Yesterday’s episode of Batwoman season 1, titled “Grinning Ear To Ear,” introduced yet another Bat-mythos villain into the Arrowverse. The CW series has already brought a bunch of comic book foes who haven’t been seen in live-action before to the screen, including Thomas Elliot AKA Hush, and last week saw the appearance of Duela Dent, who – though she didn’t sport the alias in the episode – is typically known as the Joker’s daughter.
There are two distinct versions of Duela in the comics. Originally, the identity of her supervillain father was a mystery, with Riddler, Joker, Two-Face and more being suspects, before it was ultimately revealed that she was the offspring of Three-Face, the Two-Face of Earth-3. In The New 52, Duela was reimagined as a troubled young woman who found beauty in what others found horrifying. She’s most known for donning the Joker’s face, which he had himself cut off, and calling herself his daughter, the rightful heir to his legacy.
Batwoman has created a new take on Duela Dent that borrows from both of these iterations. Established as the niece of a “beloved DA,” she was a Gotham socialite whose mind was cracked when the pressure of maintaining a beautiful appearance finally got to her. When putting on make-up one day, she smashed the mirror and used a shard to carve a smile onto her face – which has got to be a nod to The Dark Knight.
Kate Kane got on her case when a series of attacks on social media influencers led the heroine to deduce Duela was the culprit, as she was attempting to “free” other women like herself of the burden of society’s obsession with beauty. By the end of the episode, Alice had got hold of her and had removed Duela’s face, which she needs for her own plan. Disturbingly, Duela was not phased by the incident, believing she was now finally perfect.
Duela stands as one of the most memorable villains of Batwoman‘s first season thus far, so hopefully she’ll come back in the next run, maybe with some stronger ties to the Joker or Two-Face.