Mind's Eye Comics Pick!! -- Batman One Bad Day: The Riddler
Batman One Bad Day: The Riddler, DC Comics
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mitch Gerads
Holy wow folks. Tom King knows how to write The Riddler! During his long run on the monthly Batman title, far and away my favorite story arc was "The War of Jokes and Riddles." He managed to take a seemingly one-note character, a joke of a character at times, and make him compelling, interesting and really scary. Tom King manages to up the ante with The Riddler once again with this first installment in the new Batman One Bad Day series. After The Riddler murders a man in broad daylight, with numerous witnesses, and waits to be arrested, he begins a savage intellectual game with Commissioner Gordon and his unit of Police at Arkham. As Batman refuses to talk to him, instead following the clues as to why The Riddler murdered the man, Riddler reveals a flat out insanely scary plan to instill fear within Gotham, starting with the police themselves.
Complete with a really unexpected and compelling backstory, centering around a young Edward (The Riddler) at a private school, and his relationship both with his headmaster father, and one of his instructors. Perpetually confused by riddles on the instructors exams, blemishing an otherwise nearly perfect academic record, Edward is unable to grasp the difference between book smart and life smart, which his instructor is trying to teach him. This is offset by the chilling way in which Riddler takes on the police and Gordon, as Batman investigates the subtle clues left, all together creating an uneasy mood for the reader, which is really well done by King. These various plot threads, of course, come together by the end in a mostly very unexpected way. This was a master class in how to do a one shot character study, all the more impressive in that it was deconstructing a well known character. If the rest of these One Bad Day issues are half as good as this one is, we are in for a real treat! Highly recommended!