Review: The Penguin #7

“An Unimportant Man” – Part Two
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Stevan Subic
Color Artist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Philip Clark

The Penguin #7 is out this week, and follows up from the fantastic last issue; continuing the story of Penguin’s rise to fame, and Batman’s hand in it all. King and Subic have done an excellent job over the last couple of issues bringing the story to gruesome life.

The Bird and The Bat

The relationship between Cobblepot and Batman blossoms delightfully in this issue and the second page is quite possibly my favorite of the entire book. The first panel, with the red background, showcasing Oswlad’s strike, is simple and elegant. Hats off to Subic and Maiolo for their artistry there.

Speaking of, Subic does; once again; a marvellous job at bringing the young squat Oswald to the page. It’s different from the villain we’ve come to recognize in his later years, yet still distinguishable.

I’ve enjoyed his take on the younger Cobblepot; he’s pudgy and slightly baby-faced. When looking at him, he gives me Quasimodo vibes, making me feel kind of sorry for him. Unlike the hunchback, however, Oswald has few redeeming qualities; as we’re fully shown in this issue.

This artist brings an extra air of eccentricity to Oswald’s personality that I didn’t realize was even possible. He captures the young, somewhat paranoid persona and just seems to twist it until it’s all there is. I love it!

A Penguin’s Rise

The way that King has written this two-part backstory reminds me of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this run cemented itself in DC legacy with a cult following, too. The depth of character is brought to the front, and it’s ultimately Batman’s interactions that lead Oswald to become The Penguin.

King also brings a brand new perspective on the relationship between Cobblepot and Batman, just as Moore did with his two lead characters. There’s a line that King writes in this issue that really stuck out for me. In one of Batman’s monologues, he asks the question “… who here is using whom?”. The fact that the world’s greatest detective is questioning this against one of his most underestimated villains strikes me.

I cannot give King enough credit for the depth and layers he’s bringing to The Penguin. In this issue alone, we see both the vicious and erratic villain that would kill a man for looking at him wrong; as well as the strategic, clever crime boss that can even have Batman questioning himself.

Conclusion

The Penguin #7 is another great issue. There aren’t enough words for me to go on about how much King is bringing to this character. Just know this, if there’s anything you do in 2024 as a comic book fan; whether you’re a Batman or Penguin fan or not, it’s to read this run. The man’s a storytelling genius.

As usual, I will be counting the days until the next issue.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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