Batman: Dark Victory is the sequel to the previously reviewed Batman: The Long Halloween. It is a 14-part series that started in 1999 and takes up right were its predecessor left off. If you haven’t read The Long Halloween, you might want to stop reading this review here since a lot of the plot of this book will spoil the ending of the first one.
Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb do an amazing job with Batman, taking up where Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One left off. Any Bat-stories in that continuity always offer an engaging story which really showcases Batman as a detective, something that sometimes gets lost in the mix. The darker, grittier Batman (but not as over-the-top as The All-Star Batman and Robin was) shown in the beginnings of his career is definitely a fan favorite and the origin and early years have even recently been reimagined in Batman: Earth One.
After the events of Long Halloween, Batman has become more closed off from the people around him due to what he believes is his failure to prevent Harvey Dent from becoming Two-Face. As Batman tries to put the “Holiday” murders behind him, a policeman is found hanged on Valentine’s Day. Sure enough, a policeman is killed on every major holiday following and it seems that a copycat or maybe even the original, who has recently been released from prison on a technicality, is continuing the deadly pattern.
I won’t rehash a critique of Loeb and Sale’s styles since The Long Halloween review can be found here but suffice it to say that Loeb should be writing Batman all the time since he seems to do so well at it while his other works are less than stellar. He’s recently started a Wolverine arc in the ongoing series and I hope he brings a fraction of the prowess he’s shown here on one of the most overexposed superheroes in all of comicdom.
The only criticism I have of the book is that it is so dependent on The Long Halloween that the story is familiar even if it does have a new twist. At 14 issues, it probably could have been shorter since we’ve been here before. It also introduces Robin to the universe but it seems like that subplot is tacked on with minimal payoff but to be fair, I’m not a Robin fan so it might just be me. Despite a few shortcomings, this is an excellent book and a worthy successor to Batman: Year One.