Batman: Dark Victory
by Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale (DC Comics, 2001)

Following hard on the heels of The Long Halloween, Dark Victory picks up with Gotham's gangs, led by the now-crippled Sofia Falcone Gigante, trying to regroup and regain their power in the wake of the "Holiday" murders of the previous year.

But a new serial killer takes over where Holiday left off. The murders still occur each month on holidays, but now the weapon of choice is a noose, the clues left behind are crude Hangman puzzles -- and the victims are all cops. Good or bad, active or retired, the thread that binds them is their past affiliation with former district attorney Harvey Dent who, now horribly scarred, operates as the half-villainous and all-amoral Two-Face.

Dark Victory by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale continues the tradition of excellence begun in The Long Halloween.

Batman this time around is darker, angrier, still reacting to his own failures during the Holiday murders. His relationship with police commissioner Jim Gordon is strained and confrontational, he doesn't trust the new district attorney and, sadly, he even pushes the delicious Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) out of his life.

But Batman's outlook changes once he takes in an orphan who, like him, lost his parents violently. Loeb weaves the murder of the Flying Graysons into the larger mythology of his Gotham gangland saga, and the retrofit works admirably. Batman's course has been changed forever.

Now if only this team could bring Selina back into Bruce Wayne's romantic scope, all would be well.

review by
Tom Knapp

17 May 2008

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