about_faces (about_faces) wrote,

A new love interest for Harvey (and a Bat in a cage) in... the Halfway House!

Two-Face's next major appearance not only ignored the climactic moment of redemption with Gilda, but it also threw in a brand new, never before (or after) seen love interest for Two-Face, a character who even serves to be the closest thing to his own Harley Quinn:

That said, their partner(relation?)ship barely gets much depth in this story. I'd be more critical of author Gerry Conway bringing a new romantic interest in right on the heels of Gilda's return, but it seems pointless considering that the story feels like a throwback bit of comic fun anyway.

The story--which ran through Batman #346 and Detective Comics #513--begins with Two-Face escaping prison (not Arkham?), followed by Bruce Wayne escaping a date with Vicki Vale:

Bruce heads into the alley to discretely change into his costume, so that Batman can investigate the halfway house. However, he is spotted by a "homeless man" who somehow missed the Bruce/Batman quick change. Harvey needs to be choosier about hiring lookouts.

We've seen the split hideout before, but I like the added touch of the two different gangs.

That's the most info we get on Margo, Harvey's own prospective Harley Quinn. I kind of wish we'd seen their first meeting in the prison library, passing notes, discussing authors, trading plans for how they'd kill Batman... ah, romance.

Here, we pretty much already see her character arc, such as it is. This random character is revealed to have an irrational fear of Batman, which she confronts right here, and she doesn't do much in the rest of the story. What is it about this character that attracted her to Harvey, and vice versa? Could she be a viable character for future Two-Face stories?

I'll leave such questions to you guys until such time as I do a whole post rating the loves of Harvey's lives.

Over the next week, Two-Face and his gang(s) rob the city blind. Meanwhile, everyone from the cops to Robin to Rupert Thorne (oh yes, he's back... more on that in an upcoming Hugo Strange post) has been asking the question, "Where the hell is Batman?"

The cigar scene is one of my favorite "crazypants Harv" moments, even though it raises certain questions of just what kind of "split persona" this Two-Face has. His characterization throughout has consistently been one single personality, in keeping with how he was written all the way up until Eye of the Beholder.

It makes me wonder, and not for the first time, about what is the exact nature of Harvey's mental condition at this point. It's a topic I don't feel qualified to really explore.

Robin busts up Two-Face's gang, but Harvey escapes back to the hideout, with the Boy Wonder and the cops on his tail:

... wat.

... that... hold on, let's finish the scans before I make any comment either way.

When Robin (Jason) arrives at the scene and sees Batman, he's horrified. At least, until Batman says:

... Okay. Does this ending work for anybody? Because I'm not sure it holds much water. It seems like a kind of gamble based on dubious psychology.

For one thing, Harvey's horror didn't so much seem based on being unable to "handle the thought of two Two-Faces," but rather a sense of displacement at somehow seeing his own monster self recreated through the same method of physical pain and suffering. It seemed to me that in freeing Bat-Two-Face, he was trying to free... what? His own suffering? His monster, born out of torment?

Or is it more than that? If you're Harvey Dent, I can't imagine a worse nightmare than to encounter a creature that's a combination of Batman and Two-Face. Does he see Batman here as a Batman who has gotten scarred in a similarly horrible method as Harvey endured, or does he see Batman as a living nightmare? Or both?

Another thing worth noting is that he doesn't even want to kill the Bat-Face thing either. He wants it to be free, and then leave him alone. I'm still not sure what this means. Best I can figure is that he doesn't want to kill his demons, just to be free of them, but I couldn't say why he couldn't want it both ways.

Either way, I've given this whole thing far more thought than anyone probably has, and certainly more thought than any time I've read it before. I look forward to hearing what any of you make of this story.
Tags: bronze age, don newton, gerry conway, robin(s)

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