Batman: The Long Halloween Suits Up Another Gotham Hero With a Twist
As DC returns to the world of Batman: The Long Halloween, a fan-favorite superhero makes their big entrance earlier than anticipated.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1, on sale now from DC Comics.
With this year marking the 25th anniversary of Batman: The Long Halloween, the original creative team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have reunited to explore the early, noir-tinged days of Batman’s never-ending war on crime from the original story and its direct sequel Batman: Dark Victory. Resolving many of the longstanding plot threads left open by the previous two stories, The Long Halloween Special also includes the surprise debut of a fan-favorite superhero several years earlier than expected as Barbara Gordon suits up as Batgirl to join the Dynamic Duo. And while Barbara still very much being a grade school student, she has to be sure to be back before bedtime.
The Long Halloween Special takes place sometime after the events of Dark Victory, with Bruce Wayne adopting Dick Grayson and the precocious Boy Wonder joining the Dark Knight on his crimefighting crusade as the first Robin. The stories also saw Jim Gordon steadily rise through the ranks of the Gotham City Police Department, starting in the original Long Halloween as a captain before eventually reaching the rank of police commissioner as seen in The Long Halloween Special. And while Gordon’s daughter Barbara was just a young girl in this time period, she has already quickly fallen in awe of Batman and Robin and meets the two heroes with a surprise of her own in Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1 by Loeb, Sale, Brennan Wagner and Richard Starkings.
The special opens with Two-Face on the loose again, with Batman and Gordon reflecting if they ever actually knew the real Harvey Dent before his transformation into a full-fledged supervillain. Before the Caped Crusader departs, Gordon sheepishly asks if Robin would be interested in accompanying Barbara to go trick-or-treating that Halloween night based on his daughter’s request, with Batman wordlessly leaving the scene to contend with the next threat from Gotham’s criminal underworld. To the Gordon family’s surprise, however, Batman does drop off Robin to go trick-or-treating, with Barbara wearing her own makeshift Batgirl costume years ahead of her joining the Bat Family as a bonafide superhero.
In the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, Barbara Gordon wore a handmade Batgirl outfit while attending a costume ball only to find life imitating art when she leapt into action to rescue Bruce Wayne, deciding to continue her superhero career afterwards. After the history of the DC Universe was rewritten by the Crisis, Barbara was revealed to have admired Batman and his superhero activities since she was a child, training her body and keen mind towards becoming a crimefighter herself before eventually creating the mantle of Batgirl and joining the Bat Family as one of their most valuable allies.
The Long Halloween Special reveals that Batgirl’s very first team-up with Robin not only had both kids in costumes but involved them patrolling the streets of Gotham for Halloween candy, with Batman and Gordon’s tacit approval. It also underscores that Barbara Gordon has dreamt of joining the Bat Family since before she could even legally drive a car much less join the Dynamic Duo to take on some of the vilest supervillains in the DCU. But in the meantime, this pint-sized superhero’s most important mission is finding out which neighborhoods hand out the best Halloween candy as she and the Boy Wonder celebrate the holiday in style.