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Two-Face (Harvey Dent)
"I am a liar. No. We the acid scarred bitches of history of evil and hypocrisy exalt criminals to office. Vietnam, El Salvador, Chile with lovely missiles, roaring bombs of the rich and the white and the pious and burn children and torture women. Forever and ever, amen.
"God bless America."
Much like Jim Gordon, Harvey Dent was one of the few honest law enforcers in Gotham. Young and handsome, he was nicknamed "Apollo" by the press, but beneath his good looks lay an unstable second personality rooted in his abusive childhood. The details vary from origin to origin, but Dent eventually got doused with acid, burning away the left half of his face until it resembled the monster within.
Dent's mind snapped after that, and he declared himself a mere puppet of fate. Shedding his old belief in justice, and fixated on proving the arbitrariness of free will, he is one of Gotham's most volatile crime bosses. He has the unusual habit of making all of his decisions with a two-headed coin - scratched on one side and clean on the other. All of his important decisions are decided by a flip of this coin - the scarred side representing evil, the clean side representing good. Thus his crimes and choice of victims are all determined by random chance. That being said, Two-Face has a particular animus for lawgivers, and will frequently target police stations or courts. (Yet even this is dependent on what mood he's in; the "Harvey" personality once carried a torch for a comely police officer, Renee Montoya. As Renee was a closeted lesbian, this proved a disappointment.)
The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942), and was created by Bob Kane.
In spite of his stature, Two-Face never made an appearance on the sixties show. (FALSE Face did, but that's a different character altogether.) Rumor has it that they considered his scarring origin too horrific for the series' Denser and Wackier tone. Another legend claims that they did briefly consider Clint Eastwood for the role, though.note He would finally be adapted into the show's universe several decades later in Batman '66: The Lost Episode and the animated film based on the sixties show, Batman vs. Two-Face, being voiced by William Shatner.
Alongside the Joker and Ra's al Ghul, Two-Face is one of Batman's greatest enemies, but not because of the threat he poses to the rest of the world. Instead, he reminds Batman of how far the greatest can fall, and how he cannot save all of his allies - Batman's feelings of guilt that he failed to save his old friends and constant attempts to 'redeem' Dent remain one of the biggest themes of the character.
The character has appeared in multiple Batman media forms, including video games, animation, and the Batman film series.
- Batman (1989) - Played by Billy Dee Williams
- Billy would reprise his role in The LEGO Batman Movie
- Batman Forever - Played by Tommy Lee Jones
- Batman: The Animated Series - Played by Richard Moll
- The Dark Knight - Played by Aaron Eckhart
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Played by James Remar
- Batman: Year One - Played by Robin Atkin Downes
- Batman: Arkham Series - Played by Troy Baker
- DC Universe Online - Played by Edwin Neal
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Played by Wade Williams
- Teen Titans Go! - Cameo
- Beware the Batman - Played by Christopher McDonald
- Gotham - Played by Nicholas D'Agosto
- Batman: The Telltale Series - Played by Travis Willingham
- Justice League Action - Played by Robert Picardo
- Batman vs. Two-Face - Played by William Shatner
- Batman: Gotham by Gaslight - Played by Yuri Lowenthal
- Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay - Played by Dave Boat
- Batman Ninja - Played by Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese) and Eric Bauza (English)
- Justice League vs. The Fatal Five - Played by Bruce Timm
- Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Played by Keith Ferguson
- Harley Quinn - Played by Andy Daly
- Batman Death In The Family - Played by Gary Cole
- Batman: The Long Halloween - Played by Josh Duhamel
- Gotham Knights - Played by Misha Collins
This character provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The most common depiction of his father. Eye of the Beholder adds the wrinkle that not only did he hit Harvey, but always gave him the illusion of a 50-50 chance with the infamous coin. Half of Harvey knew the game was rigged, while the other half wanted to believe his dad.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Depending on player choices, it's possible for his Telltale counterpart to never receive his iconic facial scars.
- Adaptational Heroism: His Batman: The Telltale Series counterpart is portrayed as a Well-Intentioned Extremist driven insane by several factors outside of his facial scarring (all of which is out of his control) and, depending on player choice, it's possible to talk him down by appealing to his heroic side.
- Adaptational Ugliness:
- In The Dark Knight, Harvey's left half of his face suffered fourth-degree burns, so the movie shows his scarred face with more detail, with exposed jaw muscles and even showing the inside of his mouth. His Batman: Arkham Series counterpart retains this detailed scarring while also making it clear that the damage goes all the way down his body, as his arm is also scarred (at one point in Arkham Knight, Joker asks him if everything got split down the middle).
- His Telltale counterpart actually has downplayed scars (assuming he gets them at all), but it's more than made up for by the fact that it still squelches every time he touches it and the fact that he's constantly bleeding.
- While several of the newer versions of Dent show his disfigurement as raw or scorched flesh, older sources like Batman Forever give him a more cartoony image and make his scarred side a discolored and exaggerated version of his normal face instead of an accurate portrayal of acid burns.
