Review: The Penguin #8

“The Apartment”
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Color Artist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Philip Clark

It’s back to the future in The Penguin #8, as Tom King has completed Cobblepot’s short backstory and now focuses on his return to Gotham instead. As much fun as seeing the beginnings of Oswald’s relationship with Batman build was, I want to get back into the present! So much was going on, so please get me back there.

Guess Who’s Back!

I absolutely love the duality between the first few panels of this issue and the first issue of this run. The casual stroll Cobblepot has through the city of Metropolis is calm and peaceful, and he’s greeted with smiles and pleasant manners. Whereas in the first few panels of his return to Gotham, it’s the complete opposite, he’s met with fear and anger.

Attempts on his life are made within a few hours of being back in the city, and all the poor man was doing was trying to buy an apartment!

I feel that the people’s reactions are reflective of the cities they live in: Metropolis is typically brighter and happier, as being protected by the big man in red and blue will do that. Gotham, however, is a lot darker and grittier, and the people act accordingly.

The return of Gotham’s previous criminal crime lord brings with it some wonderful cameos. Gordon, Batman, and The Riddler all turn up within the pages of this issue; although Oswald only has interactions with the latter two.

The way that Cobblepot converses with them is on very different levels of intellect. With Riddler he’s a lot more domineering and commanding, playing to Edward’s ego before turning on him in true Penguin fashion. With Batman, however, he’s a lot more reserved and careful in his emotions, choosing to keep his cards closer to his chest.

The most interesting interaction Oswald has in this issue for me is with his daughter. Their whole conversation has me on edge, thinking either one will fly off the handle and start attacking the other at any moment. They do, however, manage to maintain a level of cordiality that allows them to finish their conversation.

It’s so nice to have De Latorre back at the artistic helm for The Penguin #8, not that the last two issues were poorly drawn or anything. I personally, just really like De Latorre’s art style. It fits for Gotham, it’s gritty and raw, and there are no bright colors masking any of Gotham’s browns and blacks.

From the glint on Gordon’s glasses to Oswald’s sneer; not a detail is missed. The passion that the creative team has for this project really comes through in each issue.

Conclusion

I would honestly be okay if DC just gave King the helm to all of Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery and let him create stories like this for other villains that may be seen as a joke. A Mr Freeze series, or heck, even a Riddler run would be so cool to read! King and the team are putting out stellar comics each time, and every time I think the next chapter can’t get any better… it does!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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