Greetings From Arkham Asylum Welcoming Committee

Art by Ron Wagner from The Book of Fate #4

Welcome to about_faces: a fanblog dedicated to discussion and celebration of Batman's fallen ally and second-greatest foe, Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face!

Here you'll find in-depth reviews, analysis, and critiques of Two-Face appearances both old and new, from feature roles to silly cameos, as well as essays, news, interviews, fan-art, fanfic, and miscellaneous geekery! In addition to Two-Face, this blog's secondary mission is celebration of classic Batman comics and the villains in general, as they are some of the greatest characters ever created in any medium! Well, except for Hush, because screw Hush. ;)

For full information--including disclaimers about scan usage--please read my User Info. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, complaints, requests, or whatever, please feel free to leave me a comment wherever or send me a Private Message! Comments in general are highly encouraged, as is discussion, ranting, etc.

Complete Table of Contents, Greatest Hits, and Entire Two-Face Comic Appearance Chronology coming soon!
Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda, Part 5, cont’d: “Batman: The Long Halloween” (Part 2 of 2)

Read Part 1 here! For all previous installments of the complete Gilda retrospective, check out the tag!

For Gilda Dent, New Year’s Eve was the turning point. And for a brief time, things seem to be improving in her marriage to Harvey. 

Despite his ever-pressing work load, Harvey actually manages to come home for Valentine’s Day, surprising her with chocolates and romantic snugglebunnies. For a brief moment, despite all that’s happened before, finally everything’s comin’ up Gilda!

Meanwhile, the Holiday murders continue. Only this time, the victims aren’t the Roman’s men, but rather those of his gangland rival: Salvatore “The Boss” Maroni. This change in targets is interesting, given the fateful destiny of Harvey(’s face) and Maroni(’s bottle of acid). These murders aren’t up close and personal like the Roman’s men, but are now far more spectacular and explosive, with the killer mowing down nine men at once with the .22 as if it were a machine gun. The change in both targets and methodology would suggest a different Holiday than the first, which supports Gilda being the first and Harvey (or someone else) being the second. 

By Father’s Day, Maroni has lost everyone to Holiday, including his own father. He suspects that the Roman is behind the Holiday killings despite the first victims being the Roman’s own men, because mobsters… well, they generally ain’t deep thinkers. But then, many characters in this story become stupid for plot reasons. Take Harvey, for example. 

Over the course of these months, Harvey makes the incredibly foolish decision to target Bruce Wayne, whom he suspects of being mobbed up with the Roman. Yeah, Loeb decided against having them be friends, instead opting to have Harvey detest Bruce because of his wealth and status. When Harvey botches the case due to his sloppy work, he becomes embittered, believing that Wayne, “with all his money,” has escaped justice like so many others. The concept of the dogged civil servant persecuting the poor innocent billionaire is something which hasn’t aged too well. 

Then, in a moment that directly references Andrew Helfer’s “Eye of the Beholder” (1990), Harvey makes the horrible decision to go visit his abusive dad on Father’s Day. And he comes home with a souvenir along with, presumably, a whole lot of renewed trauma. And Gilda (who has been curiously absent for several issues by this point) is the one who has to deal with the fallout. 

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Next time: Gilda the ghost, plus a surprising detour into Marvel Comics! 

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda, Part 5: Reexamining Gilda Dent in “Batman: The Long Halloween” (Part 1 of 2)

Note: This is the fifth part of my Gilda Dent retrospective, analyzing the complete history of the oft-overlooked woman who loved and lost Harvey Dent. New installments will be posted weekly! Previous installments can be found at the tag or in the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Special thanks to my Henchgirl, who extensively edited the following critique. I’ve struggled for decades to articulate the following thoughts, and they wouldn’t be nearly as coherent if it weren’t for her. Also, if something is funny, that was almost certainly her contribution.

