41 years ago - Harvey Dent is born to an abusive father.
23 years ago - 18-year-old Harvey Dent goes to college, studying pre-law.
20 years ago - 21-year-old Harvey starts law school.
19 years ago - 22-year-old Harvey marries Gilda Dent.
17 years ago - 24-year-old Harvey graduates law school and begins working for the Gotham DA's office, working against his own office's corruption.
15 years ago - 26-year-old Harvey becomes and assistant DA, and begins working alongside Lieutenant Gordon & Batman.
14 years ago - 27-year-old Harvey becomes Gotham's new District Attorney after the old one is brought down on corruption charges thanks to his work alongside Lieutenant Gordon & Batman.
11 years ago - 30-years-ago Harvey's marriage ends when Gilda leaves him. He is attacked with a vial of acid by Sal Maroni in the court room, scarring half his face and shattering his sanity. He becomes Two-Face, and murders Carmine Falcone.
9 years ago - 32-year-old Harvey kills Jason Todd's father. He traps Batman and forces Robin to save him... when he fails Harvey beats him savagely. He's stopped by Jason, and put in Arkham.
5 years ago - 36-year-old Harvey escapes Arkham during Tim Drake's first night patroling as Robin. who stops him single-handedly.
3 years ago - 38-year-old Harvey escapes Arkham during the Gotham Quake. He takes over a small part of the city, working alongside Commissioner Gordon once he stops him from killing Julian Gregory Day. He puts Gordon on trial, but Gordon asks for Dent as his defense, which notably fracture's Dent's dual identity.
2 years ago - 39-year-old Harvey, struggling with his fractured identities, kidnaps both his ex-wife Gilda and his father, forcing Renee Montoya to choose who dies. Renee appeals to Dent, and Harvey jumps off the roof to stop Two-Face. Batman saves him, but more importantly he now acknowledges his fractured psyche and wants to heal.
now - 42-year-old Harvey undergoes surgery to heal the worst of his scars. He re-applies to the bar as a part of his rehabilitation, and begins working as an expert witness in cases featuring super-criminal methodology.
The criminals and psychopaths that make up Batman's Rogues's gallery are a wild bunch, and often illustrate the particular cancer eating away at Gotham. While all of them have their own special storytelling potential and stand out as their own, it is probably Two-Face that is the archetypal 'Gotham Villain'. His story is rooted deeply in his insanity, but unlike characters like the Joker who are designed to defy diagnosis, Harvey Dent is a deliberate study of a particular psychosis. Obviously he's not meant to be an accurate representation of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but rather uses those ideas as a larger framework to really drive his stories forward. Also, the fact that he is also meant to have been a onetime ally of Batman's that was tragically disfigured and driven insane makes him one of the most singularly "Gotham" villains in comics.
Two-Face's Comic History
Two-Face is one of Batman's oldest villains, debuting way back in the early years of Detective Comics. Those classic stories tended to end with Harvey Dent's scars (and psyche) healed, and with Dent reverting back to his original personality. Eventually the character himself actually acknowledged that he had been scarred too much and too often to ever recover again.
Later comics didn't acknowledge this period of perpetually being healed and then re-scarred... but they also didn't really use the character that often. Two-Face is the only one of Batman's classic villains that never once appeared in his live action tv series... perhaps because there was just no way to make his concept appropriate for the show's audience.
Still, as the years went on we wound up seeing quite a bit of him. He's a fantastic villain to deploy against other characters in Gotham beyond Batman; he's a classic and he's absolutely terrifying, but he's not so overpowered that members of the GCPD couldn't hope to take him out on their own. He's become a featured enemy of several of the Robins, and an excellent representative of the criminals that plague Gotham. Stories about him become twisted explorations of so many deeply psycological ideas; digging into mental illness, identity, jungean archetypes, the nature of justice and fate... It's a lot of fun to watch writers embrace him as a concept and tell their own stories using this classic comic book foil.
Our Two-Face Story
There are three major eras in Two-Face's story that we worked to get into our timeline. The first is his early career as the assistant DA of Gotham who works alongside Batman and Gordon against organized crime. This wasn't originally part of Batman's story, but it's been slowly, retroactively introduced over the years. It makes a lot of sense; if Batman wants to be an effective vigilante, he would need someone inside the police AND the DA's office. He doesn't necessarily have to be the actual DA, not at first, and in fact it makes more sense if he isn't. The idea that Gordon wasn't Comissioner yet when he first started working with Batman has become cannon over the years, and it actually makes sense for Dent to start out as a new Assistant DA. They both benefit professionally by working with Batman.
The second important era of his career, after he became Two-Face, is Harvey's role as a Robin Villain. I have no idea if it's done deliberately, but Two-Face has played a major role in the development of all three of the first Robins. We wanted to include as many of them as possible.. and will likely have him show up to challenge Damian as well (althought that might not go as well for Harvey).
the third era is probably going to wind up a little controversial, but here we go; some of the most compelling Two-Face stories have delt with the idea of Harvey Dent's possible recovery. This is sometimes because the story in question is writing the character using a framework of dissasociative identity disorder, which establishes that both Harvey and Two-Face are actually distinct personalities that are at odds with each other. There are several stories that have imagined Harvey overcoming his condition. That's where we want to take him, struggling to deal with his dual identity and becoming a dangerous threat for new, completely unpredictable reasons. We even go so far as to having him want to get better, to get his scars repaired, and even retake the bar exam. It's an element of the character that has always been there, we just like the idea of exploring it.
There's really only one choice to be made when it comes to Two-Face's costume, and it's actually a pretty fascinating one. Does Harvey have his suit split down the middle to match his face or not?
It's a question about just what sort of character you want him to be. The split suit is a choice. It's Two-Face embracing who his role as a costumed character. Early in his career, after he's scarred and he's flipping his coin to decide if he's going to commit a robbery or turn in his crew to the police, that actually makes a lot of sense. There's a gradiosity to the whole idea of Two-Face. This is the character that had a giant coin made to trap Batman. (I know, the giant penny in the Batcave was actually made by D-level villain Penny Pincher. Do I really need to explain why having Two-Face make it is a better idea?)
On the other hand, would a character that is stricken with multiple personalities that are vieing for control choose to highlight his duality in a custom costume? Later on, when our version of Two-Face becomes more conflicted as Harvey strains against his darker persona, perhaps he wouldn't be wearing the two-color costume anymore. He's more likely to just wear a normal suit.
Also... there are a lot of color possibilities... I happen to be a fan of the brown and purple-plaid option.
As we leave Harvey's timeline, he's very much on the path to healing. There are a lot of stories that feature a redeemed Two-Face, and I actually would like to give some of them a chance to happen. Harvey was a good friend of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon and having him return to them is something I would really like to see play out. Also... to what degree is he allowed to practice law? He was a criminal, but he was also mentally ill... I honestly don't know how that would work out, but I'd like to explore it.
Meanwhile... there are also quite a few stories where Harvey becomes Two-Face again. We don't want to constantly be bouncing back and forth here, so obviously his relapse needs to be on just one, awesome story. My personal favorite was "Two of a Kind", a shot story by Bruce Timm from issue #1 of Batman: Black and White. I'm not going to tell you what happens in it, but you should really read it.
Whether that's the story that winds up being used or not Harvey's return as Two-Face should be huge. he should have a new, more refined focus, perhaps even a new understanding of his own duality that makes him far more dangerous. I'd love to see exactly what comes of a story like that.