Batman: One Bad Day – Ra’s Al Ghul #1 is part of a series of one-shots published by DC Comics, written by Tom Taylor, pencils by Ivan Reis, inks by Danny Miki, colors by Brad Anderson, and letters by Wes Abbott. Ra’s is resurrected again and, upon witnessing an extinction, starts targeting a new selection of victims. But that puts him on the radar of the Detective.
This a long comic, an extensive read that can easily be sunk into. It opens with the most recognizable feature of Ra’s Al Ghul’s mythos; the Lazarus Pit. This becomes a cyclical bookmark of the comic. The concept of the plot is brilliant as Taylor approaches this immortal being with a different slant. It is a great idea, fitting in with the time theme that comes with the character. It is implemented slowly, and it is not immediately obvious what the mission is. As it unfolds further, the terrifying ability of the League of Assassins is made clear. The first time we see them in action is brutal and extremely effective. This leads to crossing the path of Batman. The following confrontation has been seen before, but how it ends could never have been predicted. It’s a surreal final part of the issue, to the point where it seems like a dream sequence. Taylor’s last pages of this One Bad Day one-shot are among the most shocking of the collection.
The variety in the One Bad Day stories is a brilliant example of the differences in Batman’s villains. Ra’s has been part of Bruce Wayne’s journey for as long as he has been Batman. Not only that, but Damian is family. Ra’s respect and admiration for Bruce create an interesting dynamic, especially when they oppose one another. This comic has an emotional heart that makes sense for a character that has been through 8 centuries. Taylor boils it down to both a small and large scale, with his lifetimes connected from infancy to the present. It is not that he has been presented as a good man. He is still a ruthless assassin and can heartlessly slaughter people to further his gains. But there is a code he runs by and a master plan. The dialogue, especially regarding Batman, is gorgeously written. Perhaps if there is one underutilized character, it is Talia. Her role as both a daughter and mother for the purpose of this book could have been involved more instead of largely being there to greet her father.
The art is emotive and visceral. The quiet nature of the assassins is merged with their excellence at violence. The execution of the way Ra’s, Talia, and the other members enact their executions is fascinating. They can be intensely gory, but it is often one panel, like a sudden flash of something extreme. These kills are shocking and dramatic, the reactions for them intensifying the situation. Reis and Miki make haunting facial expressions filled with anguish and horror. The whole comic looks fantastic. The locations are atmospheric and gorgeous, and the Bat vehicles used are all very cool.
The colors are ideally suited for the characters and the issue’s tone. Primarily there is a palette of greens, grey and black. The emerald of Ra’s has a beautiful mix with the gold trim. When there is violence, it is streaked with red, pouring onto the page. The letters in the word balloons are terrific and always easy to read, but the font used for the captions may be slightly confusing.
Batman: One Bad Day – Ra’s Al Ghul #1 is a fantastic exploration of a man who has lived for centuries. It’s a brilliant script depicting a man with his own sense of honor, displaying that he has a reason for everything he does. Like every member of Bruce Wayne’s rogues gallery, Ra’s is unique. He has an ancient intellect and no qualms about slaughter. His actions show him as a villain, but his reasons are justified. Taylor’s story can be seen as a man being evil because that’s necessary, and there is even a bit of hope at the end. It’s also a comic with consequences, with huge events that may lead to ramifications in Gotham.
Batman: One Bad Day – Ra’s Al Ghul #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Batman: One Bad Day - Ra's Al Ghul #1
Batman: One Bad Day – Ra’s Al Ghul #1 is a fantastic exploration of a man who has lived for centuries. It’s a brilliant script depicting a man with his own sense of honor, displaying that he has a reason for everything he does.
William is a screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”