Reviewer : Tim Byrne
Title : N/A
Writer : Paul Jenkins
Artist : Sean Phillips
Colorist : June Chung
Letterer : Rob Leigh
Editor : Mike Carlin
Publisher : DC Comics
Not much to see here, and certainly not a lot to show after six issues of this mini.
I am generally a fan of Paul Jenkins, but he blows so hot-and-cold that its sometimes difficult to decide what to think. His ‘Maybe Next Year’ single issue story in Peter Parker : Spider-Man literally brought tears to my eyes, and his scorching ‘Death in the Family’ arc involving the Green Goblin blew me away.
But he’s also written some clunkers, and the ham-handed psycho-babble of this story-line leaves a lot to be desired.
Batman and Two-Fact have their ‘final’ (well, final in this mini, anyway) confrontation, and the ‘truth’ regarding the conflict in Harvey’s childhood is resolved.
I dislike the trend of pinning all of a criminal’s villains / sins on an event in their childhood. Not only is it sloppy story-telling, but it diminishes the whole idea that some people deserve punishment because their actions are just wrong, regardless of upsetting events that have occurred to them in the past.
I completely disagree with Gordon’s appraisal that learning of Harvey’s past ‘explains a heck of a lot’. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t.
Batman’s characterisation is also uneven with his apparent sympathy for Harvey at odds with his observations of murder, death and destruction.
Batman’s visions of himself, and the emphasis on duality, is nothing that we haven’t seen before a zillion times.
The art is the high point of this issue. Phillips has cribbed some pointers from Tim Sale in the Long Hallowe’en, with his emphasis on different parts of Two-Fact to represent the sides of his personality in ascendancy. This is also assisted by the work from Rob Leigh on Two-Faces speech balloons.
June Chungs colors are generally bleak and dirty, with the washed-out shades serving to emphasise the flashback sequences.