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The Long Halloween
by yo go re

Why is the Joker considered Batman's greatest foe? What's he have going for him, other than complete unpredictability and a cavalier attitude toward human life? Big freakin' deal, he's just as evil as your average cab driver. You want a really great enemy, look to Two-Face.

Two-Face was originally District Attorney Harvey Dent, a man as dedicated to law and order as Batman. Along with Commissioner Gordon, Dent was one of the only men untouched by the rampant corruption of the Gotham police department. When mob boss Salvatore Maroni agreed to testify against rival gangster Carmine Falcone, it seemed Dent had the biggest case of his career. But when he was on the witness stand, Boss Maroni thew acid at the district attorney, horribly scarring him and creating the killer known as Two-Face.

The last time we got a non-animated Two-Face figure, it was based on Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, so this is an update that was sorely needed. Sculptor Tony Cipriano has given us pretty much exactly what we'd want from a figure of Two-Face: a guy in an immaculately tailored suit. Below the neck, that's all we ask. The cut of the suit is slightly out of date, which suits the source material; Tim Sale loves to draw his dapper men in '30s-style suits, which means wide lapels, a low hem and a slightly baggy fit overall.

The clothes may make the man, but it's the face that makes Two-Face. Both halves of the head are done nicely, but the ruined side is slightly better. Sale brought a few new things to his representation of Harvey's dark side, and they're all here. First of all, the acid burned his scalp, inhibiting hair growth. Previously, most artists drew him with wild hair on that side, like he only bothered to comb half his head. Secondly, his ear has been burned away, as have his lips and eyelids - the acid even got to his teeth, leaving him with little brown nubs. Finally, his eye didn't escape unscathed; it's yellowish and has a red pupil, and certainly doesn't match the right side. Overall, he looks like a lumpy, pock-marked purple zombie.

The "normal" side of his head, however, is a bit disappointing. Prior to his accident, Harvey Dent was probably the most handsome man in Gotham City - the press nicknamed him "Apollo" because he was so beautiful. Pat Robertson would bend over for this guy, that's how good looking he was. Now, Tim Sale didn't quite draw him that way (because his style didn't call for it), but he still wasn't ugly. The figure, however, looks like butt. It's almost like they sculpted the wrong guy - he looks like Mickey Sullivan, the Irish gangster that Falcone hired to blow up Dent's house. Sure, the figure still looks like Two-Face by virtue of the fact that the human side is mashed up against that scarred mess, but view it by itself and it's a generic thug, not handsome Harvey Dent.

Harvey moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists and hips. Again, no waist, despite the fact that his soft rubber coat would have hidden it entirely - this would have been a perfect chance for DC Direct to bust out the balljointed torso thing that Hush Joker had, but no, we get nothing. To preserve the look of the suit, the figure's shoulders aren't balljointed, but the biceps make up for that.

Two-Face has a few simple accessories, starting with his trademark coin. Now, there was no way that DC could really make his coin and not have it get lost as soon as the box was opened, so they worked around the problem: Two-Face features interchangeable right hands, each with his coin sculpted into the palm; one with the smooth face up, the other showing scars. Brilliant! He's also got a .22 pistol with the handle taped, the weapon of choice for The Long Halloween's Holiday killer. It fits nicely in his gloved left hand. Like all the figures in this series, he comes with a calendar page (New Year's Day) and a grey sidewalk display base.

The Long Halloween figures are boxed, but DCD has changed a few things. The plastic tray is no longer glued to the cardboard backing, so now you don't have to tear it apart to get the display base. The cardboard feels thicker, too, and overall this is a nice update of an existing design. Once you get the tray out, look at what's holding him in: DC is so dedicated to the premise behind Two-Face that even the twist ties are different on each side of his body.

Like all the figures in this series, Two-Face is too short. DC has never had a consistent scale for their figures, but these are really undersized next to other DCD products. That, coupled with the slightly baggy clothes, makes Two-Face look like a kid wearing his Dad's suit. On the plus side, the Long Halloween figures are in the same general scale as Marvel Legends, so that's a plus. In any case, we really needed a Two-Face figure, and while this one isn't great, it is pretty good.

-- 01/11/06

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