Batman: The Long Halloween Parts 1 and 2
Batman: The Long Halloween was a 13-part miniseries themed around calendar events. Written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale, it was one of several prestige events the two teamed on in the mid-90s. (There’s a deluxe edition hardcover collection coming out, but not until October.) The premise was that a serial killer, Holiday, was murdering people once a month on holidays. It also put a young Batman in conflict with Gotham mob families and retold how Harvey Dent became Two-Face.
Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 came out on digital ($14.99 list price) and on Blu-ray ($29.98, currently $19.96) on June 22. Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 will be out on digital ($19.99) July 27 and on Blu-ray ($34.98, currently on sale for $19.99) August 10.
The studio was kind enough to send me review copies. Here’s the trailer for part one:
and part two:
Batman (voiced by Jensen Ackles) teams up with Catwoman (Naya Rivera, in her last role), Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), and Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) to take down the Falcone crime family (Carmine, head, voiced by Titus Welliver) while tracking down a serial killer who operates on holidays.
I liked the animation style, particularly the retro gothic shading on the opening views of the city. The credits say inspired by art by Tim Sale, which might account for the look. The story isn’t my cup of tea, as I don’t care for mob/gangster pieces, although it does allow for a ton of guest stars and villain appearances. The first part ends after New Year’s, with everyone completely perplexed about who the killer might be.
Screenplay is by Tim Sheridan, and Chris Palmer is the director of both parts. Oddly, the first part is rated PG-13 while the second is rated R. I didn’t even watch part two, but reportedly, there were some changes from the book.
I was more interested in the DC Showcase shorts (which run about 15 minutes each) included with each. Part One has “The Losers”, based on the war comic about a mismatched group. The characters here are Captain Storm (voiced by Dean Winters), Henry Jones (Eugene Byrd), Gunner (Dave B. Mitchell), Sarge (Dave B. Mitchell), Pooch (no voice, it’s a dog), Johnny Cloud (Martin Sensmeier), and Special Agent Fan Long (Ming-Na Wen).
As directed by Milo Neuman (and written by Tim Sheridan), the cartoon begins with a boat in a storm, where they’re shooting at some kind of sea monster, when they crash onto an island which turns out to have its own secret. Animation was nice, but the ending was dissatisfying, as it really wants a sequel.
There’s also, as a special feature on Part One, a nine-minute sneak peek at Part Two. I’m not sure this was really necessary, as presumably you want to find out the solution to the mystery, so the creators telling you how much more exciting it’s going to be seems like setting expectations a bit too high. There are also previews of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Gotham by Gaslight and Batman: The Animated Series episodes “Christmas with the Joker” and “It’s Never Too Late”.
Part Two, the Showcase short was “Blue Beetle”, done in a purposely old-school style. The opening introduction has a cheesy theme song and stiff animation reminiscent of 60s and 70s cartoons. It guest stars the Question (David Kaye), who gets to give a weird little speech at the end about objective reality. That’s after Blue Beetle (Matt Lanter) tells him, “I’d love to hear more of your weird criminal theories on how moral truths exist independently of human knowledge or whatever.” Later, Beetle says, “You really are the worst.” That’s when he’s not exclaiming “Sufferin’ Scarabs!”
Also appearing are the Charlton-era versions of Nightshade (Ashly Burch) and Captain Atom (Jeff Bennett). This one is also directed by Milo Neuman. Story is by Jeremy Adams and screenplay by Jennifer Keene. This was my favorite part of the whole package.
The sneak peek this time is for the upcoming Injustice. I hate the idea behind the story, no matter in what format it’s shown, and viewers may want to know that this preview has a particularly violent, bloody sequence included. There are also previews of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 and Batman: Hush and Batman: The Animated Series episodes “Two-Face” parts 1 and 2.