When people talk about some of the greatest Batman comics of all time, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns
is usually listed as number one.
I used to agree, but the older I get, the more I find TDKR to be unbearably ugly. Conversely, I find that Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One
gets more powerful and humane with each passing year. I think it's because comics creators learned an awful lot of bad lessons from Miller and Janson's TDKR, and I can't read that book without seeing all the negative influences it's since had on Batman and comics in general. Regardless, TDKR a historic work, filled with scenes and moments that burn into a fan's memory.
But in all the retrospectives and articles I've seen about TDKR, I've noticed a distinct lack of mention for the Harvey Dent subplot. Sad thing is, I can understand why. Even for a fan like me, Harvey's story (and what it means to Batman) slips between the cracks when it comes to stuff like the Mutant mud-pit fight, the sounds of the Joker breaking his own neck, and the climatic battle with Superman. I suppose it's because those scenes are visceral
, the kind of moments you can sense on several levels, whereas Harvey's story is more of a psychological portrait. Not even that: he's just there to serve as a reflection to Bruce's
So let's shine the spotlight expressly upon this neglected subplot of a great work, to see what Miller had to say about who Harvey was, what Two-Face is, and just how exactly he relates to Batman.( We must BELIEVE in Harvey Dent behind the cut )
If you're one of the few who's not yet read The Dark Knight Returns
, it can be purchased via Amazon.com
, but you're also likely to find it at most libraries that carry trade paperbacks and graphic novels. It's one of the standards, after all.