- Adaptational Villainy: Portrayals outside of mainstream continuity tend to make him a nasty piece of work even before the disfigurement if there even is one (with exceptions usually either having it established that Harvey Dent had other problems driving him over the edge with the disfigurement simply being the straw that broke the camel's back or having him remain a good guy after his scarring). This is due to the problematic aspect of a character going insane or becoming a villain just because of disfigurement. Examples include:
- The Beware the Batman version of Harvey is a hater of Batman, and isn't above hiring Deathstroke of all people to take him out.
- The Batman: Gotham by Gaslight version is way worse, he is a smug sexist who tries to cheat on his wife with Selina, cares little about the Serial Killer plaguing Gotham, and is ok with framing Bruce without a hint of remorse.
- Harley Quinn (2019): On top of bearing none of the sympathetic qualities that made him a Tragic Villain in the comics, this version of Dent is an extremely arrogant politician who is a Slave to PR, willing to endanger hostages just to protect his political career. The only good thing you could say about pre-disfigurement Dent is that he's charming enough to be really good buddies with Gordon and doesn't seem to be on any sort of bad terms with Batman.
- His incarnation in Batman: Dark Allegiances, who is renamed Caldecott Pewtie, is a white supremacist affiliated with the White Legion, the story's equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan.
- Addled Addict: In a sense, Dent has become so dependent on his coin after becoming Two-Face that it often means a matter of life or death for him and anyone else he's currently threatening. It's so irresistible to flip his coin that even when a solution is right in front of him, he'll often flip a coin out of an overwhelming need to do so. It's because of this compulsion that he often ends up committing villainy or making decisions that outright hurt him. There have been attempts by him and others to remove the coin from his life, but it often does more harm than good.
- Amoral Attorney: Averted; he was an incredibly honest and hardworking D.A. before he had the little run in with the acid.
- Anti-Villain: Sort of. Technically, he’s only half a villain, due to his Split Personality, and even then, whether or not he’ll be on the side of the angels or the devils all depends on the literal flip of a coin.
- Arch-Enemy: Batman sees him, with good cause, as his greatest failure, a point that Two-Face enjoys rubbing in. Every single one of the Robins has also had a reason to put them high on their hit lists. He beat Dick Grayson within an inch of his life on one of his first outings as Robin (handing him his first defeat in the process), orchestrated the murders of Jason Todd's parents, and in "A Lonely Place of Dying" nearly killed Tim Drake in one of his earliest solo missions as Robin, with Dick having to save him. While the individual Robins have their own enemies, Two-Face is easily the arch enemy of the collective Robin identity.
- The Artifact: * Harv came from an era where most Batman villains were little more than gangsters with gimmicks, and Batman's abilities weren't much greater than those of, say, Dick Tracy. As the stories grew Darker and Edgier and Hollywood Psych became a theme, he was given a further twist of his duality representing a Split Personality, and having a personal connection to Batman, which solidified him as a big player. However, throughout all this time, his capabilities remained largely static. Modern Two-Face doesn't have any powers to fight Batman, he isn't an especially Badass Normal, he isn't some sort of supergenius, he doesn't use any piece of technology that could give him an advantage, he's rarely depicted as anything more than a middle-ranking crime boss (The Don usually tends to be the Penguin or Black Mask), he isn't insanely rich, and he isn't a Villain with Good Publicity or anything like that. His only niche is being tied to Batman's past, really. Yet despite all this, comics like Batman: The Long Halloween or movies like The Dark Knight or Batman Forever means he is too iconic a villain to not adapt, despite the great power imbalance existing between him and Batman.
- Ax-Crazy: In terms of being completely unpredictable; he can switch from a vicious but well-meaning antihero to a sadistic psychopath at any given moment. All it takes is one coin flip.
- Badass Normal: Despite being one of Batman's most prominent villains, Two-Face doesn't actually have any special powers.
- Bald of Evil: His disfigured half is sometimes depicted as lacking hair Depending on the Artist, and that's how he appears in The Dark Knight, the Batman: Arkham Series and Harley Quinn (2019).
- Batter Up!: In what is arguably his most famous achievement, he violently beat Dick Grayson (still Robin at the time) with a baseball bat. Expect this to be referenced any time the two clash.
- Beauty to Beast: As one side of his face shows, he was handsome before the acid incident.
- Beneath the Mask: He was a successful and handsome district attorney before becoming Two-Face, but he had some serous mental problems lurking underneath his charming, successful exterior. The acid incident caused them to boil over.
- Big Bad: Of several of Nightwing's story arcs in his series and some of the Robin series as well. If someone is specifically targeting a Robin, it's probably Two-Face.
- Black-and-White Insanity: Two-Face is sometimes portrayed as having this as the root of his multiple personality disorder.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Downplayed in that he understands society's standards of good and evil, but whether he chooses to act on either is decided by leaving it to random chance. As in, flipping a coin. For the most part though, even his "good" acts are pretty rough around the edges.
