Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 16th, 2022
BATMAN’S greatest villains get their most extraordinary tales yet beginning with BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1 by Tom King. However, it appears as though the RIDDLER has murdered a man for no reason in broad daylight. But why? And where’s the riddle? The RIDDLER is always up for a game. But for some reason… not this time. Let’s dive into this psychological thriller and see if we can figure out why.
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Tom King kicks off BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY with a rather extreme RIDDLER tale that will certainly put a new perspective on Edward Nygma. Most people view the RIDDLER as a joke. Laughable at best with silly quips and meaningless games that amount to nothing. Alas, after BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1, readers will think twice about this question mark villain.
King uses BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1 to paint a rather dark and twisted canvas behind the inner working of the RIDDLER. Sure, people have always known him as being smart. However, King makes Edward a genius-level psychopath with no moral compass as well as pathologically insane with nothing to lose. Nygma is so over the top, that this average, run-of-the-mill villain, has leveled up to JOKER level stability in frightening new ways.
Granted, the details of how Edward is able to control what he can control, as well as why he’s doing what he’s doing are a bit fuzzy. Frankly, the “how” is the weakest part of BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1. Nevertheless, if you can decouple your sense of “how” and focus on the plot and character development, you’ll leave wanting more of King’s RIDDLER… even though he seems entirely different than the RIDDLER he wrote before in his BATMAN run.
So, is this story in continuity? Maybe. But again, if you can read BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1 has a single story about the RIDDLER in which provides some stellar background information about the character, as well as some creepy, almost diabolical development, then I think you’ll leave wildly impressed.
Readers, it’s Mitch Gerads. If you’ve followed his work, you know his style. It’s raw, real, and graphic with loads of 9-panel grids. Sadly, it’s the 9-panel grids that get a bit too annoying at times, especially because when Gerads has more space to maneuver he has the ability to showcase just exactly what he’s capable of. Plus, sometimes the 9-panel grids “appear” to be recycled. Granted, the 9-panel grid style helps hold the reader’s hand through the comic guiding the movement of the story. Yet, the grid formation along with the heavy dialogue at points really slowed the narrative down.
However, even when he switched to 6 long panels, he still had more space with the lettering to showcase just exactly what he can do with extensive detail. I mean, let’s be real… Gerads can show character emotions so well. It’s that realism that shines in his renderings. It’s that character emotion and rawness in the expressions that add depth to BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1. Yet the highlight of the issue was THE RIDDLER. His look, his attire, and his mannerisms made the issue and complimented King’s dynamic characterization so well. Edward’s psychotic confidence when stating all he knows about BATMAN was so powerful due to the Gerads balanced attack at the illustration helm.
BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – THE RIDDLER #1 by King revamps the RIDDLER and puts a frightening spin on the character that fans will hope gets explored further by Tom and Mitch. Fans of the RIDDLER should definitely check this out, as well as King BATMAN haters. Sure, the narration and dialogue were disconnected at points BUT the overall theme and understanding were understandable, clever, and edgy. Continuity aside, as someone who’s been extremely hesitant of King’s BATMAN work, I can openly admit that this issue of BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY was a winner and deserves a good read. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!