thehefner: (Two-Face: FOREVER!!!)
[personal profile] thehefner posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Last week's post on Harvey's sides(s) in NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP provoked some absolutely awesome discussion, which was so great to see after all the work I put into that'un. I realize that most of these posts are catering to a specific niche, and will usually just get a handful of comments.

But hey, I love the character. And besides, when it comes to being the best damn comics-discussion community in the world... well, what can I say? I believe in [community profile] scans_daily.

That said, this week's entry is gonna be much lazier. No essays or opinion pieces, just a sampler from two Harvey-centric short stories, both of which s_d old-timers will remember from the original community. In the first one, Harvey and his old buddy Commissioner "Jimbo" Gordon briefly reunite to track down none other than "Boss" Moroni himself (still alive in this story, natch).

In the second, Harvey fights a werewolf in Arkham. Because really, why not?

First one's five pages from the ten-page story from BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #8: "Double Jeopardy," written by Solly Fisch, pencils by Douglas Wheatley and inks by Wade Von Grawbadger.

Two-Face ends up escaping Gordon's custody and decides to track down Moroni alone, so that he can personally thank Moroni for showing him "the truth-- that all men are monsters hiding behind pretty faces." Harvey plans to return the favor with a hot poker from Moroni's fireplace.

Which is when Gordon bursts in, gun drawn, demanding "Drop it, Two-Face! NOW!"

Yeah, kind of a light trifle of a story with a neat idea, isn't it? This is one that really should have expanded to a whole issue, where one could really explore the character interaction between these deeply-estranged friends.

A lot of the aforementioned discussion in last week's post revolved around how Nightwing (along with all the other Robins) approaches Two-Face differently than Batman, as they have no real memory nor interaction with the good man Harvey Dent was before Two-Face came along. As such, that's one good reason why they don't have the same kind of sympathy nor empathy for Harvey that Batman does.

That's where Gordon differs from Bruce and Dick alike. In post-Crisis canon from "Eye of the Beholder" onward (the definitive Two-Face story that laid the groundwork for everything from THE LONG HALLOWEEN to THE DARK KNIGHT), Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent were best friends, with a deeper bond than the latter even had with Batman.

Like Bruce, Gordon remembers the Harvey that was, but like Dick, he's too practical to dwell on theoretical prospects of redemption for a murdering sociopath who has wasted so many second and third chances. To Gordon, Harvey's just a twisted perversion of his old friend at best. At worst, he's a walking betrayal of everything they fought against together. Far as Gordon's concerned, there's no hope for Harvey.

Which is why I'd love to see the basic concept of this story revisited and expanded upon. There's such great potential for a ride-along between two former friends whose old bond may not be entirely dead and gone, as evidenced by this story and the time Harvey crashed Jimbo's retirement party.

Huh. Guess this one did get a bit analytical after all, didn't it?

Well, I don't have nearly as much to say about my other offering today, from the 2008 DC UNIVERSE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL. Those collections are always mixed bags, largely used as proving grounds for unknown writers and artists, near as I can tell. Mostly forgettable fluff stories, regrettably.

But while this story--"Scarred and Scared," written by Brad Desnoyer and drawn by Riccardo Burchieli--was not exactly great either, hey, how often can you see Two-Face save the Arkham residents from a werewolf?

Yes, Harvey Dent kills a werewolf armed only with his coin. That walks the magical border between ridiculous and badass only seen in superhero comics. God, I love 'em so.

Date: 2010-01-26 06:05 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
I remember that werewolf story from the original Scans daily. IIRC it was one of the last posts before we were shut down.

Date: 2010-01-26 06:21 am (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
Werewolf one of those things you feel you should be surprised about but you just aren't.

Date: 2010-01-26 07:05 am (UTC)
thosefew: bored death (Default)
From: [personal profile] thosefew
I was wondering if Harvey would have killed the werewolf if the coin landed clean side up, but realised the coin always lands whichever way the plot needs it to. Has anyone ever written a Two-Face story where the coin flips were actually determined by coin flip?

Date: 2010-01-26 07:34 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
The story doesn't say which way the coin came up.

But this does bring up what I think is a fundamental character trait of Harvey Dent: it actually doesn't matter how the coin lands. Two-Face now thinks he needs the coin, but in actuality, he does whatever he feels like, using the coin to justify his choices. That's his psychosis. He's both a good person and a terrifying criminal. The coin flip is just his way of not dealing with his emotional problems.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; although, I would like to see a Two-Face story where is actions are determined by the flip of the writer's coin . . .

Date: 2010-01-26 06:56 pm (UTC)
alias_grace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_grace
Clearly the answer to the coin-toss question is to have a "Choose your Own Adventure" style book. You get a free fake silver coin wih your comic, and use it throughout the comic to determine which path Harvey will take next.

Of course, like all the "Choose your Own" books, each option will generally end horribly, but hey, it's not like that's any different to how Harveys' stories normally end up, is it?

Date: 2010-01-26 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lonewolf23k
There was something like that in Two-Face's "Tales of Arkham" one-shot story, where Joker tells the tale, then leaves the final ending up to the reader's coin toss: Heads, the scarred victim reunites with his estranged wife. Tails, he takes his own life.

And it all depends on the reader's luck.

Date: 2010-01-26 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] saralakali
Has anyone ever written a Two-Face story where the coin flips were actually determined by coin flip?

