Let's Talk About This Underrated Comic
Credit: Diamond Galleries
One of my favorite parts of this job is trying to highlight some of the lesser known, forgotten, or underrated comics that have fallen into my lap. This is another Batman story, but I promise I will get around to doing one of these on a different character soon.
Let me preface this a little first. This is number five of the most underrated series, but this is the least underrated of the five just because of it's authors. The partnership of Joseph Loeb and Tim Sale is very well known. Their magnum opus, Batman: The Long Halloween, is considered one of the best Batman stories ever which as an analogy is being a big fish in a big pond. The sequel, Batman: Dark Victory, is almost just as revered.
Then comes Haunted Knight. Which was their first Batman collaboration that lives in the shadows of its children. Haunted Knight is really just a collection of the three Halloween specials that the two did. It's not one cohesive story. I originally checked it out because Halloween is my favorite holiday and I feel like far too many Batman stories have mistakenly chosen to avoid "the most wonderful time of the year" (to me). The first tale is called "Fears" which is the story I will tackle today.
Rest Tim, you've earned it. Credit: Alchetron
This sounds dumb, but the cover is great. Anyway, the villain here is Scarecrow (my favorite Batman villain) so I was really hoping that somehow this was a great Scarecrow story that I missed, but sadly, it was not. Sale's Scarecrow appearance is so-so, my biggest grievance is his mask. Typically some sort of burlap, here it is a gray african mask looking thing. However, his hands are beautifully handled (which we see closely in a scene where he feeds his crows), boney and long, with slightly long unkempt fingernails (wish he didn't have the pointless fingerless gloves though).
Credit: Comic Art Fans (A GREAT site, by the way)
As for Batman. He was handled pretty well, except for the notion that he was going to suddenly 86 Gotham and live a life of relaxing with this woman he just met. Maybe it could've been Batman being so sleep deprived at that point that he was getting careless? If that is the case, Loeb might have been able to handle it better. Speaking of things Loeb could've handled better, the Halloween angle was a huge letdown too. Besides a brief Wayne Manor costume party scene, there is really nada Halloween related here.
Needless to say at this point, the artwork is the selling point. Sale's work grew on me tremendously over time, and with the exception of that black and white scene at Wayne Manor that looks like some manga fanfiction on deviantart, (maybe Tim came in to work hungover that day, who knows?) he is most certainly on his game here.