about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
As I mentioned a couple months back, Scott Snyder had announced that a young Harvey Dent would be featured in the upcoming new Bat-origin, Batman: The Zero Year. At the same time, DC's solicit for Batman #22 said (and still says), "The second chapter of “Zero Year” delves into Bruce Wayne’s past with the Red Hood Gang and his run-ins with aspiring District Attorney Harvey Dent!" And guess what, that issue just came out today!

So, much as everything I'd seen from the first part of TZY left me cold, I couldn't resist plunking down an outrageous $3.99 to buy Batman #22, only to discover... no Harvey. Nothing. You might even say, ZERO. Instead, all I have is a story with a more-dickish-than-usual young Bruce Wayne goes up against the Red Hood who already acts just like the Joker, whom Capullo insists on drawing with a mouth, thus ruining the simple elegance of the hood's design while making the character look stupider than ever. There's also more with Edward Nygma and Bruce's duplicitous uncle, plus a flashback to Bruce's training that didn't seem to serve any real purpose. All in all, this was one of the lightest, breeziest 40 page comics I've ever read. Nothing really happened. I never thought I'd say this about Snyder, but it almost feels like Tony Daniel never left the title!

So I guess we'll have to wait for next month to see Harvey, as it kicks off six months of non-stop Two-Face as his next big storyline is released. Which brings me to something I should have written about weeks ago. Last month, I neglected to post about how DC is dedicating an entire month to their villains, including around a dozen one-shot issues for the Bat-villains alone. On top of that, the covers will be 3D, because we have to out-90's the 90's when it comes to gimmick covers.



I should have posted about them all, but I just couldn't bring myself to care. Look, many of these just aren't the versions of the rogues that I'd want to read about (like Scarecrow, Freeze, and the new Ventriloquist), and as for the rest, well, I'm pretty much just expecting the worst from DC these days. It's just for self-preservation, mind you. I like being a pessimist because it allows me to be pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than I'd expected, so hopefully that'll happen with several of these.

Well, a month has passed, and this month's solicits have given us a few more scant clues about what to expect, especially where Harvey is concerned. After a teaser page in a recent issue of Batman and Robin (Whoever) and Peter Tomasi's big Two-Face story--the one tying into The Zero Year--has finally been announced in DC's newly-released October solicits, with a cover image to boot.



BATMAN AND TWO-FACE #24
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
On sale OCTOBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
“The Big Burn” part one of five! Two-Face’s first epic in The New 52 sees Batman unraveling the mysterious connections between Harvey Dent’s life and the origin of Carrie Kelley!


My initial impressions and concerns haven't changed, so I'm still in "wait and see" mode. I will say how that's a nice cover, and the scarred eye is rather reminiscent of Lee Bermejo's in how it's all in shadow rather than showing the evil eye bulging out even in pitch darkness, as most other artists would do. That said, who's the blond woman? Guess we'll find out.

The solicit details also interest me, first because of how Harvey is sharing the ever-shifting byline of what was formerly Batman and Robin before that Robin was killed off. Since then, we've seen Batman and the Red Hood, Batman and Batgirl, Batman and Red Robin, and so on. So does this mean that Harvey will be allies with Batman in some capacity? I doubt it, because it doesn't seem like any writer ever wants to tell that kind of story. What I'm also wondering about is what--if any--connection Harvey will have in Carrie Kelley's origin, now that she's been brought into the DCnU. Will we be seeing a return of the grand tradition of Two-Face having a hand in Robin origins?

Harvey will also be popping up as an ensemble member in the main Forever Evil event series, if that cover is any indication, as well as in the special all-Bat-villain issue, also written by Tomasi:



FOREVER EVIL: ARKHAM WAR #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by SCOT EATON and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by JASON FABOK
1:25 B&W Variant cover JASON FABOK
On sale OCTOBER 9 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
As FOREVER EVIL hits the world, no corner of the DC Universe is in worse shape than Gotham City! Madness and mayhem hit the streets as both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison unleash their prisoners upon the helpless citizens of Gotham. And with no Dark Knight to protect the city, what horrors will follow?


