"Year One Era" (YEAR FOUR)
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41. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997) CONTINUED...
Chapter Seven of "The Long Halloween" begins on April Fool's Day aka the first day of Batman's fourth year in costume. By October, Harvey is Two-Face and Carmine "The Roman" Faclone is dead, leaving his criminal empire in ruins. Falcone's son Alberto has been outed as the serial-killer known as Holiday, although it is revealed to the reader that Gilda Dent, Harvey's wife, may have also committed some of the murders. Also, while this isn't specified in "The Long Halloween," it is a Bat-fact that Bruce keeps Harvey's original coin and displays it in the trophy room of the cave.
NOTE: Two-Face: Year One by Mark Sable/Jesus Saiz (September 2008 to October 2008) is a Year One tale that shows the later events of "The Long Halloween" from Harvey's perspective. The first issue contains some really good stuff that can be read in addition to "The Long Halloween." However, this story is OUT OF continuity since we see the incorrect "first appearances" of Detectives Harvey Bullock and Maggie Sawyer, which are both very premature. (Bullock might be around already, but not as a detective yet). Not to mention, the second and final issue of Two-Face: Year One gets even wackier. In the issue we see Crispus Allen, Man-Bat, and other characters that are totally out of place. There is also a scene where Batman deals with both Two-Face and Joe Coyne at the same time, which also doubles as an origin story for the giant Batcave penny. This is obviously wrong, especially since Batman already had the penny on display as a trophy before the events of "The Long Halloween". With all of these strange occurrences, let me reiterate that this entire story, which was released in-part to promote the film The Dark Knight, is totally non-canon.
ANOTHER NOTE: The next five LOTDK tales overlap with the summer months of "The Long Halloween."
42. "Family" by James D. Hudnall/Brent Anderson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #31) June 1992
Bruce notes how Alfred hasn't had a vacation in over three years, so he sends him off to Corto Maltese for a week in the Caribbean. Big mistake. Alfred is kidnapped and tortured by terrorists. Bats flies down, rescues Alfie, and kicks some major ass. End of story. This tale overlaps with the summer months of "The Long Halloween." I should mention that this is the first in-canon comic book reference to the island of Corto Maltese, Frank Miller's invention featured in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and in Tim Burton's Batman.
43. "Idols" by James Vance/Dougie Braithewaite (LOTDK #80-82) February 1996 to May 1996
"Idols" overlaps with the summer months of "The Long Halloween". A Batman-themed novelty store has opened in Gotham and it's all the rage, so much so in fact, that kids are killing each other for the expensive merchandise. I mean, wouldn't you kill for a pair of Nike Air Batmans? Not to mention, a serial-killer is in town and he's wearing a fake Batman costume. This Bat-Insanity leads directly into the next story pretty well where Bat-Gangs have formed...
44. "Faith" by Mike W. Barr/Bart Sears (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 21-23) August 1991 to October 1991
"Faith" is an important story that takes up about a month-and-a-half (late June until early August) of Batman's career and overlaps with "The Long Halloween". Barr's story is important, mainly because in it Bruce's long time friend Dr. Leslie Thompkins discovers he is Batman. In future stories, Leslie will become not only one of Batman's most trusted and allies, but act as a moral compass for him time and time again. As loving as she will become, Dr. Thompkins will often criticize his methods, especially his endangerment of children. I also wanted to note that Leslie, upon discovering Bruce's dark secret, cannot believe that he has been "hiding it all these years". "All these years" implies that he's been Batman for some time... maybe like almost four years or so? The timing of this story works and I like when things work out like that.
In "Faith", The Bat-Men, a vigilante gang influenced by Batman's brand of justice, become increasingly more radical and violent. Batman is forced to publicly shut down the group after its leader executes a drug dealer.
45. "The Darkness" by Darren Vincenzo/Luke McDonnell (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #115) February 1999
This tale overlaps with the summer months of "The Long Halloween". Someone has been killing boaters on the Gotham River and it turns out that someone is a Gollum-like, feral river-man who has a penchant for precious shiny gold lockets. That's all I'm going to say about this one.