- Broken Ace: A stunningly handsome guy, one of the youngest District Attorneys in history and at one point basically dubbed Gotham's savior. Too bad he spent his entire life dealing with a shattered psyche, only to have his good looks horrifically destroyed and his mental health tank permanently.
- Breakout Villain: In what was intended to be the last Two-Face story, Gilda jumped in front of Harvey's gun as he tried to kill Batman, and he went into a Villainous BSoD, swearing to stop his criminal ways if that was what it took to see his wife again. Although it wasn't that straightforward, by the end of the story he had sworn off crime and even gotten plastic surgery to erase his scars forever. Even when fans loved his character and wanted to see him back, the writers simply used impostors posing as Two-Face, until the very beginning of the Silver Age, where he interferes in a burglary and gets dynamited in the face, and falls straight back into his coin-flipping ways.
- Childhood Friends: With Bruce, post-Flashpoint. The two were both at a camp for troubled boys, and neither knew the other's name as it was established that only numbers be used, so the boys could open up without fear of reprisal after they left the camp. He and Bruce both look back fondly on that Summer, but when they met, neither knew who the other was until some time into their friendship.
- Chronic Villainy: No matter how many times they repair his face, Two-Face always eventually comes back. On at least one occasion, the damage was self-inflicted, using a scalpel and concentrated nitric acid.
- Combat Pragmatist: In fights against Batman or Nightwing, he'll grab hold of any foreign object or get in any cheap shot he can to give himself an advantage.
- Companion Cube: If you are The Fatalist and you renounce your own free will by your habit of flipping a coin to decide what you do, the illogical extreme is to believe that the coin is this trope and you are taking its advice.
- Once Batman found a devastated Harvey desperately flipping a coin, despairing that the coin seemed to land exclusively on the good side, asking an Armor-Piercing Question.Two Face: Fifty times in a row! What are the odds?
- An issue of The Batman Adventures showed Two Face escaping Arkham without his coin, replacing it with any other coin, scarring a side and using it. He manages to save his fiancée Grace from a murder attempt and even the Batman himself by doing a Diving Save that left Two Face seriously wounded. It was not Two Face wanting to save Batman, it was the coin.Two Face: I need my older coin. This one is a pain!
- Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth deconstructs this trope: Harvey's therapy is to replace his coin (two choices) for a die (six choices). He then is given a tarot deck (78 choices). Harvey cannot even decide to go to the bathroom on time. The last scene shows Two Face with his coin again talking to the tarot cards, like they are alive.
- Once Batman found a devastated Harvey desperately flipping a coin, despairing that the coin seemed to land exclusively on the good side, asking an Armor-Piercing Question.
- Creepy Asymmetry: He's instantly recognizable by his asymmetrical face, one half being unharmed and clean, and the other being horrifically disfigured. This makes him not only look intimidating but also reinforces his Two-Faced nature; one half being the honorable and just lawyer, and the other the cold and vicious criminal.
- Crusading Lawyer: Back when he was Gotham City's District Attorney.
- Cynicism Catalyst: He had plenty of problems beforehand (Depending on the Writer at least) but it was getting half his face scorched off that plunged him into nihilistic despair and the belief that only random luck governed the universe, rather than the noble and upstanding believer in the rule-of-law he had been beforehand.
- Death of Personality: Typically, once he gets maimed, he'll fully become the villainous Two-Face while Harvey Dent is either completely gone or submerged. Though this is Depending on the Writer because there will be some writers who portray Harvey's personality as being alive and active even with Two-Face being an active criminal and both Harvey and Two-Face can have conversations with each other or a third party like Batman.
- Depending on the Artist: Readers will be lucky if the colors of his suit and scarred side wind up staying consistent through a story arc. Sometimes he has hair on the scarred side (either bleached white or turned an odd color like green or purple by the chemicals), sometimes it's completely burnt off. Sometimes he doesn't have an eyelid or lips on the scarred side, or they're simply shriveled. Even his own hand is inconsistent, sometimes it's scarred like his face, other times it's undamaged. You'd swear that his origin was having some sort of mutagen thrown on him instead of acid/fire like it tends to be.
- Depending on the Writer:
- Was Harvey Dent one of Bruce Wayne's best friends or did he consider Bruce to be a useless fop? Did Harvey consider Batman to be a great ally in the war against crime, or merely a slightly more benign symptom of what was wrong with Gotham? Is Batman tortured by feelings of guilt because he couldn't save Harvey? Is Two-Face a straight criminal, or a ruthless vigilante who only associates with criminals so he can disperse his twisted brand of 'justice'? The answers to these questions depends on if you read The Long Halloween, saw Batman The Animated Series or The Dark Knight. The main consensus in the main comics seems to be that yes, he and Bruce were good friends, and yes, Dent grudgingly considered Batman a useful ally. The nature of his psychosis and morality changes so much it's ridiculous. The statement in Arkham Asylum about Joker's changing personality would likely better describe Dent.
