about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
As my second post for 2/22 (posted at 22:22, military time!), I bring you the latest updates for the Two-Face RPG that Henchgirl has been working on (and I'm helping!). The progress has been slow and marred by all the same that have slowed down my own output here, but rest assured, it's still underway! It just may take a year. Or three. In the meantime, though, here's a taste of what we have so far!



More behind the cut! )
about_faces: (Default)
So some time back, I was toying with the idea of doing a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story with Two-Face where you could flip a coin to decide where to go. I came up will all sorts of scenarios involving a full cast of rogues and supporting characters, and I even had visions of publishing it and including a coin.

Then I started thinking about how to maybe doing an old-school text adventure version that would actually flip the coin for you, which would not only have made each game different but it would have also given players an understanding of what it's like to be be Harvey. That was one of my big goals here besides the gimmick: to really show people just how much choice Harvey does and doesn't have from situation to situation.

Well, of course, real life for the past couple years has been such that it's taking me longer and longer to even write posts for this blog, much less commit to any personal projects, so this lofty idea fell to the wayside. That is, until Henchgirl brought it back to life in a way that's most unexpected and utterly, utterly awesome. I'll let her fill you in:



I make neat stuff


So, Hal's had a really nasty fever going on for the past four-ish days, resulting in calls to doctors and emergency room visits and suchlike. He's much better today than he was even yesterday, but we're all really worn out and he's still cranky and snuffly.

Anyway. As always when he's sick, we're up all night keeping an eye on him. I can't usually make terribly coherent thoughts when I'm this sleep deprived, which is always made worse by the pain I'm always in because my body is suck, so I always fall back on diddling around with things that don't take much brain power to keep me busy during the long, exhausting night shifts.

SO I'VE BEEN MAKING AN RPG, YOU GUYS.



AND OF COURSE IT'S BAT-MANNY.

Ooooh! )



So yeah, we're working together on plotting it out. As she puts it, I'm the Giffen and she's the DeMatteis. Definitely works for me! So yes, if we do manage to pull this off, you can bet that you folks will be among the first to know!
about_faces: (Default)
So as I was waiting with trepidation for the new issue of Tony Daniel's Detective Comics to hit DC's Comixology app for download and subsequent review, I thought to myself, "John, you haven't caught up with the Arkham City tie-in comics, have you? Do you think that maybe Harvey's made a new appearance there yet?"

Um... yes. Yes there was. And it's... interesting. No, you get no context. You don't need any.

SPOILERS for the new 'Arkham Unhinged,' out today for digital purchase only! )

I should mention that I've really been enjoying the comics, entitled Batman: Arkham Unhinged. It's not super-brilliant, but it's generally the best depiction of the Rogues in any format nowadays, and the Two-Face/Catwoman story in particular was far, far superior to the Two-Face of the game itself. I would have reviewed that story by now, but I was planning on holding off until I reviewed Hugo's roles in the game and comics in-depth, and I can't do THAT until I get to ALL THE OTHER HUGO STRANGE STORIES FIRST AND I NO WANNA DO THOSE FEH so maybe I should just get to it anyway. I'd also like to review the Killer Croc story, which is literally the first to look at his origins in depth since... what, his first appearances in the early 80's? Geez, that's inexcusable.

If you want to read this or any of the other Arkham Unhinged digital comics, they can be purchased here at Comixology for 99¢ each!
about_faces: (Hugo Strange)
So, I can't wait any longer. I need to rant about the characters in Batman: Arkham City.

Understand, this is completely out of the order I had intended. I wanted to wait until I had finished my series on the Complete History of Hugo Strange, but I've put off the next few posts because 1.) I really don't like most of the upcoming stories, and 2.) I don't have scans of Batman and the Monster Men, Battle for the Cowl: The Network, nor the stuff by Tony Daniel and from David Hine's Arkham Reborn. I really wanted--and in some ways still need--to post those before I seriously look at how Hugo was handled in the B:AC game and comics.

But birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly you heard me!, Hef gotta rant! For one thing, this is the most high-profile exposure that the rogues as a whole have gotten since Batman: The Animated Series. For another, the big twist about Hugo Strange pissed me off so much that it not only ruined every bit of enjoyment I had for the character in the game, but it also put a damper on my love of the character as a whole. It was THAT annoying.

Now, I haven't actually played B:AC, since--surprise surprise--Dell laptops suck and thus can't support the game via Steam. So I was forced to watch this series of playthroughs, one of the few without player commentary, and just focused on the character stuff. I ended up having to do the same with the original Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I still haven't played either, but that was a far more painful experience. B:AA was not a well-written, well-performed game. I'm sure the playing experience was amazing, but the viewing experience was tedious and irritating, largely because of the Hot-Topic-ified versions of the rogues, the uninspired voice acting of everyone involved, and ohmygod the Joker at the end WTF still.

