Even after the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega-event rebooted DC continuity, retconning Batman's world to Frank Miller's Year One
origin onward, writers were still writing pretty much the same Two-Face from the Bronze Age. Same green scarring, same orange-and-purple suit, plus possibly even
more corny puns and #2-themed crimes.
Like most things Batman, he took some time to catch up, which he eventually did in a big way. You can start seeing the psychological evolution of the character over the stories behind these covers, several of which I've posted here. Two in partcular are among my very favorites, so if you're new-ish to about_faces
and haven't read either yet, ohhhh, please do.( Six covers behind the cut )
These last two deserve to be outside the cut, as they're covers to great and important stories and also damn cool to look at in their own right.
Brian Bolland is a god, and the action figure they made based on this image is still one of the very best Two-Face figures ever. Then there's the story inside, and damn, why the frell haven't I posted this one yet? It's moving, tender, badass, and also probably the best depiction of Gilda Dent we've ever seen, even if she is
inexplicably renamed "Grace."
This little story was the first true turning point for Harvey as a character, deepening his psychology beyond "had acid thrown in face, went bonkers because was no longer pretty." Here's is where Harvey truly began his post-Crisis evolution, which was fully realized with the release of this issue:
This is the image used for most wiki-type profiles on Two-Face, implicitly making this the
iconic image of the character. Would we still think that even if it wasn't the cover for the best Harvey Dent story ever written?
I love Neal Adams, but whenever I see his stuff after the 70's--especially once he started inking himself and took complete control of his artwork--I can't help but wonder if his work is really pretty but kinda soulless. Personally, I think Dick Giordano's inks were the true secret weapon to Neal Adams' artwork in the 70's. There's just no comparison.
This cover is Adams inking (and possibly coloring) himself. There's a lot I should dislike about it. It's an extreme close-up, literally front and center, the division going right down the middle. For a Two-Face drawing, that's about as boring and standard as you can get, and that's even taking into account that symmetrical design is artistic hackery. I once had a drama professor in college who critiqued a student's set design by uttering, "You have symmetry. And I hate
And yet, the piece itself feels dynamic enough to compensate. Part of that is the hair, which is loose and lively even on the good side, whereas many artists would have it perfectly combed and pat. Feh to that, I say. It's interesting that the scarred side's hair mussed but not discolored, save only for the ambient neon lights from outside the frame. Not sure how same-colored Harvey hair would look in a whole story, but with this lighting, it works well in ways no one else as really tried.
Actually, it reminds me of the garish original coloring for The Killing Joke
, which I prefer to Bolland's recoloring. The original feels painted with the colors of madness, and taking that into account, that could be another reason why I like this piece and the unaccounted-for use of bright, ugly green light. The good side is warmly colored, while the bad side lives in a Dario Argento film. Nice.
I know that it's a weird thing to say, but the scarring makes me very happy. For one thing, it's not a clean down-the-middle burn, leaving the question of where the unscarred flesh ends and the scar tissue begins up to the colorist, who wisely makes it only a slight discoloration. Actually, it reminds me of when I recently burned my hand on a pot, and my skin turned that same kind of sickly pale (not to mention it hurt like hell, which makes me wonder if Harvey lives with chronic pain). It's akin to the coloring employed by the Two-Face cosplayer from Gotham Public Works
, but since he can't do the exposed teeth, I've always thought he resembled more like a half-waterlogged Romero zombie. Man, I'm really pushing the 70's horror directors in this post!
The background may also be what really gives this life, even if it is very "1980's nightclub" in design. See also: the flamingo half-tie. Why has almost every artist equated evil with tackiness? Probably because it's more fun to draw. At least his shirt isn't split, although there seems to be a suspicious stain forming under his scarred side's collar. Ewwww.
Finally, there's Harvey's expression itself. It's always striking to see him doing something other than snarl or glare. His scarred side is already doing something monstrous and evil-looking! His good side should play off that, not do exact the same thing!
So yeah, best Two-Face image ever? It's certainly up there, but I'll withhold final judgment for now. What think you guys?