Comic Book: Dark Victory

"So... We're both orphans..."

Batman: Dark Victory is a 13-part comic book series written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale. The series is a sequel to Batman: The Long Halloween and was originally published from 1999 to 2000 by DC Comics. The series takes place primarily during the third/fourth year of Batman's career. The plot centers on a series of murders involving Gotham City police officers by a mysterious serial killer only known as The Hangman. Central to the storyline is a territory war between Two-Face and the remnants of the Falcone mob, led by Sofia Falcone. The story brings closure to many characters introduced in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, and also re-tells of the origins of Dick Grayson, the first Robin, and his adoption by Bruce Wayne.

In 2004, Loeb and Sale produced a follow-up titled Catwoman: When in Rome, focusing on Catwoman's movements in Italy. The story takes place during the events of Dark Victory, between Valentine's Day (when Catwoman leaves Gotham) and Thanksgiving.

Not to be confused with the 1939 film Dark Victory starring Bette Davis.

Dark Victory Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Detective Julia Lopez
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Two-Face and crew stumble into the Batcave entirely by accident while escaping their own demolished sewer lair. Batman and a debuting Robin stop them from capitalizing though.
  • Asshole Victim: John Flass, the third victim, was a big jerk and corrupted. Nobody mourns him. There's also Loeb, the crooked cop who was apart of the Big Bad Duumvirate in Batman: Year One, who is the 2nd victim of the Hangman killer.
  • Back for the Dead: Various cops from Batman: Year One return only to die by the Hangman. A modern version of Chief O'Hara is also introduced for the same purpose.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The Gotham City Police Department is still a cesspool of corruption and greed, but Gordon is working to clean it up and has already made significant progress since Year One and The Long Halloween. Many characters discuss the different stages of the GCPD, remembering the distant past when it was full of proud and honest cops, the immediate past when it was filled with nothing but disgust, and the present, when people on both sides of the line are hoping to direct the future to one or the other.
  • Bald of Evil: Both Calendar Man and Sofia Falcone.
  • Bat Deduction
  • Batman Gambit: A given.
  • Bat Signal: The traditional signal makes several appearances.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The main antagonist's of the comic are Two-Face, Sofia Falcone and the mysterious Hangman Killer. Then the Hangman Killer actually turns out to be Sofia, who is then killed by Two-Face near the end of the story.
  • Break the Cutie: Mario Falcone honestly believes that he can make the Falcone family a legitimate and respected part of Gotham City's upper crust, much like the Wayne's, and even helps the DA's office take down the remainder of his family's criminal organization. It does not end well.
  • Cain and Abel: Sofia Falcone and her brother Alberto.
  • Circus Brat: Dick Grayson
  • Chief O'Hara: He briefly appears before becoming the first victim of the Hangman, but his personality is a far cry from the old 60s show's version.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: This series sees Gordon's actual promotion to Commissioner (though it happened between this and TLH) and the continued evolution of his relationship with Batman.
  • Dating Catwoman: Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are already in a steady relationship as their doubles become attracted to one another, and they actually break up as the series progresses.
  • Death by Origin Story: The Flying Graysons.
  • Dramatic Irony: During the climax, Batman muses that Sofia Gigante was determined to destroy Harvey Dent and all the good he accomplished. The irony is that all the good that Harvey represented and accomplished had already been destroyed by Two-Face.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Major Crimes Unit is an established part of the Batman mythos and is a division of the Gotham City Police Department founded by Commissioner Gordon and tasked with dealing with the supervillains and major crimes in Gotham. The seeds of the MCU are planted when Gordon selects seven honest cops from the GCPD to report directly to him and help him deal with opponents that the rest of the department is too corrupt or unprepared to deal with.
  • End of an Age: The whole series, and The Long Halloween before it, deal largely with the (very, very, violent) death of organized crime in Gotham and the refocusing of power towards the familiar Rogues and freaks. Dent's plan, as weirdly noble as plans go, to wipe out the Falcone family is so successful that by the end of the story it's the freaks and mental cases like him and the Joker who are left with the real criminal power in Gotham.
  • Evil Matriarch: Sofia Falcone Gigante has taken over her father's place. Lucia Viti, Sofia's cousin and daughter of the late Carla Viti, appears as a potential rival for Sofia.
  • Eviler Than Thou: The Joker gives this to Two-Face.
  • Exact Words: Comes up when Two-Face saves Gordon from a hanging during April Fools' Day. He says that Harvey Dent isn't the Hangman before escaping. Gordon and Batman both discuss the wording and given Harvey's multiple personality disorder, wonder if Harvey was trying to say he was innocent...but that Two-Face is guilty.
