BATMAN AND ROBIN #23.1 (Two Face)
Author: Bobby Barrett
September 7, 2013
SYNOPSIS: Two-Face is approached to join the Secret Society! Which side will his coin land on? - DCCOMICS.COM
It seems only fitting that our SECOND outing into the first week of Villains Month be Harvey "Two-Face" Dent's very own issue.
This one is penned by Peter J. Tomasi, of BATMAN AND ROBIN fame – in fact, Harvey here is set to play a major role in the series' next arc. I was eager to check this one out to see how (if at all) it would connect to Tomasi's book and what hints it might give us to what is coming up. Turns out this story stands pretty much on its own, as it follows Two-Face through a blacked-out Gotham City where Batman is presumed dead (the result of FOREVER EVIL #1). Another familiar Bat-Villain offers Harvey a chance to join the "Secret Society" of villains who are behind this month's chaos in the DC Universe, an offer Harvey agrees to after consulting his trusty coin--under the condition that they let him do things his way and, above all else, respect the coin's decisions.
Dent then makes his way through Gotham, dispensing some TDK-style justice, taking out looters, rapists and vandals in cold blood. To Harvey's reasoning, "Gotham needs its crusader. Gotham needs Harvey Dent." He makes his way to the courthouse where he spent so much time prosecuting criminals and proceeds to make himself judge, jury and executioner of those attempting to make the courthouse their fortress. But is this Secret Society really willing to play by Two-Face's rules?
Although this issue serves more as a stand-alone story than a lead-in to BATMAN AND ROBIN's next arc, it does demonstrate Tomasi's understanding of Harvey Dent as a character. Although this villain makes no bones about the fact that he is a killer, he's also disgusted at the notion of being lumped in with the rest of Gotham City's criminal element. In a manner that would make Christopher Nolan proud, Tomasi presents Two-Face as a character that still believes in justice, to some degree. This is a man who tried his best to work within the system, until he finally turned his back on it, not patient enough to endure due process any longer.
Guillem March (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, CATWOMAN) does a terrific job penciling, as anyone familiar with his work would expect. His style is fluid and graceful, brilliantly self-inked and then colored by Tomeu Morey. March is welcome to the Batman Family of comics any time, as far as I'm concerned.
No real complaints about this issue. Story-wise, it's nothing remarkable, but it does provide the best portrait of Harvey Dent that we've seen in The New 52 thus far. This makes me hopeful--Two-Face, while maintaining status as an "A-List" Batman villain, has very few iconic stories to his name. Most are different versions of his fall from grace (THE LONG HALLOWEEN, the great BATMAN ANNUAL #14). The only truly memorable non-origin Two-Face story that comes to mind (in comics) is his arc in NO MAN'S LAND. In short: this guy needs a GREAT story, and if Tomasi is up to the task, I'm ready to see what he's got. - Bobby Barrett