I assume pretty much anyone reading this retrospective will have already read Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997), as it’s still one of the most popular Batman stories of all time. On the off chance you haven’t, I will make this as accessible as possible, but it will include MAJOR SPOILERS for TLH and its sequel, Batman: Dark Victory (1998). 

But let’s start with spoiling the twist ending for a whole different story: Presumed Innocent, the 1987 best-selling legal thriller by Scott Turrow which was turned into a 1990 movie starring Harrison Ford and Raul Julia. The film is especially important, as I strongly believe it served as the basis for Jeph Loeb’s reinterpretation of Gilda for TLH. You be the judge.

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Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda, Part 4: Grace Lamont of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

Note: This is the fourth part of my retrospective of Gilda, a complete history of the oft-overlooked woman who loved and lost Harvey Dent. New installments will be posted weekly! Previous installments: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

It’s hard to imagine that the comic strips by William Messner-Loebs didn’t influence the Harvey and Gilda of Batman: The Animated Series. There are numerous similarities, such as Harvey and Bruce being best friends, the Gilda-type being friendly with Bruce, and the final takedown of Two-Face. 

Before becoming Two-Face, a couple episodes featured Harvey Dent—without a Gilda by his side. Besides Bruce, his only other meaningful relationship was with Pamela Isley in “Pretty Poison,” and she tried to kill him! Between that and his appearance in the Game Boy BTAS game, his only role was to be the happy fool Bruce Wayne pretended to be, and a hostage in need of rescuing. For the sake of Batman’s drama, Harvey Dent had taken on Gilda’s occasional role as damsel in distress!

Then came his turn in the spotlight with “Two-Face: Part 1 & 2” (1992), where we finally meet our Gilda, Harvey’s girlfriend and soon-to-be fiance. This two-parter, serving as Two-Face’s origin in the animated universe, draws on both the comics and the oft-forgotten comic strips. The roots of these episodes trace right back to the Bill Finger trilogy, “Eye of the Beholder,” and Mark Verheiden’s story from Secret Origins Special. The last in particular, as Gilda’s animated counterpart is also named Grace.

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Next time: Gilda Dent in Batman: The Long Halloween. 

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda, Part 3: Alice Dent of the 1990 Newspaper Comics

Note: This is the third part of my retrospective of Gilda, a  complete history of the oft-overlooked woman who loved and lost Harvey Dent. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here, and subsequent installments will be released weekly. 

Gilda was created to serve one role, which was to save Harvey from himself, or at least to try. As far as DC was concerned, their decision to keep Harvey as Two-Face effectively rendered her obsolete. Instead of being developed and finding a place in the Post-Crisis era, she was a casualty of the status quo, seemingly fated to play bystander and/or victim. The reboot didn’t matter, since she was essentially remade and scrapped with each appearance. 

For Gilda, it wasn’t Crisis that opened the door to a fresh start. It was Tim Burton’s Batman movie in 1989. The film’s success opened the door to a new wave of Batman multimedia, the most beloved of which being Batman: The Animated Series. Original stories could now be told outside of the comics, unburdened by DC’s decades of baggage. As an added plus, these stories could reach a mainstream audience who didn’t read comics at all. At least, not comic books

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Orrrrrr at least this is where I would start talking about BTAS, but it turns out I wrote past LJ’s word limit. Whoops! I’ll be doing that part later in its own dedicated post. 

Next time: BTAS and Grace Lamont, the woman who might have become the most famous take on Gilda.

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda, Pt. 2: Her First Post-Crisis Years

Note: This is the second part of my retrospective of Gilda, a complete history of the oft-overlooked woman who loved and lost Harvey Dent. You can read Part 1 here, and subsequent installments will be released weekly. 

The reboot of DC Comics in the mid-80’s was a fresh start, at least that was the idea. Some writers took full advantage, taking risks with new takes on classic characters. Other writers, who grew up reading and loving the classic stories, preferred to keep writing the characters as they’d always been. Or at least, how they’d always remembered them. 

