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Previous Installments: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Welp, Detective Comics #11 is out, and with it comes the conclusion of Tony Daniel's Two-Face story! ... Wait, it's over? I thought there was still supposed to be one more part! *checks* Yep, the solicitation for the next issue says that the Two-Face story continues there in 'Tec #12! That's damn confusing considering that the story pretty clearly ENDS here. I think.

Well, unless something comes along to prove me wrong next month, let's take this at face value and treat this as the grand conclusion. Now is the moment of truth for Mr. Daniel's take on Harvey, where all of the potential he's been building must pay off. What will happen with Harvey's goal of becoming D.A. again? What will the Leader do to "fix" Harvey's mind? Will we actually see Harvey's good side emerge through his actions rather than be given lip-service that he still has good inside him? Am I really going to give this story more attention and critical analysis than it really deserves? Does anyone--least of all Mr. Daniel and his editor Mike Marts--actually give a damn about this story either way? Probably not, if they're willing to release a story riddled with inconsistent dialogue, muddled motivations, and even typos.

Read more... )

Now, there's still the possibility that there's at least one more part of the Two-Face backup story to come next issue. After all, it says so right there in the solicitation for Detective Comics #12: The TWO-FACE backup story continues! Then again, the last time there was a Two-Face solo story, the descriptions in the solicitations were proven to be highly unreliable, with the final product in no way resembling the solicit. And guess what, Mike Marts was the editor on THAT piece of shit as well, not to mention every single contradictory, irreconcilable, poorly-through-out Two-Face appearance of the last three years.

I'm starting to suspect that Daniel isn't entirely to blame here, which I like to think anyway considering that he seems to be a pretty nice guy, something which sadly counts for a lot when it comes to comics creators these days. As such, I wasn't really overjoyed to learn that he's leaving Detective Comics as of the next issue! While I don't think that he's a particularly good writer, I'm not sure how much of his subpar stories are his own fault given the sloppy, careless editing of Marts. So even there will be a Two-Face feature in 'Tec #12, it won't "continue," but will rather end with Daniel's departure, unless of course some other writer takes up the reigns and Harvey gets a second storyline. God knows I'd love to see someone try to make it work, or at least come up with an epilogue that makes this pointless waste of a backup story into something of worth, so that maybe I can feel less incredibly-ripped-off for shelling out $3.99 per issue just to own the eight-page backup story. That's $15.96 for a goddamn twenty-four-page comic. And people wonder why no one buys comics anymore!

As it currently stands, this story--which was never even given a title--is a poorly-written nothing of a comic that only serves to further the idea that characters like Two-Face are uninteresting, boring, and outdated. It's because of stories like THIS that some fans reacted to the story's initial announcement with, "Really? Two-Face? How incredibly dull and uninspiring." Even Batman review sites like GothamSpoilers.com were left so cold by the Two-Face story that the entire review for this last part and the story as a whole consisted of "Ha, yeah. No. Read three pages, and that was enough."

With many people passing this story by sight unseen and others being left so cold that they ignore it entirely, I dare suspect that I have given the DCnU Two-Face back-up story more scrutiny, attention, and critical analysis than anyone else would have the good sense to spare. As such, I hope that I can be forgiven for abandoning all creative eloquence and ending this exhaustive review with a meme that I hope DC in general will take to heart.

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Previous installments: Part 1, Part 2

Once again, I'd completely forgotten what the hell happened in last month's installment of Tony Daniel's Two-Face story in Detective Comics. And once again, I find myself not disliking the direction in which it's headed. I'm still not loving it, but there are some interesting ideas at play, and so far they continue to build up into something with the potential to be quite good.

Sheesh, don't I just sound glowingly enthusiastic? In truth, there's still not much here to really care about. Not yet, anyway. Honestly, I can't imagine anyone really caring about this story if they didn't already care about Harvey in the first place. Honestly, the one thing that really is interesting about this story is the possibility of--gasp shock horror--actual character development for Harvey, and if this story just ends with everything going right back to the status quo (as it probably will), I doubt that there will be anything to recommend at all.

