Review: Batman: One Bad Day: Ra’s Al Ghul

by James Attias
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“Batman: One Bad Day: Ra’s Al Ghul”
Writers: Tom Taylor
Artist: Ivan Reis and Danny Miki
Color Artist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Review by James Attias

Ladies and Gentlemen, Batman: One Bad Day: Ra’s Al Ghul… is the Best Ra’s Al Ghul story I’ve ever read. For the next 500ish words I’m going to tell you why!

700 Years of Loss

Over the last decade, Tom Taylor has proven that anything he writes turns to gold! This story is a prime example. We jump in close to 700 years in the past, to a young boy who’s being hunted. We see that he’s about to be murdered by a would-be conqueror but he’s saved by nature and animals. This is something we’ve been sorely lacking in modern-day comics. This is a true, believable, beginning for the ever-feared Head of the Demon. We’ve seen mad stories and bad stories but this keeps it simple. It shows us that “One Bad Day”, can truly shape a lifetime.

The premise of this tale is how can you change the world, for the better. For tomorrow, for our children, and their children. It takes change, it takes growth, and it takes power. The genius of this story, and why I enjoyed it so much, is down to the way that it’s framed. This murderous villain, the leader of The League of Assassins is actually the character that we’re rooting for. We have Batman and Robin, the heroes fighting the good fight, but we almost don’t want them to succeed. That’s brilliant storytelling. This is similar to the way the film Joker by Todd Phillips was framed with moments of the audience questioning the moral answer.

This time around we haven’t got a scheme that will flood the world, or burn the planet, letting it start anew from the ashes, as most comic book self-righteous eco-terrorists usually plan to do. This time it’s all about legacy and succession. What’s the one thing that a man who’s lived 700 years has in spades? Time. This was a slow burn, this was a plan that’s been in the works for years, and one that was almost impossible to stop. Both because of how it’s executed and the moral question of whether it actually should be stopped.

Batman as the Villain?

In a story about a classic Batman villain, a character who’s been murdering people for 700 hundred years plus, how can you frame this so the reader feels anything other than contempt towards him? Tom Taylor knows how! I bloody love you, Tom! We have Ra’s murdering the people who are harming the planet; the killer’s killing killers. So, If Batman solves the case and foils the caper, he will be in fact hurting the planet. It’s a no-win situation for our hero. If the Dark Knight loses, could that actually be the right outcome?

This issue, and its wonderful art by Ivan Reis, really did get me thinking, and that’s what I loved about it. Usually, I’m a ride-or-die, Batman 4 Life kind of guy. This is the character that I’m always cheering on. Batman: One Bad Day: Ra’s Al Ghul is the first story that gave me a small, atomically small,  amount of doubt.


This comic is Wonderful! Truly storytelling at its finest. On the whole, I’ve loved this series. It’s had highs, and it has had lows, but what a way to finish!

10 out of 10

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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