Writer: Tom King
A little birdie told me that the main plot in Batman is actually picking up again. All these side stories really were the BANE of it all.
Ok now that we’re done with these godawful puns let’s get down to business.
Tom King’s Batman run has been very hit or miss for me lately. There have been times when I’ve really liked it, there have been times when I’ve hated it and there have been MANY times where I’ve just been downright bored with it. Reeling in from the previous arc where Bruce ‘don’t kill no criminals’ Wayne left supervillain KGBeast paralyzed in the snow after the attack on Nightwing, we see our hero dealing with Banes next step in his master plan: The Gentleman of Crime, Penguin.
Although it seems things have not been going so well for Mr.Cobblepot, where we discover he is in mourning for an unknown, unseen woman named Penny, who seemed quite important to our big beaked fellow criminal. The start of a new chapter in the Bat-epic and Tom King has me interested. It seems he’s trying to humanize Penguin a little and set up a collaboration which could be quite interesting. Penguin is a character that tends to get overlooked quite often, usually just settled as ‘fat smart mob boss who Batman gets info out of’. Now that he’s at the forefront of a story, there could (hopefully) be a promising dynamic here. I just really hope King doesn’t get bogged down in Oswald being depressed because of this murder. But it’s Tom King so depression will swoop in somehow!
Art returns to the infamous Janin, an artist who I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship throughout this series. I didn’t mind him at times but other times I hated how the art looked, the 3-D effect looked like something from an early 2000’s comic and was just ugly. Not to mention quite static. However this issue doesn’t look overly terrible, it certainly doesn’t look incredibly traced like previous works. His Penguin clearly is going for the Danny Devito look though (albeit less horrific).
Hopefully, with this arc, King gives us some new info in Bane’s plan because it’s starting to get very convoluted to the point where it’s silly. We find out this issue that the recent Mr.Freeze arc was his construction as well which was annoying seeing as I liked that as a more ‘standalone’ story. I’m interested to see how much King humanizes Penguin, a character I love from the TV show Gotham who certainly has been developed more than anything, so taking the Penguin in this direction (by possibly giving some more backstory to this Penny character) could be good for him. It’s not a bad issue but it’s certainly not great either. It ends with some promising developments and relationships so hopefully, this could be a semi-decent arc in this 100 issue epic.
That being said. King stick to what you’re best at. Contained mini-series.
Setting up an interesting team up and finally starting to develop the over-arching evil plot, Tom King puts Batman's beaky friend in an interesting spot. The start of a new arc, I'm interested to see what happens with Penguin and his revenge.