Detective Comics #1020
Harvey Dent hasn’t really been seen since his defeat at the hands of Batman during the "City of Bane" arc in the main series. Batman, on the other hand, has been busy dealing with the likes of Deadshot, Mr. Freeze and an Icelandic cult in Gotham. After a black market coin dealer gets ransacked, the Batman is certain he knows who’s responsible.
Two-Face might be insane, but he usually operates as just another mobster as far as Gotham Crime is concerned. This issue flips that idea on its head as old Harvey has taken up a new game: Religion. Peter J. Tomasi continues his reinvention of Batman’s classic cast of villains as he sets out to give Two-Face a new lease on life through his newly-founded Church of Two and introduces his followers as being a group nearly as unhinged as he.
One of the most notable things to come out of this issue is Harvey’s ramped-up level of violence. The art team of Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey and Brad Anderson absolutely stun throughout this issue as Harvey’s murders are given an absolutely horrific twist. Two Face has never been one to dole out excessive violence unless it’s to send a message, but one of the first crimes that Batman discovers after Harvey’s resurfacing is the shooting of two crime brothers.
Walker shows readers the absolute carnage that Two-Face is capable of as the initial panels show the aftermath of his destruction with broken glass and shots of the two brothers with their eyes all shot out. The scene is accentuated by Anderson’s dark colors and lighting and Hennessey’s inks giving Walker’s lines a sharp quality to them. Two-Face wasn’t messing around.
This continues as we watch Harvey get patched up in an Urgent Care facility and though he uses his coin to decide whether or not to shoot the doctor that’s trying to remove the bullet in his shoulder, Tomasi gives us the old Two-Face, but also lays hints that something’s changing in him. Usually Harvey maintains half of the control over his body, but during the back-alley surgery, Harvey doesn’t realize that control shifted back to Two Face and he kills the surgeon.
Walker, Anderson, and Hennessey do an amazing job of playing on the insanity of Harvey and Two-Face with subtle things like shadowing Harvey’s eye while Two-Face is in control and furrowing his angry brow in every panel. When Harvey regains control, the eye is shown fully and his facial expression becomes warmer. The entire scene is tense as Anderson colors the background with striking oranges or very dark blacks.
A lot of credit has to be given to letterer Rob Leigh for his distinct use of a putrid green for Two-Face’s speech bubbles and a scratchier typeface when he speaks. He also does an amazing job of using and placing sound effects to give pages some good sound for all of the violence. Some of the best examples are Harvey’s numerous “BLAMs” which either line large portions of some pages or just blast out without warning and the small “TIINGGs” every time he flips his coin.
The scenes where Batman appears are nice and fun in the typical Batman violence manner. When Two-Face’s followers begin to burn down the hospital where Harvey was seeking treatment, Batman swoops in and takes them out as they vehemently go about their plans, not caring about Batman’s interference. Walker makes sure that the action is fast and frenetic with Batman using precise movements against the cultists and even trying to save them when the fire is lit.
The entire team show the cultists dedication to Two-Face’s mission as they detonate bombs planted in their minds. With Anderson’s hot oranges selling the intensity of the situation, Hennessey’s inks making said colors pop and smoothing the lines as well as the pained expressions that Walker gives them as blood spews from their orifices makes for a striking few pages. But none more so than one of the final sequences – a collage of Two-Face’s followers ingesting or taking coins in their hands to swear loyalty to him
This issue of Detective Comics has me absolutely excited for the new path of Two-Face and whatever exciting crimes he has planned. Tomasi continues to be one of the best writers for these shorter stories and the art team absolutely do an amazing job in giving this a high action feel!
Detective Comics #1020: The Church of Two
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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