Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi #23.1

“Heads, I save Gotham. Tails, I make it bleed.” ~Two-Face

Villains Month happened a few months back and Tomasi had the opportunity to write something for that using one of the top players in Batman's rogues gallery. And, well, hot damn! This was fucking amazing, hands-down! I've been very critical of Tomasi's way of writing villains, at least for his own original creations. Sometimes he hits the right notes with a villain like NoBody, and other times we get a pitiful waste of comics space like Terminus (seriously, fuck that guy. WHY OH WHY do I still bring him up in my reviews?). But his Two-Face? Abso-fucking-lutely magnificent! Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray don't illustrate this issue though; instead we get Guillem March who is now my new favorite artist just based on this story alone.

Also, I haven't gotten a chance to read great Two-Face-centered stories in a long time. Over the years I have been so sick of the absurdity surrounding his character that I'd much rather watch him in Paul Dini's Batman: The Animated Series than read him in comics. So finally, we get something that demonstrates that this grade-A Bat-villain is a remarkably frightening force to be reckoned with! It's a masterstroke, that's what it is!

Right from the get-go, the fireworks are on display with the captivating exchange between Two-Face and yet another under-appreciated villain, Scarecrow. The dialogue is slick and the stakes are presented with a nice simmer before the explosion in the later pages. I haven't been caught-up with Forever Evil series but it is to my understanding that this Two-Face side-story written with Tomasi is indirectly referenced or of consequence of that arc. Regardless whether or not you read all New 52 titles (I confess I do not follow all of them because that takes too much work and takes away my spending of quality time with the Batman titles), you can just zoom in and focus on Two-Face in this Tomasi story without bothering yourself with other DC storylines for the new continuity.

But I have read Forever Evil #1 months ago, though, which allowed me to get right into this story easily so maybe it would help you if you pick that one up first. But I digress again. Is it just the BTAS fangirl in me or did Tomasi purposefully write the distinct sound of Two-Face monologues that reminded me of the said cartoon's version? I can seriously hear voice actor Richard Moll in the passages and it gives me the chills!

I'm not much of a gore fan in comics but March's illustrations of bloodshed and massacre were terrific! There are stories in this medium that could use blood and chaos and this issue is one of them. I like the spliced scenes between the past and present where we see Harvey Dent walking the halls and entering elevators, just having a normal day at the court office; then cut right back to Two-Face passing by a pile of dead bodies as he prepares to "go to court" and play judge and executioner. Tomasi was not bashful when he used Two-Face's obsessive coin-tossing to determine luck and just run with it which fortunately worked to his advantage. I love how Two-Face is playing the odds by acting on whatever the coin decides for him to do. It's his reason and rhyme.

In the beginning pages, the choice was Heads which is why he was attacking criminals and city scum (while Batman is understandably a no-show because ehem, yeah, you need Forever Evil for the context). But by the end of the story, he flipped the coin again and we got Tails now. This was such an ominous way to end this arc for now because now the tables have turned again and Two-Face is playing against our side this time. I think I'm giving away too much of the plot now. So fuck it, just pick this up because you won't be sorry. It was helluva a ride and worth every buck and penny!


No comments:

Post a Comment