Issue 4: Okay, nothing happens in this issue. I already noted that issue 3 was a little sparse, and I suppose it’s because this rather simple fight against the Joker had to be dragged out forever.
Issue 5: You may have been thinking, “Wait, but issue 4 gave us Dent’s first suspicions about Bruce Wayne!” But why then did Dent and Gordon decide to wait A MONTH AND A HALF before following up on that suspicion? Oh, right. It’s because of the holiday gimmick, which is getting more and more contrived. We’re not even halfway through the story, and we’re already getting some of that patented Loeb padding. Move it along, please.
Issue 6: I suppose I can’t hate on this issue too much. After all, it’s basically a rehash of a Gerry Conway-penned Poison Ivy story from the early 1980s that I really like. I would gripe about Poison Ivy’s presence as a pre-Robin rogue, but that’s a general problem with post-Crisis continuity, not this story in particular. But I almost wanted to laugh when Gordon told Dent, 'Take it slowly." Dude, it’s been two and a half months since Dent brought the Wayne thing to your attention. I know that Year One also played out over an extended period, but it never felt like the characters just decided to take a vacation for a month. It would be a little different if it felt like they had actually done any work on the case between issues.
Issue 7: Practically a clip show. Nothing happens.
Issue 8: Bruce Wayne has a “Martha” moment. I just hope it’s because of the fear toxin. Things are starting to move forward…kinda…I guess. It’s just unfortunate that Loeb can’t seem to find the time in this Two-Face origin story to give Dent any more to do than mumble about killing gangsters and grumble about arresting Wayne.
Issue 9: Loeb reworks Bill Finger’s Lew Moxon story and swaps in the Falcones. And then Luigi Maroni shows up to give us some more direct lifts from The Godfather. Eh, at least Dent finally has his coin. It’s the best issue since the third one, thanks in large part to some forward progression in the narrative. (Of course, I could point out that the trial wouldn’t realistically happen so fast, but the story is too decompressed as it is, so I’m not complaining.)
Issue 10: See? Here you go. A genuinely good issue. Yeah, Loeb is practically making a mockery of the Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter, but the character work is otherwise solid.
I’d say my complaints could be summed up like this: the concept is good enough, but the pacing and structure leave something to be desired. I think the story would have worked better if it had started on New Year’s Eve (a few weeks after the coda of Year One) and wrapped up near the end of Batman’s second year. There’s not thirteen issues’ worth of plot here, and I’m not fully sure that there’s even twelve. It’s making a mess of the timeline for no good reason.