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'The Penguin' #6 is dark, macabre, and as twisted as ever
DC

Comic Books

‘The Penguin’ #6 is dark, macabre, and as twisted as ever

Witness the first meeting of Penguin and Batman!

Tom King and Stevan Subic are setting out to detail the first time Penguin and Batman interacted in The Penguin #6 this week. It’s not King’s first time introducing first-time meetups — he’s doing it over in Batman: The Brave and the Bold between Joker and Batman — nor is it Subic’s first as he outlined Riddler’s background with Paul Dano in Riddler: Year One. What better creative team to explore the early days of these arch-enemies?

Something this series does well is show how Penguin thinks. That continues in this issue, which is the main thread that connects this issue to the rest of the series. That change is due to the narrative switching gears to go back to when Penguin was just a lowly worker for Falcone and was mostly stepped on by others. He’s still the wickedly smart and conniving beast, but he doesn’t have the gumption or leverage to make things happen. That is until Batman comes along, and they team up.

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The Penguin #6 opens with Penguin going to work at the Ice Berg Lounge to serve drinks. He serves Falcone one, and because he gives him a big grin, he throws the drink in his face. Glass and all. Penguin is a little weaker and a little more inclined to sulk in these earlier days but make no mistake, he’s just as dangerous.

The Penguin #6

That’s gotta hurt.
Credit: DC Comics

The story gets very interesting when Batman enters the fray. There’s a compelling argument that Batman helps create the Penguin, and Penguin helps Batman in turn. It’s an interesting development, and it’s nice to know it’s told over one issue.

Subic’s art is dark, macabre and twisted, especially with Penguin’s bizarre round face and awkward long fingers. He’s a bit creepy and monstrous, but only subtly so. Batman is haunting and cast in shadow for the most part, but when you see him, he’s like a thick slab of muscle. Environments are also carefully crafted with a nice haze on the rooftop meeting spot. There’s even a cool take on the Batmobile, though it’s only seen briefly. Something Subic does with both Penguin and Batman is use white beady eyes as if the shadow is swallowing up their soul. It gives them a similar vibe of inhumanity that suits their positions in life during this tale.

Interestingly, the series continues to play with captions. Penguin speaks through yellow captions, while his “mother” speaks through blue ones. Batman gets his own as well. There’s a decidedly interesting thing going on with voice, tone, and perspective whenever the captions draw us into the mind of a given character. They work to the bitter and deadly end.

My only gripe is the “mother” figure who narrates portions of the story. It’s not clear what her role is until the very last page, and while that reveal is a great moment of horror, she also frustrates here and there in the main book. She acts like a kind of ghostly third party who adds little to the scenes.

The Penguin #6 offers longtime Batman fans a chance to see Penguin and Batman first interact while building up the conniving and truly disturbed nature of the title villain. An excellent look at the mind of Penguin and all the macabre and twisty things he thinks and does. It’s also a good chance to check out Subic’s work, some of the most intriguing art today.

'The Penguin' #6 is dark, macabre, and as twisted as ever
‘The Penguin’ #6 is dark, macabre, and as twisted as ever
The Penguin #6
The Penguin #6 offers longtime Batman fans a chance to see Penguin and Batman first interact while building up the conniving and truly disturbed nature of the title villain. An excellent look at the mind of Penguin and all the macabre and twisty things he thinks and does. It's also a good chance to check out Subic's work, some of the most intriguing art today.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
A clever way to show how Penguin and Batman first met
A dark and inhuman edge to the visuals that works great
The various captions continue to play well with different characters
The "mother" character doesn't work...until the very last page
9
Great
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