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DC Direct Secret Files
by yo go re

Since Harvey Dent played such a central role in The Dark Knight, it's no surprise that DC Direct has taken the opportunity to release a Two-Face figure of their own. After all, it's not like Mattel has bothered to put out their Movie Masters version yet.

Once his face became scarred, District Attorney Harvey Dent began to base his actions on the flip of his lucky coin.

Surprisingly, this is only the second DCD Two-Face: the other, of course, being from the Long Halloween line, so we definitely needed a better version. That one had numerous problems, which we detailed in the review, so no need to list them all here. This figure is part of the "Batman Rogues Gallery" subset of DCD's Secret Files series, which means it's actually available as a part of the awkwardly named Secret Files: Series 3: Batman Rogues Gallery 2. Boy, that rolls off the tongue just about as smoothly as DC Universe Classics or DC Universe Infinite Heroes, doesn't it? Oi.

DC Direct went the artist-specific route for DCSFS3BRG2 (love that name), so all four figures - Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Hugo Strange and "Vacation" Joker - are based on the work of Brian Bolland, who's known for his fine, detailed work. Specifically, Two-Face's look is taken from the cover of 1989's Secret Origins Special, which partially explains the odd color choices - but more on that in a bit.

The sculpt of his suit is simple and plain, just like it should be: he's not jumping around, he's not in a fight, he's just standing there being menacing, and his clothes should reflect that. The original art had him with his hand in his pocket, but that would never fly in toy form - too limiting. There are wrinkles on his sleeves and the backs of his knees, but the rest is smooth. His lapels have sculpted edges, as do his buttons and - get this - his button holes. Button holes?! Damn! Way to go, John Mathews! That's some unexpected detail. Of course, now you know we'll expect it all the time in the future. It's like the first person who put sculpted laces on a toy's shoes.

Something the previous Two-Face figure missed was the whole "half his face is supposed to look good" thing. Harvey Dent would have consistently topped those "sexiest man alive" lists before his life went pear-shaped, so his non-scared side needs to look exceptionally good, which this figure finally manages. His monstrous half is all torn up, as it should be, with the lidless eye and twisted mouth, as well as wild, unkempt hair. In the original art, it just looked like he hadn't brushed it at all, but that's too wispy for an action figure, so it comes off more like strange spikes.

Two-Face's colors are quite garish - even by Two-Face standards! The Harvey Dent side of his suit is orange, while the Two-Face side is light blue with a black grid pattern. His shirt is white and black, and his bowtie is black and orange with polka dots. It may seem like a more natural color would have worked better on the Harvey Dent half of the figure, but this is based specifically on the original cover art. Of course, comic coloring wasn't very elegant back then, and the palette was limited: that orange was probably supposed to be tan, brown or khaki, and the blue? Think of it as gray.

The articulation is the DC Direct standard: balljointed head and shoulders, hinged elbows and knees, swivel wrists and hips. No waist, even though it would have been easy, but he does have peg ankles. The figure includes two pistols, which he can hold well, and a really clever way of giving us his trademark coin. Rather than trying to make a single coin, or sculpting it onto his hand like the Long Halloween figure, DC gave us a really clever piece. It's ¾" long, and molded from clear plastic, and represents the coin in mid-flip. A ring fits over the figure's thumb, and six discs angle up from there. The final disc is painted silver, and sculpted with a hint of a head on both sides. Considering how hard it is to portray motion in a static object (witness any figure whose hair is supposed to be flying out as they move), this is both a very clever and a very well executed accessory. There's also one of the plain sidewalk bases, so you can add Two-Face to your lineup.

At last, we have a Two-Face figure worthy of the character. He looks great, and though he'd benefit from more articulation, what we get is enough for the way the character is most often portrayed. He's not a brawler, a down and dirty fighter, he's a leader. A supervisor. Management. His gun is all the muscle he needs. Really, the only downside about this toy is the paint scheme, and if the color bugs you that much, DCD has just announced a new four-pack, which will include a toned-down version of this figure, as well as repaints of Batman, Commissioner Gordon and the Joker. If you don't have any of those figures, then you can wait for the box set, but even in orange and blue, this Two-Face is the best version around.

-- 10/29/08

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