Since becoming writer on “Batman,” Tony Daniel has slowly brought back the Falcone crime family, best known for their appearances in “Batman: Year One” and “Batman: The Long Halloween.” So with Two-Face being an important character from that time period and connected to those characters, it was just a matter of time before Daniel brought him to the forefront as well.
The idea of Two-Face snapping because someone has stolen his coin isn’t original to the character, but I did appreciate that Daniel isn’t using it as the primary focus of the story, but rather the opening move that brought him to the next stage of the story. None the less, it’s a little flat overall. The incidental moments like the news reporters, or Batman and Catwoman’s attempts to ship Kitrina off to boarding school, just don’t have any particular pep or energy about them.
The one part of the script that does jump is the conclusion. Not because of the attack itself (it seems a little too easy to actually stick), but the potential for whom the attacker was. Is it for real or a fake-out? I think a lot of “Batman” fans will be debating that last page until next month’s issue; it’s an attention-getter, if nothing else. (Hopefully it’ll be the punch of adrenaline that this story needs.)
Guest artists Steve Scott and Ryan Winn also didn’t quite have the level of fun I was hoping for. They’re best when it comes to the staging of the scenes in this comic. Batman leaping through the dive bar’s window, with glass shards going everywhere and being lit by the red neon sign? That looks great; it’s dramatic, it’s well-executed, and it grabs your attention on a visual level. Likewise, Two-Face peering through the venetian blinds is such a simple idea, but the way that the blinds crinkle at either end, and the way the edges cross one another. I’m less crazy about the way Scott draws character faces though (the slack-jawed, red-nosed cop in the opening scene looks more like a chimpanzee than a person, and the news reporter looks like he’s a storefront mannequin), and a lot of his poses are stiff and clunky. It doesn’t feel like it’s quite there, just yet.
Overall, this is one of the less successful issues of “Batman” under Daniel’s tenure. None of the pieces of this issue feel like they’re quite coming together, and that in general it’s struggling to get to its destination. Hopefully later chapters will pull together a bit more. After being usurped for two months for a crossover with other titles by a guest creative team, this “Batman” is a bit disappointing.