I finally had the time to sit, organize my comic collection and begin reading everything that’s come out in the past six months or so, so you will be seeing various comic reviews pop up. With that being said, let us begin with DC Comic’s miniseries Penguin: Pain and Prejudice!
Right away, we’re treated to an in-depth origin story for Oswald Cobblepot sprinkled between his current machinations in Gotham’s underworld. Sure, at the bare minimum it’s the same story that’s been run over a million times: Lonely, disfigured boy, ridiculed by his loved ones and complete strangers but the difference here is in the writing. That being said, I’m going to admit I’m not familiar with anything Gregg Hurwitz has written. That’s not a jab at what I’m sure is fantastic writing but it’s the honest truth. Hurwitz takes us somewhere very dark and very grim. We finally get a look behind a villain who is usually used as a joke, someone who isn’t ever really taken seriously. This is the first time I have seen the Penguin as someone who is a threat and it’s so…enjoyable.
Oswald is quite the mama’s boy and his father really doesn’t like that. We see many snippets of memories where Oswald is shunned by his father, only to be embraced by his mother and how his older brothers didn’t want anything to do with him. Without giving too much away, it’s a very sad tale and it’s mirrored with the adult life of the Penguin, who is very much in control of his destiny and has the power to punish those who hurt him. Let’s take for example this poor soul who bumps into the Penguin at the Iceberg Lounge and almost calls him a fatass. This man pays dearly, in every single way possible and then some more. It’s utterly delicious to watch Oswald speak in what I’m sure is a very polite and concise manner of everything that is going to befall him for just bumping into him.
The art in this comic is also very well done and is almost totally devoid of any color. Oswald is almost always drenched in shadow and I love seeing his silhouette lightly touched around his manacle and along the bridge of his nose. Many kudos to Szymon Kudranski and his attention to detail. I like his current stint on Spawn and I really think he is fantastic on this title.
Long and short of it, pick up this miniseries. It’s only up to issue #3 and it’s completely worth it.
Before I even purchased this title, I was apprehensive purely because I’d read some of Paul Levitz’ stories and didn’t think they were that great. Since I have always been a little bit of a Huntress fan, I really couldn’t resist and decided to give ole Levitz another go.The story follows Helena (Bertinelli, not Wayne in case you were wondering) as she travels to Italy on a tip about some “garbage” coming into Gotham. To her surprise, she uncovers a storage car full of Italian women and one can assume they’re being sold into the sex trade. The big bad of Italy, Mr. Moretti is indeed shuttling young women to various cities as whores. Helena doesn’t take too well to this and after ordering a hooker to her room, she interrogates the accompanying “pimp” who spills the beans. Not bad for a first issue but several pages were taken up by a preview of Batman: Noel.
I did very much enjoy the art by Marcus To. I think Huntress’ costume is still a bit too clunky and/or busy but I like the changes. She is, of course, wonderfully curvy and To seems to stay away from those spine breaking poses artists love. Take for example this panel where Huntress is kicking ass and taking names. It doesn’t seem inconceivable that she can kick some ass so I’m willing to buy these moves as realistic.
If I have any drawbacks to how Helena was depicted, it was based on the vast amount of purple her wardrobe contains. It reminded me of how the Power Rangers always wore their signature color. Goodbye, secret identity!
Long and short of it, I wasn’t completely captivated by this miniseries. I’d leave it on the shelf.