As it's also written by Tomasi, it's likely that it will somehow tie together with "The Big Burn," so this will also be a must-read. That said... man, does anyone else look at that cover and feel a wave of apathy twinged with sadness? I call it "sadthapy!" But seriously, until this image, I didn't realize how much I didn't recognize the Bat-rogues in DC Comics anymore. It doesn't help that I'm not a fan of the art either, but still, I really have lost touch with what DC has become. Whether that's a flaw in me (old 30-year-old fogie that I am) or in the company itself, I suppose only time will tell. Well, at least I still have comics like Legends of the Dark Knight and Batman '66 to follow!

That's all for comic news, but before I wrap this up post to continue preliminary work on my review of The Beautiful Ugly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Harvey-related awesomeness that happened on the most recent episode of The Venture Bros! For those who don't know what VB is, it's a great big homage to geekdom of all sorts that was wrapped up in the pretense of a Jonny Quest homage before it quickly blossomed into its own unique mythos. It's also one of my very favorite shows, and this new season is no exception. If you're in the US and if you have a participating cable provider, you can watch the newest episodes of VB here for free at the official Adult Swim site!

In the newest episode, Momma's Boys, the titular characters wind up inside "Dunwich Asylum" (get it? I didn't at first!) whereupon they meet a number of insane costumed criminals, including a one-off bit role by of a new character who is relevant to our interests.



I absolutely love Radical Left, as he--just like VB's perfect Cobra Commander stand-in a couple episodes ago--is that rare and wonderful combination of parody and homage. Those lines wouldn't at all be out of place with Harvey himself, except that with Radical Left, his desire for anarchy and "a nice home with a family" don't have to be exclusive at all! Well, as long as you take "anarchy" by what it literally means rather than just using is as a substitute for "chaos," a mistake that most people make, including Christopher Nolan. Really, they could have just stopped with the visual pun of calling him "Radical Left" (they have a history of one-joke name parody villains such as Dr. Septapus) but that quote just took it the extra mile! If they do bring back Radical Left, hopefully they won't wear the joke out too thin.

Okay, back to the review for The Beautiful Ugly. The final part comes out tomorrow on Comixology.com, so definitely pick it up! One way or another, I think it's safe to say that this is a Two-Face story worth supporting!
about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
As [livejournal.com profile] killermoth pointed out to me in my last post, writer Peter Tomasi has announced that Harvey will soon be appearing in Batman & Robin! As I said before: not sure if want. On one hand, Tomasi's last big Two-Face story, Nightwing: The Great Leap might be one of my favorite Two-Face stories, despite its considerable faults. On the other hand, there are those considerable faults to... well, consider.

What's worse, I love it for reasons that seem to go against what Tomasi's own narrative WANTED me to feel. I can't tell whether or not the narrative is siding with Nightwing's own awful, offensive, and incorrect view of Harvey, especially since it seems to give Dick the last word while making Harvey just look like an evil monster. Furthermore, I hate the direction it took by suddenly turning into another bland "Two-Face goes on a rampage" story. Also, I hate Gilda being supplanted by Not!Rachel Dawes in Harvey's heart, because the idea that Harvey had an emotional affair with someone while staying with Gilda only out of his marriage vows? Wow, bullshit. Never mind that Carol was a bland non-character who was written as little more than a talking MacGuffin.

