After a three-part intro in savegames and an explosive ending last month, this issue of Detective comics promises to focus heavily on Harvey Dent and his continued struggle against himself and the azmer within him. Either way, it’s sure to be interesting.

I’ve long said that Harvey Dent is one of my favorite parts of the Ram V run. He’s been a conflicted character, having opened the story more or less trying to avoid criminal activity and move forward on The right way. Of course, that all came crashing down when he was infected with the azmer and forced to work alongside Gotham’s newest threat: the Orghams. He spent the rest of the race struggling with his two-faced side and his desire to protect Batman’s identity. It’s been a nice push and progression in the series, and we see even more of that here as it all comes to a head.

Through the issue, we follow Harvey as he follows what’s happening in Gotham right now. Especially the attack Orgham’s henchmen made on part of the city. Ram V increases the tension throughout the story by continually returning to Harvey’s conflicted inner conversation as we see events unfold: first the capture of the citizens of Gotham, then Batman’s battle with some of the players in Orgham. It’s an effective way to build tension as Harvey struggles to decide if he’s ready to not only let Two-Face take control, but also reveal Batman’s identity to him.

This inner struggle is the culmination of the issue for me, especially since every time we’ve seen Harvey so far, we’ve addressed it in some way. Finally, getting to Harvey’s choice resolution is a good feeling, and what I feel will be a tipping point for Orgham’s storyline.

While Harvey’s parts are good, there are other elements here that I didn’t enjoy as much. Batman shares some of the spotlight with Harvey, and honestly, I think that takes away from Harvey’s inner struggle a bit. Batman has another mental encounter with Barbatos, and several pages are dedicated to his own fight against Tenclaw and his allies. And it ruins the momentum of back and forth with Harvey, jumping instead to talk strategy and more characters telling Batman he’s a mistake and overwhelmed.

The fight itself feels a little clunky at times, especially between Batman and Dark-blood. Batman feels wooden in the art, lacking a true sense of life, as he is grabbed and attacked by his enemy. Even when he’s taken his second breath, there’s no real energy in the fight panels. There are few background elements either, which would help bring some life to the scene. This compared to Harvey’s moments, where the art focuses on his expressions, coin and flashbacks, is totally different.

I will say that some of the issues with the art stem from the fact that there are two artists in the main story: Ivan Reis and Rafael Albuquerque. They blend well, well enough, I missed the fact that there were two different art styles to begin with (a fact that Nick laughed at me for missing when I pointed it out to him). But they’re just different enough to cause a sense of dissonance in the narrative that prevents parts of the story from feeling cohesive.

That said, Harvey has some great pages in this issue. There’s a full page that’s a close-up of her face and two silent nine-panel pages jumping between past and present that really highlight her moment of decision.

Overall, even though most of the issue focuses on Harvey trying to make a decision, there’s movement here, the decision he makes at the end, and his actions after that move the narrative forward. I feel like there’s a chance the pace will pick up a bit from now on, and I’m glad to see it.

Score: 6/10


Backup: a song that listens to you

This month’s save goes to Jim Gordon and the young man he rescued from the ruins of Arkham at the start of Ram V’s run. trying to uncover dark secrets about Arkham. Also, the young man begins chasing a tune hummed by various Gothamites, looking for its source. It’s an interesting tale, giving readers a little insight into different people in Gotham and a fun idea to explore.

Dani’s art is quite unique, without as many harsh lines and clear figures as the main story art. But it works well here, because we often see through the young man’s eyes and see the strange, distorted figures of the thing in the song.

Again, while the story is separated from the main narrative in Detective comicsit’s connected enough to the events that I’d suggest reading, since both characters have made appearances in the main story and will likely continue to do so.

Score: 7/10

recommended if

  • You like Harvey Dent
  • And two-faced
  • And them working together… as well as they can anyway

Globally

As one issue promised to be all about Harvey and Two-Face, this story doesn’t quite live up to those expectations. He keeps his promise by focusing on Harvey’s conflict throughout the series to bring it to some kind of resolution as he is finally forced to decide whether or not he will work with Two-Face or not. However, some clunky beats with Batman thrown into the mix take away from the character-driven story that Ram V built that issue with Harvey. Even so, it’s a good entry into the race, and one that should pave the way for a little more momentum in the future.

Overall score: 7/10


DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.


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