April 3rd, 2012

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

A Brief Overview of Harvey in the DCnU Thus Far

In little more than a day from now, we'll have our first major appearance of Two-Face in the DCnU, one which will give us some firm idea of what his canon backstory and personality is nowadays.

We're nearly eight months into this new continuity, and while we've already had three Harvey appearances thus far, they've been too small to really make any impact on the character either way. That said, they've all been... interesting... in their own ways. First, we had Greg Capullo's take in Batman #1.

As far as I know, this design was entirely Capullo's idea, since I recall reading that he wanted to really play around with the designs of the classic villains and make his own personal mark on the characters. I can appreciate that perspective, because hey, why just draw the same old Two-Face (as if there ever was just one design)? But as I've said before, he looks less like a burn victim and more like a zombie from a 70's horror movie, his face caked with heavy prosthetics.

It's horrific, yes. Grotesque, yes. But Harvey Dent is not a zombie, especially not one who looks like he's about to molt. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing a whole Harvey story drawn by Capullo, whose aptitude for facial expressions would theoretically lend themselves greatly for Harvey's good side. If he was written by Scott Snyder as well, he'd certainly be interesting, but Snyder almost certainly would have no interest in writing Harvey unless he could somehow tie Harvey into the Court of Owls, as is about to happen with poor Mr. Freeze.

The next appearance of Harvey is thus far the largest and most infamous, courtesy of David Finch and Paul Jenkins in The Dark Knight #2, where Harvey was hopped up on... well, I haven't read the storyline, but I assume it's a fear toxin Venom/Titan thingiebadoo. I know, I know, bad Mr. Two-Face Blogger, who doesn't even read the things he's writing about. But really, can you blame me for avoiding this comic like the Clench?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

While some silly people thought that this was the new status quo for the character, Harvey shrunk back down to his normal self in the next issue, where Finch drew him rather standardly, nothing to write home about either way. So yeah, while this moment seemed like a huge, horrible new direction for Harvey, it was just part of a larger storyline, and thus something to quickly be tossed aside and forgotten. It didn't affect things either way, and certainly didn't shed any light as to establishing any history and/or personality.

Finally, the last appearance of Harvey was in Batman and Robin #4, where he appeared in a villain montage as drawn by Patrick Gleason. It's a unique take, I'll give it that.

It's rather reminiscent of the Dick Tracy villain Haf-and-Haf, whom we've noted as looking more horrific than many takes on Harvey to date. This is a Two-Face whole face has really been melted off, taking his entire eye and much of his mouth with it. It's more in line with what people associate with "realistic" burn scarring. If this design were used for a whole story, then all of the expressiveness would HAVE to come from the unscarred side, which is the only reason I'd be interested in reading such a story. As it is, this look doesn't really convey the other personality within Harvey. This Two-Face isn't a man struggling with his inner demon, between good and evil. He's just a guy with half his face missing. Also, I'm really distracted by the fact that it looks like Harvey has a mustache.

So will any of these three takes find their way into Tony Daniel's upcoming version of Two-Face this Wednesday? Hard to say, but considering how there was no substance to these three takes beyond the cosmetic and the WTF, I think Daniel's will be the first real stab and laying definitive groundwork for Harvey's new status quo. Even if it doesn't take off (and based on Daniel's track record, I'm preemptively REALLY hoping it won't), these three early looks at DCnU Harvey aren't likely to have any lasting effect on the character. Nonetheless, they're at least interesting, much like a piece of fan art or a profession convention sketch can be interesting. Well, the Capullo and Gleason ones, anyway.

Wednesday's almost here. I'm just bracing myself to see what the hell they're gonna do to Harvey this time, and how it's going to affect his character from here on out.