Detective Comics #991 Review


Staff member

Two-Face and Batman are having a deep conversation, just the two of them, and they’re going to get to the bottom of all the deaths in Gotham. That’s where this issue opens–part four in a six part story–and it tackles a new angle on Two-Face and possibly how he interacts with Batman and Commissioner Gordon going forward.
So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:
Batman’s newest partner…Two-Face? As Harvey Dent’s persona asserts fragile control over the villain’s psyche, the Dark Knight, Commissioner Gordon and their ally-turned-enemy-turned-ally must work together to stop Kobra’s terrorist attack against Gotham City.​
Why does this matter?
Many can argue Two-Face is Batman’s arch-nemesis since he personifies the good and bad in Gotham. He also has close ties to both Bruce and Batman. Some of the best Batman stories involve this character who seems to be transforming ever so slightly in this story, so if you want to keep up with the character read this one.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The art uses a split layout quite a bit to show the juxtaposition of the characters. Credit: DC Comics
If you enjoy a good palaver (prolonged and idle discussion) you’re going to like this issue. There is some action, but really this is about Batman, Gordon, and Two-Face coming to an understanding. Batman wants to know what Two-Face is really up to, Gordon wants to know if Harvey is back at it, and Two-Face has a plan he’s not revealing completely to anyone. Writer James Robinson is basically giving each character a chance to lay out their cards and decide where to go from here. It’s a good way to set up our climactic last issues which will surely rock the Two-Face character forever.
I say that because Two-Face’s personality disorder gets a twist this issue. If you’re a seasoned Two-Face fan you’ll know the character has changed from homicidal monster to a man with two personalities constantly dueling one another. In this issue, it is revealed Two-Face, the monster, may be losing control and his understanding of what his purpose is in this duality.

The art by Carmine Di Giandomenico (with colors by Ivan Plascencia) has the edgy stylized look Giandomenico is known for. There are no streaky energy lines like he’s done in his excellent work on The Flash, but the fluidity remains in the clothing and body language of the characters. The art team captures the horrific nature of Two-Face’s scarred side quite well, which is juxtaposed with Batman’s intense focus that never wavers.

Sweet shot. Credit: DC Comics
Given the history of these three characters, it’s difficult to swallow what is going on here. How many times will Batman and Gordon give Two-Face a chance and listen to him even though he kills with impunity? Action fans are also going to be annoyed how much talking there is and how little action there is across the book.
Is it good?
A good issue because it tinkers with the make up and identity of Two-Face in an interesting way. Sure, it’s hard to believe the heroes will even listen to this madman, let alone work with him, but it’s a fun adventure nonetheless.