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Comic Book / Batman: Dark Victory
aka: Dark Victory

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"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.

Christian Bale, who played Batman for The Dark Knight Trilogy, cites this series as his favorite Batman story.


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.

This series provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Ascended Extra: In The Long Halloween the Penguin only appeared briefly in the last issue as one of the criminals Two-Face gathered to confront Carmine Falcone. Here, while he still doesn't have as big of a role as some of the other members of Batman's Rogues Gallery, he gets to be the spotlight villain of the sixth issue and even gets dialogue.
  • Asshole Victim: The second to fifth victims were the Dirty Cops from Batman: Year One:
    • Gillian Loeb, who was part of the Big Bad Duumvirate in Year One and whose crimes including be league with Falcone and Maroni, ordering a firebombing on an abandoned building (which killed some homeless people), attempting to use Gordon's affair with Sarah Essen to blackmail him, and being an accessory to the kidnapping of Gordon's son. His brief appearance in DV had him rub Gordon's face in Harvey's transformation into Two-Face and the death of Chief O'Hara and not-subtly imply he's going to use what happened to try to get his job back from Gordon, which is halted by his death shortly thereafter.
    • Arnold John Flass, Gordon's former partner, was a big jerk and corrupted, prone to abusing his authority and taking part in Falcone's operations, including being among those who beat Gordon in the parking lot. He's found being the alley of a strip club where he'd working as a bouncer.
    • Branden, the corrupt and overzealous SWAT commander, who partook in said fire bombing and blackmail attempt. Nonetheless, Gordon specifically notes despite that he was a "zealot", he didn't deserve being murdered by The Hangman.
    • Frank Pratt, who was one of Branden's subordinates and tried to shoot a cat, which got him punched through a wall by Batman. As with Loeb, he gets one more dick moment in as he's killed shortly after he tried to shoot Batman in retaliation for being punched through the wall.
  • Back for the Dead: Far more egregious than the deaths of the various gangsters in Batman: Year One and Maroni, but many of the various cops from 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 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. And then the Joker starts getting froggy towards the end.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: When questioned on Dent's whereabouts, Sofia quips "Dead, I hope. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."
    • Subverted and Played With. The solution to the first puzzle/clue left by The Hangman killer seems to be "None of you are safe", which would be an Ironic Echo of part of Batman's threat/Badass Boast to Gotham's corrupt ruling elite, when he invaded their party. Carmine Falcone was present for this, and could very well have related this to his daughter, Sofia Falcone/Gigante, who of course turns out to be The Hangman. Knowing Batman would recognize the reference, it is likely The Hangman was counting on Batman immediately jumping to the ultimately incorrect conclusion that that was the puzzle's answer, instead of "Nine of you are safe" (the correct answer), cleverly using a Batman Gambit against the Trope Namer himself, to plant this Red Herring.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: About midway through the story, during his assault upon the Falcone household, The Joker conjectures that Sofia Gigante is in fact not paralyzed. He even prefaces his theory with "Call me crazy..." And as it turns out, he's right- Sofia is completely mobile and is in fact The Hangman.
  • 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.
  • Cop Killer: Outside of Alberto and the attempts on Batman and Two-Face, all of the Hangman's victims were cops.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Poison Ivy calls out Two-Face when he allows Grundy to sacrifice himself in ripping off a high-voltage gate, after Grundy had been so loyal to him. Of course, Two-Face reminds her that, as an immortal zombie, to Grundy Death Is a Slap on the Wrist.
  • 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 as Hannibal Lecter, as was previously done in The Long Halloween.
  • Facial Horror: Catwoman reveals to Batman that when it looked like Sofia Falcone fell and was crippled, she'd actually been thrown into an office on the floor beneath them. In the process, Sofia was sent through a window and had her entire face sliced off.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: When Sofia Falcone first appears in this story, the left side of her face has scars on similar to the ones Carmine received from Catwoman. Anyone who remembers the ending of The Long Halloween will recall Catwoman scratched the right side like she did to Carmine. When this at first seems like an artistic error, this is acknowledged by Catwoman later on when recalls what she did to Sofia. And then explains Sofia had her face sheared off by broken glass when she was thrown through a window on the floor beneath them. Sofia gave herself the scars after plastic surgeons reconstructed her face, but because she was looking in a mirror she did it to the wrong side. The presence of the scars from the story's beginning are the first hint Sofia's not what she seems.
  • Gaslighting: What The Calender Man tries to do to Alberto Falcone. He nearly succeeds, too.
  • 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...
  • Happy Ending Override: Heartwarmingly inverted, at least with Batman. While The Long Halloween ended with Batman committed to his lonely crusade despite no ending in sight, Dark Victory ends with the beginning of the Batman/Robin partnership. Even though Batman’s crusade is still eternal… now he’s not alone.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Former commissioner Gillian Loeb reappears in issue 2 to rub Gordon's face in the Hangman murders and Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face, and to not-subtly implies he intends to use what's going on to get his job back from Gordon. The issue literally ends with the reveal of Loeb's corpse, a victim of the Hangman.
    • Pratt, Branden's second-in-command and fellow corrupt cop, tries to shoot Batman as revenge for Bats punching him through a wall during the events of Year Onenote . Not only is Batman wearing body armor, but when Batman comes to, he finds that the Hangman got to Pratt in the meantime.
    • Two-Face and Joker get into a standoff that ends with Two-Face beating Joker down in retaliation for the way Joker assaulted and humiliated him in front of his wife back when he was still Harvey Dent.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Selina Kyle has reason to believe she is Carmine Falcone's illegitimate daughter.
  • 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 married name. "Gigante" is the Italian 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.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the crimefighter names Dick Grayson considers is Bat-Mite.
  • Never Found the Body: Two-Face falls into a crevasse at the end of the story. Batman, not yet having learned better at this point in his career, tells Gordon that his death is as sure as it can be without having the actual body.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Two-Face delivers one to no less than the goddamn JOKER when the clown attempts to shoot him and take over. This serves not only to reassert Harvey's authority, but also as payback for Joker's beatdown of Dent in front of Dent's wife in "The Long Halloween".
  • Obfuscating Disability: Sofia Falcone, to hide that she's really the Hangman.
  • Officer O'Hara : A version of Chief O'Hara from the '60s Batman (1966) series briefly appears before becoming the first victim of the Hangman, but his personality is a far cry from the old 60s show's version.
  • Only in It for the Money: Mr. Freeze doesn't give a damn what Two-Face's plans are, he just wants his payment. (Obviously to work on curing Nora, though that's not mentioned directly)
  • 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.
  • Samus Is a Girl: the Hangman is really Sofia Gigante.
  • 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.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Arnold Flass is among the Hangman's victims—despite Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2 showing him alive when Jim Gordon and Sarah Essen marry.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the Joker's drive-by-shooting on Mother's Day, the Clown quotes (and misquotes) lines from White Heat, Taxi! and Chinatown.
    • In keeping with this incarnation of Chief O'Hara being inspired by Jim Malone from The Untouchables (1987), we first meet him walking on a bridge and meeting with Commissioner Gordon, much like Malone's introductory scene had him patrolling a bridge when he first meets Eliot Ness.
    • The Columbus Day Massacre (where Two-Face murders all of the remaining mafiosi in Gotham) is reminiscent of the end of The Godfather.
  • 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 My 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.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Victory


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