boss, Salvatore Maroni if he's losing his step, The Roman orders the word put out, $1 Million bounty for anyone who can kill Batman or Catwoman.
The chase between Batman and Catwoman is brief. She eventually gives him the slip, showing that while skilled, Batman is still relatively green. The bat-signal shines in the sky so Catwoman will have to wait. The next few panels, again, will be used later on in the blockbuster movie The Dark Knight. Captain Gordon, Harvey Dent, and Batman all agree to finally put an end to The Roman. Captain Gordon will bend the rules but not break them. He makes this clear. Of course, after his speech, he and Dent turn to find The Batman gone and a ledger that Batman stole (sneaky Batman) from The Roman's safe is left. They look through it excitingly.
It's now July. Bruce actively tries to tank the deal between the Bank Of Gotham and Carmine Falcone just like he said he would. The Bank's president Richard Daniel speaks up and reasserts that these are "alleged" crimes against Falcone and the bank cannot turn down this opportunity to make money. Furious Bruce storms out, saying he will not allow this to happen. Later that evening, Mr. Daniels is at home making a drink while talking to his wife asking her to hurry up as their reservations are in a half hour. The response he gets is not the one he was expecting. It's The Batman! He tells Richard Daniels to keep Falcone's money out of the bank. Richard Daniels resigns and Bruce is put in as head.
Furious that his money cannot be put into circulation, he sends his nephew to make an example of Richard Daniels. In September, Johnny Vito, The Roman's nephew shoots Richard Daniels on the street in a drive-by. In a very noir moment, we are introduced to a .22 caliber handgun being modified and equipped with a baby bottle nipple as a silencer. This is important, as we will see it again. Gordon gets the call about Daniels and calls Harvey to inform him. Harvey is working in his basement, which is similar to the setup we just saw altering that .22 caliber, is approached by his wife who is scared and breaks the news about Daniels.
Johnny Vito takes a bath. As he sits in his tub, a hand holding that altered. 22 caliber pistols poke through the door. Johnny Vito is shot twice in the head. The pistol is left, alongside a pumpkin and the baby bottle nipple. Happy Halloween Johnny Vito.
As Gordon, Dent, and Batman go over the evidence of the Vito murder, Batman notices movement of an adjacent roof and vanishes. It's Catwoman. Batman confronts her and asks her what she wanted. After the price was put on her head, she wants to help for a favor down the road. She informs Batman of the location of Falcone's "family" money stash. Batman and Harvey Dent approach the suspected warehouse and open it. It's full of cash that cannot be used as it wasn't laundered. They burn it all.
Harvey is approaching his house. Kids in costumes are running up the sidewalk. He's met at his door by his wife. They embrace and close the door. The house explodes. The only text is words Batman used earlier;
"I believe in Jim Gordon"
"I believe in Harvey Dent"
"I Below in Gotham City"