about_faces (about_faces) wrote,

Elseworlds: The Female Two-Faces! Jenna Clark from DARK KNIGHT DYNASTY and Darcy Dent from CATWOMAN

Someone (forgive me for forgetting who or where, but the baby stole my brain... was it yaseen101, maybe?) was wondering if there has ever been a female Two-Face.

Appropriately enough, there have actually been two! Naturally, they both appeared in Elseworlds stories, the first in 1998 and the second in 1999, so I guess there was just something in the air at that point. The first, Jenna Clark, is an oddball of a half-baked character from Mike W. Barr's Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, whereas the second, Darcy Dent, is a magnificent trainwreck courtesy of Moench and Jim Balent in Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham.

The first female Two-Face, Jenna Clark, is an odd duck of a character, largely because she seems largely tied to another villain altogether.

"But wait," you say, "I thought you were going to talk about a female Two-Face, not a female Scarecrow! Hell, her face isn't even scarred or anything!" I can understand your confusion, especially since even I'm not quite sure what the hell Jenna's deal was.

Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty an epic Elseworlds graphic novel which featured Batmen of the past, present, and future doing battle with Evil Immortal Caveman Vandal Savage. I love comics for allowing me the opportunity to write sentences like that. Authored by classic Batman writer Mike W. Barr, B:DKD an interesting and often engaging story that doesn't quite live up to its concept. Which is perfectly in keeping with the author of such stories as Two-Face Strikes Twice!, which I'd consider a noble failure for reasons I'll go into when I properly review that story.

The first segment is a Wayne ancestor who became a Bat-Man during the Crusades. The third segment features a Wayne descendant becoming a Batwoman in the future with a talking chimp Robin sidekick, because sure, why not? The middle, modern-day segment focuses on Bruce Wayne, whose parents are still alive and who is about to marry Julie Madison. In this section, drawn by Supreme Power's Gary Frank, beautiful blond Jenna Clark is the sometime-consort, sometime-henchwoman of Vandal Savage. While theirs is a somewhat antagonistic partnership, Savage keeps her in line with a special formula used to transform Jenna into her Hyde-like alter personality, the Scarecrone:

The Scarecrone and Jenna personalities hate each other, but as for why, we never find out. Neither one gets any kind of backstory to explain her/their deal. What we do know is that, as Scarecrone, Jenna has the power to make people see their worst fears, which is how she ends up getting Thomas and Martha Wayne to run off a balcony to their deaths. When Bruce shows up to be all "I like bavenging!" he unmasks Jenna in her Scarecrone personality, to reveal that Scarecrone formula apparently grows scar tissue and spouts #2-related puns whenever she's transformed:

Ah, so she's a beautiful woman with a split personality that is Scarecrow in manner and outward appearance and Two-Face in face, but with a name--Jenna Clark--that has nothing to do with either character. Um... okay. Does it make much sense? No, but she's a minor character in one segment of a much larger story, so I don't suppose it matters either way.

The other female Two-Face, however, DOES get something of a proper origin and backstory. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your love of 90's comics or insane crack), it's an Elseworlds by the infamous Catwoman team of Doug Moench and Jim Balent, whose work Henchgirl and I recently lampooned in our review of Catwoman: Year Two. surrealname described that story "AWFUL IN THE MOST SPECTACULAR WAY!", but it ain't nothin' compared to Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham:

As you might be able to guess, this Elseworld is one where Catwoman is the hero, living in Kyle Manor, driving a Catmobile and answering the Cat Signal to meet up with Commissionpurr Gordon. Okay, the last one was made up, but I think that only proves that I've put more thought into the story's set-up than Moench did. In this story, she faces down slightly-modified Elseworlds versions of the classic rogues, such as a more croc-like Croc:

And a Joker whose face is held open by safety pins because I guess he wanted to be a DIY cenobite for Halloween or something:

And, of course, there's the main villain of the series:

Because in a world where a thief becomes a vigilante, then the natural response is a vigilante becoming a murderous psychotic villain. Wait, what? No, no, don't try to bring logic into this. The Bruce/Batman character here in no way resembles anything of the Bruce Wayne we know, thus pretty much entirely losing touch with the Elseworlds idea of "what if these characters were in a different context?" They're whole different characters who just happen to have the same name.

Then again, I'm sure many wouldn't find that bothersome at all, especially in light of Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham's version of Alfred:

Yes, surrealname, that one's for you. Good lord, it's kinda charming just how shameless Moench and Balent are with this story. They knew exactly what they were doing, didn't they?

Like "Brooks," the Two-Face equivalent is pretty much a wholly original character with her own backstory, even if it's an origin that's far more in keeping with Moench's own original Black Mask story, right down to the use of Janus Cosmetics' disfiguring facial cream (which is the only time anyone's really tried to tie Two-Face and Black Mask together), with a dash of Calendar Girl from The New Batman Adventures. At present, I don't really have anything to say about Darcy, so I'll reserve judgement and just let the whole scene speak for itself:

Oh, Moench. Oh, Balent. Oh, god. It's definitely in keeping with their work on Catwoman, so I can't fault them for playing to their strengths. Nonetheless, I just find Balent's idea of sexiness to be so... obvious. It's about as clever as making your female Two-Face a smooshed-together version of both Sugar and Spice from Batman Forever. Ultimately, when it comes to a female Two-Face who's both awesome and hot, I'd prefer the likes of Meagan Marie any day. Funny how a cosplayer did it better than any actual comic writers to date!
Tags: alfred pennyworth, catwoman, cosplay, croc, doug moench, elseworlds, gary frank, jim balent, joker, mike w barr

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