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'The Penguin' #11 cuts the bird’s flight short
The Penguin #11

Comic Books

‘The Penguin’ #11 cuts the bird’s flight short

Everyone’s time in the sun is numbered in Gotham.

In The Penguin #11, Batman clips Penguin’s wings. Following the previous issue, he helps the Sibs put their father where he belongs. The Dark Knight swiftly dismantles Penguin’s whole state of affairs and operation. His people, especially those who are fearful or just plain smart, leave the bird alone. Those that stay suffer the tragic consequences of being on the bad side of the Bat.

The mythical inevitability of Batman plays a big part here. The consequences of Penguin’s relationship with him teased in a couple of flashback issues not long ago, are finally paid off. It’s exciting to see how Penguin gets himself out of this one and if it’s even possible to escape scot-free. De Lattore and Maiolo’s art rarely reveals the main character’s emotions; Penguin’s in particular is never distinguishible. His true emotion is hidden behind a poker-faced grin. When his confidants leave him, his disappointment is subtle.

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Similarly, Batman’s face is often hidden in shadow. Only the people not in control of themselves or the situation are shown to be emotional, like the cursing agent and the Fourth of July members. This decision to not portray the main players’ overt emotions is in line with the series’ theme of power. Even deprived of power, Penguin never shows weakness, therefore still maintaining an ounce of dignity. There’s even a scene of Penguin showing a bit of compassion, but due to it being done with a straight face, it’s up in the air whether he has malicious motives underlying it. Having readers interpret how the characters are feeling through the context and different captions on flat faces makes for a unique reading experience.

'The Penguin' #11 cuts the bird’s flight short

The bird and the Bat break up. Credit: DC Comics

My problem with the issue is that how the tables turn so suddenly. It could be argued that it’s a testament to Batman as a character and how who’s at the top of Gotham’s food chain is conquering on borrowed time, but despite the previous 10 issues chronicling Penguin’s rise, his fall is so brief in comparison. Though perhaps intentionally ironic, because of that, the satisfaction of seeing him get some comeuppance is short-lived. Instead of rewarding, it’s just tragic.

The outcome of Penguin’s power play is not out of the blue. Batman’s role in it is not unthinkable. But for the pacing of the issues, it just being one issue away from the finale, makes it feel unearned. It’s also weird how Penguin didn’t anticipate or plan for Batman’s interference, seeing how he has planned and orchestrated everything so far. It’s now up to the last issue to resolve everything in a neat little bow, but so far, this sudden turn of events feels jarring and off the beaten path. One of the captions is also confusing, as it is the same color from one character to another, making me double-take if I’ve been reading it wrong.

As a penultimate issue, The Penguin #11 ramps things up at the cost of build-up. Every character reaps what they’ve sown, and Batman proves that if he is a symbol of anything, it is one of consequence.

'The Penguin' #11 cuts the bird’s flight short
‘The Penguin’ #11 cuts the bird’s flight short
The Penguin #11
As a penultimate issue, The Penguin #11 ramps things up at the cost of build-up. Every character reaps what they’ve sown, and Batman proves that if he is a symbol of anything, it is one of consequence.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
There is a great sense of finality for each one of the characters
De Lattore and Maiolo's art paints the story with tragic melancholy
Batman doles out long-awaited justice which can be satisfying
Despite the long-form storytelling, how the tables turn could have more lead-up
8
Good
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