(Completely unrelated to my review of this comic, but why did they have to call this Face the Face?? Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to type out “Face to face”?? It’s driving me nuts. I can’t handle these witty titles. Okay, mini-rant over.)
Batman: Face the Face picks up Batman’s story after the events of 52, with the caped crusader finally making his triumphant return to Gotham. With his return, we see plenty of villains returning as well. Unfortunately, many of them are winding up dead. KGBeast, Magpie, The Ventriloquist, and Orca are just some of the casualties found in the days following Batman’s return to the city. The big question, of course, is who’s responsible.
All the evidence seemingly points to Harvey Dent, recently reformed and assigned as Gotham’s protector by none other than Batman himself during the dark knight’s absence. While Harley might be a bit more brutal than Bruce, he seemed to be effective.
Unfortunately, with Batman’s return Harvey began reverting to his psychopathic ways, carrying on conversations with his grisly half, who tries to pull him back over to a life of crime. Unfortunately, Two-Face is successful, as Harvey completes his transformation by purposely disfiguring himself.
Two-Face is back, and he’s as crazy as ever. It’s sad that his return coincides with Batman’s own, implying that Two-Face is brought out because the Batman resurfaced. The duality of good versus evil is ever-present in this story, making Two-Face’s return even more compelling. I figured it was only a matter of time before he’d be back, but the way in which he re-creates his disfigurement was especially disturbing, yet somehow fit perfectly within the narrative.
As we learn that the true mastermind of all of these deaths is none other than the Great White Shark (super random reference back to Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, but hey, at least I understood it!), the story switches tone a bit. Throughout the trade, Batman has been hinting at Tim’s future, saying he wants more for his young partner. As the comic closes, Bruce presents Tim with the possibility of adoption, so that Tim can have a family again. After a pause, Tim’s response says more than words ever could.
This page was easily the most moving I’ve read in a comic in a long time. It’s not held down with clunky dialogue (that wouldn’t fit the characters, anyway), and instead their actions speak for them. After everything Tim’s lost (first his mother, then Stephanie, and most recently his father), it seems right that he be brought into a new family. Bruce is the closest father figure he has, and the fact that he will officially be a member of the family is incredibly touching. Sure, the same was done with Dick Grayson, but that doesn’t make it any less emotional. It’s nice to see that Tim will finally be able to call someone family again.
All in all not a bad way for Batman to make his comeback. Plenty of Rogues make appearances, and the emotional ending was the perfect wrap-up for the emotional trauma Robin has had to face. As the duo move forward, I’m hoping we continue to see more of this slightly friendlier Batman; a menace to the underworld, but still capable of being a good man.