- You may also be looking for the two-parter episode "Two-Face"
Harvey Dent was Gotham City's star district attorney until an accident brought out his dark side and turned him into the criminal Two-Face.
- 1 History
- 2 Abilities and equipment
- 3 Background information
- 4 Appearances and references
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Gotham City's district attorney Harvey Dent was a true guardian of law and order. Well regarded as a fearless law enforcer, he had a reputation for producing results. His successful career earned him the Marshall Award, presented by the Bar Association for his distinguished service.
However, Dent had a hidden dark side. He suffered from dissociative identity disorder, which had been nascent since his childhood. As a little boy he was frequently harassed by a neighborhood bully, until one day the young Dent's anger seethed to the point where he hit the bully. He soon learned the bully was in the hospital, but the bully was actually hospitalized for an unrelated case of appendicitis. Overcome by misplaced guilt, Dent resolved not to let his anger get the better of him, and he matured into a balanced adult. His rage, however, never truly subsided, and the pent up anger formed a personality autonomous to that of his mild-mannered nature. The malevolent alternative personality Big Bad Harv often seized control in stressful situations, while Dent had no recollection of any occurrences in which Big Bad Harv dominated completely. However, as it had not been a serious issue throughout Dent's life, it was implied the instances of "Big Bad Harv" surfacing were seldom.
At some point in his life, Dent befriended Bruce Wayne, and this relationship lasted for years as both recalled events of years past. Dent also considered marriage, and courted Pamela Isley as his potential bride. By sheer bad luck, Isley was also Poison Ivy, who tried to kill him by poisoning in revenge for the near-extinction of the Wild Thorny Rose for the construction of Stonegate Penitentiary, but was saved by Batman getting the antidote to Dent in time.
Although he was able to repress his other personality (which he had become aware of by then) for many years, Dent's re-election campaign proved so stressful that the violent episodes became more frequent and any little thing could set them off, to the point where his psychiatrist recommended committal to a psychiatric ward in order to prevent a traumatic psychotic break. However, such an action would have been political suicide and Dent instead compromised, agreeing to a reduced campaign effort and increased medical treatments.
When mob boss Rupert Thorne learned of this situation and acquired Dent's medical files, he tried to use these files as blackmail. Harvey went to retrieve the files, but "Big Bad Harv" surfaced after incessant provocation from Thorne and threatened violence if he did not return the files. This proved true as Dent started assaulting Thorne's goons, then used a machine gun in an attempt to gun down a fleeing Thorne. The gunfire hit some live wires, which in turn caused an explosion that caught Dent in the blast, sending him into shock and scarring the left side of his body. The trauma and the loss of his career was powerful enough to force his alternate personality to dominate, and left him in a state where right and wrong no longer held any meaning. Instead, random chance reigned supreme.
Now known as "Two-Face," he turned to a life of crime. Using the element of chance, Two-Face attacked Thorne's multiple operations, including night clubs and gambling rings. However, the victims were always left to a coin flip from Two-Face's dreaded double-headed coin, with one side scratched. Over the course of six months, Thorne lost substantial amounts of money and the mobster put a two million dollar bounty on the former DA's head, one million for each face.
Two-Face, done with humiliating Thorne, decided to return the favor the mobster gave him, and broke into the office of Thorne's lawyer to find incriminating evidence. With that information in hand, he planned to blackmail Thorne into leaving Gotham altogether. However, Thorne's accomplice was disguised as a detective of the Gotham Police Department and contacted the ex-fiancé Grace Lamont and tricked her into contacting Thorne if she heard from Two-Face. As predicted, Two-Face arranged a meeting with her, and Grace contacted Thorne. Thorne attempted to end Two-Face altogether but Batman intervened. In the end, Thorne was left at Two-Face's mercy. When Two-Face made his coin flip to decide Thorne's fate, Batman tossed a box of coins into the air, preventing Two-Face from finding his double-headed coin. He went mad, unable to make a decision without testing chance with two heads instead of just one. Two-Face was arrested, and sent to Arkham Asylum.
Manipulating the system
Two-Face remained quiet on the crime scene for some time. Though he made a few attempts to kill Batman (one of which he described at a poker game with some other rogues), he never succeeded and either escaped or returned to Arkham. However, he began a new gang, and had his man Gil Mason infiltrate the Gotham justice system. Mason became the new deputy police commissioner, and provided quick results, courtesy of Two-Face's information. Rupert Thorne was arrested, giving Two-Face control of Gotham's seedy underbelly. However, underworld control does little good if there is still a law presence existing to bring one down, and the ever calculative former district attorney knew this. Planting evidence and staging assassination attempts, Two-Face brought Commissioner Gordon down by linking him to Thorne, and used Mason to arrest him.
However, Batgirl knew the allegations were untrue and began her own investigation, soon discovering that Mason was a corrupt official, and the trail eventually lead her to Two-Face, as well as Batman and Robin. Two-Face and Mason planned to kill Gordon at Bayshore Wharf. However, Batman, Robin and Batgirl prevented the attempt, and Two-Face and Mason were arrested.
When the Arkham inmates banded together to devise a plan to eliminate Batman, Two-Face simply wanted to kill him and end the ordeal. However, he lost the coin flip and instead served as the prosecution for the "trial" of Batman.
