Part 1 of 2 (concluded in Detective
Comics #513) - continues series of full
crossovers between Detective Comics and Batman
Following a negative response from the parole board to his request to be transferred to a halfway house, Two-Face escapes from Arkham Asylum by using - as Batman soon finds out - a coin similar to his regular prop to hypnotize the wardens.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon is facing mounting pressure by Mayor Hill to resign, Robin is told by his new flame Dala that they should not see each other anymore (quickly revealed to the reader to be a ruse to make Robin think that she is in some kind of trouble), and Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale rediscover their romantic feelings for each other. However, when a remark from Vicki reminds Bruce of Two-Face's request to be transferred to a halfway house, he leaves her under the first pretext he can think of ...
|And finally, at City Hall, Commissioner Gordon hands in his resignation to Mayor Hill - to be replaced by one of "Boss" Thorne's men as Hill's part in a deal to repay the mobster for his help in the mayoral election ...|
quite obviously well in charge of things across both
Batman titles and enjoying himself, and reader reactions
in the letters pages of both titles were overwhelmingly
positive if not outright enthusiastic.
Don Newton's artwork seems somewhat looser than usual, and whilst that does not harm the shadowy sequences in the halfway house, some of the broad daylight renderings of the individuals involved in this story are affected by this.
|Highly RECOMMENDED READING - An excellent example of just how interestingly a storyline with multiple subplot threads can be told over the course of one comic book issue, all put together smoothly by Gerry Conway.|
FACTS & FIGURES
couple of 1981 issues of Detective Comics and Batman
which carried over subplots from one title to the other
and which featured a growing number of cross-linked
editorial references, DC stepped this up in late 1981 and
turned Detective Comics and Batman into
virtually one comic book by running complete storylines
from one title into the other, beginning with Batman
#345 which had a cover date of March 1982 but actually
went on sale on 10 December 1981.
Readers thus effectively got a fortnightly Batman book, with Batman on sale on the second Wednesday of a month and Detective Comics on the fourth. Whilst DC did not go as far as to actually require readers to buy both books (there would usually be a brief recap of the events in the preceding issue of the other title), reading only one of the two titles could make the storyline seem slightly "jumpy" at times. It was a fairly bold experiment, but DC - and above all writer Gerry Conway - did an excellent job on what certainly wasn't an overly easy project, and it met with the approval and even praise of the majority of readers.
Turning to Batman's very first true villain - Doctor Death from Detective Comics #29 (July 1939) - for the first such crossover (starting out in Batman #345 and then wrapped up in Detective Comics #512 two weeks later), available that same month but two weeks later, Gerry Conway's next villain of choice for such a double take was a far more established character: Two-Face.
First appearing in Detective Comics #66 in August 1942, Two-Face was - according to Bob Kane's autobiography (Kane, 1989) - inspired by the 1931 movie adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with additional input derived from the pulp magazine character Black Bat, whose origin story also included having acid splashed in his face. Originally named Harvey Kent, this was changed (again according to Bob Kane's autobiography) to Harvey Dent as of Batman #81 (February 1954) in order to avoid confusion with Superman's alter ego Clark Kent, even though his appearances in the 1940s and 1950s were few and far between. Not sitting well with the more campy approach the Batman books were taking in the 1960s, Two-Face dropped completely out of sight (with the exception of a single appearance in 1968 in World's Finest Comics #173) until he was finally brought back in August 1971 by writer Dennis O'Neil in Batman #234, and it was this and subsequent portrayals which really shaped the character and turned him into one of Batman's arch-enemies in a series of now classic 1970s stories.
by the duality of good and bad luck, right and wrong,
good and evil, Two-Face obsessively makes all important
decisions by flipping a two-headed coin, one side of
which is scratched over with an X. Whenever the scarred
side of his coin comes up, Two-Face will proceed to go
through with his criminal plans.
Although featuring extensively and regularly throughout the 1970s, Gerry Conway never took any chances during his early 1980s run and always made a point of bringing new or unitiated readers up to speed with a short summary portrayal.
|Not reprinted since its original publication, "Half a Hero..." was widely and almost immediately published outside the US in 1982/83, e.g. in German by Egmont Ehapa (Batman Taschenbuch #17, 1982), in Norwegian (Superserien #19, 1982) and Swedish (Supermagasinet #19, 1982) by Semic, as well as repackaged for the Australian market by Federal (Batman #8, 1983).|
|KANE Bob (1989) Batman and Me, Eclipse Books|