Also also, Tomasi was the show-runner on Batman: Face the Face, one of the worst Harvey Dent stories ever written. What made it especially bad was how it had a couple good ideas, then utterly pissed them away in a story riddled with plot holes, cheap writing, and an annoying ending that remains maddeningly unresolved. I guess no one cares about that story and/or Harvey and/or the Great White Shark to actually give Harvey some goddamn closure in regards to his business with both Batman and Warren White. Honestly, I think the closest we're ever going to get to a proper follow-up to that waste of a story is this fan-doodle by Shark role-player blog Business-and-Bites:



... So yeah, okay , there is a LOT going against Tomasi here. But he's still a great writer, generally speaking (his first run on Green Lantern Corps was especially excellent), and if he can tap into the good parts of his Harvey from N:TGL, then that will be awesome. Or at least, definitely worth reading. Even if his track record with the character is mixed, I'd rather see him try than anyone else on the Bat-books currently. Just as long as he doesn't delve too much in Harvey's past. So far, I haven't seen a single villain origin reboot that hasn't been disappointing at best and infuriating at worst. Funny/sad thing is, despite Tomasi's last retcon of Carol Birmingham, I think I'd still rather see him try tackling Harvey's past over any other writer at DC right now.

Hot on the heels of Tomasi's announcement, Harvey did indeed appear at the very end of Batman and Robin the Red Hood, making a full page cameo after an issue that featured Carrie Kelly (yes, Frank Miller's Robin from TDKR, she's here now) being caustically annoyed with Bruce, followed by Bruce being an utterly selfish ass to Jason. After that unpleasant fallout, the issue ends inexplicably ends on this quiet, minimalist note:

Spoilers for the latest issue of B&R #20 )

As you can see, it's nothing more than a teaser for Harvey's next big appearance, with no indication of what it might be or what he might do if that coin came up scarred. Really, this page could fit in with any Two-Face of any era, which is a major reason why I like it so much. Even if the story doesn't amount to anything, at least we've gotten the neat above page out of the bargain. It's certainly the best Two-Face material to come out of a mainstream Bat-book from the New 52 so far! It only took DC about two and a half years, so that's appropriate!

Incidentally, I've edited this page a little, as it originally featured a next issue blurb in the corner that read "NEXT: BATGIRL IN THE BARGAIN!" and I thought that we were all better off seeing this art unencumbered by the distraction. The page's artist, Patrick Gleason, apparently agreed with me, as he was one of the few to reblog this image when I posted it to Tumblr! Neato! Thanks, free MS Paint knock-off software!

So yeah, I'm now good an' interested in seeing how Tomasi and Gleason's upcoming Two-Face story will play out. Only thing I'm wondering is if Harvey will retain Gleason's same molten-face look--one reminiscent of Dick Tracy villain Haf-n-Haf--from his cameo early on in this book's run.


From Batman and Robin #4. Will he look the same in his first full appearance about twenty issues later?
about_faces: (Default)
This is a big one. Grab a snack.

I've been putting off reviewing Batman: Face the Face for five years now. Every time I started, my criticisms melted down into curses and incoherent ranting, until my computer screen became obscured by rabid spittle. Okay, it wasn't THAT bad, but still.

In some ways, it's actually an ideal introductory trade paperback to get into Batman. Like Hush, it's a murder mystery that also serves as a tour of Gotham's inhabitants, and it was immediately followed by Grant Morrison and Paul Dini's runs. Unfortunately, it's also deeply frustrating, especially if you're a fan of Harvey Dent.

This was the first story to use the character in the three years since Hush, since Loeb supposedly had plans for Harvey hich kept him in limbo until those plans would reach fruition. They never did, and I think folks at DC wanted their precious status quo back in place. I also understand that Two-Face is Dan DiDio's favorite villain, which may have been a factor. In any case, Face the Face is one of the most significant Two-Face stories in canon, and also one of the most painfully frustrating. After five years, I finally have the words to explain just why.





The lost year of Gotham's Unknown Protector, Harvey Dent )




Batman: Face the Face can be purchased here if you wish to read the story in full, including the Tim Drake subplot, several other Rogues doing their Rogue things, and the entire issue dedicated to Harvey and Two-Face's discussion. As mentioned above, it also serves as a gateway to the comics which are coming out today, leading directly to Dini's Detective Comics and Morrison's Batman.
about_faces: (Default)
As previously warned, here's what's coming in Tony Daniel's Batman:





BATMAN #710
Written by TONY DANIEL
Art by TONY DANIEL & RYAN WINN
Cover by TONY DANIEL
Two-Face is back! As an unknown villain targets Two-Face and other Gotham City crimelords for extermination, Batman discovers that Kitrina Falcone, a.k.a. “CATGIRL,” is next on the hit list! Can he save the junior mobster in time? And will helping Kitrina force Catwoman to get involved?
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED T


...

