Itâ€™s really too bad that I havenâ€™t had the time to write a review for each of the Jokerâ€™s Asylum issues as they came out, but now that Iâ€™m getting back into the groove, I might as well follow up yesterdayâ€™s review of Jokerâ€™s Asylum: Scarecrow (released last week), with a review of this weekâ€™s concluding issue in the series; Jokerâ€™s Asylum: Two-Face.
In this story, Two-Face receives some in Arkham counseling from someone who has gone through the same tragedy he has – well almost.Â In this case, Holman Hunt had half his face and hand burned off when he was fighting a fire and became trapped.Â Fortunately, Batman saved him, and thanks to the support of a loving wife, heâ€™s become a mentor and motivator for others with similar afflictions.Â Unfortunately, Holman discovers thereâ€™s no rehabilitating Two-Face.
When Two-Face does make his escape, he high-tails it to Holmanâ€™s house to prove just how alike the two are.Â After kidnapping Holman and his wife, Harvey gives his would be mentor two choices; kill the captured Batman, or have his wifeâ€™s face burned off by sulfuric acid.
What makes this tale really dark isnâ€™t the choice that Holman was given, or the fact that Two-Face is manipulating the event to prove a point, but rather the terrible fallout that occurs with Holmanâ€™s wife over the event, after the real Batman shows up to rescue everyone.
Playing off the concept Holman was given, the issue ends with an almost â€œchoose your own adventureâ€ flair, with only two choices to the reader can make; happy or tragic.Â David Hine ends the issue with the Joker telling the reader to flip a coin to determine the fate of Holman.Â In a sense the reader is put in the same situation, letting a flip of a coin decide if someone lives or dies.Â While most readers wonâ€™t actually flip that coin just because this is a fictional story, those who do may come to a deeper understanding of choice, fate, and how lives are controlled.
The more I think about this choice, the creepier Hineâ€™s notion has become; could you decide if someone lives or dies by a mere heads or tail flip of a coin?Â Itâ€™s a hard choice for almost anyone to make, and considering Harvey Dent/Two-Face is so willing to go with that flow, emphasizes how scary this villain truly is.
I think David Hine has told a great tale that is truly in the spirit of what is trying to be accomplished with the Jokerâ€™s Asylum series – using Batman rogues to tell DCâ€™s own Creepy Tales.
The art is good, too.Â Andy Clarke does what he does, and does it well.Â His art style creates a very realistic looking human, which is fine for most of the characters, but his interpretation of the Joker and Two-Face doesnâ€™t really work for me.Â Both Holman and Harvey have their faces burned right down the middle – you can actually see the dividing line on each.Â While this has been a Two-Face convention for years, I canâ€™t keep thinking that a real acid burn or flame scorched face wouldnâ€™t look so symmetrical, and I hope future artists think about this the next time they tackle Harvey Dent.Â The Joker looks like a regular fellow with white makeup and green hair – thereâ€™s nothing distinctive about this character other than that as far as the art goes.Â Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m not fragging Clarkeâ€™s work on these two nitpicks, his work is really good otherwise.
Itâ€™s too bad DC only gave Jokerâ€™s Asylum five issues to cover the top Batman villains, asÂ DC could have continued this series with every one of Arkhamâ€™s inmates.Â These tales are not your kid friendly Batman tales, but ones to really disturb the reader, and I think this final issue did just that.Â This was the most intense of the Jokerâ€™s Asylum tales (even more intense than Poison Ivy chopping a guy to death), and earns Jokerâ€™s Asylum: Two-Face 4 out of 5 Stars.