I read "The Long Halloween" today.
This is easily one of the best graphic novels of all time. I love how Jeph Loeb writes Batman. He makes him so observant and a good detective, which is strange because in this book all of Batman's detective work turns out to be wrong, and then wrong again, I think this is actually one of Batman's biggest failures.
This story is a terrific jumping in point to Batman for any reader, it is very self contained, and they are re-telling story's, in a very cinematic way. Christopher Nolan said that he was using this book as his main influence for the Dark Knight, and if you just watch the trailer and read this book within the same week, I think you will see that it is true. Reading this book makes me twice as excited for The Dark Knight.
This is a really big thirteen issue series, but it reads really fast. Carmine Falcone is the main threat to Gotham in this book, but his family is being hunted by a killer called holiday. Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent form an alliance to put Falcone away, but are then distracted by the murders. There are cameos by just about every Batman villain. Jeph Loeb is really good at writing them, too. My favorites in this book are Mad Hatter and the Scarecrow, but everyone is very well written. This book is pitch perfect, it is incredible how well the story unfolds and keeps you guessing.
This book contains the best Harvey Dent to Two Face origin ever depicted in a book. It is very gradual, and inevitable. The first Panel that you see Harvey as Two Face makes a Robot want to crap his pants.
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale make an astonishing team, there is more story in this book than most movies and there are relatively few words. Tim Sale is an amazing visual story teller. There are so many things in this book that are perfect I could really talk about it all day. Instead I am just going to insist that everyone go and read it right now.