The idea behind the One Bad Day series is to have Batman explore 64 page escapades with some of his most iconic enemies. However, the page count seems to be the only thing directly related to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Instead One Bad Day is supposed to mean that all of these stories take place over the course of a day in Batman’s life. On this particular day Batman is greeted by Harvey Dent and his much uglier counterpart Two-Face. Threats are sent to Harvey Dent’s father to ruin his 88th birthday party which forces Batman and Two-Face to work side by side.
This is a self contained story that would make for a decent introduction to Two-Face with lots of random flashes of backstory. I really enjoy the darker plot points towards the end and the way that the story of Two-Face becomes a clear metaphor for the ugly sides of history that we try to shy away from. This theme doesn’t really play too well with Batman’s involvement with the story though which hurts the pacing and the impact of the ending.
But based on the fact that this story is taking place during a birthday party you might not expect me to say that this is a pretty dark story. That’s because the settings in this story aren’t always the best for what the story is trying to go for. The way that Batman and his allies move around the city at some times makes it feel like they are just going to a new location for the sake of us having something cool to look at. This plays a lot towards the pacing of the comic too because it really adds to the problem that Batman and his team feel kinda useless. While they do accomplish certain feats of heroism and their investigation leads to an interesting ethical dilemma my overall feeling is that they chewed up a bit too much scenery for my taste.
While Batman’s involvement with the story felt a bit off at times, one plot point that I thought came really out of nowhere and was never really resolved is
The art of this comic is absolutely gorgeous though. I might not understand why Batman is constantly entering the beautiful scenery of Gotham at night but I can definitely still enjoy those dark alleyways under the skillful pen of Javier Fernandez. I do find it a bit of a shame that most of the extended panels are reserved for some mediocre shots. At the exception of the incredible face melting of Two-Face, the spreads are often showcasing some mildly entertaining sights but could have taken advantage of much more dark moments in this comic to drive home the sinister plot of the story. One double page spread in particular actively undermines the story as we are greeted by a birthday party with a hefty amount of balloons and only a handful of guests really confused me as to how vast the area actually is.
The coloring by Jordie Bellaire on the other hand works a bit like Harvey Dent himself. The first half is this incredible chaos of colors mixing the distinct hues of certain characters and details into these rich backdrops while the second half feels way more monotone and muted. The first half or more of this comic is incredible to look at when it’s working at its best and I really can’t overhype the way that the artists worked together to have the melting of Harvey Dent’s face look so detailed and grotesque.
- The goriness of Two-Face and darkness of Gotham City always attract your attention
- You’re not too familiar with Harvey Dent as a character and would like to know more
- A quick self contained story could mean a decent break from longer story arcs
This review wasn’t as positive as I first thought it would be and after reading it a couple times I really feel like the pacing and presence of Batman are the biggest problems I have when I think about why each time has been less enjoyable than the last. The story definitely got me to think about some interesting conflict of interests and had me horrified by the end of it but just like the coloring I was way more impressed with it at the beginning than by the time I had let it settle in.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.