Batman Madness: a Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special
Medium: comic
Year: 1994
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
Keywords: superhero
Format: 48 pages
Series: << Batman >>, << Joker >>
Website category: Batman
Review date: 10 September 2021
Apparently it's been reprinted with two other Loeb-Sale Halloween specials in a trade paperback called "Batman: Haunted Knight". I don't own that, though. I only have this original one-shot. Wikipedia claims that its popularity led to Loeb-Sale's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, but (if true) I won't hold that against it.
It's simple, but also pleasingly twisted and quite fun. Batman's chasing the Mad Hatter through a story that's appropriately steeped in Lewis Carroll. What's more, the references are used sharply and well. (Carroll references are so omnipresent from a certain kind of writer that it's a little startling to see them used this acutely.) The quotes fit and even make you think. Is Batman mad, as claimed? Well, it would be a stretch to call him sane. I also liked the spiky relationship between Gordon and his newly adopted teenage daughter, Barbara. (His wife and daughter are both called Barbara. It's too late to complain about this surprising naming decision, but... eh?)
Loeb's doing nothing wrong, but the book's a vehicle for Tim Sale. I've always liked his art a lot and he's a great fit for this material. Strange things. Weird imagery. Two icons of popular culture (Alice and Batman), overlapping in bold, odd ways that are intriguing to look at.
I find myself tempted to pick up "Haunted Knight".