Batman has fought against Two-Face a countless number of times, but the villain’s wife Gilda is secretly Gotham City’s most dangerous Dent.
Warning: Contains Spoilers for Batman: Black & White #5 and Batman: The Long Halloween
Many Batman readers are familiar with the coin-flipping villain Two-Face a.k.a. Harvey Dent, but they may be surprised to find that his wife Gilda is just as much of a force to be reckoned with. Gilda has prominently featured in a handful of Batman stories from over the years. In her most popular appearances, she quickly proved that Harvey isn’t the most fearsome Dent in Gotham City.
Gilda Dent has long been established as Harvey Dent’s primary love interest in the comics, but her most notable appearance to date was in the classic series Batman: The Long Halloween, written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. Partially serving as an origin story for Two-Face, the story focuses on Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey’s attempts to take down Gotham’s most elite crime families while simultaneously pursuing the enigmatic serial killer Holiday, who is targeting the families. Gilda features in a supporting role as Harvey’s wife and over the course of the series, the reader is led to believe that she is an innocent victim of Harvey’s descent into madness. The shocking final twist of the comic casts her in a completely different light, however, as Gilda reveals in the final few pages that she was the original Holiday killer. Explaining that she saw the toll Harvey’s battle against Gotham’s crime families was taking on his mental and physical wellbeing, she decided to kill off the major players in the families herself. Gilda became a serial murderer, and because of her use of Harvey’s notes and research to orchestrate the murders in a manner that seemed professional, no one, not even Batman, ever suspected her.
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Batman: The Long Halloween isn’t the last time readers got to catch a glimpse of Gilda Dent’s more unhinged side. The new comic Batman: Black & White #5 contains a story titled “Blue,” written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Emanuela Luppachino and Wade Von Grawbadger. The story is told from the perspective of Gilda, who narrates through several flashbacks to explain how her life was ruined by her marriage to Harvey and his subsequent transformation into Two-Face. In the years that ensued, Gilda began to harbor resentment towards the way that women such as her and Harley Quinn are often unfairly hurt due to their connection to unstable men. Now working as a bartender in the present day, Gilda overhears that the villainous Electrocutioner is getting married. At the end of the story, she confronts him in an alleyway and shoots him, stating, “Consider this a wedding present for the bride-to-be.”
This newer spin on Gilda versus her portrayal in Batman: The Long Halloween features fairly different motivations for the character, but the base concept remains the same: Gilda Dent is absolutely not to be messed with. At her core, Gilda is much more dangerous than Two-Face because unlike him, she can hide in plain sight. She doesn’t have a costume or a gimmick or a group of henchmen — nothing outlandish to draw attention to her. As she puts it, “You fade into their background.” No one suspects what Gilda is capable of until it’s too late and she’s already pulled the trigger of the gun.
Gilda Dent is one of the most compelling minor characters in the Batman mythos and is certainly deserving of more attention in the future. Her effectiveness as a killer in her most notable appearances certainly proves that she can stand toe-to-toe with Two-Face and the rest of the Dark Knight’s rogues’ gallery. But for now, Gilda continues to stick to the shadows as one of Gotham’s most dangerous residents.
Next: Has Harvey Dent Been Cured of Two-Face?
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