July 17th, 2012

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

2-in-1 review of two new Two-Face-related Elseworlds: "Batman: Earth One" and "Ame-Comi Duela Dent!"

Over the past month, there have been two DC projects which have dealt with an alternate-reality Gotham, both of which feature their versions of Two-Face... more or less. And yeah, okay, they're not official "Elseworlds" because DC doesn't call their alt-u books those anymore, but screw you, DC, they'll always be Elseworlds to me!

The first is Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Batman: Earth One, which I'd recently speculated might feature a Harvey Dent cameo at least. I still haven't read the book myself, but thanks to the help of martin_l_gore, I've at least gotten the low-down on the basic details, especially when it comes to the Harveys and the Dents. Yes, that was indeed a pair of plurals, as in addition to a surprising new take on Harvey Bullock, there are two Dents in B:EO.

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As for Batman: Earth One as a whole, everything I've seen about the book makes it looks like a perfectly fine B-grade story that is perfectly serviceable even though it doesn't acquit its existence as being yet another goddamn Batman origin. By far, the most interesting aspect appears to be the subplot of Jim Gordon, who is a compromised/corrupt cop here, and a very different take on Harvey Bullock, much of whose SPOILER-filled storyline was posted here by martin_l_gore. Thanks again, Martin! Because of these scans, I will definitely be picking up a copy of this at some point! When I saw the Bullock stuff, my first thought was "DO NOT WANT," but I think Johns made it work by the end. We'll see where his story goes in volume two.

The other big appearance is only an extremely technical and distant connection to any Harvey we know, but I think you'll understand why she merits at least a mention:

So DC's been doing weekly digital comics based on the Ame-Comi line of figurines, which reimagined female heroes and villains with anime-style designs. One of the released figures was Duela Dent, who--as you can see--was a steampunk take on a female Joker with a Heath Ledger Glasgow smile. Unsurprisingly, a small fandom started to emerge around her via fan art and cosplay, and it only seems to be catching on more with each passing convention season.

Now, the Ame-Comi version of Duela has gotten her own origin in the pages of Ame-Comi Girls, written by the Jonah Hex team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and drawn by Courtney Crumrin creator Ted Naifeh, so naturally, I was curious to see what they would do with the character's murky family lineage. Would she be Two-Face's daughter? The Joker's? The Jokester and Three-Face's ala Countdown, god help us?

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So yeah, at least there's KIND of a Two-Face connection with her attacking both the law and crime, but it's in the name of chaos, which would be just like the Joker except it's not really funny chaos. So pretty much, I find absolutely nothing interesting about this character (other than her hate-crush on Batgirl, who may well be Gotham's sole protector in this universe, along with her cousin, Cass, who's Robin), which is a shame because Henchgirl and I really, really, REALLY loved the Ame-Comi Wonder Woman story, where Diana was a rather Barda-like asskicking warrior.

Tangent: But then, that storyline was drawn by Amanda Conner, who makes everything better. Everything. Amanda Conner's artwork instantly gives the characters more personality, and the storytelling is so much more fun. I cannot praise her enough for what she brings to a comic, and it's such a shame that she's wasting her talents on Before Watchmen. Well, I guess Amanda Conner gotta eat. /Tangent

If you'd like to read these comics for yourself, Batman: Earth One is available at finer bookstores and comic stores across the country, and can be purchased online (and for Kindle!) on Amazon. The Ame-Comi comics are first being released digitally, and then will be released in paper a month or two from now. The Duela Dent chapter I reviewed here can be purchased digitally, as can the second part, which just came out today.