Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Two-Face was once Harvey Dent, the District Attorney of Gotham City. However, after a criminal threw acid in his face, severely disfiguring one half but leaving the other unharmed, he became the insane crime boss Two-Face. Originally, he was one of many gimmicked comic book villains: he plotted crimes around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2. In more recent years, more serious-minded writers have portrayed his obsession as duality and opposites and his behaviour the result of multiple personality disorder.
Although too gruesome for the 1960s television show (Clint Eastwood was proposed to play him at one time.) that popularized Batman and much of his rogues gallery, Two-Face has been a prominent Batman foe and was played by Tommy Lee Jones in the 1995 film Batman Forever.
Full history and analysis
Originally, the character's name was Harvey Kent, but his name was changed to avoid unnecessary association with Clark Kent. Harvey Dent, Commissioner James Gordon, and Batman once forged an alliance to rid Gotham City of crime. This alliance ended tragically when a crime boss who Dent was prosecuting threw acid in his face, horribly scarring one half while leaving the other half whole. The post-Crisis version of these events are recounted in the comic book mini-series, .
The scarring of half his face brought out his latent multiple personality disorder and caused him to become the villainous Two-Face. Obsessed with duality and opposites, Two-Face's trademark was crimes involving the number two.
Another trademark (how fitting that he should have two of them) was that Two-Face was not consistently evil; every time he contemplated committing a decision about an action, such as a crime, he flipped a two-headed coin, one side of which is scratched. Only if the coin came up scratched-side did Two-Face go ahead and commit the crime and he never questioned the result of the toss.
In the 1980s, Frank Miller rewrote Two-Face's origin to reflect bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. Miller also introduced a much stronger aspect to the dual nature, using Two-Face as a metaphor for the charitable and hostile sides of human nature. Dent was given a back story that included child abuse and struggling through law school. Miller further expanded on the character by making the pre-accident Harvey Dent a major heroic figure in Batman: Year One. Dent's past actions and ties to both Batman and Commissioner Gordon make him an unsettling and personal foe for both men.
Throughout the history of the Batman franchise, attempts have been made to repair his facial scars, but they have not yet cured his insanity; he simply destroys the one side of his face and becomes Two-Face once again.
In the future setting of The Dark Knight Returns, Harvey Dent's facial damage was healed, but at the unforeseen cost of completely destroying the remaining conscientious side of his personality.
Two-Face in other media
Two-Face was not depicted in the 1960s Batman movie or television series. In the 1990s Batman film franchise, Billy Dee Williams appeared as District Attorney Harvey Dent in Batman (1989), and Harvey Dent/Two-Face was played by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever (1995). In Batman: The Animated Series, Harvey Dent/Two-Face was voiced by Richard Moll.
In Batman: The Animated Series, Harvey Dent had deep-seated psychological trauma resulting from years of repressing his negative emotions. This repression caused him to develop an alternate personality, known as 'Big Bad Harv', who was as evil as his outer appearance was noble. This alternate would sometimes come out in the form of violent bursts of anger. Eventually, Gotham City crime boss Rupert Thorne got his hands on Dent's psychological profile and threatened to blackmail him with it. Dent confronted Thorne and his gang in a chemical plant. During the encounter, Dent lost his temper and went on a violent rampage, which eventually resulted in a massive explosion in the plant. The explosion severely damaged the left side of his body, and the stress of the events broke down the last barrier to his evil side coming out.
Later, Dent's personality fragmented a third time, creating a superego personality called "The Judge" that attempted to crush the id that was Two-Face. Dent, looking to eradicate this new threat to him, had no idea that he himself was The Judge.
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