Major characters took priority, getting new origins that established the tone of the ongoing books. Supporting characters gradually caught up, with people like Two-Face not getting the overhaul treatment for years afterward. And even then, it was often by an incremental “one step forward, two steps back” method of development. Minor characters like Gilda were at the bottom of the food chain, some getting erased entirely by disinterested writers. 

But Gilda survived, although you might not have noticed at first if you didn’t squint.

In an all-new take on Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One (1987) featured a quick mention of Harvey Dent having a wife, who served as his alibi when Lieutenant Jim Gordon suspected the Assistant D.A. of being the mysterious vigilante. The wife, however, was not named, nor did she appear in any capacity. 

No reason why she should, as Harvey himself was a relatively minor character in Miller’s story. Still, it was enough for other writers to build upon, should they see fit. In its small way, Miller’s version of Harvey was remarkable, as it was the first time readers ever saw him in his pre-Two-Face days. It opened the door to more stories about Harvey as a crusading prosecutor, a friend and ally of the heroes, and perhaps even as a husband. But there was no telling what kind of character Gilda would become in this new upstart continuity, if she’d even be a character at all. 

Then came Secret Origins Special (1989), a giant-size issue of Post-Crisis spins on classic Batman villains. Surrounded by a framing sequence of a sleazy tabloid show doing an expose on Gotham rogues, the final story focused on the unseen side of Harvey Dent and his transformation into Two-Face, told by the only person who really knew him as he was. 

Her name was Grace.

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Next time: Alice Dent of the 1989 Batman newspaper comic strip, and how her story sets the stage for “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

The Grace of Gilda: The Complete History of Gilda Dent, Part 1

What must it be like, to be a villain’s love interest? 

To be a supporting player of a supporting player, vanishing into comic book limbo and emerging once every ten or thirty years to again play your role on the sidelines of someone else’s tragedy? What happens when writers think that your love isn’t enough, and that you need to be something else? That your role is better served as a suffering victim? As a killer? As dead and gone?

Her name is Gilda Gold, but that’s not how she’s best known. She’s gone by other first names, and she didn’t even get her surname until thirty-eight years after her first appearance in 1942. Even now, she’s still known only as Gilda Dent, the former (and future?) wife of Two-Face.

Since that first appearance, she’s been inextricably tied to Two-Face. But Two-Face is not inextricably tied to her, according to generations of writers. As of June 2021, Two-Face has appeared in 1,361 comics, while Gilda--who has been around exactly as long--has only appeared in 64 issues (source: Many of those are reprints, or technicalities where her character has been renamed and may arguably (if not effectively) be a separate character.

Her absence has been a loss for Two-Face himself, removing a crucial element of tragic love--and possible redemption--that was baked into the character from the very start. Theirs was a love story that married Beauty and the Beast with The Phantom of the Opera, where she saw the man behind the disfigurement, and he believed himself too hideous to be loved. It was only through her love and perseverance that he was pulled back from the brink, and the two were married and supposed to live happily ever after. 

But when DC decided they wanted Two-Face back as an ongoing villain, Gilda wasn’t even considered as a factor in the tragedy. She was omitted entirely, vanishing for decades. We can only speculate as to why, but the reasons seem apparent. Gilda’s very presence and the promise of emotional healing was an existential threat to Two-Face as a villain, and DC wanted him to be evil, period. 

She didn’t appear again until the 80’s, and even then, she’s only appeared in a handful of stories. Each story changed her, tweaked her personality, her motivations, and her relationship with Harvey, almost making her a different person each time. Sometimes literally, as she’s been renamed “Grace” and “Alice.” And yet, they’re all fundamentally the same Gilda: the love of Harvey Dent’s life, who has to cope with her husband’s physical and psychological trauma. 

Which, of course, is part of the problem. 

Gilda has never been allowed to become a fully fleshed-out character in her own right. Harvey’s trauma, while necessarily central to their arc as a couple, is never reflected by an equally important trauma of her own. Over her few appearances, there are only occasional glimpses of her internal life, and all too often they’re tossed aside in favor of a familiar, one-dimensional stereotype: the grieving, fretful wife. 

