To close out Two-Face Month, we will not be looking at an individual comic book like usual. Instead we’ll be doing a character study of Two-Face and his depiction within the multiple Emmy award-winning cartoon show, “Batman: The Animated Series.”
Created in 1992 by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. “Batman: The Animated Series” is noted for creating a serious image of Batman for all audiences.
The show featured adult themes and situations, but never to the point where it alienated its young audiences.
This series has been incredibly influential to comic book fans, with many versions of the famous characters, such as Mark Hamill’s portrayal of The Joker, being considered the “definitive versions” by most fans.
I could go on and on about how excellent this series was, but we’re here to talk about Two-Face, so let’s dive right in.
Something significant about Two-Face in this series is the fact that this incarnation of the character is the first one to have had psychological issues prior to his transformation into Two-Face.
Despite a calm, confident and at times even suave demeanor in the first few episodes, Harvey Dent harbors a more aggressive and impulsive personality within him that calls itself Big Bad Harv, something that he keeps hidden from even his closest friends.
Like other versions, Harvey seeks to rid Gotham of organized crime, and refuses to be bought by Gotham’s crime lords.
Only when crime boss Rupert Thorne gets ahold of his medical records and threatens to expose his condition if he doesn’t play ball does he consider giving in.
When Batman intervenes, Harvey Dent’s face is scarred in an explosion and the mental trauma allows Big Bad Harv to fully take control, much to Bruce Wayne’s lament. This brings us to another key difference from the comics.
In this version, Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne are actually long-time friends, so now Batman’s failure to save Harvey Dent is two-fold due to his personal connection.
Now, whenever he fights Two-Face, all he can see is a friend turned into an enemy.
Throughout the series, Two-Face makes several appearances, sometimes alone, other times alongside other villains like The Joker, Poison Ivy and The Penguin.
One significant episode that featured him was called “Second Chances,” in which Harvey is being brought in for plastic surgery to remove his physical scars, and hopefully his psychological scars as well.
However, before going under the knife Harvey is kidnapped and Batman and Robin are on the hunt to find him, tracking down Two-Face’s rivals in crime as suspects.
However, the real culprit is revealed to be none other than Two-Face himself, refusing to let his meeker personality take over again without a fight.
During a fight, Batman replaces Harvey’s signature coin with a weighted trick coin that will always land on edge, forcing Harvey to decide for himself instead of relying on his coin to tell him what to do.
The episode concludes with Two-Face returning to Arkham Asylum, but Harvey’s personality emerging long enough to thank Bruce for believing in him and never giving up on him.
In what is technically the series finale (despite events of the series carrying over into spin-off shows like “Justice League” and “Batman Beyond”), Two-Face’s personality fractures once again, creating the Judge, a sociopathic vigilante who seeks to systematically murder all of Gotham’s criminals.
Despite the Judge being loved by the people for bringing criminals to Justice in a more permanent sense (the people unaware of his true identity), Batman refuses to allow this to continue and exposes Harvey, and seeing as how this is his last appearance in what is commonly known as the DC animated universe, it’s possible that it was the final time he would terrorize Gotham.
This concludes our month-long look at the twisted psyche of one of The Dark Knight’s most enduring enemies.
I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and were perhaps inspired to go out and pick up a few Batman comics that feature this character.
Wes Serafine can be contacted at