Last month we saw that writer Peter J. Tomasi was not only going to tell a new Two-Face story with the latest arc of Batman and ___, but he would be rewriting history with an all-new origin that would be vastly different than the one from The Long Halloween, a fan favorite. This new take sees Dent being attacked not by the Italian Falcone crew– in fact, Sal Maroni was never even mentioned in the New 52 until last week’s Nightwing #25— but an entirely new Irish mob presence led by a new character named Erin McKillen. Even more surprising was the fact that Tomasi had, like The Animated Series and the Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight, taken Harvey Dent’s demise out of the courtroom. Are there more changes in store for Two-Face in part 2 and, more importantly, is this issue worth picking up?

Surprisingly, Two-Face plays a very minor role in issue #25 and what little we do see of the much-discussed origin is a visceral action sequence involving Batman & McKillen and another moment that is basically made up of the violence that readers could easily have inferred from issue #24’s flashback sequence. Still, there is plenty of new information regarding this Erin McKillen character, it just doesn’t involve Harvey. Instead of focusing all attention on her connection with Dent, McKillen’s roots stretch out into Bruce Wayne’s past and I think that it should make for an even more interesting dynamic in future installments. McKillen could easily have been an annoyance, a distraction from Two-Face, who we all really came here to see, but Tomasi is developing her into someone I’m increasingly curious about. And while I was suspecting that Carrie Kelly might turn out to be a lovechild between Dent and McKillen, I’m beginning to wonder if that character hasn’t been cut out of this arc altogether. She was axed from the cover of the previous issue, after all.

Speaking of covers, the artwork in this issue was brilliant, I thought. One of the few complaints I ever have about Patrick Gleason is that sometimes the eyes look totally absent, but I can’t even say that this time. The few instances where the shadowy-eye look is used, it works perfectly and fits the tone of the scene. I think that issue #25 is a great example of just how underrated Gleason is as a Batman artist. The Batman: The Animated Series look of the cover, the opening splash page featuring the GCPD roof, the gruesome scars of Harvey Dent, that shot of Batman leaping before the American Flag (I don’t care if it was gratuitous, it looked awesome), and the intensity of that high-speed chase– it’s all amazing stuff. He, inker Mick Gray, and colorist John Kalisz work exceedingly well together. However, I do think that a different color palette or perhaps a more prominent tag than the minuscule “Then” (that would’ve been more visible had it been placed in the right hand corner) would’ve done wonders for the flashback sequences in this issue. I know I was confused, but perhaps I’m alone on this. There is a point in which we cut from Batman on a rooftop and McKillen in jail to a page of Batman on a rooftop and McKillen escaping police custody so I thought that this was somehow the next chronological scene and not a flashback. The vague “Then” didn’t help matters either since it could be assumed that it meant “And then…” or “suddenly” as much as “back then…”

The jarring transition to the flashback sequence is probably the comic’s lowest point and the second lowest is actually a scene I enjoyed. The one and only scene with Two-Face has him conversing with Batman atop a rooftop neighboring the GCPD. I like the dialogue and the way Two-Face and Batman’s relationship is portrayed but there really was no point to Two-Face’s actions. The book opens with him coating the Bat Signal in acid in order to get the Batman’s attention, which makes for a spectacular visual, but when Batman arrives they don’t exactly tell each other anything they didn’t already know. Plus there’s the obvious question of “How did Two-Face get that much acid on top of the GCPD roof all by himself, drop it on the Bat Signal, and still have time to get back to the roof of an adjacent building?” Oh well, as I said, I still enjoyed it because Gleason made it look so cool and it was fun to see Batman and Two-Face speak to each other. However, I must implore all writers and editors of all current Batman comics to LEAVE THE BAT SIGNAL ALONE! In just the past 2 years it has been turned into an Owl Signal, a Cat Signal, smashed to bits when Mad Hatter dropped Bruce’s girlfriend on top of it, and now it’s been melted in half. That’s enough. Let’s leave the Bat Signal alone for a few years, please. In fact, if anyone wants to write about something major happening on the GCPD rooftop, have it be a story about how they’re finally beefing up security because this is getting ridiculous.

Now, I won’t go into the rest of the book without spoiler tags because it was a terrific surprise, but I’ll go ahead and say that this book is totally worth picking up. I think it’s shaping up to be a great story with rich character development both for Harvey and this new McKillen woman, the artwork is fantastic, it’s the first comic since Morrison’s work to actually acknowledge that Batman Incorporated has been shut down (finally!), and the car chase sequence was really cool too. However, nothing made me as happy as what happened in the spoiler-ific last half of the comic.

Spoiler
Here it is, my favorite thing about this issue: I knew that there would be some sort of jailbreak in this comic either by McKillen herself or Two-Face abducting McKillen but I was totally not expecting Matches Malone! Honestly, I think that the escape from Blackgate could’ve easily been a full issue because it was such a cool concept. Make the escape from the prison seem more intricate and difficult and give us more Matches Malone time. Hell, Bruce putting on a disguise, infiltrating a prison, and then escaping with another inmate could be an entire arc yet it flies by in just a few really exciting pages. I don’t think I will ever give a bad score to a comic that features Matches Malone or a really good Alfred moment and this issue featured both. Pennyworth’s Sea King line cracked me up.

Recommended If…

  • It’s always a good time when
    Spoiler
    Matches Malone
    makes an appearance
  • Learning more about new character, Erin McKillen, interests you
  • You want to see some really spectacular images by Patrick Gleason
  • Action and mystery are what you desire

Overall

From the Batman: The Animated Series-esque cover to Alfred’s hilarious closing remark, Batman and Two-Face #25 was a fun issue full of great surprises, action, mystery, and really cool imagery. There wasn’t as much Two-Face as I would have liked and there’s a jarring transition during a flashback sequence, but overall this was an enjoyable read that I highly recommend.

SCORE: 8.5/10