“Batman and Two-Face” #25 continues to chronicle Batman’s rudderless journey through Gotham courtesy of writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason. Mick Gray’s solid inks enable John Kalisz’s colors to take form and add depth. The visuals are completed with Carlos M. Mangual’s letters as Two-Face stages an attack on Gotham City police headquarters.
Tomasi writes Two-Face with a snap in his dialog that reminds me of Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal of the character in “The Dark Knight.” While he appears in the opening three pages, Two-Face hits the bricks early, making way for part of an origin flashback, where readers learn why Harvey Dent is out to end the life of Erin McKillen, the person who effectively killed Harvey Dent and birthed Two-Face. A childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, McKillen is in a holding cell that Dent attacks, giving Batman a chance to confront his former ally who plays the more benevolent of two plans this time. Tomasi’s tale is chance-fueled revenge courtesy of Two-Face’s coin and McKillen’s incarceration. The end result pushes the titular characters away from each other throughout this issue, but sets up an inevitable confrontation in the next issue. The action certainly dulls Batman’s remorse, and the story itself easily could be from any point in the history of the caped crusader.
Tomasi gives his artistic partner plenty of interesting scenery and character interactions to draw. For his part, Gleason is top-notch as always, rising up to meet every instance that Tomasi throws at him. Some of the settings are darker and murkier than they need to be, but it adds to the cold unpleasantness that is Gotham City. Kalisz’s colors enhance the contrast around Batman while the Dark Knight tries to set things right in his city. That leads directly to a confrontation with McKillen, another Gotham City ginger. (I’m convinced Gotham has the most redheads per capita in the DC Universe, or that every redhead in Gotham has an axe to grind or a fight to champion.) Aside from the darkness and occasional obscurity, one little “Then” bar risks blending into the black negative space on the page and stands a chance of being overlooked, which would make the story a completely different and bewildering experience for readers.
While “Batman and Two-Face” #25 is darkly lit and violent, it is every bit as entertaining a read as Tomasi, Gleason, Gray, Kalisz and Mangual have brought to this title. It’s not the single best issue of the book, but it delivers the enjoyable consistency expected from this creative team. Batman’s rotating spate of guest stars hits an odd spot with this issue, as Batman is less working with Two-Face and more working in direct opposition of his one-time ally without ever truly coming to blows. This issue adds depth to Bruce Wayne’s past, puts a twist on Harvey Dent’s disfigurement and leaves a lot more for readers to look forward to. With this creative team onboard, there’s no doubt more good and great stories are sure to follow this very good tale.