- Is Two-Face an alternate persona or isn't it? The latter was more of the case up until Crisis on Infinite Earths. His revised origin Eye of the Beholder depicts Two-Face as the manifestation of his outrage at the unfairness of the world, Crime and Punishment makes it the guilt and self-loathing born from his father's beatings, assuming he'd done something to deserve it, and Jekyll and Hyde made Two-Face a representation of Harvey's twin brother Murray (which other writers were quick to ignore). A quick way to tell how a writer feels about this issue is to see if Harvey identifies himself as a single person or, as he did in Batman Forever, if he refers to himself in the plural.
- Does the coin flip thus represent making a decision between morally right and wrong options, or choosing between which persona gets to make decisions, or can Two-Face cheat and re-flip it whenever he wants to?
- Do Two-Face's two sides represent good and evil or reason and rage?
- Like The Joker, Two-Face can vary in how effective he is against Batman. Sometimes he'll be able to give the Dark Knight a really tough fight with nothing but his wits, brawling, and firearms. Other times, Batman can easily take him out with a single punch.
- How much control does Harvey have over everyday decisions? Some versions only have him needing the coin for his criminal activities, while some have him so dependent on the coin flip that he can't even go to the bathroom without flipping it first.
- In some stories, the Two-Face persona is so dominant and in-control that the only tiny traces one can see of the former Harvey Dent is when his coin lands on Heads and Two-Face decides not to act like a total monster. Under other writers, while Two-Face is still an unstable crime boss, both his Harvey Dent and Two-Face personas seem to exist side by side with neither personality fully overwhelming the other, sometimes even having conversations with each other or occasionally holding three-way talks between themselves and Batman.
- Whether the two halves of Harvey's face represent the two sides of his personality, and if so, which half represents which side, isn't always consistent. Traditionally, the unscathed half represents Harvey and the scarred half represents Two-Face due in part to the usual Beauty Equals Goodness and Evil Makes You Ugly tropes as well as the accident that scarred Harvey's face bringing the Two-Face personality to the forefront. However, writers of later stories have inverted this, with the evil personality being represented by the normal-looking half and Harvey's old identity represented by the scarred half. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a prime example of this, as it shows Harvey relapsing into total villainy after his scars are removed via cosmetic surgery.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Two-Face is a very clever opponent. He often comes up with cunning plans to achieve his goals and he has also shown some degree of skill as a detective.
- Dice Roll Death: His modus operandi is the use of a coin flip to determine his actions, which can include whether to murder someone or not. Depending on the Writer, he can play this trope straight or invoke it if he doesn't like the initial outcome.
- Don't Look At Me: Initially, Dent will refuse to have anyone look at his face after it's been scarred, only to later get over it when enough time has passed. Similarly, in The Dark Knight Returns, he bandages up his face completely after the surgery to heal it goes through, making Bruce believe Dent had scarred himself. Sadly,his face is fine, but it shows how deep his mental scars go.
- Driven to Suicide: Apparently in the New 52. He's alive again by DC Rebirth.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Golden Age Two-Face can be summed up the following ways: surnamed "Kent" instead of "Dent", rejects moral responsibility and getting a legitimate happy ending.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His estranged wife Gilda. In one story from the eighties he rescued her from a criminal who Harvey Dent had put away.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Depending on the Writer, of course:
- Most iterations share his commitment to his word; if he makes a promise, he will honor it. This includes his coin flips, where he will honor the decision of the coin even if he personally doesn’t like the outcome.
- Almost all iterations have him strictly follow Wouldn't Hurt a Child. His The Dark Knight counterpart is rather infamous for coming incredibly close to averting this.
- On at least one special occasion, having been an Unwitting Pawn for the Qwardians to take over Earth, he flipped the coin and when it came up clean he went straight to the Justice League to explain the situation.
- He was one of the prisoners who protected Ingrid Arkham during a riot.
- Evil Feels Good: During 52, Harvey underwent plastic surgery to fix his face, and became a vigilante with Batman's training before the Dark Knight left for a year. When Batman returns, Harvey starts to feel irrelevant. His crime-fighting methods become more and more extreme, to the point where the dormant Two-Face personality rises once more to tempt him back to a life of evil, reminding Harvey how elated it used to make him feel, describing it as "better than sex, better than any drug." Harvey ultimately leaves his fate, once again, to a coin flip. It lands scarred side up, and he goes to work on himself with acid and a scalpel, until Two-Face returns on the outside as well.
- Evil Former Friend: Harvey Dent is shown as a close friend of both Batman and Commissioner Gordon before turning into Two-Face.
- Eye Scream: Goes hand in hand with Depending on the Artist. Some artists depict his scarred side without an eyelid, or with an eye that's swollen and red. And a few draw a solid black circle where his left eye should be, implying that his left eye had been completely dissolved.
- Facial Horror:
- Fair-Play Villain: Dent's modus operandi. He believes that chance (specifically, a coin toss) is the only fair thing in the world, and will flip a coin to make any major decisions. Of course, how "fair" this is can become skewed, such as flipping a coin to decide whether or not he should honor an agreement when the other party already held up their end of the bargain or doing multiple coin flips for every petty little thing.
