Batman – One Bad Day: Two-Face has been out for two days now. (See what we did there?) Written by Mariko Tamaki, who’s taking on a villain she never got to while writing Detective Comics, and drawn by Javier Fernandez, it offers a chance to get to know the D.A.-turned crimelord in a way you never have before. To delve into the tragedy that altered a once-promising champion of justice into one of Gotham’s most notorious gangsters.
The question of whether you should pick up this powerful new one-shot shouldn’t be a coin flip. After all, Two-Face is one of the most fascinating rogues in Batman’s gallery. Don’t believe us? Well, perhaps we can change your mind in a manner that Harvey Dent might appreciate. Here are twenty-two little known facts about the curiously conflicted criminal called Two-Face.
1) When Two-Face first appeared in Detective Comics #66, his real name was Harvey “Apollo” Kent. He kept the Kent surname for his next few appearances, until it was changed to Harvey Dent in 1948’s Batman #50. The change was likely done to avoid confusion with a certain mild-mannered Metropolis reporter. This was later used as a plot point in Superman Family #211 when Earth-Two’s Lois Lane mistakenly believed that one of Harvey Kent’s enemies was targeting her husband.
2) The very first Two-Face story was actually (and very fittingly) a two-parter. Detective Comics #66 ended on a cliffhanger, but the resolution to the story was published in Detective Comics #68, skipping Detective Comics #67 entirely. In other words, the story continued TWO issues later.
3) Two-Face’s famous double-headed coin originally belonged to Boss Maroni. Harvey Dent used the coin as evidence during Maroni’s trial, which enraged the mobster, causing him to scar Dent. In some ways, this makes Two-Face’s coin partially responsible for his existence. Other versions of continuity present the coin as a possession of Dent’s father, with which he abused young Harvey.
4) Two-Face’s first crime was bank robbery. Because his coin landed on the good side, he donated the stolen money to the local orphanage. Early Two-Face stories would have Harvey using stolen loot for charitable purposes, but this angle was dropped in later appearances.
5) If you haven’t been keeping track, Two-Face’s scarring is on the left side of his face. Batman was once able to spot an imposter framing Harvey Dent because they put their scars on the right side by mistake (this was in Detective Comics #187).
6) In 1946, the Batman newspaper strips published their own version of Two-Face’s origin, with a few twists. This version of the character was a conceited actor named Harvey Apollo who was scarred by a gangster he was testifying against. Most of the story plays out the same way, except Two-Face accidentally kills himself by tripping over his coin and being hung after falling into some hanging wires.
7) A plastic surgeon named Dr. Albert Ekhart was able to temporarily fix Harvey Dent’s face on TWO separate occasions. The first was in 1943’s Detective Comics #80, and that cure lasted until an explosive device detonated near Harvey’s face ten years later in 1953’s Batman #81. Ekhart tried to fix Harvey’s face again in Batman #328-329, but it didn’t take. Interestingly, Albert Ekhart’s name is similar to Aaron Eckhart, the actor who played Two-Face in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight.
8) A few other men have assumed the Two-Face identity over the years. There was Dent’s butler Wilkins (1948’s Batman #50), an actor named Paul Sloane (1951’s Batman #68) and an exhibition manager named George Blake (Detective Comics #187).
9) Two-Face wasn’t always a regular member of Batman’s rogues gallery. After appearing in 1953’s Batman #81, Two-Face was absent from the Bat-Books until 1971’s Batman #234. In true Two-Face fashion, he was TWO years away from a TWO decade absence.
10) During Two-Face’s extended absence, a potion from a mad scientist turned Batman into Two-Face in World’s Finest #173. Unsurprisingly, this then would go on to happen a second time…sort of. It appeared that the Dark Knight had once again turned into Two-Face in 1982’s Detective Comics #513, but the Caped Crusader was just using makeup to catch Harvey off-guard psychologically.
11) Famed writer Harlan Ellison wrote a story treatment for an episode of the 1966 Batman series that would have featured Two-Face. The episode was never produced, but in 2014, Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez turned that treatment into a comic. Check out Batman ’66: The Lost Episode if you want to see what would have happened if Adam West’s Caped Crusader fought Two-Face.
12) In addition to Ellison’s lost episode, Warner Brothers Animation presented a second version of Batman ’66’s Two-Face in the animated movie Batman vs. Two-Face. William Shatner voiced Harvey Dent, and hearing him interact with Adam West’s Batman (in his final performance as the Caped Crusader) is as glorious as you could imagine.
13) Green Arrow is the first non-Gotham hero that Two-Face battled. Dent encountered the Emerald Archer in The Brave and the Bold #106.
14) Joker is the first super-villain Two-Face encountered (Batman #258) and the first one he also teamed up with (The Brave and the Bold #129-130).
15) Two-Face teamed up with the Justice League to fight off a group of invading aliens in 1975’s Justice League of America #125-126. The Flash warned everyone that Two-Face would betray them, which he naturally did. Thankfully, the aliens were defeated despite Dent’s double-cross.
16) For a time, the Teen Titan known as Harlequin tricked the superhero community into believing she was Two-Face’s daughter Duela Dent. It turns out Harvey never had a daughter, and it was revealed that Duela made the whole thing up (Tales of the Teen Titans #50), but that still doesn’t explain why Two-Face went along with her backstory in 1977’s Teen Titans #48. Maybe Two-Face sensed potential in having a cohort named “Harlequin.”
17) In DC Super-Stars #14, it was revealed that Maroni had actually been aiming his acid at a cop named David Davis. Subsequent retellings of Two-Face’s origin (like Batman: The Long Halloween) have dropped this angle.
18) Harvey eventually got his revenge against Maroni—twice! Salvatore Maroni seemingly died after a confrontation with Two-Face in DC Super-Stars #14, but it was later revealed that he survived and had become physically disabled. In retaliation, Maroni murdered Gilda Dent’s new husband Dave Stevens, enraging Two-Face, who murdered Maroni “for a second time” in Batman #328-239.
19) Billy Dee Williams, who was famous for playing a two-faced friend in a popular space opera, was cast as District Attorney Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. In 2017, Williams was given a SECOND chance at the role when he provided the voice for Two-Face in The Lego Batman Movie.
20) In Batman: The Animated Series, Two-Face and Poison Ivy were briefly a couple! Before becoming Two-Face, District Attorney Harvey Dent was planning on proposing to Pamela Isley, unaware that she was going to poison him in retaliation for his crimes against nature. This breakup made subsequent super-villain get-togethers (like the classic “Almost Got ‘Im”) awkward.
21) In “Batman: Hush,” Tommy Elliot restores Harvey Dent’s face, giving the former district attorney enough clarity to renounce his life of crime. For a period of time, Dent became one of Batman’s greatest allies. The Dark Knight even tasked Dent with watching over Gotham for a full year while he took a trip around the world. Unfortunately Dent’s demons returned, causing him to scar himself and become Two-Face again (”Face the Face”).
22) During the All-Star Batman storyline “My Own Worst Enemy,” it was revealed that Harvey has been aware of the Dark Knight’s secret identity for some time.
Batman – One Bad Day: Two-Face by Mariko Tamaki, Javier Fernandez and Jordie Bellaire is now available in print and as a digital comic book.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.