I have to say I don’t really like the idea behind the One Bad Day specials and I haven’t felt the desire to read any of the previous issues. That won’t affect how I score this issue but I can’t stop myself from indulging in some commentary on the series as a whole now that it’s my turn to review one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, what is Bane’s bad day? Let’s see!
This is surprisingly one of the better Bane stories I’ve read recently. That isn’t to say it’s incredible but it gets its job done and manages to justify itself, though it can’t do the same for the series it’s a part of.
Despite that, I want to discuss my biggest turn-off first. That’s the art. I can’t claim it’s bad. Howard Porter has a lot of talent and he’s an industry veteran. I also respect his artistic evolution.
This is where he started.
Here he is now.
This is the kind of growth I like to see. He has not stagnated. Despite the respect I have for him, I still don’t like his art. That’s a personal preference but it does affect my reading of the story so I have to assume there will be some other people out there who feel the same. My one big complaint about his work that doesn’t revolve entirely around personal taste is how overly busy it can be. It’s difficult sometimes to understand what is happening because of how little negative space there is. Every inch of the page is filled to the brim.
This page is a particularly excessive example of overcrowding the page but it does speak to Porter’s tendency to add detail where it isn’t necessary.
Looking back at the writing I’d say it’s also fairly filled to the brim. A surprising amount of ground is covered here. I think it’s worth mentioning that this is a story that reads better if you are up to date with the character. It is very much driven by Tom King’s run on Batman, despite portraying Bane as an old man who is washed up and regretful as he feels he peaked the day he broke Batman. His failure during the “City of Bane” arc was the turning point where he realized he was chasing something unattainable and now he is mostly concerned with wiping out any last remnants of Venom across the world. So that’s the groundwork that is established but the story then spirals from there and gives Bane a kind of redemptive arc. I’m happy with that direction. Bane is a villain who has lived past his glory days. I don’t think it’s possible for him to ever drive a story as impactful as Knightfall again. In addition, giving him a redemption story is well advised as it is always difficult to write a compelling story when your main character is a remorseless villain.
Where the story fails the most is in failing to explore Bane on a more personal level. There are hints of it. He experiences hallucinations of his mother, for instance, but it never becomes the story. In the end, it’s more about putting an end to venom production than anything else. I think it sets Bane in a good direction and if it could inspire continuity I think it would work as an intermediate chapter in the character’s journey. On its own, it functions as a solid self-contained story that doesn’t make a big impact. Either way, it’s never going to be Bane’s version of the Killing Joke no matter how much DC wants it to be.
Truly, this special’s biggest crime is being a part of what is in my opinion one of the dumbest sales ploys in DC history. One Bad Day is a disingenuous and manipulative concept that plays on people’s love of a classic story to sell them a product that is decent at best and doesn’t have any legitimate tie to Killing Joke. Honestly, it’s no wonder Alan Moore is so strongly against DC. This is a far worse exploitation of his work than Before Watchmen or Doomsday Clock ever were.
- You’re a fan of Bane
- Howard Porter’s style appeals to you
- Bane taking an anti-hero turn draws you in
I don’t have many complaints about the story itself and I enjoyed reading it in the moment. However, I don’t think it’s something that will stick with me. The One Bad Day concept is terrible and Howard Porter’s art isn’t my thing but I don’t think either of those complaints break the story. Some people will love this comic and others will be indifferent, but I don’t see anyone hating it. If it sounds like something that will interest you, I say give it a go!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.