- Zigzagged in Batman Forever where Two Face at Wayne's manor, flips the coin on the same decision until he gets the result he desires, but at the final act agrees to flip the coin to decide Batman's death.
- Averted at The Dark Knight when the coin dictates that The Don could live, but Harvey then uses it on the driver. They both die.
- Averted at Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. After Two Face takes a therapy in Arkham that destroyed his personality, Batman asks to be judged by Two Face, he flips his coin, and lets Batman go. At the last scene, we see the scarred coin. Two Face let Batman go. Word of God says that maybe for the last time, Two Face takes his own decision.
- Fallen Hero: Used to be district attorney and fairly good one too.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Dent generally feeds his obsession by wearing a suit split in two down the middle, often composed of a sedate solid color on the normal side and a garish pattern print on the scarred side. His The Dark Knight and Batman: Arkham Series counterparts wear the suits they were in when they were scarred, meaning half the suit is clean and the other is as burned as his face.
- The Fatalist: This is Two-Face's philosophy, represented by his habit of flipping a coin to decide what he does. This is in direct opposition to the philosophy he had as Harvey Dent.
- At Batman: Gotham Adventures #2, Lucky day it was showed that Harvey get this trait from his father, a Professional Gambler who knows that this is his lucky day and nothing can stop him to become millionaire if he gambles, having already won a lottery and now about to officially receive his $2.2 million winner's fee. Harvey tries to get revenge on him because he was an Abusive Parent, but is stopped from actually killing him by Robin and Batgirl. Harvey’s father gloats he will become rich that day by gambling with the remaining ten grand from the explosion, only to hear from Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon that Harvey's father's money is evidence for Harvey’s crime attempt on his parent and so Harvey's dad can’t use it that day, and Two-Face has already confirmed that insurance companies won't refund the money as it wasn't legally his father's at the point Two-Face destroyed it. Cue a devastated gambler and a laughing Two Face.
- Flanderization: In his appearance in Joker's short-lived comic in the 70's, his Numerological Motif was played up considerably more than usual. As Joker notes, he couldn't even escape from the clown without throwing a bowl of pears at him.
- Foregone Conclusion: Any appearance by Harvey Dent in a Batman adaptation is usually guaranteed to have him wind up disfigured and becoming Two-Face.
- Friendly Enemy: Two-Face waited for Batman to come take him away after committing a murder. Harvey Dent is one of Bruce's close friends, and one of the few relationships where the Bruce-centric version of their relationship seems more important than the Batman-centric version of the relationship to him.
- Also with Jim Gordon: when Gordon retired after the events of No Man's Land, Harvey crashed his retirement party, taking the whole room hostage. He then tossed his coin... and when it came down with the clean side up, made a heartfelt speech about how much Gordon had done for Gotham, hugged him and peacefully surrendered to the police.
- Freudian Excuse: Being beaten as a child by his father. In fact, several versions actually state that this is where his coin came from in the first place.
- Genius Bruiser: A highly trained and skilled attorney who is also very powerfully built and has extensive combat training by Batman himself in some continuities.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Bruce Wayne has been known for going down to Arkham to play chess with Harvey Dent. An interesting example, as Batman was once friends with Harvey Dent, who is actually insane, unlike most super-criminals in Arkham.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Two-Face is not a particularly well-trained combatant, but is prone to bouts of absolutely savage violence in which this does not matter.
- Guns Akimbo: Much less than you'd think, but still there occasionally.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Two-Face's scarred side is rage personified, in many depictions. With shades of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking; Two-Face often tends to explode over damn near anything, even trivial issues.
- In one issue, he and his gang are playing cards, and the rest of them are terrified that he'll set off when they start beating him, or other small stuff. He doesn't and actually laughs it off, and they let their guard down... then one of them spills some wine by accident, and he shoots the guy dead.
- For a time, he was infatuated with Detective Renee Montoya, whom he met during No Man's Land, and tried to woo her. Then she turns out to be a lesbian, and he goes ballistic and accuses her of "betraying" him.
- In one comic book adaptation of Batman The Animated Series, Bruce and Gracie - Harvey's ex-fiancee before his accident - visit him in Arkham at a point he seems to be at last on the road to recovery; he himself notes that he's not using the coin as much, and he's genuinely grateful for the visit. Then the Joker suggests that Bruce and Gracie are seeing each other behind his back... and the predictable happens.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: His coin flips are sometimes depicted as representing two equally bad options, as was the case with Dick Grayon's most traumatizing case during his Robin days.
- Heads or Tails?: A coin-flip is his villain gimmick.
- Heads, Tails, Edge: He constantly gets screwed over by this trope.
- Sometimes justified: Batman had replaced it with a weighted coin when he wasn't looking.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Gets cured of his mental problems only for his criminal side to eventually resurface and/or physical scars.
- Hello, Attorney!!: A male example. Dent's incredibly good looks earned him the nickname "Apollo". Didn't last.
