about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
In honor of today being 2/22, the intrepid [livejournal.com profile] lego_joker decided--for whatever inspired reason--to throw together collages of every single time that Harvey got hit in the face with acid. The result is oddly compelling in a way that's both hilarious and horrible. The colleges in question only cover the comics in the regular continuity, and he has plans to eventually put out a fourth collage of "Elseworlds/Impostor/Rescarring/Other Media stuff" once he figures out how they'll all be put together. I, for one, cannot wait. For now, I'll let [livejournal.com profile] lego_joker take over with his collages and notes.

Behind the cut, all of your favorites: 'Ugh! My face!' 'Aaghh! My face!' 'AARRRGGH!! M-my face--!?!' 'GAAHH--' 'YAAARGHH!!' 'NAAAGGGHHHH!' And many more! )
about_faces: (Default)
In the DC/Top Cow crossover one-shot Batman/Darkness (or was it Darkness/Batman? Meh.), writer Jeph Loeb devoted little pointless page-full cameos to several Gotham characters, including Harvey. These cameos served no purpose other than to make the reader go "Hey, I know that character!" while annoying the mobster character who was forced to interact with the Rogues. Harvey's cameo takes up a two-page spread, and since I lack both a large scanner and photoshop abilities, I have to present it here in two awkwardly broken-up scans.

We're not above being fair... )

As this story had a couple different artists, I can't be sure which drew this scene, but it might be the work of David Finch. Y'know, the guy who is drawing the OMGWTFBBQ Venom!Harvey in an upcoming issue of The Dark Knight. The DCU Blog recently posted Finch's uninked, unlettered pages of the fight scene between Batman and Hulk!Harvey, whereupon I learned that it's being written by none other than Paul Jenkins, author of the Two-Face "epic" Batman: Jekyll & Hyde. I just finished scanning pages from that entire mini for a review, but dear lord, tearing apart that particular clusterfuck is gonna take a while. But I really should examine it, if only because Harvey's big grand plan was pretty much just used again as the finale for Scott Snyder's critically-beloved "Black Mirror" story from Detective Comics.

Henchgirl and I just finished reading Snyder's story, and we are frustrated and disappointed. On one hand, I can understand why it got hyped so much, because there's so much there to like. At its best, it's one of the most compelling, maturely-told Batman stories in recent memory. At its worst, it's a flawed pseudo-Morrison pseudo-Milligan pseudo-Dexter story that turns James Gordon Jr. into a murderous Gary Stu (who's supposed to be a "psychopath" but is written more like a sociopath and/or someone with Aspergers) with a big scary plan that falls apart if you actually think about it. Do you know how much it hurts me to admit that Batman: Jekyll & Hyde actually did something BETTER? Because ouch, man. Ouch.

I wish I had more free time and brainpower, because I'd love to write a proper teardown of Snyder's story, while celebrating all the stuff I liked. I think that's what really gets me. The good stuff is so good that it makes the bad stuff all the more frustrating. This is the exact same problem I have with Flashpoint: Batman--Knight of Vengeance, which is STILL getting praised to high heaven. I'm fighting the urge to just troll every review and message board with my lengthy, in-depth criticism of that story.

Between that and Snyder's story, I'm itching for a fight. Or at least, a challenging discussion. But I'm not sure anybody would really be up for that, nor care. So meh, maybe I'll just stick to reviewing more Two-Face comics until then.
about_faces: (Default)
It’s a shame that one of the most important things to ever happen to Harvey Dent as a character occurred in an overblown mess like Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s Batman: Hush.

It’s even more of a shame that no one developed Harvey from there on, instead leaving the character to gather cobwebs in limbo for THREE YEARS before utterly squandering all that potential in Face the Face. In an exercise of sheer masochism, I shall review both to examine all the great potential that DC pissed away in the name of mediocrity and the damned status quo. But before I can even analyze Harvey’s role, I need to go over his appearances in Hush as they actually played out. Be warned: this will result in a LOT of bitter, bitter sarcasm. I loathe Hush, both the story and the character, but I won’t be able to review the story as a whole for two reasons:

1.) I’m only interested in Harvey’s story, not in any of the seventeen other subplots happening at the same time in this poop-strewn labyrinth

2.) I like my blood pressure where it is, thank you very much.

