Wait, DC gave the Penguin his own series? Why? I mean, a crime boss story might work as something different. How does a mob boss do what he does in a town protected by Batman? And hey, Tom King is writing it.
But this “zero issue” is a collection of three back-up stories by Chip Zdarsky from the main Batman book. You know what? I like King’s work. I like Zdarsky’s work. I think I may like this.
Issue: The Penguin #0, August 2023
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Belén Ortega
The Plot: Catwoman gets roped into protecting the Penguin’s various heirs after the crime boss’s apparent death.
Commentary: Well, this was actually pretty cool. The Penguin was apparently killed off in Batman’s series, an issue I haven’t gotten to yet, but it sounds like a good development. Anyway, with the Penguin dead and gone, he has a will made out to get his vast (criminal) fortune to his various illegitimate children. Catwoman happened to be in the Iceberg Lounge when something went down, so she’s been recruited by, well, the Executor.
The Executor may be the best part of the issue: he’s a superstrong robotic lawyer. Very polite, and he only employs violence in self-defense and when specifically instructed by his employer, but he’s really a cool addition to the world. I may not normally go for a superhuman sort of thing in the more “grounded” Gotham City, but I didn’t mind this guy so much since his size and strength were totally belied by the fact he was so unfailingly formal and polite when talking to anyone.
As it is, the issue’s main goal seems to be to set up what happened to the Penguin (he has his own solo series now, so he’s obviously not dead) as well as bringing in two of his illegitimate children, and not the son introduced in a recent Batgirl series. The others are largely disposed of off-panel, and the surviving daughter sure does look like her allegedly dead father. But there are some cool bits here, and I am curious how many of them King will keep for his series. I like both King and Zdarsky’s work, but they do have very different storytelling styles, so seeing where King takes Oswald Cobblepot from here, well, I am intrigued if nothing else.