Is this the first glimpse of Aaron Eckhart’s Two Face from this summer’s Batman The Dark Knight film? Many are saying that it’s an early version of what will be the final effect mixing prosthetic make-up and CGI effects. Whatever the case, it’s sure to scare the living crap out of the auduence.
Introduced in 1942 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger as a new super villain to join Batman‘s burgeoning rogue’s gallery, Two Face was a riff on the old Jeckyll and Hyde routine. Harvey Dent, a well-meaning district attorney badly scarred by acid thrown at him during a court case (bad luck, huh?), the scars went deeper than just his face. His entire psyche was scarred, leading him to see life in simplistic duality. At the flip of a coin, he would decide his fate. To match his visage, the coin was scarred on one side. If the coin landed scarred side up, Gotham City would be in for some trouble.
The character has enjoyed the status as the number two most loved villain (after the Joker), despite the fact that he seems to be used so sparingly in the comic book series.
Forgotten as a villain, it was Denny O’Neil that brought the villain back the fore during his run on the Batman comic book in 1971. An essential part of the third Robin‘s origin, Two Face played a vital role in the story ‘A Lonely Place of Dying.’ It was perhaps Frank Miller‘s brief homage to the villain in 1984′s classic Dark Knight Returns that made it apparent just how much power and relevance the character has. Matt Wagner developed the character further in his fantastic tale ‘Faces’ in Legends of the Dark Knight. Heroes TV series developer Jeph Loeb used Two Face as the lynch pin of his epic mini-series ‘The Long Halloween’ in which he retold Two Face‘s origin, adding and changing certain details.
Animator Bruce Timm brought Two Face into a new light in his 1991 two-part story featuring the character’s origin. While DC Comics had recently published a story suggesting that Harvey Dent was abused by his father as a child (at the flip of a coin), Timm presented another angle. As a young boy, Dent had kept his rage in check until a school bully pushed him over the edge. Young Dent struck the other boy who ended up in the hospital. The hospitalization had nothing to do with Dent (the boy was coincidentally sick from another ailment), but to Dent this made an impact. He kept his rage deeply buried until it developed into another persona, ‘Big Bad Harv.’ After being facially scarred, Dent accepted that he must make a pact with this negative aspect of his persona and allowed this violent monster to run loose… at the flip of a coin.
Whichever version of the character this summer film decides to bring us, I am sure it will be very impressive and leave a lasting mark on the comic book character.
Unlike… other versions.