46. "Dirty Tricks" by Dan Abnett/Danny Lanning/Anthony Williams (LOTDK #95-97) June 1997 to August 1997
This is a pretty lame tale that takes about a week to wrap up. Bruce is stunned when The Magician, a magical super-villain that he first met during a training session in Romania years ago, resurfaces in Gotham. After some investigative work, Batman discovers that there had been several Magicians scattered all over Eastern Europe by the CIA to carry out covert missions that were tantamount to war-crimes. Like before, the current Magician is actually several men wearing the same costume. This time, however, the government is not involved as the criminals have simply stolen the CIA technology. This tale overlaps with the summer months of "The Long Halloween".
NOTE: "The Long Halloween" ends and we can move on now. It's a Bat-Fact that Batman first teams up with Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow sometime after the debut of Two-Face, so this seems like an appropriate place to insert the first appearance of Green Arrow. This first encounter with Ollie Queen is well documented in LOTDK #127-131 by Denny O'Neil/Sergio Cariello (2000), however, while the plot is effectively canonically correct, the story is out-of-continuity because Batman is wearing the wrong yellow-oval costume.
47. "Freakout" by Garth Ennis/Will Simpson (LOTDK #91-93) Feb. 1997 to Apr. 1997
This story is insane. There is a strain of highly-concentrated LSD being distributed through fake medical clinics by evil-hippie weirdo Doctor Freak, who dresses up like Sgt. Pepper. The people given the LSD2000, as he calls it, either die or are killed by his henchmen. Then the bodies are collected and their blood is drained into a large pool in which Doctor Freak bathes. See, the LSD is still active in the drained blood so he gets a super-high acid rush from swimming in it. Batman winds up tracking him down, but accidentally falls into the pool and starts tripping balls. In fact, he trips on acid for an entire issue and is somehow still able to capture Freak while hallucinating. In the end, Freak is lobotomized in Arkham. Highly entertaining stuff, although I will say that Ennis shamelessly rips-off the whole blood-bathing thing from Batman: The Cult.
It's also worth mentioning that there is a side plot where two New York City private investigators are looking to get revenge on Freak for some shit that went down wrong in Vietnam. Not only do these P.I.'s come off like something out of a bad buddy-cop movie, they are ultra-violent and do things like crush people's legs with their pink Cadillac.
Oh, I almost forgot. Alfred talks about this one time he did shrooms when he was young. Amazing.
48. "Steps" by Paul Jenkins/Sean Phillips (LOTDK #98-99) Sept. 1997 to Oct. 1997
A prostitute snaps and starts killing other prostitutes. An autistic boy is the only witness. Batman visits Two-Face at Arkham for the first time.
IMPORTANT PS. Catwoman #38-40, which would have taken place here, is unfortunately non-canon. The story's name, entitled “Catwoman Year Two,” is a misnomer. It was originally named as such because it was meant to be a follow-up to Frank Miller’s Year One. This story, post retcons, should really be called “Catwoman Year Four.” Issue #38 has a ton of wrong information in it, including references to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship as being brand new, the cops referring to Joker as a brand new criminal, the Batcave complete with a full array of anachronistic trophies, and the post-Zero Hour mandate of Batman as an “urban myth” in full-effect. Interestingly enough, these problems are not mentioned or referenced in issue #39 or #40. However, since the story is a complete whole, we cannot/should not just ignore the first issue and read the second two as canon. Furthermore, as Ace Face has kindly reminded me, "Catwoman Year Two" makes mention that Selina is an only child, which is also incorrect. Also, not to be overlooked: Gordon is commissioner and Bruce seems to not know that Catwoman is Selina.
49. "Terror" by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #137-141) January 2001 to May 2001
"Terror" is the Hugo Strange follow-up story to "Prey". Moench seems to have written this story as if it occurs earlier on the time-line, but Batman mentions Two-Face, so it definitely is post-"Long Halloween." In any event, the story still works well right here. A small caveat: If one were to ignore the Two-Face reference then "Terror" could conceivably go much earlier, before "Choices" and "The Long Halloween." I've chosen not to ignore the Two-Face reference, but that is entirely up to you.
