One Year Later: Batman #653 Review

Initially, the Revolution was loving the One Year Later Storyline running through Batman and Detective Comics. However, the last issue started to show signs that this storyline was quickly running out of steam. Will Batman #653 stem the tide and get this storyline back on track? Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Don Kramer
Inker: Wayne Faucher

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Harvey Dent in a motel room arguing with his Two Face persona staring at him from the mirror. The Two Face persona is saying that their old life was the best. That is was better than sex, heroin, cocaine, weed, etc. Harvey tells Two Face that he felt like he had a purpose until Batman came back and took his job away from him.

We flashback to the night when Batman approached Harvey about watching Gotham for him. Harvey asks why him. Batman says that he believes that Harvey is cured and that Robin and Nightwing will be with him. Batgirl is dead. Huntress is not effective. And the Creeper is not reliable. We then get a flashback within flashback (wow, great, huh?) about how Harvey became Two Face in the first place. Harvey then decides to accept Batman’s offer. Batman then trained Harvey for a month. Then they both fought Freeze and Firebug. Batman then left Harvey to protect Gotham.

Harvey tells his Two Face persona that he enjoyed every minute of being Gotham’s protector. Two Face then says that once Batman came back that Harvey was no longer needed. Then Harvey is framed for the murders and is immediately blamed by Batman. That when evidence pointed to Batman being a murdered that others stood by him and believed. But, Batman couldn’t be bothered to believe Harvey. Harvey says that he hates Two Face because he agrees with him. Because he doesn’t’ want to. Harvey then admits that when they were Two Face they were the best of all the Batman villains. The Two Face persona asks Harvey if he remembers how that felt to be the best there was. Harvey responds that it was better than sex. Better than heroin.

Harvey then pulls out his old coin. The Two Face persona tells Harvey that Batman is jealous of him. That no one trusts them. That all they have is each other. Harvey flips the coin and it lands on the scar faced side up. Harvey goes to the bathroom and pours nitric acid on half of his face and takes a scalpel to it as well. (Dude, that is just wrong. You are a sick bastard!) Harvey then exits the bathroom flipping his coin saying two heads are better than one. And with that Two Face is reborn. End of issue.

The Good: Well, Robinson does write an interesting Two Face. Robinson does a good job showing a man crumble before our eyes as his sanity unravels as he descends into madness. I could feel for Harvey and sadly enough I could almost understand why he fell back into the pit of insanity.

I like Don Kramer’s art. He draws a great Batman. Too bad we didn’t get a lot of Batman in this issue. I also enjoyed the layout of this comic book. It really captured the feeling of man falling apart.

The Bad: I think the issue was well written. But, that doesn’t mean it was a good issue. Batman #653 just wasn’t a good issue. And this storyline that was so interesting at the beginning has come to a screeching halt. This storyline has just lost all of its steam and momentum. I understand that this issue wanted to center on Harvey Dent losing his mind and becoming Two Face once again. But, I kind of already got that impression after last issue. I didn’t really need and entire issue centered on Harvey becoming Two Face.

The pace of this storyline has been horrible the past two issues. Absolutely nothing has happened in the past two issues. Batman #653 felt like a wasted issue. It almost seems like Robinson came up with a neat idea for a story and then either lost his focus or is simply putting in filler to stretch it a predetermined number of issues. I have pretty much lost any interest in this storyline at this point. I’m pretty much ready for Morrison to take over this title right now.