B:AC was so much better in every damn way in regards to how they handled the characters and story. Between the first game's success and the new urban demilitarized setting, it's like the designers knew that they didn't NEED to reinvent the characters, and pretty much kept them intact (with some changes) to roam freely, interact, and wreak havoc. I approve! ... But not, of course, without some criticisms.

A perfect example is what was done with the Penguin.



Gotta admit, I'm surprised by how much I liked Pengers here, much as I hate the inexplicable voice, overly-sleazy characterization, and lack of stylish flair in the form of no top hats, cigars instead of cigarette holders, and--most stupid of all--a broken bottle in the eye. Oh yes, that's no monocle! Because he's now GRITTY, you see! How very stupid. And yet, I liked the character regardless. He came off as a more interesting villain there than he has in the comics for YEARS, save for great flukes such as Joker's Asylum: Penguin.

If you'd like full thoughts on this version, I wrote them all up at my Tumblr, but know that I'll eventually be incorporating many of those thoughts into my eventual Penguin Appreciation Post. Hell, I'll probably do a whole Penguin Appreciation Week to go with it! But that won't be for a while yet.

After posting that, someone on Tumblr asked me what I thought about how the rest of the villains were handled. For the most part, my thoughts will be spoiler-free, and I'll save the spoilers for the end. Don't worry, you'll get warning and a lot of blank space.

Either way, if you don't want to be spoiled, avoid reading the comments.


75% spoiler-free, followed by a spoiler warning and then 25% ALL OF THE SPOILERS behind the cut )



Otherwise, neat game. Looking forward to actually playing it someday.
about_faces: (Default)
Disclaimer: this post was written over several exhausted days, in increments averaging two sentences at a time, between feeding and changing and burping a baby. Rambling, tangents, and incomprehensible gibberish may occur.



With this weekend comes the biggest comics event of the year, Comic Con! And with Comic Con, comes news and hints of upcoming stuff like comics from the DCnU reboot and Batman: Arkham City! And with that news, comes... many questions. Important, strange, nagging, bothersome, deeply annoyed (and perhaps annoying!) questions.

Why, why, and WHY OH DEAR GOD WHY, behind the cut )

So what do we know about the state of the Batman characters in the DCnU? Still pretty much nothing, but I'm decidedly more annoyed now than I was before, when I was just aggressively apathetic and mildly concerned about the immediate future of these characters I love. If these comics and this game are the current state of Batman stories, I get the feeling I'm not going to enjoy any new Bat-related stuff for some time.




*I've heard nothing but amazing things about Scott Snyder's current work on Detective Comics, especially the James Gordon Jr. storyline, but I'm afraid to read it. Everything I've heard makes it sound far too bleak for my enjoyment, especially considering that someone's finally remembered that James Jr. exists only to turn him into, what, a sociopath monster? Is that what happened? Has anyone else been following 'Tec, and can you tell me if it lives up to its hype?
about_faces: (Default)
I'd love to stop posting about Two-Face in Arkham City, but sadly, this is the most mainstream geek media coverage and attention he's gotten since The Dark Knight.

Over the past few days, virtually every site I frequent--including Comics Alliance, Topless Robot, io9, Robot 6, although not my current favorite, The Mary Sue--ran a proper character portrait of Harvey alongside a full character bio with stats. Even then, response on those sites was lukewarm, to say the least. One amounted nothing more than a single response of "Cool," whereas the comments explode if the story has been about Robin or Catwoman.

In fairness, we all know that AC's Two-Face is problematic at best, but no one's really talking about him whenever the game comes up in the news. Of course, I've tried to open up a conversation about him, and that didn't go so well, thus reminding me why I opened up this particularly geeky corner of the internet in the first place. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your folks' readership, comments, and general participation? Because I really do.

So that said, let's check out Harvey's deluxe treatment in the game, shall we?





That's probably the single best image of Game!Harvey to come out so far. It's cool and classy, and I like that we get just a wee teeny bit of the scarring division between the gun and his hairline. Ties it all together. If this were a comics pin-up, I'd just photoshop in a clear image of his bulging evil eye peering through the darkness, but hey, that's me. That said, I'm not sure what the hell is going on with texturing on things like Harvey's suit. What the hell texture is that supposed to be? Vinyl corduroy?