  • Expy: The series continues to do this for the Falcone family being ones for the Corleone family, as in addition to Alberto being one for Fredo and Sofia being a Gender Flipped Sonny, Mario is one of Michael.
    • Detective Julia Lopez, a Hispanic woman that is one of the few honest Gotham cops that Commissioner Gordon selects to serve in his elite investigative taskforce, is a re-imagining of recurring Batman supporting character Renee Montoya, a character created for Batman: The Animated Series and adapted into the comics,
    • This series continues to portray Calendar Man ala Hannibal Lecter, as was previously done in The Long Halloween.
    • Chief O'Hara is inspired by Jim Malone to the extent that Tim Sale drew the normally clean-shaven O'Hara with a mustache ala Sean Connery as Malone. Similarly, like Malone he gives his superior a list of honest cops to be included in a new taskforce, and this group is explicitly referred to as "untouchable".
  • Fat Bastard: Tony Zucco.
  • Finger in the Mail: Someone steals the body of previous untouchable crime lord Big Bad Carmine Falcone (who was killed by Two Face in an attempt to "do what is necessary" to take down organized crime) and, later, sends his daughter, who has taken over the crime family, his finger, which her aide recognizes as an "old style message," meaning that someone means to take everything from her, "piece by piece." At the end, the person who stole the body is revealed to be Two Face who, throughout the story, was acting leading nearly all of Batman's rogues gallery to take down the Falcone family and its associates.
  • Five-Bad Band: The "Freaks"
  • Gaslighting: What The Calender Man tries to do to Alberto Falcone. He nearly succeeds, too.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "You're all wet. And now I'm all wet, too..." says Porter to her lover.
  • Happily Married: Harvey Dent draws on this to overcome Poison Ivy's seduction powers and states that "Harvey" is a married man. Of course, Harvey's status does not impact what Two-Face is allowed to do with a woman...
  • Homage: Lots to The Godfather, often lampshaded by beat panels of the other characters staring dumbfounded at the person who just quoted it.
  • Joker Jury: In this case, a Two-Face one.
  • Karmic Death: Tony Zucco, the Fat Bastard who murdered Dick Grayson's parents, has a coronary and dies while Batman and Robin pursue him.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Selina Kyle has reason to believe she is Carmine Falcone's illegitimate daughter.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Calender Man of all people.
  • Meaningful Name: Mario Falcone claims that, with his majority control of the legitimate Falcone businesses, Sofia Falcone is no longer allowed to use the Falcone name. She now uses "Sofia Gigante," which had previous been used as her middle/nickname. "Gigante" is the Spanish word for "Giant", and Sofia clearly is The Big Girl of the Falcone siblings.
  • The Mole: District Attorney Janice Porter is sleeping with and feeding information to Two-Face, Mario is feeding Porter information on the Falcone Crime Family, and Detective Laureen Wilcox is working for the Falcone Crime Family
  • Murder by Cremation: Almost happens to Catwoman.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Sofia Falcone.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Alberto Falcone really is cured of his homicidal tendencies, and this is what results in Sofia strangling him.
  • The Reveal: Hangman turns out to be Sofia Gigante, faking her condition all along.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Again.
    • Gets a Call Back in Nightwing: Year One except this time Bruce says "Do it better."
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Played with by Two-Face. Harvey Dent still regards himself as married to Gilda, but his Two-Face identity isn't, so he invokes and ignores this trope whenever it's convenient. For example, he fights off Poison Ivy's pheromones by remembering his love for Gilda. He also has an affair with another woman, the new DA, Janice Porter, but when he decides he no longer needs her:
    Porter: Tell them, Harvey! Tell them that I love you and you love—
    Two-Face: Harvey Dent is a married man, Porter. Don't ever forget that.
  • Shout-Out: During the Joker's drive-by-shooting on Mother's Day, the Clown quotes (and misquotes) lines from Taxi! and Chinatown.
  • The Starscream: Joker constantly tries to undermine Two-Face's authority though Dent keeps him forcibly in check. Joker eventually just shoots him at the end.
  • Take Up His Sword: Detective Lopez is considering leaving the force at the end of the series, but Gordon convinces her to stay when he explains that Chief O'Hara wanted to make the Gotham Police a respectable and honorable organization again. Now that O'Hara is dead Gordon will need a new Chief of Police, and Lopez decides to continue where O'Hara left off.
  • To The Bat Noun
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: What the Joker implies Harvey Dent still is.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Carmine Falcone's body. It is revealed that Two Face has kept it as a trophy using Mister Freeze's technology.
    • Played straight with the Riddler during the original publication. After having a minor supporting role in the early chapters, he vanishes after Two-Face's mock trial on April Fools' Day. Averted in the long run as Catwoman: When in Rome addresses Edward Nygma's whereabouts after April Fools' Day.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Harvey Dent does this to Janice Porter
  • Wham Line: Nine of you are safe.