Frank Tieri is one of those writers who can pretty much always be relied on to step in and write a solid story, especially when it’s set in either the world of Batman or Wolverine. In this Villain’s Month issue, he takes on one of Batman’s most famous, but probably most misused villains and manages to make The Penguin a bad-ass, whilst at the same time, not taking away the stuff that makes him different and interesting. Yes, the 1960s Penguin with his prop umbrellas was a bit ridiculous and silly, but just turning him into a Kingpin rip-off is equally stupid in my eyes.
Here, Tieri has Oswald Cobblepot act very much in the Crime-Boss vein, running a Casino, manipulating Politicians, etc. But he also has him kill some people with prop umbrellas, but these aren’t ridiculous umbrellas, oh no, these umbrellas are dangerous weapons, and he brutally dispatches 3 con-men in a brutal scene. Tieri also made good use of The Penguin’s freakish appearance, and how being bullied as a child made him the monster he is today. Basically, this story tied in all of the things there is to like about this villain and made him interesting to me again, and I’m excited to see what happens when he makes his next appearance in Snyder’s book.
In many ways, the story here was about Penguin trying to rebuild his rep, and Tieri does that meta-textually here, the Penguin is no joke, even if you’re his friend, he’ll dose you with Venom and have you eat your secretary. He’s hardcore.
Christian Duce is another artist who’s new to me (Villain’s Month is full of new discoveries) but he does a good job here, managing to make the Penguin look scary and not silly, which was the main point of the story.