- Hollywood Atheist: His story in Joker's Asylum has him meet another partially disfigured man named Holman Hunt, who is more idealistic. When mocking Holman's idealism, Harvey brings up that he no longer believes in a benevolent God, implying that his disfigurement and descent into crime are why.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His obsession with the coin is more often than not his downfall. Batman Forever in particular actually had Batman defeat him by waiting until Harvey flipped the coin then throwing a bunch of coins in the air. Harvey can't tell which one is his and he falls to his death while trying to figure it out. In the comics, No Man's Land saw Dent put Gordon on trial for their "illegal" alliance to guard Gordon's territory, but when a coin-toss turned out in Gordon's favour, Harvey Dent cross-examined Two-Face, culminating in Two-Face acquitting Gordon of charges he brought up against Gordon himself because his own defense proved that the alliance had been formed under coercion and couldn't be legally valid.
- Humble Hero: During his tenure as D.A. After the accident, his self-esteem has predictably sunk even lower.
- Iconic Outfit: Or Iconic Style, more accurately; almost every version wears a suit which is essentially two different suits sown together in the middle to form one, with each half being a different style. Common variations are two different colours (such as the Batman: The Animated Series version as shown above), two different suit styles (such as the Long Halloween version), half well-maintained, half-damaged (such as in The Dark Knight and the Batman: Arkham Series) and half normal suit, half Fashion-Victim Villain (such as the Batman Forever version).
- Idiosyncrazy: Originally, Two-Face was one of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2.
- Insane Equals Violent: He wasn't evil until one side of his face was ruined and (depending on the version) his insanity either began or became much worse.
- Insane No More: In The Dark Knight Returns, the damaged half of his face is restored by plastic surgeons and a psychiatrist declares him cured. It doesn't work. Instead, he scratches the other side of his coin so both sides match, feeling Harvey is gone and Two Face has taken over.
- Insanity Defense: Being compelled to follow the flip of his coin, he is one of the few Bat-villains to meet the real-life qualifications for it to work, via the irresistible impulse defense.
- It's Personal:
- Two-Face and Batman were once close friends. Two-Face holds Batman responsible for ruining his life (or at least failing to stop the mob from ruining it), while Batman is constantly trying to reach out to his former ally and bring him back into the fold.
- Two-Face's relationship with Dick Grayson is also deeply personal, though less nuanced. The two absolutely hate each other, with Dick seeing Harvey as an irredeemable wreck, and Two-Face holding Dick responsible for the failures of several of his schemes to kill Batman.
- Jack of All Stats: When it comes to Batman villains, he occupies that solid "middle ground" in terms of abilities. He's a fairly big strong guy around Bruce's size and is stronger than the likes of Joker, Penguin, or Riddler, but he lacks the sheer brute superhuman power of Killer Croc, Bane, or Clayface. He can be a smart planner, just not on the level of Riddler, Hugo Strange or Scarecrow. He can be a decent brawler, and can occasionally learn some martial arts in some stories, when he wants to be but isn't in the same skill league as Hush, Ra's al-Ghul, or Lady Shiva. His marksmanship is also solid but both Deathstroke and Deadshot far surpass him in this field. While he's a master of none, his above average abilities in all these fields, combined with Bruce's guilt over Harvey's transformation, keeps him in the running as one of Batman's most dangerous foes.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Batman creator Bob Kane claims to have been inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, specifically the 1931 film version which he saw as a boy. Inside the same body lives a truly heroic guy named Harvey and a truly villainous guy called Two Face. His debut story even featured him reading the story on the first page.
Henchmen: You wanna flip your coin...? To know if we're gonna do this?
- Batman: Gotham Adventures #2, Lucky day showed Two-Face trying to get revenge on his abusive father and we see this dialogue:
Two-Face: No. Every part of me wants to do this
- The Jekyll Is a Jerk: Some interpretations of Two-Face depict Harvey Dent, the ostensible good side, as being much more morally ambiguous than his sterling reputation suggests - though he's generally nowhere near as bad as his Split Personality. The most famous example is The Long Halloween, where Harvey is an obsessive and cold misanthrope to start with, to the point where even Gordon and Batman - his closest friends and allies - suspect him of murder long before his transformation.
- Large and in Charge: Sort of. He's far from being the tallest Batman villain, but he lacks any real fighting skills or training either. He is still a big, intimidating man, however, and tends to dominate his underlings - and go toe-to-toe with Batman - by relying on size and his highly volatile moral compass.
- Even the Joker, Ax-Crazy lunatic extraordinaire (and not exactly a small man himself) acknowledges that he has no chance of beating Two-Face in a bare handed fight.
- Large Ham: Tommy Lee Jones played him this way.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: He wears a symbolically split two-tone suit.
- The Mentally Disturbed: Two-Face is one of the few Batman villains to be genuinely sick.
- Morality Pet: (Usually) has one in the form of his wife, Gilda/Grace.
- Noble Demon: Under some writers.
