Review: Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight

Absolute Batman: Haunted KnightAbsolute Batman: Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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I can’t friggin stand that some of this stuff is over 20 years old. Hard to believe I picked up these stories as they were released back in the day. Having already added the Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween and Absolute Batman: Dark Victory to my collection, I grabbed this latest Absolute edition, pulled up my adult diaper, and strapped in for a trip down memory lane. Surprisingly, I still found myself enjoying this re-read. A lot more than I expected anyway. Loeb hasn’t aged that well for me and while I was a huge fan at one point, his stuff isn’t quite as solid now as I remembered it. Still have a soft spot though.

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Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight is a collection of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory “prequels” in which Loeb and Sale laid the foundation for their later collaborations. Fear is a Scarecrow story that was fun. I believe this was Jeph and Tim’s first Batman story together. Madness focuses on the Mad Hatter and it reminded me of the Mad as a Hatter episode of Batman the Animated Series. This is sort of the “vintage” Hatter story with the “Alice in Wonderland” flavor. Ghosts is a riff on A Christmas Carol. Probably my least favorite of the bunch. Bruce reflects on his life and considers his future. Eehh.

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Finally, DC included Catwoman: When in Rome in this edition as well. I was really happy about this. I wasn’t crazy about this book when it first came out, but I ended up enjoying it a little more this time around. Selina makes a trip to Italy, with Edward Nigma in tow, in search of some answers about her own past. Could have used a little more Batman, but what story wouldn’t be better with a little more Batman? I really like Loeb’s Selina and this was a nice little garnish for The Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

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I despised Tim Sale’s artwork when I first laid eyes on Fear wwwaaayyyy back when. But, like cigars and bourbon, I eventually came around and found an appreciation for his unique style. No mistaking his work. And while I preferred his art in The Long Halloween, there is some good stuff in this collection. Still don’t like his Scarecrow though. Some of the stuff really gets a chance to shine on the oversized pages of the Absolute format.

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Gotta give Dave Stewart a huge shout out for his coloring on When in Rome. Had a nice water-colored look at times that was super smooth. Awesome stuff that really compliments Sale’s drawings and makes that story really stand out among the others in this collection.

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I was surprised to hear that DC was making this collection into an Absolute Edition. Not sure I would’ve called it a necessity. I imagine it’s for completists like me or to bookend the Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Nothing here that falls into the category of essential Batman, but a recommend to fans of Loeb and Sale’s other Batman work.

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About Lono

I spend most of my time thinking about comics, tattoos, guns, beer, comics, my kids, comics, my wife, bourbon, samurai, comics, boobs, and English Bulldogs. And very rarely, if ever, think about work. I’m the less literate, rarely appropriate, knuckle-dragger of the bunch. I’ll make any excuse to hang out with my Shallow Reading pals, nerding out about comics, and avoiding responsibility at all costs. Only my name has been changed to protect the justifiably embarrassed. For completely un-waxed full frontal nudity, hit me up over at Goodreads.

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