But for now, there's that potential. That's what I'm holding onto with each installment, and it hasn't been wasted yet. Might Mr. Daniel really be going somewhere with all this beyond your standard gritty noir tale?

I fear for this one. )
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Not gonna lie, I had absolutely zero recollection as to what happened the first part of Tony Daniel's new Two-Face story, Welcome to the Dark Side, running as a backup in Detective Comics. I mean, I actually REVIEWED that comic in depth, and even still, none of it stuck with me. Maybe that's just a symptom of the Hef-Baby stealing my brain (He's crawling? CRAP, HE'S ADORABLE AND WE'RE SCREWED), but somehow, I don't think it's all on me here. Even before the baby, I had a hard time remembering anything that happened in any new comics, which just goes right back to the annoying decompressed nature of storytelling which I ranted about, and from which Daniel's first chapter suffered greatly.

Finally, with part two, stuff actually started happening. And surprise surprise, I actually kinda liked it!

Quick recap: the first part opened with a wounded, dying Harvey stumbling into the care of Buddhist monks who seemed to be familiar with him, and they proceeded to fix his wounds, both physical and psychological. The story then flashes back to Harvey torturing a messenger from Dominic Sterano, a prosecutor who has been building a case against Harvey. Turns out that Sterano and Harvey have been enemies since Harvey's D.A. days, when Sterano tries putting the moves on Gilda. Now Sterano wants a meeting to call off their war, which could open the door to what is apparently Harvey's ultimate (if implausible) goal: to be reinstated as District Attorney! Hmm, I gotta say, it sounds better as a plot synopsis than it was as a story!

So how badly does the meeting with Sterano go? Who or what beats the living crap out of Harvey so thoroughly? What the hell is up with those monks?! Let's see if the substantially-better second part has any answers!

Oh, and apparently, the storyline is now called 50/50. Or at least, the chapter is, and the storyline doesn't actually have a name yet. Maybe they'll figure out a title in the next chapter.

I admit, I'm no angel... )

So yeah, the story's still not exactly good, but at least something's happening, and there's plenty of potential for greatness in several directions. If even one of them pans out, this story could end up being quite worthwhile, but again, we'll just have to wait and see.

If you'd like to read the issue in full, you can buy it digitally here for the still-ridiculously-expensive price of $3.99. The main story is a Night of the Owls crossover which also brings in the DCnU version of Roman Sionis, who is still alive and also now pretty much a completely different goddamn character. You can see for yourself over here at this exclusive preview of Detective Comics #9 over at Maxim.com. Yes, you read that right: DC gave the exclusive preview of 'Tec to frickin' MAXIM. Now you know exactly what kind of readers that DC is trying to court these days. How nice.
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The first part of Tony Daniel's Detective Comics backup story dedicated to Harvey--entitled Welcome to the Dark Side--was such a nothing that it hardly feels worth reviewing.

It's hard enough to review single installments out of context, especially these days, with the majority of comics authors "writing for the trade." Nowadays, you can breeze through most superhero comics within minutes thanks to all the watered-down decompressed storytelling, and what's worse, it can be whole pages before anything actually happens. The best you can hope for is a memorable scene here, a good moment there, and enough intrigue to keep you interested in the next part.

Comics shouldn't be this way. We deserve better. But that's the way it is right now for far too many comics. As such, if so many writers are having trouble telling substantiative stories in twenty pages, what the hell can they possibly do in eight-page backup stories like Welcome to the Dark Side? Well, let's find out for ourselves.

The story opens with a man stumbling through an alleyway, and between the narration (with open with the line "Nailed me.") and the body we know two things: 1.) It's Harvey, and 2.) he's injured.