So yeah, fair warning to those who love Batman: Hush. If you wish to defend it in the comments (or correct me on any details I might have missed), feel free. I won’t bite your head off, I promise! I know that this is a popular and beloved book to many, so I don’t want to step on any toes, but I simply cannot accept this story as anything other than crap... not even considering what he does with Harvey, which is admittedly pretty cool.

By which I mean, MY version of Loeb does with Harvey. Because I'm not sure even Loeb knew what he actually did.

The return of Harvey Dent (but not his hair) behind the cut, along with lots and lots of ranting on my part )

Does anyone know if it's true that Loeb planned to write a Hush follow-up with Harvey Dent, and thus that's why he didn't appear in comics for three years?
about_faces: (Schizy)
So I've been seeing these die-cast lead figurines of DC and Marvel characters for the past couple of years, which are apparently imported from either the UK or New Zealand. Have you guys seen these as well? This is the Harvey figure:

Many more pictures of it and other DC figures can be found at this Flickr account. They're all rather neat, especially the Riddler and Scarecrow figures. What I like most about the Two-Face one is how it makes the interesting choice to put the tacky suit on the good side, letting the horrific scarring play off of a rather nice light gray suit. It's very much Two-Face as ganglord, the kind of guy who gives orders and passes judgment rather than getting his own hands dirty, if he can help it. So yeah, it's neat.

But what interested me way MORE is the booklet that came with the figurine, which included the origin and history of the character, three recommended stories, profiles on allies and enemies, and more.

I was hesitant at first, fearing that it would be nothing more than one great big Jeph Loeb wankfest. And while it was a lot of that, it was also surprisingly comprehensive when it came to a post-Crisis history of the character! This is the only time I've ever seen anybody (in a professional publication, no less!) go into detail about Harvey's abuse, plus include the "contribution" of serial killer Dr. Rudolph Klemper to the unleashing of Two-Face. It's quite well-written and compiled, thanks to Jim McLauchlin, whom I believe was the same Jim McLauchlin who helped make Wizard magazine halfway readable back in the 90's. I keep forgetting if it was McLauchlin or Pat McCallum who made that mag great when it great.

That said, there are flaws. I know that some of you suggested the idea that Eye of the Beholder and The Long Halloween didn't have to negate each other, and could both count as canon. That's exactly what this does, and it actually kinda works... until you get to the part where the twist ending absolutely makes NO FUCKING SENSE. Don't take my word for it! Read it for yourself, both in the origin and in the last scan, which provides a synopsis for TLH specifically.

Warning: SPOILERS for The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Hush, and Face the Face. Really, is there anyone reading this who HASN'T read those storylines? If not... well, you ain't missing much. There's a reason why I haven't reviewed them here yet, even though those are arguably the most high-profile Two-Face appearances to date.

Ten HUGE scans behind the cut! )

The rest of the booklet looks at profiles of allies and enemies (with Harvey, sometimes they're both), which was an assortment of choices that were alternately basic (Batman, Gordon, Gilda, Renee), knowledgeable (Paul Sloan), acceptable (Penguin? I guess) and bizarre (the Suicide Squad? Oh, Salvation Run, yeah, I guess that kinda doesn't make any sense at all?). After that, we get a history of Gotham's organized crime, from Falcone up through to Black Mask, which of course completely goes for the skull-face Mask characterization. Whatever. Why do I care? I'm really wondering. Eh.

I know my tone was largely critical and exasperated, but in all honestly, this was a pretty great history of the character. I'd be very happy if this were somebody's first exposure to Two-Face, rather than just any one story. It's certainly a fair sight better than his pages on Wikipedia or ComicVine, although I'm certainly doing my part on that count.
about_faces: (coin flipping through the air)
So, doo doo doo, there I was, finally going to read the AV Club's review of Two-Face, Parts 1 and 2 for their ongoing TAS retrospective. That, of course, is why I wrote the big rambling post last night, because I wanted to get it in under the wire. "So okay," I thought, "now I can finally read their review, hooray!

