Writer: Tom King/Artist: Mikel Janín/DC Comics
Issue #58 of Batman calls up another of the Caped Crusader’s legendary foes for an update.
Mikel Janín is back on the art for this issue, and presumably the rest of this arc, after a run with Tony S. Daniels. The return is a welcome one.
The last we saw Batman, he was maybe leaving someone to freeze to death. To switch gears, issue #58 takes place from the perspective of an entirely different character, in true King fashion. This time around, Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, is getting the royal (pun intended) treatment in a story arc called “The Tyrant Wing.”
The issue opens with Penguin being told that the love of his life has been slain. This prompts him to spiral into an emotional tailspin. It’s not clear how he decided to take out his frustrations, but Penguin crossed paths with Batman and things end up as you’d expect — a trip through the revolving door of the Arkham Asylum.
The only difference this time around is that his visit has a purpose, to meet with Bane.
It was revealed in issue #50 that Bane has been pulling the strings in Batman’s life for the entirety of this run of stories. Revealing Penguin to be yet another piece in this puzzle proves that King was thinking about the big picture from the first pages of this 100-issue story. Bravo. This just makes it more exciting to see where things will go over the next 40-plus issues.
Another component that should be praised is King’s acknowledgment that we don’t have to watch every conversation happen. Similar to background conversations in movies, this issue continues the trend King and Daniels used beautifully in “Beasts of Burden” by strategically placing text bubbles on a page that has nothing to do with the conversations being had. In this issue, we read Penguin’s henchmen delivering terrible news to him while being locked in on his reaction in a singular image. Talk about powerful.
As far as something that I’ve grown to not be a fan of in this otherwise fantastic run; I’m losing interest in the inclusion of outside stories and poems in these issues. Maybe I’m not as smart as I think I am, or maybe I’m just viewing comics differently than I should be. But it takes me a bit out of the story when I’m watching Batman fight his way through a mansion or a blizzard in between pages owned by murderous woodland creatures or poems that I had to ready way to many times to understand.
I’m sure there’s some overall reason to include these works in Batman. I’d argue that they don’t quite match the tone of what’s happening in the actual issue. But, then again, someone smarter than me may take a break from their 250-page thesis on the spinning top in Inception to break it down for me.
To end on a good note, I’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. The plan that Penguin puts in place to get to Batman fits his character to the core. It’s cruel, but calculated. It’s bloody, but not over-the-top. It’s truly the result of a sadistic mind.
9.0 Umbrella Bullet Casings out of 10
Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.
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