That's an interesting idea. There's no reason why it couldn't be done. A good writer will figure out how to make the coin flips work to the story's advantage.

Date: 2010-01-26 08:52 pm (UTC)
zechs80: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zechs80
There was one actually pretty recently. Two-Face Arkham Asylum (or Joker's Asylum, I just remember it was a series of one shots with Gotham Rogues: Joker, Poison Ivy, Penguin, and Two-Face all hosted by the Joker as a sort of crypt keeper like narrator). Two-Face's had a story which end depends on the reader's actual coin flip. The reader is rewarded a happy ending if the coin flips face and a bad end if the result is tails/scarred.

It was posted at the Scans Daily 1.0 originally.

Date: 2010-01-26 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lonewolf23k
Oh yeah, that's the story I was thinking of.

Date: 2010-01-26 07:24 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
redemption for a murdering sociopath

Aha, but you've hit upon one reason I think it's so fundamental for Bruce.

Batman's idea of Justice includes acceptance of responsibility for actions, and the consequences thereof. Crazy people (by the legal definition, which is the only one is relevant when discussing Batman Rogues) can't do that. They're incapable of realizing there's any responsibility or consequences. So there's no way for true Justice to be achieved while they're insane. But if they can recover from their insanity, then there can be Justice. "Hope for Two-Face" is the same as "hope for Mr. Zsasz" or "hope for Ventriloquist" or "hope for Joker."

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; IMO it's another of the multi-faceted reasons why I think Batman doesn't kill: killing crazies isn't Justice.

Date: 2010-01-26 09:27 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
Bruce is himself something of a sociopath.

That is not a position I hold.

Date: 2010-01-26 06:50 pm (UTC)
yaseen101: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yaseen101
how Bruce is himself something of a sociopath. Which is something I imagine someone could rather easily argue...

You better believe it! I'd say Batman's 'psychosis' is actually more along the lines of one of Frederick Nietzsche's quotes "he who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster and that when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." His 'psychosis' is more along the lines of his work load and anger issues getting the best of him at times. IMO, that's all there is to it.

In recent times I believe that Batman's psychological issues have gotten more and more exaggerated. It's like taking Sherlock Holmes drug addiction, he took only cocaine and morphine during periods when there weren't new cases and making him a full blown junkie (in Doyle's stories there is the implication that he recovered from it over time). Batman's issues with guns and his personal issues has gotten a similar treatment. Whereas he normally didn't use it out of discipline and( by Batman's standards) impracticality, there is literally no 'safe' place you can shoot someone with a gun, it has become something of a pathological fear of it. Like the time he acknowledged he was Batman to Sasha, he took away her gun and the time he took away a police detective's gun because she shot at him and it was Tim Drake who later returned it. Or how he has become a literal control freak with ridiculous high standards for his family and teammates and never truly acknowledging them whereas during the Bronze Age (and in DCAU) it was mostly because he is emotionally walled off at times during cases (and anger issues) but otherwise a genuinely nice guy.

Date: 2010-01-26 10:00 pm (UTC)
mystery: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mystery
At first, I thought you were gonna respond to that quote of mine with something about how Bruce is himself something of a sociopath. Which is something I imagine someone could rather easily argue...

But a sociopath "lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience."

Doesn't fit at all.

Date: 2010-01-26 10:40 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Crazy people (by the legal definition, which is the only one is relevant when discussing Batman Rogues) can't do that

Except it really doesn't, as Batman's villains aren't legally insane. They might be able to please diminished responsibility, but not insanity.

Freaky though it is, the Joker is NOT legally insane, because he knows what he's doing when he kills, he just doesn't CARE.

Date: 2010-01-27 07:51 am (UTC)
khamelea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khamelea
Couldn't Wesker plead insanity?

Date: 2010-01-27 10:59 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
He might actually have the best case but again, might be more grounds for diminished responsibility, since Scarface DOES know what he's doing, and Scarface IS Wesker whether Wesker wants to admit it or not. I'm not sure what the legal assessment of Multiple Personality Disorder is these days.

Date: 2010-01-26 08:24 am (UTC)
stig: "It Was A Boojum..." (Default)
From: [personal profile] stig
Nice that Harvey learned the guard's name. He seems like the kind of crazy criminal that would.

Date: 2010-01-26 06:50 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Moon magic (Moon)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
There is definitely something more tense in Gordon/Two-Face scenes for me. Maybe because even if Batman and Gordon are both "good guys" while Two-Face is "bad guy," it's also that Gordon is the "normal" citizen where Batman and Two-Face have both joined the extreme theatrical show of good and evil playing out in the city. Batman on some level understands and has experienced part of Harvey's break when he "became" Batman. Gordon hasn't crossed that line, if that makes sense. It's a big part of his character that he doesn't but is still such a strong presence that can deal with them as an equal.

Date: 2010-01-26 07:01 pm (UTC)
alias_grace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_grace
Completely irrelevant, but the fact that there's a DC artist called Wade Von Grawbadger never fails to make me giggle. What a name!

And I am very fond of Jim Gordon & Harvey Dent interacting, especially without Batman being around.

Date: 2010-01-26 10:09 pm (UTC)
yaseen101: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yaseen101
Boy, what a name. If I ever become a comic writer someday and I end up with him as an artist, I would be very cautious not to piss him off, regardless of his actual attitude.

Date: 2010-01-26 10:13 pm (UTC)
mystery: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mystery
I like the Gordon and Two-Face scene.


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