September 20th, 2012

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

New Comics Review: Brain Surgery Fun Time with Harvey Dent in LotDK #15 (2012), "Together"

Note: LJ has introduced some new updating software that seems to be screwing everything up, cutting off whole chunks of text and doubling up others for no reason. My apologies if there are errors in this review. I will strive to fix them, but if I cannot, then I will just delete this entry until LJ gets their shit together. Unless they won't let me delete it. In which case, I'm screwed. Yay!

So! A flawed but fascinating new Two-Face story has just come out in the online pages of DC's digital relaunch of the venerable Batman title Legends of the Dark Knight.

Has anyone been reading the new LotDK? I've been curious to check it out, as that's a title which is very close to my heart. I was intrigued by the fatally-flawed-but-well-written first issue written by Damon Lindelof of Lost and Prometheus fame/infamy, and I was curious to read the other stories. I had hoped it would yield a neat mixed bag of interesting stories by different creative voices ala the original LotDK and Batman: Black and White, but I also feared that it'd just end up being a dumping ground for misfit stories, ala titles such as the late and unlamented Batman Confidential and, well, what LotDK itself eventually became.

As such, I've held off on reading the new LotDK, which I understand has been pretty much nothing but Joker story after Joker story. I also heard about a three-parter with Slam Bradley versus Black Mask, and as I loved Slam from Brubaker and Cooke's Catwoman, I'd like to read that at some point. Of course, when I learned that issue #15 featured a standalone Two-Face story, which you can all buy and read right now for just 99¢! Obviously, I had to make an exception and splurge, even though I had no idea what to expect.

The writer, Jonathan Larsen, is apparently a relative comics newbie who mainly has experience producing shows like Countdown and The Daily Show, as well as his current gig producing MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes. That's an impressive resume, but it didn't tell me a dang thing about what a Batman comic by him would be like. The art, meanwhile, is by Tan Eng Huat, whose work I loved in John Arcudi's little-read Doom Patrol run before it evolved into a more grotesque style in stuff like Andrew Helfer's (!) Batman: Journey Into Knight, a maxi-series which I really wanted to love more than I did.

Now, having read their Two-Face story in LotDK, I can't help wonder if I was too distracted by the artwork to enjoy the story, because I fear that it got into the way of my enjoyment of this one too. Not that the story itself is perfect either, but all the same, this is a surprising little story that actually treats Harvey with more respect than he's gotten in years, and it's one of the most interesting attempts to tackle Two-Face that I've read recently.

Note: I go really in-depth with this one, so you might just want to buy the issue for 99¢ and read it first, then join me to pick it apart. But I'll do my best to keep you up to speed about the plot along the way.

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Ultimately, I think the highest praise I can give this issue is that--with a different style of art and a bit of cleaning up--it would have been a solid story that could have fit right in with the wonderful DCAU Batman comics. But then, maybe I'm just thinking that because the issue reads like it was partially inspired by the great B:TAS episode Second Chance (review forthcoming soon, I swear!). As it is, it's flawed and rushed, but also promising and encouraging. As a Two-Face fan who so rarely gets to see stories where the character gets the respect he deserves, I really love what this story set out to accomplish, and that ambition alone makes it more interesting to me than most other comics out there now.

This standalone digital issue is on sale right now for just 99¢, so it's definitely worth picking up and supporting. And if you're interesting in reading any more of the new LotDK, do let me know what you think!