Then I read the first paragraph of the review:

“I believe in Harvey Dent.” The phrase has become primarily associated with The Dark Knight, but was first uttered in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween, the miniseries that served as a major influence on Nolan’s big screen take on Two-Face. Building on the underworld community established in Miller’s Year One, The Long Halloween has Batman teaming up with Harvey Dent and Captain James Gordon to take down a killer picking off members of the Gotham mafia, murders that coincide with holidays on the calendar. Much like this week’s Batman: The Animated Series two-parter “Two-Face,” Halloween portrays Dent as a valiant public figure struggling to negotiate his desire to see punishment for Gotham’s criminals with his obligation to the legal rules and procedures that he has sworn to uphold. And while Two-Face’s origin changes depending on the medium, there is one constant: once he loses the left half of his face, there’s no Harvey Dent left to believe in.

... I was originally going to post that above quote with an "AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!, and let you, my readers, take it from there in the comments. Because the thing I love about you guys is that I don't have to actually explain all the reasons why this is so infuriatingly WRONG because you guys ALREADY KNOW. Besides, it was hard for me to type with my fingers curled into shaking fists.

But Henchgirl insisted that I step back, take a breather, and come back to this later. She wanted the same for herself, because--god, I love her--she was just as pissed off as I was. But for different reasons! That's the real magic of the reviewer's opening statement here: here's just so much fail to go around!

Look. I know that The Long Halloween is always going to be a popular, seminal comic for many. And I know that while is "borrowed" liberally from the far superior Andrew Helfer story, Eye of the Beholder, the fact is that EotB is not in print anywhere, it's not well-known, and people just aren't going to read it as much. I don't like it when somebody on a message board or a blog doesn't acknowledge EotB, giving TLH all the credit, but I understand it.

Nor, for that matter, do many comics fans realize that TLH didn't actually invent the idea of showing Harvey Dent as a crusader for justice before he became Two-Face, no more than TAS did! Nor did it invent the iconic rooftop meeting between Jimbo, Bats, and Harv, which carried its way all the way through to The Dark Knight. Nor was it the first time we'd ever seen Harvey as a man "struggling to negotiate his desire to see punishment for Gotham’s criminals with his obligation to the legal rules and procedures that he has sworn to uphold."

I don't like it, but I understand it. People just don't know any better. And why should they? Can I really expect all fans to have spent/wasted as much time as I have--and still do--reading comics? No. Of course not.

Besides, they're just fans. It's not like they're, say, an actual paid, professional reviewer for a major pop culture publication, writing as an authority about Batman to an audience of largely non-comic readers.

Because heaven forbid that a reviewer--someone who is attempting to bring a fresh, educated perspective to something in an old episode that the readers have undoubtedly already watched--actually be KNOWLEDGEABLE about a character.

Not only does the reviewer draw from a work which is incredibly derivative and so popular that many people, like him, only associate Harvey Dent from that story, but he's also wrong about his big conclusion: that the only constant in all origins is that "there’s no Harvey Dent left to believe in."

The Henchgirl Interjects: HAHAHAHAHAHA *breath* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'd say more, but I don't want to steal your thunder, dear.

No, no, it's okay. I don't mind sharing this one. Go nuts.

YAY! RAGE! But I don't like italics. Just a second.

Huzzah. Now, are you sure you want me to rant? Because there isn't going to be much left for you to cover once I'm done.

Girl, I spent, like, four hours working on a long, ranting post yesterday. I need a break. Please, help!


Let's get into it, shall we? )
about_faces: (Default)
For the first time in months, DC actually has Harvey-related items included in their upcoming solicitations! Three whole items, after months of no mentions whatsoever! Huzzah! But don't get too excited until you see the actual items themselves.

The good, the bad, and the (half) ugly, all three of which will be released in April 2011 )


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