She had a career in 1942--quite a rarity for wives and girlfriends of secondary characters then--but you’d never know that now. Most writers don’t even bother to include one of her few established defining characteristics: that she’s an artist, a sculptor specifically. As far as Jeph Loeb was concerned in Batman: The Long Halloween--arguably Gilda’s biggest impact on pop culture--she had literally no life or interests of her own outside of having a family with her husband. In fact, she was willing to kill for it. Maybe. 

Since then, Gilda’s become a character who is either deadly or dead, having been murdered outright in 2013’s “New 52” origin of Two-Face. But all these changes haven’t made her a stronger character. She’s never had an internal life, or any life at all outside of Harvey Dent. Even the recent Gilda story by Mariko Tamaki in Batman: Black and White (2021), which served as a feminist deconstruction for her sidelined role, failed to address who she actually was as a person. She wasn't a three-dimensional character in her own right so much as as a stand-in for “neglected wife” characters everywhere. Important commentary to be sure, but in context unfortunately feeding the reductive archetype that swallowed Gilda rather than freeing her from it. 

Instead of building on the rough sketch that Bill Finger created in 1942, Gilda has actually regressed as a character over the decades, a depressingly common symptom of how wives and girlfriends in fiction exist only as accessories to the men in their lives. As such, her absence (coupled with her mismanaged return appearances) is not only a major loss for Two-Face, but also has led to her never truly coming into her own. 

Well, in honor of her impending eightieth anniversary, let’s examine the strange, troubled history of Gilda in all her iterations, personalities, and identities. Let’s see if we can find the fundamental truth in all these different takes, to see who she was, is, could be, and perhaps should become in the future.  

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Coming up in Part 2: The first Post-Crisis years, in which Gilda changes her name, changes it back again, remarries, has kids, and just generally has a bad time all around.

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Happy 2/22!

Hellooooooo, everyone! I am (temporarily) back! Anyone else still out there in LJ-land? I’m going to assume no one is and just post this for my own sake, as I’ve missed having the spoons to keep up this blog like I used’ta could.

I’m still actively posting and writing about Harvey and the rogues over at Tumblr, at least until that site goes the way of LJ (as it seems determined to do) and I have to find yet another format. But no matter how comfortably I’ve adjusted to Tumblr over the years, neither it nor any other platform has ever been as great as LJ when it comes to being able to post long, image-heavy reviews and sharing epic discussions with commenters. I miss this format and I miss the people it attracted.

Well, it’s 2/22, and even if this place is only slightly less dead than MySpace, I wanted to give some quick looks at all of the big Harvey stories I’ve missed since I last updated. Someday, Grodd willing, I will be able to review some of these in full, but until then, I want to at least acknowledge the highs and lows of this current era of Harvey.

Because we ARE in a new era, folks. Thanks to Scott Snyder, we are now in what I am calling the Magenta Jacket era, as it’s been the only consistent detail of Harvey for the 2010’s.

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Whew! Man, I missed writing about Harvey on here. So many stories I’d love today examine in depth, and hopefully I will someday!

But first, if I ever get back to anything, it will finally, FINALLY have to be The Long Halloween, because—Maker preserve us—it’s finally going to be adapted as two animated films. And if Jensen Ackles is indeed voicing Harvey, as has been speculated, then I’m going to have to prepare for the possibility of a whole new influx of fans both for TLH and Harvey, not to mention Loeb’s version of Gilda. Maybe.

Until then, find me on Tumblr, and I’ll hopefully see you back here sometime before the next 2/22!
Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

REVIEW: Bruce and Harvey's Big Adventure in ALL STAR BATMAN #1

After an inexplicable (yet appropriate) two-and-a-half year absence, Harvey Dent finally made his grand return to the mainstream DC Universe in what promises to be one of his highest-profile stories in his 74-year history!

