April 5th, 2011

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Is Doug Moench's second Two-Face story is a kinda-sorta sequel to "Eye of the Beholder"?

Today, we look at a bit of Doug Moench's next Two-Face appearance... but NOT the whole story. I have a specific goal in mind, one inspired by Henchgirl's awesome, definitive look at Catwoman's origin (which you've ALL checked out, right?), wherein she set the following guideline:

Events must be either CONFIRMED by another comic or UNDISPUTED throughout continuity to make it onto the timeline as canon.

Considering that I'd like to create a similar timeline for Two-Face, I'm faced with the problem of reconciling stories I don't particularly like, such as The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, both of which were confirmed by the very first issue of Tony Daniel's current Batman run. I just don't want those events to supersede the events of Eye of the Beholder.

Y'know, I think I mention and/or link to EotB in every other post here. I can't help it. EotB is not just my favorite Two-Face comic, but I truly believe that, objectively, it's one of the best Batamn comics ever published. And yet it's painfully obscure, kept out of print for unknown reasons, and its contributions either going ignored or credited to lesser works.

As such, I was afraid that Loeb's legacy now ruled the character's timeline (as far too many fans already believe). But then I recently discovered that EotB was, in fact, confirmed three years after its publication, in Showcase '93, written by--of all people--Doug Moench! You might know which story I mean:

The story is better than average, but ultimately hindered by the fact that it's tied into Knightfall. What really intrigues me is that it's the only story to DIRECTLY follow themes and motifs established in EotB, making it--in my view--a spiritual sequel! No other Two-Face comic so explicitly references EotB, not even DeMatteis' Batman/Two-Face: Crime and Punishment, the only story to tackle the issue of Harvey's abuse as a child.

So with your indulgence, I'd like to look at just the strongest part of the story (the first half), which I trust will prove that EotB is true canon. It gets especially interesting (to dorks like me, anyway) to see where this version is subsequently taken by Moench and, later, Dixon.

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I'm not certain that it's worth posting the rest of this story. From here, Harvey proceeds to put an exhausted and bestubbled Batman on "trial," which I believe is the first time anyone's written Harvey staging his own insane kangaroo court scenario. For my money, that trope never gets better than the one in No Man's Land in both the comics and novel, for different reasons.

Moench's is good, but ultimately, I think it's undone largely because the focus permanently shifts away from Two-Face and is put entirely on Bruce and Tim, reducing Harvey to being a raving madman. Disappointing, considering how promisingly this story began.

If you would like to read this whole story, it can be found in the second Knightfall trade paperback, which is hopefully still in print. I wish that it, along with Eye of the Beholder, had been included in the abysmal Batman VS Two-Face trade paperback instead of crappy stories like... well, like the NEXT time Doug Moench wrote Harvey. We'll get to reviewing that infamous tale in due time.