So, who's made Harvey's life decidedly crappier THIS time? )

And that's the end of the first part. While I did manage to find something to say, it wasn't easy when nothing actually happened. This was all mood, set-up, and exposition, and very few actions that characters perform here are muddled in their motivations. Still, there was just enough potential (or potential for potential) for an interesting story here.

That said, you'll notice that Daniel hasn't yet gone into Harvey's personal history in any detail. Will he screw around with Harvey's origins? Is he planning on introducing wild new theories about Harvey's mental state? Will this story change any of Harvey's pre-DCnU history? We'll have to wait and see next month. Hopefully something will actually happen, and hopefully it won't be awful.

Detective Comics #8 is out in comic stores today, and can be purchased as a digital comic over at DC's Comixology app for the ridiculously expensive price of $3.99.
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After reading this new interview with Tony Daniel, I started writing a whole new post about how, once again, I thought that his heart was in the right place, that he shows a genuine love for the villains that I wish we'd see from other writers/fans, that I respect his intent even though I dislike his stories, etc.

But I scrapped that post, because there's just no point. I'll say what I need to say about Daniel when I review his Hugo Strange stories, his Harvey/Gilda story, and the upcoming Two-Face backup story which will properly introduce the character into the DCnU, which Daniel also discussed in the interview:

Of course, starting in issue #8 you are also going to be writing the Two-Face backup feature appearing in "Detective Comics" with Szymon Kudranski on art. Why start with a Two-Face story for your backup, rather than a Batman ally or another character?

Because the place I'm at right now as a writer, I think it suits me best. I really want people to see what it's like, delving inside the mind of a man who's losing himself in a battle between good and evil in his head. The dichotomy of both personas, with the dark side eating away at the light, and the man himself, going through unthinkable lengths to keep himself from losing completely. Going first person, using Harvey Dent's own words, as we witness him fighting for his demons will definitely leave an unsettling feeling in the pits of our stomachs. Some of it won't be easy to digest, this dark and destructive path he finds himself forced to march down, all the while clinging to that tiny bit of light at the end of what looks like eternal darkness. Having Szymon Kudranski on art is a giant plus, too. I think he's perfect for the seriousness and despair-filled tone of the story.

Will this psychological look into Harvey Dent revise or change parts of the villain's past for the New 52, or are you looking to touch on things we've never seen before, really fleshing out every part of Two-Face's history?

The latter, really. I want to take us on a journey inside his mind, and out, and reveal how he came to be the iconic figure he is today. The end result will hopefully leave people with a new understanding of Harvey Dent and Two-Face.

Once again, I'm very pessimistic, but the fact that he's showing way more investment in Harvey than most writers is endearing. He cares, dammit. Too bad I just have so little faith in his abilities as a writer based on his track record so far, but we'll see. We'll see. Maybe there will be a surprise or two if I keep my expectations low enough, and one good way to do that is to review Daniel's work thus far. Not trying to be mean when I say that, but still, there you go.
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And it's going to be written by Tony Daniel.

The details and my measured reactions behind the cut )

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.
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DC's Source blog has posted a four-page preview of the second part of Tony Daniel's current Harvey/Gilda storyline. The issue has come out today, but I'm currently in a place where the nearest comic shop is over an hour away, and while I don't think I want to drive an hour each way just to read something that'll almost certainly just leave me frustrated, I'm itching like hell to find out what happens next. Some storytellers might consider this a triumph, I suppose. If so, feel proud, Mr. Daniel.

Based on the pages that we see there, I have a couple reactions. First off, I laughed out loud at the overwrought "GILDAAAAAAAAA!!!" but maybe that's only because I heard it in my head as "RAY-CHULL!!!!" More importantly, was Gilda supposed to be dead? The only time that's ever been mentioned as even a possibility was in Greg Rucka's No Man's Land novelization, but not in comics. Will Daniel actually address this, with details of how/when Gilda was supposed to have maybe sorta died? Will he address her last appearance in canon, Two-Face Strikes Twice, from way back in the early 90's? I doubt it, and I know it's pretty obscure, but Daniel seems to have enjoyed digging through obscure stuff in the Morrisonian style so I can't help but assume that he's read that story.