The image was also accompanied by a full profile, which I find interesting in a number of places:


Real Name: Harvey Dent
Alias: TWO-FACE (Gah! Sorry, the all-caps startled me. I guess you can only shout his alter ego now?)
Occupation: Professional Criminal
Base: Gotham City (Is this necessary? I mean, is there anybody in this game whose base ISN'T Gotham? By the way, I'm now apparently doing commentary after each stat. Whee!)
Eyes: Blue (YAY!)
Hair: Brown/Grey(ALSO YAY! Even though his hair looks pretty black in the gameplay)
Height: 6 ft
Weight: 182 lb (... what, really? That doesn't seem enough for Harvey, especially at 6 feet. I know from reading the DC Encyclopedia that whoever writes these things has really weird ideas about how much female characters should weigh, but this is the first time I've raised my eyebrow over a male character's weight stats)
First Appearance: Detective Comics #66 (August 1942) (Yay for mentioning the comics!)

• Attribute 01: Hideously scarred on the left half of his face, which he plays up with clothing that's differently styled on one side (I've theorized that Harvey might wear garish split suits to draw the attention away from his face, and I think that the "plays up" plays into that idea)
• Attribute 02: Extremely skilled with his weapons of choice: twin .45 automatics
• Attribute 03: Psychotic obsession with duality, designing crimes around the number two (Would this be a good time to bring up that I've never heard a good reason as to WHY he's obsessed with the number two other than it being a holdover gimmick from the Golden Age?)
• Attribute 04: Defers to his half-scarred coin in choices of life or death (Only life and death, not just choices in general, or at the very least MORAL choices? Furthermore, I'm assuming they mean the life or death of his victims, but does he include his own life in the balance of his choices? A good Two-Face should, since that's only fair)

Background Story: District Attorney Harvey Dent was one of Batman's strongest allies in Gotham City, until a criminal threw acid in Dent's face, hideously scarring him. The wounds fractured his psyche, and he was reborn Two-Face, a schizoid criminal mastermind obsessed with duality. His former good-luck charm, a "two-headed" trick silver dollar, was damaged on one side in the attack, and Dent has seized on it as a reflection of his half-scarred visage. He flips it to decide the fates of his victims. Two-Face is thriving in Arkham City, rallying inmates to join his gang using tried and true campaign tactics.


Considering that the only time the coin has ever been Harvey's, much less anything resembling a "good luck charm," was in TDK, we yet again see the influence that version has had on the character at large. I wonder if any adaptations will ever use the backstory of his father's coin from Eye of the Beholder, or if that will continue to fall to the wayside of comics obscurity. I've spoken about this at length before, but I firmly believe that you lose something vital to the psychology of the character when you don't include the alcoholic abusive father background, even in just an offhand mention.

In keeping with the "choices of life or death" bit above, the coin's role seems decidedly limited for how the game developers see Two-Face, or at least, this Two-Face. In keeping with the mock-trial aspect of his big scene in the game, the coin seems to act as his judge, indicating that he has a habit of passing sentence on his victims. This is, of course, true to the character, but we don't get any indication that he uses the coin for moral decisions, which is a more generalized and--to me--more important and interest aspect of the character.

Meh, at this point, I feel like I'm just scrambling for things to talk about, since there's not too terribly much more to go on here. I just felt like all my geekery has been pent up over the past two weeks (holy crap, my son is two weeks old. Holy crap, I have a SON.), so between this and the last post, I'm just in total brain-spew mode. Hope you folks don't mind.



Oh, wait! One more thing! They released the full Two-Face/Catwoman opening gameplay in high-def with no commentary talking over the images! It's like a mini-movie, watch!





My criticisms and analysis from the older footage I saw still holds true, with just a couple new observations:

1.) If you listen carefully, Harvey starts delivering a speech at 8:25. Or rather, it's delivered by Harvey and Two-Face. This might just be my very favorite part, and I wish the demo player had let Harvey talk a bit longer before attacking the thugs. I want to know what he/they had to say! I love the charisma and eloquence of Harvey's good side, which reminded me a good deal of Aaron Eckhart from the bits I heard. More! Want more now!

2.) While the horrible cat-scratch-in-the-face is enough of a dick move on Selina's part, the fact that she kicks him in the stomach while he's tied up and helpless is just... I dunno, is "hateful" the word I want? This Catwoman is everything I ever disliked about Catwoman because it's how too many writers write Catwoman. Ugh. Shit, even Batman's an asshole to Harvey. That sudden stop should have broken Harvey's neck, ala Gwen Stacy! And did they just leave Harvey hanging there at the end? I think they did! Man, even in video games, it sucks to be Harvey Dent.