Y'know, considering that Peter Tomasi is currently tying follow-up on themes he established during the Nightwing run, I was really hoping that he'd be the one to bring Harvey into Dick's life as (a) Batman. Don't get me wrong, The Great Leap wasn't a perfect story, but it was a pretty great one nonetheless, especially if I may be allowed to read it with my own interpretation.

Man, I'd love to sit down with Tomasi over beers and hash out that story with him. I still want to see a follow-up, something to indicate that Harvey actually WAS the hero, while also being the biggest loser. That he saved the day, but never knew it, COULD never know it, while Nightwing couldn't care less either way. Dick is just such a dick, not that he doesn't have his reasons.

But instead, "Dick VS Harvey, Round 5" is going to Tony Daniel, an artist of the Jim Lee school (not my thing, I find it too technical and impersonal) and writer whose biggest influences seem to be Grant Morrison and Jeph Loeb's Batman work. And while it's probably unfair to base my expectations about Daniel's Two-Face on the character's brief appearances in Battle for the Cowl, I'd rather not see a return to this:





So yeah. Gonna be dreading this one a bit.
about_faces: (Default)
Apologies to those who've already seen this either on scans_daily or at my own LJ before I'd even started this fanblog. As I'm taking the week off, I figured that this would be the perfect time to post this one here, as it is perhaps the most significant and personal face-off between Dick Grayson and Harvey Dent. Furthermore, of all the Two-Face Tuesday posts I've made, this one is perhaps the one of which I'm most proud.

Furthermore, I imagine a couple of you mostly know Harvey from THE DARK KNIGHT, so you'll be particularly interested in this story, as it features the closest equivalent to Rachel Dawes that we've seen in the actual comics.





NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP is beloved story by pretty much everyone. And I can understand why, if you're a Nightwing fan. Me, I like Grayson all right, but obviously, my focus on THE GREAT LEAP was Two-Face and only Two-Face. And appropriately enough, I am very torn on how Tomasi used Harvey in this story.

This was Harvey's first major appearance since he was so clumsily rescarred and recrazied in FACE THE FACE, which was itself his first major in-canon appearance since HUSH four years earlier (I sure as hell ignore the beautifully-drawn crapfest that was BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE). His appearance in NIGHTWING served as a tie-in to THE DARK KNIGHT, and aspects of the Aaron Eckhart Two-Face are used throughout THE GREAT LEAP.

And for the most part, it's a pretty excellent take on Two-Face. At several points, it's one of the most refreshing and exciting depictions of Harvey Dent. So why would I have any problem with THE GREAT LEAP, if it's a generally-solid tale?

To answer the question, I present my edit of this story, focusing almost entirely on Harvey's arc, with pretty much all of the Nightwing stuff cut out. The original story as presented is Nightwing vs. Harvey "Crazypants" Dent. But that's not how I read the story. To me, it was "Harvey Dent vs. Harvey Dent (with Nightwing and a Rachel Dawes substitute in the mix.)"

Ultimately, it's a matter of perspective.






That's really the question, isn't it? What do YOU see? )

Honestly, if I'd call bullshit on anything, it'd be the retconned inclusion of Carol into Harvey's past, and the emotional affair they had. Hell no. Vow or not, I reject the thought that Harvey loved anyone more than Gilda, his sole lifeline relationship to humanity.

So for me, I see no more fitting note to end on than a reminder of that love, which I (relevantly enough!) commissioned from Rags Morales at New York Comic Con last February:





Now that's the only person who can break up the one-man OTP that is Harvey Dent.

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