Batman: Face the Face

January 2, 2009

It is a year after the major reality-splitting (literally) event of Infinite Crisis. During this time when Batman, Robin, and Nightwing were away, the task of protecting Gotham City and making GCPD look overpaid has been left in the capable hands of Harvey Dent, the facially restored ex-psychopath once known as 2-Face. As Batman himself extended the invitation, if you ever have the slightest doubt that this was a good idea, don’t make like you have a question hanging on your lips. Nobody questions the Batman — comprehendo?

Then, naturally, it has to happen. One fine crime-fighting day, Batman and Robin return from galactic holiday to thank 2-Face and announce that he’s now retrenched. At about same time, somebody is going around killing a few 2nd-class enemies of the Bat, one at a time but with 2 bullets: KGBeast, the Ventriloquist (and Scarface), and Orca the other penguin. Every one of these victims is tellingly self-doubling in a way. The evidences all point to Harvey, but, because Batman isn’t good at playing the reassuring “I-know-you-didn’t-do-it” pal, the crimefighting stand-in goes back to the only other profession he knows. How does that Miltonic line go: “Better to rule in Hell than to rule at someone else’s request”? As Gotham sinks into a new depth of crime, the man behind the scene who gains from it all remains, well, behind the scene, while Batman needs more hands and time to break some startling news to Tim Drake…

This is the way to do a clever return-to-form story. Writer James Robinson knows his Batman universe too well and mobilises every piece in a sophisticated way that always balances the tension of a few threads at each turn. It even finishes with an “It’s-all-so-logical” bang that demonstrates to us again why Batman is indeed the world’s greatest detective. (No wait, that’s Sherlock… never mind.) Underlying the dazzling mess is a suggestion that perhaps Gotham can stitch itself up pretty well without the scary dark guy. This is great Robinson stuff; for it, I shall even forget everything he has done disrespectfully in that script for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie…

This book is faced with a premium 8 rating from Gweek.


One Response to “Batman: Face the Face”

  1. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to undertand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your entries very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well!

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