Quoth the article:
The 10-page stories reunite series writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Szymon Kudranski (Spawn, Penguin: Pain and Prejudice), who collaborated on the “Russian Roulette” one-shot in Detective Comics #5. The Two-Face spotlights are intended to reveal the history of a rogue who’s only appeared briefly since the launch in August of DC Comics: The New 52.
Yes, you know, THIS Two-Face. No, no, that's a cheap shot, since this story was an exception, but still, that's the track record they have with Harvey so far. So what does Tony Daniel have in mind for Harvey?
“I’m going deep into the character of Harvey Dent and the inner conflicts and demons he must confront. I’m approaching the characters and story the way I would a multi-layered psychological thriller, one that covers a man at the losing end of a battle within himself.”
That is the exact face I am making right now.
You know what really gets me about that article itself? The first two comments are from people who are all like, “Ugh, Two-Face? How dull and uninspired, I’m gonna skip this.” I’m like, REALLY? I know that Harvey’s not everyone’s cup of coffee with half-and-half, but geez, what kind of people read that Tony Daniel’s taking over writing about Harvey, and the part that causes them disdain is HARVEY? I just... I don’t even know what’s going on with fans of Batman comics anymore. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY FANDOM?!
That said, I really don't want to keep hating on Tony Daniel. Not even after his LAST Two-Face story, which I've put off reviewing because 1.) I need to review The Long Halloween first, and 2.) I can't even bring myself to CARE enough to hate such a shitty, half-baked mess of a story, one which was clearly written while Daniel and editor Mike Marts were far more focused on the impending DCnU reboot.
Still, I cannot summon the levels of snark/hate found on places like Fuck No, Tony Daniel. To me, Daniel's heart so often seems to be in the right place. It's clear that he's a fan who loves the Batman villains, way more so than Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder, who bring in new villains all the time and are praised for doing so. The implication I keep getting is that the old villains represent "same old, same old," that they're stale institutions, that they are only really capable of being in variations of the same story over and over again. We all know that's not the case, but it seems to be a prevalent mentality.
Unfortunately, Tony Daniel doesn't do the villains any favors. His writing and art are the worst kind of mediocre. He's like Jeph Loeb (whom he clearly loves emulating), without any of Loeb's sense of operatic dynamism, which can make even empty stories with sub-Hollywood cliche dialogue seem exciting with the right artist. Which Daniel isn't either. I know that my opinion is not universal, since io9.com include him as one of the "great comic artists who redefined Batman," while not actually explaining WHY his generic artwork is somehow worthy of putting him alongside the likes of Marshall Rogers and Norm Breyfogle, but the fact that Daniel is so popular and continues to get such high-profile work should be enough to counter-balance any good intentions on his part. If he's doing shit work, he should be called on it with thoughtful criticism.
Oh wait, isn't Tony Daniel the guy who just last week depicted a bunch of "Occupy Wall Street" style protesters as a Pro-Joker, Anti-Batman mob all wearing identical clown masks? Yes, yes he fucking is. I'm not sure what kind of commentary Daniel is going for there, that maybe he's not keeping DC's grand old anti-hippie tradition of depicting protesters as misguided assholes, but whatever Daniel's trying to say here, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
Oh, and in that same issue, he also introduced us to Eli Strange, the long-lost son of Hugo Strange, whom I understand will now be taken under his father's wing and mentored. Not only is this, like, one of the single WORST cliches of Mary Sue fan fiction, but guess what? Tony Daniel has already pulled that same cliche with Catgirl. So yeah, I don't know why the hell I should pull my punches with Daniel's work. Either way, for now, all I can do is react to this news with resignation gilded with anxiousness.
But wait, there's more! Over at DC's blog, head Batman editor Mike Marts adds:
“Readers who have enjoyed the twists, turns and surprises of Tony’s run on DETECTIVE so far will love this special story featuring Two-Face,” said Mike Marts, BATMAN group editor. “This is Harvey Dent as we’ve never seen him before—a new threat, a new troubled soul for DC COMICS-THE NEW 52!”
Man, I loathe editor-speak. Or more accurately, the speech of editors playing publicist. But then, I don't have a ton of respect for Marts anyway. He's the Batman group editor who was in charge over the course of the last FIVE major Two-Face appearances, each of which hugely contradicted the others. I'm not talking about little continuity mistakes here, I'm talking about major changes for Harvey which were either ignored or changed within a matter of months. I've covered the first three instances before, as well as the fourth (which was DC's most recent attempt at a Two-Face backup solo feature, and we all saw how well THAT went), capped off by Tony Daniel's recent half-hearted crapfest with Gilda's return.
On top of that, Marts was also at the help as we saw two entirely different origins for Jeremiah Arkham as the new Black Mask, one by Tony Daniel in Batman and the other by David Hine in Arkham Reborn. These origins do not match, and were clearly developed by Hine and Daniel without each other's knowledge, which is exactly the sort of coordinative work that a group editor of Batman books should be doing.
I know that we shouldn't be too beholden to continuity, but for a single editor to drop the ball so many times is inexcusable. As such, I now suspect that Marts doesn't really care about any Bat-books that aren't written by Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder.
As such, I guess if there's any bright side to Tony Daniel's new Two-Face origin, it'll probably be forgotten and retconned out within a couple months when the NEXT Two-Face writer takes over. That is, unless Daniel has finally become as important to Marts as Morrison and Snyder, not to mention to fandom in general. In which case, Harvey is fucked.
Welp, here's to the New 52, everybody! Drinks are on me!
I'll be over here, trying to keep up with this gif. Rouse me out of my drunken coma when it's time for the DCnU2.