The Penguin #2 delivers a dark, twisted, emotional punch
Oswald Cobblepot is preparing to take back the Gotham underworld at the behest of the U.S. government, but to wage this war, he’s going to need some ruthless soldiers. For starters…the Help, the merciless assassin Penguin first encountered in Batman: Killing Time. The Penguin #2 is a hell of a second issue that cements this series as one of the best of the year so far.
Written by Tom King, the issue is as much horror as tragedy. Much like the first issue, it’s easy to both feel sorrow for the Penguin’s situation but also feel complete disdain due to his vile acts. The Penguin #2 delivers a balance that’s amazing and shows of King’s writing strengths. The issue keeps things simple as Oswald attempts to recruit the Help, an assassin of unparalleled ability. Since Penguin’s retirement, the Help has retired himself. Surrounded by servants, this intriguing character balances his nature with a want of peace and quiet. The Penguin sees it as a prison the Help needs to be freed from and needs him to retake his empire.
The Penguin #2 is much like the first issue, a person at relative peace, haunted by their past. In each, both individuals are forced back into their previous statement through forces not their own. Both are done so not necessarily kicking and screaming but in an almost shocked reserved state. And, like the first issue, The Penguin #2 feels tragic where you again feel sorry for an individual who one should not feel empathy for. King has done an excellent job in two issues to create a connection between readers and characters allowing for the sadness to ooze from the page.
That’s helped by the art of Rafael De La Torre, color by Marcelo Maiolo, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art has been spot on perfect for the story balancing its sadness, shocks, and tension. De La Torre and the team do an amazing job of building through the issue towards its explosive ending. The tense nature of this meeting builds through the pages eventually ending in an explosive finale that opens a flood of sadness as to the result. The comic’s visuals keeps things focused on its two main individuals, a verbal dance between the two and then we’re presented with Penguin’s actions. Much of the horror is left to our imagination, a technique that is successfully pulled off and enhanced when we’re presented with the result of Penguin’s rage. Like the story itself, it’s all shown with a mix of horror, shock, and sadness and executed with precision.
The Penguin #2 cements the series as one of the best of the year so far. Two issues in, both have demonstrated a quality that’s amazing on every level. It’s one that’s not to be missed a gem of DC’s “Dawn of DC” line.
Story: Tom King Art: Rafael De La Torre
Color: Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review