Batman: The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale
Shrouded in corruption, Gotham City's Falcone crime family seems unstoppable. But three different forces for justice have allied against them: police captain James Gordon, district attorney Harvey Dent, and masked vigilante Batman. And on the opposite side of the law, Catwoman, the Joker and the mysterious new Holiday Killer seem to have it in for the Falcones as well. Faced with the rising tide of Gotham's freaks, kingpin Carmine Falcone decides that his only option is to fight fire with fire...
Compared to his cramped and hyperactive introduction to Hush, Loeb has a lot more room to work in on this book, as well as a much more grounded story. The result is a gripping mystery thriller that's not quite as clever as it thinks it is, but still managed to keep me guessing to the end (even if it does seem to go a twist too far in terms of credibility). Some of the dialogue is pretty weak (every single one of Alfred's lines is painful), but for the most part this is the kind of dark, gritty, street-level story you want from a Batman book.
Tim Sale's art is beautifully stylish, evoking the shadowy aesthetic of a well shot film noir, but it's often loose and not very detailed, which is not really to my tastes. Nevertheless, after reading The Long Halloween, I can easily see why this is an oft-cited source text for Christopher Nolan's Batman movies.