As much as Tom King’s Batman run has found bold, ambitious new ways of highlighting the wounded man beneath the costume, it’s also worked wonders on several major and minor Bat-villains. The sad saga of Kite-Man in “The War of Jokes and Riddles” stands out as one clear example. There’s also the portrayal of Selina Kyle as a tragic mirror to Batman who sacrifices their romance for the greater good or Bane as a man whose fleeting dance with inner peace is shattered by the Dark Knight. With this newest story arc, it’s clear King and artist Mikel Janin are turning their attention to Penguin. And so far, the results are promising.
When last Penguin was seen in this series, he was revealed to be a member of Bane’s secret cabal, helping the villainous mastermind orchestrate his grand plot against Batman. This issue delves deeper into that alliance and Oswald Cobblepot’s motivations for allying with Bane. Needless to say, it’s not an altogether stable arrangement, and Penguin quickly emerges as a self-interested neutral agent in this deepening war between Batman and Bane.