BATMAN AND TWO FACE #27
Author: Bobby Barrett
January 24, 2014
SYNOPSIS: The origin of Two-Face continues! Batman finds himself in the crossfire of a vengeful war between Two-Face and Erin McKillen! Both are hellbent on killing each other and anyone else who dares to step between them!
"The Big Burn" reaches its penultimate chapter in BATMAN AND TWO-FACE #27, and we discover in no uncertain terms that there is far more to this take on Harvey Dent than being just the good guy who had it all taken away. Indeed, this former "White Knight" of Gotham is revealed to have seen both sides of the justice system--working his way up from being an undefeated DEFENSE attorney to locking criminals away as the city's newly elected DA. We discover what part Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon had to play in this promotion, and how it ultimately led directly to Harvey's undoing.
In the current timeline, a graveyard showdown between Two-Face, Batman, and Erin McKillen leans toward the former DA's favor, leading to one of the most intense sequences of the villain I've come across in comics. Harvey's revenge is cut short, however, as members of the remaining "Family" arrive for their prize(s): a public execution of Harvey Dent – intended as a message of war from the mob to the "freaks" of Gotham; and a quick and quiet end for both The Dark Knight and McKillen – the latter whose authority has been deemed a liability.
Amidst a bloody shootout, the targeted trio make a run for it, led by Batman, who vows not to let any harm come to either of them before they are back behind bars. There's even a (semi) successful reasoning attempt on Dent, where Bats argues that we all have two sides that are at war with one another, and that everyone is capable of making unselfish choices. This point is framed by images recalling Robin's death and Batman's subsequent train-wreck of a road to acceptance – a clear attempt at tying everything this book has been about together, reminding us of the larger picture for just a moment.
Of course, things don't go exactly as planned, and one of the three escapees is still going to need some rescuing in the final chapter next month. Will we see some more casualties in this "Family" feud?
Not much to gripe about here. "The Big Burn" is easily standing as one of the strongest arcs yet from the current BATMAN AND ROBIN team – an honor it will likely hang on to, unless they totally drop the ball next month (not likely). Peter Tomasi has crafted a narrative that utilizes clever pacing, breakneck action, and compelling flashback sequences, resulting in a cocktail of action and intrigue. And the reverse-order exhibition of said flashbacks? Genius. The more I learn about pre-villainous Harvey Dent, the more captivated I become. Some of the strongest character development "Big Bad Harv" has had in a long time – material that can and SHOULD be utilized for future stories.
The art team is at the top of their game as well. Patrick Gleason has been playing around a little with the way he draws Two-Face, and this issue shows the artist displaying the utmost confidence with the character. Once again, I also marveled at the minute details he puts into drawing The Dark Knight in action. From referencing Chris Nolan with the launching gauntlet spikes, to some brand new evasion tactics (they should call them "Utility Boots"!), Gleason's Batman always finds new ways to impress.
Like a well-oiled machine, inks from Mick Gray add the perfect amount of intensity and moodiness, while colors from John Kalisz finish with the perfect amount of life and contrast from scene to scene. I might be just imagining it, but I could SWEAR that the flashback scene featuring Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent was a visual throwback to Tim Sale's work on THE LONG HALLOWEEN, with both its deep shadows and orange hughes.
Only one more chapter to go for this arc, and I'm just "BURN"ing with anticipation to see what happens…(sorry, couldn't resist). - Bobby Barrett