DC Entertainment is bringing back the fan-favorite event celebrating The Dark Knight. "Batman Day" is back by popular demand and will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2015.
Our part of celebrating this glorious day is to look back at some of the great Batman stories that made us fall in love with comics. I asked one of my co-workers, Mark Cook, who is a big Batman fan if he could write up a review of one his favorite Batman stories that may not be one of the more popular stories. He not only wrote an amazing piece but he convinced me to pick up a copy and read it.
Batman Haunted Knight (Released in 1992).
Authors: Doug Moench, Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
Writers: Jeph Loeb
Good Guys –Batman, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon
Bad Guys- The Scarecrow, The Mad Hatter, The Penguin, Joker
Background – The Haunted Knight is a story created by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Other individuals involved were Gregory Wright (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer), and Android Images. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are known for their works Batman : The Long Halloween and Batman : Victory. Even though these are better known, The Haunted Knight preceded the other two and was the actual spearhead leading to the creation of the other two. Batman : Haunted Knight began as a series of single comics which were written as Halloween series specials. The creation lead to inspiration for Loeb and Sale to follow Batman on a year journey of his life, leading to The Long Halloween and Dark Victory (Batman : The Haunted Knight).
Story (contains minor SOILERS).
The serious follows Batman’s early years under the cape and cowl, and was split into three main chapters each having three separate issues.
This section’s main antagonist was The Scarecrow. Jonathan Crane is spreading havoc buy blowing up electric transmitters and causing major power outages. Batman, deprived of much needed sleep, is continually on the hunt. Meanwhile, he meets a woman named Jillian Maxwell. This era of Batman is extremely enjoyable because Batman is somewhat humanized by mistakes he makes earlier in his career. Whether those mistakes are lacking sleep which leads to criminals fleeing from him, or misjudging other individuals, Batman is human and needs the help of others (Commissioner Gordon and Alfred). If readers are a fan of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins then they will see some of the source inspiration for the Scarecrow.
Part two introduces the reader to Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter), and Barbara Gordon. Commissioner Gordon has a young child at home and also agreed to adopt Barbara Gordon. This leads to high tension at home with all individuals involved trying to transition. In typical Mad Hatter style, he continues to skew childhood memories for other characters. While fighting Batman he brings Batman / Bruce’s childhood traumas to the forefront making Batman have to deal with physiological factors as well as physical tests. The Mad Hatter also kidnaps Barbara forcing Batman and Commissioner Gordon work together in order to find her.
The final part of this Halloween series begins with an altercation with Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin, holding up a Wayne Enterprises Event. This altercation leads to a rooftop chase. Upon returning home, Bruce finally receives some much needed sleep. During his slumber, he is haunted by the ghost of his father. When Bruce awakes, he realizes Poison Ivy has been the reason for his nightmares. Ivy takes him through his past trauma’s once again forcing Bruce to deal with his unresolved issues. Once Bruce finishes his time with Poison Ivy, he returns home to find Alfred tied up near the fireplace with The Joker having broken into Wayne Manor. Bruce awakens realizing it was all a dream.
As a lover of English, this portion is reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and Madness having influences of Lewis Carroll.
If you enjoy the early years of Batman’s career, and a focus on the psychological aspect of his crusade, I would highly recommend Batman : Haunted Knights
Cook’s “Should I Read It” Verdict: 9/10
Source: Mark Cook, DC Comics