Attempt back to sanity
Bruce Wayne never gave up hope that his friend could once again return to normal society, continuously paying for counseling to subdue Two-Face's personality. After some time, doctors agreed his therapy had been effective enough to stabilize Two-Face's mind, which then allowed the opportunity for surgery upon Harvey Dent's damaged side. Just when the surgery was about to begin, masked mobsters broke into the operating room. Stating only that their "boss" wanted to handle Dent personally, two cars split from the scene. One took Two-Face to Stonegate, the Penguin's current whereabouts, while the other vehicle was registered to Rupert Thorne. Both criminals had had histories of conflict with both Two-Face and Dent, but neither claimed involvement to Batman and Robin.
In truth, Two-Face kidnapped himself to prevent his original personality from eliminating himself completely. Staging the break in, he arranged for his thugs to break him out of the operation and staged a two-pronged getaway, both to allude suspicion and to leave a trademark hint. Though Batman discovered the true kidnapper, he was unprepared for the ambush Two-Face had devised. Capturing Batman, Two-Face placed his life in the flip of the coin. During their earlier struggle, Batman switched the real coin with a trick one, designed to always land on its side. However, Two-Face could not handle the indecision, and chased that coin on to a support beam overhanging Gotham. The coin fell off and in a desperate gamble, he managed to grab it but fell off in the process and was unable to pull himself back up. Batman caught hold of Two-Face at the last second, but needed the ex-DA to pull himself up. The coin, however, could not decide for him; the choice was up to Two-Face alone. His original personality resurged for a moment, and he dropped the coin, but Two-Face took control once more and sabotaged the effort.
He plummeted, but Batman and Robin managed to save him and themselves in time. Two-Face was once again sent to Arkham for more psychiatric treatment. Still, Dent emerged once more to thank his old friend for not giving up on him.
Further into insanity
Some time later, small time crook Steven "Shifty" Drake stole chemicals from Two-Face, whom he worked for. Using a key he stole from the crook's son Tim to a locker at Gotham Airport, the bifurcated villain planned to kill the boy after a fatal coin flip, but Batman intervened. Meanwhile, Two-Face reacquired the chemicals and held the entire city hostage, threatening to create a toxic gas unless he received 22 million dollars by 2 AM. However, the city refused to pay and after a two-minute warning, he activated the chemicals. Batman and Batgirl arrived to stop them, and shortly thereafter, Tim as the new Robin. The trio stopped the machine and apprehended Two-Face once more.
Unknown to anyone, he developed a third personality known as The Judge and operated as a ruthless vigilante. The Judge brutally attacked Gotham's criminals, including Two-Face himself, placing their lives at risk. Batman eventually deduced the Judge's true identity and captured him. Two-Face was last seen in Arkham, hearing the Judge's voice condemning him, bowing his head and repeating, "Guilty... guilty... guilty...".
Abilities and equipment
Two-Face made no decision without consulting chance first. He was never without one of his special double-headed coins. The "Good Heads" was merely a standard heads, while the "Bad Heads" was another heads side, but with several slashes and cuts across it. This mirrored Two-Face's dual-persona, an embodiment of the good and the bad. He was frequently left incapacitated if he could not consult his coin for a decision. Furthermore, Two-Face is obsessed with the themes of duality and opposites and incorporates them in his life and work as much as possible. For instance, his first recruited underlings were a pair of identical twins and his first hideout was divided down the center with one half neat and well appointed while the other half was a dilapidated mess.
Aside from the coin, Two-Face frequently sported a tommy-gun, and displayed relative proficiency in its usage. He also kept two pistols on his person, which he presumably always drew together in keeping with his motif.
He also showed above-average capabilities for physical fighting, and was shown to be very strong, holding his own against multiple foes and flipping the heavyset Rupert Thorne across a room. This was exemplified further when the Judge defeated Killer Croc with ease. However, he had no outright metahuman powers.
Harvey Dent's madness had its origins in his abusive father, who would flip a coin on whether or nor he would beat him that evening (heads would result in a beating, tails would not). After his father's death, Dent learned that the silver dollar was a trick coin, with heads on both sides. Despite repressed anger over the incident, Dent married Gilda Grace Gold and was elected District Attorney of Gotham City at 26 years of age. He formed an alliance with Batman and James Gordon to take down Carmine Falcone and Salvatore Maroni, the two major mob bosses in Gotham (Batman would disrupt their operations, Gordon would arrest them, and Dent would prosecute them). However, during the trial of Maroni, the mobster threw acid into Dent's face, scarring the DA's left side and driving him insane. Scratching out one side of his father's silver dollar, Two-Face was born.
Contrary to Two-Face's claims, his coin does not offer a straight fifty-fifty chance of a good or bad outcome; the gouges on the "bad" heads side make that side marginally lighter than the "good" side, meaning the good side is slightly more likely to land face down, although the difference is virtually nil as long as the coin is in free fall.
In the first issue of "Batman and Robin Adventures", a comic series based on Batman: The Animated Series, Two-Face has reformed into Harvey Dent and was starting a romance with his lawyer, Grace Lamont. The Joker hints that Lamont was actually Bruce Wayne's flame, and she only dated him because she felt sorry for him, as well as having Harley Quinn deliver a faked newspaper to his doorstep "confirming" it. Dent then breaks down, was arrested, breaks out of jail, and attempted to murder Bruce, and then received a broken heart, presumably telling Bruce and Grace why he did what he did.
Two-Face was one of the few characters to go relatively unchanged when Batman: The Animated Series changed to The New Batman Adventures. His new look was crisper and more in-line with the rest of the DC Animated Universe (having been given more squared-off shoulders and sharper lines on his suit), but other than that, he remained virtually the same.