Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Colorist: John Kalisz
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Gotham City … you just have to love a city so far from grace that it needs a man dressed up like a bat to save it from a collection of freaks and criminally insane foes. Among the number of Gotham’s Most Wanted is the Penguin yet what do we really know about him or his past? Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is a character study of a very dangerous man who – up until now – reveals a troubled childhood that is but the tip of the iceberg.
Born into the world as Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot to a mother who so affectionately calls him a beautiful boy despite the fact that the physicians that helped deliver the infant see the obvious physical abnormalities, the only real warmth came from the infant’s mother. While the mother only sees the beauty in her child, the father is another story altogether as one look at his son has him dropping the baby! Oswald’s father doesn’t even want his infant son on his bed, coldly pushing the baby aside to be intimate with his wife.
Unfortunately, after that, Oswald’s early childhood is something of a nightmare for a boy born with an unusual beak-like nose and short stature. He was isolated by his “normal” brothers who did not want to play with him and all his classmates seem to consider him a disgusting freak. Naturally, he was bullied in the most awful of ways as he eventually grew angry and vengeful. How could he not when friends and family would do unpleasant things to him?
It is through these quick peeks into his early childhood that we come to understand how Oswald Cobblepot grew up to become the Penguin. When we see him, it is the Penguin we all know as he has put together a party for an unknown investor. The Penguin immediately recognizes that people respect him out of fear. He is indeed a mean-looking man who is now use to getting what he wants with the snap of a finger or simply just a glance in the right direction.
He’s the type of man who lives in both his business worlds at the same time. Sure, he sets up cool events, one of which will feature a certain Irish rock band. However, the way he gets this famous rock band to attend is dirty. During the party, he takes care of his criminal endeavors.
Oh, he is indeed a man to fear as we can see when a young man bumps into him and quickly insults Oswald without even turning around to see who he bumped into. When the young man realizes who he had offended, the Penguin very calmly and casually has said young man come back up to his office just so he could tell him all the nasty things he had his thugs do to the young man’s family. Oh yeah, money brings the power to do things like this as the Penguin thinks.
On top of that, we get a glance at the Penguin’s relationship with his mother now as he has a group of thugs violently take a rare necklace from an heiress just so he could give it to his mother. He’s clearly very affectionate towards his mother, taking care of her himself in such a delicate that should have been endearing but is just creepy. In the end, the Penguin gets a visit from the Dark Knight himself.
Gregg Hurwitz pens an excellent first issue to this short series and keeps our interest as he paints a picture of painful memories that haunt a man who has turned to wealth and power to create a person you must fear and respect. Then there’s Szymon Kudranski’s art that stands out beautifully just like the cover itself.
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is a revealing and intriguing look at a character we thought we knew well through all the Batman titles. While this is but the first issue in this five-part series, it already reveals a troubled past that has led Oswald Cobblepot down a criminal road. We just can’t wait to see more of his past in the next issues of this well-told story.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
A glance into the birth and childhood of Oswald Cobblepot shows us that life dealt him a very bad hand since his appearance has alienated him from friends and family. It is because of this that he has become the Penguin, a man with money who is vicious enough to ruin a man’s life just for giving him the wrong glance. He is a man who cares for his elderly mother and willing to give her an heirloom taken from the corpse of a known Gotham socialite.
Szymon Kudranski’s artwork and John Kalisz’ coloring compliment each another to the point of making this a comic that looks really damn good and the cover is simply stunning. The Penguin never looked this good or menacing.
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is the start of a fascinating and beautifully crafted character study and this is just the first issue of this five-part series. As we get a deeper look at Oswald Cobblepot’s birth and upbringing, we come to understand what led him to become one of Batman’s most interesting foes. We wish all the other Batman villains got the same treatment in the near future.
Review copy provided by DC Comics