Scott Snyder—DC's current architect of all things Batman—had teamed up with Marvel legend John Romita Jr to bring us My Own Worst Enemy, an arc which kicks off a year-long epic featuring the classic rogues! With Harvey at the center and two influential superstars at the helm, this story has the potential to define Two-Face for years to come, just as Snyder has already done for the Joker and Riddler! In fact, as of last week, this issue sold around 350,000 copies, making it the highest profile major Two-Face story since The Dark Knight! So yeah, there's a lot at stake here for those of us who care about a well-written Harvey.

First, here's the spoiler-and-scan free review, accompanied just some of the many, many variant covers.

Sadly, I've yet to find a decent-sized high quality version of this Jae Lee variant.

After receiving a desperate plea from the good side of Harvey Dent, Batman vows take his old friend across the country to a secret location that will supposedly cure Harvey and destroy Two-Face one and for all. However, Two-Face has other ideas, and kicks off a plan that pits Batman against everyone from hired assassins, ambitious D-list rogues, average people looking to get rich, and perhaps even members of the Bat-Family!

Nothing remotely like this happens in the issue. That's Neal Adams for you.

All in all, I found the debut issue of ASB to be a very promising start. While it's not quite worth the absolutely ridiculous $4.99 cover price, this story nonetheless has great potential despite some flaws. While Snyder does indulge in his penchant for having the villain monologue about biweekly BIG IDEAS THAT WILL SHAKE BATMAN AND HIS FAMILY TO THE CORE, the story is breezy, action-packed, and rather fun.

The art by JRJR and the daytime setting gives the story a tone and atmosphere that sets it apart from the average Batman story, particularly those by Snyder, who has always emphasized the “dark” part of “dark knight.” A potential downside, however, is that JRJR's distinctive art style is not everyone's cup of tea, as he's one of the few comic artists whose quality can vacillate between being gorgeousness and hideousness. While I didn't particularly like his work here (with inks by Danny Miki), the general fan consensus seems to be that JRJR is at the top of his game, so YMMV.

Yeah, this just... this just seems awkward to me. Especially Harvey's proportions.

The biggest problem with this issue is that the first half is told in a series of needlessly jumbled flashbacks, starting with modern day, then going back 22 minutes, then 2 hours ago, then 2 weeks ago, then 20 minutes ago, then modern day again. The cuteness of the gimmick isn't really enough justification to jump around like that, especially when the art briefly makes things even more confusing. Thankfully, this doesn't derail the story right out of the gate, and it picks up again once the it becomes linear and bloody well gets on with it.

Rodolfo Migliari's variant here might just be my favorite of the lot.

As for Harvey himself, I'm relieved to say that he's well-written, and that he's not the creature of pure ultimate evil that I was expecting/fearing from Snyder. Or at least, Harvey Dent isn't, but the same can't be said of Two-Face. Yes, Snyder is one of the rare writers to give Harvey full-blown Dissociative Identity Disorder, where he has two distinct personalities that can keep secrets from one another. This is not my platonic ideal for Two-Face's mental illness, and it doesn't fit The Big Burn, which will supposedly be addressed in a future issue. That said, the use of DID worked wonders for Harvey in Nightwing: The Great Leap, and Snyder seems to be playing with a similar internal struggle, to the story's great credit.

The other great pleasure of this story is the appearance of four classic villains (ranging from B to D list), as well as the promise of more obscure rogues to come. This is the first time I've ever seen Snyder not only go deep into Batman's classic rogues (as opposed to creating his own whole cloth), but also write them in a fun way that isn't dependent of trying so hard to make them inhumanly menacing. After being worn out by Snyder's villains like the Joker, James Gordon Jr, Thomas Wayne Jr, the Court of Owls, Mister Bloom, and Doctor Death, it's damn refreshing to see him just have fun with normal schmoes like Firefly and Killer Moth.