Also, I fucking adore wheezy, injured Joker. He reminds me of Frank Gorshin. I think Hamill's doing amazing work here, because for the first time in a long while, he has to work under some restraints. I think his vocal performance here will easily outshine the one in the first game.
about_faces: (Default)
I've found a handful of little things which don't really warrant posts on their own, but by their powers combined, you get a thinly-connected grab-bag assortment of Two-Face goodies and baddies alike!

Chris Sims at Comics Alliance gave a feature story wrote a feature story about the Capcom-style fan-made Batman fighting game that's still in progress. I think one of the creators commented to me about something on an old scans_daily post, but maybe that was somebody else trying to create MUGEN Batman character sprites. Either way, what we've seen so far is damn exciting, but you can guess the part that really got my interest, right?





Really, all you need is a courtroom setting and you're good. Hell, maybe then someone could finally create a piece of Two-Face fanart with him doing a proper Phoenix Wright "OBJECTION!" In a better world, where the character would actually be popular with fans, we'd have seen that sort of thing yesterday, right alongside a Two-Face mashup with Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.





Why yes, I would indeed buy that for a dollar. Thankfully, the game (if it's ever completed) will be free, unless DC realizes the potential here and actually gives these fans money to get it properly produced. They reportedly have a long, long way to go yet before it's completed, but they're still dedicated to the project for the time being. Would that I could find their actual site or blog where they could update with their progress from time to time!

There's so much I'd love to see in this game. Like, maybe the Joker could use a crowbar to beat up a Robin. Or Two-Face could use a baseball bat to beat up a Robin. Or the Riddler could run a Robin over with a tank. Why a tank? Because fuck Robins, that's why a tank. Hmm, I think my sleep depravation is showing.

And speaking of video games, let's look at a real one, now that alert reader Vito tipped me off to this "secret tape" from Batman: Arkham City. God, it's like every time I think I'm done with this damn game, something pulls me back in again! But how could I resist a dialogue exchange written by Paul Dini (I assume) featuring the first-ever meeting of my two all-time favorite Batman villains, Harvey and Professor Hugo Strange?





Ohhhhhh, so many conflicting feelings. First off, I'm annoyed that after DC Universe Online, this is the second time that we've had Harvey's face (body?) scarred by Falcone, not Maroni/Moroni. Why the change? Hell, Falcone's arguably LESS well-known and related to Harvey than Maroni thanks to The Dark Knight.





But I'm more annoyed by the snarling, nasty, humorless Two-Face character here. When I was lamenting the sad lack of Two-Face fic on FanFiction.net, Henchgirl summed up a major reason why Harvey has so few fans in fandom: he lacks charisma. I feel like this take on Two-Face is a perfect example of what she means. There's not much here to really love or even like, just a self-righteous monster who needs to be kicked in the face and taken down. Compare that with the other "leaked secret tape" of the Riddler vs Hugo, where Eddie isn't depicted perfectly, and yes is still practically sparkling with charisma compared to Harvey. That said, I do like hearing the voice shifting from good side to evil and back again, which gives him some dimension.

I also think I'm in love with Hugo Strange's voice performance, and the way he's properly being written as a psychologically manipulative bastard. I wonder what this game will do to his non-existent fan base over the next few months. He can also be heard in the third and final (so far) leaked audio interview, this one between him and Catwoman. I'm still not digging her voice (it's supposed to be Grey DeLisle, and if so, it's the weakest performance I've yet heard from that talented actress), but I like that Holly is canon in the Arkhamverse. Take THAT, everyone who hates the Miller/Brubaker origins!

And speaking of Arkham, I just found a fascinating Two-Face sketch by Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth artist Dave McKean:





McKean has expressly said that he didn't care about the Batman characters when he did the story, which I think helps give this sketch such a uniquely abstract flair. I could and will eventually rant at length about McKean and Morrison's graphic novel, but I can already tell you that most of my positive notes will be about McKean's artwork, which I love (but not without reservations and considerations). This sketch reflects that. It's not my favorite Harvey sketch, but it's one of the more interesting I've seen.

And speaking of sketches, I was just remembering the failed Portraits of Villainy project that Dini and Alex Ross were going to do, but which DC rejected. Like their tabloid-sized Secret Origins book, I believe it was going to be two-page origin portraits of several DC villains.





