Batman and Two-Face 28
(a Batman and Robin issue)
Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Seriously… Spoilers. For realz…
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason continue their run on what is quite possibly the best book on the stands right now. Batman and Robin (currently Batman and Two-Face for this story arc) is the backbone of the DC Universe and serves as an excellent supplement to those who love the Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Batman book. It has moments of genuine humanity laced into each and every action-packed issue. It has gritty and stylistic artwork that makes the moments quite literally jump off the page. And then there’s the writing. The dialogue, the pacing, and the smarter comics that remind me of the 1980s mission statement of the company: “DC Comics aren’t just for kids anymore.” Indeed, they are not.
The three-way fight to the finish between Batman, Two-Face, and former mob boss Erin McKillen comes to a halt in a big way in this finale. To be honest, I expected this to be a great issue, but for the first time in literally decades, I did not see the twist ending coming. Penguin, Man-Bat, Killer Croc, and the rest of Gotham City is watching a live telecast of the “execution” of former District Attorney, Harvey Dent, when Batman arrives, save him, and makes sure Erin gets arrested in the process. But away from the cameras, Harvey makes a stunning revelation: He has always known that Bruce Wayne is Batman… And that’s the only thing that has kept him alive all of these years. Batman, immediately regaining focus, tells Harvey that he always has a choice and that there is a “third side” to the coin. So when Harvey escapes and shoots Commissioner Gordon in the shoulder, he flips his coin one last time, proving that “Harvey” really is gone forever. Heads, he surrenders. Tails, he kills one of his only two remaining friends. And when he flips it, it lands, in the mud, straight up. So when presented with this “third side” scenario that Batman had just talked about, he makes a decision. Harvey returns, leaving Gordon to live and Batman to arrive in time to apply pressure on his shoulder wound before the paramedics can save him. Two-Face gets away. McKillen, meanwhile, is shown to be in prison starting her own new gang of sorts. She’ll be back, and I’m more than okay with that. She’s a great new character.
And then the big twist happens. Harvey is playing Russian roulette in front of a mirror and a picture of his beloved wife. He loses this round.
So DC just killed off one of my favorite characters. But I’m not even mad. Here’s why: Patrick Gleason just turned in the performance of his career with this entire issue, but the last several pages in particular. This was the best issue of the series so far. It was a complex and emotional roller coaster that never once flinched or looked back. It was daring from its premise all the way to its climax. And even though Two-Face is dead (for now, it’s a comic book), I’m proud to say that this is the best comic I have read in years. And I should know… I’ve read it a dozen times since Wednesday. This is, in all ways, a perfect comic book.
My Rating: 5/5