In the same double-page spread, I was struck by Harvey's tender, confused, betrayed thoughts about Gilda. My expectations have been kept on low for self-preservation, so this moment surprised me, and makes me wonder if maybe Daniel really is going somewhere with Harvey and Gilda, and that he does understand the importance of their dynamic. Then again, that "we PROTECTED each other" line could just be a reference to (one interpretation of) The Long Halloween's ending, in which case, I take back all my preemptive praise.

Based on the DC blog's headline of "Two-Face's new ally" combined with the cover image, I'm guessing that it was Eddie who delivered a shovel to Harvey's face(s). That's both hilarious and sad.

So, who's read the issue?
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Big thanks to [livejournal.com profile] superfan1 for providing four scans from the issue which came out today, as I have no scanner access at present. I was planning on just doing a text review, but actual images help a lot. While most of my thoughts are spoilery, I want to at least talk about what'd going on early in the issue:

So hey, I don't hate the way Harvey himself is depicted in this issue! Yay! He's written a bit too generic-mobster for my tastes, but I like how he's not just desperate and out of control. More importantly, he's aware of how desperate and out-of-control he is, and doing everything in his limited power to reign himself in. In the next page, he actually gets himself under control, then proceeds to shoot a cop through the head, just 'cause.

I was surprised to see that Daniel isn't drawing this story, leaving the art chores instead to Steve Scott and Ryan Winn, who are quite good. I also like the coloring a lot, even if Harvey's later colored with blue eyes (a common, petty mistake) and his coin is gold, not silver. Why the hell do several Two-Face stories lately give him a gold coin? I mean, seriously? But whatever, those are cosmetic complaints, hardly the meat of this story.

Which, again, must go behind the cut.


Finally, I'm interested by the fact that the cover outright advertised: "TWO-FACE RETURNS!" Is he finally that big of a deal to warrant a full announcement? If so, maybe people should buy this issue just to issue support for the character.

That about sums up my thoughts. At least, best as I'm able to in my brain-fried state after a full day in the Orlando sun. What do you guys make of this development, and where do you think Daniel's going with it?

Oh, and in an extra special bit of news, do you know what the latest collection of Tony Daniel's Batman run is going to be titled? "Eye of the Beholder." Seriously. That's just bloody super, especially considering that the Two-Face EotB is STILL not in print. I think I need to write to DC about that. Maybe they'll appreciate an actual letter.
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Checking in quickly from Orlando Fringe prep work to mention that DC's Source blog has posted a brief preview of Tony Daniel's Two-Face story, the first part of which is released tomorrow. Harvey's not actually in the preview, but he's talked about, and I find myself feeling cautiously anxious about Daniel's take on the character. From what we're seeing here, I'm wondering if Daniel's is actually following up on the events of Harvey ill-begotten solo feature, The Long Way Down.

If I have the time, I'll post a full review here of the first issue in the next couple days, but without any scans. I lack the capabilities at present. For now, back to rehearsal and worrying about whether or not Daniel's bringing Gilda (specifically Loeb's take on Gilda from The Long Halloween) back for this.
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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.
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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!


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! )


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.


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...
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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:

Written 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.
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As previously warned, here's what's coming in Tony Daniel's Batman:

Written 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.
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Y'know, I was really, truly hoping that Tony Daniel wouldn't use Harvey. I really was. But it looks like he has plans for 2011:

“BATMAN in 2011 will prove rife full of challenges for Dick Grayson in Gotham City. While the Falcones are digging deeper into the business affairs of Gotham, someone has decided to help TWO-FACE return to glory. But are there ulterior motives at play? What role does Riddler play in all this and what does he want out of it? And with Catgirl being more of a menace than a hero, will she work through her nine lives before Batman to save her…from herself? Dick Grayson has a tough road ahead as Batman but he’ll forge ahead the best way he knows how—as guardian, protector, and savior of Gotham City.”

