Before I begin, I need to say up-front that when it comes to the big DC Infinite Crisis event, I'm relatively clueless. From what little I do know, Infinite Crisis was a big deal, that concluded with the big name DC drawcards, including Batman, jump forward a year in their continuity. Batman: Face the Face was written by James Robinson with art by Leonard Kirk and Don Kramer. The trade paperback collects a total of eight issues, taken from Batman #651-654 and Detective Comics #817-820, which were originally released May - August 2006. This story-line is sometimes referred to as "One Year Later", and basically serves as the relaunch of the Batman titles.

Batman: Face the Face marks the return of Batman, and Robin, following their one year sabbatical. Prior to taking the year off, Batman left a reformed, and no longer deformed, Harvey Dent to fill the role of protector of Gotham City. From all reports, the twelve months without Batman passed relatively smoothly, and Dent appeared to have handled the challenge well. When Batman and Robin return to Gotham, and take up their crime fighting responsibilities, things start to turn pear shaped. A 'mysterious vigilante' begins dispatching some of the lower level (read crap and unpopular) super villains, such as KGBeast and Orca. When all the evidence points toward Dent, and "Two-Face", as the mastermind behind the murders. All of this is set on the backdrop of an unseen player attempting to take control of the Penguin's empire, as well as Dent growing increasingly resentful of the Dark Knight's return.

So Batman has some tough questions that need answers. Has Dent returned to the Two-Face persona? Is Dent being framed? Who is trying to take over the Penguin's operation? Well if I answered those questions for you, you would need to read the book!

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Face the Face is important if for no other reason than it re-establishes James Gordon as Gotham's police commissioner and reveals that Detective Harvey Bullock is once again a member of the G.C.P.D. The collection also end with Bruce Wayne offering to adopt Tim Drake (the current Robin) as his son.

There is a real effort in this collection to reposition Batman as the detective. He is less a "super hero" in this story and more a "super detective". The whole feel of the book is one of "back to basics". Which is good and bad. It's good because it restores the character of Batman back to the ball park of where he is at his best, but bad because at the same time, there's nothing new going on that hasn't already been done before.

Overall, while the artwork in this book is solid, the story-line is more than a little disappointing. The twist in the tail is telegraphed from very early on, and from then on in it's more a case of going through the motions. For what is essentially a 'relaunch' I found Batman: Face the Face to be a let down.

Overall I'd give Batman: Face the Face 4 out of 10. » Read the rest of the entry..

I'll say it up front, Batman: The Long Halloween is one of the best Batman stories I have read. The Long Halloween is a 13-issue comic book limited series written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale and originally published by DC Comics in 1996 and 1997. Even if you aren't a comic fan, chances are you'll have seen some of Loeb's work on television, as he is a Co-Executive Producer on the comic inspired NBC show "Heroes", and was formerly a producer/writer on the TV series Smallville and Lost. The Long Halloween has been collected in trade paper back and you can also find it as a DC Comics "Absolute Editions" version.

At its core, the Long Halloween is a detective story, with Batman on the trail of a serial killer known as Holiday, due to his habit of killing his victims on public holidays. Like Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween is set in the early days of Batman's career, pre-Robin. Like Year One, The Long Halloween also focuses on the early day's of Harvey Dent and his eventually transformation into Two-Face.

The Long Halloween is described as "noir-ish" which I guess is a fair way to describe it. Many of the mob gangsters that appeared in Year One return, but Gotham is slowly being over run by the "freak" element, with villains such as Two-Face, The Joker, Scarecrow, Mr Freeze and the Mad Hatter, all having surfaced in the six or so months that have past since Year One.
» Read the rest of the entry..

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