I go hot and cold on the work of both creators, but as a great fan of villains, I'm very sad that this never happened. At the very least, I wish these could have been inked and painted up properly. Even in pencil, I think the Penguin one is my favorite. I like how he's focused on Harvey's good side because, well, not enough people focus on that aspect. At the same time, I'm especially sad that we didn't get to see a full Dini/Ross origin for Harvey, considering that Ross (at least, over Doug Braithwaite's pencils) painted one of my very favorite depictions of Harvey's scarring.
about_faces: (Default)
Remember that time back in 1987 when Batman finally had enough and just outright killed the Joker and Two-Face? )


Chris Sims wrote about the Carma saga (if a two-parter can be called a saga), if you’d like the full rundown. It might just be my favorite of Max Allan Collins’ Batman stories, and Carma is a character I’d like to see revisited.

Maybe he could go after an Impostor Two-Face or two? Hell, have him be manipulated by Hugo Strange, and then maybe we could have an entire clash of Impostors! You could use the fake Jokers from Marv Wolfman’s post-Death in the Family story, and David Hine’s recent one! The Catwoman wannabe from Hugo’s own story in Gotham Knights by Devin Grayson! And... um... who else is there? John Astin as Impostor Riddler!

As far as Impostor Bat-Clash stories go, it certainly sounds like a much better idea than this all-too-real video game which is actually being released:





Good god, it’s like Frank Miller’s Mutants versus the Jokerz through a Kick-Ass filter. How in god’s name did this get greenlit? And more importantly, are those two gangs your only options?
about_faces: (Default)
I've been putting off talking about Batman: Arkham City ever since I read the spoil-tastic description of what seems to encompass Harvey's entire role in the game. On top of that, recent reports on how they plan to depict the Penguin also made me roll my eyes and solidified my apathy towards the game.

No, game creators, Oswald has actually NOT "always been portrayed is as quite an aristocratic, well-spoken gentleman who's got these twisted delusions of grandeur," thus necessitating you to re-envision him as "a really horrible, nasty piece of work - but still with the delusion of grandeur." Oh, so you mean, Danny DeVito's Penguin, which has subsequently influenced comics' Penguin by making his a crass, nasty, ugly, brutish thug--and subsequently a far less interesting character--more often than not? Because if that's the case, you're not doing anything different with the character to actually make him better or more compelling.

Since last week, I've been waffling as to whether or not I should finally post about B:AC now that we got a better glimpse of Harvey's character and voice in trailer where nobody noticed Harvey because they were all too distracted by Catwoman's ass:





My Henchgirl, wearing her fan-hat as the now increasingly-internet-famous (and it's about damn time!) [livejournal.com profile] dr_von_fangirl, posted her own Selina-related thoughts right here, and she nails the pros and cons better than any of the many comic news outlets weighing in with their own thoughts... none of which, I should add, are commenting on Harvey at all. Even besides the reasonable explanation of Selina!Ass by way of Selina!Badass, I fear that Arkham City Two-Face is painfully standard, and that he's not even going to receive any kind of fan boost the way Harley, Joker, and that ridiculous version of Scarecrow have. Seriously, Squishy looks like 25% Freddy Krueger and 75% Slipknot band member. And he has a fan following. Because of course he does.

As such, I still saw no need to write about this game. So hat happened? Welp, first-hand reports came out of the first ten minutes of gameplay at E3, some videos of which have made it to YouTube! Unfortunately, there's no straight-forward gameplay, just ones with creator commentary played over the top. That said, there are videos with occasional patches of clear dialogue, so for an expanded look at Harvey's intro in the above trailer, cue this video to 6:35 (picking up right at "FEEEEEAR... that's how we get respect," and notice what happens next):





Actually seeing the footage... well, it still don't look great, but there's one small but vital-to-me detail that the description in the like at top failed to mention. Let’s take a closer look at it in screencaps, all of which I’ll put behind a cut for those who want a pure gameplay experience.

Spoilers for the (only?) Two-Face section of <i>Batman: Arkham City</i> )


I doubt we’ll get any such answers in B:AC. With Harvey snagged and hoisted by Batman by this scene’s end, it seems clear to me that Two-Face is out of the game entirely. At that point, the only things keeping me even mildly interested in Batman: Arkham City are Mark Hamill’s supposed final go-round as the Joker, the Riddler (a great shot of whom you can see in that last video if you cue to 17:10. I think he’s my second favorite character design in the game) and of course, Professor Hugo Strange. Especially Hugo, as this looks like a return to Hugo greatness that we haven’t seen in over a decade. I need to post that particular Gotham Knights story soon, even if I can’t still finish the Hugo Strange series for a few more months yet.
about_faces: (Schizy)
[livejournal.com profile] greedyslayer just reminded me about how much I frelling ADORE Batman: The Brave and the Bold's take on Two-Face:





Here's the thing: for those who don't know, the opening "teasers" to each episode of TB&TB always features Batman teaming up with a guest hero to fight a guest villain. In this, Harvey gets to be both, which is AWESOME.

