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'Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin' #1 proves Gotham needs Penguin as much as Batman
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‘Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin’ #1 proves Gotham needs Penguin as much as Batman

‘Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin’ #1 shows the rise of Penguin after falling on hard times.

The concept behind One Bad Day is brilliant, as it gives various creators a chance to tell one-shot stories under one umbrella, making the entire series a kind of event. Tom King and Mitch Gerads kicked things off with the excellent Riddler one-shot, and Mariko Tamaki and Javier Fernandez followed up with Two-Face. Today, John Ridley and Giuseppe Camuncoli follow their lead with One Bad Day – The Penguin, leaning into the concept by focusing on literally one day of Penguin’s life. Thankfully for readers, it’s a hugely impactful one.

As with previous stories in this series of one-shots, this story isn’t taking place within canon, or at least today’s canon. Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin #1 opens with Penguin sitting alone on a park bench overlooking Gotham. His body language screams failure, he’s covered in bandages, and even Batman flies overhead uninterested in his actions. He lost his empire and is on the brink of giving up. Enter a stranger who sells Penguin a gun. Given just one bullet, he sets out to Gotham to take his empire back.

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The premise of Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin #1 is a smart one, as it shows Penguin’s superpower might be his confidence. Over a single day, he turns that gun and one bullet into three bullets, a hired hand paid for by trust, and eventually a confrontation with the man who took his empire from him. The concept of “One Bad Day” is complex as it could mean Penguin’s day, the folks who die thanks to Penguin’s actions, or the Umbrella Man who took his empire.

Batman One Bad Day Penguin

Penguin has seen better days.
Credit: DC Comics

Ridley plots a good issue here that keeps an even keel and always pushes forward. It’s a little on the slow side, but how each scene plays into the next is well-choreographed. There’s also a strong message telegraphed here in how Penguin actually does more to abate crime than Batman. It’s a bold claim and allows for Batman to pop up briefly. This is mostly Penguin’s story, so don’t expect much of Batman or even much of a part in this story.

Camuncoli draws a good issue with finishes by Cam Smith. You can tell it’s not 100% created by Camuncoli, but his excellent character acting is on point throughout. A highlight is the ending fight between Umbrella Man and Penguin, which shows Penguin’s animalistic rage. Much of the issue points out Penguin was a bullied child; you can see that he’s very much childlike and innocent without his power. Once given power or on the cusp, he goes full tilt into beast mode.

Although Batman doesn’t play a big part in the story, he appears a few times like a hovering protector trying to do his best. In one scene, we see him in a tank-like interior that’s a homage to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and the radio is flooded with crimes. Looking as badass as ever, he’s perturbed by the amount of crime and how little he can do to stop it. In another pivotal scene, it’s odd to see Batman let Penguin go, seemingly proving Penguin’s point that the city needs him as much as Batman to help slow crime, but the story doesn’t emphatically prove this point or not. It sort of sits there, letting the reader decide at the expense of Batman acting a bit out of character.

It’s not every day you can get a story focused nearly exclusively on a villain like Penguin, but the One Bad Day format allows for it. Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin explores Penguin in a new way while showing that determination and a little luck can go a long way.

'Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin' #1 proves Gotham needs Penguin as much as Batman
‘Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin’ #1 proves Gotham needs Penguin as much as Batman
Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin
It's not every day you can get a story focused nearly exclusively on a villain like Penguin, but the One Bad Day format allows for it. Batman: One Bad Day – The Penguin explores Penguin in a new way while showing that determination and a little luck can go a long way.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
An interesting look at Penguin and how he can rise to power with almost no leverage
Subtly points out Penguin's affect on Gotham is helping Batman
Art features perfect facial expressions
A slower pace make the extra-sized format feel a touch unnecessary
8
Good
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