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Movie Masters Harvey Dent

The Dark Knight
by yo go re

Batman has a reputation as being the single-most competent guy around, but he does have a weakness, and it's a surprising one: he's not very smart. Yeah, yeah, I know he's the World's Greatest Detective®™, but his insistence on doing everything alone is borderline idiotic. The guy's trust issues aren't entirely unfounded, though.

Harvey Dent was the youngest District Attorney in Gotham City history, and he was tough and he was honest. Honest enough, in fact, that even in his earliest days, Batman was willing to trust him. It was going to be DA Dent, Gordon and Batman, cleaning up the streets from three different sides. You know how the opening to Law & Order says "in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders?" This is like that, but instead of Law & Order, it's Law & Order & Severe Ass-Kickings. [I'd watch that show! --ed.]

At least, that's how it was in the comics, and it was shaping up to be that way in the movie, too, but the fact that The Dark Knight had to deal with introducing both Harvey and Two-Face meant the whole "trust" angle was slightly rushed. Ideally Dent would have shown up at the end of the first movie, and him getting scarred would have been the end of the second, setting up Two-Face as the villain for the third. But hey, them's the breaks, and what we got was still damn good, yeah?

Harvey is, no surprise, mostly the same toy as Two-Face. This isn't like the generic bodies Mattel uses for DCU Classics figures, it's an example of good re-use: after all, they're both the same guy, so it would be wrong if they didn't share a body! The wrinkles in his suit have perhaps a more blocky shape than you'd expect, but not unreasonably so; it just suggests a thick material. This is the suit Dent was wearing when we first saw him in the movie, attempting to put Sal Maroni on trial. The pattern on his tie isn't quite right, but this is still recognizable. One thing worth noting, however: Harvey's jacket, which is a newly sculpted piece (since Two-Face's was tattered and burnt), is designed to be closed; you can tell by the buttons. However, there's nothing holding the jacket closed - probably so you can still use his chest joint - and the whole thing ends up looking slightly too large for him, like he's wearing someone else's clothes. If you want to fix that, a single drop of glue should suffice.

Part of the backstory of Harvey Dent is that he was the handsomest man in Gotham City - the better to contrast with his later fate, you see? But in the movie, he was played by Aaron Eckhart, who may have his charms, but is far from the absolutely beautiful man Harvey is meant to be. The Four Horsemen has created a decent likeness of Eckhart, but we know they can do better; that's probably a result of the production process, though, not a shortcoming in the sculpt. You know, a factory not being as tight as they should.

The figure is as articulated as any of the Movie Masters figures. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, an H-crotch, mid-thigh swivels, hinged knees and hinged ankles. That's more than adequate for a character like Harvey Dent, who spends most of his time standing and talking to a courtroom. Some of you think we're too hard on Mattel, always complaining about the articulation we get, but that's just for the characters who need it: a dynamic crime-fighter needs a lot more motion than a lawyer does, so the articulation here is above and beyond.

Sadly, Harvey doesn't include any accessories. If nothing else, they could have at least re-used the papers from the DCSH Clark Kent that nobody ever got and pretended they were legal documents. The "evidence" pack-ins are back, sans the plastic bags, and Harvey logically comes with his double-sided coin. The package calls it a "scarred coin," just like Two-Face's, but it's not: both sides are unblemished, as they should be. Amazingly, the thing is real metal, not the plastic you would expect. It's got a 1½" diameter, making it a bit larger than a US 50¢ piece.

Getting an action figure of Harvey Dent is a true rarity: Two-Face is just more toyetic, and once you've made him, why would you back-track to make Harvey? The thing everyone forgets, though, is that Harvey Dent is still around, and still active. Harvey and Two-Face share the same body, but they're different people, and every time the coin comes up on the unscarred side, it's Harvey who's in charge. That's why it was so cool in "Hush" to see him whole again, and so disappointing to have him backslide after the pointless "One Year Later" jump in "Face The Face." For one of the best Two-Face stories ever printed, pick up Detective Comics #739, where Two-Face kidnaps Gordon and puts him on trial. He's about to execute him when Renee Montoya points out that he's entitled to representation; with no other lawyers present, Harvey Dent agrees to be his defence attorney, then calls Two-Face as his first witness and proceeds to argue him to a standstill! Bad. Ass. The movie version didn't have that same division (he seemed crazy all the time), but getting this figure is still awesome.

-- 06/19/10

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