Then there's the vocal performance by 80's character heavy James Remar. If he were just doing the scratchy evil voice, I'd accuse him of being a poor man's Richard Moll (just as I think about whoever's voicing Two-Face in Arkham City, as I understand it's sadly not going to be Moll), but instead, he's the first Two-Face actor to actually balance between both the good and evil voices. And I love the good voice. He sounds calm, reasonable, understanding, and not without empathy.

[livejournal.com profile] greedyslayer made some great observations as well:I feel like there's a lot of subtle interesting things going on too. Like Harv and Batman are apparently speaking in a familiar code only they know with Harv's "Final requests, Bats?" and how Batman trusts him then (and makes wonder if in Brave and the Bold-verse they teamed up before--like, even before Two-Face, when he was unscarred DA and there was some crisis they had to work together). I totally agree, there's a real sense of history there, and I don't think I'm just projecting what I already know as a comic fan. That sense of trust further strengthens the idea that this Two-Face genuinely *is* half-good, which we so rarely see in comics of ANY era, even the ones to which TB&TB pay tribute.

Greedyslayer also added, Even in Brave and the Bold's usually lighter tone, I still got a small sense of Harvey's tragedy--like, it just seemed particularly sad to me to see the unconscious, unscarred half of Harvey's face, especially after his "You cheated" sounding genuinely hurt. A lot of unspoken implication of the ex-DA's sad history IMO was present in the opening. Yeah. :) You get the idea that Batman just betrayed that little bit of trust they had because... well, Harvey may be half-good, but you get to a point where you quite literally don't want to take any chances.

And then there's the Two-Face level from the B:TB&TB game for the Nintendo Wii. I've been wanting to get this game for months now (especially if I can get my DS-owning friend to come down and play Bat-Mite!), but that feels less urgent knowing that the actual level I want to see most is online. Don't be put off by the fact that it's gameplay. This video is surprisingly cinematic, almost like a mini-story:





SO. MUCH. LOVE.

That is easily the best use of Two-Face in a video game, not that there's much competition. I love how the level actually plays with heads and tails, and how Harvey is actually quite reasonable about leaving himself wide open to attack. Batman gets such wonderfully cheesy one-liners, but I love the Adam West earnestness with which he delivers them, especially the ones about how he's hopeful for Harvey's rehabilitation. Also, that's right, Dick, you'll take your lack of recognition and you'll like it.


Harvey's only made one other major appearance on the actual B:TB&TB show, in the episode "The Mask of Matches Malone!" written by Gail Simone. You may have heard of it, as it features a rather risque musical number by the Birds of Prey (and Catwoman why not), so risque in fact that the episode didn't actually air in the US! Nope, they're going to censor it, which many people are crying foul about, but not me. Penis jokes in my kid-friendly Batman? No thanks. That said, I did rather like the Two-Face appearance in the episode. Erm, I mean, the episode which I clearly haven't seen, why no, that would be impossible since it only aired outside the US, so how could I have seen it, cough cough.
about_faces: (coin flipping through the air)
Henchgirl and I watched a bunch of the cinematic portraits of characters from DC Universe Online, all of which were pretty damn terrible. The Two-Face one is no exception, where he sounds like some combination of Jackie Earle Haley's Rorschach and some kind of goblin. Be warned: the acid scarring is appropriately gruesome and horrific.





Not much to write home about, really, and it just serves to highlight the main problem with most takes on Two-Face, including The Dark Knight. There's just no logical progression from "my face is horribly burned" to "I'm gonna listen to the coin now!"

But I do like how the video's main purpose is to illustrate that Two-Face can just as easily go after villains as well as heroes. I still think that it's perfect that Harvey be an ally for good and evil alike, which is something that not even the classic DC Comics RPGs did with the character.
about_faces: (Default)
Regular commenter Vito alerted me to this page, which describes the first half hour of Batman: Arkham City in detail (SPOILERS, obviously). Having read that, all I can say is, "well, nuts." All I'm gonna say is that I'm going to watch the actual gameplay with little to no expectations, so that if anything good actually happens, it'll be a pleasant surprise.

Oh, and the cover image and solicitation for the final part of Tony Daniel's upcoming Two-Face story has been released. It's not worth posting here, but you can find it along with the other solicits here. So Harvey's lost his coin? Or was it taken from him? There's certainly some potential for seeing a wayward Harvey, but we all know how optimistic I am about Daniel's story in general.

