Batman is pinned down in an open grave. He can hear the sound of Harvey taunting Erin above and he knows by the cadence of Dent’s voice that Two-Face is in control. “The Big Burn: Ablaze” picks up exactly where we left off in issue #26. It’s grim and filled with tension that finally snaps in an explosion of violence involving Gotham’s mob. Batman will have to make some unlikely allies to survive and the journey leads to an unexpected place that will leave readers eager for more, but before those final pages deliver the cliff-hanger we are also shown yet another glimpse into Dent’s past as “The Big Burn” continues to shed light on Two-Face’s New 52 origin.

I thoroughly enjoyed the battle in the graveyard except for the panels illustrating Batman’s dubious escape (it’s not really a spoiler, you didn’t really think Batman would die down there, did you?). I suppose we’re supposed to believe that Batman wrapped himself in a bullet-proof cape, but I don’t care much for that explanation. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve seen a totally bullet-proof Batman in this series. It was a very cheap way to get the hero out of such a dramatic situation and it really killed all the suspense for me. But that was definitely the only thing about the first half of the comic that bothered me. The coloring gave it all a great atmosphere and the dynamic between Batman, Two-Face, and Erin was really entertaining. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. But then came the flashback and the changes made to Harvey Dent’s early days were just too drastic for my liking. At the very least, we got a terrific Gordon moment out of the deal, even if it showed us a Gordon who was already Commissioner at the time he teamed-up with Dent.

Spoiler

It’s implied that Harvey Dent was corrupt from the start and wasn’t the Gotham D.A. for very long. The great thing about Harvey Dent has always been that he was more good than bad. The darkness was always under the surface, but he was indeed the best of the trinity of formed with Batman and Gordon. It was the tragedy of the acid attack in the court house that opened the flood gates and let all the evil take control. Also, I always loved the relationship he had with “Jimbo” and Batman. Unless we see more of a history between these three in the next issue it would look as though these guys were never that great of allies at all. The way this chapter ends, it appears that Harvey’s doom came almost immediately after meeting Batman and Gordon and up until that point he had spent his career defending criminals rather than prosecuting them!

Besides the cape scene I mentioned earlier, I absolutely loved the artwork in this issue. Gleason, Gray, and Kalisz have been crushing it. I adore the level of detail that Gleason gives Two-Face’s scars and he paces the opening sequence perfectly to build just the right amount of tension. Best of all, this issue features some of the most terrifying images of The Dark Knight that we’ve seen in this series for some time and then throws in a humorous one on the final page for good measure.

Recommended If…

  • You’re open-minded about making drastic changes to Harvey Dent’s origin
  • You love Patrick Gleason’s artwork, he draws an amazing Two-Face but there are some really bad ass Batman panels here as well
  • You read the previous issues of The Big Burn arc, it’s not going to be a very new-reader friendly comic to those who haven’t been keeping up
  • You enjoy Batman the most when he’s fighting the mob

Overall

Issue #27 is a good crime comic with great artwork and it left me wanting more, but it also makes some questionable changes to Harvey Dent’s origin.

SCORE: 7.5/10