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Post By
Progressive Lantern

In Reply To
Lorendiac

Subj: Re: Here are some answers I've offered before
Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 09:13:45 pm EST
Reply Subj: Here are some answers I've offered before
Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 07:38:48 pm EST

Previous Post

I've seen similar questions come up before; Batman fans who have heard something about "The Long Halloween" and want to know what to expect from it. And I've tried to answer those questions before! So I decided to run a few searches, find some of the answers I've used in the past, and recycle them for you! \:\)

(No explicit spoilers for the mysteries and surprises of "The Long Halloween" are present in these answers. Just some general observations and criticisms on my part.)

Here's something I said in late 2005:

***************
I remember when "The Long Halloween" started coming out as a 13-part miniseries in the 1990s. I bought something like the first 3 issues, I think, and then decided that while it was interesting, it was also moving pretty slowly, and I'd wait until there was a trade paperback collection and then read it all at once.

Years later, that's exactly what I did when I happened to notice the TPB collection at a local store.

It was very interesting while I was reading it. It has something of the tone and mood of one of the old mid-20th Century movies of the type they call "film noir."

It also probably helps a bit if you've already read Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One" graphic novel, since some of the characters Miller invented for that are recycled by Loeb, but it's not indispensable to do it that way.

Loeb is a good writer in several ways - good dialogue, good tricks to build suspense, a mysterious killer in a trenchcoat and hat that shades his face, running around shooting people on holidays for some unknown reason.

On the downside, a) Batman didn't really show much detective ability in this case, and b) there was some really weird stuff at the end (DON'T peek ahead!) that made it hard to figure out just what had really been going on and why during that series of murders. As a story with building suspense, this was very good. As a "fair play" mystery, a whodunit where clues are provided and you are able to figure out how it all logically fits together and so forth, this was not very good. It all depends on what kind of experience you want.
***************



And here's something I said several months ago. Actually, in that thread we started talking about Jeph Loeb's 12-part "Hush" story arc for the Batman title, but my comments below also apply to his earlier work on "The Long Halloween." He has certain behavior patterns he sticks to, you see.

***************
I like Jeph Loeb's style when he's writing dialogue, and even when he's building suspense.

Where he usually falls apart (from my point of view) in doing a great big epic is in the area of Plot Development. The resolutions to problems sometimes seem too contrived; there can be loose ends nagging at me that he never bothered to tie up after he established them; he can have characters do things that make me scratch my head and mutter "Why would he do a thing like that at a time like this?", there can be too much apparent coincidence just magically making people come together at a certain place and time for no apparent reason . . . and I once wrote that as far as detective work is concerned, it often seems to me as if Loeb doesn't really believe Batman can detect his way out of a paper bag unless someone else takes him by the hand and shows him the way to go.
***************



> I've seen similar questions come up before; Batman fans who have heard something about "The Long Halloween" and want to know what to expect from it. And I've tried to answer those questions before! So I decided to run a few searches, find some of the answers I've used in the past, and recycle them for you! \:\)


Good for me.



>
> (No explicit spoilers for the mysteries and surprises of "The Long Halloween" are present in these answers. Just some general observations and criticisms on my part.)


Check.



>
> Here's something I said in late 2005:
>
> ***************
> I remember when "The Long Halloween" started coming out as a 13-part miniseries in the 1990s. I bought something like the first 3 issues, I think, and then decided that while it was interesting, it was also moving pretty slowly, and I'd wait until there was a trade paperback collection and then read it all at once.
>
> Years later, that's exactly what I did when I happened to notice the TPB collection at a local store.
>
> It was very interesting while I was reading it. It has something of the tone and mood of one of the old mid-20th Century movies of the type they call "film noir."



I like those.



> It also probably helps a bit if you've already read Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One" graphic novel, since some of the characters Miller invented for that are recycled by Loeb, but it's not indispensable to do it that way.


Fortunatly, I've done so.



> Loeb is a good writer in several ways - good dialogue, good tricks to build suspense, a mysterious killer in a trenchcoat and hat that shades his face, running around shooting people on holidays for some unknown reason.



Great for the set-up...



> On the downside, a) Batman didn't really show much detective ability in this case,


A shame. Personally, I feel that Batman should be portrayed first as a detective, second as a superhero. But that's a personal preffernce, I don't mean to invalidate all those stories in which they focus on him heroic aspect, either.



> and b) there was some really weird stuff at the end (DON'T peek ahead!) that made it hard to figure out just what had really been going on and why during that series of murders. As a story with building suspense, this was very good. As a "fair play" mystery, a whodunit where clues are provided and you are able to figure out how it all logically fits together and so forth, this was not very good.



It's the same problem I've had with Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, a 7-issue story that I was very excited about for the first five (5) issues, a little dubious about #6, and totally hated it at #7.
Meltzer succeded at setting up a great mystery, with many interesting subplots and new takes on villains and many other novelties, but failed miserably at the end of the story. The resolution of the main story point was totally unconvincing and forced.
Having said this, if The Long Halloween has the same problem that Identity Crisis had, then I won't be picking it up.
Anyway, thanks a lot for your insight, it's been very helpful and a pleasure to read, as always.



> It all depends on what kind of experience you want.
> ***************
>
>
>
> And here's something I said several months ago. Actually, in that thread we started talking about Jeph Loeb's 12-part "Hush" story arc for the Batman title, but my comments below also apply to his earlier work on "The Long Halloween." He has certain behavior patterns he sticks to, you see.
>
> ***************
> I like Jeph Loeb's style when he's writing dialogue, and even when he's building suspense.
>
> Where he usually falls apart (from my point of view) in doing a great big epic is in the area of Plot Development. The resolutions to problems sometimes seem too contrived; there can be loose ends nagging at me that he never bothered to tie up after he established them; he can have characters do things that make me scratch my head and mutter "Why would he do a thing like that at a time like this?", there can be too much apparent coincidence just magically making people come together at a certain place and time for no apparent reason . . . and I once wrote that as far as detective work is concerned, it often seems to me as if Loeb doesn't really believe Batman can detect his way out of a paper bag unless someone else takes him by the hand and shows him the way to go.
> ***************



Sounds a lot like Identity Crisis. A shame.





"Alright you primitive screw-heads, listen up. See this? This is my boomstick! It's a 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan; retails for about one hundred nine, ninety-five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right, shop smart, shop S-Mart!"
(by Ash Williams, from Army of Darkness).


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