I began Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman trilogy in 2008 when I grabbed Batman: The Long Halloween. After 4 years, it still remains my favorite Batman graphic novel. It's follow-up (I think - not really sure of the order), Batman: Dark Victory, was an excellent sequel.
For whatever reason, I let four years go by without picking up the final book in the series, Haunted Knight. After reading this last night, I'm kicking myself for waiting so long.
Contained within Haunted Knight are 3 separate stories that all take place around Halloween.
Fears centers around Scarecrow and his attempt to frighten Batman down to his core. While the caped crusader comes off as a bit amateurish this time around, it does bring to light his buried quest to find happiness. This desire clouds his judgement when as Bruce Wayne, a love interest enters his life.
Scarecrow has always been one of my favorite Batman villains. Loeb establishes that he isn't to be taken lightly, that he's just as much a threat as anyone else in the rouges gallery of Gotham.
Madness gives us a story involving The Mad Hatter as he forces Batman to confront his unresolved issues surrounding his parents death.
Man oh man, does Batman let his rage shine through in this one. Not only is he royally pissed off at Jervis Tetch but he also has to rescue Commissior Gordon's daughter after she is taken captive. His final fight scene with Hatter is particularly brutal and managed to get an audible "Holy Shit!" out of me.
The third and final story, Ghosts, brings us Batman's own version of the Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. Instead of taking place during the holiday season, Batman is visited by 3 ghosts on Halloween.
While I wasn't crazy about this one (supposedly Batman: Noël has done it better), I did like the final ghost reveal.
A fitting final chapter of the Loeb/Sale Halloween trilogy, Haunted Knight delivers excellent story telling combined with jaw dropping art that establishes this duo as one of the all time great Batman teams.