Between the unusual setting, the classic rogues, the fun action, and an intriguingly fresh take on Two-Face, My Own Worst Enemy has a lot of potential to not suck. Naturally, I'm going to remain anxious for the next year, as I await to see where this Harvey will fit into Snyder's overall All Star Batman epic. But for now, it's a good start, and I'm itchin' to delve into spoilers and scans already!

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Welp, for better or worse, this is the start of a defining event in the history of Two-Face. If you want to check it out for yourself, All Star Batman is available at finer retailers everywhere under a number of variant covers, as well as digitally on!
Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr's "All-Star Batman" will feature Two-Face and Batman on a road trip!

After an absence of three years, Harvey Dent is finally coming back to mainstream DC Comics, with Scott Snyder at the wheel. Literally. Well, not literally literally. Sorta literally. Look, cars are involved. The point is, as you may recall from a few months back, Batman super-writer Scott Snyder announced his interest in writing a "new take" on Two-Face, a prospect that made me anxious given how much I disliked the only other time he's written Harvey.

Snyder's Two-Face as drawn by Greg Capullo and Jock

Now Snyder is making good on that interest by featuring Harvey in the first arc of All-Star Batman, which he's described as "my Long Halloween." By that, I assume that he means "epic Batman mystery featuring a whole mess of classic rogues," which would be refreshing given how Snyder's only interest in older villains pretty much consists of "ALL THE JOKER, plus a dash of Riddler." Each villain will be drawn by a different superstar artist, with the first story arc going to veteran Marvel artist, John Romita Jr. Which brings us back to Harvey.

See? Wheel! At least, I think that's meant to be a modified steering wheel-turned-batarang.

The first story arc of All-Star Batman, entitled "My Own Worst Enemy," will feature Batman taking Two-Face on a wacky road trip adventure that's being described as some kind of unholy mashup of The Defiant Ones, Midnight Run, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Death Race 2000. Via Comic Book Resources and Blastr:

"Batman takes Harvey Dent cross-country with an offer to fix his face," Snyder said, teasing the first arc. They note... that Two-Face offers "a massive reward to anyone who can stop them.

"Two-Face causes every bad guy in Gotham to hire assassins, everyone from Killer Croc, Cheshire, Killer Moth, Firefly, all kinds of crazy stuff on the road hunting them, along with everyone that lives on the road hunting them. It's like monster trucks and motorcycles... it's very out-of-control, but it's also a very personal story.

"In my version, Two-Face is a character who says 'We all have a monstrous side in us, and that monstrous side wins out.' Batman says, 'No it doesn't.' And Two-Face says 'Let's just see how it goes on the road. And if you lose, you lose big.'"

I have to admit, that sounds quite promising! And speaking as someone who loves both Two-Face and epic road trips, I'm honestly jealous that I didn't think of it first! There is so much potential here for a story that's both action-packed and character-oriented, which every good Two-Face story should be. But what kind of characterization can we expect from Snyder's "new take" on Harvey?

Snyder added, "This is Two-Face like you’ve never seen him. I want to make him really scary, a modern Jekyll and Hyde. When he was D.A., Harvey exploded his job to get dirt on everyone. Two-Face is about to exploit all that...sort of like the hacker group Anonymous."

Okay, I love the idea as Harvey Dent being the one with dirt on everyone, especially if he uses it to exact his own twisted sense of justice, but there's no telling just yet if Snyder's Two-Face will be an antihero/antivillain, or just out-and-out villain (yawn). I will be far less interested if he's just a walking engine of blackmail and descrtruction seeking to expose everyone's dark sides, since that would basically make him the Harvey from Batman: Jekyll and Hyde, and nobody wants that. At least, I sure as hell hope that nobody does.

"And I hereby decree that no one shall ever mention the name "Murray Dent" again... under penalty of TORTURE."

Two-Face is always more interesting when his stories involve aspects that keep one from just writing him as a monster (being Bruce and/or Batman's friend, his desire to see justice done, donating to charity, being a vigilante, etc), so I hope that in his drive to write Harvey as "scary," Snyder doesn't forget the character's humanity.

