Batman: detective comics # 1022 – Peter J. Tomasi, writer; Brad Walker, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Inker; Brad Anderson, colorist
Ray – 7/10
Beam: This title stopped shortly after the start of a new story in which Batman faced an increasingly unstable two-face that had scarred the entire side of his body. It’s the latest in a series of Harvey Dent self-mutilations, and he now has a cult dedicated to scars and terrorist attacks. The problem starts with a sophisticated and strong action segment as Two-Face tries to immerse Batman in acid to make him equal, and Batman escapes and creates a flood of acid. After helping the various idiots survive, Batman sees Two-Face escape and sets off to find out what made his former friend so much crazier. Surprisingly, this is an expanded look back at the early New 52 era, in which the faceless joker returns. I’m not sure why this strange period of Batman comics is coming to the fore again, but it shows how long and consistently Tomasi wrote these characters.
The problem with this arc is that it relies heavily on visual shocks and doesn’t give us a clear idea of what has driven Harvey Dent up to this point. We know that City of Bane is unstable, brain damaged and traumatized, but it’s an escalation with no purpose. He behaves more like Ra’s Al Ghul than like Two-Face, and it’s another attempt to elicit high-stakes storylines from a villain who has always worked better than one of Batman’s more likeable and pragmatic opponents. The revelation of how he recruits his minions is creepy, but the most effective segment of the problem is the epilogue, as Joker continues his next big step by possibly making a deal with a far more dangerous and far older villain than Two’s face. This title has always suffered a bit from the problem that its stories are usually side stories to the main Bat stories in other titles.
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