Author: Bobby Barrett
October 17, 2013

SYNOPSIS: “The Big Burn” part one of five! Two-Face’s first epic in The New 52 sees Batman unraveling the mysterious connections between Harvey Dent’s life and the origin of Carrie Kelley! - DCCOMICS.COM

After a six-month mourning period, BATMAN AND ROBIN is back in full swing…or BATMAN AND TWO-FACE now, whatever you want to call it. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this book moving forward, but the first chapter of this new arc proved to be a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that left me wanting more.

"The Big Burn" opens with Gotham's old crime royalty converging to plot a reclaiming of the city their families bled (and spilled blood) to forge, disgusted by the status quo of freaks and capes that have cost them all so much. Returning to Gotham after years on the run is Erin McKillen, who appears to be The New 52's replacement for Sal Maroni – someone who has every reason to fear for her life while in Gotham, as we learn from a gruesome flashback sequence depicting her involvement in Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face.

Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth are seen in the Wayne family cemetery reacting to the events at the end of BATMAN INCORPORATED, assuring readers that this gesture of tremendous disrespect from Ra's al Ghul will not go ignored. Bruce vows to give the villain his full attention as soon as this business with the city's crime families is dealt with.

The whole thing quickly escalates into a breathtaking action sequence, as McKillen, now primary target #1 for both Batman and the GCPD, finds herself fleeing in a high octane, white-knuckle chase. Writer Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason make the most of every panel on the page as Batman closes in on her, and the mob closes in on Batman. And things are bound to get even more complicated once Two-Face joins the pursuit!

Tomasi and Gleason are both in top form here. The writer, perhaps taking a cue from what Scott Snyder is doing with "Zero Year," is taking some milestone moments from The Dark Knight's history and putting a fresh new spin on them. It appears that the origin of Two-Face as a nemesis will continue being fleshed out (pun intended) over the course of this arc, as well as the Gotham mob. A crucial element to Harvey Dent's downfall from Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT is present here, and it's a welcome change to his comic book origin, as far as I'm concerned.

I rave about Patrick Gleason's art pretty much every month here on BOF, but he always gives me good reasons to do so! This guy's got a very distinct style that works so well with Tomasi's scripts. Vibrant and somewhere in between cartoon and life-like. Long time inker and colorists Mick Gray and John Kalisz do just the right service to Gleason's pencils, enhancing the moodiness when necessary, and adding explosive dynamics to the action sequences.

Tomasi and Gleason's BATMAN AND ROBIN title was built on extended, epic stories with hard action and big emotional payoffs, and "The Big Burn" appears to hold true to that tradition. We've seen many creators get changed on DC Comics recently, but this team has remained on this book since its beginning, and it's all the better for it. Greatly anticipating what comes next! - Bobby Barrett


Bobby Barrett is a lifelong Batman enthusiast living in Fresno, California, with his wife and several cats.
He enjoys reading, writing, acting, and playing very loud rock music.

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