The Long Halloween

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finally read this. It only took a couple of hours, unlike Watchmen, which took me a week of off-and-on reading. Its influence on The Dark Knight seems particularly obvious now. There is definitely much more of The Long Halloween in The Dark Knight than The Killing Joke.

I believe Alberto Falcone was the only "real" Holiday killer. Dent can only be considered a Holiday killer because he killed at the end, after he had gone crazy and become Two Face. I had read the Wizard magazine theory years go when The Long Halloween had wrapped up and published its final (13th) issue. The theory that Gilda did the killings before New Year's and Alberto did the rest.

I kind of believed it for a little while after I finished reading it, but then I started questioning it. How exactly did she get into Johnny Viti's place to kill him? She knew where he lived and where he would be to easily kill him? She certainly wasn't strong enough to kill five men on Thanksgiving considering she was still in a wheelchair in December when Harvey brought her to their new home. Impossible!
As Steve Higgins elucidated so perfectly in this essay, Alberto was the only killer. It is the only consistent possibility no matter how many people buy Gilda's whacked out statements at the end. And I don't believe that Harvey Dent had anything to do with any of the killings. The Riddler poked a hole in that theory.

Question: Why does Holiday always use the same type of weapon?
Answer: He gets them wholesale. (p. 182)
This is true. The gun is always left at the crime scenes, which means the killer must have multiple copies of the same weapon. It would have been impossible for Dent to buy gun after gun at a gun shop without Gordon being tipped off or to buy them illegally without getting blackmailed. Dent must be ruled out as a suspect, which really only leaves Alberto and Carmine Falcone as the perpetrators as Steve Higgins noted.
Carmine kept up a front of Alberto's non-involvement in the family business in front of everyone (including his sister Carla and his daughter Sofia) so that he would not be suspected. Yet Alberto was always present at family meetings and Carmine thought to himself on New Year’s that Alberto was the only one he could trust (41; 118). These examples are more proof of the collusion between Carmine and Alberto both in the family business in general and the Holiday killings specifically.

This secret was one that Carmine went to great lengths to keep. On April Fool's Day Carmine hired the Riddler just so people would think he was in search of Holiday, again to throw suspicion off himself. However, the Riddler in the end came up with the right answer: "Carmine Falcone" (198). Carmine pretended to laugh it off and threw Riddler out, telling Sofia to hurry back because he didn't want Sofia to see Alberto in that alley, acting as Holiday (199-200). Holiday spares the Riddler’s life for the simple reason that they want it known that the Roman is looking for Holiday, a conclusion Batman himself eventually reaches (282). It is a classic case of misdirection.
I consider Gilda Dent's "confession" at the end to be a form of insanity that mirrors her husband's. Gilda and Harvey are both thinking of each other at the end, and they have both become crazy due to the events of the Long Halloween. Harvey embraced his worst self by becoming the evil he vowed to fight, and Gilda held onto the man who was no longer there.

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