Batman #711, the bizarre and brutal return of Harvey Dent, is a great idea that’s getting lost in some bad execution. Essentially, there’s too much happening and some of it is really stupid. Take, for example, The Riddler’s sidekick and supposed daughter Enigma. She’s a badly written and poor rip off of Harley Quinn. That might be intentional, it might not be, but it reads poorly. The issue is also weighed down with Catgirl, who has very little to do besides get her ass kicked. These two elements take us away from what we want to see, which is Harvey Dent going psycho over the betrayal by his wife Gilda.
I was hoping that this betrayal would be real, that Gilda had turned on her husband and joined up with the Falcone gang to seek a twisted vengeance on Two-Face for all she’s had to endure. Tying it into the Holiday Killer also gives credit to the idea that Gilda Dent has gone way, way off the reservation. In issue 711, that hope is a bit dashed as a back door is given to Gilda that could prove she’s just a pawn. I’m still hopeful that writer Tony Daniel will end this arc in a dark fashion, but you never know. DC loves to make sure there’s an easy answer.
Issue 711 follows Batman as he tracks down a desperate and brutal Harvey Dent. Daniel has done a superb job of bringing Harvey and Two-Face back into the spotlight. The iconic villain is more unhinged and less plot oriented than normal. He’s also lost his coveted two-headed coin, which is driving him closer to the edge. Watching Two-Face crack up even harder and prepare to gun down Falcone and anybody else between him and his estranged wife is really fun. However, the addition of The Riddler just mucks up the story and gives it a convoluted feel. Tony Daniel is really accomplished at writing A to Z adventure stories so why the need for all the extras?
The art is frustrating because it isn’t Tony Daniel. Steve Scott is fine; he does decent work with some nice splash pages. That being said, he is no Tony Daniel and that lack of image punch is hurting the story arc. Daniel’s style is so perfect for Batman that Steve Scott’s pencils look flat and one-dimensional. I also dislike the way Scott draws Two-Face. He makes his deformity look like bad B movie horror makeup. There’s literally almost a perfectly straight line vertically down Dent’s face. It’s more reminiscent of Walking Dead than Harvey Dent.
Batman #711 is sliding down a slippery slope. I was so happy with how Daniel’s re-invigorated Two-Face in the last issue, that I wasn’t expecting the disappointment I had with this one. Hopefully the return of Two-Face will climax with real excellence and Tony Daniel will start doing his own art again. If Two-Face doesn’t make it through the big reboot, I’d hate his last story to end with a whimper and not a bang.
CRAVEONLINE RATING: 6.5 OUT OF 10