If anything, the fact that Harvey can occasionally be noble, that he's a tragic and suffering figure makes his monstrousness all the more unpredictable and disturbing, which is something that writers like Ty Templeton and Greg Rucka understand perfectly. I'm hoping that Scott Snyder will understand this, despite his tendency to write ALL of his major villains (James Gordon Jr, Thomas Wayne Jr, the Joker, the Court of Owls, the Riddler, Mister Bloom) as figures of ultimate, irredeemable capital-e Evil. At present, I'm honestly not sure if Snyder is capable of writing a villain of moral complexity, so it will be very interesting to see his take on Two-Face. I mean, without the Joker present to make Harvey look like a chump.

It's a good thing that Harvey isn't a reckless and mentally ill man who is compelled to flip his coin whether to perform or not perform an action no matter what anyone else says. Because if he were, this scene would be bullshit! Whew!

Meanwhile, artist John Romita Jr went into some detail about his approach to Harvey, and how it relates to Snyder's fresh take.

There's only a certain amount you can veer from the norm, but I didn't want to get too hideous in the visual because it's too easy to do. Sometimes artists have a tendency to overcompensate for lack of ability with too much -- too much detail, too much hair on arms, too many muscles -- and I didn't want to get carried away with Two-Face's grotesque part. It's not important how grotesque he is, the point is he's got a marred face.

So I said, "I want to dial it back a little bit." We know who he is. It's gonna be bloodshot eye, it's gonna be the scarring, but I didn't want it to get carried away. He said, "Yeah, yeah, that's fine." He gave me an idea of a mechanical looking disability. I said, "I want to try it. Let me mess around with it," and that's where we left it. So I'm gonna play around with it, but I did say I want to dial it back a little bit.

The amount of the grotesque isn't that important. What he's doing with the character is important, and what he has in mind is dialing back the insanity of the character. This is not gonna be the Joker. This is gonna be somewhere between the Joker and Lex Luthor; the brains of Lex Luthor and the insanity of the joker, but this is a different type of villain. And that plays into the story about Batman dragging his bony ass across the country.

That's how good the story is. The power of Harvey's evil side is he's got his fingers all over the evil world. Everybody knows who he is and he's got connections to get people through things. No matter where they go at any time of the day or night they're gonna get attacked because Two-Face is out in front of it. Batman has no idea what he's in for.

As much as I love the purely visual impact of a great Two-Face, I respect that his focus isn't on the character's appearance so much as how it plays with the story itself. This suggests that their approach to Harvey is not to make him a grotesque gimmick villain, which is very encouraging.

So many artists get so carried away on the detail of the scarring that they neglect the unscarred side, which (while fun!) is far more important in terms of showing character, personality, and emotion. The unscarred side should be where readers should see all of the characterization, with the scarring being cosmetic dressing. As such, I will be very, very interested to see JRJr's restrained take that emphasizes Snyder's take on Harvey's personality rather than being just another cool visual.

Art by Jock
In any case, it will be a few months before All-Star Batman drops in August, so we'll all have some time to wait and wonder what Snyder and JRJr have in store for us and for Harvey. In the meantime, I recommend that everyone watch (or rewatch) the films which will be serving as influences on "My Own Worst Enemy," which again include The Defiant Ones (and maybe the 80's remake?), Mad Max: Fury Road (and all of the Mad Max films while we're at it), Death Race 2000, and Midnight Run.

Especially Midnight Run. I only just watched that film for the purposes of this post, and I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't seen it before. I don't think that it's a masterpiece by any means, despite the praise it gets from genre film geeks, but I really love what it tries to accomplish, and I would love to see it oserve as an inspiration to a Batman/Harvey story. If nothing else, I would at least love to see a variant cover with Batman carrying a handcuffed Harvey Dent over his shoulder like a grumpy sack of homicidal laundry.

All-Star Batman drops in August. You can bet that I'll be back to review each and every issue.