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"Chance is everything. Whether you're born or not, whether you live or die, whether you're good or bad. It's all... arbitrary."[1]

Harvey Dent was Gotham City's star district attorney; until an accident had brought out his dark side and turned him; into the criminal known as Two-Face.

History[]

Fragile past[]

Harvey Dent

Harvey Dent, Gotham City's district attorney.

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.

But Dent had a hidden dark side. He suffered from dissociative identity disorder, which had stemmed from an incident in his youth. As a child, Dent was constantly targeted by a bully in his neighborhood until one day, he lost his temper and struck the bully. Initially, Harvey felt proud of standing up for himself until he later learned that the bully had been hospitalized, but what he didn't know was that the bully was in the hospital being treated for appendicitis. Feeling guilty, Dent resolved never to show his anger again and he matured into a balanced adult. But his rage had 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. But as it had not been a serious issue throughout Dent's life, it was implied the instances of "Big Bad Harv" surfacing were seldom.

Successful DA[]

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 poison in revenge for the near extinction of the Wild Thorny Rose, due to the construction of Stonegate Penitentiary but was saved by Batman getting the antidote to Dent in time.

Tragic disfigurement[]

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 for a few days in order to prevent a traumatic psychotic break. But such an action would have been political suicide and Dent instead compromised, agreeing to a reduced campaign effort and increased medical treatments.[1]

Harvey's accident

Dent's tragic accident.

When mob boss, Rupert Thorne had learned of this situation, he stole Dent's medical files, planning to use these files as blackmail; by threatening to give the files to the press unless he complies; with Thorne's agenda, thus, destroying Dent's career. Harvey went to retrieve the files; but "Big Bad Harv" surfaced after incessant provocation from Thorne and his men. Dent started assaulting Thorne's goons, then chased after Thorne in an attempt to retrieve his file. One of Thorne's thugs tried to shoot Dent with a tommy gun, but Batman knocked off his aim, causing the gunfire to 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 so powerful enough to force his alternate personality to dominate, leaving him in a state where right and wrong no longer held any meaning. Instead, random chance reigned supreme.[1]

Two-Face machine gun

Two-Face delivers a message.

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. But the victims' fates 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.[1]

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. But 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.[1]

Manipulating the system[]

Two-Face remained quiet on the crime scene for sometime. Taltough 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. But 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.

But Batgirl knew the allegations were untrue and began her own investigation, soon discovering that Mason was a corrupt official, and the trail eventually led 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.

Batman's "trial"[]

When the Arkham inmates banded together to devise a plan to eliminate Batman, Two-Face simply wanted to kill him and end the ordeal. But 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's personalities (meaning Big Bad Harv and Dent), but neither claimed involvement to Batman and Robin.

Bad heads

Two-Face's coin's "bad heads."

In truth, Two-Face, who was taken over by Big Bad Harv, kidnapped himself to prevent his original personality, Harvey Dent 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.

Harvey knows

Dent knows Bruce would never give up on him.

Batman caught hold of Two-Face at the last second but needed the ex-DA to pull himself up. But the coin 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's second personality 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[]

Sometime 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.

Two-Face condemned

Two-Face pleads guilty in a trial inside his mind.

Unknown to everyone, he would later develop a third personality known as the "Judge" and operated as a ruthless vigilante. The Judge appeared to be a more extreme version of Dent's good side, with a desire to wipe out wrongdoing. As "The Judge", Dent 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 descending further into insanity, hearing the Judge's voice condemning him, bowing his head and repeating, "Guilty, guilty, guilty".[2]

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 head, 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 itself, Two-Face frequently sported a Tommy Gun, and displayed relative proficiency in its usage.[1][3][4] He also kept two pistols on his person, which he presumably always drew together in keeping with his motif.[5]

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 metahuman powers.

Background information[]

  • In the comics, Harvey Dent's madness had its origins in his abusive father, who would flip a coin on whether or not 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. 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.
  • 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 has rekindled his romance with Grace Lamont, now his lawyer. 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.
  • Although Two-Face never made any physical appearances after "Judgment Day" (aside from an alternate version in the Justice League episode "A Better World"), a deleted scene for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker depicts Bruce Wayne returning to the ruins of Arkham Asylum to investigate whether or not Joker did indeed survive their final encounter. When briefly passing by Two-Face's cell, Bruce shudders upon noticing it.
  • Reportedly, the late Richard Moll’s audition for Two-Face was so eerily effective that the entire Batman production staff stopped dead in their tracks upon hearing it. In regard to finding the character's voice, Moll used the same breathy, growling voice of the sorcerer Xusia which he played in the 1982 film, The Sword and the Sorcerer.[6]

Revamp[]

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.

Appearances[]

Batman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures

Gotham Girls

Batman Beyond

Feature film

Justice League

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Rogel, Randy (writer) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (September 28, 1992). "Two-Face, Part II". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 18 (airdate). Episode 11 (production). FOX Kids.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fogel, Rich, Burnett, Alan (writers) & Geda, Curt (director) (October 31, 1998). "Judgment Day". The New Batman Adventures. Episode 9 (airdate). Episode 24 (production). Season 2. Kids WB!.
  3. Wise, David (story) & Reeves-Stevens, Judith, Reeves-Stevens, Garfield (teleplay) & Paur, Frank (director) (October 29, 1992). "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 29 (airdate). Episode 37 (production). FOX Kids.
  4. Stephens, Brynne (writer) & Paur, Frank (director) (September 14, 1993). "Shadow of the Bat, Part II". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 2 (airdate). Episode 58 (production). FOX Kids.
  5. Dini, Paul (writer) & Radomski, Eric (director) (November 10, 1992). "Almost Got 'Im". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 35 (airdate). Episode 46 (production). FOX Kids.
  6. (Starlog #188, March 1993), [Excerpted from the longer article “Animated Antagonist]

External links[]

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