February 19th, 2014

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Stories That Never Were: The original "Big Burn" with Carrie Kelley and Harvey Dent?

Just replace her with Harvey, no one will know the difference.

I'm still reeling from the finale of The Big Burn, the current storyline in Batman and Robin Two-Face #24-28 which serves as Harvey Dent's new origin and first major storyline in the DCnU continuity (the less said about whatever the fuck Tony Daniel was trying to do, the better).

The short, spoiler-free version is that it was a surprisingly different take that I mostly found very interesting, occasionally wonderful, and sometimes frustrating and even upsetting. I've been drafting up reviews all week in preparation for the finale, and now that it's out, I fear that all my plans and criticisms have been shaken to their very core. I'm going to need another week or three to write up the reviews.

And yet, even after all's said and done, and I can't help but wonder what the original plans were for The Big Burn. Because there's one thing of which I'm certain, and it's that this isn't the story we were supposed to have gotten, the story that writer Peter J. Tomasi originally intended to tell.

At this point, I'm convinced that The Big Burn was originally supposed to go very differently, and that it was drastically changed at the last minute for reasons we can only speculate. The prospect of Harvey getting a rebooted origin for the Ne2 52 was stressful enough in the first place (look at what the hell they've done to Penguin, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Mister Freeze, Clayface, and the Joker so far), but it's mind-boggling to consider that Harvey's new history is something that was sabotaged and then Frankensteined back together from the scraps of the original plans.

Bizarrely, this whole mystery seems to be centered around the appearance (and then disappearance) of Carrie Kelley: the Robin from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns who had been introduced into mainstream DCnU back in April 2013. There had been big plans for Carrie Kelley, whose origin was to be revealed in The Big Burn and tied to Harvey Dent's own origin in some way. She even appeared on the covers as they were originally solicited, but when the actual issues came out, she'd been scrubbed and replaced entirely.

Just replace her with Harvey, no one will know the difference.

So before we delve into The Big Burn as it is, please join me in retracing the past year of hints and foreshadowing to try and determine that The Big Burn was originally supposed to be, and how much has potentially affected this new version of Harvey Dent that we're stuck with, for good or ill.

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And for poor, ever-misused Harvey Dent, this is yet another case to be filed away under "Stories That Never Were," with the character, as always, at the mercy of capricious, fickle fate in the form of DC Comics' writers and editors.

Coming up next, I shall be splitting my review of The Big Burn (which I'm going to finish as soon as possible, because OH MY GOD WHAT) into two parts, separating them into flashback and modern-day storylines. What's more, I'm going to do like I did with my review of Two-Face: Year One and edit the flashbacks to review them chronologically rather than in the backwards, Memento-esque way they were originally written and published. This is not the way that Mr. Tomasi intended them to be read, but I'm mainly interested in examining what this new origin means for Harvey Dent and to see if it holds any water, so I hope that I may be forgiven for any creative critical liberties I take here.

See you folks whenever the hell I manage to get both reviews finished! And from there, I promise to finally get back to work on the reviews for The Long Halloween!