- Not His Sled: His incarnations in DC Comics Bombshells and the Grim Knight's universe get partially disfigured per usual, but neither of them become evil afterwards.
- Number Obsession: He is famously obsessed with the number two and duality in general, wielding Guns Akimbo and planning crimes involving the number two.
- Numerological Motif: Guess.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Any time Two-Face doesn’t flip his coin to make a decision, such as when he kills Janice Porter in Dark Victory or when he prepared to kill or ruin his abusive father in Batman: Gotham Adventures, as that means that both sides of his personality agree on what he’s about to do.
- The Paranoiac: Two-Face, though "officially" diagnosed as having a Split Personality, probably fits this better than anything (at the very least, the "Two-Face" personality is definitely paranoiac). He has Black-and-White Insanity and a bleak worldview down to a tee, as he literally makes nearly every decision based on a coin flip (and has a Freak Out if he ever loses said coin) because he thinks all laws and rules are based on random chance; he has an explosive temper, and once killed a lackey over spilling a drink; he murdered his mistress, Janice Porter, because "Harvey Dent is a married man" and later was livid to learn that Renee Montoya, who he had been stalking, was a lesbian and accused her of tricking him. Works such as The Long Halloween suggest that much of this attitude was present even before he became Two-Face, as that story showed a grim and humourless Harvey Dent willing to break the law to defeat the mob, having zero time for human relationships (including his wife) and maybe-or-not being the Serial Killer who was murdering mobsters and served as the Big Bad of the plot. A drunken and abusive father is also a consistent feature of his backstory, as is the implication that Harvey is mistrusting and pitiless as a result.
- Pungeon Master: Some writers (most infamously, the ones behind Batman Forever) depict him as dishing out two-related puns by the truckful.
- Race Lift: Sort of. In the Tim Burton films Harvey Dent is played by Billy Dee Williams, but he never gets around to becoming Two-Face. Then, in Batman Forever, which may or may not be in the same continuity, he's back to being white. The Animated Series depicts him as more of a light-skinned black man or perhaps Sicilian, and since Word of God informs us that the character was modeled after Humphrey Bogart, this suggests he is the latter.
- Rage Against the Reflection: Typical origin story includes him awakening after the acid incident and him demanding a mirror. When he sees the grotesque scarring of half his face, he screams with horror and anger, and his transformation into the villain Two-Face becomes complete.
- The original version has him put this off until he's gone full-blown criminal, staring into it and wondering what he's become before remembering he ordered no mirrors to be put up in his headquarters, prompting him to smash it.
- Redemption Rejection: Even discounting the several times in the comics that he gets healed and turns back to crime one way or the other, Harvey tends to turn down the chances offered to fix himself.
- In The Dark Knight, Batman seems to get through to him when he says that Joker targeted him because he wanted to show how the best of people could still be corrupted. For a second, Harvey seems to listen and realize how far he's fallen, but then he simply acknowledges that the Joker was right and continues with his plan.
- Batman Forever has Batman offering to get him help if he'll simply spare himself and Robin. This version doesn't hesitate to flip his coin, prompting Batman to trick him to his death.
- In Batman: Arkham City, Hugo Strange says he will flip Harvey's coin and offers a choice: if Harvey catches the coin, he'll tell him where Catwoman currently is, but if he lets it fall to the floor, he'll do whatever it takes to get Harvey the help he needs. From the sound of the audio log, the coin almost makes it to the ground before Harvey catches it.
- Reluctant Psycho: Harvey Dent is one of the only inmates in Arkham who is actually trying to rehabilitate himself rather than treating Arkham as a second home. Unfortunately, Two-Face isn't open to rehabilitation since he knows it will kill him. Harvey's efforts always end in failure and tears.
- The Resenter: The Long Halloween portrays Harvey has having resentment towards Bruce's lot in life, thinking he doesn't care about others and thinking Bruce bought a Not Guilty verdict as Bruce is acquitted.
- Sadistic Choice: Some writers are known for depicting him as a villain who will go out of his way to force others into these - in these cases, the two sides of his coin tend to both represent "evil" options.
- Same Surname Means Related: His last name was originally Kent but was changed to Dent so fans wouldn't think he was related to Clark Kent/Superman.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: In the New 52, he reveals that he's known that Bruce Wayne is Batman for at least a few years, but has repeatedly convinced himself not to kill him.
- Secondary Color Nemesis: The scarred side of his face has been depicted as both purple and green under different artists. His suits have also incorporated purple, green, orange, or all of the above.
- Shadow Archetype: He mirrors Batman's origin and obsession with double identities.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Totes a double-barreled shotgun around occasionally.
- Split Personality: Suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and multiple personality disorder.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Renee Montoya.
- Status Quo Is God: There have been stories where Two-Face gets cured, undergoes surgery to fix his scarred side, or undergoes a Heel–Face Turn for a period of time. However, those efforts end up being All for Nothing because circumstances of the story will always drag Harvey back kicking and screaming to being the villainous, scarred Two-Face.
