Sunday, June 29, 2014

Batman and Two-Face by Peter J. Tomasi issue #26

No one likes to change something that's been established quite amazingly, and Jeph Loeb's writing on The Long Halloween pertaining to Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face was greatly done. But DC launched New 52 for a reason and one of those reasons is to re-imagine many of their stories, and therefore improve their characters along the way based on the dynamic trends for today's comic book reader--and this may include the origin stories, more or less, since it probably helps the new blood to get to know these heroes and villains better by not having to dig up old issues (which is a tedious task), and instead focus on what is current on the comics line-up these days, and hopefully--if we are lucky--it would offer something smart and refreshing as well.  

Does that paragraph sound like I'm defending DC for their New 52 launching? Not necessarily, but as a fan of their comics especially Batman, I just find myself more inclined to give them a chance and see things in their perspective. So far, I've gotten extraordinary and beautiful stories out of my Batman for this new continuity, though I am still wary when some writers do not meet expectations. Hell, my relationship with Tomasi's work for Batman and Robin has been schizophrenic at best, but his five-issued Two-Face story arc is unquestionably one of his finest for me.

By the third installment of Peter J. Tomasi's The Big Burn entitled Ignition, a complete revamp of Two-Face's origin story, I can honestly say that it is starting to shape itself into one of the best arcs Tomasi has to offer yet in his B&R run. We don't have a new Robin ready so it's a useful and excellent way of making most of his time writing a story that is villain-centered--though which villain is in focus is quite debatable at this point. Though the titular one, Two-Face is hardly ever in an intimate focus here; it's Erin McKillen who really manages to steal the spotlight. Not that I have a problem with that because Tomasi is writing her quite entertainingly and with unexpected depth, but this is supposed to be Two-Face's origin story and yet Tomasi seems to pay more attention to his villainess and the effect of scarring Harvey Dent has on her instead of the other way around. But that complaint, a very miniscule nitpick, was the one I had in the first two issues of this arc, but Tomasi finally brings forth Two-Face into the fold by this point in the game.

He has fairly established the complications Bruce shares with his past childhood relationship with Erin in the earlier pages of this issue, so now it's really about time Two-Face gets some face time...but only at the end of the comic itself. However, it's notable that though this issue is still Erin-centered as far as villains go, I did like the symbolic addition that SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER she happens to have a twin sister whose death she blames Harvey Dent for. Again, this is a great callback to the duality/dichotomy theme, one that has a huge role in who Two-Face is as a character and monster. Speaking of said theme, one of my favorite moments was when Bruce told Erin a folklore that resonates that:

Batman giving speeches may seem unusual in itself but I like that he's more talky in comics than before. There are some moments where I prefer him talking than just kicking ass, so that folklore speech did not annoy me at all. I felt like it's going to mean something later on too. So to recap: Two-Face appears very late to the party for this issue but crashes it with style. I can feel the tension building and it's palpable in the tips of my fingers as I read on. The next issue is going to be an explosive action sequence that must live up to its title and hopefully we get more of Two-Face by that time around.


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