The deranged Hugo Strange returns and frees Scarecrow from Arkham in order to use him as a pawn against Batman. Instead, Scarecrow turns on Strange by impaling him on a spiked metal weather vane, leaving him for dead. The self-proclaimed Master of Fear then goes on a killing spree in an attempt to murder all the "jocks" who picked on him in high school. Neato! Batman very reluctantly teams up with Catwoman and together they bring Dr. Crane to justice. But that's not all. The Cat/Bat team (and Crane) are stunned when Strange makes a dramatic resurrection. Turns out, he was stuck with the weather vane impaled straight through his chest for three days and, despite massive blood loss, survived by eating live rats! Jesus.
This story is also notable because Gordon finally paints the bat symbol onto the Bat Signal. He had previously been using a cloth cut-out of a bat and placing it over the spotlight. Also, Bruce does a massive upgrade of Wayne Manor's security.
50. "Loyalties" by John Ostrander/David Lopez (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #159-161) Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2003
After Jim Gordon and Batman bring down the one-shot villain, Atilla, Jim's Chicago past comes back to haunt him. A bunch of crooked cops kidnap Jim and his family (wife Barbara and son James Junior) and drag them to Chi-town where Jim is tortured in front of their very eyes. Batman travels to Chicago and is able to rescue the captain. The future Batgirl, Barbara Gordon (currently living with her mom Thelma in Chicago), is in this story and is probably around fourteen years old, although she is incorrectly drawn as if she is older. While Batman saves Gordon and his family, a panicked Thelma winds up in a fatal car accident. A few continuity error notes: Thelma is incorrectly referred to as Jennifer in this story--maybe she is going by her middle name? Also, at the conclusion of this tale, Jim tells Batman that he has separated from his wife. This may be true, but it certainly isn't their final separation. Furthermore, this story is written as if Roger (Babs' dad) has been dead for a while. This cannot be the case. Roger should still be alive. He could be absent due to a problem with alcoholism (as shown in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20). Special thanks to HearTheSnap on this one!
--A young Japanese girl named Yuko Yagi and her family are attacked by muggers while on vacation in Gotham (as seen via flashback in Batman: Child of Dreams). Batman saves them.
--Batman interrogates and threatens money laundering mob bookkeeper Raymond Gallagher (as seen through flashback in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #40). A distraught Raymond kills his wife and commits suicide. Raymond's son, Steven Gallagher, begins plotting revenge.
--The flashback from Batman: Gotham Knights #7 takes place now. In this flashback Bruce walks-in on Alfred making out with Leslie Thompkins! (This is no surprise to Bruce since he's already known about Alfie and Leslie for quite some time. Duh, he's Batman.) Alfred and Leslie have been on-again-off-again lovers for many years.
--Several flashbacks from Batman #582-583 take place now. One of Bruce's best friends, Jeremy Samuels, also happens to be head of Wayne Enterprises Security and one of Batman's best information gatherers. In private conversation, Samuels makes mention in regard to the loss of Bruce's parents, that he would go insane if he were to lose his own family. Wouldn't you know, tragedy strikes when Samuels' wife and child are killed in an accident. Distraught and alone, Samuels turns to reckless crime and winds up getting shot and incarcerated. (Samuels will serve time for twelve years until getting out on parole in Bat-Year Sixteen). I should note that the flashback from issue #583, which takes place in Bat-Year Sixteen says that it occurs "over ten years ago". This is correct, but misleading. It does indeed occur over ten years ago, twelve years ago to be exact.
--Barbara Gordon will be officially adopted by Jim Gordon after her dad Roger (Jim's younger brother) dies from complications during an operation related to alcoholism. Barbara's mom Thelma was killed in an automobile accident only weeks earlier (in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #159). These events are highlighted in the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20. In that issue Roger dies several years after Thelma. However, in order for our chronology to work smoothly Roger and Thelma must die mere weeks apart. Also, the car accident death of Thelma depicted in Secret Origins is quite different than how it went down in LOTDK--the LOTDK version is the correct one. Special thanks to HearTheSnap on this one!