So, it finally arrived, for those of us who’ve been glancing at our calendars—the long-awaited conclusion to the highly anticipated animated adaptation Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two.
As pages float away from our agendas, here is the conclusion and the solution to the identity of The Holiday Killer. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s fan favourite comic has been ready for animated adaptation for years, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment took on the task, releasing the series in two parts. The Long Halloween Part One introduced Holiday and the Maroni and Falcone crime syndicates, and jarred us by picking off its prime suspect before the conclusion. Now, Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two has concluded the epic tale, revealing its secrets with just a few more twists on the comic.
In the aftermath of an unexpected death, Gotham is still living in fear of the unidentified killer who seems to be targeting high level members of crime families. Batman (Jensen Ackles, The Boys) is out of the game, building on the post-credits scene of the first instalment, he’s been spellbound by Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff).
Batman’s usual suspects have taken up the vacuum left behind by the crime-fighter, so Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel, Jupiter’s Legacy) and Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) feel mounting pressure to take them down, identify Holiday, and diminish the crime families’ holds on the city for good. In doing so, Dent begins to lose himself to the job, becoming more vulnerable to the rogues gallery than he’d willingly admit.
“Meaty parts in the middle are a slog, full of heavy dialogue that seems to confirm why some comics are best meant for that particular medium.”
For a comic adaptation, there is good, bad, and ugly. It does a great job squeezing in the famous villains and giving them an animation style makeover. Maybe there’s no group shot like in the books, but almost all the villains get a chance to shine. By sidelining Bats for a time, there’s opportunity to showcase the baddies causing havoc all over town. But the comic is a dialogue heavy one, that often has more words than art on the page, and this adaptation has difficulty finding a good balance. Meaty parts in the middle are a slog, full of heavy dialogue that seems to confirm why some comics are best meant for that particular medium.
What works incredibly well is switching the focus to Dent and make it more his character study than what existed on the page. This animated installment follows the fall of a man whose only focus is bringing justice to Gotham, and what that might mean for someone different from Bruce Wayne. This version of character development makes the event worthwhile, and time will end up labelling this one of the better “Dent” stories vs an ensemble feature or a tale of favourites like Maroni and Falcone.
“It really picks up in the third act in a truly worthwhile way.”
The pacing in The Long Halloween Part Two is a bit of a drag with the chat-heavy middle section, but it really picks up in the third act in a truly worthwhile way. For those aching for the conclusion, it’s absolutely worth your time, but it might not make your top five list.
For those wanting to know if it sticks the landing on the reveals and animation adaptation, here goes. So, this is your final ***SPOILER WARNING*** that the below will reveal the ending to Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two. If you haven’t watched it yet, or read the comic, now’s your chance to bow out.
Not wanting to commit the same crimes as the animated adaptation of Hush, this one keeps the identity of Holiday the same as in the book. It’s revealed that Gilda Dent (Julie Nathanson) is The Holiday Killer. Where this story differs is in the motivations and the reveal to Batman. In comics, Batman never solves the mystery and Gilda is revealed to have wanted to save her marriage and free her husband of chasing criminals.
“…adding in elements of a “woman’s” story like a scorned lover and a forced abortion, feel like heavy feminine character elements that were completely unnecessary and ramrodded in by someone without a solid handle on what makes a woman’s story.”
In the animated adaptation, Gilda monologues to Batman about Alberto Falcone, her lover and whose family rejected her. Not being accepted by the family, a pregnant Gilda was forced to have an abortion and was forced away from her love. For vengeance, she kills members of the family.
It’s a bummer change for a few reasons. First, though it’s nice to have The Greatest Detective solve the mystery, it implies Batman would let a criminal get away (not usually his M.O.). Further, though there’s the compulsion to change something about the ending, adding in elements of a “woman’s” story like a scorned lover and a forced abortion, feel like heavy feminine character elements that were completely unnecessary and ramrodded in by someone without a solid handle on what makes a woman’s story. I promise you; I didn’t ask for this.
So, all things said and done, an exciting adaption of a favourite comic book that is somewhat shaky on the landing. It’s worth sitting down for, but not work clearing your calendar.