"Harvey Dent/Two Face"
Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (@BATMANONFILM)

Share |

Two Face, the alter ego of former Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent, is a DC COMICS villain and an enemy of their character The Batman. He was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane and first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #66 in August of 1942.

Two Face is one of the more tragic villains found in The Batman’s rogues gallery. Once a crime-fighter himself, Dent was an assistant district attorney and later the D.A. of Gotham City. He was also an ally of both The Batman and Jim Gordon. According to the Batman mythos, mob boss Salvatore Maroni threw acid on Dent’s face, scarring one side of it. Dent’s mind snapped and he became a criminal calling himself “Two Face.” He became obsessed with the number 2 and duality -- often making decisions based on the flip of a two-headed coin -- normal on one side, scarred on the other.

Originally, he was one The Batman’s gimmicky villains, plotting crimes based around the number 2, such as robbing Gotham’s 2nd National Bank at 2:00 on February 2. He was originally named "Harvey Kent," but the sir name was changed to avoid confusion with Superman's real identity, Clark Kent.

The modern version of the character attributes his obsession with duality to Dent’s own multiple personality disorder, perhaps brought on by childhood beatings at the hand of his father.

The current continuity origin of Two Face can be found in the Batman story, THE LONG HALLOWEEN by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. In TLH, Dent became the city's youngest district attorney in his mid 20s (he was an assistant D.A. in BATMAN: YEAR ONE, BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN, and BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK), and he, GPD Captain James Gordon, and The Batman forged an alliance to rid Gotham City of organized crime. Staying true to established Batman history, Boss Maroni is responsible for the acid scarring of Dent which triggers his transformation into Two Face.

While one of the oldest “major” Batman villains, Two Face hasn’t really come into his own until the modern age. The character only made three appearances in the 1940s, and appeared twice in the 1950s. It was at that time he was basically dropped in favor of more "kid friendly" villains.

In 1971, writer Denny O'Neil brought Two-Face back, and it was then that he became one of Batman's arch-enemies. Then in the 1980s, Dent was written as a heroic character by Frank Miller in his BATMAN: YEAR ONE story arc (which is one of the most famous Batman stories of all time). YEAR ONE is the origin story of the modern Batman. In it, Dent is an assistant D.A. who actually aids “The Bat-Man” before Gotham police detective Jim Gordon.

Throughout Batman history, Dent’s face has been repaired, but the Two Face persona always reemerges. As a result, Dent’s face is scarred yet again by his own hand.

During the recent “One Year Later” storyline that ran in both BATMAN and DETECTIVE, it was revealed that Harvey Dent was trained by The Batman and left in charge of the city as a vigilante protector during The Dark Knight’s one year absence. Dent enjoyed his new role but upon The Batman’s return, Harvey began to feel unnecessary and unappreciated, which prompted the return of the "Two-Face" persona. Eventually in a seedy motel room, Harvey and “Two Face” squared off with the latter winning -- and reemerging as result of a scalpel and nitric acid.

Two Face immediately went on a criminal tear in Gotham. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

In addition to the comic books, Two Face/Harvey Dent has appeared in Two live-action BATMAN movies: 1989‘s BATMAN and 1997’s BATMAN FOREVER. In the former, actor Billy Dee Williams played Gotham D.A. Harvey Dent, while in the latter, Tommy Lee Jones played the villian Two Face himself.

Fans complained about how "Harvey Two Face" was depicted in BATMAN FOREVER. As portrayed by Jones (see left), he was a cackling, campy, over the top clown, often playing second fiddle to Jim Carey's Riddler.

Also going against the Batman mythos, this Two Face would flip his coin until he got the desired outcome -- rather than allowing chance settle the issue.

Two Face never appeared in the 1960s BATMAN TV series or the 1966 live-action film based on it.

The character appeared for a third cinematic go-around in the sequel to BATMAN BEGINS -- THE DARK KNIGHT -- hitting theaters on July 18, 2008. American thesp Aaron Eckhart portrayed new Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent.

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent in THE DARK KNIGHT (© Warner Bros.)

In THE DARK KNIGHT, the film's story arc basically centers around Dent and his eventual downfall.

In BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES/THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES both Harvey Dent and his Two Face alter ego (voiced by Richard Moll) appeared in both versions of the show. In this series, it was Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent who were longtime friends, unlike current comic book continuity where it was The Batman and D.A. Dent who were allies.

In the animated series THE BATMAN, neither Dent nor Two Face have appeared -- allegedly because the character was set to be a major character in the film THE DARK KNIGHT. Two Face had not appeared in the new animated series, BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD as of March 2009.


BATMAN ON FILM, © 1998-present William E. Ramey. All rights reserved.