Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Art: Javier Fernandes, Jordie Bellaire, and Ariana Maher
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: September 20th, 2022
Two-Face has invariably been regarded as Batman’s most grievous baddie. If only Harvey Dent hadn’t been burned by acid, he could have persisted in his promising career as D.A. in Gotham City. He could have continued as one of Batman’s greatest partners using the law to inspire justice instead of a mask. Well, as Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 by Mariko Tamaki opens, Batman questions himself as Harvey is free once again, however, seemingly free of Two-Face’s sway. Nevertheless, as this mystery continues to unfold, who will truly be responsible for what misery is to follow? Let’s dive into Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 and find out!
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The focus of Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 by Tamaki was this dueling dichotomy between Two-Face and Harvey Dent. Both Batman, as well as Commissioner Gordon, held fast to the belief that he’s still “in there” expressing this overarching theme that there’s always some good left in a man. So, has a part of Dent truly survived? Well, you’ll have to read Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 to find out!
Overall, Tamaki concentrated less on the action and more on a classic mystery with a few minor twists and suspenseful moments. This genre lends itself well to both main characters taking Batman back to his roots as a detective instead of the more recent action-packed, universe-ending, brutality. A strong, classic mystery may be a bit more slow-moving with fewer bells and whistles, however, it’s the writer’s job to hold the reader’s attention with some periodic high-octane moments so as to not lose the reader’s interest. And, Tamaki did just that.
Nevertheless, the mystery was rather easy to solve almost from Jump Street. Why? Well, the character pool of suspects was incredibly small before Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 even kicked off. Normally, a good mystery introduces more possible suspects before even laying the foundation for actual crime to provide more layers and possibilities to the story. Batman fans will figure out the culprit almost immediately.
Additionally, why make Harvey/ Two-Face D.A. again? Who would allow that? It’s like allowing a known child predator to teach kids again because he says “he’s changed”. The premise just seemed a bit far-fetched, even if the new Mayor is rotten to the core. What recent history would dictate even taking the risk of allowing Harvey/ Two-Face as D.A. again? This really took me way out of the story almost instantly. And furthermore, why did Two-Face even care if Batman was involved in this puzzle? I still can’t understand the purpose of that aspect of the issue. I get why Harvey Dent Sr. was involved as well as his purpose but why involve the Bat-Family at all? Batman could have investigated this mystery without being asked by Harvey himself. The story would have still come together just fine. That plot thread just didn’t make sense either.
Lastly, the comic book science behind how his Father’s face got messed up didn’t sit well with me either. It seemed too much of a stretch. To consume a substance that only affects half your face is a bit ridiculous. Now, smearing or spraying that substance over half your face works. But again, just another silly angle that took this reviewer a bit too far out of the narrative while reading.
Javier Fernandes and Jordie Bellaire do a fantastic job setting the mood with a dark color pallet that simply amplified this mystery story well. These two engaged the reader well, established a rock-solid tone, and provided some purely nasty depictions of Harvey that will be firmly entrenched into your subconscious. There is a splash page of Harvey screaming in agony on that fateful day his face was brutally scarred that will practically haunt readers for some time to come. Yet, there is one artistic nugget that I just couldn’t shake. For a man celebrating his 88th Birthday, Harvey Dent Sr. looks incredibly young. I don’t know why this through me off but it did. Maybe it’s because the story was a mystery and I was looking for clues along the way? But there is no way Harvey’s Dad is 88 the way this art team depicts him.
Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 had some strong moments that held this reviewer’s attention for the most part. Moreover, I like my Batman more as the detective and crime fighter than as a Superhero combatant able to take down hordes, monsters, doppelgängers, and gods. Tamaki created a much more down-to-earth story with a few hints of action that may just be worth the buy to those diehard Two-Face fans.
Nevertheless, with a mystery that was a bit too easy to solve, shaky at the core, and mixed with some plot questions that seemed a bit too forced in order to create the story, I left with too many questions in order to make this one-shot work. Overall, Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 wasn’t bad, however, some other books out this week may fill your Batman tank a bit better that make a bit more sense. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!