September 16, 2013

Review: Batman and Robin/Two Face Issue 23.1

Gotham is at the mercy of it's criminals! Two Face is on hand to be judge, jury and executioner...but for whom?

Thankfully, writer Peter Tomasi has spared us an origin issue for Two Face during Villains Month and instead focuses on the character's conflicted personality and actions.  Issue 23.1 puts the readers in the throes of a Gotham City on the verge of collapse due to Batman's absence, as depicted in Forever Evil issue one. Tomasi reminds readers of this angle in parts of the story, creating quite a dilemma for Two Face and his Harvey Dent persona. Moreover, Tomasi interweaves the past with the present, showing a bit of Dent's time in the district attorney's office and his widely known legal skills, as depicted in the Dark Knight Returns movie. These flashback scenes remind us of what could've been with Dent's brilliant talents and Gotham's criminals instead of the corrupt yet fighting to maintain order ways of his actions in 23.1.

Gotham's fate is decided by Two Face!

The majority of the issue struggles with Dent's balance of justice at a time when the city's defining protector isn't there.  Tomasi teases with Dent's indecisiveness to choose a side between the forces of good and evil early on and sadly reverts to using his coin to make his final judgement. It's a great exposition into Dent's twisted mindset with him only understanding two concepts: heads or tails, when it comes to decisions.  Artist Guillem March does an excellent job depicting a violent story without going overboard on the gore. Nice cameo by a character named 'Murdoch' in some of the flashback scenes.

Final Verdict: 8/10

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