Batman and Robin #23.1 – Two-Face #1 review

The best villain’s month issue I’ve read yet. Writer Peter J. Tomasi doesn’t devote the entire comic to flashbacks to an origin story we’ve seen countless times, he actually deals with the aftermath of Forever Evil, which is what more of these villain books should be doing! And what do we get as a result? One of the best Two-Face comics I’ve read in a very, very long time. Definitely, without a doubt the best Two-Face story from the New 52. The character had a nice appearance in a back-up tale from Batman‘s Death of the Family earlier this year but he had to share the limelight with the Joker. And as for other appearances by Dent? Do you remember One-Face? What about the ninjas and the conjoined twins? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky because Gotham’s former DA has had a really rough couple of years.

“Heads I save Gotham. Tails I make it bleed.” That line pretty much sums up A Tale of Two Faces. Peter J. Tomasi takes the concept of Dent’s dependence on the coin and runs with it. The story opens with Scarecrow inviting Two-Face to join the Secret Society while Gotham burns around them. Already Gotham is in ruin from day one and the police are nowhere to be found even when Two-Face lights the bat signal atop the GCPD but those nitpicks didn’t matter to me at the time because the villainous exchange between these two foes was 100% captivating. Yes, it contradicts what happened in Forever Evil #1 today (Scarecrow gave Two-Face the Evil Coin while they were still in the asylum) but I think Tomasi’s version is better. This Scarecrow/Two-Face moment is all about tension whereas Forever Evil was quite a bit more lighthearted and aimed for laughs more often than not. Two-Face #1 is deadly serious. I mean it, you’ll see a number of characters Tomasi introduced over the course of his Batman & Robin run get murdered in this issue. However, if you never read Batman & Robin, Vol. 2: Pearl then I can imagine the dialogue that comes from these characters could sound a bit confusing.

Did you catch the Dark Knight Rises reference? “Hang them from the east river bridge for all the world to see.”

Two-Face accepts the offer to join, but continues to follow his own path which is decided by the flip of a coin and when the toss directs him to save his city he does exactly that, but in a very cold-blooded fashion. Watching Two-Face act as the last remaining force for good (even if that force is very, well, forceful) is thrilling and Tomasi captures the character’s voice perfectly. I found it impossible to not hear the voice of Richard Moll (the voice actor behind Two-Face in Batman: The Animated Series) as I read these speech bubbles.

Guillem March’s artwork is terrific as well. I don’t think that the opening page needed to be divided into five panels, but other than that the look of this comic is absolutely top-notch. For an artist who is more well known for drawing beautiful women, it was an interesting change of pace to see him draw the far more grotesque Two-Face and Scarecrow. However, his Scarecrow could’ve used a more detailed face rather than dots for eyes, it would’ve been good to have seen Crane be more expressive during that great scene. I particularly liked some later pages where the massacred environment Two-Face walked through was juxtaposed with a proceeding panel that showed the exact same setting but from Harvey Dent’s more law-abiding days. That approach was a nice way to casual nod at the origin without letting it consume the entirety of the comic.

NOTE: Like all of the other Villains Month comic (besides Joker #1) you should read Forever Evil #1 before reading this comic. Also, this comic does NOT set up the upcoming Two-Face storyline in Batman & ___. None of the DC Comics will catch up to the Forever Evil timeline until 2014.

Recommended If…

  • You love Guillem March’s art
  • You want to read a Villains Month book that actually acknowledges the after effects of Forever Evil beyond a single page
  • You’re eager to read one of the best Two-Face stories in a long time


I don’t think anyone who is a fan of Two-Face will be disappointed by this issue.

SCORE: 9/10