Commissioner Gordon's Entire Backstory Explained

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Before he was transformed into the villain known as Two-Face, Harvey Dent was a handsome, popular member of Gotham's upper crust. He was also a talented district attorney with a reputation for honesty, which earns him the friendship and confidence of both James Gordon and Batman. At the time, the two are still in their collaborative infancy, and learning to trust one another. It is partly due to their mutual friendship with Dent that Gordon and Batman recognize the potential that lies between them.

Unfortunately, Dent's incorruptibility creates numerous enemies, which ultimately leads to his downfall and transformation into Two-Face. As seen in Detective Comics #66, and further expanded upon in Batman Annual #14, mob boss Sal Maroni throws acid in Dent's face mid-trial in a cruel act of retaliation, leaving him physically disfigured and mentally broken.

After further investigation into Dent's history, Gordon and Batman learn he has a troubled past, marred by abuse from an alcoholic father, and a schizophrenia diagnosis. He's been able to contain his illness through his legal studies, but his disfigurement pushes him over the edge. In an interesting twist, Gordon plays Dent's split personalities against each other while he's on trial in the cataclysmic story arc No Man's Landusing Dent to cross-examine Two-Face and win an acquittal for Gordon. And yes, it's as confusing and odd to witness as it sounds.

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