Knight Models Staff
Let’s talk about Two-Face!
Two-Face is one of the most popular and enduring villains within the Batman universe. This enigmatic man has achieved great popularity thanks to his eccentric appearance and his particular way of perpetuating his crimes.
Two-Face was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and first appeared in 1942 in Detective Comics #66 under the name Harvey "Apollo" Kent. In later stories they changed his name to "Harvey Dent" to avoid an association with Superman (Clark Kent).
Bob Kane claims to have been inspired by the strange case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to create the character of Two-Face, since he saw the movie when he was a child and was fascinated by the particular story. He also somewhat referenced the Pulp magazine character Black Bat, due to him getting his face splashed with acid as well.
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Two-Face
His particular face is known to all of us, but what is Two-Face's story?
Before becoming a psychotic criminal, Two-Face was Harvey Dent, a notorious Gotham City prosecutor who suffered a burn to the left side of his face.
This is important to remember since Batman gets to unmask an impostor posing as Two-Face by having the right part of his face disfigured, not the left one.
This burn was done by mob boss Sal Maroni when he sprayed chemicals on Dent during a court trial. Dent was prosecuting Maroni for murder when Maroni threw the acid in his face during interrogation, leaving horrific scars on his left side. How does Maroni get the acid under those circumstances? Easy, Falcone bribes corrupt Assistant District Attorney Vernon Fields to provide Maroni with Sulphuric Acid, so he was able to injure Dent while doing his job.
“Then why was it me who was the only one who lost everything” Two-Face
This physical disfigurement triggered more than just his psychopathic tendencies, since Harvey Dent had certain mental disorders that were accentuated by this incident.
Two-Face suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. It is said that this is why he has an obsession with chance and destiny.
This is seen in Frank Miller's version of Batman's origin (Batman: Year One) in which it was explained that, before the accident, Harvey Dent had a tragic life that he tried to make amends by working hard as a district attorney. It is even explained that he was one of Batman's earliest allies and had ties to him and Commissioner Gordon. After this it becomes clearer because for Batman and Gordon, he is a personal and disturbing enemy. Gordon even suspected that Dent was Batman, but he dismissed this idea when he realized that he lacked Batman's financial resources.
With this new insight into Dent, Andrew Helfer rewrote Two-Face's story to match the details given by Frank Miller. Two-Face's new story portrayed Harvey Dent as a tragic character, with a backstory that included an abusive, alcoholic father, and early struggles with bipolar disorder and paranoia.
In this version Dent would have had an unhappy childhood. His father was mentally ill and beat him regularly, often deciding whether or not to hit him by flipping a coin. After these incidents Dent is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia at a young age, but manages to hide his illnesses and, thanks to his unwavering work ethic, rises through the ranks of the Gotham City district attorney's office until, at age 26, he becomes the youngest district attorney in the city's history.
After the event with Maroni, he goes insane and adopts the personality of Two-Face, becoming a criminal obsessed with duality and the conflict between good and evil.
“Heads… you lose” Two-Face
The number 2 is very present in Two-Face's story and introduction. Two-Face's first story was divided into 2 parts. Detective Comics #66 ended without having finished his story. Two-Face's resolution ended up being published in Detective Comics #68, skipping Detective Comics #67 entirely. In other words, the story continued TWO issues later.
Then again, Two-Face only appeared TWICE in the 1950s at first. At that time, he was abandoned to prioritize "more kid-friendly" villains. In World's Finest Comics #173 (1968), he only appears in Batman's comments where he states that he is the criminal he fears the most. It wasn't until 1971 that writer Dennis O'neil brought back Two-Face to make him one of Batman's recurring foes. If you look at the dates, after appearing in 1953's Batman #81, Two-Face was absent from the Batman comics until 1971's Batman #234. In true Two-Face style, he had been TWO years away from having an absence of TWO decades.
Plus, Two-Face got his revenge on Maroni, twice! Salvatore Maroni apparently died after a confrontation with Two-Face in DC Super-Stars #14, but it was later revealed that he survived and was left physically disabled. In retaliation, Maroni murdered Gilda Dent's new husband, Dave Stevens, angering Two-Face, who murdered Maroni "for the second time" for causing Gilda Dent pain, in Batman #328-239.
“Finally, justice is served! Let us die!” Two-Face
As we can see his crimes are also based on the number 2. Two-Face makes his important decisions by flipping his iconic coin. This is like his lucky charm, and it has two faces, one damaged as a result of the acid. He always follows his outcome no matter what circumstances he brings, such as his first crime being a bank robbery. Because his coin landed on the good side, he donated the stolen money to the local orphanage.
By using chance as a weapon, it can be said that all the people Dent has killed were destined to die.
“Fate has chosen… and cannot be denied”. Two-Face
A curious fact about this coin is that it originally belonged to Maroni. Harvey Dent used the coin as evidence during Maroni's trial, angering the mobster and giving him a scar. Somehow this makes Two-Face's currency partially responsible for his existence. Note though those other versions present Two-Face's coin as a possession of Dent's father, with which he made decisions to abuse young Harvey.
“Two faces… both as perfect as mine once was” Two-Face
Another fun fact is that, although the giant coin is considered an element of Two-Face, it was first used by Penny Plunderer, a villain already retired from the Batman universe.
“If I’ve got even half a chance of beating you, I intend to take it” Two-Face
Although the character has some plot twists and story changes such as when a surgeon fixes his face TWICE, he has an affair with Poison Ivy or when Two-Face's life ends because he accidentally kills himself by tripping over his coin and subsequently being left behind hanging from dangling cables. The story of this incredible villain has endured over time as one of the best stories in the Batman universe ever told.
That’s all Bat-Fans. We hope you liked this post about Two-Face. Soon we will bring you more information and we will talk about more iconic characters from the Batman universe that are included in our strategic Batman Miniature Game. Don’t miss out!