- 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.
Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent was a true guardian of law and order. Well-regarded as a fearless law enforcer, Dent had a reputation for producing results. However, the man had a hidden dark side. Dent suffered from a severe mental illness, multiple personality disorder, that developed since childhood when he mistakenly believed he seriously wounded a bully in fit of anger, when in fact he was hospitalized for an unrelated case of appendicitis. As a result, Dent repressed his violent emotions. His rage, however, never truly subsided, and the pent up anger formed an opposing personality to that of the mild-mannered Dent. The malevolent alternative personality, named "Big Bad Harv," often seized control in stressful situations. Dent had no recollection of any occurrences while Big Bad Harv was in present; the dark side dominated completely. Though Dent controlled himself for many years, the re-election campaign proved so tiring that the violent episodes became frequent, 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.
Mob boss Rupert Thorne learned of this situation, and acquired Dent's medical files. As Thorne was the target of Dent's current campaign, he used the files to blackmail the District Attorney into backing off. The high stress situation caused Dent to surrender his mind to Big Bad Harv, and he attacked Thorne. During the fight, a freak explosion deformed the left side of Dent's body. The trauma was powerful enough to force his alternate personality to dominate, and left Dent in a state where right and wrong no longer held any meaning. Instead, random chance reigned supreme.
Dent became "Two-Face" and turned to a life of crime. Using the element of chance, Two-Face attacked various Thorne 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. Over the course of six months Thorne lost substantial amounts of money and the mobster put a two million dollar bounty on the former attorney's head, one million for each face.
Two-Face, through with humiliating Thorne, decided to return the favor the mobster gave him, and stole Thorne's criminal files. With that information in hand, he planned to blackmail Thorne into leaving Gotham altogether. However, Thorne's accomplice Candace acted as a detective of the Gotham Police Department and contacted Harvey's ex-fiancé Grace, tricking 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, and 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 coin. He went mad, unable to make a decision without testing chance. He was arrested, and sent to Arkham Asylum.
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), 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 Comissioner, and provided quick results courtesy of Two-Face's information. Rupert Thorne was arrested, and with Thorne out of the way, Two-Face had 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 Two-Face knew this. Planting evidence and staging assassination attempts, Two-Face brought Commissioner Gordon down by linking him to Rupert Thorne, and used Mason to arrest him.
However, Batgirl knew the allegations were untrue and began her own investigation, soon discovering Gil Mason was a corrupt official. His trail 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.
Bruce Wayne never gave up hope that Two-Face could once again return to normal society as his friend Harvey Dent. He continuously paid for counseling to subdue the Two-Face persona. 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 Two-Face'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 current whereabouts of the Penguin, while the other vehicle was registered to Rupert Thorne. Both criminals had had histories of conflict with both Two-Face and Dent; however, neither claimed involvement to Batman and Robin.
In truth, Two-Face kidnapped himself. 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 the Dark Knight, 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. Two-Face, however, couldn't handle the indecision, and chased his 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 Two-Face to pull himself up. The coin, however, couldn't decide for him; the choice was up to Two-Face alone. The Harvey Dent persona resurged for a moment, and he dropped the coin, but Two-Face took control once more and sabotaged the effort. The villain plummeted, but Batman and Robin managed to save him and themselves in time. Two-Face was once again sent to Arkham Asylum for more psychiatric treatment.
After Two-Face escaped, small time crook "Shifty" Drake stole chemicals from him. Drake skipped town, but left his son Tim Drake behind with a key to a locker at Gotham Airport. Two-Face took the key and planned to kill Tim, but Batman intervened. Meanwhile, Two-Face reacquired the chemicals, and held the entire city hostage, threatening to create a toxic gas unless he received twenty-two million dollars. However, the city refused to pay and after a two-minute warning, Two-Face activated the chemicals. Batman and Batgirl arrived to stop them, and shortly thereafter Robin II. The trio stopped the machine and apprehended Two-Face once more.
Eventually, Harvey Dent developed a third superego personality known as The Judge, 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, subdued him, and took him back to Arkham. Two-Face was last seen in Arkham Asylum, 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 couldn't 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 underlings were a pair of twins and his hideout is divided in one half neat and well appointed while the other half is a messy wreck.
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, holding his own against multiple foes and flipping Rupert Thorne across a room. This was exemplified further when he became the Judge, and 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 Harvey that evening (heads would result in a beating, tails wouldn't). After his father's death, Dent learned that the coin was a silver dollar, always coming up heads. Despite repressed anger over the incident, Dent married Grace (originally named Gilda) 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 trail of Maroni, the mobster threw acid into Dent's face, scarring the D.A.'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.
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 and References
- "On Leather Wings" (as Harvey Dent)
- "Pretty Poison" (as Harvey Dent)
- "Two-Face Part I" (as Harvey Dent)
- "Two-Face Part II" (as Two-Face)
- "Heart of Ice" (Cameo in news article as Harvey Dent)
- "Fear of Victory" (Cameo)
- "Dreams in Darkness" (Hallucination)
- "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne"
- "Almost Got 'Im"
- "Birds of a Feather" (Mentioned Only)
- "I Am the Night" (Mentioned Only)
- "Shadow of the Bat"
- "Fire From Olympus" (Cameo)
- "House & Garden" (Cameo in scrapbook as Harvey Dent)
- "Riddler's Reform" (Cameo)
- "Second Chance"
- "Batgirl Returns" (Cameo)
- "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" (Cameo as mannequin)