Thus far, the only time Daniel's written Harvey was in Battle for the Cowl, where he had Two-Face grind up a woman and at least two kids into shark chum. While I know that, yeah, Two-Face is a monster and all... I don't really like seeing him do that sorta thing, y'know? Personal preference and all, but I can really live without buckets of children meat in my Batman comics. And it's not exactly a promising indication of what Daniel might do with Harvey.

Nor is the fact that Daniel is such a fan of Jeph Loeb's Batman comics that, in the very first issue of his Batman run, he made The Long Halloween/Dark Victory canon. I mean, it was already sorta canon as of Hush, but one could easily argue that was just Loeb's personal canon, as it was mostly ignored by everyone else. Not Daniel, though. That said, while I dislike those stories, I don't hate the way Loeb wrote Harvey himself (although I do have my complaints), which makes the brief, nasty, all-evil appearance by Daniel even more disappointing.

But who knows? Given free reign with the character, perhaps Daniel actually might do something interesting with Harvey. Or, conversely, he might actually try to make this canon:


I'll say this, though. Since Daniel is clearly such a fan of Grant Morrison's mine-everything-in-Batman's-past-canon-and-make-it-darker method, I will accept nothing less in the way of a "return to glory" than seeing Harvey back in the orange and purple suit, green scarring, and either the bow tie or white turtleneck. Who says I'm too exacting and nit-picky? ;)
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So seriously, what the hell has DC been doing with Two-Face for the past year and a half?

I ask because I wanted to review the final part of the first-ever Two-Face solo story wrapped up in Batman: Streets of Gotham, which came out today. But I realized that such a review was impossible without looking into the events that brought the character to this point, as written by Tony Daniel, Judd Winick, and Marc Andreyko, neither of whom seemed to read the other's stories and utterly ignored continuity when it came to Two-Face.

Has anyone else noticed this? Has anyone else been confused?

Let's take a blow-by-blow look at Two-Face over the past year and a half, and you let me know if this makes any sense, or if I'm missing out on some crucial detail somewhere along the way. Please, seriously, help me out here. I feel like no one else is even noticing these glaring inconsistencies.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to rant a bit about Andreyko's Manhunter co-feature from Streets of Gotham. Hope you don't mind.

How Harvey's been (mis?)used ever since the events of BATMAN R.I.P.... )



Is this all due to some editorial clusterfuck, ala Countdown, Death of the New Gods, and Final Crisis all contradicting one another in various ways? And unlike that clusterfuck, no one else seems to be noticing THIS clusterfuck!

And then there's the actual Two-Face solo story by Ivan Brandon, the one that just today wrapped up in Streets of Gotham. That one seems to be another clusterfuck for some reason, not to mention the story itself is frustrating in its own ways. But I'll address all that in my next post, when I tackle Two-Face: The Long Way Down heads-on. Hopefully no one else will post scans of it in the meantime.
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Note: action figure photos are courtesy of Nathan at DorkDimension.com, who took them for his excellent toy review, used here with permission.

Let's talk about the "Two-Face as Batman" action figure from the recent BATMAN REBORN action figure line, released from DC Direct a couple weeks ago. Actually, we can't do that until we talk about the costume itself first.

There are no two (hurr) ways around it: this costume sucks.

Ohhhh, god, what was Tony Daniel thinking when he designed it for a "Battle for the Cowl" teaser poster? It's like Harvey got into Harley Quinn's wardrobe and just slightly (you wouldn't have to do much!) altered her costume into a Batman outfit.

Imagine my great relief when Harvey never actually showed up wearing the damn thing in BftC. Imagine my horror when I saw the above image on the solicits for the finale of the excellent "Long Shadows" storyline by Judd Winnick, indicating that he would finally be wearing after all.

