At the end of 2013 I put together a list of six comic books I thought were not only fantastic, but also, for one reason or another, deprived of their just desserts. In the process of creating a similar list of great books that seemed to fly under the radar in 2014 several books came to mind. One, however, continually loomed above the rest in terms of top notch storytelling that seemed to garner little reaction from the comic book world at large.
With that in mind this is much less a list than it is an unsolicited advertisement for writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason’s Batman and Two-Face #28.
Batman and Two-Face #28 is the conclusion to The Big Burn, a story arc that retold the origins of Two-Face in DC Comic’s New 52 continuity. Perhaps The Big Burn was overlooked because it effectively undoes a seminal piece of pre-New 52 Batman mythology, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween, but continuity be damned, The Big Burn is a great Batman story with a stellar finale.
I’m about sick of the Joker. I absolutely adore the stories that current Batman scribe Scott Snyder has told and is telling with the character, but at the end of the day Joker winds up feeling like the same relentless force of sociopathic nature he always has and always will be. The Joker is only as compelling as how shockingly awful the next inevitably shockingly awful thing he does is.
On the other hand Two-Face, particularly under Tomasi’s pen, proves far more compelling as a character in his own right because somewhere beneath that scarred visage is a man whose redemption seems at times so close that it’s unbearable. Batman and Two-Face #28 hones in on that struggle with a poignant precision that brings about an exchange between the issue’s eponymous characters that, for me, proved to be the most resonant moment in comics in 2014.
Couple the excellent character beats in the issue with an ending that has fairly massive implications for the Batman mythology and you’ve got a book people should still be talking about.
2014 was an awesome year for comics: Saga is still going strong, Zero Year concluded spectacularly and Marvel is slaying with books like Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel.
But everybody already knows that.
What everybody doesn’t seem to be as readily aware of is how great Tomasi and Gleason’s Batman and Two-Face #28 is.
So, anyway. Now you know.