In Batman and Two-Face #28, we see the final piece of a story arc that re-imagines the origins of Two-Face and introduces a new character into the Batman universe. This final issue, which sees Batman and Two-Face become allies briefly, brings a great Batman story to an emotional end. You are warned now, what comes below are spoilers and speculation.
The story arc introduces Erin McKillen, a leader of Gotham’s Irish mafia, who has been out of Gotham for several years. She and her twin sister were put in prison by Harvey Dent, district attorney of Gotham at the time. As part of a pact, one of the sisters would kill herself, allowing the other’s body to be switched with hers to allow her to escape. Erin’s sister, Shannon, drew the short straw. Due to her sister’s death, Erin killed Dent’s wife, Gilda, and disfigured his face. In DC’s New 52, this is the event that resulted in Dent’s insanity and conversion into Two-Face.
Coming to the present, Erin has returned with a vow to rid Gotham of the freaks who have taken over the criminal underworld there. The GCPD and Batman are alerted to her return, however, and a conflict breaks out between McKillen, Batman, and Two-Face.
Two-Face and Batman are temporarily allied a few times in the four-book arc, with Batman saving both Two-Face and McKillen when McKillen’s own forces, led by her cousin, turn against her. Batman takes Erin into his custody while Two-Face is eventually captured.
At the end of the arc, Two-Face is captured and almost torched to death, but after McKillen tries to lead Batman to the wrong location to save him, he ejects her from the Batmobile, where she is taken into police custody. Batman, meanwhile, has figured out where Two-Face is being held and goes to save him.
It is in this scene that something extraordinary happens. Dent, while fending off the attack with Batman, calls Batman “Bruce,” indicating he’s known for some time who he is. He also indicates that the fighter for justice, Harvey, has been doing all he can to keep Bruce safe to fight crime, but in ways only the psychopathic side, Two-Face, can. Batman says there is another side to Dent’s coin, the rough edge that connects the two, suggesting there is a similar side to Dent.
The One Final Flip
As Dent flees (he fails in trying to kill Jim Gordon, whose forces have just arrived on scene), he goes “deep underground,” according to Batman. Meanwhile, Dent, at a safe house, sets his coin on its edge and spins it, one final flip using the third side of the coin Batman referred to. He looks to a picture of his wife, Gilda, and says he feels lucky. The final image from that scene is blood spatter on Gilda’s picture.
The implied suicide is a major turning point for the Batman universe, as it leaves a void in Batman’s Rogues Gallery, and shows a major (if not final) emotional shift for one of the more well-known villains in Gotham. The use of the phrase “deep underground” by Batman to Gordon could suggest that Batman knows of Dent’s fate, but doesn’t tell Gordon because he has a very personal level of guilt.
The story, however, leaves room for perhaps a successor to Two-Face. McKillen’s own story is one of duality, much like Dent’s. The loss of her sister, her twin, is the equivalent of Dent losing himself. Several frames also showed the scars she got in her fight with Dent, Batman, and her own people, but on the right side, as opposed to Dent’s scarring being on the left side of his face.
Of course, in comics, no one stays dead forever, and there is nothing that confirms Dent actually is dead. A Batman universe without a Two-Face is one that is hard to visualize, but the writers seem to have left McKillen the perfect opportunity to fill that role.
Purchase the comic and check out the one final flip yourself.