Review: Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler
Riddle me this. When is a Riddler story more than a riddle? When writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are involved. Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler kicks off a series of one-shots focused on Batman’s villains and it’s one hell of a start. By the end, not only do we get a better sense of the character’s motivations but also a whole new outlook.
Written by King, Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler is an interesting comic that starts off with a murder. In the wide open, the Riddler has killed a man. No riddle. No apparent motivation. Why has he done this? Why does he want to speak to Batman so badly?
The comic bounces back and forth between the Riddler’s current crime and his youth. We get a little of his motivation as to why he is the way he is. It creates some understanding and some sympathy but also a coldness. There’s a strange lull after reading the comic as you think about the Riddler’s life. There’s a disconnect in some ways. And that makes it all the more scarier. Add in the character’s new outlook at things and it becomes all the more uneasy. Where King takes the character is hopefully a direction other writers pick up on as it takes him from a character with a rather tired and played out schtick and turns him into a psychotic stone cold killer. It’s no longer about the riddles and more about how intelligent he is and how he uses that.
Mitch Gerads is once again in-sync with King. The art is fantastic with a a look that’s a little off. The character, the coloring, it all feels sickly in some ways, a scary nightmare of the Riddler’s we’re witnessing. The comic jumps back and forth in time using the colors to easily indicate when we are but there’s a brilliance to the transitions as it slides between the two visually and thematically. In the modern times the world is a sickly green, playing off the character’s iconic look but adding a drab aspect. It too signifies the radical change in the character.
Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler is a hell of a start to this series of one-shots. It delivers a rather unnerving tale as the Riddler unravels and builds himself back up. It’s a new status-quo that hopefully becomes the Riddler we know going forward creating an even more frightening foe for Batman to tangle with. On it’s own, it’s one hell of a read that’ll stick with you.
Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review