BATMAN BLACK & WHITE #1 TWO OF A KIND (DC COMICS, JUNE 1996)
Story & art by: Bruce Timm
Harvey Dent – “I lied...told her I’d be fine.What else could I do?”
AN UNDERLINING THEME OF...
...all of the villains in the world of Batman: The Animated Series was that not one of them could ever start a new life after spending time as a costumed super-villain.It had been attempted before in the series and it had always resulted in the characters reverting back to type because deep down they were what they were.They could blame someone else for their downfall, but the truth was they were the ones in control of themselves and they made their own choices for better or worse.
In the comic-book tale Two Of A Kind Harvey Dent was physically cured, he no longer carried with him the horrific burnt exterior of his more dominant persona Two-Face. Dr Marilyn Crane had cured Dent of his Two-Face persona using a combination of plastic surgery and psycho-therapy and they had fallen in love and settled into a new life together.Everything was going well and they even made plans to marry, but when Marilyn’s reckless twin sister Madeline arrived and started a romance with the former DA, Harvey’s other persona started to resurface, because he sensed a kindred spirit.Madeline believed she was in perfect control of the situation as she tried to have Harvey all to herself, but she forgot that she was dealing with the feelings of more than one person. The introduction of the seductive Madeline was the catalyst for what the Animated Series referred to as 'Big Bad Harv' and when he was given the opportunity to resurface nothing could stop him. The development of 'Big Bad Harv' was slow at first, but just because the scars of Two-Face had gone it didn’t mean the nightmare of living with someone else had gone as well.Although the darker persona was separate from the quieter Harvey Dent, it was still a part of who he was and it gradually came bubbling back to the surface as he knew it would. It didn't help that he found Marilyn’s body sprawled in a pool of blood, with the words ‘Now it’s just the two of us’ written on the wall, courtesy of Marilyn's sister. Madeline had killed off Marilyn but hadn't realised the death of her sister would cause Harvey to wrestle with himself for complete control. Harvey Dent wasn’t a killer, he knew that; but Big Bad Harv was and that meant he could do what Harvey couldn’t. In a split second decision he gave himself over to the killer within him and he threw hot coals onto his face.This returned his physical appearance to that of Two-Face and signalled that Harvey was no longer around to keep him in check.
In order for him to complete his journey back to being Two-Face he had to finish Marilyn off and he knew it; so he killed her and waited for Batman to arrive to put him back in Arkham Asylum. It was at that moment that it was revealed he had been telling his story to Batman from the very start of the story; describing his return back to a criminal life because he expected no less from himself.The only way for Harvey Dent to truly find peace was for Two-Face to resume control and that was what happened. Dent knew he could fight it for a while, but if truth be told he was only holding back who he really was and that was someone he just had to learn to live with.
BACK TO BLACK: *The story appeared in the comic-book series Batman Black & White, which saw different writers and artists create short stories about Batman (using just black and white).Those stories were collected together in trade paperbacks and Two of a Kind appeared in the first volume of Batman Black & White. A number of stories (including this one) were later turned into motion comics.
*Two of a Kind was a more adult tale dealing with lust, seduction and murder, which was not the usual situations depicted when Batman: The Animated Series leapt from the screen to comics panels.
*Batman only made a brief appearance in the story and only had one piece of dialogue as Bruce Wayne.