Countdown Breakdown #26A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
Where to begin? Well, I’ll be covering a few topics from the last two issues since I was not able to write a breakdown column last week. We’re at the halfway point and get a nice recap from the writers this week, so not much in the way of new developments or characters, but I’ll see what I can do!
Two-Face. Back in 1942, Bob Kane noticed a movie poster for Spencer Tracy in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and was inspired to create a villain with a dual personality. Thus Harvey Dent was born. Actually, that’s not true. Harvey Kent was born but underwent a name change to Dent in later stories. Harvey likes to flip a scratched coin whenever he needs to decide between good and evil. Kane picked this up from the 1932 film Scarface.
Harvey had the nickname "Apollo" for his good looks when he was first elected prosecutor, 6 months prior to Batman’s first adventures. Dent nailed crime boss Sal “Boss” Maroni in the courtroom by producing Maroni’s two headed coin that was found at the scene of the crime. Maroni grabbed a conveniently placed vial of acid and threw it at Harvey, disfiguring him. Batman blocked Maroni’s hand, causing the acid to reach only half of Harvey’s face. Dent blamed Batman for not stopping it altogether.
A 1968 issue of World's Finest had Batman declare Two-Face as the villain he most feared. Harvey was actually out of the Batman titles for years since he wasn’t kid friendly, but Denny O’Neil brought him back in 1971 to become one of Batman’s biggest rogues. Jason Todd was tied to Dent when it was revealed that Harvey had killed Jason’s father. Jason had the opportunity to Kill Harvey, but chose Batman’s way of mercy instead. Would he make the same choice now?
During the year without Batman preceding One Year Later, Dent looked after Gotham at Batman's request. Once Batman returned, it didn’t take long for Two-Face to return as well.
Bludhaven. Bludhaven was created in 1996 as the location for Nightwing’s series. It's New Jersey to Gotham’s New York City, if you will. Nightwing originally went there in search of the villain Blockbuster, who set himself up as a crime boss. Dick actually took a different approach than Batman, joining the police force to fight the city’s corruption from within. After allowing a fellow vigilante, Tarantula, kill Blockbuster, Nightwing left Bludhaven, heavy with guilt about what he had allowed to happen. Robin and Batgirl moved there shortly afterwards. The fall of Bludhaven, starting with Chemo dropping on the city, wiping most of it out completely, followed by all of the strange experiments and politics of the Battle for Bludhaven mini series, are well known and recent, so I won’t go into them here.
That’s it for now! Hopefully the second half of Countdown will be exponentially more exciting than the first half has been! Take care!