Written by Joel T. Lewis
When last we saw the caped crusader he was at the mercy of Harvey Two-Face and a group of thugs affiliated with the Court of Owls called the Talons. Batman seemed to be defeated as Two-Face poured acid into his eyes. Luckily, we find out in the opening panels of issue 4 that Batman’s cowl has a built in shield that protects his flesh from the adverse effects of an acid bath. However, as Two-Face points out, it is the vapors of the acid that can do the real damage and Batman is rendered blind. This doesn't stop him from breaking free of the Court of Owls goons with the help of some nifty projectile panels built into the batsuit. Activating the echolocation component of his suit, Batman is able to trade blows with these thugs alongside his sidekick Lark.
Two-Face breaks free and manages to flood the tunnel they've been fighting in and slips away up an access tunnel. Lark and Batman are trapped underwater by cables tied around their ankles courtesy of the Talons. With Lark’s visor leaking and Batman’s echolocation array shorting out Batman uses the only trick left up his sleeve: sound. Attacking the Talons’ sensitive eardrums underwater with Lark’s harsh rock music, Batman and Lark manage to escape and subdue Two-Face once again.
Aboard a biplane, Batman confides in Lark the rest of his and young Harvey Dent’s childhood schemes as his eyesight slowly recovers. The troubled boys had made a pact: that they would kill the other boy’s tormentor. Harvey would kill Joe Chill and Bruce would kill Harvey’s father. But then Harvey's father sent him something at camp. When he would beat his son, Mr. Dent would flip his double tailed coin, saying if it came up heads he wouldn't touch his son. Harvey receives his father's coin in the mail but it has been recast as a double headed one. This symbolic gesture from his father meant he would never hurt his son again. Batman describes the shift in Harvey that day like this, “He wasn't seeing the world as it was, but how he would make it. It's not analysis. It's not acceptance. It's force of will.”
Though young Bruce knew that his friend would be beaten again by his father, the man he grew into admires the willful optimism that defined Harvey Dent from that day on. Scott Snyder adds another layer to the intimacy between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent with this final revelation. Harvey taught Bruce the power of the human will at a very young age. By refusing to see the world as the twisted cruel place that wrenched Bruce’s family from him and compels his own father to beat him, Harvey shook the hatred and conviction in his young friend. Through sheer force of will Harvey Dent would see the world as a better place. This is the fire that fueled his career as a public defender, and in a very real way it's the fire that inspired Bruce to don the cape and cowl.
As Lark hands Batman Two-Face’s coin, another biplane smokes and veers off course in the background and a familiar pair of combat boots land between Batman and Lark. A black glove snatches the coin from Batman’s hand just before that boot hits the back of his head and the lights go out. KGBeast has returned and he's taken Batman, Lark, and Two-Face to an abandoned casino riverboat where Black Mask, Great White, and the Penguin meet them to discuss their fate. After trading insults and muffling Batman’s quips, the three mob bosses reveal that they've conspired with Harvey behind Batman and Two-Face’s back.
As a safety net in case Batman wasn't able to get Two-Face where he planned to, Harvey planted a tracking device in himself so he could be found and killed before wreaking more havoc with his blackmail material. But one good twist deserves another: as Penguin moves into extract Two-Face’s blackmail codes from him the riverboat shakes from an explosion. Two-Face was aware of his tracking device and pushed the signal of it a little further to a group of people who have a vested interest in seeing the villain walk free. Still struggling to see as a result of the acid bath, Batman asks Lark who has come to save Two-Face and is shocked to see and hear the answer: they're just regular citizens and they're not here to negotiate. Can Batman and Lark defend themselves against ordinary citizens? Will Two-Face finally be rid of Harvey Dent, or will it be the other way around? Until next time, Geek On!