In both cases, I guess we'll just wait and see.
about_faces: (Default)
I'm thinking about allowing anonymous comments, since [livejournal.com profile] david_hine is about the fifth person I know who created an account for the sole purpose of commenting here. It makes me wonder if more people follow about_faces than I realize! One of my highest priorities here is discussion through comments and feedback, so I want to make that as easy as possible, even if it means weeding through spam and the occasional anonymous troll. I'll give it more thought.

For now, lots of new stuff!



HARVEY FEATURED IN DC UNIVERSE ONLINE!





I already knew he was in the game, but Newsarama devoted a whole article to the game's version of Two-Face (and... Mxyzptlk? Ooookay). I've heard nothing but buggy, mixed thinks about the game, but I'd be intrigued to see how Harvey would play out, since the description here is most intriguing:

Just hinted at in the core game, the Penguin is ready to make his move to take control of Gotham, and in a case of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ you align yourself with Two-Face in an effort to foil the fowl fiend’s plans in a new mission string. Both the villains and the heroes can get into the action, as on the side of good, the Harvey Dent side of the scarred former prosecutor takes a dominate role verses his dark side for the other faction. However, keeping with his trademark of how he decides his actions, Two-Face could flip his coin mid-mission and suddenly turn against you.

Two-Face will also become available as a player character in Legends PvP with the ability to summon a mob of goons, set traps and fire guns or use a grenade launcher. His coin also factors into PvP as a quick toss will buff a set of skills for the side that the coin lands on (damage and DoT for bad heads; control, knockdowns and stuns for good heads)


All that is pretty damn clever, and exactly the way he should be used in such a game. Lord knows I'd love to play as him as well.

Picspam of character sketches, design, and gameplay! )



ADORABLE TWO-FACE FIGURE IS ADORABLE





The first series of these arrived at my shop last month. Henchgirl utterly fell in love with the Penguin, and I was hoping they'd do a Harvey. He looks a bit lizard-like (what's with so many artists making him look lizard-like? Acid no work that way!), but still pretty damn adorable. That said, I think J'onn's the best of the bunch, followed by Ollie, who should either look angrier or come with chili.



A COVER FROM THE UPCOMING TONY DANIEL STORY ACTUALLY LOOKS INTERESTING

I feel like I'm too harsh to Tony Daniel. Yeah, I'm not a fan of his work thus far, but I'll do my damnedest to be fair when it comes time to review the issues as they're released. Until then, I can only wait and worry about what he's going to do, based on the little we've seen thus far.

But today, [livejournal.com profile] prof_pig sent me a heads-up to a new cover (variant?) by Daniel for the storyline. And damn if it doesn't raise some interesting possibilities.





I really like the scarring. The real test will be seeing what, if any, character Daniel will give to Harvey's non-scarred side, but he doesn't look too bad here. Definitely of the Jim Lee school of design, but not bad at all.

The Prof wondered if this cover indicated a reference to the excellent (and still under-loved) Long Shadows storyline by Winick, particularly the finale where Dick seemingly convinced Harvey that Dick was the one true Batman. I still think it made way more sense for Harvey, in that context, to have realized that this Batman was Nightwing, rather than the true Batman, because who else but Dick looks down on Two-Face like that? Hopefully we'll see where it goes from there. After all, this will be Dick vs. Harvey, Round 5!

Please don't use Gilda. Please don't use Gilda. Please don't use Gilda...
about_faces: (Default)
I've been working on my review of Joker's Asylum: Two-Face. For the past two weeks. And by review, I mean "comprehensive autopsy." This might be one of the biggest, most in-depth critiques I've written, definitely the sort of thing that average comic fan might sniff at and go, "Ugh, you're thinking too much, why don't you just enjoy it or whatever?"

So, hopefully you folks will enjoy it. I had a lot more to say than I realized, but it's rare to find such a glowing example of everything I hate about the way Two-Face is written. Expect to see that within the next week or two, as Henchgirl and I are still on the road.

What else is new? Several things! First off, the solicit for the latest issue of Tony Daniel's dreaded Two-Face story:





BATMAN #711
Written by TONY DANIEL
Art by STEVE SCOTT and RYAN WINN
Cover by TONY DANIEL
Batman acts on his suspicions of a newly elected political figure in Gotham City and finds himself in deep water. With piranhas. Meanwhile, Two-Face fights his way back from the brink of death to find an unlikely ally who will show him that there are two sides to every story.
On sale JUNE 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T



... Well, Harvey looked craggier and more Tommy Lee Jones than I'd like, but I'm loving the possibility that Daniel's having him wear his outfit from Nightwing: The Great Leap, which might just be my favorite Two-Face outfit. I still hate everything about Eddie here, and I'm still praying that the mystery female won't turn out to be Gilda.

