The tragic tale of Harvey Dent
When I sat down to jot down a few Batman ideas for this week, a few topics instantly rose to the top of the pile as being worthy of discussion – the character himself, my favorite Batman story and villains.
See, Batman has the best villains. I can see someone making a strong case for the Flash Rogues. Heck, I love those villains as much as the next guy. But when it comes to pure, bloody psychopaths, no collection of foes can top Batman’s.
But for the purposes of this piece, I forced myself to pick one. Joker’s too easy. Everyone points to him as the most menacing of Batman’s opponents. And, I can’t say it isn’t deserved. He’s a murderous clown with a genius-level intellect, no morals and the kind of erratic behavior that’d make a chaos demon blush. He’s the ultimate wild card – pun intended.
But for my money, the saddest and deadliest villain in the pantheon of Batman’s enemies has to be Two-Face. Not because he’s done more harm to the Dark Knight as a villain. No, that goes to the guy with the chalk-white face and red lips. I’d have to say Two-Face because he represents Batman’s own failures in a way that no other character, aside from Jason Todd, does.
Harvey Dent was a crusading district attorney who, paired with rising star cop Jim Gordon, were slowly cleaning up the streets of Gotham. With a little help from the mysterious new vigilante known as The Batman, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
But a splash of acid from a desperate gangster changed all that, and the respected and exuberant crusader was replaced by a scarred, unstable and deadly new villain.
The best villains are not only menacing, but tragic. The misspent genius of Lex Luthor. The gruff morality of Captain Cold. The fallen star that is Sinestro. You either find a kernel of good that is overwhelmed by an ocean of evil or still think back to what was or could have been. Think of the good they could have done.
In a lengthy career riddled with tragedy upon tragedy, Two-Face stands as a constant and loud reminder that Batman can’t be everywhere at once.