- Straw Nihilist: On the occasions he is written as relatively "sane", Two-Face's villainous persona tends to be depicted as a response to and reflection of how cruel, unjust and random the world is, so whether someone lives or dies might as well depend on the flip of a coin.
- Strong, but Unskilled: Zig-zagged. At the very least, he's a skilled marksman and there are some stories that show him receiving extra martial arts training under Batman. But his general portrayal all across the board throughout different television and movie mediums tends to be that of a man around the same height and build as Bruce Wayne who's as strong as can be for a non-meta, but otherwise lacks the formal martial arts training of the Bat-family.
- Sudden Name Change:
- Harvey Dent's wife is generally known as Gilda, but was renamed "Grace" in a 1989 Secret Origins story and the name carried over to her animated counterpart in Batman: The Animated Series. All later comic appearances switched her name back to Gilda.
- Harvey himself was originally introduced as "Harvey Kent". They changed his name so there'd be no confusion with that other fellow.
- Took a Level in Badass: Post-Crisis Two-Face had Deathstroke give him a crash course in firearms and hand-to-hand combat during his brief tenure filling in for Batman. He put those skills to good use in a couple of subsequent brawls with Dick Grayson.
- Tragic Monster: Played for Drama. Harvey's descent into villainy legitimately isn't his fault, and he's repeatedly shown trying to get out of Two-Face's shadow, only to fall in.
- One particular example, set in The Batman Adventures, has him physically and mentally cured and falling in love with his plastic surgeon. Except his fiancee is an identical twin whose "bad girl" sister seduces Harvey before the wedding. When he tries to end things with her, the Evil Twin promptly murders Harvey's fiancee out of vindictive jealousy. Driven by rage and grief, he scars himself with burning coals to restore Two-Face so he can seek revenge, shooting his lover even after she proclaims that she can and will still love him despite his restored disfiguration. Then he breaks down and just sits there on the docks, cradling her body and waiting for Batman to come and take him back to Arkham.
- Tragic Villain: His fall from grace is the end result of one tragedy that allowed his repressed mental-issues to boil over until his mind completely broke.
- Talking to Themself: Comes from his mental issues.
- Thememobile: In campier times, he had one just like most other Bat-villains. Most recently brought up in Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?, where it's completely pristine on one side and an utter wreck on the other.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In Gotham Academy he gets attacked by a ghost of a witch Amity Arkham, in the body of the book protagonist, Olive Silverlock hunting descendants of her killers. But once she actually gets to look at him closely...Amity: You...Your face...This burn...Who did this to you?Harvey: Gotham. The city betrayed me. Hurt me.Amity: Did you suffer?Harvey: Oh yeah. I suffered. I lost everything. I still suffer every day.
- Two-Faced: He serves as the Trope Namer as well as the Trope Codifier. Each side of his face represents an aspect of his personality, the scarred half being his cruel side, and the unscarred being his honorable side.
- Two-Headed Coin: Harvey Dent uses one of these, but then one side gets scratched up, making it back into a fair coin. Its emotional/symbolic significance to Two-Face makes it a #1 Dime as well. (Originally it was Boss Maroni's "lucky coin", and hence was tied to his origin. In later stories it was the coin his abusive father tossed with the assurance that if it came down tails he wouldn't be beaten. Harvey only learnt it was double-headed shortly before being scarred.)
- Underestimating Badassery: All the Robins have underestimated Two-Face at one point or another, and paid the price for it.
- Unscrupulous Hero: Dent does have his heroic moments, but he's still horribly brutal and decides on whether to do the right thing or not from a coin flip just like he does everything else.
- Verbal Tic: Batman Forever had Harvey referring to himself in the plural. The idea stuck with some writers like Doug Moench and Andrew Helfer and has since become a common feature of the character.
- Villainous Breakdown: Often.
- Wakeup Call Boss: Served as this during Dick Grayson's tenure as Robin - up until that point, Dick had only faced ordinary criminals, along with a few bush-league supervillains like Killer Moth and the Mad Hatter.
- Wham Line: In Batman and Robin 28:Batman: How could you let yourself fall so far?! Why couldn't you steel yourself—channel the pain—turn it into something good?!
Two-Face: LIKE YOU DID, BRUCE?!
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Harvey Dent used to be a legitimately heroic character. But, a string of bad luck has turned him into a monster who lashes out at the world that has hurt him so badly.
- Would Hurt a Child: Beat Dick within an inch of his life with a baseball bat when he was Robin. He later did the same to both Jason Todd and Tim Drake.
- Xanatos Gambit: Two-Face's plan against his father in Batman: Gotham Adventures #2; either he kills the man directly, or he blows up his father's $2.2 million lottery winnings in a manner that means his father won't actually get the money.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulled this with a Mook who was standing directly between him and someone he wanted to shoot; when he asked him to get out of the way and the mook failed to, he informed him that he couldn't afford to lose any "red shirts". When this flew over the mook's head, Dent informed him that he was far too stupid to be anything but a liability and shot him dead on the spot.