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] prof_pig receives the distinction of being the first person to alert me to the fact that the new Arkham City trailer has been released, with footage of Harvey and Hugo!





First off, the trailer is pretty cool, although I'm torn on the use of indie rock. I kinda like how it reminds me of the awesome Sin City trailer that used "The Servant" by the Cells, but it hardly fits the tone of Batman or his world. Especially THIS Gotham.

Secondly, I adore the fact that Hugo, right off the bat (hurr), is fucking with Batman's brain, and that he calls the rogues and criminals "animals." I have absolutely no doubt that Hugo is going to be stellar in this game, and that a potentially great version of a great but unloved character will reach a whole new generation.

Harvey, on the other hand, is a different matter.

Screenshots! With commentary! )


For comparison's sake, here's a look at the upcoming figures from Arkham City.





*shrugs* Eh? I'm looking forward to seeing how the final released figure will look, but based on this, it too is pretty standard. It looks like Harvey fell into a puddle of grape jelly. And I still hate the scarred arm. That's just silly-looking, not to mention that it pushes suspension of disbelief too far. Come on, that has to hurt like hell. Really, TAS aside, I've never understood why people give Harvey body scarring. He had the acid in his face, nowhere else, except maybe his hand as well. Some people just push the split thing too far.
about_faces: (Default)
Due to the spoiler-tastic nature of the previous post, I've decided to make it f-locked. So if you're a lurker who still hasn't officially friended me, well, what else is there to say but...


about_faces: (Hugo Strange)
Batman: Arkham City has already been on my radar for the fact that it'll feature Harvey in a major (and disturbingly detailed) way, and I already knew that a certain other character would have a featured role.

But I sure as hell did not expect this:





Alternate link to the same trailer on YouTube.


HOLY SWEET HELL. CHILLS.

Look, I started this series of Hugo posts because I had an odd passion for this character, and wanted to explore his history while exposing him to new readers and discussing him with old ones. One big reason is that his recent appearances over the past seven or eight years have been lackluster at best, with him being written either out of character or in a supporting capacity, when the fact is that he's always a leader, and ALWAYS a major threat. Writers like Tony Daniel, Matt Wagner, Frank Teri, Will Pfeifer, and even Doug Moench have forgotten this, and I feared that the video game makers would too.

Wrong. Ohhhh man was I wrong wrong wrong. Who do I have to thank for this, Paul Dini? If so, then he's quickly making up for the lackluster depiction of the character in The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne TV episode. The voice took a bit of getting used to, but really, if you're gonna voice someone as a classic arch-fiend master criminal of old, a Christopher Lee impression is a fine start.

The touch I particularly love? You can't see his eyes. One of my favorite aspects of Hugo is how his glasses completely obscure his eyes, something which would be damn well impossible to pull off in live action, but the lighting actually pulls it off. That's Hugo. That's the iconic Hugo Fucking Strange.

Now give us the Two-Face trailer so we can finally see and hear him in action. Preferably with Richard Moll, please. If that happens, I am going to buy the game and lock my gamer friend out of his house to hijack his XBOX 360.
about_faces: (Reading the Newspaper)
This news is almost a week late, but I'd be remiss in not briefly discussing the first images of Harvey from the upcoming video game, BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY:

High quality images of horrific scarring behind the cut, for the sake of delicate sensibilities )

Apparently, Harvey is putting Catwoman on trial for something or other, and a Two-Face trial generally means "wanting to formalize my righteous killing of you." I'm pretty bored with Harvey doing mock trials, which is just the culmination of the annoying practice of having Two-Face's games be rigged and unfair from the start. But eh, he's a boss in a video game, what're you gonna do?

Actually, he may well be the boss, by all accounts. Of course, I'm betting the Joker will pop up again to be the LAST last boss (and hopefully he'll do so in a way, way, way less stupid manner than he did in the first ARKHAM game).

Another great thing about Two-Face getting a prominent spot in this incredibly high-profile game? It'll actually introduce a different Two-Face into popular fandom, off-setting the omnipresent visual of blond Aaron Eckhart in most of the fan art and whatnot. I loved Aaron, but it disappoints me how what little fandom there is (was?) for Two-Face is (was?) solely dedicated to TDK's Harvey.

No matter what, I greatly look forward to the game, and steadfastly hope that they'll cast Richard Moll to reprise his brilliant performance(s). Also, I hope we'll be able to get to see the full image of this:


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