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Batman: The Long Halloween

By Munawar Mobin

Batman: The Long Halloween is a Batman story at its finest. It's safe to say that writers Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale hit their pinnacle with this novel. In this story, the two somehow successfully combine the gritty gangster background from Godfather with the tale of the Dark Knight.

The novel starts off slow, catching up with bits and pieces of Loeb's previous comic, Batman Year One, which ended with Bruce Wayne donning his suit to become newly born Batman. The Long Halloween moves on to a much bigger picture, while bringing along with it the same mobsters from the previous story - Falcone and his gang. It's what many may consider as the prequel to the Dark Knight (the movie) and in some ways it also the same story as it has heavy links and references to occurrences in the film.

The main story behind the Eisner award winning story is that someone is killing off gang members connected to Falcone. This killer is soon dubbed 'the Holiday Killer' as his/her killings all occur on specific holidays and keep Gotham City - and Batman himself - confused and startled for a whole year. Batman is seen teaming up with Detective Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to bring the killer to justice and stop the mayhem. Behind the story, the greater purpose served by the novel is the perfect retelling of how Harvey Dent came to be Two Face. One of the greatest aspects of the comic is how the writers manage to intertwine all the villains Batman encounters in just 370 pages and still handle the original story with the same flow as before.

Yes, the writing isn't as mature and sophisticated as Miller's was in Year One, but Loeb most definitely does not fail to disappoint. In the silver screen DC might be shadowed [in some cases] by Marvel, but this comic stands as a testament as to why in the long line of continuing comics and novels (the one criteria that actually counts) DC stands by Marvel as Bigfoot would stand by an ant.

Money vs Skills

Why the “greenbacks” deserve it

By Munawar Mobin

This season has been one of many twists and turns. Granted we haven't all been happy about the journey, but it has been one of the best seasons football has seen recently.

The EPL shone bright and showed the world why it's the best domestic league in the world. Man City and Man United had been racing for the title like the rabbit and the tortoise. Earlier in the league Man City produced a phenomenal 10-point gap for Manchester United to cover. However, the Reds somehow closed in on that gap and were somewhat successful until the last moment when Agüero smashed the ball in the back of the net in extra time against QPR that fateful night. Man City thus picked up their first trophy since 1968.

Real Madrid made up for last year's mistakes and took a more consistent stride in the Spanish league this time and finally beat former champions Barcelona and sealed the deal with two games in hand. Real finished nice and smooth with a record breaking total of 100 points, finally getting their hands on the trophy (and not dropping it) after four years.
Juventus achieved something few teams have in the history of football. They won the Italian league this time with an invincible season, that is, unbeaten. Unbeaten in an Italian league of 20 teams in this day and age is an extraordinary feat and counting this, Juventus has had two invincible seasons. After much drama, tension, (the preliminary and inevitable) controversy, the UEFA Champions League came to an end with Chelsea as the European Champions.
And then flew in all the opinions and theories, tall tales and insults, mockery and wise talk. Among the hordes of statements heard/read/seen, these take the cake: “Man City bought the league!”; “What's Mourinho without money?” And of course there was a lot of speculation about Chelsea's 'dirty tactics'.

First off, what we have to realise is that money doesn't get you everything. Buying a bunch of talented players doesn't mean you have a good team, just one with a lot of individual talent. Weaving together a team full of talented players brought from different parts of the world is no big joke. In football, partnerships are a thing of marvel (look at Di Stefano and Puskas), and money doesn't buy the determination and courage needed to make a team of such skill play together effectively. If it did, Man City would've never lost out on that 10-point gap. Only in making mistakes do players get stronger together as a team. Mancini might have bought the whole team but it wasn't cash that made the team who they are. It was their own will power and the sacrifices made to work alongside each other that got them the title.

If Real had gone to win La Liga last year, it wouldn't be deserved at all. Barcelona's skills weren't the only reason they got hammered; it was also because Real was a fresh team then. This season however, with the guidance of Mourinho, they stayed on track, worked on their weaknesses, formed actual partnerships instead of solo runs and overcame Barcelona.

When the Blues picked up the cup on May 19th, many of us instantly criticised Di Matteo for his ultra-defensive play. Chelsea's final was admittedly quite lucky, yes; but they did do the unthinkable to get there. They beat Barcelona with one man down. At Camp Nou. Against a full Barca squad. Their play in that game should not be criticised; rather it should be hailed as one of the most brilliant shows of defence ever seen.

Unlike that night, the final wasn't as bad; however with two of the most influential defenders out of the game and a youngster making his debut, the team was most definitely the underdogs. Chelsea was working with what was available to them, which didn't favour being on the offensive. After defeats at two finals, a grand turning of tables against Napoli and the successful shield-wall against Barcelona, the team deserves the title. Who can say that there wasn't at least a bit of a smile on their face when Cech hoisted the trophy, or when Drogba ran around Allianz Arena in glory and deserved triumph?

Though money is involved in transfers, football will never be about the money. It'll be about a team's journey and experiences, of individual efforts and amazing feats of glory. So, remember this season. Remember the sudden unity and extreme support from players all over the world when Muamba and Abidal were hospitalised. Remember Cisse's screamer which defied physics. Remember the ending of Pep's glittering journey with Barcelona. Remember the Man City fans who flooded onto the pitch of Loftus Road. Remember the teams making flawless history.
Most of all, remember the passion.



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