Batman and Robin #23.1 is another Villains Month comic, featuring a 3D lenticular cover, that I am sure is sold out by now! Who could ask for more than a 3D cover that gives you the motion of Two Face’s coin flipping as you move the comic from side to side? A captured Batman in the background looks as though he is trying to break free of the chains when you move along (or maybe that’s my imagination).
After a brief cameo by another villain, Two Face is presented with the opportunity to join The Society, a decision that makes with the flip of a coin. The coin determines that Two Face should join and he does, but his Ts and Cs apply. Unlike the other Villain Month stories, Batman and Robin #23.1 Two Face takes place in real-time. Two Face finds that he can destroy or save Gotham depending on the coin. We as the reader get too see that this is what Forever Evil has done to the DC Universe. Harvey Dent/Two Face is the closest thing to a vigilante hero in Gotham.
Pete Tomasi manages to give us an intriguing read that captures the duality of the popular villain quite well. He manages to keep Two Face true to his character, so an origin story is unnecessary here. We are given a few flashbacks here and there but the meat of the story takes place in the present – a present where Two Face is judge and executioner, a present where he could be hero or villain all depending on the flip of a coin.
A better focus on Harvey Dent could have given a little bit more to the story. Two Faces version of good vs evil has become rather tainted, as Harvey’s influence to his mind is so far gone at this stage. It would have been great if they gave us a few pages featuring Harvey’s diminishing conscience viewing what he has become and a few pages that highlight the psychological purpose of the coin toss. Coins seem to get flipped far too easily in this issue. Sure Two Face in the Hall of Justice could refer to a lingering conscience of Harvey Dent, but the way he exacts justice is very similar to flawed law of Crane in the Dark Knight Rises. His options being life imprisonment or death. We also see that Two Face is largely in control as he punishes those who attempt to fix his decisions by the coin. Ironically, he punishes them without the flip of a coin!
The art in this issue really adds and takes from the story. Guillem March’s art is actually giving the reader a Harvey Dent/Two Face scenario. He manages to draw Gotham in ruins quite well and creates a great fleshy look and feel to Two Face. But in some instances he contradicts what Tomasi is trying to create. The pacing of the writing shows that Tomasi is trying to build an intense read. But March’s art steals from this when it employs the use of bright colours and over the top emotions, completely negating the tensions from scenes and stealing from this sinister villain.
Batman and Robin #23.1 is a great read for the fact that Tomasi does not try to fix that which is not broken. We get a glimpse into the mind of an iconic villain as he experiences the turmoil that Forever Evil has imposed upon Gotham. Although the art gives and takes, overall, it is still a well-drawn enjoyable read that boasts one of the best 3D lenticulars in the Villain Month series.
This issue was secured through Reader’s Den at the low price of R47. Reader’s Den is the only local comic book store doing 3D issues at cover prices!