Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 – Mariko Tamaki, Writer; Javier Fernandez, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: This series of graphic novels has always been a little vague with what its actual plan was for its villains. Tom King and Mitch Gerads gave us a Riddler story that completely reinvented the genius villain as a sadistic monster with his roots in a traumatic childhood, and had him create a twisted game for Batman that drove the detective to his breaking point. By contrast, Mariko Tamaki and Javier Fernandez’s Two-Face tale sticks much closer to the version of the character we know. This story could take place in Tamaki’s recent Detective comics run, complete with elements and characters like Mayor Nanako and Deb Donovan. But much like the other installment, this is a much more intense take on the villain.
The issue begins with Two-Face’s latest murder spree being foiled by Batman and Officer Nanako—before flashing forward to the present day, when Two-Face has been released, supposedly cured, and is stepping up as Nanako’s DA. This seems like a strange plot that never really was explored in the main series. But Harvey claims to have put Two-Face to rest, and now he wants Batman’s help to keep his father safe as the elder Dent celebrates his 88th birthday. Dent having a powerful father who was DA before him is a new flourish, and while this character is nowhere near as cruel and oppressive as Riddler’s father who we saw in the last issue, it’s clear that parental trauma factor into both.
The mystery at this issue’s core is pretty simple, but what elevates it is the way it uses the Bat-family. Choosing to use Stephanie and Cassandra as Bruce’s main backup here was refreshing, especially after the two were only referenced in Riddler’s issue in a one-line threat. While we largely can see where this issue is going, compared to Riddler’s byzantine plot, when things unravel it’s brutal and harrowing. Two-Face is a brilliant villain just because of how tragic he is, and this issue sums up how no matter how Dent may fight, there is no separating the two sides of the personality. Some slightly wonky art—Dent Sr. does not look 88—this is a compelling coda to Tamaki’s Bat-run and a strong spotlight for the villain.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.