Issue seven begins in the Iceberg Casino where Jill is beating on Snakeskin for shooting her sister Charlotte Rivers at the end of the last issue. Snakeskin calms her down by reminding her that Charlotte had been a drain on her life and sooner or later one of them would have to go. Jill gets angry again at that comment saying that was her call before calming down and talking Snakeskin into getting ready to do what has to be done next.
We then cut to Batman who calls for Alfred to send the Bat-sub to pick him and the injured Charlotte up and he does so sending it crashing through the bottom of the Iceberg Casino. Back with Jill and Snakeskin, Jill hands Snakeskin a plastic gun that can get through Penguin's metal detectors. Snakeskin's face is morphing which shocks Jill but she gets him ready for his mission he heads off promising not to let her down.
On the casino floor Penguin is talking with his Z-list “Legion of Doom” when the explosion from the Bat-sub collision takes place. Penguin’s female assistant comes to escort Penguin to his bunker, the Z-list villains ask why they are not invited and Penguin informs them he agreed to keep their money safe, not them. On the Wayne boat, Batman and Alfred have Charlotte in an ice bath to induce hypothermia to slow down her blood loss and save her life, Alfred informs Batman that Jill is Charlotte’s sister and has been matched on the Bat-computer to various crimes in China and Russia while they can find nothing on Snakeskin.
In the Iceberg Casino, Penguin is being escorted away by his entourage while a very deformed Snakeskin approaches while at the same time Jill is at the vault. Snakeskin attempts to shoot Penguin with the plastic gun but it blows up in his hands. Penguin has a funny line in which he says, "this man tried to kill me, someone get me a handkerchief," Penguin’s assistant informs him Jill is at the vault, Penguin demands she be bought to him and the Z-list villains say they are backing out and Penguin tells them if they back out, they will be taken care of.
At the vault, Batman confronts Jill about Charlotte who says she had it coming. They fight and Batman plants a tracker on her before the Z-listers grab her. Batman easily beats them up realizing they've all been played and are currently in a death trap as the vault contents explode. In Penguin’s secret bunker, Jill arrives and it turns out she was working with Penguin the whole time. She was meant to kill the new villains, but failed. Jill assures him that because of Snakeskin’s assassination attempt on him they will be after her not him and she can hide from them with the money she is owed. Penguin says he is going to kill her as he can only afford a onetime payment and that will be her father’s reelection bid will run smoothly. Batman crashes in, knocks out Penguin’s assistant before pushing Jill out of the way of a Penguin umbrella blast which sends Penguin flying and he pretty much knocks him out. Batman then takes Jill to jail. In the jail cell Jill is talking to a wart faced man who introduces her lawyer. However it isn't a lawyer as his face begins to change and it is actually Snakeskin.
Wow. Where do I begin? I'll start positive; I really like Tony Daniel’s art. Always have. I’ve said before that in my opinion no one draws a better looking Batman outside of Jim Lee than Tony Daniel. I also liked the art for Snakeskin and the fact he looked more and more deformed in the face with each pacing panel which showed great consistency on his part there. I didn't mind some of Penguin’s lines here either, especially the line he said after his assassination attempt, "this man tried to kill me, someone get me a handkerchief." I'll be honest and say in my opinion that is the single best thing Tony Daniel has written dialogue wise in his entire run on this title by a mile.
Now for the other side; one thing that really bothered me was that Jill sent Snakeskin to kill Penguin with a plastic gun. I don't know anything about guns at all. I did a bit of Google research and the closest thing I could find was a reference made in terms of the Glock being called a plastic gun due to its lack of durability. I may be wrong but a plastic gun as an assassination weapon is simply stupid (please comment if you know otherwise, I’d be curious to find out). Also I didn't find the threats and banter of the Z-list villains to be interesting or threatening at all. The fight they had with Batman was so bad, the face-rag-glasses man with his crappy hypnosis, the red-armpit gas that came from the skull and crossbones red-water-head man…these guys are not even Z list. I honestly think Tony Daniel may have been better including some of the D through N list villains that are already in Batman’s rouges gallery. Maybe Clayface, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, Catman or anyone. I would have rather seen a cool cameo from some of these guys than what we got. The set up was pretty obvious with Jill being double crossed by Penguin. But was it me or was that one of the most antic climactic endings to a confrontation between Batman and one his arch nemesis ever? Penguin knocked himself unconscious from the blast of his own trick umbrella. Positively stupid. I think Tony Daniel based his Penguin on Burgess Meridith’s portrayal of the character because that finish was right out of the 1960's television series.
Tony Daniel has been given a fair shake at writing Batman and he peaked with his first effort Battle for the Cowl, which I enjoyed quite a lot, but it's been downhill from there. This last arc was terrible and I honestly feel bad for Gregg Hurwitz, because he just finished last month the best Penguin story out there to date with the excellent Pain and Prejudice, but more people just saw the character time warped back to 1967.
Detective Comics #7:
Reviewed by David Cook