Peter J. Tomasi continues 'The Big Burn,' but instead of diving deeper into Two-Face's New 52 origin story or the role the villain's currently playing, the writer opts to make this one pretty much all about the new crime-lord, Erin McKillen. That said, Two-Face isn't entirely written off in this chapter, either. The classic character steals the spotlight (so to speak...) in the opening scene and Tomasi gives proper credit to the guy's tactical mind -- it's not an original move, but credit where it's due. We also get another flashback scene with him, but honestly, it doesn't add anything new to the overall picture. Ultimately, this one's all about McKillen and how Bruce Wayne's connected to the picture. Tomasi hasn't really done anything to make her a unique character, but the course of events which follow her are undeniably amusing and even quite badass at times.
What really sells me on these moments are Patrick Gleason's artwork, though. Some of the facial work is a tad rough in this issue, but the man can draw the heck out of Batman and Two-Face. His style works exceptionally well when it comes to making Two-Face look twisted and Batman look incredibly formidable and even frightening at times. His debut against McKillen's men? Seriously awesome panel right there.
Despite being promoted as a story focused on Harvey, this feels like it should be called BATMAN & ERIN MCKILLEN. Sure, Harvey gets a cool opening scene, but in terms of the overall narrative -- at least right now -- it's all about Wayne and McKillen. We are treated to a flashback scene with Havey (which, oddly, enough, doesn't have a caption saying it's in the past, so the transition is abrupt), but it doesn't provide any depth to his new backstory. Instead, it just reveals how Harvey was put at McKillen's mercy -- it's a very straightforward action scene which reveals nothing new and sadly the emotional weight just isn't there since we were hit with the outcome last month. We're only in part 2 of 5, but as of right now, the progression with Harvey is unfortunately quite slow. Here's hoping it picks up big time in the next chapter.
Is it just me or is Batman dispatched too easily during that chase scene? I get said attack would impact him like that, but his defeat seemed far too easy and made him seem.. well, amateurish. It's odd since the comic was going over the top in making him feel like a badass just moments prior. Additionally, when we cut to the next "now" scene, it's pretty jarring. One moment, Batman needs an evac, the next, McKillen turns herself in just to speak with Bruce? As someone who's eluded the authorities for so long and is so dangerous, wouldn't it have made way more sense to go to Bruce directly? And, if he refuses, she can use her less kind methods to force him into helping her? I'm really hoping there's more to this decision because even her ally called her out on that one.
Very minor gripe: why'd Batman give that random dude his batarang to cut the rope instead of doing it himself? It would have taken no time at all for him and seems more practical than trusting someone he doesn't know with a weapon.
Minor note: solicits continue to mention Carrie Kelley, but she has yet to be seen.
Tomasi's decision to focus on McKillen and Batman generates some amusing material and very entertaining bits of action. Gleason's still doing great work with the visuals, but the biggest problem is the story isn't making any strong strides, especially with Dent. It's not a bad story, but right now it just isn't all that engrossing, either. Hopefully there's some big developments in part three.