Imagine my slightly more relived reaction when I actually read the issue, and discovered that it was only used for a fear-toxin-induced hallucination on Dick's part. Why Dick would see that particular costume is beyond me, but there's no denying that it's certainly horrifying, all right. And not in the intended way.

Then imagine my own horror when I discovered that DC Direct was making an action figure of Two-Face as Batman in this abominable outfit. I was like, oh man, here's the one Two-Face figure I will never, ever buy. So imagine my surprise when I actually saw the figure in person and thought, "Wow, this... this ain't half-bad! It ain't half-good, but it ain't half-bad either!"

(Hey, I've been reading Golden Age Two-Face comics today, cut me some slack on the puns.)

What actually impressed me about it were tw... er, a couple things. First. is the facial sculpt, particularly the scarring and the paint job. Man, how I wish we could see that kind of detail on a regular Two-Face figure! The other detail is how the costume doesn't just have different colors, but the blue paint is glossy while the red is matte finish. Subtle, and quite clever!

But it's not enough to redeem that costume. And while I now kinda want the figure, $17 is a lot to pay for a great figure of a great character in a horrible outfit.

So what's to be done? Well... how about a custom repaint?

The thought occurred to me when I considered that we've occasionally seen images of Two-Face as Batman (or is it vice versa?), even going so far as getting something like this:

So I have to wonder, what would be a good design for a Batman costume that Two-Face would wear?

My first idea was that it would be a standard Batman costume, but one half burned, shredded, stained, and otherwise ruined, ala the outfit from NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP, which itself was an (improved, IMO) expansion of the Aaron Eckhart movie outfit.

My next idea was maybe have the good half be a classic blue-and-gray Batman w/yellow symbol, maybe from the Bronze Age or even Adam West's outfit, with the bad side being dark, grim black-and-gray with no yellow circle (maybe the chest symbol would be just the bat itself, like the Daniel costume has, only yellow on one half and black on the other?), with the good side's bat ear filed down to a more reasonable point to counterbalance the huge JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED style devil's horn ear.

But no repaint is gonna get rid of that damn cape ring thing around his shoulders. No idea what to do about that. I still dunno, neither about that or what kind of repaint I'd want. Which is why I haven't bought the figure yet.

What do you think, folks? How would you redesign the costume? What kind of split would you give him? Or do you like the original Daniel design? If so, why?
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When Dick Grayson put (back) on the cape and cowl as Batman, most of the critical and fan attention was seemingly focused on Grant Morrison's BATMAN AND ROBIN, whereas Judd Winick's five-issue-reign on BATMAN was, to some degree, dismissed as being rather same old, same old.

The AV Club said, "It looks good and makes for a satisfying enough read, but its Two-Face-vs.-Penguin machinations make it feel a bit too much like business as usual compared to what Morrison and Quitely are up to."

Having finally read the story as a whole, I'd say it feels less like "business as usual" as much as a more direct continuation of the Batman Family stories of the past fifteen years, as opposed to Morrison's overarching focus on the concepts of Batman over the past sixty years.

Morrison's interests lie in the big mythical ideas, crazy pop art conceptual crack, playing with original creations instead of the established characters, and symbolism galore. He's not interested in the soap opera dynamics and relationships between the Bat-Fam and the classic Rogues. Problem is, that's one of the things I love best about Batman comics. I dare say that would be the same for most of you.

So for me, there was a lot to enjoy in Judd Winick's too-short BATMAN run. Not the least of which being the use of Dick's archnemesis (or whatever he's supposed to be), Two-Face, followed not long after the events of NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP.

Absolutely no scans of the horrible Tony Daniel Bat!Harvey costume behind the cut! Seriously, what was he thinking? )

As a final note, most of the comics I use for Two-Face Tuesdays are long out of print, some never having been reprinted at all. This, however, is very recent, so I feel I should at least offer a link for you to purchase it yourself to read the whole thing (which features several choice Dick and Alfred scenes that I couldn't include here). It'll be released in the hardcover collection BATMAN: LONG SHADOWS.


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