Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Terror of the Two-Headed Coin
As an inveterate Two-Face fan, I've been looking forward to the "Batman:Jekyll/Hyde" mini. Batman's most psychologically complex villain was owed a solid storyline, certainly after what DCU allowed that idiot Loeb to do with him in "Long Halloween" and "Hush".
But this ain't it, folks.
Like many DCU villains, Two-Face has been the victim of "Savage Simplification", the DCU disease that infects writers' sophistication, wasting away their ability to portray characters with any but the broadest strokes. Jekyll/Hyde is the latest example: "Oh, Dent's a 'split-personality' with poor, good Harvey trapped and fighting evil Two-Face!" Talking to his other self. Calling himself "we".
*Sigh* Two-Face reduced to being Rose & Thorn's prom date. As originally conceived and portrayed until the Crisis, Two-Face was much more realistic and interesting. "Two-Face" wasn't the breakdown of Harvey Dent's personality, he was the synthesis of his disparate good and evil impulses. Two-Face wasn't the evil side of Harvey Dent; he was the combination of his evil and good sides, and that was what made him effective, interesting, and hard to cure.
The above excerpt from his original story makes the point. Two-Face was able to reinterpret good and evil to his own purposes, confusing them so as justify any behavior as acceptable to both his good and bad impulses. But then again ... he was a lawyer.
As Socrates is reputed to have said, "No man knowingly does evil." Therein lay the terror of Two-Face: he symbolizes our ability to justify own our evil. Each of us.
And that scares me a lot more than Sybil.